Sunday, October 18, 2015

Keeper of Coin

Keeper of Coin by Mary Kay Tuberly is a charming book that my daughter-in-law's aunt wrote based on the letters that the family have kept that were sent to the United States from Ireland beginning in 1859.  It is the first of, I believe, three books based on the letters.

The main character is Anne Carty, who was the first of her family to come to the US from Ireland.  The plan was that she would go live with her uncle in Oregon. Anne promised her father that she would save and send money for the rest of the family to come to America.  Anne made it to St. Louis, and then didn't have the money to go on to Oregon, so she settled in St. Louis to work until she could go on.  She lived with the Dempsey family (from back home) and worked in their bakery.

After awhile, James Duff arrived in St. Louis from back home in Ireland and he and Anne began courting.  She did not hear from her uncle in Oregon after the first year and eventually decided to remain in St. Louis.  Meanwhile, Ann was saving her money and sending some to her parents when their letters would talk of their financial difficulties and ask for help.  More than once, when Anne had saved enough to send money for passage for one of her siblings to join her in St. Louis, she sent it to her father and he ended up spending it on the family.

The Civil War arrived to Missouri and James left to serve. Anne had hard times wondering if he would return or if she would ever be able to get her family to the United States.

The actual family letters are included within the story and are fascinating to read.  I would guess that the story is quite accurate in how the Irish in St. Louis interacted with each other as they arrived.  We spend a lot of time in St. Louis, so I found reading about that was really interesting. I look forward to reading more!


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