Forward and "Faug a Balac": An Irish Immigrant Family Dugout in Wisconsin


Much of the historical research on Irish immigrants, particularly women and children, focuses on those who moved to urban areas during the time of the Famine. Less has been written about Irish immigration prior to the famine, particularly to rural areas. The McHugh family immigrated to the United States in 1825, settling in Waupaca County, Wisconsin circa 1849. The McHugh site (47WP0294) was occupied by this family for over a century.

Following her husband’s death in 1856, Mary McHugh was left to run the household. This was further complicated by the involvement of her eldest sons in the United States Civil War. The earliest occupation of the site is somewhat obscured by the heavy material culture presence of later generations of McHughs. The absence of material culture from the earliest period, coupled with the archaeological signature of a dugout house structure, provide insight into the lives of pioneer immigrant families in the region, and into the struggles of a female-headed household with many young children. Mid-nineteenth century Irish immigrants to the frontier may have had more in common with contemporary rural lifeways in Ireland than with their brethren in the urban Irish diaspora.

Cite this Record

Forward and "Faug a Balac": An Irish Immigrant Family Dugout in Wisconsin. Jennifer Picard, Alexander Anthony, John Richards. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429955)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15563