Statue of liberty

Immigration Timeline

  • Introduction

    My name is Cathleen O’Callaghan and I am an Irish immigrant. I moved to America with my parents in 1855 when I was twelve years old. This is the story of my life in America.
  • Period: to

    Life in America

  • Arrived at America

    Arrived at America
    Today I arrived in America with my mother and father. We moved from Ireland, where the land we lived on was taken away from us by landlords. When we lived there, the land wasn't even ours and we were a very poor family. We have been told that life in America will be full of new oppertunities to find work and live a good life. All that we've brough over is our clothes, a small amount of money, and some recipies that we hope to use to start a bakery.
  • Moving Out

    Life in America hasn’t been as good as we had expected. We have been living at a hotel in New Jersey for a very long time and my parents are working in a steel mill. At sixteen years old, I have decided to move out and try to make a new life for myself in the city of New York.
  • Life in the Slum

    After moving out, things did not get much better. I ended up getting a job in a factory and now instead I am living in a tenement (a shabby, run-down, crowded house) in the middle of the New York slum, which is an overcrowded, dirty, unsafe area of the city. Yesterday another man moved into the cottage; his name is Sean O’Neill. Now it will be even more crowded! I’m not sure if there is any room left!
  • Marriage

    Sean O’Neill and I are getting married soon. We are both poor and have very little money, but we have moved out of the tenement and are living with his family at their farm until we can find better work.
  • The Homestead Act

    News has arrived that The Homestead Act was passed. They are now giving away a lot of cheap land in the West! Because we have very little money limited jobs offerings here in the east, we’re moving to California with Sean’s sister, Nora, and her husband very shortly.
  • Moving West

    Moving West
    The journey was long and hard and at one point we even got robbed, but we have finally made it to California. We moved west because the land was rich and new, and we didn’t have very much to depend on in the east. We now all live on a shared farm.
  • The Railraod

    The constuction of the railroad run by the Centeral Pacific company here in California is to begin soon. Sean, who feels like Nora's husband is doing most of the work at the farm, wants to start working there. I'm not sure I want him to have a job that moves away from me as time passed and the track gets longer...
  • Californian Life

    Sean took the job on the railroad, but life in California has been rather uneventful for me. Once, Sean got in a fight with a rather large Italian bloke and had to stay home for a week. We barely had enough money to pay for food that week. Now the railroad is stretching further and further away and Sean is away for long periods of time.
  • The Perfect Land

    The Perfect Land
    I found a perfect patch of land that is still for sale and am trying to convince Sean to quit working at the railroad and start a different farm with me. The railroad has been hard for us and I want to stop living off of his sister’s farm. I’ve heard that the land up in Washington is great for growing wheat and apples.
  • Life in Washington

    It's been almost two years since I convinced Sean to start an apple farm up in Washington with me and now we are flourishing in our new territory. I don’t think that I’ve even tasted an apple that is as good as the ones that grow on our farm.
  • epilogue

    It’s been three years since we started our farm and now we are getting a fair amount of prophets from it. I’m so glad that Sean didn’t stay at the railroad; they didn’t finish it until just yesterday! Our life on the farm is good and every once in while I make baked goods with our apples and sell them at a nearby market; fulfilling my parents dream.