From The


From The


Front page February 24, 1877


John O’Mahony


Funeral of the Ex-Head Centre


Solemn Religious Ceremony


Imposing Military and Civic Demonstration in New York


The Remains En Route to Ireland


          The Irish people of New York paid the last tribute of respect to the memory of the late Colonel John O’Mahony on Tuesday of last week in one of the most imposing funeral demonstration that has been witnessed in this city since the obsequies of Terence Bellew McManus; and by the time this issue of our paper reaches some of its more remote readers , the body of the dead Fenian leader will be upon the soil of his native land, as the “Dakota” by which it is being conveyed, is remarkable for making rapid and successful voyages.

            The body of Colonel O’Mahony laid in state at the armory of the 69th Regiment until the morning of the 13th inst., and was viewed there by thousands of our citizens, the throng at times being so great as to entirely block up all the approaches to the building. A guard composed of a full Company of the 69th  and detachments from the “Irish Legion” and the “Irish Brigade” and other national military organizations, was constantly on duty while the body lay at the armory; and from the number of floral decorations that were from time to time sent in by sympathizing admirers of the deceased, the room in which the body was placed might have been taken for some fragrant parterre, if the character of the emblems were not suggestive of the somber presence of death. There were floral harps, with broken strings; shattered columns, and memorial crosses; as well as other designs of a more figurative nature and endless variety. The coffin was draped with the handsome Irish flag sent to the 69th Regiment by the people of Tipperary, until the morning of the funeral, when the regimental flag of the 99th Regiment, NYSM, was substituted for it, and remained on the coffin to the end of the ceremonies.

            At an early hour on Tuesday morning , the remains were taken from the officers’ room in the armory, and placed in a handsome plate glass hearse, through the transparent panels of which the casket was plainly visible, covered by the regimental flags , and with the military cap, sword and belt of the deceased resting on the lid. Escorted by the guard of honor, the body was conveyed to the church of St. Francis Xavier, West sixteenth st., where preparations for the celebration of the last solemn offices of religion ah been made by the Jesuit Fathers. The coffin was placed on a black draped catafalque in front of the high altar, which, as well as the body of the church, was dressed in mourning. On either side were three tall candlesticks; and the numerous floral decoration were placed about the catafalque or on the lid of the casket. The Casket itself was of solid oak, covered with black cloth, and ornamented with silver bar-handles and mouldings, having a silver plate on the lid, on which was the following inscription:

“Colonel John O’Mahoney.

Died Feb. 6, 1877; Aged 61 years”

            About half past eight o’clock, the church doors were opened, and though arrangements had been made to admit the congregation by tickets, so great was the throng that in a few minutes the spacious edifice was packed in every protion, nave, aisles and galleries.

            At nine o’clock, a procession of clergymen, attended by acolytes, issued from the sacristy, and the solemn Mass of Requiem was commenced, Rev. Father Dealy, SJ, being the celebrant; Rev. Father Whyte, SJ, deacon; and Mr. W. Plante SJ, sub-deacon. The music of the Mass sung by the choir was one of Cherubim’s funeral Masses. Miss Wernecke rendered Rossini’s “Inflamatus,” at the Offeratory, in fine style. After the conclusion of the Mass Miss Wernecke also sang “Angels ever Bright and Fair,” with impressive effect. The choir was composed as follows: Soprano, Miss Theresse Werncecke, altos, Miss Mary Wernecke and Miss Schultz; tenor Signor Tammara; bassos, Messrs, Dupin and Stanton.

At the conclusion of the Mass, which was over a little after 10 o’clock, the last office and absolution were performed, and the clergy and attendants returned to eh sacristy. The pall-bearers then took their places by the coffin and the body was borne from the church to the hearse between the ranks of the military escort, which stood with arms presented., the organ meanwhile, pouring forth the solemn strains of Beethoven’s “Hero’s March.”

            A large number of leading citizens were presenting the Church among whom we recognized, Richard O’Gorman,[1] Col. Wm. R [Roberts[2]], Alderman Wm. L. Cole, Judge [obscured] and L Cary, John Savage[3] Captain [obscured], P. O’Rourke, Patrick O’D[obscured], Charles Underwood O’Connell[4], and others.

            Through some miscalculation [at the time] when the religious services were to be concluded, the 69th Regiment and the various bodies which were expected to form part of the procession were not on the appointed ground when the remains were brought out of the church; and, as a consequence, the hearse, with its escort and the carriages containing the chiefe mourners were kept waiting for over an hour., in the freezing wind, at the junction of Fifth Avenue and 16th street. The First Regiment, “Irish Brigade,” under Col. Phelan, was the first of the military bodies to assume its place in line; the veterans of the 69th and 99th Regiments, and the various clubs of the Fenian Brotherhood and the Clan-na –Gael then fell in; and, about half-past eleven o’clock, the procession commenced to move up Fifth Avenue turning into Broadway and Great Jones street, where the 69th Regiment had been halted. On the appearance of the funeral, the Regiment immediately broke into column (right in front) and took the head of the procession. From this point the completed procession moved in the following order: –

Platoon of Police under Captain Garland, Colonel James Cavanagh[5] and staff.

Band of the 69th Regiment with muffled drums. Lieutenant-Colonel Dempsey, Commanding, 69th Regiment NGSNY

The Regiment in column by company as follows:

Company A,     Lieutenant Brennan,      Commanding

            “   B,    Captain James Plunkett             “

            “   C,    Captain Michael Maguire          “

            “   F,    Captain Wm. Cushing               “          

            “   E,    Lieut Stephen Mullins    “

            “   G,    Lieut Stephen P Ryan               “

            “    J,    Capt. Nicholas Duffy                “

            “   H,    Capt. Martin McDonald           “

            “   K,    Capt. John Kerr                       “

Veteran Corps of the 69th Regiment, Capt. John McDonough, Commanding

Company C, Alliance Guard, Brooklyn, Capt. Denis Brown.

Company D, Alliance Guard, Capt. James Ryan.

Emmet Zouaves of Jersey City, Capt. Jeremiah McNulty

Col. J. Phelan Commanding First Regiment Irish Brigade.

The Regiment in Column by Company

Holy Innocent Rifle Corps, Capt. Thomas Maguire

Sheares Rifles of Philadelphia, Capt. James E McDermott

Company A, Irish Volunteers, Capt. T M Costello

Company E, “Irish Volunteers,” Brooklyn, Captain John H Fay

Company C, “Irish Volunteers,” Bergen Point, NJ, Lieut. Richard Walsh

Irish Legion, (Two Companies under Lieutenant P J Howe, and Lieutenants Burns, Conner and Norton) acting as Escort of Honor.

The Hearse, containing the coffin drawn by four coal-black horses with sable trappings and surrounded by the Pall-bearers: –

Richard O’Gorman                      Judge Charles P. Duffy

John Savage                                 Capt. James Mitchel[6]

J. J. Breslin[7]                              Thomas O’Loughlen

Augustine E Costelloe                  Charles McGlade

Thomas Clarke Luby[8]               D. B. Cashman[9]

H E Talmadge                              A. Montane

Col. J. Coonan                             Capt. James Foley

Gen. Thomas Francis Bourke[10] Wm. E[rigena] Robinson[11]

John Barry                                   Francis McKeon

Robert White                               M Heffernan


Carriages containing the relatives of the deceased.


Veterans of the 99th Regiment NYSM, under Adjutant Richard Norris


Fenian Brotherhood.

Joseph Fogarty, Timothy McAuliffe, J. Collins[12], William Kunnane, [Procession] Marshals.


            Clan-na-Gael Association

Charles Spillane, Edward Whelan, Marshals.

The Emerald Club[13]

The Hamilton Rowan Club

Napper Tandy Club

Davis Club

Corcoran Club


St. Patrick’s Mutual Alliance and Benevolent Association

Thomas J Holy, Gen. President; John Callahan, 1st Vice President; P Melville, 2nd Vice President; Michael O’Brien, Gen. Secretary; J. O’Connor, Gen. Fin. Sec; Chas. H Lyons, Gen Treasurer.


St. James’ Young Men’s RCTAB Society [Catholic total abstinence club], Timothy Dillon, Marshal; Patrick S Davitt, Presdt; Michael Gleeson, VP; Roger Moran, Rec. Sec.; Jeremiah O’Connor, Fin. Sec.; Francis O’Connor, Treasurer.


Father Matthew UBTAB (Parent.) Society [Total abstinence club] Broome street.

William Wiley, Marshal; Edward McGowan, Presdt.; Charles Doherty VP; Edward Scanlan, Rec. Sec.; Patk. Lane, Fin. Sec.; John C Dwyer, Treas.; Jos Macklin, J. Reilly, M. Sweeney, P J Cope Directors.


[The following “associations” are probably Clan na Gael Camps from other cities]

Sarsfield Association, Hoboken

President, Thomas Burke; William Flynn, Vice President; Michael Moroney, Fin. Sec.; Peter O’Reilly, Rec. Sec.; John Whelan, Treas.


Sheares Association, Jersey City. William Crowley, President; Christopher Fox, Vice President.


Wolf Tone Association,[14] Jersey City. Richard Gill, President; William Burns, Sec.; James Murray, Treas.


Holy Innocents RCTAB Society [Catholic abstinence society], Richard H Bermingham, President; P H Nolan, Vice President; B. Clarkin, Rec. Sec.


Father Matthew TAB (Parent) Society, 214 Bowery. Patrick Madden, Marshal; James Kelly, President; William Murphy, Secretary; Robert Wilson, Director.


St Patrick’s M B Alliance Association. William O’Connell, General President; Patrick Connery, 1st Vice President; Thomas O’Neill, 2d Vice President; Michael H McCarthy, G. Rec. Sec.; Cornelius Murphy, G Cor. Sec.; Patrick Callahan, G. Fin. Sec.; Philip Cahill, G. Treasurer; James Ahern, Sergeant at Arms; C. O’Callahan, Assistant Executive Council; Thomas Delany, Charles McCarthy, Michael Whitley, William O’Leary, John Culhane, Thomas Lane, John Stores, Jeremiah Hickey, Patrick McNally, Farrell Mohan, Patrick Callinan, Joseph Flanigan, Cornelius Murphy, James Lynch, Patrick Donigan, John Murphy, Arthur McCarthy, Patrick Conway, Michael Callahan, John Hyland, Patrick Foly, John McCarthy, James Hart, Richard Fitzgerald, John Keegan, John O’Leary, Patrick Kennedy, Michael Riordan, Michael Carmody, John O’Keefe, John Murphy, Owen Mulready, Jas. Molloy, Patrick Campbell, Jas. Ahearne, R. O’Donoghue.


Carriages containing delegation from Brooklyn Common Council and citizens generally.


            The route was down Broadway to Canal street, and up West street to Pier 46, at which the steamship “Dakota” was lying, with steam up and ready to start. The wharf of the Williams & Guion Company was dressed with Irish and American flags, floating at half-staff; and, as soon as the funeral cortege came in sight, the ship’s bell began to toll, and continued until the coffin had been transferred to the place prepared for it in the after hatch.

            On the head of the column arriving opposite the steamer’s deck, the military halted and opened ranks to the right and left, forming a lane through which the hearse, with the pall-bearers and escort passed up to the ship’s gangway. The coffin was then taken out and placed I a heavy chestnut wood case, lined with lead; the cover was soldered on, and the lid tightly screwed down; and the case was then conveyed on board and placed in the after hatch where it would be most easily accessible on arriving at Queenstown [Cork City]. The various floral tributes had already been boxed up, and were placed with the case containing the coffin.

            The delegates who were chosen to accompany the remains were Dr. Denis Dowling Mulcahy[15], William F Roantree[16], Capt. Cusack, Stephen J O’Kelly and Thomas J. Gill.

            Shortly after 5 o’clock, the US mails having been received on board, the “Dakota” steamed slowly out into the bay, bearing the mortal remains of John O’Mahony, back to the land he loved so well, and to which he had so long hoped to return under different circumstances than those which now attend the restoration of his ashes to his native land.

            On The arrival of the steamer in the lower bay, it was found that the tide on the bar was too low for her to cross it that night; and she was obliged to anchor till 9 o’clock on Wednesday morning, when she proceeded to sea. She will probably make Queenstown [Cork City or Cobh Quay] on Thursday afternoon of this week.






[1] Richard O’Gorman was very involved in Democratic politics in New York, he was a nationalist in Ireland but did not join any of the societies in New York.

[2] I believe this to be Wm. R. Roberts, the name was obscured somewhat: Roberts was the head of the Senate Wing of the Fenians and by 1877 was no longer in the movement.

[3] Author of the book Fenian Heroes and Martyrs and president of the O’Mahony Wing of the Fenian Brotherhood in 1870 when the Senate failed to unite the Brotherhood and disbanded in favor of John Devoy and the Exiles from Ireland who formed the Irish Confederation in 1871.

[4] O’Connell was one of the Exiles who arrived with John Devoy in 1871 after release from British prison to exile in America.

[5] Probably James Cavanagh, the Captain of “Erin’s Hope” (the Jacmel Packet) which sailed with soldiers and arms to Ireland and returned without accomplishing their mission after the capture of some of the soldiers when they landed.

[6] This James Mitchel was probably the son of John Mitchel Irish Patriot and Southern sympathizer. Capt James Mitchel was a soldier in the Confederacy. His brother John Mitchel Jr. Died fighting for the South.

[7] John Joseph Breslin, rescuer of the IRB chief, James Stephens in 1865 from Richmond prison; also commanded the Clan na Gael land portion of the Catalpa rescue mission of the Fenians from Fremantle prison; was in charge of the Clan na Gael project “Fenian Ram” submarine experiment.                        

[8] One of the major figures of the IRB, Exiled prisoner from British prison, and author of the book Fenians and Fenianism, leader in the Savage Wing of the Fenian Brotherhood in America.

[9] Denis Cashman, a Fenian who was imprisoned in Australia, and a friend of John Boyle O’Reilly who escaped from that same prison. Cashman worked for O'Reilly on the Boston Pilot newspaper where O'Reilly was owner-editor.

[10] Bourke was a Fenian during 1867 Rising who was never caught. Member of the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States, close friend of John Devoy and member of the Clan na Gael. His speech in 1874 convinced the Clan to embark on the Catalpa expedition to Australia. Went back to Ireland and was elected to Parliament.

[11] Robinson was a prominent politician and Irish nationalist who was elected to Congress.

[12] Probably James Collins, an engineer who fled England after being in a plot to free Fenian prisoners from Pentonville prison in London, he was a science editor and a meteorologist on the New York Herald who was first to propose predicting weather in England based on storms in America; member of the Fenian Brotherhood; involved but not caught in a failed attempt to capture Prince Arthur to hold as a hostage for release of the Fenians held in English prisons; founded the Napper Tandy Club, the first “Camp” of the  Clan na Gael in 1867; Collins was an emissary of the Clan to Ireland, shortly thereafter he died of exposure in the Artic on the ill-fated “Janette Expedition” to the North Pole.

[13] The five clubs listed, Emerald, Hamilton Rowan, Napper Tandy, Davis and Corcoran are front names for Clan-na-Gael Camps whose actual designations inside the Clan were secret with cipher designations: D1, D2 etc.  The “Hamilton Rowan Club” is probably D15 the club of John Goff the man who fought with John Devoy over expenditures for the Catalpa. Goff later became a judge on the NY Supreme Court. The Napper Tandy Club is D1 the original one James Collins founded. “The Emerald Club” was D13 and (see New York Times April 21 1883) was involved in sending dynamiters to England after the Clan-na-Gael Executive Body voted out John Devoy and Dr. William Carroll in favor of Alexander Sullivan and Michael Boland who commenced the dynamite campaign commonly referred to as “The Dynamite War” in the mid 1800s.

[14] Probably Camp D2 Clan na Gael.

[15] Clan na Gael member and one of the Exiles who arrived in January of 1871.

[16] The man who replaced “Pagan” O’ Leary, the man assigned as chief recruiter of IRB men from the British Army. Roantree was also arrested and replaced by John Devoy, who in his turn was arrested.