The Irish Travellers have forayed back into the news as they inevitably do.

This time members of the Gypsy group have been connected to murder and insurance fraud, as reported by Deanna Boyd and Melody McDonald in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

If you wish to delve further into the lives of local Irish Travellers, this fine story by Betty Brink and Dan McGraw from 2003 still stands as an interesting look at the group that likes to keep on the move while hustling for money, sometimes in legitimate fashion, sometimes not. In this case, a group of Travellers settled down in White Settlement and became involved in local politics, with interesting results.

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Here’s an excerpt, relating to the deaths of five boys in a highway accident who were later determined to be among those Travellers living in White Settlement:

That day, five young men died on Interstate 30 just west of Fort Worth when the brand-new extended-cab pickup they were driving flipped and became airborne, crossing the median and striking another pickup, roof-to-roof. The youths were killed instantly; the other driver survived. When police tried to identify the bodies, they found a confusing set of driver’s licenses from Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Georgia, giving the young men’s ages as 15 to 20. Police who tried to verify the names and ages with the families were rebuffed. In truth, the five were only boys, aged 12 to 14; they were Irish Travellers, all cousins who lived in White Settlement. For days, the media printed the wrong names and ages of the boys. The police had no luck in determining the true identities of the children until the funeral, when an undercover civilian with the Fort Worth Police Department attended the funeral and found the real names and ages from a funeral program. The handling of the incident baffled the Fort Worth Police Department. “It was the strangest reaction to a fatal accident,” said Fort Worth Detective R.L. Wangler. “They were prepared to have those aliases in our investigation. After we found out what the true identifications might be, the county medical examiner took the unprecedented step of opening the casket to fingerprint these five kids, for the record, between the funeral and the burial. … They would rather have us open up the caskets than cooperate with the investigation.”


  1. It’s especially hard when journalists insist on identifying their ethnicity every time there is a story about a Traveller, when discussing the ethnicity or race of the subject of a story is generally discouraged in journalism, has been pointed out by the Pew Center as serving no real value but to reenforce stereotypes. However, this practice consistently paints a large, diverse, and frequently disconnected ethnic group as a criminal enterprise. despite there being absolutely no evidence that Travellers commit crimes at any greater rate than anybody else.

    Thank goodness this story didn’t fall into that trap.

      • I am an American-Irish Traveller and live in our largest encampment in the United States, Murphy Village, South Carolina. After reading these commentaries, I recalled a time not too long ago when it was acceptable to call an African-American a N****r. It is fair to say that as an American-Irish Traveller, I have lived with racism all my life. I have suffered abuse by people who deal with their frustrations by superimposing them onto an innocent ethnic minority. The question never asked: If American-Irish Travellers committed crimes everywhere they went, why are they permitted to return to the same cities and towns year-after-year, and work for the same people? How can anyone who knows nothing about our customs, history, and traditions judge our people and way-of-life as inferior?
        My book, entitled; “Irish Travellers: An Undocumented Journey Through History,” available on reveals much of our history and confronts racism with truth.
        American-Irish Traveller website:

        Mike J. Carroll, Irish Traveller

    • “…despite there being absolutely no evidence that Travellers commit crimes at any greater rate than anybody else.”


  2. Irish travellers are not that bad sure some kids are disrespectful but some are better than any other well behaved kid the people are always nice and respectful. people wright terribly about them i took my two sons to flight deck indoor trampoline park last saturday and there were a group of traveller kids and a group of kids ages 12-15 screaming murderers gypsies and scammers. a traveller kid sat next to me i talked to him he said they call us gypsies but were not. being called gypsy is like calling an african american person n****r the disrespect they show these people is ubsceen!!!

  3. I have a business near the RV park they settled down. 90% of them are not respectful to the other customers or even my workers. They are aloud, disordered, dishonest to the cashier. Make lots of extra work to the workers without any tips. Now I just ignore their orders, tell them we don’t have any opening for them. WE DON’T WANT ANY BUSINESS FROM THEM.

  4. Travelers are no different to all of us yes we make mistakes but for god sake get on with your own lives.and leave them family were travellers what u going to be horrible to me I have my life and a full time job like most people.u see a traveler u Diss them u see a coloured person u run u see a white person u talk to them.don’t talk about people full stop everyone is special in there own way

    • No, travelers are extremely rude unnecessarily, it’s heir culture to lie and scam, making the lives of workers at local businesses hell.

  5. My husband and I were driving back east on I30 to our home in Ft Worth,Tx that day and got rerouted in front of that horrific scene. I could only pray as it was obvious to my husband and I it was a fatal accident. I only learned later it was children and it broke our hearts, love and prayers to all those involved. Gina Mcmillan