Tavern Cutting Board

 If you were hungry enough to want a sandwich with your beer, it was on this chestnut cutting board that Leo Regan would build you one . He was my great uncle and he owned  a tavern in Rome, New York which served folks returning from the second world war. Our line of Regans came to the United States with Leo's great grandfather in the mid 1800's. The first few generations were farmers in the region around Rome, in central New York state. Although hard to imagine today, people coming to the US in the mid 19th century were not restricted by quotas or walls. As many as one hundred thousand Irish per year left their homes to come to the US. They sought better opportunities available here and to escape the famine that was ravaging the Irish Isles. The United States is now home to millions of the descendants of those Irish who came here generations ago. I have never felt any prejudice directed at me because of my heritage. But like many immigrants today, when the Irish were among the newest groups arriving here, they faced discrimination resulting from nativist and anti-catholic prejudice. It may be human nature to respond to newcomers with fear and resentment. Our nation's history makes obvious the fallacy of those fears. I want to keep in mind my own family's story of immigration as I look upon those who are in need of  a new home today! 

Place(s): Ireland, New York
Year: 1840

– Chris Regan

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more