Name: Simon Gavin
Birth:†about 1842, Dublin, Ireland
Death:†Apr. 17, 1884, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Simon's parents are unknown, but there is evidence that suggest Simon was baptized in 1842 in Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland. Simonís immigration date from Ireland is also unknown at this time.
However, in December 1864, Simon was living in Naugatuck, CT, USA and he enlisted with the 15th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment on 28 December 1864 in New Haven, CT, USA. His enlistment records indicate he was 22 years old. On March 8, 1865, Simon and most of his regiment were captured at the Battle of Wyse (Wise) Forks, near Kinston, NC, USA. Simon was wounded in this battle, hit by a cannon ball in the lower left leg. As a result of his wounds, the lower one-third of his left leg was amputated by a Confederate surgeon during his time in captivity. After the war ended, and the subsequent exchange of prisoners, Simon was transferred to Mower General Hospital, Chestnut Hill, PA, USA on 8 May 1865. He was released from the hospital on 29 June 1865, and received a honorable discharged from the Army with a 100% disability.
Simon settled in Philadelphia, PA, USA where he met Sarah Fitzgerald. Sarah and her family had immigrated from Queenís County (now County Laois), Ireland in 1849 and settled in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Simon and Sarah married on 23 September 1870, most likely at Our Mother of Sorrows R.C. Church in West Philadelphia. They had four children; John, Thomas, Anastasia, and James.
Simon died on 17 April 1884 at the age of about 40. He was buried on 20 April 1884 at Old Cathedral Cemetery in Section T. The cemetery keeps no record of the exact location of pauperís graves. However, Simonís wife Sarah, and other members of his family are buried in Section D. In 2009 the great-grandchildren of Simon and Sarah purchased a headstone for Sarahís grave, and the cemetery allowed us to include Simonís name on his wifeís headstone.
Spouse: Sarah V. Fitzgerald Gavin (1849-1924)
John J. Gavin (1871- ?)†
Thomas S. Gavin (1874-1902)
Anastasia Gavin (1877-1966)
James J. Gavin (1883-1938) †
† The History Of The Fifteenth Connecticut Volunteers In The War For The Defense Of The Union, 1861-1865 by Sheldon B. Thorpe, Sergeant, Company K.
NARA Civil War Pension Documents for Simon Gavin.
Like so many Irishmen who emigrated to America in the early or mid 19th century joining the armed forces was a option for quick employment. James opted to join the U.S. Marines. He served prior to, during and post Civil War.
James S Roantree (the spelling varies some times Roundtree, Rowantree). At first glance Roantree is not seen as a particularly Irish name however it can be traced back to the ancient territorial areas of Ireland in this case Oriel or (Orghialla) an area comprising what is now the counties of Armagh, Monaghan parts of Down and also Louth and Fermanagh the name being noted in these areas as early as 1376 so no surprise in finding it at Leixlip at town just west of Dublin city in the early 19th century.
James S Roantree was baptished 15th Jan 1834 in Leixlip. His parents James and Ann Roantree ran several businesses in and close to the town. A butchers shop and auctioneering business in the town and fairly extensive farm at Newton on the outskirts of the town. This was an Ireland of the early 19th century just prior to the famine times. The family would have been very well off. James and Ann had large family of as far as is known, seven boys and three girls Daniel J, William Francis, Bridget, John, James S, Ann Agnes, Mary, Joseph, Patrick and Thomas.
Even though the family were quite well off all could not be supported and at some stage some had to strike out into the world. James S the man being looked at along with his brother William Francis both aged about 20 opted as so many did to emigrate to America circa 1854 to New York. After about 4 years in the city both men enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps of the time at New York city 23rd Jan 1858 just prior to the Civil war. For what reason?. Probably in my opinion for adventure as I don't think they would have paid much attention to the politics of the situation as it developed. Why not the Army? again probably the navy was something different they could have adventure in an exciting life on the ocean wave! Perhaps a bad choice as serving on the metal hulks of the era would ultimately lead to the death of James by disease after surviving combat and earning his M.O.H. In his enlistment papers James is described as being 5ft 8 3/4ins tall, blue eyes, dark hair, fair complexion and had been a clerk. A trade he probably learned back home and persued in his pre war years in New York.
Yet again we see that any man with basic skills such as reading writing and mathmatical skills would soon find promotion and James was promoted Corp. Oct 8th. 1860 and to Sergt. 21st Nov 1861 about a year later. After serving what was a four year enlistment James was discharged 23rd Jan 1862. He immediatley re-enlisted the same day for another four year stint, not forgetting that the war had started in 1860 so he obviously enjoyed the life. He again enlisted and this took him up 23rd Jan 1866 (the war ended in 1865). Again he re-enlisted for another four years and this took him up to 17th Dec. 1870.
We see that he had served from Jan 1858 until Dec. 1870 approx 12 years continous service.
What major events took place in his life in these 12 years? Perhaps the most notable event in his life was on board a vessel called the Oneida in Mobile Bay Alabama on 5th Aug 1864. This was where James earned his M.O.H. He was 1st Sergt. on the vessel. His citation reads.
On board the USS "Oneida" during action against rebel forts and gunboats and with the ram "Tennessee" in Mobile Bay 5th Aug 1864 .Despite damage to his ship and the loss of several men on board as the enemy fire raked her decks and penetrated her boilers Sgt Roantree performed his duties with skill and courage throughout the furious battle which resulted in the surrender of the Rebel ram "Tennessee" and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan
James found time to get married after the war on May 15th 1866 to Anna Monroe an Irish born lady. The marriage took place in Charleston Middlesex Co. Mass. Their one and only child a daughter Sarah Ann born 15th Feb 1867.
Sadly James and Anna did not get too much time together as man and wife. Married May 15th 1866 a month later in June 1866 according to her later pension claims he was on his way to join the Asiatic fleet on the USS "Ashuelot". They had been together as man and wife for only a month before he headed off to the Orient and western Pacific. However all did not go well for James Roantree towards the end of his Far East service. His health failed. He contracted T.B. plus his term of engagrment was up. He was sent home on the USS "Delaware" a very ill man and having served an extra 6 months more than his agreed term. On the way home on the "Delaware" he was it is noted expected to "stand his watch" not a great idea for a man in ill health going through the numerous climatic zones on his way back to America via the westward route. A doctor Robert Joyce signed an affidavit swearing that he had examined Roantree in Jan 1871 listing all the illnesses associated with T.B. and his general emaciated state. James died on 24th Feb 1873 so he had at least a couple of years to enjoy the company of his wife and young daughter who was at his death aged 6.
One little twist of fate is that the "Ashuelot" on its journey from the States to China called in at Queenstown (Cobh) Co Cork no doubt to take on coal and supplies. One wonders if James perhaps got a chance to visit his relatives at Leixlip or did they visit him. Perhaps more likely not. Little attention would have been paid in those days to such humanitarian considerations.
After James death Anna his wife had to commence a battle with the Pension Office for herself and her daughter. Anna did not receive a pension but after a prolonged struggle her daughter did. Initially a pension of $8 dollars a month was made available 11th Sept 11th 1876 until she was aged 16 for her daughter Sarah Roantree. I have read Anna's letters basically of desperation and pleading to the U.S. Pension Office as she became near destitute, a very sad reflection on a nation that would treat it's heros in such a manner. His M.O.H. meant little it would appear. How sad. Life never played out well for Anna. Left with a young daughter and no pension she married a Dominick Sief a German boiler maker on Sept 10th 1876. Her daughter Sarah at some juncture married an hotel worker called William F. Stone. However Anna's 2nd husband Dominick Sief died in 1890 leaving her again in a poor financial state. She then had to go and live with her daughter Sarah Stone. Again fate took a very negative turn and her daughter Sarah died 1898 aged just 31. Anna was again in a bad financial place. She had lost two husbands and her only child. She was alone again and pensionless. She was aged 63. Anna again turns in desperation to the Pension Office. To quote a portion of a letter she wrote from No.22 Bower St Roxbury Mass. on Aug 5th 1901.
I had one child who died in 1898 and I had been mourning then and have been sick since she died. My money is all gone. I cannot ask or tell anyone I am so badly in need of help. Many times last winter and Spring I was cold and hungry but I could not beg. I would rather die. I have and am selling what I have and what I can sell of my household things that is when I can get anyone to buy them.
Needless to say her request was rebuffed. Anne Roantree Sief died some 5 months later on Jan 31st 1902. She was just 64.
For all his heroic service in the U.S. Marines and his gaining an M.O.H. as to why his widow was not granted a basic pension of any size whatsoever one would start to question if he was perhaps of bad character. Not so. Looking at his records all one sees is praise of the highest. His commander at the Marine Barracks Navy Yard at Boston Commander Lieut. Col. C.G. Cawley wrote on the 28th June 1871 at the end of his 12 year service
James S. Roantree received the Congressional Medal of Honor from the Navy Dept. He is known to me as an excellent brave and faithful soldier,having frequently served under my command at sea and on shore.
As to the poor state of James Roantree's health two of his shipmates who had earlier served with him on the "Ashuelot" a Thomas Hart and Richard Adams stated that he came back from the Far East on the "Delaware" with them on the completion of their tour of duty and explained in depth the dreadful state of his health.
When he did arrive home a Dr. Robert Joyce examined Roantree and listed the dreadful state of his health which he must have had many months before his arrival home. He wrote an affidavit for his wife to help her obtain a pension.
Though she got a small pension for her daughter of some $8 dollars a month until she was 16 she had to fight for this also and though her husband died in 1873 she did not get it until 1881 some 8 years after her husband died and this was only after the intervention of a General Butler. Such a way to treat a national hero and his wife and child.
James S Roantree's career seems to have been associated with three ships though he may have done short stints on others and at coastal naval bases. His main service was on the USS "Onieda" on which he earned his M.O.H. The "Onieda" shown above was sloop of war of about 1,400 tons completed in New York in 1862. Single screw and capable of about 12 knots. She was sent to the Gulf region during the Civil war and took part in many operations to inhibit Confederate sea traffic etc. It was her operation in the battle of Mobile Bay Ala. that James S. Roantree gained his M.O.H. After the cessation of hostilities in 1865 the ship de-commissioned in 1866. At some stage prior to this Roantree would have left her. However she was re-commissioned in 1869 and sailed off to join the Asiatic Squadron. However she would not survive and on the 29th Jan 1870 she was hit by the British ship the "City of Bombay" and she sank in Yokohama bay. The British ship did not stop and this strained relations for a while between the British and the Americans. Many of her crew were lost. The U.S. Navy showed little interest in the wreck or the bodies on board and it was left for the local Japanese to reclaim what remians they could.They also at the time erected a small memorial close by. To this day artefracts still turn up.
Roantree's second ship was the "Ashuelot" on which he sailed to join the Asiatic Squadron in June 1866. The vessel took the easterly route and called in at Cork (Cobh) enroute for supplies for its ongoing voyage down around Cape Horn and eastwards arriving Hong Kong mid 1867. "Ashuelot" had been completed just after the Civil War ended. She was in size similar to the "Onieda". James Roantree would have spent the next three years in all the well documented operations of the "Ashuelot" all around the Chinese coast. However his term of service was due to run out in 1870 so at some stage the Navy had to send him back to the States. This they did on a ship called the "Delaware". A look at this ship shows some very interesting information relative to James S Roantrees service in Asiatic deployment. The "Delaware" started off life as the "Piscataqua". She was built in 1867 and was send on Asiatic consignment on 16th Dec. 1867 via the Cape of Good Hope. She operated in the Japan, China and Philippines area protecting American citizens and interests. However on May 15th 1869 her name was changed to "Delaware". On Aug 23rd 1870 she sailed for America from Singapore arriving in New York city Nov 1870. A very sick James S Roantree was home again.
James S Roantree was initially buried in the Holyrood Cemetery Brookline Mass as was his sister in law Mary Monroe (Farrell). The two bodies were dis-interred from Holyrood and re-interred in Mount Calvary 21st April 1898.
It would appear from the dates on the above headstone that James wife Anna who died in 1902 had her husband, daughter and sister's remains removed from Holyhood to Calvary 21st April 1898 about 4 years before she herself died.
This young man gave his life in a most heroic fashion in the wastelands of Afghanistan in order to protect his comrades. His parents both of Irish American stock. His mothers people from S. Derry in the Ballymaguigan area where so many of the 69th's soldiers came from and his father's people from Co. Cork. For a more detailed of his exploits please click on the image below for PDF file.
Much has been written in America about the military exploits of General Mulholland so I will not labour the reader with more of which is already in the public domain. Perhaps it would be interesting for people in America to get a flavour of Mullholland's Irish background and the background of his family before they left for America about 1848.
Firstly to clarify the spelling of his Christian name. Some of you have commented on the spelling his name as either St. Clair or Sinclair. This is a name that in this case is the surname of his maternal grandfather Captain Sinclaire he probably being of Scottish planter stock spelling his name as Sinclair or Sinclaire. The name refers in history to the hermit St. Clare or St. Clere, this derivation of the St. Claire surname comes from the Latin "clarus," meaning pure, renowned, illustrious.The name can also have English roots and alternative spellings found are Sinclaire, Sinclar, Sinclair, St. Clair, St. Claire, Sinklar. Its really the users call but I feel there is some kind of social class flag up with the use of St. Clair. Both spellings used in this bio. The most common spelling here in this part of Ireland is Sinclair.
It will suffice to say that General Mulhollands rise to fame and links to fame as far as I see it is co-incidental with the history of the evolvement of the 24th Regiment in Philadelphia into what was to became the 69th Pa Regt. the subject of this website. The Lieut Col. of the 24th Regt. at a time was a Colonel Dennis Heenan who was also an Irishman being born at Borrisokane Co. Tipperary in 1818. Heenan went on to form up the 116th P.V.I. which was part of Meaghers Irish Brigade. In this regiment the 116th Heenan's lieutenant colonel was in fact a young Sinclair Mulholland. The paths of these men would soon link in the Civil War.
My interest in looking at Mulhollands background was really triggered off during my initial research on the soldiers of the 69th Pa where religion and ethnic background played a major part not unlike that of the N.Y. 69th or other more Irish units of the Union Army. The fact that he was from the town of Lisburn Co. Antrim about 12 miles south of Belfast and living here in Belfast interested me greatly. Of particular interest was his name, Sinclair Mulholland but I was confused by the fact that I was assured that he considered himself both Catholic and Irish. Firstly the use of the name Sinclair signalled that his mother was Protestant and probably from Episcopalian (Church of Ireland) or Presbyterian plantation settler stock. Using a mothers surname as a Christian name is important here especially amongst Presbyterians. It is all to do with family inheritance.The oldest male child takes on the surname of his mother this signalling that he is the probable inheritor of the family assets. The next aspect looked at was his surname name Mulholland.
The name Mulholland is an old Irish one of O'Maolchalann a devotee of St Calann. The name being Anglicised to Mulholland. The sept lived in other areas of Ireland but a main grouping was in Co. Derry on the north west shores of Lough Neagh. However as now and as I am aware the name is very common in the S.E corner of Lough Neagh around the town of Lisburn and along the eastern shore line of Lough Neagh through such places as Aghagallon, Ballinderry. Glenavy parish incorporating the Aldergrove area having the greatest concentration of Mulhollands (mostly Catholic), Crumlin, Killead parish to the town of Antrim. Few graveyards either Protestant or Catholic along this belt would not have Mulholland headstones. The majority of the Mulhollands as now in this area would be Catholic but there are also Presbyterian and Church of Ireland Mulhollands. As to why some of the Mulhollands changed religion is a matter of interest but no doubt during the Reformation and Plantation times it was for survival or the retention of land.
Now if one looks at the history of the town of Lisburn it is seen that it played a major part in the Irish linen industry in the 19th century. The general area along the banks of the river Lagan which flows through Lisburn and then on through Belfast played a major part in the linen industry of the 19th and early 20th century. The river through small was incorporated into a canal system deep enough and wide enough to float horse drawn lighters to allow linen produced by local mills to be sent to Belfast for onward shipping world wide. As the industry developed some Huguenots were invited to the town to pass on their linen weaving skills. This was a very successful adventure and a thriving Huguenots community developed in Lisburn setting up their own schools and church. But as time went by the Huguenots were gradually absorbed into the Protestant society associated with the Church of Ireland.
Looking closer at the names associated with this industry the name Mulholland is fairly common as major players in the industry. Remember that the city of Belfast and the town of Lisburn were very small places at the end of the 18th century. Perhaps the development of the linen industry was the greatest input in the development and expansion of both towns. In those days both Belfast and in a much lesser way Lisburn had societies who had dominant families of power and wealth. Many were descendants of settlers given land for service to the Crown. The Mulholland families played a major part in the generation of the linen industry and through their endeavours many of the families became rich and famous. Many of the gentry Anglo Irish families were in such positions that they could where necessary raise their own private militias albeit nominally linked to the forces of the Crown used to "protect law and order" and indeed the needs of these "superior" families. Examples of such families are the Pottingers, Pollocks and Mays and the Sinclairs probably one of the most powerful families of any of them. The Sinclairs were well known in Belfast. They had town residences in Mill St, Donegal Place and a country seat at Fort William. They had three bleach greens, the Mountain Green, Lodge Green, and Falls Green. Most of these rich families were socially inter connected and in many cases connected by marriage. Most had palatial residences in and around the city. If it suited them to retain social status they would in marriages cross the "traditional" barriers between Catholicism and Protestantism. In fact looking at some of the marriages between their family members one quite often sees two marriage ceremonies carried out a Catholic one and a Protestant one. Rules on these matters could easily be softened by an understanding bishop. The bottom line really was the persuit of power, riches and social standing. There were thousands of mill workers flooding into the growing city of Belfast from the rural areas as the linen industry developed and new mills were built. So labour to staff the mills was cheap and easily available. However this would come at a cost as these rural people brought with them their fundamentalist religious trappings. They would congregate in such arterial roads into Belfast such as the Falls and Shankill roads and adjacent areas to mention but a few. They found solace with their "own" fellow religious and create ghettos and problems alive and well as now in the beginning of the 21st century. The ascendancy families did'nt care too much about these folks but if necessary would quickly "adopt" their friendships to retain power. The N.Ireland problem was being created. No doubt any American reading this will see parallels in the great cities of America as they evolved.
Some Civil war researchers have, I know very fixed ideas about General Mulholland. Because he was from Ireland many assume he must have had the same ethos as say the more radical Irish soldiers who made high rank in the Civil War. Men such as Meagher and Corcoran and politicians such as John Mitchel. Some of you who have studied the history of the 69th Pa. see a very Irish ethos regiment but with several very different political agendas within the ranks. Perhaps one group aspiring to a negotiated settlement and the other settlement by force of the Irish question. Mulholland in my opinion would not really fit in tightly with either element, Perhaps at best he would from his background not be too worried about the settlement of the Irish question of which no doubt he had intimate knowledge but would perhaps by his background steer a middle path. Proud of his Irishness and his Catholicism but understanding of the aspirations of his fellow countrymen and the ethos of his many Protestant friends and relatives back in Lisburn. He knew only too well how things were. No doubt as a child he had to make many compromises and was made aware that "his" family was different. I do not want to be dogmatic on such a subject. Sinclair Mulholland was in my opinion a man of truly great integrity and one who served both America and his state and city very well.
I suppose the major source of informtion of any society or families therein is always contained in the local graveyards. The old graveyard in the centre of Lisburn then as now called Kilrush carries this information. Its headstones carry a wealth of information on the Mulhollands in particular. In one corner of the graveyard there is an old damaged grave which had at time been a very prestigious family memorial. It basically has the General's family tree down from his grandparents. The Generals grandparents were Hugh Mulholland born circa 1760 and his wife Elizabeth Richardson most certainly Protestant born circa 1773. Hugh died May 1833 and Elizabeth Oct. 1st 1818. Hugh and Elizabeth had some 10 children and one of them Henry Mulholland was born Nov 19th 1796. This man was the Generals father. Looking at the overall family tree of this branch of Mulhollands it would appear Henry was in fact Catholic and his wife Anne Turtle Protestant and their children raised Catholic. Henry was to marry twice. Firstly to an Ann Turtle born about 1800. With Ann Turtle Henry had some 14 children between 1818 and 1835. Nearly a child per year. Looking at the family tree it is noted that some if not all of their children were baptised as Catholic by several of the leading Catholic clerics in the area at that time two named as Rev. Denvir and Rev. Dorrian. Ann Turtle Mulholland died young aged just 34 on June 22nd 1835. Henry Mulholland the generals father had a sister called Anne Jane Mulholland who married a Protestant called John Millar a local J.P. and they had both a Catholic marriage service conducted by the Rev P.Denvir P.P. and then in the Protestant church by the Rev.T.Thompson.
From a book called The Blackwood Notebook held in the Linen Hall Library Belfast much can be gleaned on the ascendency families of the time in the greater Belfast area including the Sinclairs. It will come as a surprise to many of you who may have a very "Irish-Catholic" take on the General that his maternal grandfather was Capt George Sinclaire of the 3rd Buffs 84th Regiment of the British Army. George was the 12th child of Thomas Sinclaire and Esther Eccles Pottinger another ascendency family. George was born 22nd Jan 1767 and died Dec 11th 1829. Capt George Sinclair was most certainly involved in the campaign against the United Irishmen in 1798 as his signature appears on a declaration dated 18th June 1798.
Capt George Sinclair mentioned above lived in King Street Belfast. He married a Mary McGuckin the daughter of a barrister called James McGuckin of Dublin. It appears that she was a Catholic. One interesting event that took place in the era of the 1798 rebellion was that Capt George was arrested about the time of the battle of Ballynahinch Co. Down one of the major insurrections towns of the United Irishmen. Some of his "enemies" suggested to the British government that he was in fact a traitor. This was a very dangerous accusation at the time. He was arrested brought to Belfast to be tried with the possibility of being shot or hanged. However all was sorted out and his loyalty was established and he was let off the charge. This was an era of intrigue and deals. Commoners amongst the rebels were summarily executed but any rebels from better off familiies were in many cases given deals. Many were allowed to slip off to America or perhaps become spies. I am of the opinion that because his wife was Catholic may well have shaded opinion on his loyalty to the Crown. In any case not too long afterwards he resigned his commission in the army and faded into private life.
Capt George Sinclair and his wife Mary McGuckin had six children.These were.
1. Dr.Thomas Sinclaire M.D. LLB.lived his life in La Rochelle New York. He had married a Leah Gallandette and had family of 5 sons and 2 daughters.
2. Rawdon Francis Sinclaire born 1800. He also joined the British Army but died in Gibraltar Nov. 15th 1829.
3. Anne Frances Sinclaire born April 16th 1800. Baptised in 1st Presbyterina Church Belfast Died 1870. She did not marry.
4. Rosina Marion Sinclaire born 1801 was baptised in the 2nd Presbyterian Church Belfast. Died unmarried June 14th 1881. During a stay in Dublin with her Catholic aunt Mary McGuckin Rosina converted to Catholicism.
5. William Frederick Sinclaire born 1802 married 1845 in Napoleon U.S.A was a soldier in the Seminole War in Florida. He had been a student in the Royal Academical Institution in Belfast in 1819.
6. Georgina Hester Agnes Sinclaire born Aug 9th 1803 died Jan 19th 1871 Philadelphia. This lady was the General Mulhollands mother.
Georgina had a remarkable life. Let us look at it in some detail. In 1821 Rosina, Georgina's sister is said to have received an invitation to stay with her uncle Capt George Sinclair and his wife nee Mary McGuckin of Dublin and spend some time with them. Mrs Sinclair was in fact Catholic. During her stay in Dublin Rosina decided to become a Catholic. Georgina aged 18 also seems to become interested in converting to Catholicism. It appears from notes read that she was somewhat a controversial daughter challenging her fathers religious beliefs which at the time were said to have been Episcopalian. She is said to have initially turned to the Presbyterian faith. However not satisfied with that religion either she eventually becomes a member of the Catholic church with not a little help from a Catholic religious by the name of a Father Ellmer a friend of the Sinclairs in Dublin. She would appear to have embraced the Catholic religion and subsequently raised all her children Catholic and died Catholic. Note: The chaple image to the right is the Catholic church of St.Patricks Lisburn which was built in 1794 and would be the one attended by the Catholic Mulhollands right up to their leaving for America in 1850. This church is where Gen. St. Clair would have attended as a young man and may well have been baptised here with his other siblings. This church replaced in 1960.
Some time after Georgina's conversion but still as a very young woman she befriended a family by the name of Coslett who were people of property who had their estate at Nutgrove Anadorn near Downpatrick Co Down. The Cosletts would appear to have been Catholic by this date. See Note at bottom of page on the Coslett origins. Looking at their lineage it would appear that some where around 1829 she married a member of that family a James Eugene Coslett a Catholic by whom she had two children Charles Coslett and Georgina Coslett. However James Coslett died young in 1836 and Georgina was left with two young children Charles and Georgina to raise. Research shows that after James Coslett died in 1836 Georgina was left with the two children Charles and Georgina to raise at Nutgrove. Nutgrove was recorded in The Down Recorder issue dated 4th Feb 1837 as being a demesne and flower mill available for letting. It was further noted that a Mr McCammon took over.The era of Coslett ownership was over. Georgina and her two children would have to move on. Wasting no time Georgina looked for a new spouse of a similar social standing. She soon finds a new partner who is in a similar circumstance to herself whose wife had died young but left with him with a large family of 14 children. This man would be Hugh Mulholland a very succesful businessman who lived at the Quay Lisburn. He was a sawyer, coal merchant. lighter owner and a member of a very successful extended family.
Georgina the widow of James Cosslett was married for a 2nd time at Hollywood Co. Down by a Father Anthony Cosslet no doubt a member of the Cosslet family on June 6th 1838 to Henry Mulholland. They would go on to have another family all raised Catholic. One of whom Sinclair would become General Sinclair Mulholland.
Let us look now at the general background of the extended family focussing primarily on Henry and Georgina's family.
The image below left is of the family headstone or indeed whats left of it after decades of weathering and vandalism at the ancient graveyard at Kilrush close to Lisburn town center on the banks of the Lagan river. Only very recently has the old graveyard site been fenced off and generally tidied up. It is still possible see the names of some of the family buried there on the vertical slabstone. However the details had been recorded many years ago and are as listed below.
The Hugh Mulholland and Elizabeth were the General's grandparents. The Ann who died 22nd June 1835 was the first wife
of the Generals father Henry Mulholland.
The Jane Eliza Mulholland is a daughter from the first marriage of the General's father to first wife Ann Turtle.The daughter who died March 1816 is in fact Martha who was born in 1798 and died unmarried. Eliza who died also unmarried
was born in 1803. Margaretta and Jane Eliza were also from Henry's first marriage to Anne Turtle and thus half sisters to the General. Hugh and Joseph Richardson Turtle Mulholland were grandsons of Hugh Mulholland and Elizabeth Mulholland
the Generals grandparents. John Rogers Millar and Anna Mulholland were the Generals uncle and aunt.
Henry Mulholland the Generals father was a very successful businessman. He owned lighters that carried goods back and forward to Belfast probably carrying general goods and especially linen from the local mills to Belfast to be shipped worldwide.
He was also a timber and coal merchant as well. His business was at "The Quay" at the end of Bridge Street Lisburn where he also had his house along the Lagan river bank. One source researched states that apart from his lighter business he also had a small dry dock used to repair the lighters on the waterway.This dry dock was big enough to take two or three lighters at one time. He would no doubt be a man of considerable means. From what knowledge that exists on some of the children from both his marriages all had been well educated.
However his life and that of Georgina Agnes Sinclair his wife and his family by Georgina would change forever in 1850. The family as a unit plus the two Coslett children set sail for America to New York from Belfast.
The circumstances of Henrys leaving for America lead to all sorts of suppositions. Probably we shall never know why a man with a new family by his 2nd wife would leave a large family from his first wife albeit many were in their 20's and some teenagers must have been difficult for him. However he must have made suitable arrangements for someone to care for them and look after their interests. Questions could also be asked was the departure anything to do with his marriage to Agnes Sinclair a convert to Catholicism and his young Catholic family from this marriage. Georgina Agnes Sinclair
was the daughter of an old Belfast merchant family inter related to some of the most important people in the city at the time. Families such as the Pollocks, Pottingers May and Dobbs families. Many areas of the current city of Belfast are named after them. It is also possible he went to America as a representative of the linen industry in Lisburn. It is know that General Mulholland's half brother from his fathers first marriage Joseph Richardson Turtle Mulholland was a very important member of the staff of William Barbour Ltd one of the biggest linen merchants in Lisburn. He travelled to and lived in both America and also Belgium and France acting as their representative in these countries.
The family emigrated from Belfast to New York on the ship Victory in 1850. The next trace of them is when they turn up in the 1850 census living in Washington Township Burlington Co in N.J. Why N.J.?. Perhaps they already had extended family living there. The family group is listed as follows.
Henry Mulholland aged 50. Sawyer
Georgina Mulholland aged 40.
Charles Coslett aged 20.
Georgina Coslett aged 18.
Frederick Mulholland aged 15.
Mary Mulholland aged 17.
St Clair Mulholland aged 11.
James Mulholland aged 7 years.
Francis Mulholland aged 5 years.
Louisa Mulholland aged 2 years.
Ellen Gillen aged 20. (possibly a servant girl)
What happened the family group is really the story of America. This family unit was certainly not the story of a "Famine" Irish one. They were from a very well to do families and from old Irish stock the Mulhollands and also Anglo Irish and Scots Plantation settler stock. The Cosletts probably from Norman Irish stock way back. What happened to each of them in their American adventure. Here are a few notes from information turned up in the course of my investigation. Note all the following members born in Lisburn or in adjacent area in the case of the Cosletts.
HENRY MULHOLLAND.This man was the Generals father and is named with the family group in the 1850 census as living with the family in Washington Township Burlington Co. N.J. One source states that he died 22nd Feb. 1856 in America. However place of death and burial unknown but his name does not show up in the 1860 census. Also as now the date of moving to Philadelphia not known.
GEORGINA HESTER AGNES MULHOLLAND. (Nee SINCLAIR) General Mulholland's mother. Buried in the Mulholland vault in the Old Cathedral Cemetery in Philadelphia.
LOUISA MULHOLLAND: The youngest member of the family leaving Ireland in 1850 aged 2. She went on to marry a Francis Xavier Gartland a funeral undertaker in Philadelphia and they lived in Philadelphia. The 1900 Population Census of the United States has her husband and family also Charles Coslett as a boarder living at South 39th St. in Phladelphia. Francis Gartland died 7th Sept 1907 and like his wife Louisa who died 12th June 1920 was buried in the Mulholland vault with her.
REV JAMES E MULHOLLAND. There are quite a few references to this man in the public domain. Obviously a man of much ability and was in demand as a co-ordinator at numerous religious functions. Sadly on a visit to Egypt in May 1886 he suffered a heart attack and died in Alexandria May 17th 1886. His body was brought back to Philadelphia and he was buried from the church he administrated in, St Patricks July 3rd 1886 to the Mulholland family vault in the Old Cathedral Cemetery. He was only 44 years of age.
FRANCIS XAVIER MULHOLLAND. Born in Lisburn in 1845 (one of a set of twins). He was 2nd.Lieut in the "60 B" Philadelphia City Guard. He was an inventive man as well as a linen shade maker and painter. He invented a special type gun. Also a lover of hunting and fishing. He had a boathouse at Barnegat Bay N.J. He married an English woman called Elizabeth Owens. She was a Cockney being born within the sounds of Bow Church bells London. Both buried in St Denis Cemetery Eagle Road Haverton Pa.They had a family of 11 children.
CHARLES COSLETT.This man is of interest. He was about 10 years older that Sinclair Mulholland when they both sailed together to America in 1850. He would be aged 21 whilst Sinclair would be 11. No doubt in the pecking order Sinclair as a boy of 11 would hold his half brother Charles Coslett in awe. Things in life can change and later we see that though both as men joined into the 116th Pa Infantry Sinclair would become a General. However one does note that Cosslett also joined and did quite well. Here are a few notes on him
Charles Coslett General Mulholland's half brother and as a Captain in Co.E of the 116th Regt was Wounded at Wilderness, Va. on May 5, at Cold Harbor on June 3rd, and wounded and captured at Williams' Farm on June 22nd. 1864 - promoted from 2nd Lt. on May 6, 1865 to Brevet Major on March 13, 1865 - discharged on Surgeon's Certificate on June 22, 1865.
What trade or profession did he have in America prior to and after the Civil War?.The post war answer is Coslett by 1900 is aged 70 so it would be fair to assume he had never married. He died aged 89 in Philadelphia 19th May 1919. He is buried in the Mulholland vault in the Old Cathedral Cemetery.
In the 1880 Census where he is shown as being aged 49 single and a shade maker. We know that General Mulholland had aspirations as a seascape and landscape painter so maybe just maybe both men had a business one as a maker of shades and the other painting them. Mulholland by any standard was a very talented painter and his works still invokes much interest.
GEORGINA COSLETT. Georginia married into a family called Kelly in Philadelphia.
We know that Sinclair left Lisburn with the family group above in 1850. He was aged 11. By then he would have had some good standard of education and be aware of the related families around him in Lisburn. He would have no doubt played around the Quay
area at the bottom of Lisburn's Bridge St. on the banks of the Lagan. No doubt he watched the horses and lighters as they plied their business back and forth to Belfast. The image to the left below is a view taken where Bridge street joined the bridge over the Lagan along the Quays. Photo taken 1879. No doubt this view was well known to the Mulhollands.
Setting off for America would have been a very big adventure for a young St. Clair Mulholland especially the trans Atlantic trip on the sailing ship Victory arriving in New York in 1850 a city in turmoil as the Irish famine immigrants poured into the city. However the family would move further west. The next trace we have of the whole family unit is in the 1850 census which shows them living in Washingtown Township Burlington Co. N.J.
Not a lot is known on what happened the family between 1850 and 1860 when the clouds of the Civil War were gathering. It would be fair to assume the family had by then settled in Philadelphia and the younger members continued their education. From what is known about the young Sinclair Mulholland it would appear he got interested in the events around him in a city somewhat in turmoil as it prepared for Civil War and the on going strife between the incoming Irish Catholic immigrants and the "nativists" the so called "real" Americans both anti Catholic and anti Irish. Did this strife influence him to join the Army?. We probably will never know for sure. Some sources state that he probably got interested in the activities of the various city militias.
Not a lot seems to be known about Mulholland's formative years between the age of 12 and his late teens. He may well have developed his painting skills. His half brother Charles Cosslett though some 10 years older may well have developed a shade making business and it is likely I think that Mulholland painted them. In the 1860 census Mulholland was listed as a land and seascape painter aged 20. His interest in the military increased in 1860 as well. Records shown that he enrolled in the 116th Pa.infantry 26th. June 1862 at Philadelphia. He was 23. He was at a time involved in recruitment in the city. He obtained officer status pretty well immediately. He mustered in 1st Sept 1862. He is promoted full major 27th Feb 1863 and mustered out same date. He was promoted full Colonel 3rd May 1864. He received his M.O.H. 4th May 1863 for his gallantry at the battle of Chancellorville. He was promoted Brevet Brig. General 13th March 1865. He mustered out 3rd June 1865 and was promoted full Major General 13th March 1865. He had attained a very high rank at a very young age.
Returning to Philadelphia he went back to what appears to have been his first love that of a painter. At one stage he went overseas to London and Paris to no doubt to enhance his painting skills. However not able to earn a living solely from painting he appeared to have some success selling some paintings especially to his friends. Joining the Democratic Party he gained note as an orator of note. Daniel M. Fox the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia made Mulholland Chief of Police for the city in 1869 a positiom he appears to have held for a few years. He is noted in the 1870 census as being chief of police living with his wife Mary Donner. It is also noted that Georgina (Georgine Hester Sinclair his mother) was then an invalid and living with them. He then went on a lecture tour of the United States speaking on his experiences in the Civil War and its history. In the 1880 census Mulholland is noted as being a landscape and marine artist. In this year he married for a second time to Mary Heenan. In 1894 President Cleveland appointed him pension agent for Philadelphia a position he held until his death. He would appear never to have forsaken his love of painting. General Mulholland was involved in many post war activities. He was chairman of the State Committee which erected the monument to the Pennsylvanian soldiers at Gettysburg. Also chairman for the committee that erected a statue to Father Corby the chaplain to the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg. Also involved in the committee which erected the Commodore Barry memorial in Independence Square in the city at that time. He was also president of the Catholic Alumini Sedality at the time of his death.In 1882 he was elected President of the Friendly Sons of St Patrick. Mulholland found time to marry twice. He firstly married Mary Donner on Christmas Day 1864 the daughter of an hotel and tavern owner in Philadelphia.They were married by the General's brother the Rev James Mulholland in 1864. She died in 1873. The Donner family were from Co. Roscommon. It is of interest to note that his very wealthy half brother Joseph Richardson Turtle Mulholland when in retirement back in Belfast was living with his sister Mary was visited by General Mulhollands daughter Mary St.Clair Mulholland. She is noted a living with Joseph and Mary in Belfast in 1911 census and as a visitor from Philadelphia. It is also recorded in the census that Joseph and Mary and their visitor were Catholic and had two servants and living at 30 Derryvolgie Ave a very prestigeous part of the city then and indeed now. He later remarried this time to Mary Heenan the daughter of Colonel Heenan who was his predecessor in the command of the 116th Pa. Like the Donners the Heenans were also hotel and tavern owners in Philadelphia.
General St Clair Augustine Mulholland was in essence something different amongst the Irish who fought in the Civil War and made it to a major rank. He was a man who did not come from a military background or well established American family or a West Point military academy graduate. He arrived in America as a young man from a comparatively wealthy background of Protestant and Catholic gentry. As to why he was such a devout Catholic to me seems to have had a lot to do with his mother Georgina who had converted in her younger days primarily due to the influence of her aunt and a Jesuit priest called Father Ellmer. Also one of her sons James Eugene went on to become a Catholic priest. General Mulholland would from his background be at home in any religious company. He also would appear to have made many visits back to his friends and relations in Lisburn who were from both sides of the religious divide. It is noted that he lived in Paris between 1882 and 1885 visiting Lisburn frequently. In one trip home in 1893 he presented lectures with visual aids on the Civil War. He also found time to write a history of the 116th Regt. A lifelong Democrat he left the party in 1909 and joined the Republicans after a difference with a Mr Bryan.
The stock from which Genegal Mulholland came were people who considered themselves gentry and power, wealth and family connections reigned supreme. A religious problem could easily be overlooked. Things don't really change in this matter!.
Perhaps a fitting tribute to the man was recorded in the Irish News a local Belfast newspaper still running in which it recorded.
On the long and illustrious rolls of Irishmen who by their chivalry, statesmanship, and administrative capacity have contributed to the up building of the free institutions of the United States, few deserved a more exalted place than the late General St. Clair Mulholland
General Mulholland is buried in the family vault in the Old Cathedral Cemetery in Philadelphia along with many of his relatives including his first wife Mary Donner who died in 1873. (See vault image left and vault door plaque above).Vault on South Boundary Lot 154.
It is of interest to note that the local newspapers in the Lisburn area at the time frequently recorded events and happenings to the General and his family in America.The Lisburn Standard on Sat. March 5th 1910 thought fit to reproduce an article which appeared in the Public Ledger Philadelphia of the 18th Feb. 1910 regarding the death of General Mulholland. It draws attention to tha fact that the General was the fifth son of the late Henry Mulholland of The Quay Lisburn.
General Mulholland also found time to write in 1903 a quality history of the 116th Regt. P.V.I. The book is entitled. The Story of the 116th.Regt.P.V.I. in the War of the Rebellion. One of the regiments private soldiers also wrote about his life in the 116th entitled My Life in the Irish Brigade. Civil War Memories of Pvte William McCarter 116th P.V.I.
Annadorn is close to the town of Downpatrick and belonged to Patrick and Owen McCartan in the days before Oliver Cromwell's exploits in Ireland. In 1653 the commissioners, sitting in Carrickfergus, confiscated these lands and granted them to Sir George Rawdon. Interestingly Rawdon was one of the commissioners. In 1666 Rawdon sold Annadorn to Charles Cosslett from Co Laois. Cosslett received a 500 year lease of the 400 acres at two shillings per annum. In later years the Cosslett family acquired an estate in South Carolina. There they became well known and prominent in the judicial field in America. Two female descendants became well-known abolitionists.The remaining family stayed in Ireland no doubt as an ascendancy family. One branch like that of the Sinclairs had a member who converted to the Catholic faith. It was from this branch that a Father Charles Cosslett, born 1809 and ordained 1832 came from. He would marry Georgina Hester Agnes Sinclair to Henry Mulholl and of The Quay Lisburn in Hollywood Co Down June 27th 1838.
Dennis Heenan was born in the Borrisokane area of Co Tipperary 1818. From what information I have on him it would appear that he was of a similar background to Colonel Dennis O'Kane of the 69th.P.V.I. He probably emigrated perhaps with some brothers and friends to Philadelphia in 1839 prior to Irelands famine era. He was 21 years old. It is recorded that he probably started off working as a labourer and carpenter in the city initially and gradually like O'Kane the family became hotel and tavern owners. He married a Margaret O'Donnell on June 17th 1845 in St Johns Church. They were to have four children one of his daughters named Mary would later marry St. Clair Mulholland as his 2nd wife. Heenan became interested in the militia companies springing up in the city prior to the Civil war. He helped with the logistics. recruitment and funding of some of the newly forming up militia companies in the city.This was the era of the Irish Volunteers, the Hibernian Greens, the Emmet Guards, the Jackson Guards, the Shields Guards and the Meagher Guards. He was involved with the Hibernian Greens militia unit and ended up with a captains rank.
By the start of the Civil War in 1861 in the city was politically and militarily active the Irish playing a major part in the activities.
On May 1st 1861 Heenan was commissioned as Lieut. Col. of the three month enlistment 24th P.V.I. Training commenced in what was a very Irish command structure of O'Kane, Harvey, Conroy and Heenan. However city politics and I suppose some personality problems lead to the resignation of Colonel Conroy he being replaced by Democrat and Welshman Joshua Owens. By June 5th 1861 the 24th was at last ready for engagement and proceeded to Harpers Ferry and remained there until July. Many of the the three month engagements regiments would not continue to serve after their period of engagment finished but the 24th under Owens and Heenan stayed on. However at the end of July 1861 the 24th returned to Philadelphia to be disbanded. Many of the officers and men from the 24th Owens formed up the 69th P.V.I. under Owens command. Dennis O'Kane would be its commanding colonel. However Heenan chose not to join the 69th and went back to developing his business interests but always giving logistic and no doubt whatever help he could towards the war effort.
No doubt it was because of his logistic support to the war effort and contacts enabled Heenan to form up what was basically "his" regiment the 116th P.V.I. This was authorised on June 11th 1861. Heenan was aged 45. However on the 26th of June 1861 a young St Clair Mulholland would join the ranks aged 23. His rapid promotion would soon follow.
It is interesting to look at the Heenan and Mulholland families at this juncture. No doubt both families knew each other very well. The Heenan family being important business people in the city with their taverns, hotela and building businesse whilst the Mulhollands seemed to have also been a main stream family. At this juncture I connot link the Mulholland family to any specific occupations or trades in Philadelphia apart from finding in the various census that St.Clair and his half brother Charles Cosslet doing business as a landscape painter and shade maker respectively. I have not been able to trace the head of the family who left Lisburn in 1850 Henry Mulholland after he is noted in the 1850 N.J. census. What happened to him?. However as regards the family support I am of the opinion that the Mulholland family may well have been operating as representatives of the Irish linen industry in N. America or some of their relatives known to be already there were doing so and supporting them. I have no proof of this as now but it should be remembered that many of the uniforms of the armies in the Civil War were made in the linen mills of Belfast and the Mulholland and Barbour families were no doubt linked into. The linen industry in the Lagan valley at the time was known world wide and its products much sought after.
By July 1862 the newly formed 116th P.V.I. was in the thick of things as well as linking up with Meaghers Irish Brigade. Subsequently the noted charge of the Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg made history. It was during this engagement that Heenan was badly wounded in his right hand a wound that ended his active army career and led to his discharge from the army Jan 26th 1863. At the same time a young Lt. Colonel St.Clair Mulholland took over command of the regiment. He would lead it into many other confrontations and battles. He would subsequently write the history of the regiment. He would also go on to marry Heenan's daughter Mary Heenan when his 1st wife Mary Donner died. The 116th would indeed stay "within the families"!
Heenan went back to his business interests but also remained a stalwart supporter of the war effort in every way including recruitment until the war ended in 1865. He also maintained his links with the Hibernian Society and Friendly Sons of St Patrick in post war years. No doubt he and Mulholland his now son in law enjoyed many exchanges and thoughts about their war experiences post war. Alas in early July 1872 Heenan was tragically killed in a carriage accident in Philadelphia. He was buried in the Old Cathedral Cemetery on the 4th of July 1872. His wife Margaret lived until 1903. It should be noted that Colonel Heenan's son Thomas E Heenan (1848-1914) also had an illustrious career. He first started off life graduating in medicine from the School of Medicine at Philadelphia University. He then went to Minnesota where he farmed and also ran his medical practice. However his career changed and he took up an appointment with the U.S.Government and was Consul in Odessa for some 23 years. Subsequently he served as Consul General in one of the Chinese provinces where he served a short period, then a transfer to Poland for five years. He died in Fiume Austria on June 26th 1914. He had been in failing health for some time. His body was brought back to America and he is buried in the Holy Cross cemetery Yeadon Pa. It should be noted that his sister Mary J Heenan Mulholland (1849-1828) the widow of General St Clair Mulholland by his 2nd marriage is also buried with him. Grave Section 12 range 3. See image above right.
Colonel Heenans grave remained unmarked until Sept 20th 2009 when the descendant Heenan family and extended family members and friends along with the Rev. Edward Brady, Soloist Theresa Flanagan Murtagh, Andrew R. Coldren Curator of the Civil War Museum Philadelphia, the Colour Guard of the 69th Pa Civil War Reenactors, the Emerald Pipers, Friendly Sons of St Patrick and the A.O.H. gathered at the unveiling of the memorial to Colonel Heenan in the Old Cathedral Cemetery.
Click above icon to open PDF file. Can be printed A4 size.
Image of and PDF file on Lieut Murphy courtesy Bath Iron Works Maine.
Joe Heenan Gt. Gt. Grandson of Colonel Heenan for images and information on Col. Heenan. Much appreciated.
The Irish News Belfast.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Bill Meehan for images and information from local records/sources in Philadelphia.
The Linenhall Library Belfast
Find a Grave Website
The Lisburn Standard
Public Ledger Philadelphia.
The Lisburn Branch of the North of Ireland Historical Society and their excellent publication These Hallowed Grounds