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Immaculata University Professor Writes New Book on Duffy’s Cut

Massacre at Duffy's Cut


Duffy's Cut Book CoverImmaculata University’s William Watson, Ph.D., professor of History, has co-authored a new book with his brother J. Francis Watson on Duffy’s Cut. The book, Massacre at Duffy’s Cut: Tragedy and Conspiracy on the Pennsylvania Railroad, is scheduled for release on October 22.  This is their second book on the topic, with their first being The Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut: The Irish Who Died Building America’s Most Dangerous Stretch of Railroad, which was published in 2006

“As the Duffy’s Cut narrative is increasingly being told by other writers, as well as in art and music, we felt we needed to write a new account of Duffy’s Cut based on the archaeological and archival work that came after our earlier book,” states William Watson.

Duffy’s Cut chronicles the journey of fifty-seven Irish immigrant laborers who arrived in Philadelphia in June 1832 to work on the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad. Contractor Philip Duffy hired them to work a stretch of track in rural Chester County known as Duffy’s Cut, but they all perished within six weeks. For more than 180 years, the railroad maintained that cholera was to blame and kept the historical records under lock and key. In a recent excavation of their mass grave, a group of academics and volunteers, known as the Duffy’s Cut dig crew, found evidence some of the laborers were murdered.

The new book includes details about the workers and where they came from in addition to historical personalities involved such as Philip Duffy, for whom the site is named. The Watsons explain how the human remains were located at the site by means of geological imaging and what the anthropological and forensic evidence shows from the research of Janet Monge, Samantha Cox, and Matt Patterson. The book would be of interest to readers who have an interest in railroad history, Irish and Irish-American history, Pennsylvania history, immigration history, true crime, and American industrial archaeology.

The book, published by The History Press, is named by Amazon as its #1 new release in the history of railroads category. The artwork on the book’s cover was created by local artist/painter Fred Danziger, whose art is also showcased in the Duffy’s Cut Museum. For more information on Duffy’s Cut, visit http://duffyscut.immaculata.edu/index.htm

Immaculata University is a Catholic, coeducational institution of higher learning. Established by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), Immaculata has been providing a quality education to students since 1920. The University offers academic programs at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. Additionally, Immaculata offers 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports to student-athletes.

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