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The Children’s Christmas in Midleton Workhouse

Through the second half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century Christmas brought with it an expectation of charitable aid to the poor around the town, manifested through initiatives like the Christmas Coal Fund, which aimed to help those less fortunate in meeting the added burden of heating their homes during Winter. The unfortunate inmates of Midleton Workhouse (now Midleton Hospital) were another group who benefited from Yuletide initiatives, offering an all too brief respite from the desperate conditions in which they found themselves. During the late 19th century, one of the biggest Christmas events in the town was the annual event held for the Workhouse children, when presents and entertainments (such as music, magic lantern shows and even hypnotists) were laid on by the town’s more fortunate inhabitants.

Midleton Workhouse, now Midleton Hospital (workhouses.org)

Midleton Workhouse, now Midleton Hospital (workhouses.org)

One of the earliest references to Christmas in Midleton Workhouse appears in the Leinster Express of 25th December 1852. At the conclusion of the Famine, the paper noted that the poor in Waterford Workhouse were being given 1lb of beef each for dinner on Christmas Day, while at Midleton “the paupers have been treated to reduced rations.” Later Christmases did bring some respite, as noted by the Cork Examiner on 20th December 1875. By that date the tradition of giving gifts to the Workhouse children each year had been established. On 23rd December 1875 some of the most notable people of the locality– including Mrs. T.S. Coppinger, Mrs. Ashlin, Mrs. S. Coppinger, Miss. Fitzgerald, Miss Power, Rev. D. Lynch and the Rev. PJ Horgan– arrived to distirbute the gifts. They were handed out in the girls’ school room, which was decorated for the occasion with laurels and “appropriate mottoes” including a “Caed-mille-failthe” display made from ivy leaves intertwined with shamrocks. One of the boys in the Workhouse read out an address, which thanked Mrs. Coppinger and the Board of Guardians for their interest in the children’s welfare. Father Lynch responded to express his:

“satisfaction…at the good order and regularity which they saw exhibited by the children; exhorted them to be always kind and forebearing to each other; obedient and respectful to their superiors, and by doing so, to merit a renewal of the favours shown to them by Mrs. Coppinger and the other kind ladies who had come forward so generously to contribute to their happiness at this holy season.”

children_at_crumpsall_workhouse_circa_1895

Children at Crumpsall Workhouse in England, c. 1895. The Midleton children likely presented a similar appearance (Manchester Archives)

In line with Victorian concepts of the deserving poor, Father Lynch also exhorted the children to:

“pay the greatest attention to their school studies and the other duties appertaining to their station in life, reminding them that they were in possession of advantages denied to a great many poor children in the world. By doing so they would make themselves respectable and useful members of society…”.

Following the speeches Mrs. Coppinger distributed the gifts, which included sweetmeats and toys, while the children also sang a number of songs. The newspaper noted that:

“The joy shown on the faces of the little ones as each new and wonderful toy was presented, created the greatest amusement to the visitors, who, when departing, declared themselves highly gratified with the day’s proceedings, which wound up with a three times three for the ladies.”

Victorian Christmas Tree

A Victorian-era Christmas Tree. The gifts for the Midleton Workhouse children were placed on the tree and a draw was held to see who received what. There were usually different gifts for girls and boys, and in addition sweets and exotic fruits were often also to be found on the tree (Harper’s Bazaar)

Christmas entertainments for the poor children remained a common theme at the Workhouse, and Mrs. T.S. Coppinger maintained a long association with it. More than a decade later, the 24th December 1887 edition of the Cork Examiner recorded that she had brought the children tea, sweets, sweetcakes, toys and books, and noted that she:

“has never forgotten to visit the Midleton Workhouse at this festive season of Christmas, and her efforts to afford the juvenile inmates of the Midleton Workhouse a happy Christmas will bring to herself many happy returns of the coming New Year.”

The tradition of giving to the children was still alive in the 1890s. On 11th January 1896 the Cork Examiner reported that the poor children of the Workhouse had been given their Christmas treat “through the generosity of the kind-hearted people of the town,” and a Christmas tree laden with “dainties and nick-nacks” was also provided for them. The children were allocated their gift from the tree via a draw (among the exotics that adorned it were fruits, such as oranges).

Christmas also saw the annual erection of a crib in the Workhouse Chapel. There was often additional charity for the older inmates of the Workhouse as well. In 1897 all the Workhouse residents were able to enjoy an evening of vocal and musical entertainment, together with a magic lantern show of continental scenes put on by P. Hallinan of Avoncore. The room in the Workhouse where the show was held was festively decorated, and during intervals songs and piano forte solos were given by local amateur musicians. A similar gift-giving exercise for the children in 1897 also included the distribution of tobacco and snuff to the aged and infirm inmates, though bad weather that year meant that the “kind ladies and gentlemen of the town, who annually patronise the workhouse entertainments were precluded from attending on this occasion” (Cork Examiner 9th January 1897, 11th January 1898).

lanternslideshow1897b

In 1897 P. Hallinan of Avoncore put on a magic lantern show at the Workhouse. This was an extremely popular form of entertainment in the late 19th century. This image shows a magic lantern show in the United States in 1897, where an image of St. Peter’s Basilica is being shown to the audience (T.H. McAllister Company)

The Christmas Fete at Midleton Workhouse continued into the 20th century. One wonders what became of many of these children who, at least for one day, found themselves a focus of attention. To give readers a flavour of how the event was reported, below is a full transcript of the article on the proceedings from the Cork Examiner of 9th January 1901:

FETE AT MIDLETON WORKHOUSE

The annual fete and entertainment for the enjoyment of the children at the Midleton Workhouse came off in the schoolroom of that institution on Sunday last, in the presence of a large number of the townspeople. The general attendance also included- the Very Rev Canon Hutch, PP, DD, VF, Midleton; Rev CS O’Connor, CC, do, and the Nuns of the Workhouse. The room was tastefully decorated with evergreens and suitable mottoes, and in the centre was a large Christmas Tree heavily laden with a fine selection of toys and other gifts for the children, kindly provided through the generosity of the townspeople. When the proceedings began at two o’clock the whole surroundings presented a very pleasing aspect, and one could not fail being struck by the bright and happy faces of the little ones as they filed into their allotted seats under the care of their teachers, Mr and Mrs O’Sullivan, their school-teachers. A beautiful supply of cake, tea, and fruit was distributed amongst them by the good nuns, and whilst engaged in the agreeable occupation of doing justice for the good things provided, the entertainment of vocal and instrumental music was proceeded with. The first item was a song with chorus, “The Holy City,” by Mr W Ronayne, who was heard with much pleasure, and being loudly encored he sang with much feeling and expressions, “The Tempest of the Heart.” Mr D O’Sullivan, a Cork baritone of great promise, sang tastefully, “Savourneen Deelish,” his rich deep voice and fine intonation being highly appreciated. Mr John Bastible acquitted himself well in the rendering of “Queen of the Earth,” and was followed, by Mr William Cashman, whose fine tenor voice was heard in the singing of “When other Lips,” for which he was deservedly encored. The selections from “Les Cloches de Cornville” played on the violin by Miss Fitzgerald, with piano accompaniment by Mr C Byrne, was admirably performed, the uniqueness of touch and execution displayed by this youthful performer being much appreciated. The principal feature of the entertainment was the hypnotic exhibition given by Mr P C Leahy, Midleton, which was simply marvellous, the audience being amazed at the many strange feats in the hypnotic trance. This concluded the entertainment, after which the different prizes on the Christmas Tree were drawn for and distributed by the nuns. The Rev Canon Hutch then addressed a few felicitous remarks to the children, congratulating them on the success of the entertainment, and on their behalf he thanked the Nuns, the Master (Mr Daly) Mr and Mrs O’Sullivan, and also the various gentlemen who contributed to the entertainment. Three hearty cheers were then given by the youthful audiences for all the visitors who had so kindly attended, and did so much brighten and relieve the monotony of their Workhouse lives, and lusty cheers were also given for the esteemed Pastor, the Nuns, and the Master, Mr Daly, to whom much credit is due.

Hypnotism Show

Hypnotism Shows were popular forms of entertainment at the turn of the 20th century. PC Leahy of Midleton put on such a show at Midleton Workhouse in 1901 (Extravagance of Hypnotism).

Further Reading

Workhouses.org: Midleton Workhouse

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Visualising the Journeys of Irish Women who Married U.S. Navymen in World War One

We recently published the images and short biographies of 99 Irish women who applied for U.S. passports, based on either their marriage to a U.S. serviceman or their own services in support of the American military-effort during the First World War (see here). The data we collected offers us many potential insights, and we intend to use it to explore a number of different themes. In this post we have taken some of the data specifically relating to local women who married U.S. Naval personnel, and used it to visually map where they were from, and where they intended to make their new lives.

We identified 73 Irish women in the Passport applications who married U.S. Naval personnel serving in Ireland and Great Britain during the First World War. It should be noted that the vast bulk of these women had never been outside of Ireland prior to their marriage, and their intention to travel to the United States represented the first prospect of foreign travel for most of them. Up to 8,000 U.S. sailors served in or around Ireland at one time or another during the Great War, and it is no surprise that many struck up local romances. These liaisons with local women were often not welcomed by the local population, and occasionally led to violent clashes, particularly in Cork and Queenstown (Cobh) where the majority of bluejackets were based. The research of Dr. John Borgonovo of U.C.C. has shed considerable light on the often intense level of ill-feeling this created, and it will be something we explore further in a later post. Before looking specifically at the visualisations, it is worth remembering that in almost every case the women who married these sailors were very young. The graph below demonstrates this. Of the 73 women, only three were over the age of 30. The vast majority (64, or 90.9%) were aged between 17 and 25.

Age of U.S. Passport Applicants (Damian Shiels)

Age of Irish women who had married U.S. Naval personnel at the time of their U.S. Passport Applicants (Damian Shiels)

In order to visualise the data we have turned to Palladio, a web-based platform developed by the Humanities & Design Research Lab at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, Stanford University. Palladio was developed for the visualisation of complex, multi-dimensional data. It is free to use– all that is required is having the information in tabular format to upload and the time to prepare it appropriately. For that purpose we decided to spatially explore two elements of the data– where the Irish women who married these U.S. Naval personnel were born, and where they intended to travel to in the United States.

The different locations where Irish women who married U.S. Naval personnel as a result of the First World War were born (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

The different locations where Irish women who married U.S. Naval personnel as a result of the First World War were born- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

The first map above presents each of the locations where Irish women who married U.S. Naval personnel were born. One of the most significant aspects of this is that women from every location where the Americans were based during the war are represented, including Queenstown (Cobh), Aghada, Passage West, Haulbowline, Bantry Bay, Wexford, Donegal and Dublin. The next map indicates the relative concentrations of women in these birthplaces, with 1 being the lowest and 18 the highest.

The relative concentrations of women who married U.S. Naval personnel by birthplace (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

The relative concentrations of women who married U.S. Naval personnel by birthplace- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

Unsurprisingly Dublin offers one of the main concentrations, but by far and away the most heavily represented area is Co. Cork, a result of the fact that the bulk of U.S. servicemen were based there during the war, particularly around Cork Harbour. Of the 73 women identified, 50 were from Co. Cork. That concentration warrants a closer look.

The relative concentrations

The relative concentrations of women who married U.S. Naval personnel by birthplace, focus on Co. Cork- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

A focus on Co. Cork shows that Cork City dominates with 18, followed by Queenstown (Cobh) with 13 and then Youghal with 4. The majority of the other Cork women came from the east of the county, with outliers in locations such as Bantry, likely associated with the U.S. Naval presence in Bantry Bay and on Whiddy Island.

Each of these Irish women took had decided not only to the marry an American, but also to leave all they had known behind for the United States. Though there is some evidence to suggest that not all of them would ultimately travel across the Atlantic, the majority of them undoubtedly did. We turn now to the other side of the Atlantic, to see where they hoped to end up.

USA location only

The locations in the United States where the Irish women intended to make their initial home following their departure- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

As is evident in the visualisation above, these Irish women were spread across the length and breadth of the United States, particularly in the east and mid-west. The map below illustrates their relative concentrations.

concentration

The locations of densest concentration for the Irish wives of U.S. Naval personnel departing for the United States- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

There is a notable concentration on the east coast, particularly in New York and in states such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, while some went initially to centres of the U.S. Navy where their husbands were based.

The final sets of visualisations are perhaps the most poignant. In them the data of the Irish women’s birthplaces and intended destinations are linked, showing how far from home they were travelling. They were journeying into the unknown, to meet up with husbands with whom they had at best spent only a few months, and often to locations where it is doubtful they knew a soul. There is also little doubt that for some, their decision to marry an American serviceman had met with the disapproval of, and potential estrangement from, their family in Ireland, another aspect we will return to in a later post.

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The intended destinations of the Irish women relative to their place of birth in Ireland- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

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The intended destinations of the Irish women relative to their place of birth in Ireland, with relative concentration illustrated- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

We will continue to analyse the data we retrieved relating to these Irish women in future posts. To view the data upon which these visualisations were based, you can view the original post here.

References

Palladio at Stanford

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The “47th Sheep Stealers” of Thomas Street, Midleton

During the era of the Famine detachments of British units were to be found throughout the country providing aid to the civil power. In 1847, a Company of the 47th (The Lancashire) Regiment were quartered at Thomas Street, the first reference we have come across to troops being stationed on the street at this time. Apparently the sight of a prize ram in a nearby field was too much for some of the soldier’s to resist– but their deeds were exposed thanks to the testimony of one of the town butchers. The irony that the troops were based in Midleton in order to protect property was not lost on the local correspondent who related the story:

MILITARY SHEEP STEALERS

In the course of the last week a gentleman residing in the vicinity of Midleton, near Killea, (Mr. Welland) engaged a prize ram for breeding purposes for £20 which, with two sheep, was left our at night to pasture in a field about a mile distant from Middleton. On missing them one morning, information was conveyed to the police, who made every effort to discover their whereabouts, but with no success. The secret, however, soon transpired. A knife, lost by the depredators, was found, and on its being shown by the police to a butcher resident in Middleton he instantly identified it as his property which on the previous evening he lent to a few of the soldiers of the 47th Regt., a company of which is at present stationed in Middleton, with a view to the protection of property, as well as the preservation of the peace of the country. The constabulary instantly proceeded to Thomas Street, Middleton, where the military are quartered, and on examination discovered portions of the carcasses of the slaughtered animals safely deposited in a coal hole. Suspicion strongly attaching to three of the gallant corps, they were arrested and taken before the sitting magistrates, who decided on receiving informations against them; and they now await their trial at the ensuing sessions in durance.

It is to be regretted that the conduct of a few scoundrels should have the effect of bringing into disrepute a gallant body of men, such as unquestionably is the 47th Regt., who, since the unhappy occurrence, are denominated by the people here– “the 47th sheep stealers.”– Middleton Correspondent. (1)

A Prize Ram (The Mark Lane Express, Wikimedia)

A Prize Ram (The Mark Lane Express, Wikimedia)

A postscript to the incident was reported in the Cork Examiner of 8th January:

THE MILITARY SHEEP-STEALERS

It is said that Capt. Armstrong, lately commanding the party of soldiers stationed at Midleton, has left the regiment in consequence of the disgrace incurred by the recent conviction of three privates of the party at the Fermoy Sessions. At the same time, the gallant detachment have got the route, “for the protection of life and property.” (2)

It would be interested to discover what became of both the soldiers and Captain Armstrong, and also to discover if the coal-hole used to conceal their misdeeds on Thomas Street still exists.

(1) Cork Examiner 1st January 1847; (2) Cork Examiner 8th January 1847;

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Visiting the “Old Country”: Photographs & Stories of Returning Midleton Emigrants, 1915-1924

We recently looked at Midleton emigrants who found themselves in New York Poorhouses in the 19th Century. Returning to the topic of emigration, we have taken a look at United States passport applications in the 1910s and 1920s by people who had been born in Midleton. In all bar two of the cases below, these were emigrants from the town or parish who were seeking to return to visit Cork. The majority of them were doing so to reunite with family. As per usual, there are some fascinating stories among them. Edmond Bowler was travelling to “visit the Old Country”, while Margaret Talbott was going to “see the old homestead.” Some, like Joseph Hickey, were going to see their parents. Joseph had apparently not been back to Ireland since his emigration, but he had been to France– serving with the American Expeditionary Force during World War One. Mary Ryan was going back to Whitegate with her newborn to show off the child to her father, while the entire Buckley family where making the journey to attend to “family business.”

The 'Celtic', a vessel that a number of the Midleton emigrants returned on (Imperial War Museum via Wikipedia)

The “Celtic”, a vessel that a number of the Midleton emigrants returned on (Imperial War Museum via Wikipedia)

Throughout these emigrants lives, connections to Midleton remained strong. Abbie Keefe had emigrated as a young child, and in almost 50 years never returned to Ireland. Yet she still kept contact with relatives here, and eventually returned in old age to visit them. Hannah Walsh spent 52 years in Boston without going home, but at the age of 75 she sold up her Boston house, returning to Midleton to live out her final days with her sister.

Two of the passport applications below are not like the others. They were made not by Midleton emigrants in the United States, but by two young women from the parish who had never been out of Ireland. Both had married U.S. sailors stationed in Queenstown during World War One, and they were now hoping to start new lives in America. In the case of one of the women– Bridget Mahony (Lynch)– the marriage came after her pregnancy, a situation that was likely difficult for her in 1919 Ireland.

In reviewing the below, readers should note that the applications of married couples often prioritised the man’s details; also married Midleton women retained their married name on the application, making it difficult to determine their maiden names. By far the most remarkable element of these passports is what they have left us, as in each one is a photographic image of the applicant. They have been included beneath each bio below.

The "Philadelphia", another of the ships on which Midleton emigrants returned (US Navy Research Center)

The “Philadelphia”, another of the ships on which Midleton emigrants returned (US Navy Research Center)

William J Ahern, Passport Issued 15th April 1916

William was born in Midleton on 4th November 1869, and had emigrated to America aboard the Pavonia on 11th May 1887. He had never been home to Ireland in the intervening 29 years. He became naturalized in New York in 1899, where he still lived, at 55 Horatio Street. He worked as a Marine Engineer. He intended to travel back to Midleton for one year to see his wife and children. His intention was to sail aboard the Philadelphia on 22nd April 1916.

William J Ahern (Ancestry)

William J Ahern (Ancestry)

Edmond Bowler, Passport Issued 8th May 1920, Passport Issued 3rd July 1922

In his application Edmond stated that he was born in Midleton on 8th September 1869, and had emigrated to the United States from Liverpool in June 1895. He spent the next 25 years living in New York without ever travelling home. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1918. His occupation was a Railroad Gateman, and he lived at 139 East 15th Street. He planned to visit Cork for three months, sailing aboard the Celtic on 15th May 1920. When asked to put down his reason for travelling home, he initially wrote “Visit the Old Country”, but scratched out “the Old Country” and replaced it with “relatives.” Edmond again applied for a passport in 1922, when his address was 143 East 18th Street. His intention was again to visit relatives, and he hoped to sail on the Baltic on 8th July 1922.

Edmond Bowler (Ancestry)

Edmond Bowler (Ancestry)

Daniel Buckley, Passport Issued 13th July 1920

Daniel stated that he wanted to travel to Ireland with his wife Mary and children Mary (12), Anna (11), William (9) and Helen (1). He was born in Midleton on in July 1876, and had emigrated to the United States from Queenstown in October 1898. He lived at 140 Rodney Street in Brooklyn, and had become a naturalized citizen in 1905. A Stable Foreman by trade, he had previously visited Ireland from May to August in 1914. The purpose of this visit was given as “family business.” Like Edmond Bowler, he intended to travel on the Celtic, sailing on 28th August 1920.

The Buckley Family (Ancestry)

The Buckley Family (Ancestry)

John Cronin, Passport Issued 10th February 1920

John was born in Clonmult on 21st June 1886. He noted that his father was called Edmond. John emigrated from Queenstown on 4th September 1911 and went to Spokane in Washington State. He was naturalized there in 1917. In 1920 he lived in Rosalia, Washington where he was a clergyman. He intended to travel to Europe for 6 months, to visit family in Ireland, be a tourist in England and be a tourist in France and Belgium. He planned to leave New York aboard the Philadelphia on 22nd May 1920.

Father John Cronin (Ancestry)

Father John Cronin (Ancestry)

Richard Cronin, Passport Issued 12th March 1920

Richard mentioned that he was born in Midleton on 13th June 1869. He sailed to the United States from Ireland in 1886, spending the next 24 years in America without visiting home. He had spent from 1890 to 1919 in the U.S. Navy, and was naturalized in 1899. He lived at 413 West 19th Street following his retirement from the service. He wanted to go back to Midleton to visit relatives and because his health was failing. He intended to sail on the 20th March 1920.

Richard Cronin (Ancestry)

Richard Cronin (Ancestry)

William Duhig, Passport Issued 19th December 1919

William was travelling home “to visit my mother who lives in Midleton.” His father Michael was now dead. He said he was born in the town on 14th February 1889, and had left for America from Queenstown on 24th May 1910. He spent the next 7 years in Boston, before spending more than a year at home. He now wanted to spend another 6 months with his mother, intending to travel on the S.S. Carmania on 21st January 1920. In Boston he worked as a Wool Grader, and lived at 7 Allen Street.

William Duhig (Ancestry)

William Duhig (Ancestry)

Thomas John Galvin, Passport Issued 15th March 1923

Thomas was born in Midleton on 22nd December 1868; he recorded that his father Garrett from Midleton was now dead. He had emigrated from Queenstown on 10th May 1887 and he had been naturalized in 1896. He had returned home before, spending almost a year in Cork between December 1898 and November 1899. He worked as a laborer and made his home at 520 45th Street in Brooklyn. He intended to sail aboard the President Adams on 9th April 1923 in the company of his Irish wife Kathleen, with the purpose of his trip being a “visit.”

Thomas Galvin (Ancestry)

Thomas Galvin (Ancestry)

Lillian Hart, Passport Issued 28th June 1920

Lillian was born in Midleton on 19th January 1885; her husband was an American, Burnham Hart from West Cornwall, Connecticut. They lived at 192 Bradhurst Avenue in New York. The purpose of the trip was for Lillian to see her parents. She intended to travel aboard the Baltic on 4th September 1920.

Lillian Hart (Ancestry)

Lillian Hart (Ancestry)

Joseph Hickey, Passport Issued 11th August 1921

Joseph noted that he had been born in Midleton on 1st February 1886, and he had emigrated out of Queenstown on 11th March 1905. He had never visited home in all the time since, and was naturalized in California in 1919. However, he had been abroad- Joseph had served in France during World War One with the American Expeditionary Force. He now lived at 26th Street and 4th Avenue in New York, where he worked as a painter. He was going back to Midleton to see his parents, and intended to stay 6 months. His intended sailing was aboard the Olympic on 13th August 1921.

Joseph Hickey (Ancestry)

Joseph Hickey (Ancestry)

Abbie Keefe, Passport Issued 27th August 1921

Abbie was born in Midleton on 10th December 1867; her husband Morris was also from Ireland. He emigrated from Queenstown around 1866, and lived in Aurora, Illinois until 1903 (presumably the year of his death). Abbie had emigrated in 1875, and had now moved from Aurora to Waterbury, Connecticut, where she was keeping house. She hoped to go to Ireland for one year to visit relatives. It is interesting to note that Abbie had emigrated to America as a child, yet despite the passage of nearly 50 years was still going to visit her birthplace.

Abbie Keefe (Ancestry)

Abbie Keefe (Ancestry)

Margaret Kowalski, Passport Issued 3rd September 1919

Margaret had been born in Midleton on 12th September 1899 and had lived in Ireland “all my life” and had “never been in U.S.” She applied to the U.S. Consulate in Queenstown for a passport, as she had married Wenceslaus Kowalski of the United States Navy in Midleton on 15th March 1919. He was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he lived at 914 11th Avenue. By the time Margaret applied, Wenceslaus had been moved on to Liverpool.

Margaret Kowalski (Ancestry)

Margaret Kowalski (Ancestry)

Katherine Lee, Passport Issued 29th November 1920

Katherine was born in Clonmult on 22nd December 1882. Her husband, Hugh Lee, was a native of Boston but had died. Katherine had lived in America from 1904, and appears not to have been home. She now lived at 61 Farragut Road in South Boston, where she had no occupation. She was travelling home to Clonmult to visit her father, and hoped to leave on the Celtic on 11th December 1920.

Katherine Lee (Ancestry)

Katherine Lee (Ancestry)

Bridget Mary Mahony, Passport Issued 8th July 1919

Bridget applied to the U.S. Consulate in Queenstown for a passport, citing her status as a wife of a member of the naval forces of the United States.She hoped to travel from Queenstown to the United States in the company of her daughter Veronica Mahony, who had been born at Queenstown on 9th May 1919. Bridget was born in Midleton on 7th May 1897, and her husband George Daniel Mahony had been born in America. She had married her husband in St. Colman’s Cathedral on 1st January 1919; he was then serving as a cook in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Imperator. George had enlisted in Boston in May 1915. Bridget related that her father was Thomas Lynch from Midleton, and her mother was Mary (Geary) Lynch also from the town. Given the respective dates of the couple’s matrimony and the birth of their child, it seems likely that Bridget was pregnant with Veronica prior to their marriage. Bridget related that she was “never in [the] U.S.A.’ and had been in “Ireland all my life.” She intended her permanent address to be New York City.

Bridget Mary Mahony (Ancestry)

Bridget Mary Mahony (Ancestry)

Thomas McCarthy, Passport Issued 18th September 1924

Thomas was born in Midleton on 15th December 1861. His father had been Charles McCarthy, and he was now dead. Thomas had emigrated from Queenstown 1887, and spent the next 37 years in America without returning home. He made his home at 168 Prescott Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, where he was a Wine Inspector. He gave travel as the purpose of his journey, and intended to leave Boston on the Scythia on 21st September 1924.

Thomas McCarthy (Ancestry)

Thomas McCarthy (Ancestry)

Joseph Moore, Passport Issued 13th July 1915

Joseph applied for his passport in San Francisco, California. He was born in Midleton on 1st December 1881 and had emigrated aboard the Lukania from Liverpool on 31st December 1899. He had never returned to Ireland in the intervening period, but had travelled throughout the States, living in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Goldfield (Nevada), Oakland and San Francisco. He had been naturalized in San Francisco in 1908. His permanent residence was now Oakland, where he worked as a Horticulturist. He planned to go to Ireland to “attend to the settlement of my father’s estate” and also hoped to stop off in England to visit friends.

Joseph Moore (Ancestry)

Joseph Moore (Ancestry)

Annie Parker, Passport Issued 23rd September 1924

Annie was born in Whitegate on 13th April 1877. She left for America in 1892, and now lived at 3174 23rd Street in San Francisco, where she was engaged in housework. She had married Joseph Parker (from San Francisco) in Chicago on 4th October 1894 and had been widowed on 18th October 1918.Apparently having ever been home, Annie hoped to spend almost a year in both Ireland and England visiting relatives.

Annie Parker (Ancestry)

Annie Parker (Ancestry)

Mary Ryan, Passport Issued 10th June 1920

Mary intended to travel back to Midleton with her newborn child Mary for about two to three months. She had been born in Midleton on 29th January 1888, and her husband Stephen Ryan had also been born in Ireland. He had emigrated aboard the Cymric from Queenstown on 19th April 1905 and had spent the next 15 years in America. He was naturalized in 1919, and the family now lived at 20 Grafton Street, Dorchester, Massachusetts. The purpose of Mary’s visit was to visit her father, and she hoped to sail on 21st July 1920.

Mary Ryan (Ancestry)

Mary Ryan (Ancestry)

Margaret Talbott, Passport Issued 10th April 1922

Margaret was born in Midleton on 14th June 1870. Her husband Edward Talbot had also been born in Ireland. He had emigrated in 1888 and spent the next 34 years in Chicago. Margaret had lived in the United States uninterrupted for 36 years between 1886 and 1922, making her home at 6751 East End Avenue in Chicago. The purpose of her visit to Ireland was to “see the old homestead” and “visit relatives.” She planned to leave on the Celtic from New York on 3rd June 1922.

Margaret Talbot (Ancestry)

Margaret Talbot (Ancestry)

Hannah Walsh, Passport Issued 14th July 1920

Hannah was born in Midleton on 20th December 1835. Her husband Michael had also been born in Ireland and had emigrated from Queenstown in 1861, living in Boston until his death in 1890. He had been naturalized in 1868. Hannah had emigrated in 1867, and in the 52 years since had never been home to Ireland, living in Boston where she was a Lodging House Keeper. She was going back to Ireland to “reside with her sister,” and had arranged to sell her house to that purpose. She intended to leave on the Caronia on 24th July 1920.

Hannah Walsh (Ancestry)

Hannah Walsh (Ancestry)

References

Selected Passports. National Archives, Washington, D.C. [Accessed via Archive.com]

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Portraits of Midleton People in New York Poorhouses, 1875-1915

The topic of Midleton people who emigrated away from the town and parish is one we have returned to a number of times. Many of those who left succeeded in improving their lot in life, uncovering opportunities that were unavailable to them at home. However, such was not the case for everyone. Many Midleton people faced times of struggle at some point after their departure. For some it would prove only a temporary setback, but for others it represented a permanent reduction in fortunes. In order to capture vignettes of some of these people’s lives, we have been looking at the records of residents in New York Poor Houses and Alms Houses, the State that likely took more 19th century Midleton emigrants than any other location on the planet. Below you will find details on almost 50 Midleton natives for whom hardship lay in store after their departure from Ireland. 

Underground lodgings for the poor of New York around 1869. Many people who ultimately ended up in Poor Houses would have been familiar with such scenes (Library of Congress)

Underground lodgings for the poor of New York around 1869. Many Midleton people who ultimately ended up in Poor Houses would have been familiar with such scenes (Library of Congress)

The topic of Irish dependents in New York Poor Houses has previously been examined on another site (see here). From 1875, these institutions were required to record details about those in their care, filling out forms that provide information on things such as age, marital status, emigration date, literacy, employment and cause of dependency. They also offered an opinion on whether or not individuals might escape dependency in the future. These records have been used to compile the brief biographical portraits you see below.

What is immediately apparent when reviewing the records is how easy it was to become dependent in 19th century New York. An inability to be able to earn a living was highly likely to leave individuals reliant on charity. Many of those below– such as men like Michael Humphrey– had suffered injuries which prevented them from working. Others, like Margaret Barry, were suffering from degenerative conditions such as the onset of blindness, which was a common physical reason for admission to Poor Houses.

The records not only tell us of hardship but also allow us to look at the trades of those admitted, and in many cases those of their fathers in Midleton. Many are typical of the working classes– laborers like John Colbert and John Hyde, or domestics like Mary Buckley and Mary Murphy. Some were tradesmen, like carpenter Patrick Brown, or worked as seamstresses, like Eliza Mead[e]. But there are also those who you might think less likely to find themselves in such straightened circumstances, such as John D. O’Brien, an engineer. Aside from trades, we can also gain an insight into differing literacy levels, which ranged from those who were able to read and write, like Michael Pomfrey, to people who could only read, like Hannah Mahony, or were completely illiterate, like Mary Collins.

As noted above, the onset of old age was a major factor leading to the dependence of many working-class people. Even where elderly individuals had adult children, those children often had families of their own or were too poor to be able to help with their parent’s support, resulting in their reliance on institutions. The reality for some– like William Ronan– was that they simply did not know where their children were. We often associate emigration with youth, but that was not always the case in the 19th century. Necessity often forced older people to uproot themselves from the place they had lived all their lives to cross the Atlantic. Thus we meet people like Ann Corcoran, who emigrated aged 50; Eliza Maher who left Midleton at 53; and Mary Welsh who left Cork forever at 60. Mary Keefe, who was 65-years-old, had only been in New York for a year and three months when she found herself in the Poor House.

The institutions were careful to note whether those in their care were of intemperate character, and went so far as to explore if that had been the case with their parents. In most instances where intemperance was recorded, it refers to alcohol abuse. The morality of the time also played a role on admittance. A number of young Midleton women were forced to seek aid in the Poor Houses for having children out of wedlock. It is in this context that we encounter the sad stories of 24-year-old Mary Ahearn, 23-year-old Mary Buckley and 26-year-old Mary Hayes. In their cases they had their children with them in the Poor Houses, and they were far from alone. It was not uncommon to have entire families admitted; for example all of Hannah Daley’s three children were in the Alms House with her.

It is important to recognise that going to the Poor House did not mean the end of the road for everyone. Some, like William Anderson, were there because of sickness or short-term/seasonal employment difficulties, and were expected to leave soon. But prospects of escape reduced for the elderly, the permanently disabled or the gravely ill. The record of Daniel Keller stated bluntly that the 30 year-old “will die here.” Each of these portraits has its own story to tell, and it is often a sad one. They serve to remind us that many thousands of Midleton people through history lived out their lives not in East Cork, but formed part of Irish emigrant communities around the globe, just as they continue to do today. You can explore each of the individuals researched in more detail below, where they arranged in alphabetical order by surname.

The New York Alms House Buildings on Blackwell’s Island (New York Public Library Record ID 706081)

The New York Alms House Buildings on Blackwell’s Island, where a number of the Midleton emigrants discussed below found themselves (New York Public Library Record ID 706081)

Mary Ahearn, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester County Poor House on 3rd March 1892. 

Mary was a 24-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York from Ireland four years previously. Both her parents were from Midleton, where her father had been a laborer. Mary was a domestic, and could read and write. The cause of her dependence was that she was pregnant. It was felt that she may recover from her dependency.

William Anderson, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 13th December 1880.

William was a 37-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland ten years previously and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, and William, like his father, was a laborer. He was able to read and write. William was admitted due to chills and a fever, but was able to carry out light work. He was expected to leave the institution soon.

James Barry, Midleton. Admitted to Seneca County Poor House on 8th January 1891.

James was a 51-year-old single man on his admission. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 24 years previously, and was now naturalized. He worked as a laborer, as had his father- both his parents were also Midleton natives. He had a common school education. The cause of his dependence was “intemperance.” He was deemed capable of light work, but not to a great extent, and it was noted that he “should take care of himself and probably will soon.”

Margaret Barry, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 25th August 1875.

Margaret was a 30-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York 22 years previously from Ireland. Both her parents had also been born in Midleton; her father had worked as a tailor. Margaret herself worked as a domestic, and was unable to read or write. The cause of her dependence was near blindness. Unable to perform work of any kind, it was determined that she would remain permanently dependent.

Patrick Barry, Midleton. Admitted to Wayne County Poor House on 11th December 1884.

Patrick was a 50-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived into Canada from Ireland 37 years before, and had been in New York for 20 years. He was a naturalized citizen and worked as a laborer; his father had been a carpenter. He had four children still living. The reason for his dependence was that he had injured one of his eyes, but he was able to carry out light work. It was expected that he would recover.

Patrick Barry, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 14th January 1887.

Patrick was a 71-year-old married man when he was admitted. He was a naturalized citizen of the United States, having emigrated 44 years previously, landing in New York. Both his parents were also from Midleton; his father had been a tailor. Patrick himself worked as a stevedore. He had one brother and one sister, both of whom still lived in Ireland. Patrick also had a son of his own in New York. The cause of his dependence was given as homelessness and destitution. He was deemed able to carry out light labor, but it was deemed doubtful that he would ever recover from his dependency.

Michael Barry, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 7th January 1889.

Michael was a 43-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 20 years previously and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, where his father had been a laborer. Michael himself was a shoemaker; he was able to read and could “write a little.” Of his siblings, one brother was dead and one was still in Ireland, while he had four sisters in Ireland and one in New York. Michael also had three sons of his own. He had spent time in an institution before, in Mount Loretto on Staten Island. The reason for his dependency was given as paralysis, homelessness and destitution. He was deemed incapable of pursuing any labor, and it was thought doubtful he would ever recover from his dependency.

Patrick Brown, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 1st April 1886.

Patrick was a 70-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 30 years previously, and was now naturalized. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where Patrick’s father had been a laborer. Patrick was himself a carpenter, and was able to read and write. He had three children still living. The reason for Patrick’s dependence was old age and infirmity. Two year prior to his admission he had spent time with the Little Sisters of the Poor, but was discharged from there because of his “disobedience of orders.” It was thought probable that he would remain dependent.

Mary Buckley, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 16th November 1885.

Mary was a 23-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had landed in New York three years before. Both her parents were also from Midleton, where her father had been a father. Mary worked as a domestic. She had one child, who was with her in the Alms House; the child was the reason for her admission, which was given as “bastardy.” She was able to carry out chamber work while in the Alms House. She had previously spent time in Kings County Hospital, and it was noted that “this young woman has stated particulars of her case to the Commissioners.” It was felt that she may recover from her dependence.

Margaret Carroll, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 10th April 1882.

Margaret was a 50-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia from Ireland some 33 years before. Her parents, who were both described as having been “intemperate”, had been from Carrigtohill. Her father had worked as a laborer- Margaret was a peddler. The cause of her dependence was given as an old fracture of the left arm, being nearly blind in the left eye, and “disorderly conduct.” Her habits were also described as intemperate. She had previously relied on charity twice and been admitted to Bellevue Hospital once. Her future was deemed “doubtful.”

Charles M. Carter, Midleton. Admitted to St. Lawrence County Poor House on 10th January 1878.

Charles was a 65-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had landed in Boston 31 years before, and was now naturalized. His father had been a farmer in Ireland. Charles was able to read, but apparently not to write. No further information was provided.

John Coleburt (Colbert), Midleton. Admitted to Chemung County Poor House on 5th November 1879.

John was a 63-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 20 years before, and was naturalized. He was a laborer like his father before him, and like his father was also described as intemperate. The cause of his dependence was having no work. He had received three weeks of Out-Door Relief. It was felt he had a good chance of recovery- as he was a state charge he was going to be sent to the state Alms House.

Mary Collins, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 24th September 1895.

Mary was a 60-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had landed in New York 43 years previously. Her father had been a laborer in Ireland, Mary worked as domestic in New York. Mary had no education, and had two children still living. No reason was given for her dependence; her daughter’s address was given as 128 Cherry St.

John Connell, Midleton. Admitted to Orange County Poor House on 2nd December 1886.

John was a 47-year-old married man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 25 years before from Ireland, and was a naturalized citizen. John worked as a laborer, as his father had before him. The reason for his dependence was given as destitution; he had been in the Poor House the previous winter for the same reason. He was deemed to be unable to undertake any labour, but it was though probable that he would be able to leave again once the spring had arrived.

John Conners, Midleton. Admitted to Orange County Poor House on 7th October 1879.

John was a 41-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 26 years before and was now naturalized. He had a common school education, and like his father worked as a laborer. The cause of his dependence was his inability to get work. It was determined that he would recover.

Ann Corcoran, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 24th July 1883.

Ann was 70-years-old on her admission. She was married, and had arrived in New York 20 years before from Ireland. Both Ann’s parents had been born in Midleton, where her father had been a farmer. Ann was able to read but not to write. She had no children but did have a brother in Boston. The cause of her dependence was homelessness, destitution, and bruising to her face caused by a fall. She had already been in an institution three times previously, and she was deemed as having little prospect of recovering from her dependence.

Hannah Daley, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 29th December 1885.

Hannah was a 37-year-old married woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York 7 1/2 years previously. Her parents had both been from Midleton, where her father was a farmer. Hannah could read and write, and was a housewife. She had three children, all of whom were with her in the Alms House. The cause of her dependence was destitution due to her husband being out of work. It was thought that she may recover.

Jeremiah Daly, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 15th December 1880.

Jeremiah was a 32-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 11 years previously. Both his parents were from Midleton; like his father, Jeremiah was a laborer. He was able to read and write. The cause of his dependency was rheumatism, and he was able to undertake light work. It was expected that he would soon be able to leave.

Cath Donnovan, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 25th September 1877.

Cath was 26-years-old when she was admitted. She was married, and had arrived in New York 13 years previously from Ireland. Her father had been a laborer, Cath herself was a servant. She could read, but not write. Cath had two children, one of whom was in the hospital and the other who was with her in the Alms House. She was dependent because her husband had deserted the family. She had previously spent four weeks in hospital in 1877. Cath was able to contribute towards her own support in the Alms House through nursing, and it was deemed probable that she would recover from her dependency.

John Donovan, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 22nd September 1884.

John was a 64-year-old widower when admitted. He had been in the United States for 30 years. Both his parents had been from Midleton, and John, like his father, was a laborer. He could read and write and had two living children. The reason for his dependency was old age and infirmity- he had spent time in Kings County Hospital four years previously. His prospects for leaving were classed as “doubtful.”

Michael Fitzgerald, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester County Poor House on 17th November 1896.

Michael was a 43-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 17 years before and was naturalized. He was able to read, and worked as a Rock Man. His father had been a laborer. His mother was still alive, and he had three brothers. The cause of his dependence was sickness, and at the time he was not able to work. It was thought that he may recover from his dependence.

William Foley, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 26th December 1883.

William was 60-years-old when he was admitted. He was a widower, who had arrived in New York 16 years previously and was now naturalized. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, where his father had worked as a laborer. WIlliam was a shoemaker, and was able to read and write. He had sisters who lived in New York, and one son, William, who was 24-years-old and was then at sea. The cause of his dependence was homelessness, destitution and having no work. He was able to pursue shoemaking while in the Almshouse, and it was thought likely that he would recover from his dependence.

Mary Hayes, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 20th April 1877.

Mary was a 26-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York from Ireland 12 years previously. Bother her parents were from Midleton, and her father had worked as a blacksmith. Mary was a servant who was able to read and write. She had one child living, who was with her in the Alms House. The cause of her dependence was given as “bastardy”, and during her time there she was able to work at nursing. She had previously spent three months in hospital in 1877, and it was felt that she would recover from her dependency.

James Herin, Midleton. Admitted to Putnam County Poor House on 5th February 1885.

James was a 70-year-old married man when admitted. He had landed in New York 50 years previously, and was a naturalized citizen. His father had also been from Midleton, and like James had been a laborer. He had no education, and also like his father, James was described as intemperate. He had seven children still living. The cause of his dependency was old age and lack of employment, and he was unable to do much work. It was felt he would probably not recover, and the following was added: “This man was brought here from Phillips town is quite feeble has worked in the west point foundry for nearly fifty years the probability is that he will remain a county charge as long as he lives.”

Michael Humphrey, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 11th December 1877.

Michael was a 38-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 25 years previously, and was now naturalized. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, and his father had worked as a blacksmith. Michael was also a blacksmith, and was able to read and write. The cause of his dependence was a sore leg, and at the time he was unable to work. It was felt that he would likely recover.

John Hyde, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 2nd January 1885.

John was a 56-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 35 years before, and was a naturalized citizen. His parents were both from Midleton, where his father had been a farmer. John was a laborer, and was described as intemperate. He had no education and had three living children. The reason for his dependence was given as intemperance. He was able to work, and it was felt that he may be able to recover.

Mary C Keefe, Midleton. Admitted to Saratoga County Poor House on 26th November 1889.

Mary was a 65-year-old widow when admitted. She had only been in the United States for a year and three months. Although she was born in Midleton, her parents were from Co. Waterford (her mother from Newtown). Her father had been a steward. Mary had no education, and was engaged in housework. She had two children living. The reason for her dependence was destitution. She was unable to do any work, and had previously received a few days of relief. No opinion was offered on her prospects for recovery.

Daniel Keller, Midleton. Admitted to Greene County Poor House on 10th August 1915.

Daniel was a 30-year-old single man when admitted. He had been born on Christmas Day 1884. Daniel had arrived in New York 8 years before, but was not naturalized. Both his parents were from Midleton, and he had a common school education. He worked as a laborer. The cause of his dependence was sickness. He had previously been to hospital and was a county charge. With respect to his probable destiny, it was noted that he “will die here.”

Ellen Kelley, Midleton. Admitted to Saratoga County Poor House on 25th January 1887.

Ellen was a 70-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had arrived in Quebec from Ireland 55 years before, and had made her way straight to New York. Her parents were both from Cork, and her father was from Midleton. He had worked as a shoemaker. Ellen had carried out housework, and she had no education. The reasons given for her dependence was destitution. It was thought probable that she would remain dependent.

Daniel Leahey, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 18th January 1883.

Daniel was a 50-year-old married man on his admission. He emigrated to New York 30 years previously. Both his parents and been from Midleton, where his father was a peddler. Daniel was a tanner, and was able to read and write. He had two sons still living. The reason for Daniel’s dependency was destitution, and a fracture of the hip which left him lame. He was able to carry out light labour. Daniel had previously spent time in Bellevue Hospital- it was felt that he would likely recover from his dependence.

Michael Leahy, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester County Poor House on 11th September 1894.

Michael was a 53-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had emigrated to New York 27 years before, and was now naturalized. He was a laborer like his father before him, and was able to read and write. The cause of his dependency was sickness, and at that time he was unable to work. He had spent some time in an institution before, and it was felt that he “may recover.”

George Lee, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 2nd December 1880.

George was a 38-year-old single man when admitted. He had emigrated to New York 6 years before, and was naturalized. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a boot and shoe maker. George was a laborer, and was able to read and write. The cause of his dependence was “fever and ague” and George was able to undertake light work. He had previously spent 10 days in hospital. It was expected that he would recover from his dependency and be able to leave the Alms House soon.

James Lenden, Midleton. Admitted to Yates County Poor House on 2nd November 1885.

James was a 45-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had been in the United States for 20 years, and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents were from Midleton, where James had received a common school education. His father had been a laborer, as was James. He had two brothers. The cause of James’s dependence was intemperance. He was able to work, but his outlook was bleak, as it was anticipated that he would remain dependent.

Eliza Maher, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 16th July 1883.

Eliza was a 70-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had emigrated to New York 17 years before. Both her parents had been born in Midleton, where her father had been a steward. Eliza had no occupation and no education and did not have any living children. The cause of her dependence was destitution, and four years prior to her 1883 admission she had relied on the charity of the Little Sisters of the Poor. She was given no chance of recovering her independence, with it deemed probable she would remain dependent.

Hannah Mahony, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 28th June 1876.

Hannah was a 60-year-old widow on admission. She had emigrated to New York from Ireland 43 years previously. Both her parents were from Midleton, where her father had been a Master Hostler. Hannah was a servant, and was able to read but could not write. The cause of her dependence was old age and rheumatism. Hannah was able to carry out needle work. She had been in and out of the Alms House for 8 years, and in and out of hospital over the same period. It was anticipated that she would remain dependent.

Charles McCarthy, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 18th August 1894.

Charles was 51-years-old when he was admitted. He was married, and had emigrated to New York 47 years before. Now a naturalized citizen, both his parents had also been born in Midleton. His father had been a farmer, Charles himself worked as a peddler. He had at least one child, but was now dependent as a result of blindness. He had previously received $37 from the City, and had spent time in Bellevue and Presbyterian Hospitals. The probability of him ever escaping from dependency was described as “hopeless.”

Michael McCarthy, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 6th January 1899.

Michael was a 59-year-old widower on admission. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 33 years previously, and was now a naturalized citizen. Michael followed his father’s profession of tailoring, and he was able to read and write. He had two brothers living in the United States and one sister in Ireland. He also had two sons still living, both of whom worked as laborers and lived at 371 Broome St; James, who was single, and Charles, who was married. The cause of his dependence was destitution. He was able to carry out ordinary work, and had spent time in hospital the previous November. It was thought that he would probably recover.

Eliza Mead, Midleton. Admitted to Kingston City Alms House on 22nd November 1886.

Eliza was a single woman of about 46 when she was admitted. She had been in the United States some 28 years. Her parents had both been from Midleton, where her father was a farmer. Eliza was a seamstress who could read but not write. The reason for her dependence was that she had no home. She was able to carry out sewing work, but despite that it was deemed likely that she would probably remain dependent.

Mary Murphy, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 3rd November 1887.

Mary was a 60-year-old widow on her admission. She had landed in New York from Ireland 35 years previously. Both her parents were from Midleton, where her father had been a farmer. Mary had no education and worked as a domestic. Her brothers (who lived in the U.S.) and sisters (who lived in Ireland) were all dead. The cause of her dependence was debility, homelessness and destitution. She was unable to work, and had spent time in Bellevue Hospital. It was deemed likely she would remain permanently dependent.

John Murray, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester Alms House on 8th November 1890.

John was a 60-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in the United States 30 years before. His parents were also from Midleton; John, like his father before him was a laborer. The cause of his dependence was that he had been a vagrant for the previous 6 months. He was capable of light work, but it was thought he would likely not recover from his dependency.

Richard Nugent, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 31st October 1878.

Richard was a 69-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had come to New York 50 years before, and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, where his father had been a laborer. Richard had no education, and worked as a carman. The reason for his admission was given as heart disease and destitution. unable to work, his potential for escaping dependency in the future was described as “doubtful.”

John D. O’Brien, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 4th December 1894.

John was a 42-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had emigrated to New York 25 years previously, and was now a naturalized citizen. His parents had been from Cork, where his father had been a laborer. John had a school education and had risen to become an engineer. He had three brothers and three sisters. The cause of his dependence was paralysis and destitution. He had previously spent time in Randall’s Island Hospital and it was thought that he may recover.

Michael Pomfrey, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 28th January 1881.

Michael was a 42-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had landed in New York 20 years before and was now a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a horse shoer, the same trade that Michael followed. Michael was able to read and write. The cause of his dependence was a sore leg, as a result of which he was unable to work. He had previously spent three weeks in hospital, and he expected to leave the Alms House as soon as his leg was well.

William Ronan, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 13th December 1881.

William was a 59-year-old married man when he was admitted. He had emigrated from Ireland 16 years previously. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a fisherman. William, who could read and write, worked as a laborer. His brothers and sisters were still in Ireland. He had four living children but did not know where they were. The reasons for his dependence were paralysis of the right side and destitution. He was unable to work, and had spent time more than four months and 9 days in various homes and in Bellevue Hospital. His future was deemed doubtful.

John Shanahan, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 19th April 1895.

John was a 65-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 45 years before, and was now a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a shoemaker. John, who could read and write, followed in the same trade as his father. He had one daughter living, who was in the Home of the Good Shepherd. Te reason for John’s dependence was destitution. He was able for only light work, but his future prospects were deemed favourable.

Thomas Sullivan, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 14th November 1887.

Thomas was a 43-year-old married man on admission. He arrived in New York 20 years previously and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, and Thomas, like his father before him, was a laborer. He had two sons a daughter, who were apparently living in Pennsylvania. The reason for his admission was homelessness, destitution and partial blindness. He was unable to work, and had previously spent time in Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. It was thought that he would recover from his dependence.

Mary Welsh, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 1st May 1888.

Mary was a 90-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had emigrated from Ireland 30 years before. Her parents had both been from Midleton, where her father had been a farmer. Mary had no education, and worked as a housekeeper. The cause of her dependence was debility, homelessness and destitution. She could do no work, and had previously been in a Charity Hospital, from where she had been taken to the Alms House. It was considered likely she would remain permanently dependent.

These are far from the only people with Midleton connections who ended up in these institutions; indeed it is likely only a small sample. Others who are known but for whom records were not accessible include Daniel Cunningham, who was around 49 years-old when he was admitted in 1897, and Maggie Ford, who was 38 when she was admitted in 1897. Many more people with a parent from Midleton ultimately found themselves reliant on charity.

Inmates of the Poor House on Randall’s Island, East River, New York, forming in line for dinner, 1875 (New York Public Library Record ID 692408)

Inmates of the Poor House on Randall’s Island, East River, New York, forming in line for dinner, 1875 (New York Public Library Record ID 692408)

References

New York. State Bord of Charities. Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1835-1921. series A1978. Microfilm 225 rolls. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Accessed via ancestry.com

NYPL Digital Gallery Record ID 692408

NYPL Digital Gallery Record ID 706081

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Castles of Midleton

This week we were delighted to have Jenny O’Brien of Christ King Girls Secondary School in South Douglas working in Rubicon’s Midleton Office. Jenny is a Transition Year student, and was with us to learn more about the work we do in archaeology and heritage. As part of that, Jenny undertook a project for the Midleton Archaeology & Heritage blog to look at some local castles in the area. Jenny spent time researching a number of them before writing up her findings. Today she took to the field to photograph the sites and to share what she found with readers. Jenny has prepared the post below for us; everyone at Rubicon would like to thank her for her help, and for exploring the story of some of these sites for us!

Location of the Castles discussed in the text (Hannah Sims)

Location of the Castles discussed in the text (Hannah Sims)

Ballyvodock West

Ballyvodock West is a roughly square tower. Only the ground floor remains, except in the South-East corner where the first floor wall survives. (1) The Hodnetts, William and John Oge, were in residence here in 1582. John fitz Edmund Oge died in 1597 in possession of Ballyvodock West, which was then inherited by his son, William. In 1621, William mortgaged the property to Ludovic O’Cahill. (3) How Ballyvodock West came to be in ruins is something of a mystery. Some sources say it was destroyed by gunpowder in the last decade of the 17th century. (3) Other sources say it was blown up in the 1640s, during the Eleven Years War. (6)

Ballyvodock West Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballyvodock West Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Cahermone

Cahermone is a rectangular tower. Today, it is four storeys tall, although it was originally higher. It has an early 17th century appearance. (1) Cahermone was built around 1450 by John Fitzgerald.(8) In 1571, John fitz Edmund of Cloyne acquired the land and took up residence here. (3) In the farmyard, there is an arch stone inscribed with the date 1579, when John fitz Edmund may have renovated the house. (2) John fitz Edmund of Cloyne was then driven into Cork City by his cousin and namesake, John fitz Edmund of Castlemartyr, Seneschal of Imokilly. He returned to Cahermone in 1583. He later abandoned Cahermore for Ballymalloe. (3) In the 1650s, Cahermone was passed to Sir John Broderick. It is now situated on the private grounds of a farm. (8)

Cahermone Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Cahermone Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Coppingerstown

Coppingerstown is located in a farmyard. It is four storeys tall, with a conjoined one storey structure. It is connected with the Coppinger and Cotter families. (1) William Shane Cotter lived at Coppingerstown in the mid-16th century, but owned a lot of land elsewhere. The Cotters mortgaged the bulk of their land to John fitz Edmund of Cloyne, who occupied Cahermone. By 1589, Shane Ode MacCotter, brother and heir to William, had only Coppingerstown and Gearagh to leave to his son. In 1638, Shane’s grandson, William, mortgaged Coppingstown to Charles Caldwell, an Anglican clergyman. William’s lands were confiscated by the Cromwellian administration in the early 1650s. (3) Unfortunately the surviving elements of this castle appear to have recently collapsed.

Coppingerstown Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Coppingerstown Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Ballintotis

Ballintotis is a small, four storey tower. There is no door to the second floor, and it was probably entered through a manhole from below. Very little of its history is known. (4) Some consider the theory that the tower may have been part of the ‘outer defences’ of nearby Castlemartyr. (5) The tower was granted to George Moore in 1579, but was recovered soon after by the Fitzgeralds. (6)

Ballintotis Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballintotis Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Castleredmond

There is no visible surface trace of Castleredmond. (1) The site has been excavated, starting in June 2001 when three test-trenches were dug. They revealed a 1 metre section of the wall, 0.7 metres in height, made of limestone blocks. In December of that year, three more test-trenches were excavated and they exposed the limestone bedrock. Most of the remainder of the site has been filled with stone. (7)
This castle was ruinous by 1625. It was written by a man called Lewis in the 1840s that Castleredmond was built by a Redmond Fitzgerald during the reign of Henry VIII. Lewis then contradicted himself by saying that the last pre-Reformation Roman Catholic bishop of Cloyne was born in the castle. The bishop he refers to appears to have been part of a family living in Castlemartyr. Several sources say that Castleredmond may have been part of Corabbey. Corabbey was then owned by the Barry family, who seemed to be very connected to the Redmond family, as their names appear together often. (3)

Castleredmond Castle (Site Of) (Jenny O'Brien)

Castleredmond Castle (Site Of) (Jenny O’Brien)

Ballyannan

Ballyannan was a two storey, fortified house with an attic, and is now roofless. (1) The first building on the land was owned by the Hodnett family. (8) By 1601 the Hodnetts appear to have lost control of Ballyannan. Edward Gould, a Cork merchant, had the land in his possession by 1641. (3) In 1653, Sir John Broderick, a Cromwellian settler, took possession of the estate and rebuilt it into the fortified Tudor mansion that we see in the ruins today. (8)

Ballyannan Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballyannan Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

References
1. “Archaeological Inventory of County Cork. Volume 2: East and South Cork”
2. “The Old Castles around Cork Harbour” – J. Coleman, 1915
3. “The Chronicles of Midleton” – Jeremiah Falvey, 1998
4. “Antiquarian Remains and Historic Spots around Cloyne” – J. Coleman, 1913
5. “The Castles of County Cork” – J. N. Healy, 1988
6. “The Castles of South Munster” – Mike Salter, 2004
7. http://www.iamlai.com – Sheila Lane, Consulting Archaeologist
8. http://www.castles.nl

Categories: Midleton Archaeology | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Searching for Midleton’s Missing 19th Century Emigrants

In a previous post on the site (see here) we looked at advertisements placed in the New York Irish American Weekly newspaper seeking information about East Cork immigrants. In an era where many people were illiterate, and communication often difficult, it was easy for families and friends to lose touch with one another. One way Irish emigrants tried to find loved ones was through placing ‘Information Wanted’ advertisements in Irish immigrant newspapers in the hope that the person they sought might hear of it. In this post, we have compiled the significant number of Information Wanted ads from the Boston Pilot, looking specifically at people from Midleton.

The Midleton advertisements range in date from 1841 to 1911, and are organised chronologically. Many are extremely poignant, as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers sought to find each other, often after many decades apart. Here we discover Midleton people who had tried to make new lives, like James McSwiney who became a farmer in California, or Daniel Sullivan, who likely followed gold to New South Wales. John Buckley, who lived on Midleton’s Main Street, hoped to find his brother in New Jersey, while James Dexter was wondering why his brother had never returned to Boston following a visit to their mother on Chapel Street four years previously. The influence of the Pilot was far reaching– one of the most poignant advertisements sees Midleton’s Thomas Denehy, then living in Wollongong in Australia, seek to make contact with his brothers and sister who had emigrated to America 50 years before. Why not take a look through the ads (arranged chronologically) and see if you recognise any of the family names.

How the 'Information Wanted' advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

How the ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

6th November 1841

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN COTTER, a native of Middletown, county Cork, Ireland. When last heard from he was in the employ of Charles Stark, Grocer, Charleston, South Carolina. His brother Edmund, who lives in Rockbottom, Ms., is anxious to hear from him. Should this meet his eye, he is requested to write immediately. Catholic Miscellany please copy.

5th November 1842

INFORMATION WANTED OF BARTHOLOMEW KEEFE, of the Parish of Carrictouhal, co. Cork, when last heard from was in Newport, R.I. His wife’s maiden name is Hennessy, a native of Middletown, co. Cork. They had one child when leaving home named Donnell. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by Jeremiah Hennessy, addressed to 249 Ann st. Boston, Ms.

5th October 1844

INFORMATION WANTED OF BARTHOLOMY WALSH, a native of Middleton, Co. Cork, Ireland- when last heard from, was in Norfolk, Va.; any information respecting him would be thankfully received by his niece Ellen Sheehan, (alias) Mrs. Cody, Hartford, Ct.

25th January 1845

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MARA, a native of parish of Middleton, co Cork. He left Boston on the 11th day of June last, and is about 27 years of age. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his sister, Mary Mara, care of Robert Garnett, 13 North Square, Boston, Ms.

17th May 1845

INFORMATION WANTED OF TIMOTHY LEAHY, formerly of Kilmountain, parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who came to this country about 8 years ago. When last hear from he was in Louisville, Ky, two years ago. Any information in relation to him will be thankfully received by his brother, Maurice Leahy, addressed to the care of Michael Leahy, No. 17 Hamilton street, Boston, Ms, or at this office.

6th February 1847

INFORMATION WANTED OF PHILIP CARRAUS, a native of Ballinthontis, parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who emigrated in 1844, and landed in New York, and is now supposed to be in Middleton, Ct. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by Richard Shea, care of Mr. O’Hern, West Stockbridge, Berkshire Co., Ms.

18th September 1847

INFORMATION WANTED OF ABIGAIL FITZGERALD, who was married to a man by the name of Simon Welsh. She is a native of Middletown, co. Cork. They are supposed to be in Albany or Troy. Her brother, Patrick, is anxious to hear from her. Address him, Randolph, Ms.

6th November 1847

INFORMATION WANTED OF CATHERINE HARTNET, from Middleton, co’y Cork, who formerly lived as cook with Mrs. James Murphy in Middleton, and who left Liverpool in April, 1847, for New York, will write to Ellen Cannovan, care of Rufus Perkins, No. 51 Summer street, Boston, where she is to be found, she will get intelligence much to her advantage.

10th March 1849

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL COTTER, a native of Middleton, co. Cork, who left Ireland about 8 or 9 years ago, – when last heard from he was in Montreal, L.C. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his brother, Edmond Cotter, care of Mr. Benjamin Dayton, corner of Leveret and Brighton streets, Boston, Ms.

15th September 1849

INFORMATION WANTED OF DAVID AHERN, who emigrated to this country about 7 year ago and landed in Quebec. He is a native of Middleton, co. Cork. When last heard of was in Port Trent, District of Victoria, Upper Canada. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his brother, Mr. John Ahern, Hyde Park, Lackawana Iron Works, Luzerne County, Pa.

4th July 1851

INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. LANE and Family having emigrated from Middleton, co. Cork, to the United States, some time since, – a friend in Charleston, South Carolina, wishes to hear from them. Should this meet their eye, they will please address J.B., Charleston, S.C.

16th August 1851

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN DALY, from parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who emigrated to this country 13 or 14 years ago, – was in New York when last heard from. Also, his daughter, HONORA DALY, who landed in Quebec 4 years ago last April. Also, PATRICK DALY, Sadler, who was in Quebec, when last heard of. Any information of them will be thankfully received by his son, JOHN DALY, care of Edmond Ryan, Montpelier, Vermont.

23rd August 1851

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL MCNAMARA of Middletown, co. Cork, who got married to Catherine Doyle, at Ireland Depot, Ms, in June, 1848. His brother-in-law, PIERCE DOYLE, wants to hear from them, and will thankfully receive any information directed to Indianapolis, Ia.

24th August 1850

INFORMATION WANTED OF SAMUEL WALSH, (gardener), and Abigail Walsh, otherwise Fitzgerald (his wife), natives of Middletown, co Cork, who left Ireland in 1831; when last heard from they were in Albany, N.Y., about 11 years ago, and supposed to be at present in Virginia. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by her brothers, James and Patrick Fitzgerald, Randolph, Ms.

2nd October 1852

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL & MARY GOLDEN, from parish Middleton, who sailed from Cove in July, 1847- landed in New York. When last heard from were in Quayekey N.Y. He is a tailor by trade. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by his brother, DANIEL GOLDEN, Baker, – or by BARTHOLOMEW TAYLOR, No. 87 Ann street, Boston, Ms.

2nd December 1854

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN CRONIN, of Middleton, co Cork, who left home 2 yrs ago and was year since in Jago, near Buffalo, NY. Information will be received by his wife Honora, care of A A Cody, Middletown Conn.

6th October 1855

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL FITZGIBBON, of Middletown, co Cork, who landed in New York in 1850; when last heard from was in Rockett, Worcester co, NY. Please address his sisters Margaret and Ellen, care of John White, 58 Liverpool st, East Boston, Mass.

13th October 1855

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK & MARTIN BARRY, of Middleton, co’y Cork, who were last heard of in Corning Steuben co, NY, and are supposed to be in Michigan. Information received by their brother John, Floras Depot, Dinwiddy co, Va.

24th November 1855

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN, Mary and Bridget MOORE, of parish Middleton, co’y Cork; when last heard from John was in Albany 7 years ago. His father is anxious to hear of him or his sisters. Please address John Moore, care of Mr P Doyle, Arcade, Toronto, CW.

5th January 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF MARGARET AHEARN, of parish Middleton, Cork, who came to this country about 6 months ago, and landed in New York city, where she was last heard from. Information received by her sister Ellen, care of Miss. Eliza Ahearn, 23 Joy st, Boston, Mass.

16th February 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN and JOSEPH SCANLIN, native of Midletown, Co Cork, when last heard of John was some four years ago, was in Pittsburg. Information received by their sister Mary; address, care of Mathew Lians, No 54 Light St, Baltimore.

8th March 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF MARY FAILY, (then her maiden name) of parish Middleton, co Cork, who when last heard of, 3 years ago, was in Catherine Slip, No 27 New Market, N York city. Information received by her brother William, Galena, Ill.

28th June 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF ELLEN and JOHANA SHEA, of Middletown, who sailed from Cork 4 years ago last September; when last heard from , about 2 years since, were in Columbus, Ohio. Johana is married to John Hinchy, of the county Clare, who was last heard of in Toledo, O. Information received by their brother Michael, Little Valley, Catteraugus county, NY.

18th October 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. OLIVER, (maiden name Mary Fitzgerald,) a native of Middleton, who came to this country in 1836; when last heard from was in Dark county, Indiana. Information received by her sister, Bridget Burns, Zanesville, Ohio.

3rd April 1858

INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIIS O’BRINE, painter by trade, formerly of Middleton; when last heard from he was living in Sea Street, Boston. Information received by his sister, Mrs Elizabeth O’Sullivan, Jackson, Miss.

23rd October 1858

INFORMATION WANTED OF JAMES FITZGIBBON, native of parish of Middletown, who landed in Boston in 1854, and when last heard from was in Missouri, in June, 1856. Any person knowing his whereabouts would confer a great favor by addressing his sister Catherine, Roxbury, Mass.

11th December 1858

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK KEEFFE, from Middleton, who came to this country 3 or 4 years ago. Information will be thankfully received by his brother Owen, Woodberry, Baltimore county, Maryland.

2nd April 1859

INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIS O’KEEFE, a native of parish Middleton, who went to England about 13 years ago, came to America shortly after, and was last heard of in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Seventh street. Should he or any one acquainted with him see this, he will hear of something to his advantage by addressing his brother John’s wife, (maiden name Ann Fitzgerald) or Thomas McDonough, Waukegan, Lake county, Illinois.

28th May 1859

FIVE DOLLARS REWARD. INFORMATION WANTED OF DENNIS O’KEEFE, of Middleton, parish of Middleton, county Cork, who went to England 11 years ago and came to America a short time after; when last heard of he was in Seventh street, Cincinnati, Ohio. There has been a certain amount of money willed to him by his uncle. The above reward will be paid for any information of him, dead or living. All particulars can be learned by addressing Mrs. Ann Foy, or Thomas McDonough, Waukegan, Lake county, Illinois. [Advertisement was again repeated on 20th August 1859]

10th March 1860

INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIS BUCKLEY, who came to this country in April, 1857, and, when last heard from, was living in New Jersey. His brother, John, who lives in Main Street, Middletown, county Cork, Ireland, is anxious to hear of him, care of his cousin, Denis Conway, Middleton, Mass.

22nd September 1860

INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS FITZGERALD, of parish Middleton, who left Nashville, in October, 1858, for Cincinnati. Please address Helen Fitzgerald Nashville, Tenn.

13th July 1861

INFORMATION WANTED OF JEREMIAH CASHMAN, who left the parish of Middleton in 1854, and is supposed to have gone to Chicago or Kentucky. His mother and friends are anxious to hear from him at 270 North Eutau street, Baltimore, Maryland.

13th December 1862

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN WALSH, a blacksmith by trade, native of the parish of Lisgoold, Middletown, county Cork; when last heard from in February last, had landed in Boston, and began working at his trade. His age is about 20 years. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his sister Eliza Walsh, No 3 Clark st, Newport, RI.

13th October 1866

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MULLINS, of Middleton, county Cork, who sailed from Liverpool for this country in 1859. He is supposed to be in some of the Western States. Any information concerning him will be thankfully received by his brother, Jeremiah Mullins, Burlington, Vermont.

13th July 1867

INFORMATION WANTED OF GARRET BARRY, (butcher) a native of the parish of Lisgool, county Cork, Ireland, who left Middleton, county Cork, for this country in the year 1844 or ’45, and has not been heard from since. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, John Barry, No 6 Lawrence street court, Charlestown, Mass.

22nd February 1868

INFORMATION WANTED OF DANIEL SULLIVAN, a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left Ireland about 15 years ago and came to Boston. he left Boston about eleven years ago, and went to New South Wales; when last heard from, about seven years ago, he was in Munderlow Bridge, New South Wales. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his father, Daniel Sullivan, No. 42 Billerica street, Bost, Mass. New South Wales papers please copy.

24th October 1868

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK DEXTER, a native of Chapel Road, Middleton, county Cork, Ireland. He went home from Boston about four years ago to see his mother, and left there to come back to Boston. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, James Dexter, 128 Albany street, Boston, Mass.

5th February 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF JAMES McSWINEY, a native of Middleton, county Cork, Ireland; when last heard of was in San Francisco, Cal; he wrote to his sister Jane in September, 1859; said he had a farm of one hundred acres in Penola Valley, Contra Costa country, Cal. He is about 28 years of age, and has been to sea some time after leaving Middleton. Any information of him, dead or alive, will be thankfully received by his sisters, Jane or Bessie McSwiney, Main street, Middleton, county Cork, Ireland; or by John Mahoney, Co. G, 3d Regiment U.S. Cavalry, Fort Union, New Mexico. California papers please copy.

26th February 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF EDMOND O’LOUGHLIN, formerly of Middleton, county Cork, now living in Boston, will oblige a cousin by sending his present address to C.R., Post-office, Montreal, Canada.

28th May 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF MARGARET SCANLAN, a native of parish of Middleton, county Cork, who married a man by the name of Michael Hennisy, about 20 years ago; when last heard from, about 10 years ago, she was in Springfield, Mass. Information will be received be her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Stark, Brown county, Minn.

2nd July 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF FANNY CALLAHEN, from Middleton, county Cork, who came to this country about 10 years ago, she got married since, but don’t know her husband’s name; when last heard from was in West Constant, outside of Boston. Information of her will be received by her brother, John Callahen, Onota, Grand Island, Lake Superior, Mich.

16th July 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF WILLIAM O’CONNELL, a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left Charleston, Kinawa county, West Virginia, in June, 1869, and has not been heard from since. Information of him will be received by his wife, Mary O’Connell, Charleston, Kinawa county, West Virginia.

22nd April 1871

INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS WHITE, baker by trade, son of John and Margaret White, a native of Middleton, county Cork; when last heard from was in Melbourne, Australia. Information concerning him will be received by his sisters. Address Hanora White, care of John Flynn, No. 5 Mystic Place, Charlestown. Mass.

17th June 1871

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL LOMASNEY, a native of Castlmartyr, county Cork, who emigrated from Middleton, of said county, in 1869; aged 26 years; when least heard of he was in Savannah, Georgia, January, 1871. Information of him will be received by his brother, Thomas Lomasney, Portland, Middlesex county, Conn.

14th October 1871

INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS CONAL, or his wife (maiden name Nellie McCarty), born in Middleton, county Cork, who came to Boston 26 years ago; they moved from Boston to Norwich, Conn., where they lived about seven years; when last heard from, about 18 years ago, they were in the State of New York. Information of them will be received by her brother, Timothy McCarty, No. 1 Foster place, Boston, Mass. [an advertisement of 21st October corrects to ‘born in Churchtown, near Middleton’]

27th June 1874

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MCDERMOTT, Middleton, co. Cork, who left Ireland about four years ago, and landed in New York; from there he went West. His brother heard a short time ago that he was in New Hampshire, but left there for Maine or Massachusetts. Any one knowing where he is will confer a great favor by addressing his brother, Patrick McDermott, corner of Warren and Jefferson streets, East Cambridge, Mass.

12th September 1874

INFORMATION WANTED OF COLMAN and MICHAEL SISK, of Midleton, county Cork, who are supposed to be residing at present in some one of the Eastern States. Any person knowing their present address will confer a great favor by communicating the same to William Kidney, corner of Compton and Clark avenue, St. Louis, Mo.

21st August 1875

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK, COLEMAN and MICHAEL SPLAIN, sons of Patrick Splain and Johanna Day, parish of Midleton, county Cork; they left Ireland 25 years ago; when last heard from Michael and Patrick were in Washington county, Vermont, and Coleman somewhere in Massachusetts. Information of them will be received by Lawrence Splain, Putnam county, N.Y.

14th January 1877

INFORMATION WANTED OF ANDREW HYDE, formerly of Middletown, county Cork; when last heard from was in Portland, Conn. Information of him will be received by his sister, Minnie Hyde, 374 Main Street, Charlestown, Mass.

24th January 1880

INFORMATION WANTED OF OWEN O’KEEFFE, son of Owen and Ellen O’Keeffe (maiden name Coleman), a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left home about 28 years ago, and went to England; left there for this country; when last heard from was in California. Information of him will be received by his brother, John O’Keeffe, Hingham, Mass.

21st May 1892

INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. MARY COTTER, (born Mary Upton), a native of parish of Middleton, County Cork, who came to this country when young. It is known that she settled in Boston, and that her family are at present living in this city, Boston or vicinity. Any information of her, or any of her family, will be thankfully received by Miss Maggie Upton, a niece of Mrs. Cotter. Address 2256 North Ninth Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

22nd April 1905

INFORMATION WANTED OF ELLIE KENEALY, daughter of John Kenealy, hardware merchant of Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, who I think is now in Boston , or vicinity, will communicate with John Walsh, of East Berlin, Conn., she will hear of something to her advantage.

23rd December 1911

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL and DENIS and HONORA DENEHY, brothers and sister, born near the town of Middleton, County Cork, Ireland, went to America about 1860 or 1861; last heard of was at Boston Mass. Brother Thomas, address Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, would like to hear from above or any of their family.

References

Harris, Ruth-Ann M., Donald M. Jacobs, and B. Emer O’Keeffe, editors. Searching for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in “The Boston Pilot 1831–1920”. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1989.

Categories: 20th Century, Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Searching for East Cork’s 19th Century Emigrants: New York ‘Information Wanted’ Ads

Modern technology means that today’s East Cork emigrants can stay in almost constant contact with their families at home. Such was not the case in the 19th century. When people took the ’emigrant boat’ to the United States in the 1800s, it was entirely possible that parents, brothers, sisters and friends would never hear from them again. This problem of communication was accentuated by the fact that so many were illiterate. What to do then, if you were seeking to find friends and loved ones in America?

How the 'Information Wanted' advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

How the ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

Many Cork people arrived in the United States following in the footsteps of family members, and often had to try to find them. One of the most common ways of attempting this was by taking out a ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement in Irish newspapers like the New York Irish American Weekly and the Boston Pilot. In the 1850s you could have your ad placed in four issues of the Irish American for $1. These New York advertisements have been gathered together by Laura Murphy DeGrazia and Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh in their book ‘Irish Relatives and Friends’. We decided to look at some of the New York entries of people from East Cork, arranged by location below. The advertisements from the Boston Pilot have been made available online for free by Boston College, so you can explore them here. Through these ads we gain a glimpse of the realities of emigration– people like Dan Flavin from Killeagh, searching for his parents who went to Louisiana 15 years before him; like Ann Dunlay of Lisgoold, who was searching for her sisters who had been in New York’s Deaf and Dumb Institute; and people like Mary McGrath from Cloyne, who was being sought by an admirer who met her on Hudson River boat.

Ballymacoda

21st July 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Patt Shanahan, Parish of Ballymacody, County Cork, Ireland. Address Thomas Carroll, Orderly of Ward 28, Ward’s Island, N.Y.

Carrigtwohill

18th April 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Spillane, of Carrigtwohill, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from he was in Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut]. Information of him will be gratefully received by his brother, Cornelius Spillane, who has just come to this country, at 62 Fayette Street, Lowell, Mass. [Massachsetts].

Castlemartyr

3rd February 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Norrey Connell, daughter of James Connell, a native of Castlemartyr, County Cork, Ireland. She will confer a favor by calling on Jeremiah McCarthy, Mo. 15 Thames Street, New York.

28th May 1870

INFORMATION WANTED of John Harnett, a native of Castlemartyr, County Cork, Ireland, who left New York for Alton, Ill. [Illinois], in 1850; or his wife Anastacia Ryan. Any information concerning them will be thankfully received by Mrs. Mary Hynes, No 310 E. 49th Street, New York City. Alton, Ill. [Illinois], papers please copy.

Cloyne

9th August 1862

INFORMATION WANTED If Miss Mary McGrath, a school teacher by profession, and formerly of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, will make known her address, through the Irish American, or the “personals” of the New York Herald, she will hear from a friend whom she met about two years ago on board a Hudson River Passenger boat, while in company with another young lady named Maggy.

12th May 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Ellen Fitzgerald, daughter of Michael Fitzgerald and Ellen Wallace, of Kilbree, Parish of Cloyne, Barony of Imikelly, Diocese of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, who arrived in New York two weeks ago in the City of New York, from Queenstown, Ireland. Her uncle’s son, David Wallace, of Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut], would be thankful to any one who would inform him of her whereabouts. Any information of her will be received at the office of this paper.

15th February 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of John and Thomas Lewis, who left Ballintrim, near Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, twenty-seven years ago. When last heard of, they were in New York City. Maurice Lewis, their brother, would be thankful for any information of them – He resides at Eagle Mills, Rensselaer Co., N.Y.

7th November 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of Thomas Finn, a native of the Parish of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard of he was in Richmond Iron Works, Mass. [Massachusetts]. Intelligence of him will be thankfully received by his brother, William Finn, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut].

6th March 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of John Hogan, son of Michael Hogan and Ellen Wheelihan, a native of Ballywilliam, Parish of Cloyne, County of Cork, Ireland, who left Albany, N.Y., about thirteen years ago, and went to Chicago, ILL. [Illinois]- Any information concerning him will be thankfully received by addressing his cousin, Catherine Battersbee – maiden name, Catherine Higgins – as he will hear something to his advantage. Address John Battersbee, West Merriden, Conn. [Connecticut]. Western papers, please copy.

4th September 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Margaret Cullinane, of the commons of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, who came to this country April 21, 1854, from Queenstown. When last heard from she was in Brooklyn, N.Y., about 11 years ago. Any information of her, dead or alive, will be thankfully received by her sister, Hanora Cullinane (who came to this country 4 years ago), in care of Patrick Curtis, Dedhan, Mass. [Massachusetts].

Cobh

23rd June 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Fitzgerald, a native of Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, John Fitzgerald, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut].

4th March 1871

INFORMATION WANTED of Robert Miller, a butcher by trade, and a native of Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Information of him will be thankfully received by his daughter Catharine. Address Mrs. McCloskey, 180 Lorimor Street, Williamsburgh, Long Island, N.Y.

Dungourney

21st May 1864

INFORMATION WANTED of Coleman Ahern, a native of Ballyknock, parish of Dongourney, County Cork, Ireland. He left Ireland 11 years ago. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, Michael Ahern, by addressing him care of Thomas Downing, to No. 335 West 26th St., New York.

Killeagh

26th May 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Daniel Flavin, of the County Cork, Parish of Youghal, near Killeagh, or of Johanna, his wife, who is about fourteen or fifteen years in this country; supposed to be in New Orleans; when last heard from about twelve years ago were in New Orleans. Any information from them will be thankfully received by their son, Dan Flavin, who arrived in this country a few weeks ago, and wishes to hear from his parents. A line can be addressed to Thomas Egan, Waterford, Saratoga County, New York.

18th January 1862

INFORMATION WANTED of Richard Maguire, of Killeagh, County Cork, Ireland, will be thankfully received by his brother James, of whom he may hear something to his advantage by addressing James Carroll, No. 3, Catherine Slip, New York.

9th October 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Wm. Kalerher, who left Danning, Parish of Kileagh, County Cork, Ireland, and came to Boston, Mass. [Massachusetts], with his aunt Mary Smiddy, about 17 years ago, and was not heard from for the last two years. Information of him will be thankfully received by his brothers, Simon and Patrick Kalerher, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut], or by P.H. Hodnett, Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut].

Lisgoold

26th August 1854

INFORMATION WANTED of Denis O’Brien, from the parish of Lisgoold, County Cork, Ireland, who left Chicago a year ago last Spring and went to Minnesota Territory. When last heard of he was in St. Paul’s. Any intelligence of him directed to this office will be thankfully received by his sister Mary.

2nd October 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Elizabeth and Mary Dunlay, natives of the Parish of Lisgold, County of Cork, Ireland, who emigrated to this country about thirty years ago, and lived fifteen years in the Deaf and Dumb Institute, New York. They are daughters of Edward Dunlay and Mary Cotter. Information of them will be thankfully received by their sister, Ann Dunlay. Inquire of Stephen O’Reilly, 44 Essex Street, New York.

Midleton

17th December 1853

INFORMATION WANTED of Jeremiah Hegarty, Tailor, of Middletown, Co. Cork who left Cork, Ireland, about August, 1850. Any information concerning him will be very thankfully received by his last employer of the Brickfields, Cork, (Wm. F.) who now follows business in North Orange, Essex Co., New Jersey, who would wish to see him as soon as possible.

4th September 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Mary Draddy, a native of Loughaderry, Parish of Middleton, County Cork, Ireland, who emigrated to America about 15 years ago. When last heard of she was in New York. Information of her will be thankfully received by her brother, John Draddy, at Wm. O’Leary’s, 318 East 11th Street, New York. Western papers, please copy.

Youghal

10th February 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Walsh, of Youghal, and his wife, Catharine Clooney of Waterford, Ireland, by Johanna Clooney, her sister, and Ellen Clooney, her niece. When last heard from was in Buffalo, but is supposed to be now in Canada. Address Johanna Clooney, in care of Michael Comber, 20th Street, between Walnut and Georges Sts., Philadelphia.

13th June 1863

INFORMATION WANTED of Timothy Whealan and Mrs. Whealan, of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from (13th June 1862), they were in Boston, Mass. [Massachusetts]. Any information of them will be thankfully received by writing to Eliza Canty, Elizabethport, New Jersey.

27th June 1863

INFORMATION WANTED of John Hennessy, of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, who left Liverpool for Boston in 1852, aged about 49 years. When last heard from was in the state of Illinois. Any information of him will be most thankfully received by his old friend, Catherine Foley, 939 North Second Street, Philadelphia, PA [Pennsylvania].

9th July 1864

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael O’Keefe, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from (seven years ago0 he resided in New York. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, James O’Keeffe, by writing to him to 116 Cedar Street, New York.

3rd March 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Ellen Hannon, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, who was married to William Healy, of the same place. When last heard from, five years ago, she resided at Greenpoint, Long Island, N.Y. Information of her will be thankfully received by her brother, Richard Hannon, by writing to him in care of Mr. John Kane, 79 Roosevelt Street, N.Y.

9th April 1870

INFORMATION WANTED of John Griffin, a basket maker, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his first cousin, Johanna Griffin, daughter of James Griffin, by writing to her husband, Martin Hurley, Waverly Heights Post Office, Montgomery County, PA [Pennsylvania].

References

Laura Murphy DeGrazia & Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh 2001. Irish Relatives and Friends: From “Information Wanted” Ads in the Irish-American, 1850-1871.

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Midleton Emigrants in 1940s America

After the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 the United States mobilised for war. In 1942 men had to register for the draft, including those who were deemed to old for active service. The ‘Old man’ draft was targeted at men aged between 45 and 64 who were capable of providing assistance to the war effort on the Home Front. Those registered were born on or after 28th April 1877 and on or before 16th February 1897. Their official registration day for the draft was 27th April 1942. A number of the men who presented to provide their details were from Midleton, so we took a look at ten of them. You can find out who they were, and what information was recorded for them, below. 

Vincent John Egan

Vincent lived at 5324 Greenway Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was recorded as 59 years old, having been born on 22nd July 1882. His telephone was PH12A and he listed Mrs. Margaret Egan, 5324 Greenway, Philadelphia as the person who would always know his address. He was employed at the Pennsylvania Railroad Park Shop in Philadelphia. His height was recorded as 5 feet 6 1/2 inches, with a weight of 145 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a ruddy complexion.

Christopher Francis Collins

Christopher lived at 30 Lancaster St., Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. He was 61 years old and had been born on 28th May 1880. His telephone was 2252M, and the person who would always know his address was Mrs. Florence E. Collins of 30 Lancaster St., Leominster. He was employed by the Northern Chair Company, 221 Lancaster Street, Leominster, Massachusetts. Christopher was 5 feet 10 1/2 inches tall and weighted 145 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a sallow complexion.

William Casey

William lived in Lincoln, New Hampshire. He was 60 years old and had been born on 23rd December 1881. The person who would always know his address was given as Sherman Adams of Lincoln, New Hampshire. He was employed by the Parker Young Company of Lincoln. William was 6 feet tall and 195 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

James Patrick Moore

James lived at 20 Clantoy, Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. He was 53 years old and had been born on 6th June 1888. His telephone was 3-0662.The person who would always know his address was Mrs. J. Moore. He was employed at Gilbert & Barker on Union Street in West Springfield. James was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown eyes, gray hair and a ruddy complexion.

Michael John Murphy

Michael lived at 20 Linwood Square, Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He was 59 years old having been born on 29th September 1883. The person who would always know his address was Mrs. Katherine Murphy of the same address. Michael worked for himself at 1260 Columbus Avenue in Roxbury. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 140 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

No. 1 Wall Street in New York, where William Edward Charles Perrott from Midleton worked in 1942 (Gryffindor via Wikipedia)

No. 1 Wall Street in New York, where William Edward Charles Perrott from Midleton worked in 1942 (Gryffindor via Wikipedia)

William John Cotter

William lived at 20 Tower St., East Bolton in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He was born on 14th November 1895 and was 46 years old. His telephone was East Bolton 1762W. The person who would always know his address was his wife Margaret Cotter. William worked for the First National Bank of Boston at 67 Milk Street in Boston. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 195 lbs. He had blue eyes, grayish hair and a light complexion.

Michael Moore

Michael lived at R.F.D.L. Keyport in Monmouth, New Jersey. He was born on 8th June 1882 and was 59 years old. The person who would always know his address was his sister Mrs. Annie Eustace. He was described as self-employed, working on farms in Middletown Township. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 148 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

William Mansfield

William lived at 444 East 145th Street in the Bronx, New York. He was 48 years old and had been born on 11th May 1893. The person who would always know his address was Mrs. Nora Blackburn of 426 East 26th Street in New York. He worked for Mr. Redner at the United Fruit Company at Pier 9 in New York. He was 5 feet 9 inches in height and weighed 140 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a sallow complexion.

William Edward Charles Perrott

William lived at 148-02 Sutter Avenue, South Ozone Park, New York. He was 53, having been born on 11th February 1889. The person who would always know his address was his aunt, Mrs. E.C. Babcock of 145 95th Street in Brooklyn. William worked for the Irving Trust Company, at the notable address of 1 Wall Street in New York. He was 5 feet 9 1/2 inches in height, and weighed 145 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

James J. O’Brien

James lived at 418 Fifth Street in Brooklyn. He was 55 years old having been born on 1st January 1886. The name of the person who would always know his address was Anna O’Brien who shared his address. James worked for United Parcel at 338 East 38th Street in New York. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 165 lbs. He had gray eyes, black hair and a light complexion.

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Midleton’s Most Famous Forgotten Son? General John Joseph Coppinger

Many of Midleton’s men and women have emigrated down through the years, settling all over the globe and becoming part of the Irish diaspora. Some went on to become relatively famous abroad- for example Nellie Cashman– a woman who will be the topic a future post. However one man, although his family name remains closely associated with Midleton, is not well-known in the town of his birth. This is despite the fact that he is undoubtedly one of the town’s most successful and colourful emigrants. His name was John Joseph Coppinger.

Coppinger was born in Midleton on 11th October 1834, into the powerful Catholic landowning family. He was one of six children of William Joseph Coppinger and Margaret O’Brien. We don’t know much about John’s early life, until he begins his first associations with the military- associations that would continue across more than half a century. He first tested out the military in the 1st Regiment of the Warwickshire Militia- The London Gazette of 12th October 1855 recorded that ‘John Joseph Coppinger Gent.’ was to be an Ensign from the 29th September. However, his life of adventure really started in 1860 when he became a Captain in the Papal Battalion, a group of Irishmen which travelled to Italy to defend the Papal States from the ongoing efforts to reunify Italy. During the fighting there the young Midleton man performed well- his defence of the La Rocca gateway that September earned him the position of Chevalier and two Papal decorations. (1)

Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede (For the Chair of Peter) awarded to members of the Papal Battalion, including John Joseph Coppinger (Robert Doyle)

Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede (For the Chair of Peter) awarded to members of the Papal Battalion, including John Joseph Coppinger (Robert Doyle)

When the Papal War was lost, John Joseph Coppinger was one of a number of men in the Battalion who elected not to return home permanently. Instead he travelled to the United States. According to one account, upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, Archbishop Hughes of New York sought advice from clergy in Ireland as to young Irishmen of influence who might come to America to become officers: …’Bishop Keane, the patriotic prelate of Cloyne, who had been parish priest of Midleton, recommended [Coppinger]…and he was one of six young Irishmen who came to the United States as commissioned officers.‘ (2)

So began John Joseph Coppinger’s long an extremely successful career in the United States military. In September 1861 he was appointed to the rank of Captain in the 14th United States Infantry. Joining the Union Army of the Potomac in July of 1862, he was severely wounded when he was shot through the neck at the Second Battle of Bull Run on 30th August. Lucky to survive, it took him six months to recuperate. John returned to active duty and in 1863 participated in the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. (3)

General Torbert and his staff during the American Civil War. John Joseph Coppinger is seated at the front left (Library of Congress)

General Torbert and his staff during the American Civil War. John Joseph Coppinger is seated at the front left (Library of Congress)

During the Civil War Coppinger was brevetted a Major for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Trevilian Station on 12th June 1864, and brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel for the same reason after the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19th October that year. At the time he had been serving on the staff of Cavalry General Alfred Torbert. Recommended for promotion by men such as George Armstrong Custer and Phil Sheridan, Coppinger was appointed Colonel of the 15th New York Cavalry on 19th January 1865, a position he held until the close of the war. (4)

Detail of the Civil War photograph showing Midleton's John Joseph Coppinger (Library of Congress)

Detail of the Civil War photograph showing Midleton’s John Joseph Coppinger (Library of Congress)

After the war Coppinger returned to the rank of Captain in the regular army and was transferred to the 23rd United States Infantry, with whom he served on the Western Plains. He earned another brevet, this time to Colonel in 1868, for ‘energy and zeal while in command of troops operating against hostile Indians in 1866, 1867 and 1868.’  In 1871 he returned to Cork to attend to family business resulting from a bereavement, and took the opportunity to visit Egypt. However, it was always his intention to return to the United States, and he was soon back in the American West. The Midleton man had a reputation as a dashing officer, and after his return to America he landed in hot water, when he was accused of seducing another man’s wife in California. Described by his accuser as ‘a gay Lothario in epaulettes…a…bold, unprincipled adventurer …a serpent’, Coppinger was outraged by what he described as ‘infamous falsehoods’, but whoever was in the right, the incident eventually died down. It did not hurt his military career, as John was promoted to Major in 10th United States Infantry in 1879 and Lieutenant-Colonel in the 18th United States Infantry in 1883. 1883 was also the year he finally married, tying the knot with Alice Stanwood Blaine (25 years his junior) in Washington D.C. on 6th February. The wedding was attended by President Arthur and his cabinet, a mark of how high Coppinger had risen. The couple would go on to have two sons, Blaine and Conor, but Alice would die tragically young just seven years later, during an influenza epidemic. (5)

John’s march through the ranks of the army continued. He was promoted to  Colonel as a result of service rendered against hostile Native Americans between 1886-1888, and took command of the 23rd United States Infantry in 1891. He finally became a Brigadier-General on 25th April 1895. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, the Cork native took charge of the 1st Independent Division in Mobile, Alabama. He later served as Major-General of Volunteers commanding the IV Corps. John Joseph Coppinger retired from his 36 year career in the U.S. military on 11th October 1898. The Midleton man died in Washington D.C. on 4th November 1909, where he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (6)

General Coppinger during the Spanish-American War, 1898 (National Archives)

General Coppinger during the Spanish-American War, 1898 (National Archives)

Today John Joseph Coppinger is all but forgotten in his home town. Indeed he is one of the many hundreds if not thousands of men from around Midleton and East Cork who fought in the American Civil War and who are no longer remembered at home. Surely one of Midleton’s most successful and noteworthy emigrants, remembering John Joseph Coppinger’s life is hopefully something that will improve in the future.

The grave of General John Joseph Coppinger in Arlington National Cemetery (Brian C. Pohanka via Find A Grave)

The grave of General John Joseph Coppinger in Arlington National Cemetery (Brian C. Pohanka via Find A Grave)

*The most comprehensive research on John Joseph Coppinger to date has been carried out by the late Brian C. Pohanka, who’s work is referenced in this article and should be rightfully acknowledged.

(1) Pohanka 2013, London Gazette 1855, Tucker 2009: 135, Irish Nation 1883; (2) Irish Nation 1883; (3) Foreman 1943: 125, Tucker 2009: 135; (4) Foreman 1943: 125, Hunt 2003: 84; (5) Foreman 1943: 125, Pohanka 2013, Irish Nation 1883; (6) Foreman 1943: 125, Tucker 2009: 135;

References

The Irish Nation 17th February 1883. Colonel Coppinger.

The London Gazette 12th October 1855. Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Warwick.

Foreman, Carolyn Thomas 1943. ‘General John Joseph Coppinger Commandant Fort Gibson’ in Chronicles of Oklahoma Volume 21, No. 2.

Hunt, Roger D. 2003. Colonels in Blue: Union Army Colonels of the Civil War: New York.

Pohanka, Brian 2013. Defender of the Faith and the Union Cork Born John Joseph Coppinger 

Tucker, Spencer 2005 (ed.) The Encyclopaedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars

John Joseph Coppinger Find A Grave Memorial

Categories: Famous Links, Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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