Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

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Sduddy
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Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:27 pm

Among those members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians) who are remembered by John Devoy in his Recollections of an Irish Rebel, are six men from Co. Clare: Thomas McCarthy Fennell, John Clune, Patrick Keating, Penn, Tierney and Curry (I'm not absolutely sure that Curry is from Co. Clare).
None of these are as famous as Stephen Joseph Meaney (c1825-1888), of course: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... _meany.htm. Or as famous as John Philip Holland, who is associated with the Fenians because Clan na Gael funded his research into the possibility of an under-water vessel, and his first submarine was called Fenian Ram, but as far as I know he was never sworn into membership. He later broke with the Fenians over the issue of payment. There is a good biographical piece on him on clarelibary.ie: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... olland.htm

Mentions of Co. Clare and Claremen can be found by doing a word-search of the book: https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland//imag ... _Devoy.pdf, but I’ve transcribed some of the mentions so that they will be searchable:

(1) Thomas McCarthy Fennell: (p 230) “Thomas McCarthy Fennell, who led at Kilbaha, had no military training or experience, but was a man of fine character. He was sentenced to a term of penal servitude, most of which he served in Western Australia, and was released, with all civilian prisoners, through Gladstone’s Partial Amnesty of 1869. The first time I met him was when he came to New York to lay before me his plan for the rescue of the Fenian soldier prisoners whom he had left behind him in Western Australia.
Had the Fenians in Clare been given the opportunity they would have acquitted themselves well in the Rising and would have bagged more than two little Coastguard stations. But Kilbaha and Carrigaholt were victories and they had no failures. That is a record made by no other county in the Rising of 1867.”
(p 253) “Thomas McCarthy Fennell, who had been released from Australia several years previously with the civilian prisoners, was the first man in America to suggest a practical idea, which was to send an American vessel, loaded with granin or some other cargo and later pick up the prisoners”.

(2) John Clune: (p 32) “Clare was one of the best Fenian counties in Ireland – due to the initiative of Edmund O’Donovan, and John Clune, whom he swore in. Clune was arrested early in 1866, but was released on bail because he made himself sick by eating soap in Mountjoy Prison, so that he might not have to go to America – as most of the prisoners were then compelled to do, if they were to secure their freedom. It nearly killed him, as there was arsenic in the soap”.
(p 228) “The Rising in Clare would have been more formidable, but for the arrest of John Clune, with Lieutenant-Coloney John G. Healy and David Murphy of Limerick as they were passing through Clare in February, as Colonel O’Connor had just started his insurrection in Kerry. They had apparently got the original order to start the fight on February 11, but had not heard of the postponement. Had they reached Clare there would undoubtedly have been a good fight in old Corcabaiscin and it would very probably have led to a general Rising throughout the country. Of course, it could not have succeeded, owing to the lack of arms, but it would have been of a more serious character than the fiasco of March 5 and to some extent would have saved the credit of the movement”.

(3) Patrick Keating: (p 143) “Patrick Keating, a handsome six feet two Clareman, as “Centre” of the Fifth Dragoon Guards. When a much younger man Keating had enlisted in the Sixth Carbineers, and his family had “bought him out”. During that enlistment he was on John Mitchel’s secort when they took him away to the ship in 1848, and again, in his second term, he was on the Luby escort. The thought of it was too much for him, and as he saw Luby taken from the van and into Mountjoy Prison he burst into tears. The sight of the helmeted dragoon, sword in hand, with tears streaming down his cheeks, made him a marked man, and he was one of the first soldiers arrested in 1866. He died of heart disease, a prisoner in Western Australia”.

(4) Penn, Tierney and Curry (no first names): (p 148) “The twenty men of the 87th were a typical lot of Irish soldiers… one Clareman named Penn had seen eighteen years’ service. Three years more would retire him on pension. They got thirty days’ furlough each and thirty shillings for thirty days’ pay. Out of this they each paid ten shillings for their passage to Dublin on the London steamer which called at Portsmouth, Southampton, Plymouth and Falmouth on its way to Dublin. When their furlough had expired and they found that the fight had been postponed, they decided to remain and we had to provide them with civilian clothes. We had them put on 1s 6s a day subsistence money soon after their arrival, and they stood their ground ready for any emergency until, one by one, they were all arrested during the course of the next few months. As not a man of them turned informer they could only be punished for desertion and making away with their kits. They all got the longest terms the military law allowed.
Two of them were exceptions to this, Curry and another corporal named Tierney, a Clareman. Curry was convicted on the evidence of informers from other regiments … He was sentenced to two years and fifty lashes.
A report of the flogging, clipped from the Daily Express, was smuggled into Mountjoy Prison to P. J. McDonnell in a boiled potato and, as he was in the next cell to me, he passed me the clipping. It said that during the flogging Curry never winced or moved a muscle. When I met him in New York in 1871 and told him this, he said: “Be Japers, John, I had sixpence between my teeth.”… Curry went from New York to Australia in 1877 and I have never heard from him since”.
Corporal Tierney was not arrested until he made an attempt to kill Warner, the old army pensioner who had drilled the Cork Fenians and turned informer to save himself. Tierney was sentenced to imprisonment for life and after spending many years in Spike Island was released, utterly broken in health, and came to America. He died in New Haven, Conn., and the Clan-na-Gael of that city, through the efforts of Captain Larry O’Brien, erected a fine monument over his grave”.

There’s a mention on p 23-24 of two O’Clohessy brothers, John and Michael from Dublin, who were sons of an R.I.C. policeman from Clare, but no first name for that policeman.

There are, of course, many Clare Fenians not mentioned in this personal account by John Devoy. In the chapter XXXIX on the Catalpa rescue, there’s no mention of Patrick Moloney of Freemantle (mentioned as a “good Clareman” in ‘The Great Shame’ by Thomas Keneally). Very possibly, Molony was not a Fenian, but he was host to John J. Breslin during the Catalpa rescue: https://fremantlestuff.info/fhs/fs/5/Graham.html

Sheila

smcarberry
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by smcarberry » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:27 am

Sduddy wrote:...Tierney... (no first names)...Tierney was sentenced to imprisonment for life and after spending many years in Spike Island was released, utterly broken in health, and came to America. He died in New Haven, Conn., and the Clan-na-Gael of that city, through the efforts of Captain Larry O’Brien, erected a fine monument over his grave”.
Well, let's ensure that Fenian Tierney is known by his first name: Patrick. A few other Irish-born Tierney men lived in New Haven in the same time period, but they are present throughout the 1870s. Patrick was noted on the 1880 census as having an abcess, a single man. His gravestone has no photo but a volunteer has transcribed its inscription, which fits the story. West Haven is basically a New Haven city suburb. Interesting that Patrick received his U.S. citizenship in May, 1866, at New Haven.

Sharon C.
Tierney the Fenian, New Haven CT.JPG
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Sduddy
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:11 am

Hi Sharon

Yes, if Patrick Tierney was Naturalized in 1866, then “interesting” is the word.
The mention of Tierney comes at the point in the book where John Devoy gets a letter from James Stephens appointing him as Chief Organizer of the British Troops in Ireland – the letter is dated Oct. 26, 1865. And the recollection of this event leads Devoy to recall some of the men he met at that time. He goes on to speak of William Curry as the man who recruited the men of the 87th, among whom is “one Clareman named Penn”. “They were all arrested during the course of the next few months”, which means that they were arrested in late 1866, or early 1867. The two who got longer sentences were Curry and Tierney, a Clareman. This means that Tierney’s sentence began in 1867. Well, none of that squares with naturalization in the U.S. in 1866. Interesting, indeed.
It’s become clear to me now (with that re-read) that Curry is William Curry and that there’s nothing to say he’s a Clareman. According to Devoy, he went to Australia in 1877.

Sheila

Jimbo
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Jimbo » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:01 pm

The story of Patrick Tierney (alias Edward O'Connor) is told in great detail at the website feniangraves.net Scroll down to the bottom for photos of the very handsome headstone in New Haven. I believe there is a typo in the article as his mother died in 1872 per other newspaper articles (and not 1842).

http://feniangraves.net/Tierney,%20Patrick/bio.htm

His arrival on the "City of Chester" on 13 December 1878 was big news in the New York newspapers. His death in 1882 was also highly reported in the Irish NY papers. I had a look for him on the ship register unsuccessfully. But from reading the above biography, Patrick Tierney joined the "City of Chester" with special treatment so perhaps this makes sense.

Another write-up on Patrick Tierney in the Irish Examiner newspaper from 2011.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/farming/l ... 51360.html

With this additional information including that his sister was Bridget Cullen (who was instrumental in his release), perhaps you can identify who his parents were in Ennis.

Jimbo
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Jimbo » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:15 pm

And here is your Clare Fenian Thomas McCarthy Fennell:

http://feniangraves.net/Fennell,%20Thom ... Carthy.htm

Couldn't find the others on their listing:

http://feniangraves.net/Biographies.html

johnmayer
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by johnmayer » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:21 pm

There was only one Tierney baptized in Kilmaley Parish. Oddly enough his name was Patrick and he was baptized on March 15, 1835. Son of John Tierney and Bridget Hehir. His sponsors were John and Mary O'Connor.

I thought it was interesting that Tierney and O'Connor appear in the baptism.

Sduddy
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:32 am

Poor Patrick Tierney had a hard life, but got a very fine monument indeed.

Both John Clune and Stephen Joseph Meaney are mentioned on p 192 of this thesis, “Peasants into Patriots Instruments of Radical Politicisation in Clare 1800-1907”, by C. Maguire: https://dspace.mic.ul.ie/handle/10395/1024
It was only last evening that I came upon this thesis and had a quick read of it, but will read it properly over the weekend – it strikes me as a more “warts and all” account of politics in nineteenth century Clare than you normally get.

Sheila

smcarberry
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by smcarberry » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:47 am

Sduddy wrote:...if Patrick Tierney was Naturalized in 1866, then “interesting” is the word...
Now, thanks to ample background material posted here, that we realize Tierney's grand mission was in May, 1866 in Ireland, gaining his U.S. citizenship beforehand may have been recommended to him by his Fenian brotherhood, because that brought the ability to involve sympathetic U.S. officials when things went awry. See this April 1866 inquiry into the welfare of American Fenians in Irish prisons.

Patrick may have been bold beyond reason but he wasn't stupid.

Sharon C.
Apr 1866 US Consul's letter, Amer Fenians in prison.JPG
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Sduddy
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:06 am

Thanks Sharon for that possible explanation for the Naturalization in 1866, but it brings into doubt that Patrick was in the 87th regiment at the time of his arrest. I suppose we must bear in mind that John Devoy was writing his recollections sometime after 1921, so they are bound to contain some anomalies.

Thomas McCarthy Fennell: For more on Thomas McCarthy Fennell there’s this book, “Voyage of the Hougoumont and Life at Fremantle - The Story of an Irish Rebel: Thomas McCarthy Fennell”, eds Philip Fennell and Marie King. It includes the account of The Fenian Rising in Kilbaha 1867 by Mathuin Mac Fheorais [Matthew Bermingham] which is available also at http://www.aoh61.com/history/kilbaha_1867.htm

Patrick Keating: The above account, by Mac Fheorais, in turn, mentions the house of Patrick Keating in Kilballyowen and includes a short piece on Patrick Keating: “a soldier of the Fifth Dragoon Guards, who was arrested in 1866 and sentenced to penal servitude in Fremantle for “concealing mutiny”. He died of a heart attack, brought on no doubt by the rigours of his imprisonment, before the arrival of the rescue-ship “Catalpa” and is buried in an unmarked grave far from his native Corca Baiscinn”. There’s a somewhat different account of his death (in 1874) on this site : https://crimeanwar-veteranswa.com/stori ... ian-heavy/. Note also that the writer says that his parents were living in Melbourne at that time.

John Clune: I’ve figured out from the thesis by Caroline Maguire (above) that John Clune is one of the family of Matt and Bridget Clune, Rylane, Clooney parish (Rathclooney DED), but open to correction on that. I wonder if he is an uncle, or older brother, of the Bryan Clune, one of the leaders of a subscription fund for the family of Michael Malley – see: http://www.ourlibrary.ca/phpbb2/viewtop ... f=1&t=6907.

Patrick Tierney’s exact address in Ennis, or the hinterland (inc. Kilmaley – as John Mayer has suggested), is remaining a mystery. I have not succeeded in finding a baptism that fits him. Nor any trace of Bridget Cullen. The name Cullen is not at all common in Co. Clare. In 1901 there are only 5, and this includes three who live in the townland of Cragnagower: Lott Cullen, Cragnagower (Dysert DED) aged 49, his sister, Mary aged 40, and brother Denis aged 38. Interestingly, in 1911 this family is called Cullinan: Lott (mistranscribed as Scott) aged 60, his brother Dennis aged 55, another brother, Peter, aged 47, and sister Mary Anne aged 58.
This change from “Cullen” to “Cullinan” leads me to think that Bridget Cullen may be the Bridget Tierney, who married Lot Cullinan (a different Lot from the one above), in Drumcliff parish on Oct. 03,1862: Brid Tierney, Lott Cullinan; both of Ennis; in the presence of Pat MacMahon and Eliza Power. The baptisms of their children can be found here: http://www.ennisparish.com/genealogy/. I checked three of the baptisms* for the address and it is either Millstreet, or Upper Millstreet, and Lot’s occupation is Pensioner. Lot Cullinan of Millstreet, died Jan. 10, 1879, Pensioner, aged 55; informant: Bridget Cullinan. I failed to find any trace of this family in the 1901 census, but I admit I abandoned attempts at an early stage, thinking that I might easily be on a completely wrong track. Anyway, finding these Cullinans in 1901 is not going to help me find the family, or origins of Patrick Tierney himself.
* https://registers.nli.ie/registers/vtls ... 1/mode/1up.

About Penn, the remaining Clareman on the list, I wonder if Penn is a variation on Pyne/Pine, which is also sometimes spelled Pynne.

Sheila

Sduddy
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:43 am

Well, there are (or were) Penns in Ennis. I found Francis Penn in Cloughleagh in Tithes (1825), and Hannah Penn in Cloghleagh Road in Griffiths Valuation (1856). And then I found this site: https://myoldohiohome.com/articles/marg ... -clare.php

Sheila

Polycarp
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Polycarp » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:27 am

Eva O Cathaoir's book (2018) "Soldiers of Liberty" which is a study of Fenianism between 1858 and 1908 has information on these Fenians. It is a solid piece piece of historical research.

Polycarp

Sduddy
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:56 am

Thanks Polycarp for recommending that book.
About Patrick Keating: I've just now seen that Paddy Waldron distinguishes between two Patrick Keatings - one in Tullagower, and the other in the 5th Dragoon Guards: http://www.pwaldron.info/fenians/.
And I see that Waldron acknowledges O Cathaoir's book as a source (Soldiers of Liberty: A Study of Fenianism, 1858 - 1908, Lilliput Press).

Sheila

Sduddy
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:08 pm

Paddy Waldron (http://www.pwaldron.info/fenians/) also mentions an article entitled “The Irish Republican Brotherhood in Clare 1858-1871” by Eva O’Cathaoir and Mathuin Mac Fheorais, in ‘Clare History and Society’, eds Matthew Lynch and Patrick Nugent (Geography Publications 2008), which I had forgotten about. So I’ve been reading that just now and finding out a bit more about the prominent members in Co. Clare.
While John Devoy remembers best those men he met when he was recruiting among the soldiers in the British army, O Cathaoir and Mac Fheorais focus more on the men who were arrested in Co. Clare 1865-1867. The growth of the organization was slow in Co. Clare, and when the seizing of material in the office of the Irish People, in 1865, led to the detention of suspects in the provinces, only three suspects were arrested in Co. Clare: Arthur Stritch, Martin Byrnes, Patrick McDonnell. They were arrested at Clonlara and held in Killaloe Bridewell (179 suspects were arrested throughout Ireland – 49 of whom were subsequently released).
John Clune was arrested in 1866. After the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in Feb. 1866, the criteria for arrest became less stringent, and constabulary made of list of likely IRB members, which includes 30 from west Clare (ref: CSORP 1866/11846). Thomas Mahony from Kilrush and Richard O’Donnell from Kilkee (on that list) were detained in Ennis jail from Feb. 1866 onwards. Other people arrested at that time were David Duggan and Thomas Gallagher, from Tulla, and John Connors, a baker, from Feakle. Also Michael Donnellan from Broadford. Their families petitioned for their release and were supported by ‘respectable persons’. Most suspects had been set at liberty by autumn 1866. Michael Slattery, from Feakle, had gone abroad to avoid arrest, but his brother Andrew came under suspicion.

I learned as well that John Devoy did make at least one mistake: John Healy and David Murphy are remembered by John Devoy as accompanying John Clune into Co. Clare, in February 1867, but it seems that John Devoy is mistaken in this as both Murphy and Clune had been under arrest since the previous December.

Along with outlining the action at Kilbaha, the authors mention Miltown Malbay and Corofin as places where action was threatened, and Ennis as being a centre where about 100 insurgents gathered at a place near the home of Martin Flannery, a prominent member, which has ever since been called “Fenians’ Grove”. These “‘under the command of one Major O’Brien’” and two British Army deserters obtained some weapons but decided against an assault on Ennis barracks. “Major O’Brien, has been tentatively indentified as Capt. Michael O’Brien of Ennis, a shoemaker, held in Galway Jail, later Mountjoy, who was released for America in March 1868”. Arrests were made, including 26 in the vicinity of Corofin, but “Many of the participants escaped to America, others were detained for some time and leniently dealt with at Ennis summer assizes of 1867. Thomas McCarthy Fennell was the exception, he was tried for the Kilbaha attack and sentenced to ten years penal servitude”.
After the collapse of the rising, many people became sympathetic and joined in the call for amnesty. There were large gatherings held in that cause. The Ennis amnesty meeting was addressed by Stephen Joseph Meany.

The article mentions many more people who were prominent members of the I.R.B. at the time, of course, including the four sons of John O’Donovan, the Irish Scholar (1806-1861): Edmond, John, William and Richard. John O’Donovan had married Mary Anne Broughton, of Kiladerry, Kilseily. Her older sister had married Eugene O’Curry, Irish Scholar (1894-1862), and so, when Edmond O’Donovan set about recruiting members to the I.R.B. in Co. Clare, he began with John O’Curry, and his own brothers and his Broughton cousins. Edmond O’Donovan died in 1883 in the Sudan, where, interestingly, he was a British war correspondent.
Patrick Keating is also mentioned in the article (his arrest and his death), and there’s a very handy Appendix which gives a sample of 25 Clare Fenians who were arrested, 1865-7, with their ages, birthplaces, occupations, date of arrest, date of release, conditions of release, family status and remarks.

I'm pleased to have been reminded of the article, by O Cathaoir and Mac Fheorais, and to have the title of that new book by O Cathaoir

Sheila
Last edited by Sduddy on Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sduddy
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Sduddy » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:21 am

I’m afraid I over-summarised Michael Slattery, from Feakle, when I said that he escaped to America. The very first chapter of Tomas Mac Conmara’s book, ‘Days of Hunger: The Clare Volunteers and the Mountjoy Hunger Strike 1917’, has an account of his arrest (p 17) in 1866. Slattery’s escape to America must have been at some other time. Going to, and returning from America was more common at that time than I had ever imagined. Michael Slattery, the author goes on to say, died in 1875, aged 29, and is buried in Feakle. So he he must have been just a young man of 20 when he was arrested. I’m not sure if he was from the townland of Drumminnanav, or the townland of Derrynaheila.

About Patrick Tierney, Jimbo says that some newspapers (reporting his arrival in America in 1878) gave 1872 for the death of his mother. So I looked for the civil record. The death of a Mary Tierney, aged 65, was registered in Ennis in 1872, but the image is not available.

Sheila

Jimbo
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Re: Six Co. Clare Fenians (I.R.B.) remembered by John Devoy

Post by Jimbo » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:17 am

Hi Sheila,

Good find on the Mary Tierney who died in 1872. Here is a less helpful clue: one newspaper article also mentioned that Patrick Tierney had a brother who visited him in prison. Sorry, no name was given.

In the "Mealy of Tulla Parish" thread I provided a brief overview of the U.S. naturalization requirements, but left out a few exceptions. Any foreigner who served with the U.S. military was fast tracked for U.S. citizenship upon completion of their service without having to meet the 5 year residency requirement. Thus, many Irish veterans of the U.S. Civil War who returned to Ireland and took part in the Fenian activities would have been U.S. citizens.

When I read your initial posting I was slow to pick up that Patrick Tierney had enlisted in the British army. So I also thought he was a perfect candidate to have been naturalized in 1866 and to have returned to Ireland to join the Fenian movement. However when he arrived in New York in 1878, Patrick Tierney gave long interviews with the press telling his life story including enlistment with the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers. Not once did he mention that he had ever been in America before.

The Patrick Tierney who was naturalized in New Haven in 1866 was possibly another immigrant who arrived from County Clare about 1865 (per 1900 census and his 1904 obituary). He was working in an axe factory in Burlington CT in 1870 with his wife Ellen (Fitzgerald) and two young children. By 1880, he was a barber in New Haven and would later own the Tierney Hotel. His obituary from the Morning Journal and Courier of 19 February 1904 included:
The deceased will be well remembered by the politicians in particular and the public in general by reason of his having been doorkeeper of the Connecticut house of representatives during the famous deadlock some years ago. He was a prominent democrat, although he never held any other political office. He was a native of County Clare, Ireland born there fifty-seven years ago, and came to this country about forty years ago, first settling in Collinsville, this state. He resided there for a few years and then moved to New Haven and opened a barber shop on Grand Avenue, near Franklin Street. This he conducted for some twenty years, and afterwards moved his shop to the building in the rear of the Hoadley Building on Crown Street. Later he established himself in a shop upstairs on Church Street, opposite the Post Office. This he conducted up to about a year ago, at that time giving up the barber trade to pay his attention to his rapidly increasing business at his hotel. The hotel was built about four years ago, Mr. Tierney dividing his energies between the barber shop and the hotel.
Patrick Tierney (the barber) has an equally grand monument as Patrick Tierney (the Fenian). Both are located in Saint Lawrence Cemetery of West Haven:

scroll down for photo of Tierney family monument:
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/147 ... -j-tierney

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