Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Andrew Maguire

This brief autobiography was written by my great-great-grandfather, Andrew Maguire, in 1899. I’m posting it here in case it has any value as a source for family history researchers, or just as a snapshot of Irish nationalism in America at the turn of the century. I am transcribing it from a typewritten copy that has been in my family for years, which I assume was transcribed by someone else from the original. I’ve also added a few hyperlinks. I do not have copies of the documents that he refers to as “attached.”

Andrew Maguire died on March 14, 1913 in New York City.

The Autobiography of Andrew Maguire

Andrew Maguire, third son of John Maguire, was born the 4th day of August, 1831, in the town of Tempo, County of Fermanagh, Province of Ulster, Ireland.

My father’s father was John Maguire of Tempo. He was a lineal descendant of the Maguires of Tempo; senior branch of the Maguires of Fermanagh, who had been the princes and chief of the territory or principality of Fermanagh and whose rightful titles in the peerage of Ireland would now be Earl, Viscount Clanawley and Lord Baron of Enniskillen.

They were robbed of both their estates and titles by the English, whose lust for the property and titles of the Irish princes and people culminated in aggressive war, incendiarism, perjury and cold blooded murder, followed by various acts of confiscation; and one of the last noblemen of the name, the last rightful Lord of Enniskillen Lord Connor Maguire, who was betrayed into the hands of the English and taken by them to London and executed there at Tyburn in 1649 because he had been faithful to his country and his religion. His will which he made while in prison is a most remarkable historical document. I enclose a copy of it with this paper, also some letter from a member of the family from abroad, to relatives at home in America.

My father was an only son; he had three sisters.

My mother was Grace McManus, daughter of John McManus, a gentleman of education and good social standing whose brother Philip, a lawyer, was the father of Terence Bellow McManus, one of the Irish patriots of 1848, whose mother was a sister of the Reverend Dean Bellow of Monaghamm. My mother and the patriot were first cousins and resembled each other in many ways, both physically and mentally. My mother received her education at a boarding school in Doublin, and if her children were not so fortunate in the matter of education, it was certainly not her fault, and her example and the lessons of morality, self-respect and patriotism which she taught them compensated largely for the lack of a higher secular education.

My mother’s people, the McManuses, had been hereditary stewards and officials under the Maguires of Tempo for centuries; the above mentioned Philip McManus, my grand-uncle, was the last Senechal in Tempo -- with him the office died in Fermanagh and in Ireland.

My mother had seven sons and one daughter. The two youngest boys, Edward M. and Terence B. died in childhood. Edward M. is buried in the ground adjoining St. James’ Cathedral in Brooklyn. John settled in England and James, the eldest and myself, Francis and Hugh along with father and mother came to America in 1848. My father and mother died in New York and are buried in Calvary Cemetery. Francis, sister Mary and Hugh and James went South and settled in St. Louis. Mary married a Mr. Daicy, and had one child, a daughter Eveleen, who died in 1894. Francis died about 1875, leaving a son and a daughter. I remained in New York and married Jane M. Connolly, who was descended on her mother’s side from the Maguires of Tempo. My children by this marriage were six daughters, two of whom were twins, three died while infants, and Jane Agatha died at the age of twenty-one, leaving the two oldest, Mary E. and Grace C. living at the above date.

Jane M. Connolly died in 1867 and two years later I married Fanny Willoughby, whose mother was a Maguire from near Enniskillen. My children by this marriage were one daughter Fanny Eveleen, and four sons, John Hugh O’Neill, Terence Bellew McManus, Robert Emmet and Daniel C. who died when a baby. My brother died unmarried in St. Louis, in May 1889.

In 1860, I joined the 69th Regiment to mark my approval of its conduct in refusing to parade in honor of the Prince of Wales. I was afterwards elected a first Lieutenant in the 99th Regiment, commanded by Col. John O’Mahoney, then head centre of the Fenian Organization in America. I joined the Fenian Organization at the same time doing what I could for it and had the gratification of seeing it become powerful enough to strike terror into the hearts of England and forced from her parliament acts of remedial legislation such as the dis-establishment of the English Church in Ireland, the extension of the franchise and improved land laws and led up to the demand that must soon be granted, namely, Home Rule.

In 1876, Mr. John O’Connor Power came over here and in a lecture at Cooper Institute explained in a masterly manner the principles and programme of the Irish Home Rule movement, and although I had previously favored physical force I believed that for the present at least, much good might be done for the Irish National Cause on this line, and I projected the organization of a Home Rule Club to bear the name of the able expounder of the movement and with the assistance of a few friends I succeeded on Washington’s birthday in organizing the O’Connor Power Home Rule Club, with a constitution and by-laws. It was the first organization started in America to aid the home organization, and the first financial assistance received from abroad was a sum of fifty dollars sent by the Club on my motion as Treasurer, the receipt of which together with a letter accompanying it appears in the Doublin Nation, on Sept. 29th 1877.

After some time it was suggested by some members that the name of an individual was not broad enough and it was changed to the “Irish Home Rule Club” I did not favor the change but submitted to it in the interest of harmony, but I must say that the change was not made through any disrespect or want of confidence in Mr. Power, far from it. Altogether the Club sent about two thousand five hundred dollars to Ireland. We assisted Miss Fanny Parnell to organize “the Ladies’ Land League”, myself and several of our members including Mr. John Boyle attended their first meeting in the New York Hotel, and Mr. Boyle delivered an address and presented them with a fine picture of the last Irish Parliament, the gift of another member, Mr. Thos. J. Byrne, who was a most active worker and a liberal patron of the movement. My wife took an active part in the Ladies’ League and was its Treasurer during its existence, meantime the members of the Club were zealous in encouraging Irish Organizations generally, including the Parnell Land League, which grew to large proportions. During about six of the most prosperous years of the Club’s existence, its meetings were held in my house and I used my best efforts to, and succeeded in having it refuse to admit to membership either liquor dealers or professional politicians. To this I attributed its great success. While it restricted membership it made up for that by increased efficiency, unity, singleness of purpose, etc. When this rule was withdrawn the efficiency and character of the Club ceased to be what it had been, and shortly afterwards and before its dissolution I had retired from active participation in its affairs.

Andrew Maguire

New York, March 4th 1899.

Andrew Maguire, Verona, New Jersey, about 1907

(You can contact me, Chris Liebig, by emailing me at my name (with no spaces) followed by the “at” symbol followed by gmail dot com.)