The United States was teetering on the brink of civil war as Mary Walker of Tamaqua (PA) made plans for her union with Ebervale (PA) coal miner Martin Corrigan. President Abraham Lincoln spent the Easter season contemplating the resupply of Fort Sumter. Mary and Martin completed the final details for their marriage.
On Easter morning, 31 March 1861, Mary traipsed up the mountain from Tamaqua to the region’s main Irish Catholic church in Beaver Meadows. In all likelihood Mary was accompanied by her mother, Ellen, and sisters, Anne and Ellen, each taking a turn carrying the dress in which the Irish immigrant was to exchange vows. Meanwhile, Martin, himself a recent Irish immigrant, hurried to put the finishing touches on his wedding attire, borrowing a vest and dress overcoat to spruce up his outfit.
Colton’s Map Of Pennsylvania, 1859
Though St. Gabriel’s Church existed in Hazleton and was most likely the Corrigans’ home church, Martin and his entourage traveled to the diocese’s main church, St. Mary’s, to rendezvous with the Walkers. Within the celebration of the high holy day of Easter, Martin and Mary were united in marriage by the Reverend Father Scanlon. Afterward the young couple posed for a photograph, to capture in perpetuity the beginning of the Corrigan-Walker partnership.
Martin and Mary Walker Corrigan on their wedding day, Easter Sunday, March 31, 1861 St. Mary’s Church, Beaver Meadows, PA
Family Genealogical Record, Ida May Corrigan, 26 Dec 1903. Hand written original. Corrigan Collection with author.
Map 1859 COLTON’S PENNSYLVANIA. Published by Johnson & Browning, 172 William St. New York: accessed online at http://www.mapsofpa.com/antiquemaps35.htm.
Photographic copy of original carte de visite, inscribed on back by Mary Corrigan Delehanty. Corrigan Collection with author.
Miscellaneous sources such as census data and obituaries of Martin Corrigan and Mary Walker. Author’s notes available upon request.