In 1817 Hugh Cummiskey left his home and came to Boston. We do not know if he came alone or with relatives. We can imagine his American wake being held before he left. He walked out of this house knowing that he would never see his family or home again.
Here it is almost 200 years later and we're here to find out more about this man the city of Lowell claims as one of its favored sons. The home is a great example of the typical Irish cottage. It is probably from the mid1700s, stone held together by clay. Part of the house would have had the family cow, kept inside for protection and to possibly provide some warmth. The roof at the time would have been thatched. The house was lived in right up to the 1980s when fire did some damage to the building.
Originally it was a single room, but an extension was added at some point. Out buildings were also in evidence. In back of the house was probably the garden area where potatoes were likely the main if only product. In back of the garden were grazing fields for the cows. Those who lived there probably were subsistence framers, growing only enough to feed the family, and hopefully having enough to sell something to pay the rent or taxes.
What drove Hugh out? Probably what was happening all over Ireland at this time. Landlords, many of them absentee, were making demands on the farmers who had no choice but to pay or leave. Maybe the night before he left he was given a proper feast with whatever the family had left. Maybe some music was played and the poteen was passed (Hugh turned out to run a brewery in Boston). But then the time came. He said his goodbyes, walked down the lane. maybe turned for the last time to see the place he called home, and walked into history.