Irish Immigrant Life In 1840’s Vermont

Welcome to this collection of material gathered while researching an incident in Vermont history involving Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Potato Famine and employed by the Vermont Central Railroad to lay five miles of track along the Winooski River.  Known locally as “The Bolton War” the workers refused to continue to work after not receiving the promised wages and after more than a dozen of their fellow countrymen had been killed and many more injured during the first few months of the 1846 construction season.

The story is recounted in a historical novel entitled “On Bolton Flats – An Irish Insurrection In Vermont’s North Woods” by J. Peter Konkle, published in 2014, and available in the Vermont Historical Society Museum Bookstore and on, Kindle, and Amazon Europe.

Set in New England’s North Woods, the forces of unbridled industry, human tragedy, and re-awakened passion converge in this story of the Irish immigrant experience in 1846. Based on a true story, and including characters taken from the pages of history, two hundred Irish families fleeing the Great Potato Famine journey from their inhospitable homeland to the frontier of the young and industrious United States of America. Instead of finding salvation, they become feed for the insatiable appetite of corporations pushing the tentacles of civilization into the frontier. Tension between those who take advantage of unrestrained commerce and those who answer to a higher power comes to a head when the forces of nature and the ambitions of mankind clash.