After the Civil War, Philip Cummins, a coal miner from Loon, Clogh, Co. Kilkenny, took his wife Mary Smith (Rakenny, Co. Cavan) and family from the troubling times of the Molly Maguires and Schuykill County, Pennsylvania, and settled in western Massachusetts to work at the Richmond Furnace factory and try his hand at farming. The photo is of the family of Philip’s oldest son, Michael James, my namesake.
Michael married Mary Keough from Kilvehah, Callan, Co. Kilkenny (center right). He was killed in 1906 working for the Boston and Albany railway.
This photo was take by Michael and Mary’s oldest son, Philip, at a 4th of July picnic in the 1930s at their home on Old Bridge Street in Mittneage in West Springfield.
The Cummings family were neighbors of the Durochers whose son Leo became the fabled coach of the baseball New York Giants. Jack Cummings, with an ever-present cigar in his mouth (see photo) worked on the Chrysler Building in New York City and married Mary Burke, a nurse who was from Churchview, Tuam, Co. Galway (on the far left in the first row). Leo always made sure that tickets were left for Jack when the Giants played at the Polo Grounds. A descendant of that family, Mrs. Eleanor Cummings, whose mother was from Menard, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry, until recently lived in West Springfield and celebrated her 100th birthday in 2019.
It should be noted that Philip’s name was listed as Cummins on the passenger list when immigrating and when children were baptized in Minersville, PA, but it became Cummings when entered on a Census and citizenship record. It would remind you of the Brian Friel play Translations about how the English civil service recorders were determined to anglicize things.
Story submitted by Irish America reader Michael Cummings.