Thomas Ryan (1790-1849) came to Burlington from County Tipperary, Ireland around 1816, worked a s a tailor for a few years, then moved to Fairfield, bought a farm, and prospered. Writing back to Ireland, he encouraged others to join him, and through his efforts a strong community composed of Denivers, O'Neills, Rooneys, and Collinses was established in Fairfield by 1830. This group was later augmented by families escaping the Irish famine of the 1840s, including the Branons, Howrigans, and Branigans, many who continue to farm in this area.
Thomas was also the first known Catholic to settle in the town.
Note: Thomas Ryan's descendant, also named Thomas Ryan married Ellen Kennedy, sister of Thomas B Kennedy (Click here for story of Thomas in the civil war). Thomas was wounded in battle the same year as this marriage in 1864.