Against the Grain: The History of Buffalo's First Ward

Against the Grain: The History of Buffalo's First Ward

by Tim Bohen
Against the Grain: The History of Buffalo's First Ward

Against the Grain: The History of Buffalo's First Ward

by Tim Bohen


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Against the Grain tells the story of a group of mostly Irish immigrants who toiled in the hulls of grain ships and in other waterfront industries in an area called the First Ward of Buffalo, New York. The First Ward was a geographically isolated area of Buffalo primarily inhabited by settlers from the south and west of Ireland, but was also home to enough Germans, Poles, and Italians to make life even more interesting. This economically deprived area produced an abundance of historically important people including Fingy Conners, the largest private employer on the Great Lakes; Michael Shea, Buffalo’s greatest entertainment showman; “Wild Bill” Donovan, the founding father of what became the CIA; John Sheehan, one-time Tammany Hall boss; Jimmy Slattery, the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World; and Jimmy Griffin, the longest serving mayor in Buffalo history. The stories of other lesser-known but equally important Ward residents such as Mike Quinn, Jack White, Algie McGuire, Roggie Lavin, Father Thomas Conway, the McCarthy brothers, and even Rick James are also told. Readers will also learn about historical events that Ward residents were thrust into such as the Tidal Wave of 1844, the Fenian Raid, violent railroad strikes, the Great Strike of 1899, the Tewksbury Disaster, and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway—the ultimate cause of the demise of Buffalo’s waterfront economy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780615620527
Publisher: Western New York Wares
Publication date: 10/30/2012
Pages: 279
Sales rank: 369,850
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Timothy Bohen is a business professional and amateur historian who lives in the city of Buffalo with his wife Kimberly Blessing. Various members of his paternal family (the Bohens, Driscolls, Roches, Brinkworths, and Coughlins) lived in the First Ward of Buffalo from 1849 to 1949.
Bohen was born in Buffalo, and raised in Rockville, MD and East Aurora, NY. He graduated from East Aurora High School and then SUNY Geneseo. He later obtained an MBA from Canisius College.
Tim can be contacted via email at
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