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Duffy's Cut massacre and memorial

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Burns and Ruddy
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  • John Burns (b. - 1832)
    1832, Burns, a widow at the age of 29, immigrated to America with her father-in-law, laborer John Burns, on board the ship John Stamp. After two trying months at sea, they arrived in Philadelphia on Ju...
  • John Ruddy (1814 - 1832)
    Burial Address- Donegal County- Donegal Graveyard- Ardara Age- 18
  • Catherine Burns (1803 - 1832)
    BURIAL Clonoe Graveyard Coalisland, County Tyrone, Northern IrelandCatherine Burns was 29 years old and already a widow when she left home and sailed from Derry, County Derry, as one of 160 Catholic I...

Duffy's Cut is the name given to a stretch of railroad tracks about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, United States, originally built for the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad in the summer and fall of 1832. The line later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Main Line. Railroad contractor Philip Duffy hired 57 Irish immigrants to lay this line through the area's densely wooded hills and ravines. The workers came to Philadelphia from the Ulster counties of Donegal, Tyrone and Derry to work in Pennsylvania's nascent railroad industry. Less than two months after their arrival, all 57 are believed to have died during the second cholera pandemic. While most died of the disease, forensic evidence suggests that some may have been murdered, perhaps due to fear of contagion,[2] as the pandemic spanned several continents and many years.[3]

The site is located near Malvern, Pennsylvania in East Whiteland Township[4] near the intersection of King Road and Sugartown Road, where a Pennsylvania state historical marker has been placed.[5]

By the end of August 1832, all the workers were dead. Some perished due to a cholera outbreak, but most were murdered. There are a number of theories as to why they were killed, including prejudice against Irish Catholics or a fear that they would spread cholera.

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild Barque John Stamp