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Uncovering Murder on the Main Line and the Victims of Duffy’s Cut

Uncovering Murder on the Main Line and the Victims of Duffy’s Cut


A memorial was placed in West Laurel Hill Cemetery honoring the Irish immigrant railroad workers that were secretly murdered at Duffy’s Cut in Malvern. | Photo: Michael Bixler

For more than 100 years, train passengers heading west from Philadelphia on SEPTA’s R5 line would never suspect they were speeding past a long-forgotten mass grave of murdered Irish railway workers in the stretch between Malvern and Frazer. Echoing an ugly chapter of the nation’s history, the Duffy’s Cut debacle reflects the gross mistreatment of immigrants and the distorted myth of America as the promised land. Indeed, sometimes the truth comes to the surface with help from beyond the grave.

In June of 1832, after a nearly three-month sail from Ireland aboard the ship John Stamp, 57 men and two women arrived in Philadelphia with hopes of finding work and beginning a new life in the United States. Just six weeks later they were savagely killed along the very stretch of the Main Line track they were hired to build. Their families back in Ireland would never learn their tragic fate or hear from them again.

A memorial was placed in West Laurel Hill Cemetery honoring the Irish immigrant railroad workers that were secretly murdered at Duffy’s Cut in Malvern. | Photo: Michael Bixler

For more than 100 years, train passengers heading west from Philadelphia on SEPTA’s R5 line would never suspect they were speeding past a long-forgotten mass grave of murdered Irish railway workers in the stretch between Malvern and Frazer. Echoing an ugly chapter of the nation’s history, the Duffy’s Cut debacle reflects the gross mistreatment of immigrants and the distorted myth of America as the promised land. Indeed, sometimes the truth comes to the surface with help from beyond the grave.

In June of 1832, after a nearly three-month sail from Ireland aboard the ship John Stamp, 57 men and two women arrived in Philadelphia with hopes of finding work and beginning a new life in the United States. Just six weeks later they were savagely killed along the very stretch of the Main Line track they were hired to build. Their families back in Ireland would never learn their tragic fate or hear from them again.

Read more here: https://hiddencityphila.org/2020/10/uncovering-mur…