History of my father’s family, William and Elizabeth Cole, continues in the segment below.
The Land of Opportunity
Shortly after Thomas’ birth, William’s relatives from Ireland, the Sullivans, were making plans to sail to America. Their stories of opportunity and a new life seemed agreeable to the young couple and they made plans to join the party.
William, Elizabeth and their baby, Thomas, arrived in Boston joining the Irish who had already arrived, found jobs and made a home in their newly adopted country. Along with many other immigrants, they moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts. Immigrants flooded into the United States in the mid to late 19th century, and the population of Lawrence abounded with skilled and unskilled workers from almost every nation in Europe: Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Poland, and Lithuania; French-Canadians from the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island; and farm girls from all over New England. Lawrence became known as Immigrant City very early in its existence.
William found work readily as a gardener and also as a blacksmith and carpenter. The family was very happy with this new way of life and a second son, John, was born September 12, 1847. Cousin Michael Sullivan and his wife, Catherine, also had a son 11 years later born in Boston on October 15, 1858. This new member of the family, John L. Sullivan, became the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He had a remarkable record of 47 wins, one loss, and three draws which brought John L. international fame and close to $1,000,000 in prize money. Considered the first American sports idol, John L. Sullivan was known during his time as "the man most men wanted to be."
Next segment…The Nation and William catch “gold fever”…