Flatboats on the Ohio River brought many of the first Irish, some with land grants received after the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, to the Cincinnati area. In 1789, Francis Kennedy arrived in Losantiville, where he operated the first ferry service across the Ohio to the mouth of the Licking River. In 1791, Irishman Joseph Lloyd managed the first one-room schoolhouse on the riverbank west of Sycamore Street. A soapmaker whose family had immigrated from Ireland, James Gamble, and a candlemaker from England, William Procter, joined together to form the Procter & Gamble Co. in 1837. Thousands of Irish came to Cincinnati during the 1840s and 1850s as a result of Ireland's "Great Hunger," when millions of people either died or emigrated to avoid starvation. During the Civil War, hospital ships staffed by Irish nuns traveled the Ohio River caring for and transporting wounded soldiers to Cincinnati.
In memory of the Irish people who left a country where only their rivers run free. The Irish came to Cincinnati where they contributed to housing, education, employment, religious freedom, medical care and recreation, and embraced all aspects of life in the city. The descendants of Irish immigrants hope that our hands will ever be extended in friendship and never in want.