Irish played significant role in community's history

While there may not be a large number of area residents left with Irish surnames, the contribution that the Irish made to the community's early history should not be overlooked. "There are lots and lots of people in St. Marys who are part Irish," said local historian Ray Beimel. Beimel explained that the Irish who ultimately settled in St. Marys left their homeland due to the potato famine. "The potato famine was the major force in driving people from Ireland," Beimel said. "We tend to forget about it these days, but when the British took over Ireland, they treated the people very, very badly."