Abigail Yarrison ‘24, Editor-in-Chief

Malvern may not look like much, but it is full of history. One of the most well-known historical sites in Malvern is Duffy’s Cut, located 7 minutes from Immaculata University. Duffy’s Cut is a stretch of railroad, now part of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Main Line with a tragic story of 57 Irish immigrants who died building the railroad we know today.

In June 1832 Philip Duffy, an Irish contractor, hired the 57 Irishmen right off the boat and set them up in a ramshackle town along the would-be-tracks. Within two and half weeks, all 57 men were dead. Cholera was the most likely scenario. During this time there had been an outbreak in Philadelphia, and with an undiscovered cause and certainly no cure, the chances of surviving were low. In 2004 a mass grave was discovered in Malvern where the bodies of the men were dumped. Unexpectedly, a few of the skulls recovered were found to have withstood blunt force trauma. 

Were they murdered? That is the belief of Dr. William Watson, professor at Immaculata, and his brother Rev. Dr. Frank Watson who together headed the excavation and research team. During the 19th century Irish immigrants were highly discriminated against and resented. It is possible that many of them were murdered by Nativist members of a nearby town. 

Source: NY Times

The tragedy of Duffy’s Cut is memorialized at Immaculata University’s Gabriele Library. On the first floor you can visit the Duffy’s Cut Museum featuring found at the site including clay pipe fragments, a metal cooking pot, iron forks, coffin nails, and even bullets. Enjoy a guided tour by scanning QR codes pasted on the display cases. The museum is open during library hours, which can be found here. Stop by to learn more about the tragic history of Duffy’s Cut.