THE body of a Donegal teenager killed in the US more than 180 years ago is to be finally laid to rest today in his native parish. John Ruddy (18) was one of 57 workers killed or possibly murdered while working on a railway in Philadelphia in 1832.
In a poignant homecoming, the teenager’s remains – which have been positively identified through DNA testing – will be buried in his native Ardara today. With workers from Donegal, Derry and Tyrone, Ruddy sailed from Derry for a new life in the US in May 1832. Just three months later, he was dead and had been laid in an unmarked grave at Duffy’s Cut, just outside the city of Philadelphia. In the 1990’s, two brothers, Professor William Watson and Lutheran clergyman, Rev Dr Frank Watson started to research the deaths of the 57 workers. Seven remains were eventually exhumed, all of which showed signs of a violent death. It is believed the workers either died in a cholera outbreak or were murdered to prevent them leaving Duffy’s Cut. Of the seven remains exhumed, the body of Mr Ruddy was the only one positively identified. The six other bodies, including a women, were re-interred following a funeral service in the US. The teenager will be buried in a grave at the Church of the Holy Family in Ardara. The grave was purchased by Donegal native Vincent Gallagher. Mr Gallagher, who lives in the US, said the teenager and his co-workers were treated like ” garbage “. The re-interment funeral service will take place at 2pm. Prof Watson and Rev Watson are expected to travel from the US for the service.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : SEAMUS McKINNEY,IRISH NEWS.
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