Serenity of Malvern Belies the Tragedy That Occurred There Nearly Two Centuries Ago

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Image of the 2008 excavation of the mass grave at Duffy's Cut via William and Frank Watson.

In 1832, 57 Irish immigrants who had arrived in Philadelphia just weeks earlier were brutally murdered while working on the railroad at Duffy’s Cut in Malvern, writes Virginia Lindak for Hidden City.

Their murder went ignored and unreported.

Dr. William Watson, a professor of history at Immaculata University, helped uncover what had happened when he found a secret file on the incident in his late grandfather’s papers. Along with his twin brother, Rev. Dr. Frank Watson, he started to investigate the incident.

A contractor responsible for building Mile 59 of the train line between Paoli and Frazer, Phillip Duffy hired the immigrants directly on the dock after they were checked by a doctor to ensure they did not have cholera, which was raging across the world.

Once they reached Malvern, they set up an encampment in the valley. Tired and thirsty from hard work, the men drank from small streams nearby, likely causing several to contract cholera.

Using that as an excuse, a violent mob made up of individuals connected to the East Whiteland Horse Company massacred the group. Their bodies were tossed into a mass grave, and the event was covered up for almost two decades.

Read more about Duffy’s Cut at Hidden City here.

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