Private Roger Loughran Co. B. 69th Pa. Inf.

Born Killeeshil Parish near Dungannon Co. Tyrone 28th July 1822. Died Philadelphia April 17th. 1896.

Pvte. Roger Loughran Co. B 69th Pa. Infantry.

Roger Loughran was born in the parish of Killeeshil Co. Tyrone 28th July 1822 to Patrick Loughran and Alice Mullan. His parents were more than likely very small farmers or more likely labourers. Killeeshil parish is about 5 miles from Dungannon on the Ballygawley Road. See map. The name Killeeshil is the Anglicised version of the old Irish name "coilliseal" meaning a church or perhaps a lower wood. Roger's name Loughran is the Anglised form of the Irish name O'Luachrain. This part of Tyrone lies on the lower slopes of the Sperrin hills and the people then as now would live in an interface area between the "native" Irish Catholics many of whom would have been disposessed by the turmoil of the early 17th century when the leading family of Ulster the O'Neills whose main family castle was at Dungannon a few miles distant from Killeeshil fled to Continental Europe in the so called "Flight of the Earls" in 1607. The Plantation settlers mostly Scots Presbyterian arrived after the fall of the O'Neill's in the early 1600's and availed themselves of the lands confiscated from the O'Neills. A strained relationship developed between the native Irish and the plantation settlers and in all honesty exists to this day.
Most people are aware that the 1847 era famine lead to mass emigration from Ireland. Many of the soldiers of the 69th Pa. were its victims but we have such little recorded information on their life pre-emigration to America. However in Roger Loughran's case we have two very good sources of information. Perhaps the best being a copy of his birth record for July 28th 1822 and secondly we have documented evidence of the social, economic and historical information on the parish of Killeeshil circa early 19th century
Let us look at Rogers life span. He was born 28th July 1822 in Killeeshil parish. As now we do not know which townland. This was an Ireland in social and economic turmoil. The rebellion of 1798 by both the native Catholics and Presbyterian settlers had been put down ruthlessly by the State controlled militias mainly set up and run by the "gentry" estate farmers mostly of English stock and members of the Established Church or the Church of England. Things did not improve and were not helped by the ending of the Napoleonic war in 1815 when requirement of grain, meat, flax and agricultural products fell off. Into the mix was the turmoil between the Orange Order members and the local Catholics in the Killeeshil area leading to many faction fights, burnings and general mayhem. One such confrontation of note took place in 1824 when Roger was just 2 years of age is noted in history by a poem called the Tullyallen Fight a confrontation between local followers of the local Protestant Orange Order and the Catholics in Killeesil parish the latter thinking that their chaple at Tullyallen built in 1768 would be burnt. Tullyallen was the first chaple built in the area as the Penal Laws were relaxed. Catholic Emancipation was not granted fully until 1829 but more benine landlords were keen both from a moral viewpoint and of necessity of having available estate workers, relaxed the laws much earlier. However with the decline of agricultural production and religious confrontation the common outcome was mass poverty and associated illiteracy. It was into this background that Roger Loughran was born 22.7.1822 to Patrick Loughran and Alice Mullen who was some 5 years younger than Patrick. Roger was the youngest of their three known children brother John born 9.6.1816 and a sister Anne born 22.2.1820.
What was the area like in 1822?. We have a very good account of what it looked like. On 21st June 1822 some three weeks before Roger Loughran was born a gentleman called Robert Reid having returned from Australia noted down the following.

"Rode many miles through Tyrone, northward by Ballygawley and saw nothing but dirt, poverty and wretchedness.The country abounds in hills here called mountains covered with heath and strewed with miserable hovels to each of which are attached a few yards of badly cultivated ground which only makes the barronness that prevails the more conspicious. Many of their hovels are constructed by placing long sticks in a slanting position against a high bank and covering them with scraws (sods), these were afterwards thatched with heath as they did not project above the level of the heathy bank they could not be easily be discovered or distinguished by a stranger until he came close upon them.The doors of these huts if doors they can be called are formed by two perpendicular sticks and five crossed ones somewhat resembling a gate of rude workmanship having the interstices filled with ropes made of straw worked in the manner of a basket.
As far as I can collect from private friends and other persons well aquainted with the country the number of children in a cabin is seldom less than four and that it would average about five with which the parents would give at least seven in every cottage or house. I have invariably found the increase of children in Ireland to be in an inverse proportion to the means possessed by their parents to support them.

Our second and perhaps the most interesting document we have on Roger is a copy of the records of his birth registration. This is a very unique document and as far as I know the only one we have on any of the Irish soldiers of the 69th. Pa. Very few such documents exist in the Catholic parishes from so far back.

Roger Loughrans birth record. Third line down. All Latin text. Entries July 28th 1822.

Back then and up to quite recent times all records were kept by the local priests and as Latin was the compulsory language in which they studied and because the Catholic services were in Latin their parish records were also kept in Latin. Reading the third line down you will see the name Rogerious this is Latin for Roger then the names of his parents in Latin format Patrick and Alice Mullan and the name of the two baptismal sponsors one of whom is Jacobus (James) Loughran probably Rogers uncle and Sara his wife. The two squiggles are probably the "short hand" for "filium legitum " born in wedlock. The name Roger stands out immediatley a VERY uncommon name in Catholic east Tyrone then and indeed now. Where did his parents get this name?. Looking at the history of the time circa 1822 there was a man called Roger O'Connor who was fighting the land war against the landlords over land ownership and rents. This may well be why Roger was so named. Finding his name in the Penn. Civil War record cards can be confusing. After some deduction and searching it is found that he was enlisted as Rodger Loughlin. Why?. Subsequent research and information suggests that he was illiterate and his name sadly was simply a "sound in his head" and the recruiting sergeant would simply write down what he heard. It's little wonder that there are so many many mistakes in the Civil War records.
As to when he or his family left for America we can make a fair estimate at what age he was. It is known that all of Roger's four children were born in Pennsylvania from the 1850 census. These children were Anne, John, Alice and Kate. John's birth date is known as being 8. 6. 1848. From this date and the fact that all the children born in America it looks like Roger emigrated in the famine era mid 1840's. He was probably aged in his early or mid 20's. Prior to emigrating he was at best employed as a labourer or helped at home on a small holding in the Killeshil parish. What did he do in America prior to the Civil War? I suppose we can only guess but very probably worked as a labourer as thousands of the immigrant Irish did in the Philadelphia area.
We know that he enlisted May 11th 1861 into the 24th. Pa. Vols. and then enlisted into the 69th. Pa. Vols. Aug 20th 1861. He was nearly 40 years of age and with a very young family. Son John for example would be approx 13 years of age. This was big risk decision and one wonders why he took it. Was it patriotism or the need for the enrolement bounty or a steady income from the army?
Rodger soon saw active service. He fought at Antietam and wounded there but recovered. He was also active at the battle of Fredericksburg but badly injured in a related accident Dec. 11th 1862 necessitating hospitalisation for three weeks in a field hospital, then the Lincoln Hospital in Wash. D.C. hence to Satterlee Hospital in Philadelphia. Not fit for further front line duty he was transferred to Co. I of the 10th Regt. V.R.C. He mustered out from the service 15th Nov 1865. Sadly his wife Mary (possibly Mary McMahon) died young on June 13th. 1865 though another source states 3. 6. 1864. By Nov. 1865 Rogers war was over. His wife had died in 1865 and he still had four young children to raise. Roger badly need a wife and he very soon after he left the army remarried a Susan Johnson by whom he had a son also named Roger in 1866. Susan pre deceased Roger (father) dieing 1.9. 1888. Roger as we know died 3. 4. 1896 and was buried in the New Cathedral cemetery. His son Roger from his 2nd marriage died in 1899.

Some of Rogers descendants at his grave dedication New Cathedral Cemetery Philadelphia.

Grave marker of Pvte. Roger Loughran Co. B New Cathedral Cemetery Philadelphia. Section B Range 2 Lot 41.
Wife Bridget 1827 - June 13th 1865.

Some very interesting information is available on the history of the Kileeshil parish and indeed the history of the area can be read from the following link.Though this file is predominatley focussed on the Catholic parish of Kileeshil and it's history it gives a good overview of the history of the area and how it evolved from way back especially from 1600 onwards after the fall of the O'Neills. It shows just how bad the conditions many of the Irish born 69th soldiers were born and raised in, not only in east Tyrone but along the Sperrin hills of Tyrone and S. Derry.

Capt. Thomas Furey Co. B. 69th Pa. Inf.

Born Rathangan Co. Kildare. Ireland 1828. Died Philadelphia March 19th. 1912.

Thomas was born in Rathangan in Co. Kildare 1828 to his father Matthias Furey and mother Agnes. Records show that in 1847 the infamous "black 47" the worst year of the mid 19th century Irish famines his parents emigrated to America as thousands of others did. Their port of departure was most likely Dublin as Rathangan is only about 30 miles west of Dublin though the small famine ships of that area could have departed from other small ports also the east coast of Ireland. Impossible to say. However it looks likely that their destination was the port of Philadelphia. We do not know the names of Thomas siblings. What we do know from records and newspaper articles is that Matthias, his father would have been born in 1792 another very troubled time in Ireland just prior to the 1798 United Irishmen's Rebellion. He would have lived through this as that area of Co. Kildare was involved in associated disturbances. Looking at the date lines it looks like by 1847 when the family left for America Matthias the father would have been aged 55 and his son Thomas (the soldier to be, aged about 19). To leave as an emigrant aged 55 with a growing family in 1847 certainly strikes me as being a situation of desperation. What did the family leave behind in Ireland?. In all probabality they were at best small farmers or more likely eeked out an existence as labourers. America would beckon.
On arrival in America Matthias the father probably worked as a labourer initially and later as a peddler as the 1868 census states. His son Thomas in the 1850 Federal Census is listed as a blacksmith and living in the Moyamensing area of S. Philadelphia and also as having the same trade in the census of 1860, 1870 and 1880. We Know Thomas with his family arrived in America in 1847 it would appear he may well have been a blacksmith back in Ireland or had served in the trade perhaps in the service of the estates of the landed gentry. This is possible as Rathangan was within the famous "Pale" centered on Dublin and area with massive estates owned by the Anglo-Irish Ascendency who were massively into horses. Thomas in Philadelphia however soon got involved in local politics and in the forming up milita companies in pre-war Philadelphia. He would appear to be very political active and by 1859 he was quartermaster in the local Hibernia Greens. He was noted as being involved with the Fenian organisations in the Philadelphia area. Perhaps political seeds planted by his experiences back in Ireland. It was reported in a local military intelligence circulation 25th April 25th 1861 that Thomas Furey had been promoted 1st Lieut. of the unit. He was aged 33, the Civil War was just around the corner. From this position and as war neared he found himself a lieutanant in Co. B. of the newly forming up 24th Regt. a regimental path into the soon forming up 69th Pa. Infantry. He served the standard three months service in the 24th Regt then fully into Co. B of the newly forming up 69th. Pa. Inf.
Thomas enlisted in the 69th Pa. on 9. 9. 1861 at Philadelphia and mustered in as a Capt in Co. B. of the Regt. at Camp Observation Md. 11.9.1861. Thomas Fureys career as Capt. of Co. B. would appear not to have been without difficulties and it is recorded that his relationship with both Colonel Owen and Colonel O'Kane soured after his performance at the battle of Antietam Md in early Sept 1862. He would appear to have offered his resignation from the 69th at this time after it is said they had accused him of incompetence. He forwarded his letter of resignation on the 25th. Sept 1862. He addressed his resignation to J.T. Owens Col. Comm. 69th Pa. He simply states.
Sir, I most respectfully tended this as my resignation as Captain of the Co. B 69th Regiment Penna Vols. I have the honor to be your Obt. Servant, Thomas Furey"
On the bottom of the letter which was forwarded to the Brigade and Division H.Q. Owen penned
Respectfully submitted and recommended on account of incompetence.

However H.Q. rejected his resignation and he was reinstated on Oct 16th but he decided to resign again on the 20th. This time it was accepted and Thomas Furey left active service in the military and the 69th for good but not his association with with the military, GAR or other organisations. I am of the opinion that he was put in an impossible position within the 69th was not disillusioned by the the Army as such or its ethos as we shall see.
What was the real reason for his departure?. I always treat "dismissals" for behaviour or cowardice or any other reason in a war scenarion with doubt. In the case of the men of the 69th the greater percentage of them Irishmen and reading the history of the 69th Don Ernsberger's book Paddy Owens Regulars gives numerous examples of individual soldiers or groups of soldiers thinking little of writing to the State Governor suggesting who should be upgraded, demoted. complained about etc. Not something normally seen in most regiments or armies where complaints have to "go up the ranks" and needless to say get heavily vetted and filtered. As many of you who study the fighting abilities of Irish soldiers fighting in any nation's army they rarely show cowardice. What is necessary however is that they expect leadership from the front or be allowed to lead themselves as a group, they cannot be "lead" from the rear it would be like trying to herd cats, they do not much respect "armchair generals". However and sadly they are prone to form up cliques amongst themselves and I feel that is what happened to Thomas Furey, he ruffled feathers somewhere, the metaphorical knives were out for him.
From newspaper clippings available it is seen that Thomas did not end up an embittered man. He was a big enough man to attend the funeral of Colonel O'Kane in Philadelphia in the summer of 1863 about six months after his dismissal from the army. Though it is implied that both O'Kane and Owens both agreed that he Furey be dismissed. It kind of looks like Owens was perhaps putting O'Kane under pressure to "agree" with him. To make my point stronger Furey had obviously no problem joining the GAR organisation which no doubt vetted its applicants. Another pointer as to his post war standing is that on August 8th 1887 he was an active member of the Hancock Veteran Association. (See image left). At some stage in early 1887 the Philadelphia branch of the association sent a letter to President Cleveland informing him that they expected to parade some 200 men obviously in Philadelphia on a Constitutional centennial celebration escort for the president. Furey reported back to the committee that he Col. Furey, Col. Tipton, Col. Thornton and Col. Hassod would convey the written reply that he Furey had from the president. It is interesting to note that the president accepted the invitation.
Here are some bits and pieces on Fureys life in Philadehphia which might interest researchers but also give a background to the families struggles in America. At some stage Thomas Furey married an Agnes Dorrington. This was not a family without sorrow. In early Nov. 1862 only a few weeks after he left the army he and his wife lost a child Catharine Bridget aged one month and 29 days. On the 5th August 1868 Matthias (senior) Thomas's father died aged 76. Two years later July 27th 1870 perhaps the greatest tragedy for Thomas and Agnes was when they lost their son Matthias a fireman in the Philadelphia Hose aged 21 in an accident whilst doing his duty. In the above photo it appears though he has his original Capt's hat he does appear to be in a civilian suit plus all his medals. Most of them thought to be associated with the various GAR societies he was involved with. After the war his personal story of his war service was given to the historian of Post No. 2 GAR.
Thomas Furey received several war wounds for which he received a pension. He died in Philadelphia March 19th 1912 aged 84. He died from influenza having been ill for 10 years.He was buried from his daughters home at 1316 Rodfield St. Philadelphia though throughout his workinh life he lived mostly at 625 Paul St. above Wash. Ave.He died a widower. He is buried on the Old Cathedral cemetery plot P.10.45 (2W) M. A copy of his obit notice is seen below.

Capt. Thomas Furey Co. B 69th Pa. Infantry. Born Rathangan Co. Kildare Ireland 1828 died Philadelphia 19.3.1912.

Obit.notice for Thomas Furey's father Matthias.

Obit. notice for Thomas Furey's son Matthias.

With thanks to the P.I. and P.L. Newspapers Philadelphia. Also input of researcher T.P. of Pa. much appreciated.

Corp. Matthew Biggins Co. C. 71st. Pa./Co. F. 69th. Pa./Co. B. 1st Inf. Reg. Army.

Born Co. Cavan Ireland Sept 17th 1835. Died July 12th 1907 Sioux Co. Iowa.

Generally speaking I have found that after participating in the actions of the Civil War 1861-65 the soldiers seemed to drift off most back to their home cities or areas and try and pick up their lives again. As the Civil War was generally fought on the eastern side of the American continent and most of the main battles fought in Pennsylvania and Virginia with a few exceptions travel around the areas though difficult enough the distances were not great and the opening up of railroads and improving river transport and coastal sea passages enabled ex soldiers to move around the eastern United States fairly easily. During the Civil war the main focus of interest was the war as such as I see it, not too much attention being paid to America's mid-west and west.
Towards the end of the Civil war attention would swing towards the west as more and more mostly European immigrants flooded into N. America's eastern seaboard. All could not live in the cities of the east. There were many who knew that there was good and cheap lands to the west. There were many obstacles primarly distance and the slow pace of rail and communications development and the Indian nations were main obstacles to the white man's quest for land. After the Civil war the "unforgotten" regiments of the army many of them cavalry units started to come into their own. They alone would move into the vast spaces in the west, establish forts, protect the new railroads and the telegraph system and the newly arriving mostly European "settlers". They would have also to "deal" with the Indians a not too glorious era in Americas history. This is where this little bio begins. It is a very small yet unique story of Irish emigration of a young boy Matthew Biggins from Co. Cavan one of the poorest counties in Ireland who in early 1835 aged 2 left with his widowed father Tom and probably other siblings for Philadelphia. A few years later aged 5 in 1850 a young girl Deborah McGrath left with her parents from Limerick also for Philadelphia. Both their lives would take some interesting twists and turns. Let us look at some of these.
At first glance the name Biggins is hardly seen as a typical Irish name from Co. Cavan. However in closer investigation it is seen that the name is probably an Anglified version of the old Irish name O'Beagain or O'Bigin. As now the name Beggan, Bagans or Beggans is seen in the history of Co. Cavan a further Anglification leading to Biggins. The Irish for little being beag. The name is mostly associated with Co. Monaghan which coincidentally is next to Co. Cavan in the northern side of the Irish midlands.
Looking at the various valuation and census documents that exist it is interesting to see that in the townland of Carrowmore in Tomregan parish Griffith's Valuation of 1857 lists the landlords of the townland in the Annesley Estate are Harper, Benson, Reilly and McNally & the tenants as McTeague, Reilly, Maguire, Freehill, McGovern, Brady, Donohoe, Benson, Shannon, Kelly, Flynn, Veitch, Emo, Gregg, Biggins, Halliday, McKnight, McNally, Gwynne, Henderson, Netterville, Graham, Bannan and Cairnes. Thus we know that in 1857 the name Biggins was being used having evolved from the old Irish name. This area was to the western side of Co. Cavan. (see map).
In the 1901 census for Co. Cavan three Biggins are listed in Lisnadarra townland near the present town of Shercock on the eastern side of the county Edward Biggins aged 18, Mary aged 60 and Richard aged 25. In the 1911 census a Michael Biggins is listed as living in the Ballyconnell area. Thus we have two possible places where Matthew Bigggins came from. I am of the opinion he was from the Shercock family group.
The 1841 Census of Ireland gives a population of 280 in Carrowmore, of which 137 were males and 143 were females, with 54 houses. The 1851 Census of Ireland gives a population of 218, a decrease of 62 on the 1841 figure, due to the intervening Irish Famine of 184547, of which 109 were males and 109 were females, with 41 houses, of which 1 was uninhabited. The decrease was larger in the female population. In the 1911 census of Ireland, there are twenty-four families listed in the townland. Matthew Biggins had a life that typified what many of the Irish emigrants of the mid 19th century experienced. Thomas the father of Matthew was at best a labourer or the son of a poor tenant farmer probably in one of the two areas identified.
Thomas probably found work in Philadelphia and as his young son Matthew grew up in Philadelphia in due course learned the trade of a cobbler or shoemaker.
Though a cobbler by trade but perhaps of necessity or perhaps fired up by the patriotism of his fellow Irishmen or indeed his father's influence Matthew enlisted into the 71st Pa. Infantry. This he did 1st July 1861 in Philadelphia and mustered in at Wash D.C. 8th July 1861 a week later. He was aged 26.
Matthew would appear to have fought in all the encounters the 71st were involved in and avoided major injury though by the battle of Fredericksburg he was upgraded to Corporal However on the 2nd of July 1863 at the engagement at Gettysburg fighting alongside the men of the 69th Pa. he was quite badly wounded and ended up in hospital at Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. Here one young lady by the name of Deborah McGrath (the young lady I mentioned earlier) had the task of helping nurse him back to health.They fell in love and on the 12th April 1864 they were married. Deborah was a volunteer aide worker helping to look after the wounded Civil War soldiers coming back from active service. A few months after they were wed. Records show Matthew being discharged from the army on 2nd July 1864 a year exactly after Gettysburg. He was noted as being absent at muster out. Deborah during this period was living in Doylestown Bucks Co. to the north of Philadelphia. From dates on hand it would appear that Matthew did not leave the Army but re-enlisted in the VRC. Matthew was noted as being in Wash D.C. the year Lincoln was assassinated ie April 1865. A son Thomas was born to them in 1865 in the Wash. D.C. area. It is also noted that a daughter Catherine was probably born in this era and died young while they were in the New York area. Records show that Matthew was enlisted in the Co. B 1st. Inf. Reg. Infantry in 1866. There may well have been a short period where the family returned to Philadelphia and Matthew again took up his shormakers business. Another son James-Matthew was also born in Philadelphia in 1867. Daughter Annie was born in 1869, son Matthew in 1872 and son John in 1873 These children may well have been born at forts in the opening up west but as now unknown where. However we have a better take on what happened to him after 1874 when he was transferred in Co. B of the 1st. Inf. Reg. of the regular army to the Dakota Territory this time to the well known and important Army base of Fort Sully on the Missouri river in central Dakota (See map below). This fort on the Missouri river played a major part in the various Indian wars that took place in the vast area of what was the then Dakota Territory. It was a very important one amongst many forts in the far west. Here three further sons were born David in 1875, Edward in 1876 and Daniel in 1879 at Fort Sully. The Regiment had three commanders during the period it was billited there namely Major Henry M. Lazelle, Captain Leslie Smith and Capt. Thomas M. Tolman

Map of S. E. Dakota showing the whereabouts of the forts in which Matthew Biggins served. Also position of town of Bonesteel.
The home of the Biggins family from 1882 onward. Close to Wheeler and opposite the town of Bonesteel where both Matthew and Deborah are buried.

Image of Fort Sully South Dakota circa 1880.
Where Matthew Biggins would spent most of his service in the west.

Matthew, Deborah and family were transferred to Fort Thompson in 1880 and stationed in the Crow Creek Indian reservation. In 1882 at Fort Randall Matthew Biggins mustered out of the army. He would have been aged 47 and the father of a very young family aged between 17 and less than a year. It is at this point his life would change rapidly. He had squatted on some 160 acres of land on the Fort Randall Reserve close to the town of Wheeler on the banks of the Missouri opposite Bonesteel where their local Catholic church was. It was fairly normal for people to squat on land and lay claim to in the S. Dakota of the time. Squatting had a very different meaning in Dakota then as compared with the general perception of the word in Europe inferring basically a somewhat illegal action. In the Homestead Law of 1862 to enable the incoming settlers aquire land if they "squatted" a section of land a quarter section or 160 acres could be earmarked for a small fee by the settlers. The only provison seems to be that they built a shanty house, dig a well and plough a few acres of the land. The general Land office of the area later issued an order which fixed Dec. 4th 1896 as the final date for all so called squatter-settlers to fully register land claimed and they accordingly issued land receipts to them. I can only assume that Matthew commenced farming thereon from these circumstances. He and his wife would spend the rest of their lives there raising their family. No doubt they had to build themselves a log cabin style house, dig a well and erect a few out-buildings in the process. It is interesting to note that most documentation on the Biggins family give Wheeler as their local post office. Wheeler was the closest ferry point on the river at that point. However when the Fort Randall dam was built in the 1950's the town disappeared when the dam was allowed to fill up in 1954-55 and the old town disappeared under its waters and off the map of Charles Mix county.

Image of Fort Randall South Dakota circa 1880.
Where Matthew Biggins would have ended his military career as a sutler at the Fort.

Here on Charles Mix county two daughters were born Deborah in 1882 and and Mary Ellen in 1884 in a log cabin on the homestead. Their local town was Wheeler the county seat of Tom Mix County. By this time 7 sons had been born and 4 daughters. 10 alive as one Catherine had died in New York in earlier years. In the 1890 census the family noted as living in Wheeler Charles Mix Co.
Matthew Biggins the father in total served 16 years in the regular army. He ended it is noted as a sutler at Fort Randall. A sutler being a kind of quartermaster sourcing all sorts of commodities for every day life eg provisions and general supplies for the soldiers on the base eg soap, sweets, tobacco etc. The job of sutler would appear to be a "nice little " earner for whoever was appointed and the cutler was allowed to set up a tent within the fort perimeter. It being allowed was at the grace of the camp commander. In some cases when the base was at peace the local civilian population was allowed to use the facilities.
Fort Sully was closed and abandonned by 1894. Most of the other forts had closed or were in the process of closing. The Indian wars were drawing to an end, the white man now reigned supreme in the West and the Indians had to settle in most cases for benine grants of "reservations".
Matthew the young man from rural Cavan had witnessed an era of American history being made that in a circuitious way would later influenece world history.
Deborah McGrath Biggins died on Jan 3rd 1927. Matthew (Senior) had died July 12th. 1907. He had died in Sioux City Iowa. He was aged 73. He may have been in hospital there at the time. Both Matthew and Deborah are buried in St Marys cemetery in Bonesteel S. Dakota Section 1. Lot 2. Grave 2. Their 10 living children would grow up, in many cases marry and they and their descendants would immerse into the great mix and mass of people that would be the modern America.
As to what port Thomas Biggins and his young son Matthew emigrated from we cannot be sure. (See images below). As will be seen Co. Cavan has a long N.E-S.E.axis. Unless we knew the townland he came from we can only make a guess. Personally I think that it is more likely that he came from the eastern area of the county as a had more dense population that the west. If the east then he probably left via Newry, Drogheda, Dundalk or Dublin. If the west side probably from Sligo. However this comment is speculative at this point.

County Cavan in the north central midlands of Ireland.

The townlands of Co. Cavan.

Note: Looking through the Find A Grave site I see a lot of folks in S.E Dakota mentioned as Biggins and from dates, images etc they are most certainly children or grandchildren of Matthew. I would think this surname is kind of unique in S. Dakota.

With thanks to the S. Dakota Historical Society and State Archives for use of the Fort Sully image.
With thanks to Adeline S. Gnirk's excellent book "Epic of Papineau's Domain"
Image of Fort Randall thanks to U.S.National Reg History Pictures.
Thanks to Find a Grave website

Regimental Musicians Alban B Caulfield 71stPa/69th Pa. and Timothy Shannon Carr 69th. Pa.

Carr and Caulfield. Photo taken Munsons Hill Va. July 1865 at muster out.

Unfortunately we cannot identify with 100% certainty which man is which. No seperate photographs have been found to date. On balance and from deduction of information from the P.A. Civil War cards and character assessment it is thought that the musician to the right is probably Caulfield.

Alban B Caulfield.

Born Ireland 1845 died San Francisco Cal. May 31st. 1906. Buried Mountain View Cemetery Oakland Cal. Plot 45 grave 22.

This mans life like many of the others is quite interesting. We must go back to 1849 a few years after one of the main Irish famines of 1845, when a complete family set off from Dublin for America and probably allowing for the actual 6 week journey left early August 1849 arrived in New York on Sept 13th 1849. This was a family called Caulfield from either the city of Dublin or surrounding area. This family consisted of.
P.Caulfield. 32 husband
U. Caulfield 30 wife .
Mary-Ann Caulfield 11 daughter.
Catherine Caulfield 9 daughter.
William Caulfield 7 son. Died enroute America.
James Caulfield. 6 son.
Alban Caulfield. 4 son.
Theresa Caulfield 3 daughter.
Emma Caulfield daughter. Born enroute America.
The barque or wooden sailing schooner they sailed on was the Catherine of some 587 tons capable of carrying about 200 passengers a boat not too different in size from the Jeanie Johnston mentioned on another page of the website. Though I have not got the passenger list for this particular voyage to New York in Aug 1849 I note that it was probably the same ship Catherine under the command of Captain R.H. Crocker that arrrived in New York from Belfast on 1st. June 1865 with 194 passengers. There are numerous stories told of the sheer awfulness of the Atlantic crossings of these small emigrant ships of the mid 19th century. However if we look at the Caulfield family their mother was heavily pregnant when they left Dublin. However there was tragedy in the fact that one of the young sons William aged 7 died during the voyage. The other balance was that a young daughter Emmas was born during the voyage. In which order we will never know but what we can realise is the trauma the family experienced. New York would be a welcome sight for them.
Nothing is as now known about the family in general. The father probably got employment in and around New York more than likely as a labourer. However some information is known about son Alban. No doubt he grew up from aged 4 in a city being flooded with Irish emigrants and many other nationalities. Aged 15 he would appear to have got into trouble with some of his friends in neighbourhood burgularies. For this he was sent to the reformatory of the era at Randall's Island in New York's east river. ( see image on left circa 1855). At various times in the 19th century, Randall's Island had various building erected. Amongst them an orphanage, a poor house, a potters field burial ground for the poor, an idiot asylum, a homeopathic hospital and a rest home for Civil War veterans. It was also site of the New York House of Refuge, a reform school completed in 1854 for juvenile delinquents or juveniles adjudicated as vagrants. In 1854 it boasted that it was the worlds biggest reform school. This is where a young Alban Caulfield would spend time.
It is not known at this stage how a young Alban found his way into the 71st Pa. Infantry. What we do know is that at the beginning of the war Colonel Baker was actively recruiting in New York for soldiers for his Californian Regts. If this was 1861 it would suggest that it is possible that Caulfield was incarcerated in the House of Refuge and aged 16. As to the exact circumstances leading to Caulfield joining the 71st Pa. nothing is known. One scenario is that perhaps a young inmate could make a deal and if he joined the army he would be released. In any case Caulfield found himself in the 71st Pa as a young musician. It is noted that in the Pa. Civil War records there are mistakes on the cards relative to Caulfield which seems to suggest he initially joined the 69th Pa. on the 15th March 1861, However the 69th was not even up and running on this date. It would appear that he initially joined the 71st Pa and when his three year engagement was over he transferred into the 69th. Pa in June 1864 like the rest of the 71st guys when their engagement was up and the regiment mustered out. It is also noted that he had on the 5th Jan. 1864 re-enlisted at Stevensburg Md. into the 71st again. There are a few interesting comments on him in the Pa. Civil War card system. He was 5ft 8ins. tall, dark complexion, hazel eyes and had been a porter in civilian life. One card states he was born in New York which is incorrect as we know he was born in Ireland, another card mistake. Alban Caulfield married Grace Maltby Morse in San Francisco 23rd May 1877. This reported in the Sacramento Daily Union Tue. May 29th 1877.
Alban and Grace raised two children Elsie and Theresa Madge. When Alban died on May 6th 1906 one source states that Grace his wife re-married a Charles Mumaugh but this marriage did not last and they divorced. Grace died Oct 29th 1910 aged 60.in Oakland Cal. She is also buried in Mountain View Cemetery Oakland also plot 45 grave 533. Alban buried plot 45 grave 22.

Alban Caulfields grave Mountainview Cemetery Oakland Cal. Plot 45 grave 22.
Image courtesy Al Janske.

Alban Caulfield is noted in a San Francisco street directory of 1874 working as a salesman for Preble & Co. and living at dwelling 511 in Stockton. In the 1878 he is noted as working for the same company but now living at dwelling 13 at Ninth St. The California state files record that at his death he had been born on 25th Dec. 1840 and died May 31st 1906 and was living at 1445 Myrtle Oakland Ca. He died from an alcoholic induced problem. His wife was given a widows pension June 5th 1906. Alban was said to have a sister named Emma Reinhardt of Ridgeparl N.J.(1906)

Timothy Shannon Carr.

Born Philadelphia Feb. 9th 1847 died Philadelphia Feb 15th. 1915 aged 68.

Timothy Shannon Carr was born probably in Philadelphia Feb 9th 1847 to George and Adelaide Carr. Timothy enrolled and enlisted in the 69th Pa. at Philadelphia as a musician on 21.June 1861. He was aged 16. Initially in Co. D. as drummer boy. He was a small man at 5ft.4ins. blue eyes, dark hair. At one stage he re-enlisted at Stevensburg Va. 1st Feb 1864. Later promoted from Co. D. to Field and Staff drummer/chief musician Oct 21st 1864. Mustered out with Regiment July 1st 1865. Married Sarah A. Wilde in 1869. They had two daughters Mary E and Ida L. Died Philadelphia Feb 18th 1915. Buried in the Greenwood Cemetery Philadelphia with wife Sarah.

Lieut W.F. McNamara Co. I.

William McNamara and his brother John enlisted in the 69th Pa Aug 19th 1861 along with his brother John as 2nd Lieut. However John was ill by Feb 1862 and was discharged Feb 12th. 1862. His short war was over. However William's war would be more adventurous. William Francis McNamara was promoted from Sergt to 2nd Lieut. 1st Nov. 1862 and to 1st Lieut May 1863. He had been wounded at Fredericksburg Dec 13th 1862. He was also slightly wounded at Mayres Heights. He was discharged Aug 20th. 1864.
McNamara had some very lucky escapes. Perhaps the luckiest when his sword took the full force of a round that would perhaps caused him severe if not fatal wounding at one confrontation. The images below show the indentations on his sword and repairs effected.

Hilt of Lieut. McNamara's Sword. Name and Reg. inscription visible on side.

Damage to sword by direct hit.

Inscription on sword.

Pvte. Patrick F. Devenney Co F. 69th Pa.

Patrick F. Devenny was a member of the 69th Pa Irish Volunteer Infantry Regt. He and his wife Sarah Mc Kenna left Derry City in 1849 and settled in Philadelphia with their children, William, Michael, Mary, Margaret, Patrick and Ellen. They lived in Derry city and were parishoners of Longtower Church. In Philadelphia, the family lived in Saint Patrick's parish by the Schuylkill river. Patrick Devenney enlisted in F Company of the 69th on August 19, 1861, He was 50 years old ( gave his age as 46 ). Devenney served during the peninsula Campaign , Chantilly, South Mountain and Antietam. Unfortunately, he became ill after Antietam and died at the hospital in Harpers Ferry on November 1,1862. His body was returned to Philadelphia and he was buried at Old Cathedral Cemetery on 15 November 1862. It is interesting to note his son Michael was in C Company of the 116th Pa Infantry, the 5th Regiment of the Irish Brigade. Devenney's youngest son Patrick enlisted as a substitute in D Company,of the 76th Pa Inf Regt using the alias of Pat Duffy.
It is interesting to note that in those days the ships for America lay at anchor in the river Foyle (close to the current Guildhall and Craigavon bridge). The family would be within walking distance of the ship lying at anchor perhaps having to walk less than a few hundred meters and board probably via a small boat and off down the Foyle to Amerikay. No doubt a very sad parting as they watched their parish, home and friends fade from view.