At the beginning of the school year, the 7th grade read Fever 1793. This book was about the Yellow Fever epidemic that broke out in the city of Philadelphia. Through discussion and investigation, the 7th graders found out that something similar occurred between the Frazer and Malvern area. In the summer of 1832, 57 Irish laborers died suddenly while building the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad. The cause of death was reportedly from cholera and this burial place became known as Duffy’s Cut.
The Duffy’s Cut team excavated a wooded area in Chester County near the campus of Immaculata University for more than eight years looking for the remains of all 57 Irish immigrants who came to America to work. After extensive forensic examination, it was determined that a few of the remains showed that the workers were victims of violence and that only a handful died from cholera.
Out of the 57 people who died, the remains of six bodies have been found. The rest of the bodies are buried in a mass grave under the Amtrak train tracks and cannot be exhumed.
The goal of the Duffy’s Cut team was to give these workers a Christian burial. On Friday, March 9, 2012, the remains of five men and one woman were buried. During the ceremony all those who lost their lives at Duffy’s Cut were honored. It was a great privilege for our 7th graders to be present at the burial ceremony. They were amazed at the amount of people who were present to honor these men and women. The 7th graders remarked about the handmade caskets, the dignitaries who were there, the bagpipers who played, but mostly about how good it felt for them to be there to honor people who had given their lives for the betterment of America way back in 1832.
We are proud of our 7th graders for the wonderful way they represented St. Patrick School!