Another significant stopover for the travelling Irishman was the City of Chicago. He arrived there on June 1st 1872. Chicago at that particular time would have been a hive of activity. It was just eight months previous that great fire forced thousands to flee the City with the flames at their heels. Over 3400 people perished and damage at the time was estimated at over $200 million. The fire that started in a barn owned by one "Mrs Patrick O'Leary" left over 90.000 people homeless. Denis's entry on this occasion was brief. "Arrived at 8 and a half am Sat June 1st at the great City of Chicago…had a cup of coffee and an hour and a half wait. I saw the great havoc and destruction of grand buildings left after the great fire. They are getting up the buildings".
Dr Meanys destination was San Francisco. His journey would take him through the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illnois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada And California.
Having reached his destination, he was to spend three fruitless weeks searching for work. There was no doubt but it was a difficult period for him. One would imagine that at that particular time, work for a Doctor would have been quite plentiful. His credentials were excellent, and he carried a most praiseworthy reference from the Directors of a Workhouse in Kent England where he had laboured diligently as assistant Surgeon for a number of years.
Author: Eddie Cantwell