Although the 1840 census does not list birthplace, none of the names listed appear to be Irish. The 1850 census is the first one that gives us a some interesting information on residents. It is the first census to list more than just the head of household and it indicates where the resident was born. In 1850 there are 987 persons in Littleton; 50 of them indicate Ireland as their place of birth. Most likely, these 50 arrived during the Famine years. There are some familiar family names : McNiff, Healy, Sullivan, Brown. Ten years later in 1860 the Irish population has doubled, while the population as a whole has only increased by 76 persons. By 1900 there are 67 residents who were born in Ireland and 103 with one or both parents born in Ireland. The population has grown to a staggering 1179.
In perusing the Town Reports several mentions of a "Dublin Street" appear. In 1884, C. P. Hartwell is paid $100.00 for graveling Dublin Street. Dublin Street, West End, is on the list of guide posts in the 1894 report. A major discussion on building a new depot is discussed in the Littleton Courant June 18, 1879. "We have , in connection with the location of the depot, a question in regard to two highways, one leading from the foot of P.S. Whitcomb's hill to Dublin Street, so called, the other from near John A. Kimball's to the railroad to meet the former highway..." In 1895 the street names were changed and Dublin was incorporated into Taylor Street.
Littleton, like other towns and cities, may have experienced some prejudice towards the Irish. In 1887 the new town hall was dedicated and an invitation ball was given by the "young men" of Littleton. A week later, the paper reports "It is said that the Irish residents of Littleton who were not invited to the dedication ball, have been waxing warm ever since the event. Not to be outdone, they are going to dedicate the town hall a second time, and no "Yanks" need apply for an invitation. It is to be exclusive. They feel so hurt that they have resolved to boycott Littleton's sturdy butchers and the end is not yet."
Happy St. Patrick's Day.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Sad news again for the Littleton Historical Society as we say goodbye to Frank Mueller who has volunteered at the Society for more than 23 years. He faithfully worked every Wednesday and Sunday Open Houses researching family and local history questions and archiving newspaper stories. He will be very much missed by all the members. A Memorial Service will be held at the Congregational Church of Littleton, 330 King Street, on Sunday March 4, 2012 at 2PM.