For more than 180 years, cholera was blamed by railroad officials for the deaths of 57 Irish immigrants who died within six weeks of being hired by Philip Duffy in 1832, write Immaculata University professor William Watson and J. Francis Watson for IrishCentral.
However, a modern-day excavation of their mass grave in Malvern has shown that some of the laborers were murdered.
Dr. William Watson and Dr. J. Francis Watson, the brothers behind the excavation, have detailed their findings in the book Massacre at Duffy’s Cut: Tragedy & Conspiracy on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The book describes how Philip Duffy went from Irish immigrant to being responsible for the deaths. He fled Ireland when he was 15 years old and settled in Philadelphia County.
Duffy then worked his way up from a laborer to a contractor in charge of hiring and supervising laborers on public works projects.
One group he hired in 1832 was the 57 Irish laborers buried in Malvern. The men soon died, some from cholera and some murdered. But there is no record of where Duffy was when the events took place.
Read more about Philip Duffy and the deaths of 57 Irish immigrants from IrishCentral here.