Saturday, November 17, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 46

For the writing prompt Random Fact, I am relaying a tidbit about my maternal 2nd great-grandfather Patrick Maher. Patrick was born about 1819 in Tipperary, Ireland, where he married Mary Flynn. Their first three children, Patrick, Julia, and Alice, were born in Ireland. The youngest three, Bridget (my great-grandmother), Mary, and Ellen, were born in the United States following the family’s emigration in 1855.

Patrick Maher was drafted into Civil War service in the Second Congressional District of Hamilton County, Ohio in May of 1863. He listed that he would be 44 years of age as of the 1st of July, 1863. It is interesting to note that a Michael Maher and a Timothy Maher, also both 44 years of age, appear on the same draft registration page as Patrick. Michael even lived on the same street as Patrick. Were they related?

My random fact about Patrick appeared in a 13 June 1866 article in The Cincinnati Enquirer. The post listed all the Fenians from Cincinnati and the surrounding area who had been captured by the United States steamer Michigan. Some background on the Fenians is as follows:

The Fenian Brotherhood was established in the United States in 1858, with the goal being to help fund a rebellion in Ireland. They wanted to help the Irish in their fight for independence from the British. Later, a group of Irish Americans decided to focus on a closer target: British Canada. At the end of the Civil War in 1866, the Fenians built an army of combat veterans. As over 150,000 Irish immigrants had fought for the Union, they had a large pool of men from which to draw.

On 1 June 1866 one thousand Fenians led an attack into Canada by crossing the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY. It was fairly unsuccessful, and on 3 June the officers and some of their troops were taken aboard the Michigan. The men were held until the Canadian government announced they would not seek extradition of them. Another unsuccessful raid took place on 7 June. The US government began to arrest known and suspected Fenians, and some of the remaining Fenians in Canada were transported back to the US on 12 June 1866. Many of them were later pardoned by President Johnson.

Patrick Maher was one of the men arrested. An article in the Cincinnati paper in 1870 listed Patrick as an officer in the local Fenian organization. Apparently he was not deterred by his previous arrest.

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