Nearly 10 million emigrants left Ireland over a two hundred year period that began around 1700 and carried into the 1900s. This massive movement of Irish-born people is sometimes called the Irish Diaspora. By 1890, at least 40% of all Irish-born people lived overseas. The reasons for such a mass exodus are complex and not restricted to the Great Famine alone, as is often believed. Economics, politics, civil war, and discrimination all played a role. While most emigrants headed for Liverpool, eastern Canada, New England, New York, or Chicago, Park City was also a destination for many. By 1910, Irish-born men, women, and children accounted for 5-6% of Summit County’s total population, the majority living in Park City itself. The Savage siblings from County Down were some of them.
Two brothers Andrew and Henry Savage arrived in New York first, sailing in on the SS Etruria in 1903. John Savage arrived in 1904, followed his brothers to Utah, and got a job at the Daly West mine. Andrew returned to Ireland and collected another brother, James, both arriving in the States in 1905. Maggie Savage also joined her brothers, though she moved to Butte, Montana not long after. By 1910, all four brothers had settled in Park City. Andrew, James, and John all had families. Henry lived with John’s family on Rossi Hill.
Henry was no stranger to trouble and occasionally found himself head-to-head with Park City police. One incident, which the Park Record referred to as a “miniature riot,” occurred late one night in May 1907. Henry had been jailed after a “struggle” with police. “Several of the prisoner’s friends,” the newspaper said, thought his arrest “unfair” and caused a “something doing” on Main Street. With the altercation in the street serving as a diversion, someone forced Henry’s cell door open and he escaped. When he turned himself in the following morning, he claimed the door had been “left open” and he had “simply walked out.”
The Savage brothers were active in the community in more ways than visits to the jail. They were members of the Miner’s Union and other societies in the city. John Savage was very involved in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish fraternal society organized to protect Irish immigrants from religious and social discrimination. He also kept in contact with his friends and family back in Ireland. In 1912, he even helped a friend, Francis Rae, emigrate from County Down.
But in the end, life was not kind to the Savage brothers. John Savage was horribly injured in a mining accident at the Daly West in 1913. He lost his sight and never fully recovered, dying two years later of depression and heart trouble. Andrew and his family moved to Butte shortly after John’s death and just eighteen months later, Andrew’s wife died unexpectedly. In 1917, James succumbed to “lung trouble,” from which he’d been ailing for some time. Henry Savage died of miner’s consumption in 1924.