How did a poor, illiterate Irish Catholic immigrant become a boxing champion, millionaire gambler, and two-time elected member of both the US Congress and New York State Senate despite discrimination and poverty in mid-19th Century America??
The accomplishments of John Morrissey (1831-1878) are well-documented. What’s missing is how? Certainly, luck, timing, resolve, and intelligence were important, but something more powerful helped him rise to success in sports, business, and politics during a time of anti-Irish Catholic sentiment.. That something was the unlikely marriage to a young woman from a respected Protestant family, a recent graduate of Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary, and a person with driving ambitions as powerful as her husband’s.