It was 1845. The Irish were starving. When their crops turned black and died, Johnny and Mary McGee with their son Little John fled the Irish Potato Famine for Boston. A recruiter found them a room and Johnny a job building a railroad. It was exhausting work, away from home, and dangerous. Mary worked at a wool mill and paid a neighbor woman to care for Little John. Their work was hard and paid little, but they had enough to eat – life was better here than in Ireland. Johnny was good at working with the other men, so he was promoted to supervisor. Then his best friend was blown up. Johnny returned to Boston, got a job as a policeman, and worked as a volunteer fireman and political ward heeler. He loved helping other people. He and Mary had seven more children. Then, as the Civil War began, Johnny volunteered. Mary worked and waited alone.