John Ruddy Goes Home to Donegal — The Remains of 18-year-old Immigrant Found at Duffy’s Cut to be Reburied in Ardara
CAPTION: Dr. William Watson and his twin brother, the Rev. Dr. Frank Watson, have led the investigation into the slaughtered Irish railway workers found at Duffy’s Cut.
By Dr. William Watson
The remains are the first-found set of remains from Duffy’s Cut in 2009, originally designated as SK001, AKA John Ruddy. Ruddy was an 18-year-old immigrant from Donegal who died during a raging cholera epidemic in 1832 near present-day Immaculata University’s campus, while working on the construction of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad.
The remains will be accompanied to Donegal by Bill Watson, Frank Watson, and Earl Schandelmeier, three original Duffy’s Cut researchers. Ruddy showed signs of perimortem blunt-force trauma to his head according to the forensic analysis, and likely died from that blow rather than cholera.
Ruddy will be reburied in Ardara on March 2, 2013, in a grave generously donated by Vincent Gallagher of the Commodore Barry Irish Center in Philadelphia. Vincent also put us in touch with the funeral director (Seamus Sholvin) and parish priest (Fr. Lafferty) who will assist us in the endeavor.
We have obtained necessary paperwork for the return from the Chester County Coroner, Dr. Stephen Dickter, and we will also be getting statements attesting to the age of the remains from Dr. Janet Monge, bone curator of the University of Pennsylvania Museum and from the funeral director at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, where five sets of Duffy’s Cut remains were buried in March, 2012.
A casket will be manufactured at West Laurel Hill to contain the body, of the same type used for the March, 2012 reburials of Ruddy’s colleagues.
Reburying one of the men back in Ireland was one of our primary goals when we began this endeavor ten years ago, although at the time, it seemed like a distant hope. The struggle to obtain the state historical marker, then to begin the archaeological dig and obtain the experts to assist us, and finally the
March, 2012 reburial could not have been accomplished without the assistance of a good many kind-hearted individuals in the Philadelphia Irish community.
We are grateful to all in the Philadelphia Irish community who have helped us also to reach this milestone.
Dr. William Watson, Immaculata University