Irish Catholics vs. German Catholics

To understand a lot of 19th century Northern Kentucky history, it helps to have an understanding that there were two types of Catholics.

Just as the Methodists had a “North” Church and a “South” church, depending on whether the congregation sanctioned slavery, the Catholics had German and Irish Congregations.

Note there are two giant Catholic Churches in Covington - the German one (Mother of God) and the Irish one (St. Mary's).  There are two Catholic cemeteries in Fort Mitchell, and literally every Catholic Church of the period could be defined as being either Irish or German.

The first Irish immigration to America was during the pre-Revolutionary War era, and those immigrants had assimilated into American society by the time the great second wave of Irish immigration hit, c. 1840.  This second wave consisted predominantly of peasants desperate to escape famine.  If you hear the term “Scotch Irish” it's a term that frequently is used - incorrectly - to signify the first Irish immigration, and it's a term to differentiate the higher status, better off earlier immigrants, from the cruder, peasant classes of the second wave.  The first wave didn't want to be Irish after that new class of immigrants, “those people,” arrived.

Same thing with Catholics.  The generalizations: The German church was higher-status, financially more secure, and in general a “better” class of people.  The Irish Catholic were poorer, and more likely to be common laborers.  The German Catholics thought of the Irish Catholics as crude unwashed, unsophisticated bumpkins, and the Irish Catholic thought of the German Catholics as snooty upper class snobs. 

While those are simplistic generalizations, there is, nonetheless, absolutely no doubt at Northern Kentucky Views that there was more than a scintilla of credibility in both those positions.