Edmund Shine was born in Direen, Athea, County Limerick in 1821 to John Shine and Margaret Kelly. The Shine farm, 45 acres in Direen, was very near the Limerick-Kerry county border. In the throes of the 1845-1849 Irish famine, Edmund, farming with his father, married Prudence Eggleston. The famine in County Limerick was less severe than in other areas of Ireland, and the Shine’s continued to farm and, in fact, live on the farm today. However, not being the oldest son, it was unlikely Edmund would inherit the farm and he chose to travel with Prudence and their first-born, Margaret, to the United States. In 1848 they boarded the Chaos in Liverpool with 290 other passengers. The poorly built ships transporting the famine refugees in the 1840s were called “coffin ships” in which one out of five passengers would perish, largely due to overcrowding, a lack of sanitation and inadequate food and water. Edmund and family were among the more fortunate and they arrived in New York on 14 December 1848.
Edmund was one of eight children, but he was the only sibling to immigrate to the United States. He and Prudence went first to Pennsylvania, then to Erie, New York, before settling in Missouri in 1860. It is likely that the a priest's letters that appeared in the New York Freeman’s Journal reached Edmund and lured him to Missouri. He was working as a laborer in New York, but was a farmer by profession as was recorded on the passenger ship manifest in 1848. The thought of farming in Missouri and having acreage of his own must have been enormous draw for the family, which now counted six children.
In 1860 Edmund and family settled in Carroll County, about 70 miles east of Kansas City, where Edmund worked as a laborer. In 1868, he was one of the founding members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Carrollton. As Fr. Donnelly had promised in his missives to the New York Freeman’s Journal, the opportunities for farming were plentiful. Edmund acquired an 80-acre farm in Carroll County, where he raised his family, now grown to ten children. Seventy miles west of Carrollton, the City of Kansas was just beginning to come into its own.
In 1879 Edmund Shine was still farming in Carroll County, Missouri, but his children were moving away to the city. The first two to leave the farm, Francis and Ellen, moved to Kansas City. Francis and his wife, Molly, settled in and started their family. Within a year of their arrival, word had likely reached the relatives in Direen and the migration was underway. Over the next ten years, at least 12 of Edmunds’ relatives arrived in Kansas City from Ireland, at least one with her own family of seven children in tow. The typical pattern of migration of the Irish to the United States can be seen in the Direen migration. One person arrives and then saves money to send back to Ireland for the next relative to secure ship passage.