Righting a past injustice
Madam – I read the brief news item (Sunday Independent, March 3, 2013) on the remains of John Ruddy being brought back and buried in his native Co Donegal. He was allegedly murdered or died of cholera aged 18 in the US in 1832.
The story behind this is fascinating. Fifty-seven young Irish men from Donegal, Tyrone and Derry were employed in June 1832 by Philip Duffy, an Irish-American contractor, to lay railroad lines in Pennsylvania State for the Philadelphia and Columbia railroad company.
Cholera struck the group six weeks later and many died. The story goes that someone unknown allegedly hired a gunman to finish off the dying and the survivors. They were buried with quicklime to remove all physical traces of the cholera.