We Are Riverside: Joe Laird

Patrick Healy, my great grandfather, traveled to Ellis Island, New York on the S.S. Mavenford with aspirations to start a new life in 1909. He immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland at age 22, and quickly became a U.S. citizen once arriving. He landed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the home of many of his descendants, including most of my family today. After settling down, he went through several jobs in Pittsburgh, but for most of his time there he was a cobbler.

A few year after settling down, Healy joined the U.S. Army in World War I. This was an extremely difficult task for him, because he was leaving a wife and daughter at home in Pittsburgh.

He left my great grandmother, Annie Fahey, who came over separately from Healy, along with many of her sisters when in her twenties. She was one of 22 children in Ireland, and her father was planning to give the family farm to her brothers. This inclined Fahey and her sisters to move to America and start a life of their own. My great grandmother ended up running into Patrick Healy in Pittsburgh, and they eventually married.

Although my great grandfather went to the Army, they were able to have a child, Anne Healy, who is my grandmother. Her childhood was spent without her father for awhile, considering his involvement in the war. Along with this, my grandmother and her mother faced a large scare in their lifetime, when my great grandfather was injured by mustard gas in the war. This, however, persuaded him to move back home and live with his family.

Both he and my great grandmother lived into their early eighties, though, and lived long healthy lives in America, specifically Pittsburgh. Without them immigrating from Ireland in the early 1900s, my family would not have settled in Pittsburgh, and I certainly would not be here today.