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Against the Grain - The History of Buffalo’s First Ward - Timothy Bohen

Against the Grain - The History of Buffalo’s First Ward - Timothy Bohen Against the Grain - The History of Buffalo’s First Ward - Timothy Bohen
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About the Book

Against the Grain tells the story of a group of mostly Irish immigrants who toiled in the hulls of grain ships and in other waterfront industries in an area called the First Ward of Buffalo, New York. The First Ward was a geographically isolated area of Buffalo primarily inhabited by settlers from the south and west of Ireland, but was also home to enough Germans, Poles, and Italians to make life even more interesting. This economically deprived area produced an abundance of historically important people including Fingy Conners, the largest private employer on the Great Lakes; Michael Shea, Buffalo’s greatest entertainment showman; “Wild Bill” Donovan, the founding father of what became the CIA; John Sheehan, one-time Tammany Hall boss; Jimmy Slattery, the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World; and Jimmy Griffin, the longest serving mayor in Buffalo history. The stories of other lesser-known but equally important Ward residents such as Mike Quinn, Jack White, Algie McGuire, Roggie Lavin, Father Thomas Conway, the McCarthy brothers, and even Rick James are also told. Readers will also learn about historical events that Ward residents were thrust into such as the Tidal Wave of 1844, the Fenian Raid, violent railroad strikes, the Great Strike of 1899, the Tewksbury Disaster, and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway—the ultimate cause of the demise of Buffalo’s waterfront economy.

This book was completely produced in Western New York. Local vendors and services include:

Editor: Phil Nyhuis
Graphic designer for book: Kristopher Miller
Website designer ( Kristopher Miller
Printer: Petit Printing
Distribution: Western New York Wares, Inc.
Publicist: Anne McKenna
Content: Waterfront Memories and More Museum and the Irish Center Library
Photo rights: Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Lower Lakes Museum, Waterfront Memories and More, Paul Pasquarello, and Gene Witkowski

Book available for purchase at:

eBook available for purchase at: