Baker & Elliot: Philadelphia, 1844. Cloth, appx. 2 ½ x 10 inches. Very Good. Item #List116
The Philadelphia Prayer Riots, or Nativist Riots, were a series of anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 stemming from anti-Irish sentiment and driven by rumors that the new wave of immigrants were attempting to remove the bible from public schools. As Philadelphia industrialized in the 1830s, many Scotch-Irish Catholics immigrated to the city, and the old feuds from Europe were rekindled. Scotch-Irish Protestants organized an Orange Society for that purpose in the 1830s.
In May of 1844 violence erupted surrounding the meetings of the American Republican Party. George Shiffler, an 18 year old leather worker and nativist, was the first nativist killed in the riots. He became a martyr for the nativist cause, with a large funeral and many poems, songs and mementos in his honor. Hundreds of people attended his funeral. The Nativist American Republican Party - not to be confused with the Republican Party - gained momentum following the riots, gaining seats on the Philadelphia City Council and eventually allying with the Whigs to win contests in Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. The riots also led to the creation of unified police and fire departments in the city of Philadelphia, with the perceived need for a unified force leading to the creation of city-wide departments in 1850.
Some ephemeral items from the Shiffler funeral and aftermath have survived, though we find no held examples of this ribbon. A very good example, bright and well preserved.