The Irish in Morristown
The first is one is entitled: Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Times: Morristown, New Jersey’s Irish Immigrant Past, written by Cheryl Turkington, the assistant archivist in the North Jersey History Center and published by the Library. The second is We Built a Family Together: The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary written by Jeannette and Robert Fredericks and illustrated with photographs by Sergio Burani. The symposium will concentrate on two areas of Morristown history: the first on the history of the Irish in Morristown and the second on the history of Assumption Parish.
An historical plaque outside the Church of the Assumption mentions that the original church ministered to Irish immigrant families in the Dublin area beginning in 1848. That memorial represents a piece of our nearby history that today is almost forgotten. Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Times author Cher Turkington will take a fresh look at the story of Irish immigration to Morristown and the vibrant Dublin neighborhood that nurtured generations of residents for over 100 years. How did the Irish community live, work, worship, celebrate and sustain itself in a new world? And how did these immigrants and their descendants impact the town they chose to make home? People who share an interest in our community’s history will enjoy learning about this segment of Morristown’s population whose contributions to society have stayed in the shadows for too long.
Assumption Parish saw its beginnings in 1848 with the construction of a small white frame structure on Maple Avenue in Morristown. In those days, the church served primarily the Irish, newly arrived in the country and living mostly in the section of Morristown known as “Little Dublin”. Two years later, a parish school was opened in the basement of the church. Today, that school, now known as Assumption School, is the second oldest continuously operating parochial school in New Jersey. Jeanette and Robert Fredericks will discuss the history of Assumption Parish, which includes the National Register Church of the Assumption building and the art work included in the building, Assumption School, the Ministry Center (formerly the Ballantine House), Rectory and Holy Rood Cemetery.
Sergio Burani, founder of Photos by Sergio, is a Travel Photographer who wants to make a difference. Capturing people and places all over the world is his passion. The economic value of his photography, including his time, is entirely devoted to charity. The beneficiary of his work is Africa Surgery, a Morristown-based not-for-profit providing health care to impoverished people in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Jeanette and Bob Fredericks are longtime residents of Morristown and Morris Township. They met at the Church of the Assumption and were married there. Both have been active in our community. Jeanette has served as a hospice volunteer for eight years and is a member of Power Talkers Toastmasters where she coaches others in improving their leadership and communication skills. Bob is a former President of the Morris County Historical Society and the Washington Association of New Jersey. He is the Morris Township Historian.
Cheryl Turkington has been the assistant archivist in the North Jersey History Center at the Morristown & Morris Township Library since 1989. She earned a B.A. at the University of Connecticut and continued her training there in the Public History & Archives Management Program. She is the author of Setting Up Our Own City: The Black Community in Morristown (1992), and Greeting the Past: A Walking Tour of the Dublin Neighborhood in Morristown, NJ (2006).
This program is supported through funding from the Friends of the Morristown & Morris Township Library.