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Patriots of the American Revolution : 





3 5/' ■ 


Author of a "Life of Captain Jeremiah O'Brien," "Phil. Carver: AlRomance"of 

the War of 1812," etc. 







This paper on T/ie O' Bricns of Afachias, Maine^ 
from the pen of the Rev. Andrew M. Sherman, with the 
accompanying matter, is pubhshed for the American- 
Irish Historical Society. The expense of pubhcation is 
generously defrayed by the Hon. John D. Crimmins, of 
New York. Mr, Crimmins is a life member of the Society, 
and was recently president-general of the same. 
Thomas Hamilton Murray, 

Secreta?'y-Ge7ie7-aI , A. I. H. S. 
36 Newbury St., Boston, Mass., 
February, 1904. 


(Extract from the Secretary's Minutes.) 

ON Tuesday evening, January 12, 1904, the Ameri- 
can-Irish Historical Society held its annual meeting 
and dinner in New York city. The event took place at 
the Hotel Manhattan, Forty-second street and Madison 
avenue, and brought together a distinguished company. 

The business meeting was presided over by the Hon. 
Thomas J. Gargan, of Boston, and the dinner by the 
Hon. William McAdoo, president-general of the Society. 

The Rev. Andrew M. Sherman, of Morristown, N. J., a 
Presbyterian clergyman, was a guest of the Society, and 
had prepared a paper for the occasion dealing with the 
Revolutionary O'Briens of Machias, Me. He is a descend- 
ant of these O'Briens. 

The Society sat down to dinner soon after 8 o'clock. 
Grace was said by the Rev. Henry A. Brann, D. D., 
rector of St. Agnes' Roman Catholic church. East Forty- 
third street, New York city. 

The tables were handsomely decorated with cut flowers. 
An orchestra was stationed in a recess, and rendered 
appropriate selections during the evening. The occa- 
sion was thoroughly enjoyable, and will long be remem- 
bered by the one hundred and forty or more gentlemen 
participating. Among those present were members of 
the Society from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Letters 

of regret at inability to attend were received from mem- 
bers in Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois, Ken- 
tucky, California and other states. 

There were present at the dinner the following : 

Hon. William McAdoo, president-general ; police com- 
missioner of the city of New York ; ex-member of Con- 
gress ; assistant secretary of the U. S. navy, under Presi- 
dent Cleveland. 

Hon. John D. Crimmins, of New York city, life mem- 
ber and ex-president-general of the Society; life member 
of the New York Historical Society; member of the Muni- 
cipal Art Commission. 

Hon. Thomas J. Gargan, Boston, Mass. ; of the law 
firm Gargan, Keating & Brackett; member Rapid Transit 
Commission ; director United States Trust Co. 

Hon. James A. O'Gorman, a justice of the New York 
Supreme Court. 

Hon. John W. Goff, recorder of the city of New York. 

Hon. John C. Linehan, treasurer-general of the So- 
ciety ; state insurance commissioner of New Hampshire ; 
past department commander, New Hampshire G. A. R. ; 
many years a director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Asso- 

Hon. Miles M. O'Brien, the well-known banker; for 
twenty-two years a member of the New York Board of 
Education ; has been president of the Board of Trustees 
of the College of the City of New York and of the Board 
of Trustees of the New York Normal College. 

Hon. Jeremiah O'Rourke, Newark, N. J., recently 
supervising architect of the U. S. Treasury Department. 

Hon. Thomas C. O'Sullivan, recently a state senator, 
New York city. 

Hon. Franklin M. Danaher, Albany, N. Y., member of 
the State Board of Law Examiners; many years judge of 
the city court of Albany. 

Hon. D. Cady Herrick, Albany, N. Y., a justice of the 
New York Supreme Court. 

Hon. Nicholas J. Hayes, fire commissioner of the city 
of New York. 

Hon. Joseph F. Daly, recently a justice of the New 
York Supreme Court. 

Hon. Wauhope Lynn, formerly judge of the Municipal 
Court, First District, New York city. 

Hon. John Cavanagh, ex-mayor of South Norwalk, 

Cyrus Townsend Brady, LL. D., New York city. 

Rev. Andrew M. Sherman, Morristown, N. J. 

Rev. Henry A. Brann, D. D., New York city. 

Rev. John W. McMahon, D. D.., Boston, Mass. 

Rev. Philip J. Gormley, Boston, Mass. 

Rev. T. J. Finn, East Port Chester, Conn. 

Rev. John Talbot Smith, New York city. 

Rev. James F. Ferris, New York city. 

J. Duncan Emmet, M. D., New York city; great- 
grand-nephew of the Irish patriot Robert Emmet. 

John F. Hayes, M. D., Waterbury, Conn. 

Daniel J. Donovan, M. D., New York city. 

John Aspell, M. D., New York city. 

Bryan D. Sheedy, M. D., New York city. 

Mr. Howard Constable, New York city, a descendant 
of Mr. William Constable who, in 1784, was a founder of 
the New York Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. 

Mr. Richard W. Meade, New York city, a son of the 
late Rear Admiral Richard W. Meade, U. S. N. 

Mr. William R. Gregory, Montclair, N. J. 

Mr. Vincent O'Reilly, Montclair, N. J. 

Mr. John T. F. MacDonnell, Holyoke, Mass. 

Mr. Francis C. Travers, of the Travers Bros. Co., 41 
Worth St., New York city. 

Mr. II. Van Atta, New York city. 

Mr. Stephen J. Richardson, editor of The Gael, New 
York city. 

Mr. Frank Haverty, New York city, a son of the late 
Major Patrick M. Haverty of Meagher's Irish Brigade. 

Mr. John J. Lenehan, New York city. 

Mr. Michael Brcnnan, proprietor of the Hotel San 
Remo, Central Park West, New York city. 

Mr. Patrick Farrelly, of the American News Co., New 
York city. 

Mr. William P. Dempsey, Pawtucket, R. I. 

Mr. Thomas F. Donigan, Borough of Brooklyn (New 
York city). 

Mr. John F. Kelly, Jersey City, N. J. 

Mr. E. C. Smith, New Rochelle. N. Y. 

Mr. Stephen Farrelly, of the American News Co., New 
York city. 

Mr. Henry L. Joyce, New York city. 

Col. John G. Healy, New Haven, Conn. 

Col. James Ouinlan, New York city, of the Eighty- 
eighth N. Y. regiment in the Civil War; served with 
Meagher's Irish Brigade ; member of the Medal of Honor 

Mr. Eugene J. Feeley, Boston, Mass. 

Mr. William F. Clare, New York city. 

Mr. Charles A. Geoghegan, New York city. 

Mr. Patrick Kiernan, New York city. 

Mr. James Curran, of the James Curran Manufacturing 
Co., New York city. 

Mr. Charles N. Harris, New York city. 

Mr. M. W. Leahy, New Haven, Conn. 

Mr. William P. Burr, New York city. 

Mr. John O'Sullivan, with the H. B. Claflin Co., New 
York citv. 

Mr. Robert E. Danvers, New York city. 

Mr. Edward H. Daly, New York city. 

Mr. E. J. O'Shaughnessy, New York city. 

Mr. James Doyle, New York city. 

Mr. Nathaniel Doyle, New York city. 

Mr. Thomas H. Toomey, New York city. 

Mr. Andrew J. Toomey, New York city. 

Mr. James R. FitzGerald, New York city. 

Mr. Thomas Hamilton Murray, Boston, Mass., secre- 
tary-general of the Society. 

Mr. M. E. Bannin, of Converse, Stanton & Co., New 
York city. 

Mr. Frank Rheinberger, New York city. 

Mr. Robert E. McDonnell, New York city, 

Mr. Thomas A. O'Gorman, of the O'Gorman Co., Prov- 
idence, R. L 

Mr. Joseph M. Byrne, of the Joseph M. Byrne Co., 
Newark, N. J. 

Mr. P. F. Magrath, Binghamton, N. Y. 

Mr. William O'Connor, New York city. 

Mr. John Haddow, Newark, N. J. 

Mr. Peter McDonnell, New York city. 

Mr. Patrick Gallagher, contractor and builder, New 
York city. 

Mr. John F. O'Connell, Providence, R. I. 

Mr. Sylvester J. O'Sullivan, New York city. 

Mr. David McClure, New York city. 

Mr. Arthur Orr McBirnie, New York city. 

Mr. Patrick Sharkey, Providence, R. I. 

Mr. J. F. Edwards, Providence, R. I. 

Mr. Joseph I. C. Clarke, Sunday editor New York Hc7-- 

Mr. Vincent P. Travers, New York city. 


Mr. Edward J. McGuire, New York city. 
Mr. Michael O'Keefe, Providence, R. I. 
Mr. James P. Farrell, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. Charles T. Henry, Borough of Brooklyn (New 
York city). 

Mr. E. L. King, New York city. 

Mr. John A. Drew, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. John Jerome Rooney, New York city. 

Mr. John 13. Manning, New York city. 

Mr. John F. Kehoe, Newark, N. J. 

Mr. E. M. Waldron, Newark, N. J. 

Mr. John W. Donovan, New York city. 

Mr. Jeremiah I. Bacon, auditor of the Police Depart- 
ment, New York city. 

Mr. Daniel Kennedy, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. M. E. Kennedy, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. D. J. Kennedy, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. Terence O'Brine, Providence, R. I. 

Mr. William F. Clare, New York city. 

Mr. W. T. Noonan, New York city. 

Mr. Oscar I. Meyer, New York city. 

Mr. Frank V. A. Loucks, New York city. 

Mr. Thomas F. Brennan, New York city. 

Mr. Jeremiah O'Donovan (Rossa), editor United Irish- 
man, New York city. 

Mr. J. C. Lynch, New York city. 

Mr. James O'Flaherty, New York city. 

Mr. James O'Flaherty, Jr., New York city. 

Mr. H. G. Bannon, New York city. 

Mr. A. J. Corcoran, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. A. J. Meister, New York city. 

Mr. Charles N. Hogan, New York city. 

Mr. W. H. Mahony, New York city. 

Mr. Roger O'Donnell, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. F. L. Youmans, New York city. 

Mr. John J. Haigney, Borough of Brooklyn (New York 

Mr. Armagh O'Donahey, New York city. 

Mr. Bartholomew Moynahan, stenographer to the N. Y. 
Supreme Court, New York city. 

Mr. Robert McCreery, New York city. 

Mr. Daniel F. Cohalan, New York city. 

Mr. John J. Manning, New York city. 

Mr. E. W. Paige, New York city. 

Mr. George A. Zabriskie, New York city. 

Mr. John O'Connell, New York city. 

Mr. T. H. Mclnerney, New York city. 

Mr. Lawrence J. Winters, New York city. 

Mr. Joseph P. Day, New York city. 

Mr. Christopher C. Day, New York city. 

Mr. James W. O'Brien, New York city. 

Mr. T. P. Kelly, of T. P. Kelly & Co., New York city. 

Mr. G. L. Sterling, New York city. 

Mr. C. E. Byrne, New York city. 

Mr. Joseph A. Farley, New York city. 

Mr. William P. Reilly, New York city. 

Mr. Charles Flood, New York city. 

There were also present Messrs. Thomas F. How- 
ley, James J. Donovan, B. J. O'Donnell, J. F. O'Reilly, 
Anthony McOwen, and a number of other gentlemen. 

lO - 

The dinner committee of the Society having charge of 
the arrangements consisted of Messrs. John J. Lenehan, 
Francis C. Travers, John Crane, James Curran, John J. 
Rooney, and Stephen Farrelly, all of New York city, and 
T. H. Murray, of Boston. The result of their labors was 
very satisfactory. 

Among those in attendance at the dinner were members 
of the following organizations : Boston Charitable Irish 
Society (founded 1737), New York Friendly Sons of St. 
Patrick (founded 1784), New Hampshire Historical 
Society, New York Historical Society, New York Gaelic 
League, Society of American Authors, Irish Literary 
Society of New York, Governor's Foot Guard of Connec- 
ticut, Medal of Honor Legion, Sons of the Revolution, 
Military Order of Foreign Wars, American Academy of 
Social and Political Science, U. S. Naval Academy Alumni 
Association, and the New York Chamber of Commerce. 

Communications expressing regret at being unable to 
participate in the exercises were received from the follow- 
ing : 

Hon. Hugh Hastings, state historian of New York, 

Hon. Joseph T. Lawless, Norfolk, Va., ex-secretary of 
state of Virginia. 

Hon. Thomas Z. Lee, Providence, R. I. 

Hon. P. T. Barry, Chicago, 111. 

Hon. Patrick Garvan, Hartford, Conn. 

Rt. Rev. Thomas J. Conaty, D. D., bishop of the Ro- 
man Catholic diocese of Los Angeles, Cal. 

Rev, John J. McCoy, Chicopee, Mass. 

Hon. P'elix Carbray, Quebec, Canada. 

Col. James Moran, Providence, R. I. 


Dr. George W. McAleer, Worcester, Mass. 
Dr. J. C. O'Connell, Washington, D. C. 
Mr. James L. O'Neill, Elizabeth, N. J. 
Mr. John J. Cassidy, Wilmington, Del. 
Mr. James G. Hickey, Boston, Mass. 
Mr. Martin Mulroy, Boston, Mass. 
Mr. M. J. Harson, Providence, R. I. 
Mr. L. J. Callanan, New York city. 
Mr. Dennis H. Tierney, Waterbury, Conn. 
Capt. James F. Redding, Charleston, S. C. 
Mr. Joseph P. Flatley, Boston, Mass. 
Mr. J. F. Hynes, Lexington, Ky. 

The scene presented at the dinner was one of great 
briUiancy. The arrangement of the tables, the floral dec- 
orations, the candelabra, the assemblage of men prominent 
on the bench, at the bar, in medicine, literature, architec- 
ture, banking, and in mercantile life, all lent attractiveness 
to the occasion. Added to these features were a choice 
menu, a delightful orchestra, and inspiring solo and cho- 
rus singing. 

Upon the cigars being lighted, President-General 
McAdoo, who had been reelected during the business 
meeting, opened the post-prandial exercises with a vigor- 
ous address, which he concluded by introducing the Rev. 
Andrew M. Sherman, who read the following paper: 

By Andrew M. Sherman. 

Mr. President- General and Members of the American- 
Irish Historical Society : 

TT is with a twofold pleasure, I beg leave to assure you, 
that I rise to speak to you this evening. It is a 
pleasure, first, because of the privilege granted me of 
addressing the important body of American citizens, ol 
which so many distinguished members are present upon 
this occasion ; and a pleasure, secondly, because of the 
rare historic fruitfulness of the subject assigned me by 
your talented secretary-general, which, as already duly 
announced, is : The O'Briens of Machias, Maine — 
unquestionably one of the most interesting families prom- 
inently identified with the Seven Years' Struggle for 
American Independence. 

Indeed, I will venture to express the opinion that we 
shall look in vain to discover its parallel in the annals of 
the Revolution — look in vain to discover the record of 
another family, seven male members of which were 
actively and honorably engaged in that sanguinary con- 
flict, and of whom six were actual participants in one of 
its most brilliant achievements on land or sea. 

As to the sources of my information concerning the 

O'Briens of Machias, I will say that I have twice visited 
that trill}' historic town, each time with camera or kodak, 
which were faithfully used ; I have personalh- conversed 
with several of its prominent citizens, and have also con- 
ducted with some of them an extended correspondence ; 
I have also corresponded with several former residents of 
Machias, and with not a few descendants of the O'Briens, 
now scattered in different parts of the Union; I spent an 
entire month in Boston, a few years since, at the public 
library, the Massachusetts Historical Society's rooms, the 
N. E. Historic-Genealogical Society's quarters, and the 
state house, procuring, I will venture to say, everything 
procurable concerning my subject at these repositories 
of historic lore. Lasth', I had, for several }'-ears, the 
rare privilege of frequent conversations with a native of 
Machias, now deceased, who was not only personally 
acquainted with Jeremiah O'Brien, but had frequently 
heard from his lips the story of the early history of that 
town, including his own exploits as a privateer in the 
Revolution. This person was an eye witness of some of 
the thrilling events in connection with the occupation of 
Machias by the British in the \-ear 1814. 

Until about the year 1835, as nearly as I recall from 
memory, what is now the state of Maine was a part of 
Massachusetts ; but in order to avoid repetition on my 
part, and perhaps confusion on yours, I shall, in the 
address of the evening, speak of Maine as if from the 
beginning of its history it had been a separate state. 


thought to have first landed in Boston ; but a faithful 
search of all available records has failed to substantiate 
that opinion. Morris O'Brien may have brought with 
him from the Green Isle a young bride ; but if so, she 
rriust have died during the long and tedious voyage across 
the Atlantic, or soon after their arrival in this country, 
since, so far as I have been able to ascertain, there is not 
the slightest trace of her on this side of the water. 

The first reliable information we have of Morris O'Brien 
on this side of the Atlantic is, that about the year 1738 or 
1739, he was in Kittery, York County, Maine; situated, 
as we are aware, on the opposite side of the Piscataqua 
river from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In Kittery, 
Morris O'Brien engaged in the tailoring business. About 
the year 1739 or 1740 he married Mary Cain, a widow, 
whose maiden name seems to have been Mary Hutchins. 

In Kittery there were born to Morris and Mary O'Brien 
three children, namely : Jeremiah, Martha, and Gideon. 
In the year 1745, Morris O'Brien was a member of a 
military company commanded by Captain Peter Staples, 
and with this company he participated, under Sir William 
Pepperell, in the famous siege of Louisburg, which, on the 
28th of June of the year mentioned, surrendered to the 
combined American and English forces. 

About the year 1750, Morris O'Brien removed his 
family to Scarboro, some fifty miles to the eastward of 
Kittery, on the sea-coast. In Scarboro he again engaged 
in the tailoring business; having a shop at Dunstan on 


what was known as the " landing road." During their 
residence in Scarboro six children were born to Morris 
and Mary O'Brien, namely : John, William, Joanna, Mary, 
Dennis and Joseph, 

As an illustration of the splendid material of which the 
mother of the O'Brien boys was made, I will relate a 
single incident in connection with her life in Scarboro. 
The English settlers, in what was then a wilderness, lived 
in constant dread of attacks from the hostile Indians, 
incited by the French. The people were so much 
alarmed by the savages prowling in the vicinity of Scar- 
boro, and threatening the feeble settlement, that they fled 
from their homes and sought a hiding place in the woods. 
Among the fugitives was Mary O'Brien, the wife of 
Morris, with a babe in her arms. 

The rest of the company, fearing lest the child's cries 
might betray them to the enemy, insisted upon the 
mother going on without it. True to the motherly 
instinct, however, she heroically refused compliance, 
saying: "I will keep the child quiet! " Drawing the babe 
more closely to her bosom she pressed on with the com- 
pany, thus saving a child, who, in after years became as 
fine a specimen of American manhood as one would wish 
to see ; and a man who also, by reason of his active 
participation in the Revolution, became famous — that 
man was Captain John O'Brien. 

In the year 1764, Morris O'Brien and his two eldest 
sons, Jeremiah and Gideon, and a few others, made a 

prospecting trip by sailing vessel to Machias, which, by 
the way, had been settled by the English, mostly from 
Scarboro, only the year previous. The prospectors were 
so favorably impressed with the new country that in the 
spring of the year following the entire O'Brien family 
removed to Machias. They settled on the southerly side 
of the Machias river, which divides the village into two 
sections, one of which is known as the " northern village," 
and the other as " Dublin ; " the latter having been so 
named in honor of Morris O'Brien, in view of the gener- 
ally-entertained belief of his having been born in the city 
of that name in his native land. 

Immediately upon their arrival in Machias, in the 
spring of the year 1765, Morris O'Brien and his sons 
Jeremiah and Gideon embarked in the lumber business, 
in which they became prosperous. They soon became 
owners of real estate, and were prominent in town affairs, 
holding important ofifices, in which they served with credit 
ahke to themselves and to their constituents. In the out- 
door sports of the village, and in connection with the 
affairs in general of the growing lumber settlement, Jere- 
miah O'Brien, in particular, became one of the recognized 

About the time of the removal of the O'Briens to 
Machias there commenced the series of British encroach- 
ments upon the charter liberties of the American colo- 
nists, which at first called forth the earnest protests of the 
hitherto loyal subjects of George the Third, and which 


culminated in the Revolution. None was more earnest 
and fearlessly outspoken in protestation against the in- 
creasing tyranny of the British government than Morris 
O'Brien, and his six sturdy sons, who were of sufificient 
age to realize the situation, and to become deeply inter- 
ested in the rapidly accumulating events of the period, 
which pointed unmistakably to an eventual rupture with 
the mother country. 

Into the minds of his six boys IMorris O'Brien had 
assiduously instilled his long-cherished hatred of the gov- 
ernment from whose oppressions he had fled many years 
since ; hence, the entire family were roused to the highest 
pitch of patriotic indignation when the news of Lexington 
and Concord reached Machias by sailing vessel a few 
days subsequent to those stirring occurrences. As the 
people of this frontier settlement gathered about their 
family hearthstones ; while engaged in their daily avoca- 
cations ; as they met on the streets and in the stores of 
the village ; and when they came together for the transac- 
tion of the town business, in which gatherings the O'Briens 
were influential factors, the growing encroachments of the 
British government were the engrossing theme of conver- 
sation ; and as they mused upon their wrongs the fire of 
righteous indignation burned, until at length it reached the 
white heat of open revolt against their foreign oppressors. 

In the early part of June, of the }^ear 1775, there arrived 
in Machias from Boston, two vessels, the Unity and the 
Polly, under convoy of the British-armed schooner Mar- 


garetta, the latter in command of Captain James Moore 
a relative of Admiral Graves of the royal navy. 

It was soon vaguely reported about the village that the 
Unity and the Polly were expected to take lumber back 
to Boston for use in the construction of barracks for the 
king's soldiers; hence, plans to thwart this scheme began 
at once to assume shape in the fertile brains of such men 
as Jeremiah O'Brien and his older brothers, and Capt 
Benjamin Foster of East Machias, four miles away. The 
sight of the Margaretta riding at anchor off "White's 
Point," in the Machias river, with her guns pointing 
threateningly toward their homes, was a perpetual irritant 
to the super-sensitive patriots of this border settlement 
whose blood was already at fever heat, and serious trouble 
was evidently " in the air." 

A liberty-pole had been erected on an elevation in the 
village overlooking the river. To Captain Moore, as he 
beheld it from the deck of his vessel, this emblem of 
Freedom proved a most unwelcome sight, and his re- 
peated threat to fire upon the village, if the pole was not 
taken down, was the one circumstance which, more than 
all others, precipitated the local revolt against British 
authonty as represented by the handsome but meddle- 
some young commander of the Margarctta. 

"That pole, sir," John O'Brien is said to have remarked 
to Captain Moore while the latter was on shore one day 
■■was erected by the unanimous approval of the people oi 
Machias ! " 


" Well, sir,'' rejoined the officer, " it is my duty to 
declare it must come down ! " 

" Must come down ! Must come down ! " repeated 
John O'Brien, "Those words are easily spoken, my 
friend ; but you will find, I apprehend, that it is easier to 
make than to enforce the demand." 

"What! Am I to understand that resistance will be 
made? Will the people of Machias dare to disregard 
orders from me, a representative of the British govern- 
ment? " 

" The people of Machias," replied O'Brien, " will dare do 
anything in maintenance of their principles and rights ! " 

"It is useless to bandy words," rejoined Moore, visibly 
nettled at the determined spirit manifested about him, 
" that pole must come down, or it will be my painful duty 
to fire upon the town ! " 

Captain Moore was, however, prevented from executing 
his rash threat by the persuasions of Stephen Jones, a 
resident merchant and a man of conciliatory spirit, whose 
influence over the hot-headed young officer was again 
and again exercised in the interests of the settlement; but 
the threats of the king's officer rankled in the hearts of 
the aroused patriots of Machias. 

At a town-meeting dominated by the O'Briens and 
other ardent local patriots, it was unanimously voted that 
the liberty-pole be allowed to stand until it rotted away. 
It was also voted by the people of Machias, in town- 
meeting assembled, that no lumber should be taken to 


Boston for the British army. At a subsequent meeting, 
however, the vote of the previous meeting was reconsid- 
ered, and permission was granted by a small majority to 
Captain Ichabod Jones, the owner of the Unity and the 
Polly, to load these vessels with lumber for Boston, Jones 
having positively refused to furnish the people with sorely- 
needed provisions, which he had brought from Boston for 
them, without such permission. 

In justification of this latter vote it should be said that 
when taken it was not clearly understood by the people of 
Machias that this lumber was to- be used for the British 
army in Boston, and irrefutable evidence of this fact was 
discovered when too late to rescind the vote in town- 
meeting. It was, however, rescinded by the people, act- 
ing, as may be said, as a " committee of the whole." To 
the lasting glory of the patriots of this isolated New Eng- 
land town it should be said that the coveted lumber never 
saw the city of Boston, nor did either of the three vessels 
in the river return to that city to report to the British 
authorities there the momentous local occurrences of the 
preceding ten days. 

A secret meeting was decided upon by some of the 
more daring of the Machias patriots, including the 
O'Briens, to consider the matter of capturing the three 
vessels lying in the river, and messengers were promptly 
dispatched to some of the adjacent settlements, request- 
ing the presence, with their arms, of those who were will- 
ing to join in the hazardous undertaking. 


The meeting was held on Sunday morning, June ii, 
1775, at a spot on the Machiasport road known as 
"O'Brien's brook," which brook ran through land belong- 
ing to Morris O'Brien. At this meeting it was unani- 
mously resolved, after protracted discussion, to first cap- 
ture the officers of the Margarctta, who, it was expected, 
would be at the village church in the afternoon of that 
day, and then seize the vessel. This, it was thought, would 
save bloodshed. Among the first to commit themselves, 
at the meeting mentioned, to the plan of capturing Cap- 
tain Moore and his ofificers were the O'Brien boys, of 
whom a local historian has aptly spoken as " six strap- 
ping fellows." One of the preliminaries agreed upon at 
this secret meeting was this : that John O'Brien, then 
about twenty-four years of age, should take a seat directly 
behind Moore in the church, and at a signal mutually 
understood — a shrill whistle to be blown outside — he 
should seize the British ofiicer and secure him, while 
others should seize the remaining ofilicers and afterward 
take possession of the Margaretta, which would render 
the seizure of the Unity and the Polly an easy matter. 
John O'Brien carried out to the letter his portion of the 
programme up to a certain point. Owing to the impul- 
siveness of a negro in the church the well-devised plan, 
so far as the capture of the ofificers was concerned, mis- 

The British officers, taking alarm, escaped from the 
church through an open window, reached the deck of the 


Margaretta, and, hastily weighing anchor, dropped down 
the river to a place of supposed safety; not, however, 
until a few shots were fired over the village for the pur- 
pose of intimidation. The people followed the British 
vessel, and from the river banks fired upon her with their 
small arms, until she was compelled to drop still further 
down the stream, where she anchored for the night. 

Early next morning, Monday, June 12, it was resolved 
by a few of the patriots of Machias, among whom were 
the O'Brien boys, to seize the sloop Unity, then lying at 
anchor in the river, and pursue and capture the Marga- 

Let us pause a moment, gentlemen, and consider what 
it signified for these Machias patriots to assume the bel- 
ligerent attitude, already outlined, toward Captain Moore 
and the government he represented. 

The people of this extreme frontier settlement were 
completely isolated from the colonists to the westward, 
there being no roads in that direction, the only means of 
communication being by sailing vessel ; they were in close 
proximity to Nova Scotia, a loyal British province, and to 
Port Royal, the headquarters of the British naval forces 
in American waters; there were less than one hundred 
men in the village ; their provisions were nearly exhausted 
and, as the enemy had control of the Machias river, which 
was the only outlet to the sea, a further supply was a mat- 
ter of great uncertainty; they had but a scanty supply of 
small arms and ammunition ; and yet, single-handed and 

26 , 

alone, without a thought of assistance from their fellow- 
colonists to the westward, they had, at O'Brien's brook, 
virtually declared war against one of the most powerful 
governments on earth, and were making active preparations 
to attack one of the armed vessels of that government. 

Should they fail in their hazardous undertaking and 
fall into the hands of the British they would be treated as 
pirates, for war had not yet been declared by the colon- 
ists, and piracy was then punishable with slavery. Of 
these facts they were well aware ; but they hesitated not 
for a moment when great political wrongs were to be 
righted, and when the achievement of national freedom 
seemed to be in sight. Surely, gentlemen, the names of 
the Machias revolutionary patriots deserve to occupy a 
high place upon the roll of our nation's heroes ! 

The Unity was forcibly seized and brought to one of 
the wharves in the village. Arms, ammunition, and pro- 
visions, such as were available, were hastily placed on 
board, and, with a gentle northwest breeze, the sloop set 
sail down the river. Her crew consisted of about thirty- 
five picked men — mostly young men — among them being 
the six sons of Morris O'Brien. Joseph, the youngest, a 
boy about sixteen years of age, in his determination to 
take a hand in the affair, smuggled himself on board the 
Unity, where he secreted himself until it was too late to 
put him ashore. The father, who was then sixty years of 
age, was persuaded only by the earnest remonstrances of 
his bovs to remain at home. 


From East Machias, Captain Benjamin Foster set sail 
on the same morning with a volunteer crew, intending to 
meet the Unity below Machias and assist in the capture 
of the British vessel; but on the way down the East 
Machias river Foster's vessel ran aground. He immedi- 
ately dispatched a messenger to Jeremiah O'Brien notify- 
ing him of the situation. With enthusiastic cheering the 
men on the Unity declared they could capture the Mar- 
garetta without any assistance, and this message was 
taken back to Foster. It was no fault of Captain Foster 
that his vessel was not floated until, high tide at noonday; 
hence, he took no part in the capture of the British vessel. 

Not until the Margaretta was sighted in Machias bay 
was a leader selected for the Unity's crew; and then, 
without a dissenting voice, Jeremiah O'Brien, upon the 
nomination of Joseph Wheaton, was chosen. As the two 
vessels neared each other Captain Moore called out from 
the quarter-deck: 

" Ship ahoy ! Keep off, or I'll fire into you ! " 

Undaunted by this ominous threat, Captain O'Brien's 
voice rang out over the intervening waters : " In America's 
name I demand your surrender ! " 

The threat to fire into the Unity being repeated, one of 
her officers replied: " Fire away and be ! " 

The Margaretta immediately opened fire, killing one 
man outright and mortally wounding another on the 
American sloop, and was answered by a volley of mus- 
ketry from the Unity. Th^ts was commenced the first 


naval fight of the Revolution. In this city [New York] 
is a physician who is a direct descendant of the American 
killed on the Unity that morning. 

The two vessels came together, and John O'Brien leaped 
upon the Afarg-aretta. The vessels soon separated, however, 
leaving young O'Brien alone on the enemy's deck. Almost 
immediately seven British muskets were discharged at the 
intrepid boarder, but he was unharmed. The British sail- 
ors then charged upon him with their fixed bayonets, and, 
to save his life, John O'Brien leaped into the water, and, 
amid a shower of bullets swam to the Unity's side, 
where he was assisted on board by his brother Jeremiah, 
and by him was warmly complimented for his rare bravery 
and for his remarkable escape. 

Again, the two vessels came together, and in accord- 
ance with a previous order of Captain O'Brien the Unity 
was this time lashed to the Margaretta. While standing 
on the gunwale of his vessel throwing hand-grenades into 
the midst of the Unity's crew — one writer states he delib- 
erately threw one of these death-dealing missiles at Cap- 
tain O'Brien — the gallant Moore was mortally wounded 
and fell backward upon his own deck. Led by their com- 
mander, twenty picked men boarded the British vessel. 
A hand-to-hand engagement ensued. The midshipman 
upon whom, after Moore's fall, the command of the Mar- 
garetta devolved, became so overwhelmed with fright at 
the impetuous onslaught of the American boarders that 
he fled into the ship's cabin, where he remained. 


At the end of an hour the Margaretta was surren- 
dered to Captain O'Brien, and with his own hand he 
hauled down the British flag. As an illustration of the 
inaccuracy of some writers I will say that since accepting 
the invitation to address you this evening I have received 
a letter from the author of a little book entitled "An 
American's Patriotic Catechism," saying that in her book 
she has given Joseph Wheaton the credit for having 
hauled down the Margaretta's flag, and inquiring what is 
my authority for giving the credit to Jeremiah O'Brien. 
I immediately replied, saying, that among the sources of 
information from which I have drawn is a letter of Wheaton 
himself, written from Washington, D. C, in the year 1818, 
to Gideon O'Brien, of Machias, in which he explicitly says 
— and I quoted his exact words — that he hauled down the 
Margaretta' s pennant, and that Captain Jeremiah O'Brien 
hauled down the ensign — and the ensign, as I reminded 
this author, a member, by the way, of the Daughters of 
the American Revolution, was the distinguishing mark 
of the Margaretta, in short that it was the British flag. 

This is not the only, nor is it the least significant, inac- 
curacy of history concerning those who have rendered 
invaluable services to the American Republic in her vari- 
ous wars; and in the name of Justice I wish here and now 
to say that I am sincerely glad of the existence of the 
Society under whose auspices we meet this evening, one of 
whose objects as I understand, is to see that the class of 
American patriots suggested are given the credit due 


them, and to see also that their names and their services 
occupy in future their rightful places on the pages of our 
nation's history. I should be lacking in some of the essen- 
tial elements of a true American citizen ; indeed, I should 
be less than a man, if I were to withhold my sympathies 
from this Society in its laudable endeavor to see that 
credit is given where credit is justly due. 

The ensign hauled down by Jeremiah O'Brien was 
without question the first British flag to come down on 
water by American hands in the Revolution ; and the 
capture of the Margm'etta was the first naval victory of 
that long war. The captured vessel, with her wounded 
commander on board, was taken the same day in triumph 
to Machias. Captain Moore died on the forenoon of the 
next day, June 13, at the house of Stephen Jones, and 
was buried in the village. 

It is generally conceded, I think, by those conversant 
with the facts of the case, that the capture of the Marga- 
retia was one of the most brilliant achievements of the 
Revolution ; and it is my opinion that that achievement 
alone is sufficient to immortalize the names of Captain 
Jeremiah O'Brien and his five brothers, and the brave men 
who assisted them in the capture of the Margareita. 

Did time permit I could quote you many endorsements 
of the opinion just expressed. Of this achievement the 
Hon. John D. Long, ex-secretary of the United States 
navy, says: "In this bold, spirited, and determined fight 
in Machias bay, off the little frontier village of Machias, 


Captain O'Brien did his duty as Paul Jones did in the 
larger battle of the Bon Homme Richard and the Sera- 
pis^ and was animated by the same spirit that animated 
Hull on the deck of the Constitution, and that fired 
Decatur in the very teeth of destruction to board and burn 
the Philadelphia, or of Somers on the Intrepid, or Far- 
ragut lashed to the rigging of the Hartford, or Wain- 
wright driving the frail Gloucester against the Spanish, 
torpedo boats. It is all the same characteristic quality 
of the American sailor, unflinching, never turning back, 
driving victory home — something that is more than per- 
sonal courage or the absence of craven fear, and is rather 
that ultimate nerve which dares assume responsibility and 
to risk and court rather the chance of success than the 
chance of failure. 

" O'Brien's brilliant feat in capturing the Margaretta 
has, however, this peculiar significance, that it was not 
merely the personal heroism of a single encounter, but 
was the first challenge of the infant American navy to 
the giant and almost omnipotent naval power of Great 
Britain. Independence spoke in the voice of its cannon, 
and in the very word of command of its captain. It was 
the first in the series of the glorious victories of the 
Yankee sailor; and O'Brien, full Yankee, though of Irish 
descent, deserves rank with our naval heroes." 

Under the superintendency of Jeremiah O'Brien the 
Unity was immediately refitted ; part of the Marga- 
retta^ s armament was transferred to her; her name was 


changed to the Machias Liberty, and, acting under 
instructions from the Machias Committee of Safety, Cap- 
tain O'Brien set sail in search of two British armed ves- 
sels, the Diligent and Tapnagttish, which were reported 
to be cruising in the Bay of Fundy, and which according 
to some historians had been sent out from Port Royal, 
Nova Scotia, for the express purpose of capturing Cap- 
tain O'Brien, in retaliation for his capture of the Marga- 

In the meantime, John O'Brien was sent by the Machias 
Committee of Safety to the Provincial Congress then in 
session at Watertown, Mass., to ofificially report the cap- 
ture of the 3farga?'etta, and to ask instructions as to 
future action. The news of this brilliant naval achieve- 
ment in Machias bay aroused unbounded enthusiasm 
throughout the colonies, A vote of thanks was extended 
by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts to Captains 
O'Brien and Foster, and to the brave men who assisted 
them in their hazardous but successful undertaking in the 
Unity. At the end of a three weeks' cruise Captain 
Jeremiah O'Brien returned to Machias without having 
sighted the British vessels he had been seeking. 

Word soon came to Machias, however, that these ves- 
sels were at Buck's harbor, on the western shore of Ma- 
chias bay; and Captain O'Brien in the Machias Liberty, 
and Captain Foster in a schooner from East Machias, 
met in Machias bay, and acting in conjunction, captured 
the two British vessels without a shot being fired on 

-~ S rt -S "J 


either side. On his way up to Machias with the two 
British prizes Captain O'Brien was met by his father, who, 
anticipating bloodshed in the attempt to capture them, 
had started down the river in a row boat, with a surgeon 
on board. 

Captains O'Brien and Foster were sent to Cambridge 
with the prisoners captured on tlic Diligent and Taj[)na- 
guish, where they reported in person to Washington the 
important captures made by them. 

The enthusiasm of the American colonists was raised to 
the highest pitch when the news of this second brilliant 
naval achievement in Machias bay reached their ears. 
The impulse given to the infant American navy by these 
achievements it is scarcely possible at this late day to 

As a reward for the prominent part borne by Jeremiah 
O'Brien in the captures made in Machias bay he was 
made a captain of the marine by the Provincial Congress 
of Massachusetts ; and he was also assigned to the com- 
mand . of the Machias Liberty and the Diligent^ and 
instructed to cruise along the coast " in defense of Ameri- 
can liberty." Returning to Machias, Captain O'Brien 
made preparations for his cruise. Crews were procured 
for both vessels. Of the Machias Liberty^ Jeremiah 
O'Brien took personal command, with his brother William 
as his first lieutenant. John Lambert was given the com- 
mand of the Diligent, with John O'Brien as his first lieu- 



Captain Jeremiah O'Brien, as already intimated, was 
the commander of both vessels; and in one document, at 
least, he is referred to as " the commander-in-chief" of the 
two cruisers, which have been aptly termed " the first fly- 
ing squadron of the Revolution." For a period of sixteen 
months the " flying squadron " cruised up and down the 

Joseph Wheaton is authority for the statement that, 
among other exploits of Captain O'Brien while in com- 
mand of " the flying squadron," he sailed to St. John, 
where he captured a fort and several British vessels ly- 
ing in port there. With an insufficiency of ammunition ; 
with poorly-fed and scantily-clothed crews ; with grow- 
ing discontent amongst his men, owing to their meagre 
and irregularly paid wages — discontent which sometimes 
almost reached the point of mutiny ; engaged in what 
may very properly be termed pioneer naval work; har- 
assed by the thought of tory influence being constantly 
exerted against him from his home ; with a sea-coast of at 
least five hundred miles to patrol ; acting under the 
embarrassment of the racial prejudice of the times — Cap- 
tain O'Brien achieved excellent success as a privateer in 
the colony service, capturing many British prizes. The 
quality of his patriotism may be inferred from the fact 
that he spent nearly his entire monthly wages to provide 
his men with the necessities of life. Had he not done so, 
not a few of them must have died from starvation and cold. 

After his dismissal from the colony service. Captain 


O'Brien commanded successively the privateers Resolu- 
tion, Cyrus, Tiger, and Little Vincent, capturing sev- 
eral valuable prizes. The series of cruises in these ves- 
sels ending, he returned to Machias. During his tempo- 
rary sojourn at home he rendered good service to the 
cause of Freedom as captain of a company of Rangers, 
which seem to have been employed as a means of 
defense against unfriendly Indians. Captain O'Brien's 
military services being no longer needed in Machias, his 
fondness for the water again asserted itself ; he could not 
be content to " praise the sea, and keep on land." Be- 
side, his country's independence was not yet achieved ; 
and with his ardent temperament he could not be an idle 
spectator of the unequal struggle with the powerful British 

During the year 1780 John and Joseph O'Brien, two 
younger brothers of Jeremiah, and a few others associated 
with them, built at Newburyport a vessel intended for the 
privateer service. She was named the Hannibal, and 
was to carry twenty-four guns and one hundred and thirty 
men. On her first cruise to San Domingo she was com- 
manded by Captain John O'Brien, who captured several 
important prizes. Upon the return of the Hannibal to 
Newburyport, Mass., it was arranged that on her next 
cruise Captain Jeremiah O'Brien should command her; 
and he was commissioned by the Honorable Council of 
the General Court of Massachusetts as her commanding 

36 , 

While cruising off New York harbor the Hannibal fell 
in with a fleet of British merchantmen under convoy of 
several British frigates. Upon sighting the Hannibal two 
of these frigates at once started in pursuit of her. Cap- 
tain O'Brien, recognizing the futility of engaging with two 
vessels, each of which was superior to his own, turned his 
vessel's stern upon them. It may have been the hope of 
Captain O'Brien in running from these frigates, to sepa- 
rate them, and, by attacking them one by one, to over- 
come them. But the frigates did not part company. 
After an exciting chase of forty-eight hours the Hannibal 
was overtaken and captured by the frigates. As the 
ranking British officer approached Captain O'Brien to 
receive his sword, he tapped him on the shoulder remark- 
ing good naturedly : 

" Captain, it is your turn to surrender to-day, but it 
may be mine to-morrow!" 

The Hannibal was taken into New York, and Captain 
O'Brien and his officers and men were placed on board 
the infamous prison ship Jersey in Wallabout bay. After 
a confinement of about six months on the Jersey, Cap- 
tain O'Brien was transported to England, and confined in 
Mill prison, Plymouth. From Mill prison, after a confine- 
ment of about eighteen months, he made his escape, and 
returned home by way of France. He arrived in Machias 
during the summer or autumn of the year 1782, where he 

After the declaration of peace he again identified him- 


self with the pubHc affairs of the town and county, and 
held several elective and appointive offices. He served 
also under state commission as lieutenant-colonel of a 
militia regiment, and from that time he bore the title of 
" Colonel " ; and on his headstone in the family burial 
ground in Machias, his name appears as " Colonel Jere- 
miah O'Brien." 

In the year i8ii, Colonel O'Brien was appointed, by 
President Madison, collector of customs for the district 
including Machias. This appointment, which came to 
him unsought by himself and unsolicited by his friends, 
was made through the intercessions of the Honorable 
Albert Gallatin, secretary of the treasury, under Jeffer- 
son. Accompanying his commission as collector was 
a letter from. Mr. Gallatin breathing the spirit of sin- 
cere friendship. When, in the month of September, 
1 8 14, the British forces landed on the Maine coast and 
were marching overland toward Machias, Colonel O'Brien, 
who had kept himself informed of their movements, 
offered to lead his fellow-townsmen out against the 
approaching enemy. He was then seventy years of age. 
Seated on his one-eyed, white horse, he brandished his 
old Revolutionary sword, saying : 

" If a dozen of you will follow me we will go out to 
meet the British ! " But not a man could be persuaded to 
face the enemy ; they feared the burning of the village by 
the British if resistance was offered them. 

During the occupancy of Machias by the British, 


Colonel O'Brien's house was searched for arms and 
ammunition ; none were found, however. Before leaving 
the house, the British oflficer and his detail were invited to 
partake of refreshments, and there then occurred an inci- 
dent which more completely than any other in his career, 
furnishes the key to the character of Colonel O'Brien. 
The British officer suggested that Colonel O'Brien offer 
a toast, and instantly he jumped to his feet, and lifting the 
mug of cider in his right hand high in the air, he fear- 
lessly exclaimed : " Here 's to the success of the American 
arms ! " 

For a moment there was complete silence ; and then 
the officer and soldiers burst into hearty laughter over the 
audacious pluck of their aged host. This incident, which 
is given by an eye witness, illustrates in a most striking 
manner the impulsiveness and utter fearlessness of Colonel 

Colonel O'Brien died, after a brief illness, on the 5th of 
September, 181 8; and was buried on the 7th, beside his 
wife, who had passed away several years previously, in 
the O'Brien burial ground situated a few rods to the west- 
ward of his residence. 

Of Colonel O'Brien's patriotism it should be said : 
It was of the unselfish kind that withheld nothing from 
the cause of Freedom in which he early embarked ; and 
which burned brightly upon the altar of his heart even 
after the infirmities of age had bowed his once athletic 
form, and he was no longer able to efficiently wield the 


sword in the interests of the country whose independence 
he had materially aided in achieving, and under the folds 
of whose starry flag he was content to lay down his life. 

Henceforth let Colonel Jeremiah O'Brien, the ardent 
and unselfish American patriot, the fearless and able 
pioneer naval commander, the staunch friend and kind- 
hearted gentleman, and the eminently useful citizen, occupy 
a place amongst the foremost of the noble souls who 
labored and fought and suffered in their inflexible purpose 
to establish upon the shores of the western continent the 
republic whose inestimable privileges we now enjoy. 
And for all coming time let his name, and the invaluable 
services for which it stands, be honored and appreciated 
and sacredly cherished by a free and independent and 
progressive people. 

After the capture of the Ha^inibal, Captain John 
O'Brien, and a few others, built at Newburyport a vessel 
designed for the privateer service. She was named the 
Hibernia. While in command of this vessel, a small one, 
but a splendid sailer, carrying only six three-pounders, 
Captain O'Brien made several important captures, among 
which were the following: He attacked, and after some 
fighting, took the British armed vessel General Pattison^ 
on her way from New York to England. This vessel was 
pierced for 20 guns, and mounted 61 six and nine- 
pounders, with six swivels. She was commanded by 
Captain Chiene. In addition to her officers and crew 
there were on board the Genei-al Pattison when captured 


a considerable number of British army officers bound for 

The same day Captain O'Brien captured a merchant 
vessel loaded with masts. She carried 12 six-pounders. 
On another occasion, Captain John O'Brien, in conjunc- 
tion with another American privateer, captured an entire 
fleet of British merchantmen — sixteen in number, I think 
— and brought them safely to port. While cruising off 
Barnegat, on the Jersey coast, O'Brien was chased by a 
British frigate, to attack which would have been foil}'. 
She was gaining on the Hibcrnia. As night approached, 
Captain O'Brien lowered into the water a hogshead bal- 
lasted with stone, from the upper end of which issued 
a pole. At the top of this pole a lighted lantern had 
been placed. When darkness had settled upon the sea 
O'Brien radically altered the course of the Hibcrnia, put 
on full sail, and sped like a bird from the enemy. 

The British pursuers steered straight for the light on 
the hogshead, thinking it was the coveted American 
privateer ; and learned when too late that they had been 
duped by the resourceful Irish-Yankee commander. 
There is a tradition, which I have not as yet been able to 
verify to my own satisfaction, that, in the early years of 
his privateering — it must have been near the opening of 
the Revolution — Captain John O'Brien floated the Mar- 
garctta, which, after her capture was run upon the shore 
in Middle river a few miles above Machias, and refitted 
and used her as a privateer, renaming her the Hare. 

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While in command of this vessel he was chased by one 
or two British frigates, and, being hard pressed he ran her 
aground in shallow waters on the Maine coast — he and 
his men escaping in small boats to the shore, and fleeing 
into the surrounding country. The Hare was burned to 
the water's edge by the British, and for many years 
thereafter her ribs and other timbers were to be seen. 

Captain John O'Brien, it should be said, achieved 
unusual success as a privateersman. After the close of 
the Revolution, he retired to Newburyport, where he 
engaged in the merchant shipping service; and in his 
own vessels he sailed into various parts of the world. 
Did time permit I could relate not a few additional inci- 
dents of his life, both as a privateer and as a merchant- 
man, of the most deeply interesting character. 

When too aged to longer follow the sea, Captain John 
O'Brien removed to Brunswick, Maine, where, through 
the influence of friends who knew of his invaluable ser- 
vices in the Revolution, he was appointed postmaster. 

Among those who assisted him in procuring the 
appointment was Joseph Wheaton, who then held some 
government position in Washington, D. C. Captain 
O'Brien died in the year 1832, and was buried in the town 
where his closing years had been passed. " I have some 
of the family silver, his Bible, his sword, his satin knee- 
breeches and waistcoat," writes a descendant of Captain 
John O'Brien to me. The career of this famous Revo- 
lutionary patriot was of the most varied and romantic 


character, and deserves to be put in suitable form for 
preservation for future generations. 

After the capture of the Margaretta, WilHam O'Brien 
engaged for several years in privateering under his 
brother, Jeremiah, with whom he seems to have been 
a favorite. As already stated, he was first lieutenant of 
the Machias Liberty during her cruise of nearly a year 
and a half. As nearly as I have been able to ascertain 
William O'Brien was a man of particularly lovable char- 
acter. I have in my sanctum at home a large photo- 
graphic copy from a painting of Captain William O'Brien, 
representing him in the uniform of a naval or privateer 
ofificer. While on a cruise as a merchantman, after the 
close of the Revolution, he died of fever at Bilbao, Spain, 
and was there buried. His widow survived him a few 
years, and at her decease left one child, Lydia O'Brien. 
Into his own home Colonel O'Brien took this orphan, 
tenderly rearing her, and giving her the best education 
the times afforded. 

It was this orphaned daughter of Captain William 
O'Brien, and not, as some historical writers state, the 
daughter of Colonel Jeremiah O'Brien, who became the 
wife of a Mr. Hale, of Eastport, Maine. Lydia, the 
daughter and only child of Colonel O'Brien, married a 
gentleman from Plymouth county, Massachusetts. The 
Honorable John P. Hale, formerly United States senator 
from New Hampshire, was a son of the Mr. and Mrs. Hale, 
just mentioned; and Mrs. William E. Chandler, wife of 


ex-Senator Chandler of New Hampshire, is the daughter 
of the Honorable John P. Hale, and hence a great- 
granddaughter of Captain William O'Brien of Revolu- 
tionary fame. 

Joseph O'Brien, after the capture of the Margaretta^ 
was associated during the Revolution with his brother, 
Captain John O'Brien, in the building of privateers, and 
to some extent followed privateering. 

After the achievement of national independence he was 
associated with the same brother in the building of mer- 
chantmen at Newburyport, Mass. ' He eventually removed 
to Pennsylvania, where he settled ; and some of his 
worthy descendants are still residing in that state — among 
them being Albert O'Brien, Esq., a lawyer, of Phila- 

Dennis O'Brien, also, removed to Pennsylvania, where 
some of his descendants may be found. 

Gideon O'Brien remained in Machias, Maine, and was 
a highly respected and useful citizen. Of the six O'Brien 
boys, Gideon may be called the man of peace. His son, 
the Honorable Jeremiah O'Brien, Jr., so named after his 
uncle. Colonel Jeremiah, represented his district in the 
lower house of the United States Congress with credit to 
the name. Several of the worthy descendants of Gideon 
O'Brien still reside in Machias and other portions of 
Washington county, Maine. 

And now, Mr. President-General and gentlemen, thank- 
ing you for the privilege of addressing you this evening 


upon the deeply interesting subject of The O'' Bricns of 
Machias^ Maine, which, of necessity, I have treated quite 
superficially; and begging your pardon for having occu- 
pied more of your time than was intended, I bid you a 
hearty good-night, with the expression of the sincere hope 
that this Society may for many years continue its highly 
laudable work of seeing that credit is given to whom 
credit is justly due — and of seeing, also, that the names 
and services of such shall henceforth occupy their rightful 
places upon the multiplying pages of our increasingly 
glorious national history. 

The Rev. Mr. Sherman was frequently applauded dur- 
ing the reading of his very able and entertaining paper, 
and at its close he was warmly congratulated. Remarks 
in praise of the paper were made by President-General 
McAdoo, the Hon. Thomas J. Gargan, of Boston ; the 
Hon. John D. Crimmins, of New York city; and the Hon. 
John C. Linehan, of Concord, N. H. Mr. Sherman was 
given a cordial vote of thanks for his contribution to the 
programme of the evening. 

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N. J., was born in Marshfield, Plymouth county, 
Mass., May 5, 1844. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Aaron 
Simmons Sherman. On the paternal side he is descended 
from William Sherman, who came from England to Ply- 
mouth, Mass., in the year 1630. William Sherman, Jr., 
was a soldier in King Philip's war (^i6'j$-y6). Ebenezer 
Sherman, great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, 
was a soldier in the Revolution. The flintlock musket 
carried in that conflict by him, now converted into a 
percussion-cap gun, is still in the possession of a resident 
of Marshfield, Mass., who is a descendant through another 
line of said Ebenezer. Aaron Sherman, grandfather of 
Andrew Magoun Sherman, commanded a company of 
militia during the War of 18 12, and on the reported 
approach of the British for a landing at Scituate, Mass., 
proceeded with his company to that town to aid in its 
defense. In this company Aaron Simmons Sherman, 
above mentioned, was a drummer. 

On the maternal side, Andrew Magoun Sherman is 
descended from the O'Briens of Machias, Me., patriots of 
the Revolution. The services of these O'Briens to the 
patriot cause he has very ably set forth in the foregoing 
paper. He was educated in New England schools. Dur- 
ing the Civil war he served in two Connecticut regiments, 

46 . 

and was a good soldier and comrade. In 1869 he entered 
the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, subse- 
quently transferring his ecclesiastical relations to the Con- 
gregational church, in which body he was regularly or- 
dained. He has held pastorates in Connecticut, Massa- 
chusetts, New York and New Jersey, his last being exer- 
cised in connection with a Presbyterian church in Morris 
county, in the last named State. In 1901 he received 
a unanimous call to the pastorate of a Congregational 
church in Marshfield, Mass., his native town, but declined 
the call. 

During the past eight years he has been engaged in lit- 
erary pursuits, preaching only occasionally. Among his 
published works are the following: Mo7-ristown, JV. J.^ 
in the Spaiiish- American War; Memorials of Lydia 
Whitney Sherman (George W. Sherman, collaborator) ; 
Poetical and Prose Selections from the Works of Mrs. 
Ellis Winslow Holmes (Lydia Leavitt Sherman), which 
he edited; Life of Captain Jeremiah O'Brien, Ma- 
chias, Me.; and Phil Carver: A Romance of the War 
of 1812. He has several other works in preparation, 
among them being a History of Morristown, N. J. ; 
Life of Caf tain John O'Brien, of Machias ; and Mem- 
orials of the Hon. Joshtia S. Salmon, a member of 
Congress, deceased. 

Rev. Mr. Sherman had twelve brothers and sisters, four 
of whom are deceased. The list, in order of birth, was as 
follows : Horatio Nelson Sherman, Lydia Leavitt Sher- 
man, Isaac Winslow Sherman, Amelia Bartlctt Sherman, 
Helen Crocker Sherman, Nathan Lazael Sherman, George 
Witherell Sherman, Lucy Lovell Sherman, Ebenezer Les- 
ter Sherman, Ann Abbott Sherman, Jacob Perkins Sher- 


man, and Charles Lester Sherman. Five of the boys, 
including Rev. Andrew M. Sherman, served in the Civil 
war, and the patriotic mother of these five boys, when 
commiserated by a friend for their absence, heroically 
remarked : " Had I fifty sons my country would be wel- 
come to their services ! " 

Rev. Mr. Sherman married Arabella Malvern Wood- 
ruff, a native of Bristol, Conn. They have four children 
living, namely: Lillian Bell Sherman, Ada Winslow Sher- 
man, Clara Louise Sherman, and George Howard Sher- 


SUPPLEMENTARY to the Rev. Mr. Sherman's excel- 
lent paper, it may be stated that the Clan O'Brien 
is one of the most famous in Irish history. It traces 
descent from a very remote period, and has given to the 
world a host of people eminent in war and peace. 

In ancestral glory, merited and undenied, it easily ranks 
with the proudest families in Europe. In point of age 
many "old families" are quite modern when compared 
with this ancient and puissant Irish sept. 

For a long period the O'Briens were the ruling family 
of Thomond, or North Munster, their lords being inau- 
gurated in what is now the county of Clare, and holding 
their regal court at Kincora. Their leading armorial bear- 
ings are thus described in heraldic language : Gules, three 
lions, passant, guardant, in pale, per pale, or and argent. 
Crest: On a wreath issuing out of clouds, a naked arm, 
embowed, the hand grasping a sword, all ppr. Motto (in 
Irish), meaning: "The strong hand uppermost." Among 
the titles held by the O'Briens since the English inv^asion 
of Ireland have been Earls of Thomond, Viscounts Clare, 
Barons of Inchiquin, Barons of Burren, etc. On certain 
O'Brien blazons, three leopards appear instead of lions, 
but a majority of the blazons bear the lions, arranged one 
above the other. Now and then an O'Brien blazon has 
the lions two and one ; that is, two in the upper line and 
one in the lower. 


One of the greatest names in the history of the clan 
is that of Brian Boru, or Brian of the Tributes. lie was 
born A. D. 926, became king of ?Junster and, subse- 
quently, monarch of Ireland. He had eleven brothers, 
four of whom left issue. 

Brian has also been styled "Emperor of the Scots" as, 
for instance, in the following passage:^ "I, Calvus Peren- 
nis, have written this in the sight of Brian, Emperor of the 
Scots, and what I have written he determined for all the 
kings of Macerise," i. e., Cashel. In this connection it 
must be remembered that the people of Ireland were long 
called Scots and that they were the original Scots of his- 
tory. Ireland was styled Scotia Major, and Scotland, 
Scotia Minor. 

Brian is described as of " fine figure, large stature, of 
great strength, and undaunted valor." He is also referred 
to as a man of intellect, a warrior and a legislator. The 
family had been prominent in the Irish kingdom of Mun- 
ster for many generations, and about the middle of the 
tenth century, Mahon, a brother of Brian, became king 
of Munster. 

At this period the invaders known as Danes or North- 
men had strongly established themselves in Dublin and 
along the Leinster coast. Their invasion of eastern Ire- 
land had begun about A. D. 795, so that when Brian 
ascended the Alunster throne, on the death of his brother, 
they had been in the country for a long period. 

They aimed to secure in Ireland a dominion similar to 
that which they had obtained in England, but after a 
struggle lasting for over 200 years, they were finally 
defeated and their power broken. Brian's militar)^ career 

1 Translated from an entry in the Book of Armagh. 


was largely devoted to conflicts with these invaders, upon 
whom he inflicted several defeats. In one engagement, 
Ivar, a Danish commander of Limerick, was slain, together 
with a host of his followers. 

We are devoting this attention to Brian of the Tributes 
as many bearers of the O'Brien name claim descent from 
him, and because the O'Briens of Machias, Me., may have 
been among these descendants. After ruling for a con- 
siderable period as king of Munster, Brian was crowned 
monarch of Ireland. After his accession to the Irish 
throne, he greatly distinguished himself in the arts of 
peace. He caused wise and beneficent laws to be enacted, 
had roads and bridges constructed, founded and restored 
churches, monasteries, and educational institutions, and in 
many other ways contributed to the welfare of the people. 
The Four Masters have termed him the "Augustus of 
Western Europe." 

Resolving to crush forever the Danish power in Ire- 
land, Brian mustered a large army for that purpose. Mean- 
time, the Danes realizing that a tremendous conflict was 
at hand, had sent envoys to France, Germany, Scandi- 
navia, the Hebrides, Scotland and other points to sum- 
mon auxiliaries to assist in the impending conflict. They 
collected a large force, and their ships in great numbers 
anchored off the coast in the vicinity of Dublin, which was 
then a Danish stronghold. 

In April, A. D. 1014, the Irish army in three divisions, 
under Brian, arrived near Dublin, preparatory to attacking 
the Danish hosts. The Irish monarch, though then 88 
years of age, had ridden at the head of his forces, but 
previous to the battle was induced to assign the active 
command to his son Murrough. Present with the army 


were many of Brian's kinsmen, including all his sons but 
Donogh, his nephews, a grandson and other relatives. 

On Good Friday, April 23, A. D. 1 014, the battle took 
place. The aged Irish monarch, bright of eye and clear 
of mind, had with uplifted crucifix exhorted his army to 
deeds of valor for faith and fatherland. On the Irish side 
that day fought the Great Stewards of Mar and Lennox, 
with their forces from Scotland, and rendered valiant ser- 
vice. Approximately, forty thousand men (40,000) par- 
ticipated in the engagement. These were about evenly 
divided between the opposing armies. 

The Danes fought, generally speaking, with their backs 
to the sea, their fleet riding at anchor some distance off 
shore. The Irish faced the sea, the Danes thus being in 
a position between the Irish army in front and the sea 
behind. Having given the signal for battle, the venerable 
Brian retired to a tent, where, surrounded by a royal 
guard, he devoted himself to prayer for the success of his 
army. He was kept informed of the movements of the 
contending forces and, from time to time, gave such 
advice and issued such orders as seemed necessary. The 
battle opened about 8 o'clock in the morning and lasted 
some nine hours, closing at or near 5 o'clock in the after- 
noon. It was fiercely contested and for a long time the 
advantage shifted from side to side. But, finally, the 
impetuous charges of the Irish began to tell on the foe. 

A thousand mail-clad Danes were cut to pieces, their 
armor proving no protection against the terrific sweep of 
the Irish battle-axes. This was but one incident of many 
during the great conflict. The main body of the Danes 
at length gave way, and soon the flight became general. 
The Irish pursued, cutting right and left. Many of the 


Danes, wishing to escape death on shore, sought to reach 
their ships. But it being flood-tide, great numbers were 
drowned, and greater numbers still were killed before they 
could reach the water. Others retreated toward Dublin. 
Thousands of Danes were left dead on the field, and the 
Irish, too, lost heavily. Many leading officers were killed 
on both sides, and many illustrious Irish families suffered 
deep bereavement. 

Among the Irish lords and knights participating in the 
battle were Malachy, king of Meath ; Cian, lord of Des- 
mond ; O'Carroll, prince of Oriell ; O'Kelly, lord of Hy- 
many; O'Heyne, lord of Aidhne ; Felim, of the Silver 
Shield, and many other people of note. Murrough, son 
of Brian, was among the slain, as were the lords O'Kelly 
and O'Heyne. The Great Steward of Mar, who had es- 
poused the Irish cause, was also killed. 

At the close of the battle as the Danes were in full 
fliofht, a Danish ofificer, Brodar, at the head of a band of 
fugitives, attacked the Irish royal tent. Brian drew 
his sword and stood on the defensive, but was instantly 
overwhelmed and killed. Thus perished one of the most 
remarkable rulers in history. The Danish party was im- 
mediately cut down, but too late to save the king. The 
news of the Irish victory at Clontarf, and the overwhelm- 
ing defeat of the Danes, caused a tremendous sensation 
throughout Europe. The battle was recorded in the Norse 
sagas, and told and related for a long period after. The 
Danes in Ireland never recovered from the effects of the 
crushing blow they had received at Clontarf, and though 
they continued numerous in the country their power was 
forever gone. 

The O'Briens and others descended from Brian of the 


Tributes have every reason to be proud of their eminent 
ancestor. Few names in Ireland have been borne by 
more distinguished people than that of O'Brien. Bearers 
of the name, of Irish birth or extraction, long ago attained 
prominence in France, Spain, and Austria, and, like the 
O'Briens of Machias, have had an honorable career in 
America. The clan has been a prolific one, and its rep- 
resentatives to-day are found throughout the world. 

The following O'Brien chronology will be found of in- 
terest. It has been specially compiled for this volume, 
mainly from Cronnelly's History of the Dal-Cais or Dal- 
casstans, Descendants of Cais, of the Line of Hcber 
(Dublin, 1865), and from the Atinals of the Four Mas- 
ters. It will be noted that the names Donal, Donogh, 
Murtogh, Torlogh, etc., prevailed in the family for cen- 
tury after century. 

A. D. 1014. After the death this year of Brian Boru, 
his sons Donogh and Tadg began reigning conjointly over 

A. D. 1023. Donogh, a son of Brian Boru, became 
sole king of Munster, and titular monarch of Leath 
Mogha (Meath, Lenister, and Munster). His reign cov- 
ered a period of forty-nine years, when he abdicated in 
favor of his nephew Torlogh O'Brien, became a monk 
and died in Rome. 

A. D. 105 1. This year, during the reign of Donogh 
(son of Brian Boru), Harold Conan, son of Earl Godwin, 
fled from England to Ireland after the rebellion of his 
father against Edward the Confessor. Harold remained 
" all the winter " under the protection of the Irish king. 
Donogh's second wife was the sister of Harold. 

A. D. 1074. Torlogh O'Brien was monarch of Ireland 


at this time, and during his reign received a Latin letter 
from the Archbishop of Canterbury, which was thus in- 
scribed : " Lanfrance, a sinner, and an unworthy Arch- 
bishop of the Holy Church of Canterbury, sends his ben- 
diction, with his service and prayers, to the magnificent 
Terdeluacus, King of Hibcrnia." 

A. D. 1086. Death of Torlogh O'Brien, king of Mun- 
ster and titular monarch of Ireland. He passed away in 
the " twenty-second year of his reign, and in the seventy- 
seventh year of his age, on the Ides of June." 

A. D. 1098. Death of the Lady Dervogill, mother of 
the Irish lords Murtogh and Tadg O'Brien. 

A. D. iioi. Murtogh O'Brien having convoked a 
gathering of the people and clergy made a solemn grant 
of the city of Cashel to the church, dedicating the place 
" to God and St. Patrick." 

A. D. IIOI. Murtogh O'Brien, titular monarch of Ire- 
land, made a grand tour of the country, at the head of a 
large military force. 

A. D. iiii. A synod was held in Meath, at which 
were present, among others, " the noble Senior of Ireland," 
fifty bishops, 200 priests, and 300 students. There were 
also present, Murtogh O'Brien and other Irish lords. 

A. D. 1 1 14. The Irish monarch, Murtogh O'Brien, is 
seized with a " languishing disease," and soon resigns the 
throne in favor of his brother Dermod. 

A. D. II 18. Donal O'Brien, who had been appointed 
by his father, the monarch Murtogh, to govern the for- 
eigners of Dublin, resigned. He subsequently entered 
holy orders, and died A. D. 1135. 

A. D. 1 1 19. Death of Murtogh O'Brien, "one of the 
most powerful princes of his age," He had succeeded his 


father on the throne, and after a reign of thirty years re- 
tired to a monastery (Lismore). 

A. D. 1 120. Dermod O'Brien, king of Thomond, 
died after a reign of four years. He was succeeded by 
his son Conor, who died A. D. 1142. 

A. D. 1 120. Conor O'Brien succeeds his brother Der- 
mod on the throne of Munster. 

A. D. 1 1 29. Death of Mahon O'Brien, son of King 

A. D. 1 165. Donatus O'Brien, bishop of Thomond, 

A. D. 1 167. Died, Torlogh O'Brien, after a reign of 
twenty-five years. 

A. D, 1 167. About this time the Irish monarch held a 
great muster of the Irish lords and their forces. Among 
those attending were Cormac, lord of Desmond ; O'Brien, 
lord of Thomond; Dermod, lord of Meath, and many 

A. D. 1 167. Torlogh O'Brien died. He was "the 
best man that came in his time for bestowing jewels and 
wealth upon the poor and the indigent of God." 

A. D. 1 169. Donal O'Brien founds a religious house 
" afterwards the cathedral church," in Cashel. 

A. D. 1 1 74. Donal O'Brien, an Irish lord, assisted in 
defeating Earl Strongbow and an English force in Munster. 
A. D. 1 176. Donal O'Brien expels the English from 

A. D. 1 1 79. Constantine O'Brien, bishop of Killaloe, 
participated in the third Lateran Council. 

A. D. 1 185. Donal O'Brien administered a defeat to 
the Enghsh, under John, son of Henry II, who had come 
to Ireland with a large force to govern the country. 

56 -. 

A. D. 1 1 88. The Lady EcHna, wife of Murtogh 
O'Brien, and daughter of the lord Donogh O'Quin, died. 
Her death took place while she was engaged on a pilgrim- 

A. D. 1 192, Munstcr invaded by the English of Lein- 
ster and great damage done. The invaders were severely 
chastised by the forces of King Donal O'Brien. 

A. D. 1 194. Death of Donal O'Brien, king of Mun- 
ster, " a beaming lamp in peace and war, and the brilliant 
star of the hospitality and valor of the men of Munster 
and of all Leath Mogha." 

A. D. 1240. Death of the Lady Sabina, wife of Donogh 
Carbry O'Brien, ruler of Thomond. 

A. D. 1242. About this year died Donogh Carbry 
O'Brien, king of Thomond. The Four Masters describe 
him as having been " the tower of generosity and excel- 
lence of the South of Ireland." He founded a number of 
religious establishments. 

A. D. 1260. Conor O'Brien, king of Thomond, de- 
feated an English force at Kilbarron. 

A. D. 1 26 1. Bryan Roe O'Brien demolishes Castle 
Connell in Limerick. 

A. D. 1270. The O'Brien, head of the clan, captured 
a castle from the English, near Killaloe. 

A. D. 1275. The English king, Edward I, granted the 
territory then comprised in the kingdom of Thomond to 
Thomas le Clare, son of the Earl of Gloucester. By this 
act was annulled that of Henry III who had granted the 
territory to Donal Moore O'Brien. 

A. D. 1303. Maurice O' Brien, dean of Kilfenora, was 
made a bishop. He died A. D. 13 16. 

A. D. 1306. Died, Torlogh O'Brien, the hero of Mac- 
Grath's Wars of Thomond. 


A. D. 13 lo. Death of Conor O'Brien, heir presumptive 
to the lordship of Thomond. 

A. D. 131 1. Donogh O'Brien, "distinguished for his 
hospitahty and heroic deeds," is killed. 

A. D. 131 1. Torlogh O'Brien killed. He is highly- 
spoken of in the Irish annals. At one period he " granted 
the lordship of Thomond, for three years, to the Poor 
Friars for the purpose of aiding them in building the mon- 
astery of Ennis." 

A. D. 1343. Murtogh O'Brien, ruler of Thomond, 
for thirty-two years, died. 

A. D. 1343. Died, the Lady Slainey, wife of Torlogh 
O'Connor, King of Connaught. " She was a daughter of 
Murtogh O'Brien, ruler of Thomond. 

A. D. 1350. Byran Bane O'Brien, son of Murtogh 
just mentioned, died. He had succeeded his father, and 
was " a distinguished warrior." 

A. D. 1364. Death of Dermod O'Brien, ruler of 

A. D.I 369. Mahon Moenmoy O'Brien, lord of Tho- 
mond, died. He was succeeded by Bryan O'Brien, " the 
oldest chief of his race." 

A. D. 1369. The O'Briens assist in defeating an 
English force in Munster. A MacNamara, who had been 
appointed warden of Limerick by The O'Brien, was soon 
after slain by the English. 

A. D. 1383. Murrough O'Brien, tanist of Thomond, 
defeated an English force under Mortimer, about this 
time, at Athlone. 

A. D. 1414. Conor O'Brien, The O'Brien, of Thomond, 
resigns the leadership to his nephew. 

A. D. 1459. Tadg O'Brien erected the castle of Com- 
had, in Burren. 

58 - 

A. D. 1460. Torlogh O'Brien died. His wife was 
Catherine, daughter of Uh'ck Fitz-Walter Burke. 

A. D. 1466. Tadg O'Brien, ruler of Thomond, died. 
His death is bcHevcd to have been due to a plague which 
that year visited Leinster and Meath. It was this Tadg 
who is stated to have erected the castle of Kilnaboy on 
the shore of Lough Inchiquin. 

A. D. 1483. Torlogh O'Brien was consecrated bishop 
of Killaloe. He was head of the diocese forty-two years. 

A. D. 1502. Died, Donogh O'Brien, son of Brian, son 
of Conor. He was described as " the most prosperous and 
affluent" man of his clan. 

A. D, 1504. Murrogh O'Brien, of Ara, a commander 
in the forces of his kinsman,- Torlogh O'Brien, of Thomond, 
w'as killed in battle. 

A. D. 1506. Torlogh O'Brien erected a bridge of four- 
teen arches over the Shannon. 

A. D. 1508. Donal O'Brien, lord of Ara, in Tipperary, 

A. D. 1 5 10. Murtogh O'Brien, bishop of Kilfenora, 
died. The same year, Torlogh O'Brien, lord of Thomond, 
defeated the English of the Pale, and their allies, at a 
locality in Tipperary. 

A. D. 1523. Died Bryan O'Brien, son of Tadg, " the 
supporter of several religious establishments in Thomond, 
and the patron of learned men." 

A. D. 1528. The Lady Fionala, or Penelope, O'Brien 
died. She was the wife of the lord Hugh Roe O'Donnell, 
and is specially mentioned by the Four Masters. 

A, D. 1536. Conor O'Brien, son of Torlogh, son of 
Tadg, lord of Thomond, was besieged in his castle of Car- 
rigagunnell by James, Viscount Thurles. 


A. D. 1539. Death of Conor O'Brien, son of Torlogh, 
son of Tadg, and lord of Thomond for eleven years. 

A. D. 155 I. Murrough O'Brien, first Earl of Thomond, 
and Baron of Inchiquin, died. His wife was a daughter 
of Thomas Fitzgerald, Knight of the Valley. 

A. D. 1557. Death of Dermod O'Brien, Baron of 

A. D. 1560. Tadg O'Brien taken prisoner by the Eng- 
lish lord justice and confined for two years in Dubhn cas- 

A. D. 1564. Donal O'Brien, Earl of Thomond, who 
had been deprived of his title in 1558, was granted a dis- 
trict in the barony of Burren, Clare." 

A. D. 1568. The Lady Margaret, sister of Tadg 
O'Brien, son of Donogh, son of Conor, died. She was 
the wife of the Earl of Clanricarde. 

A. D. 1573. Died Murrogh O'Brien, third Baron 
Inchiquin. His wife was a daughter of Christopher Nu- 
gent, ninth Lord Devlin. 

A. D, 1577. Murrogh O'Brien, an Irish lord, was be- 
headed by Sir William Drury for refusing to swear fealty 
to the English queen and pay tributes imposed. 

A, D. 1583. Died, The Lady Honoria O'Brien, daugh- 
ter of Donal, son of Conor, the wife of Conor O'Connor 
Kerry, ** and she was interred in the church of Iniscathy 
on the Shannon." 

A. D. 1585. Sir Torlogh O'Brien attended the parlia- 
ment convened in Dublin by Sir John Perrott. Many 
Irish lords participated in this gathering. 

A. D. 1586. Donal O'Brien was executed in Galway 
by the Enghsh authorities, one of the charges against him 
having been that of " traitorous conspiracy." 

6o . 

A. D. 1586. Mahon O'Brien is shot while defending 
his castle against Bingham, the English governor of Con- 

A. D. 1 591. Died, the Lady Anne, daughter of Donal 
O'Brien and wife of the lord Torlogh Roe MacMahon. 

A. D. 1 59 1. The Lady Margaret, daughter of Donal 
O'Brien, died. She was the wife of Torlogh MacMahon, 
an Irish lord. 

A. D. 1597. Died, Murrogh O'Brien, fourth Baron Inch- 
iquin. His wife was a daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, Kt. 

A. D. 1 60 1. Donogh O'Brien, fourth Earl of Tho- 
mond, " who was high in favour with Elizabeth," fought 
for the English against the Irish and Spaniards at Kinsale. 
He displayed a valor worthy of a better cause. 

A. D. 1613. Died, Murtogh O'Brien. He possessed 
the castles of Monroe, Pallas, Cahirconor, and Castletown, 
and conformed to the Established Church. Queen Eliza- 
beth appointed him to the see of Killaloe. 

A. D. 1662. Donal O'Brien, created Viscount Clare by 
King Charles II. His wife was a daughter of Gerald, six- 
teenth Earl of Desmond. 

A. D. 1674. Death of Murrogh O'Brien, sixth Baron 
of Inchiquin. His wife was a daughter of Sir William St. 

A. D. 1686. Donogh O'Brien is created a baronet. 
His first wife was Lucia, daughter of Sir George Hamil- 

A. D. 1690. Henry Horatio O'Brien, Lord O'Brien 
and Baron of Ibrackan, died. His wife was Henrietta, 
daughter of Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort. 

A. D. 1707. Henry O'Brien, eighth Marquis of Tho- 
mond, married Elizabeth, daughter of Charles, Duke of 
Somerset. O'Brien died, 1741. 


After the fall of Limerick, 1691, Irish troops to the 
number of 19,000 enlisted in the service of France, while 
thousands of their countrymen entered the Spanish ser- 
vice. Others went to both countries before and after that 
period. The military annals of both countries contain the 
names of many O'Briens who reached high rank in the 
armies of those countries. Among those attaining promi- 
nence in France were the following: 

Andre O'Brien, Knight of St. Louis; a captain in 1762 
of the regiment of Rothe. 

Bernard O'Brien, lieutenant, 1745, of DeGalmoy's Horse. 

Brian O'Brien, aid major of the regiment of Clare ; died 
in Brittany, 1758. 

Captain O'Brien, an officer of grenadiers in 1780 in the 
regiment of Navarre. 

Charles O'Brien, fifth Lord Clare; commanded a regi- 
ment of Foot, in Ireland, i689-'9o; went to France and 
became colonel of the regiment of Clare, which regiment 
had been so named in honor of his family. He attained 
the rank of major-general in the French service. At Blen- 
heim he commanded the three Irish regiments of Clare, 
Lee and Dorrington. He died of wounds received in 

Lieutenant-General O'Brien, sixth Lord Clare. At the 
head of the Irish brigade in the French service he charged 
the English at Fontenoy, broke their formation, and after 
a desperate hand-to-hand conflict, administered a severe 
defeat and drove them from the field. The Irish brigade 
that day comprised the regiments of O'Brien (Clare's), 
Dillon, Lally, Buckley, Rothe, and Berwick. General 
O'Brien married the Marchioness de Chiffreville, in Nor- 
mandy. His daughter wedded the Duke de Choiseuil- 


Charles O'Brien, colonel in 1696 of the regiment of 
Clare; " Marechal des Camps et Armees en 1704." 

Corneille O'Brien, a captain in 1746 of the regiment of 

Daniel O'Brien, fourth Viscount Clare ; colonel proprie- 
tor of the Irish French regiment of Clare, 1690; Knight 
of St. Louis and of St. Lazarus ; died of wounds received 
in battle, 1693. 

Daniel O'Brien, a captain in 17 17 of the regiment of 

Dermod O'Brien, of the regiment of Clare ; Knight of 
St. Louis; son of Brian, of Leitrim, Ireland, 

Florence Dermod O'Brien, born in 1743; captain in 
the regiment of Clare ; commandant of St. Germain dc 
Calberte in the Sevennes ; married a daughter of the Mar- 
quis of Covarruvias de Leyva. 

Jacques Daniel O'Brien, Count of Lismore ; Knight of 
St. Louis; regiment of Clare. 

Jean O'Brien, ensign in the regiment of Hamilton; 
" admis aux Invalides en 1678." A Jean O'Brien is men- 
tioned as " ancien ofificier en service de France tres age en 

Jean O'Brien, cadet, 1753; lieutenant-colonel, 1792-94, 
of a regiment of chasseurs ; Knight of St. Louis ; one of 
the most accomplished officers in the French service. 

Jean O'Brien, Knight of St. Louis ; lieutenant-colonel, 


Jean Solomon Edouard O'Brien, lieutenant, 181 5 ; cap- 
tain, 1820; lieutenant-colonel. Eleventh regiment of the 
Line, 1837. An officer bearing the same name, and being 
probably the same individual, became colonel of the 
Twelfth Hussars. 

John O'Brien, captain, 1745, in a Paris regiment. 


Louis Marie Patrice O'Brien, lieutenant, 1787, in the 
regiment of Walsh. 

Mathieu O'Brien, a major in 171 5, of the regiment of 

Murrough O'Brien, colonel proprietor in 1705 of the 
regiment of Clare; major-general, 1719; died in 1720; 
an officer of splendid ability. 

Pierre O'Brien, a captain in 1753 of the regiment of 

Thad^e O'Brien, Knight of St. Louis; a major in 1778 
of the regiment of Walsh ; served with our French allies 
in the American Revolution. 

Timothee O'Brien, Knight of St. Louis; " ancien major 
en 1789." 

An O'Brien, Lord Clare, in the French service, is thus 

referred to in a poem, describing operations against the 

English : 

* * * 

The brave old lord died near the fight, 
But for each drop he lost that night 
A Saxon cavalier shall bite 

The dust before Lord Clare's Dragoons ; 
For never when our spurs were set 
And never when our sabres met, 
Could we the Saxon soldiers get 

To stand the shock of Clare's Dragoons. 

Another Clare is here to lead, 
The worthy son of such a breed ; 
The French expect some famous deed 

When Clare leads on his bold Dragoons. 
Our colonel comes from Brian's race, 
His wounds are in his breast and face, 
The gap of danger is still his place, 

The foremost of his bold Dragoons. 

64 - 

Among other officers of Irish blood in the French ser- 
vice were: Justin MacCarthy (Lord Mountcashel), colonel 
proprietor, 1691, regiment de Mountcashel; Owen Mac- 
Carthy, lieutenant-colonel, 171 5, regiment de Athlone ; 
Arthur Dillon, colonel proprietor, 1690, regiment de Dil- 
lon; Gordon O'Neill, colonel proprietor, 1692, regiment 
de Charlemont; Dominic Sarsfield (Lord Kilmallock), 
colonel proprietor, 1693, Kilmallock's Dragoons; Jere- 
miah Mahoney, lieutenant-colonel, 1694, regiment de 
Limerick; John O'Donohoe, lieutenant, 1677, Garde du 
Corps; Patrick Nugent, lieutenant-colonel, 1706, regiment 
de Berwick; Daniel O'Madden, lieutenant-colonel, 1703, 
regiment de Fitzgerald ; Jacques Francois Edward Sars- 
field (Earl of Lucan), colonel, I7i5,and Knight of the 
Golden Fleece ; Arthur Lally, Knight Grand Cross of St. 
Louis, lieutenant-general, 1746; Maurice MacMahon, 
Knight of Malta, captain, 1761, Fitz James' Horse; Count 
Patrick Darcy, Knight of St. Louis and of St. Lazarus, 
colonel, major-general, died 1779. In our own day, Mac- 
Mahon, of Irish blood, became President of France. 

The Irish brigade, which defeated the English and their 

Dutch auxiliaries, at the battle of Fontenoy (1745), was 

commanded by Lord Clare, an O'Brien, who is mentioned 

in the following extract : 

* * * 

How fierce the look these exiles wear, who 're wont to be so gay. 
The treasured wrongs of fifty years are in their hearts to-day ; 
The Treaty broken ere the ink wherewith Hwas writ could dry, 
Their plundered homes, their ruined shrines, their women's parting cry, 
Their priesthood hunted down like wolves, their country overthrown. 
Each looks as if revenge for all were staked on him alone. 
On Fontenoy, on Fontenoy, nor ever yet elsewhere, 
Rushed on to death a nobler band than these proud exiles were. 


O'Brien's voice is hoarse with joy, as, halting he commands, 
"Fix bay'nets! Charge!" Like mountain storm rush on these fiery 

* * * 

Like lions leaping at a fold when mad with hunger's pang, 
Right up against the English line the Irish exiles sprang. 
Bright was their steel ; 'tis bloody now, their guns are filled with gore. 
Through shattered ranks and severed files and trampled flags they 

The English strove with desperate strength, paused, rallied, stag- 
gered, fled — 
The green hillside is matted close with dying and with dead. 
Across the plain and far away passed on that hideous wrack. 
While cavalier and fantassin dash in upon their track. 
On Fontenoy, on Fontenoy, like eagles in the sun. 
With bloody plumes the Irish stand— the field is fought and won ! 

Among the officers of Irish birth or descent in the ser- 
vice of Spain are recalled : 

Don Juan O'Brien, super-colonel, 1732-43, regiment 
de Ultonia. 

Don Cornelio O'Brien, lieutenant, Dragones de Edin- 

Don Terencio O'Brien, lieutenant, regimento de Lim- 

Don Enriquez O'Brien, lieutenant, regimento de 

Don Moritz O'Brien, cadet, 1759, regimento de Ultonia. 
Don Morgano O'Brien, captain, 1760, regimento de 

Don Theodoro O'Brien, colonel, 1663, served in the 
Spanish Netherlands. 

Other soldiers of Irish birth or descent who have served 
in the Spanish army include: Don Ugo O'Donnell, 
brigadier-general, 1688, became a major-general, died 


1703. Don Florencio Macarthy, cornet, 1705, dragones 
de Dublin; Don Felix Macarthy, captain, 17 18, regi- 
mento de Limerick; Don Justinio Macarthy, sub-lieuten- 
ant, 1 718, regimcnto de Hibcrnia; Don Carlos Macarthy, 
lieutenant, 1724, regiment© de Hibernia ; Don Carlos 
MacMahon, captain, 17 18, regimento de Ultonia ; Don 
Juan O'SuUivan, captain, 1724; Don Dionisio O'SulHvan, 
captain, 1724; Don Demetrio Mahony, lieutenant-colonel, 
1735; Don Hugo O'Connor, regimento de Hibernia; 
captain of grenadiers, 1777; Don Cornelio MacMahon, 
captain, 1771, regimento de Hibernia; Don Miguel 
O'Reilly, captain of grenadiers, 1777; Don Josef O'Don- 
nell, lieutenant-colonel, 1777 \ Don Hugo O'Connor, 
captain of grenadiers, \777 \ Don Pedro O'Daly, com- 
mander and colonel, 1803, regimento de Irlanda; Don 
Miguel O'Meagher, regimento de Hibernia, lieutenant- 
colonel of grenadiers, 1803 ; Don Jose O'Donnell, knight 
grand cross of the Order of St. Ferdinand, captain- 
general of Castile, died, 1836; Don Tomas O'Ryan-y- 
Vasquez, captain-general of Granada, knight of the Order 
of St. Hermonogilda; Don Jaime O'Daly-y-Perez, 
brigadier-general, knight of St. Hermonogilda. 

Among the troops of our French allies in the American 
Revolution were represented the Regiment of Dillon and 
the Regiment of Walsh. Among the officers of the latter 
were Maj. Thadee O'Brien and Capt. Jean O'Brien, both 
of whom have already been mentioned. For interesting 
rosters of these two Irish-French regiments see a recently 
published work on Lcs Coinhattants J-^i-angais de la 
Guerre Americaine, 1778-1783 (Paris, 1903). 

The Revolutionary rolls of Massachusetts, New York 
and other states contain the names of many O'Briens who 


served in the patriot forces during the struggle for inde- 
pendence. So that while the O'Briens of Machias were 
dealing sturdy blows for the cause of liberty, as so well 
portrayed by Rev. Mr. Sherman, other representatives of 
this great old Irish clan were elsewhere gallantly serving 
the same cause. 

From among hundreds of O'Briens, in this country, 
who merit special mention for their valor, talents, integrity 
and success, we compile the following brief list : 

O'Brien, A. D., bank cashier, GraceviUe, Minn. 

O'Brien, Albert H., a lawyer in Philadelphia; veteran 
of the Civil war ; after the war became a lieutenant in the 
U. S. Marine Corps, resigning in 1875 ; a descendant of 
the O'Briens of Machias, Me. 

O'Brien, Alonzo Lee, graduate of West Point; was 
commissioned second lieutenant. Second U. S. Cavalry, 
1879; first lieutenant, 1886. 

O'Brien, Andrew, a Pennsylvania soldier of the Revolu- 
tion ; member of the Commander-in-Chief's Guard, which 
was organized by Washington in 1776. This guard con- 
sisted of picked men, was at first composed of Virginians 
and comprised a major's command, 180 men. In 1778, 
it was increased by the addition of 100 men from various 
states. O'Brien died in Philadelphia, April 16, 1824, aged 
71 years. 

O'Brien, Hon. C. D., a prominent lawyer of St. Paul, 
Minn. ; prosecuting attorney of Ramsey county, Minn., 
from 1874 to 1878; assistant U. S. district attorney from 
1870 to 1873 ; mayor of St. Paul from 1883 to 1885. 

O'Brien, Christeo, a lieutenant in the One Hundred and 
Twentieth regiment of infantry, Greene county, N. Y., 
18 19; he was subsequently a captain in the regiment. 


O'Brien, Christopher, served during the Civil war on the 
U. S. S. Niagara; subsequently became a member of 
the Boston city government, and of the Kearsarge Naval 
Veteran Association, Boston, 

O'Brien, Christopher F., now secretary to the mayor of 
Providence, R. I. 

O'Brien, Daniel, a soldier of the Revolution ; served in 
the Second Pennsylvania regiment, Continental Line. 

O'Brien, Daniel, a member of Capt. Isaac Corsa's com- 
pany. New York provincial troops, 1755. In 1760, 
Daniel O'Bryan, doubtless the same, was a member of 
Capt. Nathaniel Hubbell's company. There were 32 
natives of Ireland in the latter command. 

O'Brien, Hon. Denis, judge of the New York Court of 
Appeals. In 1884-88 he was attorney-general of New 

O'Brien, Dennis, a Pennsylvania soldier of the Revolu- 
tion ; served in Colonel Hazen's regiment — "Congress' 

O'Brien, Dennis, a merchant of Reading, Pa. ; descend- 
ant of the O'Briens of Machias, Me. ; deceased. 

O'Brien, Dennis A., prominent resident of Chelsea, 
Mass.; several years a member of the city government ; 
is a vice-president of the Frost hospital, vice-president of 
the Chelsea Real Estate Association and vice-president of 
the County Savings bank. 

O'Brien, Dennis J., of the Twenty-eighth regiment, 
Massachusetts volunteers. He was mustered Dec. 13, 1861 ; 
transferred, Sept. i, 1863, to the Veteran Reserve Corps. 

O'Brien, Hon. Dennis W., judge of the Orphans' Court, 
Philadelphia county, Pa. ; a descendant of the O'Briens 
of Machias, Me.; died in 1878. 


O'Brien, Dillon, a native of Ireland; born, 1817; died 
at St. Paul, Minn., 1882. In 1857, he was appointed 
government school teacher to the Chippewa Indians at La 
Pointe, Wis. He removed to Minnesota in 1863 ; became 
an immigration commissioner for the latter state, and did 
much to induce the coming of Irish settlers to Minnesota ; 
lecturer and author. 

O'Brien, Douglas F., mate. United States navy, 1861 ; 
acting ensign, 1863; honorably discharged, July, 1865. 

O'Brien, Edward, alderman of the city of Pawtucket, 
R. I., for three years; recently master mechanic at the 
Dunnell Print Works, Pawtucket, R. I. ; now in charge of 
the W. W. Dunnell Finishing Works, Apponaug, R. I. 

O'Brien, Edward C. W. (M. D.), Buffalo, N. Y. ; grad- 
uate of the University of Buffalo ; many years surgeon of 
the Seventy-fourth regiment, N. Y. : is surgeon of the 
Buffalo fire department. 

O'Brien, Edward C, member of the New York Cham- 
ber of Commerce ; brigadier-general on the staff of Gov. 
Levi P. Morton of New York; U. S. Commissioner of 
Navigation, 1889-93. 

O'Brien, Edward F., a lieutenant of the Twenty-eighth 
regiment, Massachusetts volunteers, in the Civil war. 
Previous to becoming a lieutenant, he had been sergeant- 
major of the regiment. 

O'Brien, Edward M., president of the American Ship- 
ping Co., Chicago, 111. 

O'Brien, Fitz James, a brilliant poet and author; the 
friend of John Brougham, James W. Wallack, and other 
notable men ; joined the Seventh New York regiment 
during the Civil war; became an officer on the staff of 
Gen. F. W. Lander; was wounded Feb. 26, 1862, and 
died of his injuries. 

70 , 

O'Brien, Frank P., prominent resident of Birmingham, 
Ala.; a founder of the Birmingham Daily Age \ presi- 
dent and manager of the Birmingham Age-Herald \ 
a director of the Southern Press Association. 

O'Brien, George Morgan, major of the Seventh Iowa 
cavalry, 1863; became, successively, lieutenant-colonel, 
colonel, and brigadier-general of volunteers; was mus- 
tered out, May 17, 1866. 

O'Brien, H. T., a captain, during the Civil war, in the 
One Hundred and Fifty-fifth regiment, New York volun- 
teers (which formed part of Corcoran's Irish Legion). 

O'Brien, Harry, cashier Bank of Palmer, Palmer, Kan. 

O'Brien, Dr. Henry J., physician and surgeon ; member 
of the faculty of Hamline University and of the University 
of Minnesota; brother of ex-Mayor C. D. O'Brien of St. 
Paul, Minn. 

O'Brien, Henry V., a professor in De La Salle Institute, 
Chicago, 111. 

O'Brien, Hon. Hugh, mayor of Boston, Mass., for four 
terms; previous to being elected mayor he had filled 
other official positions of trust and honor. 

O'Brien, James, of the Fourth New York Regiment of 
the Line, in the Revolution. The regiment was com- 
manded by Col. James Holmes, and, at another period, 
by Col. Henry B. Livingston, 

O'Brien, James, of the Twenty-seventh Maryland regi- 
ment during the War of 1812 ; served at North Point and 
Fort McHenry. 

O'Brien, James, lieutenant-colonel of the Forty-eighth 
regiment, Massachusetts volunteers, in the Civil war. He 
was killed while advancing with a storming party at the 
siesre of Port Hudson. 


O'Brien, James, recently fire marshal of Galesburg, 111. 

O'Brien, James W., lawyer; was a member of the city 
council of Charlestown, Mass. (now included in Boston) ; 
was also a member of the Public Library trustees there ; 
nominated in 1883, by Gov. Benjamin F. Butler, to be 
judge of the Charlestown district court. 

O'Brien, Jeremiah, of the Twenty-fourth regiment, 
Massachusetts volunteers, in the Civil war; was killed at 
Drury's Bluff, Va. He was of Brookline, Mass. 

O'Brien, John, soldier of the Revolution ; served in the 
Sixth Pennsylvania regiment, of the Continental Line. 

O'Brien, John, an Irish schoolmaster in Warren, Me. 
He began teaching there at about the close of the Revolu- 
tion, and so continued for many years. He was " a native 
of Craig, near Cork " and was *' an elegant penman and 
a good accountant." He married a daughter of Colonel 

O'Brien, John, a Connecticut soldier of the Revolution ; 
served in the seventh company of the Sixth regiment 
(Colonel Parson's), 1775. 

O'Brien, John, served during the Revolution in the 
Second regiment. Orange county, N. Y., militia, com- 
manded by Col. A. H. Hay. 

O'Brien, John, a Massachusetts Continental soldier of 
the Revolution; placed on the pension roll, 18 19. 

O'Brien, John, of the Ninth regiment, Massachusetts 
volunteers, in the Civil war ; was killed at Gaines' Mills, 

O'Brien, John, president of the John O'Brien Lumber 
Co., Chicago, 111. 

O'Brien, John, cashier of the Citizens' National bank, 
Darlington, Wis. 

72 - 

O'Brien, John, president of the John O'Brien Boiler 
Works Co., St. Louis, Mo.; capital paid in, $250,000. 

O'Brien, Rev. John, professor of ecclesiastical history 
and sacred theology at Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitts- 
burg, Md.; died, 1879. 

O'Brien, John B., many years sheriff of Suffolk county 
(which includes Boston), Mass.; during the Civil war he 
served in the Twenty-fourth regiment, Massachusetts vol- 
unteers ; was wounded at Deep Run, Va. 

O'Brien, John D., prominent lawyer of St. Paul, Minn. ; 
member of the law firm Stevens, O'Brien, Cole & Albrecht. 

O'Brien, John F., a member in 1901 of the Assembly 
of the state of New York. 

O'Brien, John J., a captain during the Civil war in the 
First New York cavalry ; served as lieutenant in the 
Thirtieth U. S. Infantry; was transferred to the Fourth 
U. S. Infantry, in which he became a captain. 

O'Brien, John M., a Rhode Island Continental soldier 
of the Revolution ; he served in Captain Dexter's com- 
pany of the " late Col. Greene's regiment." 

O'Brien, Hon. John M., a police magistrate of Philadel- 
phia, Pa. 

O'Brien, John Maurice, son of Capt. John O'Brien ; born 
in Newburyport, Mass. ; graduated from Bowdoin College, 
1806; became a lawyer. 

O'Brien, John P. J., a graduate of West Point; joined 
the artillery arm of the service ; served in the Florida 
war; commanded a battery at Buena Vista in the war 
with Mexico; was brevetted major, in 1847, for gallant 
and meritorious conduct at the battle of Buena Vista. 

O'Brien, John P., a director of the Mechanics and Trad- 
ers bank. New York city. 


O'Brien, John S., mate, United States navy, 1863; 
honorably discharged, December, 1867. 

O'Brien, John S., of Boston, a Heutenant of Co. G, Forty- 
eighth regiment, Massachusetts volunteers, in the Civil 

O'Brien, J. P., long prominent in railway circles ; for- 
merly superintendent of the Iowa Central road ; later 
superintendent of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Co., 
with headquarters at Portland, Ore. 

O'Brien, Hon. J. W., recently mayor of Grand Haven, 

O'Brien, Kennedy, an early resident of Augusta, Ga. ; 
merchant; a deposition made by him in 1741, is 

O'Brien, Lawrence, member of a Pennsylvania company 
of flying artillery in the War of 1812. The company was 
commanded by Capt. Richard Bache and formed part 
of the "Advance Light Brigade" commanded by Gen. 
Thomas Cadwalader. 

O'Brien, Lawrence, a soldier of the First regiment, New 
York volunteers, in the War with Mexico. He died in 
the service, passing away at Puebla, Mexico. 

O'Brien, Lawrence, a captain in the Ninth Connecticut 
infantry in the Civil war, the command being popularly 
known as "the Irish regiment" of that state. Capt. 
O'Brien was, at one period during the war, provost mar- 
shal and military judge of the parish of St. James, La. 

O'Brien, Lucius, assistant surgeon, U. S. A., 1832; 
second lieutenant, Third U. S. Infantry, 1837; transferred 
to Eighth U. S. Infantry, 1838; first lieutenant, 1839. 

O'Brien, Lucy Todd, married, in 1698, John Baylor of 
Gloucester county, Virginia. John, their son, was a mem- 

74 - 

ber of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1740 to 1760. 
Another member of the family was an aid to Washington 
at the battle of Trenton. 

O'Brien, Lyster M., a captain in the Twenty-seventh 
Michigan volunteers during the Civil war; was brevctted 
major of volunteers, 1865, for "gallant and meritorious 
conduct before Petersburg, Va. " ; after the war he was 
attached, respectively, to the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and 
Twenty-fifth regiments, U. S. infantry. 

O'Brien, Martin, a captain in the Ninth regiment, Mas- 
sachusetts volunteers, in the Civil war. He was of Salem, 

O'Brien, Martin E., served during the Civil war in the 
First Arkansas cavalry; became in 1863 a captain in the 
Second Arkansas cavalry ; was later commissioned captain 
in the Second U. S. cavalry. 

O'Brien, Martin H., born in 1 850, Clinton county, N. Y. ; 
prominent lawyer of Plattsburg, N. Y. 

O'Brien, Maurice J., now superintendent of public 
schools, Pawtucket, R. I. 

O'Brien, Hon. Michael, recently mayor of the city of 
Alpena, Mich. 

O'Brien, Michael, a captain in the Second N. Y. Heavy 
Artillery in the Civil War; was killed June 6, 1864. 

O'Brien, Michael, ordnance department, U. S. A. ; 
artificer and armorer; became a lieutenant in the Fourth 
U. S. artillery. 

O'Brien, Rev. Michael C, of Bangor, Me. ; recently 
deceased ; distinguished authority on the language and 
history of the Abnaki and other Indians. 

O'Brien, Miles Morgan, merchant, a member of the 
Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, of Philadelphia, Pa. (founded 


lyyi), and of the Hibernian Society, of Philadelphia 
(founded 1790) ; U. S. consul at Algiers; personal friend 
of Gen. Stephen Moylan of the Revolution. O'Brien died 
in France, 1804. 

O'Brien, Hon, Morgan J., a justice of the New York 
Supreme court; is at present sitting in the Appellate divi- 
sion ; trustee of the New York public library. 

O'Brien, M. J., vice-president, director and general 
manager of the Southern Express company ; long prom- 
inent in railroad circles ; director in roads belonging to 
the H. B. Plant interest. 

O'Brien, Miss Myra Lincoln, a descendant of the 
O'Briens of Machias, Me. ; she " christened " the U. S. 
torpedo boat O'Brien launched at Elizabethport, N. J., 
in 1900. 

O'Brien, Rev. Nichols, a Boston clergyman ; served 
during the Civil war as chaplain of the Twenty-eighth 
regiment, Massachusetts volunteers. 

O'Brien, Patrick, of the Fifty-first Maryland regiment in 
the War of 18 12, 

O'Brien, Patrick, of the Twenty-eighth regiment, Mas- 
sachusetts volunteers, in" the Civil war; died July 5, 1862, 
at James Island, S. C. 

O'Brien, Patrick D., a captain of police, Chicago, 111. 

O'Brien, P. J., clerk of Common Pleas court. No. 3, 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

O'Brien, Richard, a naval officer in the Revolution ; 
consul-general of the United States to the Barbary 
Powers ; assisted Commodore Edward Preble in negotia- 
tions with Tripoli. In 1804 O'Brien returned to the 
United States and settled near Carlisle, Pa. ; was elected 
to the Pennsylvania legislature. 

76 , 

O'Brien, Robert Lincoln, a graduate of Harvard ; Wash- 
ington representative of the Boston Transcript ; secretary 
to Grover Cleveland, 1892-95. 

O'Brien, Thomas, a soldier of the Revolution ; served 
in Col. John Crane's regiment of artillery ; was a resident 
of Boston, Mass. 

O'Brien, Thomas, served on the U. S. frigate £^sscx, 
under Capt. Edward Preble, in the year 1800. 

O'Brien, Thomas, a lieutenant, during the Civil war, in 
the Eighty-eighth regiment, New York volunteers, which 
regiment formed part of Meagher's Irish brigade ; 
wounded at Fredericksburg. 

O'Brien, Thomas, Pawtucket, R. I. ; alderman of the 
city of Pawtucket in 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898; mem- 
ber of the General Assembly of Rhode Island in 1899- 
1900 and 1902. 

O'Brien, Thomas D., prominent lawyer, St. Paul, Minn. ; 
has been prosecuting attorney of Ramsey county, Minn. ; 
and captain of the First battery of artillery, Minnesota 
National Guard. He resides in St. Paul. 

O'Brien, Thomas J., Morristown, N. J. ; recently de- 
ceased. He was a successful lawyer ; member of the New 
Jersey legislature. He had also served as an assistant 
U. S. district attorney. 

O'Brien, Thomas J., prominent lawyer. Grand Rapids, 
Mich. ; general counsel of the Grand Rapids & Indiana 

O'Brien, Rev. William, a Roman Catholic priest; born 
in Ireland, 1740; studied in Bologna, Italy; was appoint- 
ed pastor of St. Peter's church, New York city, 1787. 

O'Brien, William, a Rhode Island soldier of the Revolu- 
tion. In 1 78 1 he was a member of Capt. Curtis Cole's 
company, in Col. Nathan Miller's regiment. 


O'Brien, William, prominent business man of New York 
city about 1830. He was an insurance adjuster, his 
specialty being ships and cargoes damaged or lost. His 
judgment and integrity were such that " his adjustments 
were never disputed by port wardens, insurers, or insur- 
ance companies." 

O'Brien, William, a lieutenant in the Eighteenth U. S. 
infantry, 1861. 

O'Brien, William, prominent in New York city many 
years ago. He and his brother John constituted the firm 
W. & J. O'Brien, founders of a financial house in Wall 

O'Brien, William H., cashier of .the Citizens' National 
bank, Lawrenceburg, Ind. 

O'Brien, William J., a captain in the Twenty-fourth 
regiment, Massachusetts volunteers, in the Civil war. He 
was of Cambridge, Mass.; mustered out Jan. 20, 1866. 

O'Brien, Hon. William J., born in Baltimore, Md., 
1836; prominent lawyer; a member from Maryland of 
the Forty-third congress; was reelected to the Forty- 
fourth congress and served therein. 

O'Brien, William MacMahon, a lieutenant in the Eighty- 
eighth regiment. New York volunteers (of Meagher's 
Irish brigade), during the Civil war. 

O'Brien, William P., acting ensign. United States navy, 
1862; resigned, June, 1863. 

O'Brien, William S., capitalist; one of the four prin- 
cipal owners of the " Big Bonanza " mine. He died in 
1878. leaving a fortune estimated at $15,000,000 or 

While the general spelling of the name is O'Brien, we 
also, now and then, meet O'Brian, O'Brine, O'Brion, 

t ^ 


O'Bryan, etc., all different forms of the same name. In 
the following additional list these varied forms are shown : 

O'Brian, Andrew, a soldier in the First New York 
regiment of the line in the Revolution, commanded by- 
Col. G. Van Shaick. Joseph McCracken was a major in 
the regiment, and among the other officers were Capt. 
David Lyon, Lieut. Peter Magce, and Lieut. Michael 

O'Brian, Charles, of Boston, Mass. ; soldier of the 
Revolution; served in Col. Thomas Marshall's regiment; 
enlisted, January 27, 1777, for three years. 

O'Brian, Constant (Constantine), a lieutenant in Capt. 
Abraham Deforeest's company. New York provincial 
troops, 1760. Twenty-five members of the company, 
at that period, were born in Ireland. 

O'Brian, Daniel, soldier of the Revolution; served in 
the First Pennsylvania regiment of the Continental line. 

O'Brian, Dennis, a soldier of the Revolution ; served in 
the Maryland line. 

O'Brian, James, a soldier of Captain Christopher Yates' 
company, Albany county, N. Y., 1761. There were over 
forty natives of Ireland in the company. 

O'Brian, James, a soldier of the fifth company in Col. 
Nathaniel Gist's Virginia regiment, 1777. 

O'Brian, John, a Continental soldier of the Revolution ; 
is credited to Salem, Mass.; enlisted February, 1781, for 
three years. 

O'Brian, John, .soldier of the Revolution; served in 
Capt. Benjamin Hicks' company of Col. G. Van Schaick's 
New York regiment. O'Brian is mentioned in the Massa- 
chusetts records. 

O'Brian, John, born in Great Barrington, Mass., 1784; 


graduated from Williams College, 1804; became a lawyer 
and practised in New York state; died, 1856. 

O'Brian, Lodowick, served in the Third regiment, 
Albany county, N. Y. militia during the Revolution. 
Philip C. Schuyler was colonel of the regiment. 

O'Brian, Martin, soldier of the Revolution ; served in 
the First Pennsylvania regiment of the Continental line. 
He is mentioned in a " Return of men enlisted for eigh- 
teen months, . . . who marched in Colonel Craig's 

O'Brian, Patrick, an American marine during the Revo- 
lution ; served aboard the Alfred, being later transferred 
to the Columbus. He is mentioned in the Rhode Island 

O'Brian, Richard, he and Timothy Sullivan were mem- 
bers of the guard to " His Excellency," presumably the 
governor, at treaty proceedings with the Indians, Fal- 
mouth, Me., 1754. 

O'Brian, Thomas, a lieutenant in the Eighth Connec- 
ticut regiment of the line, 1777. 

O'Brine, Hugh, soldier of the Revolution ; member of 
Capt. Lemuel Nay's company, of Col. Mcintosh's regi- 
ment; joined March 23, 1778; roll sworn to at Roxbury, 
Mass. He is mentioned as serving " at Roxbury lines." 

O'Brine, James, served in Col. David Henley's regiment 
in the Revolution ; is nientioned in the Massachusetts 

O'Brion, John, a New Hampshire soldier of the Revolu- 
tion; member of Capt. Ebenezer Frye's company in Col. 
Joseph Cilley's regiment, 1777. Patrick Cogan was 
quartermaster of the regiment. 

O'Bryan, Francis, a soldier of the Revolution. He 


served in the Eleventh Pennsylvania regiment of the Con- 
tinental line. 

O'Bryan, George, a Connecticut soldier of the Revolu- 
tion ; served in Col. Webb's regiment. In the same 
regiment were Capt. John Riley, Thomas Doyle, Patrick 
McDonald, Timothy Higgins, and others bearing Irish 

O'Bryan, Henry, a soldier of Captain Barnaby Byrn's 
company, First New York regiment, 1761. Patrick 
Welsh was a lieutenant in the company, and forty-four of 
the men of the company are ofhcially recorded as natives 
of Ireland. 

O'Bryan, John, a New Jersey soldier of the Revolution ; 
served in the line. 

O'Bryan, John, a New York soldier in the campaign of 
1761 ; served in the company of Capt. Anthony Waters. 
This company was raised in Richmond and Kings coun- 
ties, N. Y. 

O'Bryan, Joseph, a New York soldier. His name appears 
in a roll dated Fort Ontario, Aug. 10, 1762. 

O'Bryan, Matthew, of Dedham, Mass. ; soldier of the 
Revolution ; served in Capt. Benjamin Frothingham's 
company of Col. John Crane's regiment of artillery; is 
credited with twenty-one months and five days as bom- 
bardier, and twelve months as matross. 

O'Bryan, Nicholas, a New York soldier; served in Capt. 
Barnaby Byrn's company in the campaign of 1761, 

O'Bryan, Patrick, a New Jersey soldier of the Revolu- 
tion ; served in a line regiment. 

O'Bryan, Philip, a Pennsylvania soldier of the Revolu- 
tion ; served in the Sixth regiment of that state in the 
Continental line. 


O'Bryan, Sylvester, soldier of the Revolution ; served 
in Capt. Thomas Herbert's company of Col. S. J. Altec's 
*' Musketry Battalion." 

O'Bryan, Thomas, soldier of the Revolution ; served in 
the First New York regiment of the line. 

O'Bryan, Timothy, soldier of the Revolution ; men- 
tioned in the Massachusetts records ; served in Col. Rufus 
Putnam's regiment. 

O'Bryan, William, a New York soldier, 1764; was 
enlisted by Lieut. Jos. Fitzpatrick for Capt. John Grant's 

O'Bryan, William, soldier of the Revolution ; served in 
the Second Pennsylvania regiment of the Continental line, 
of which regiment Walter Stewart, an Irishman, was 

Obrian (O'Brian), John, a New Hampshire soldier of 
the Revolution; enlisted in 1777, and was of London- 
derr}'-, N. H. ; served under Captain Livermore. 

Obrian (O'Brian), Thomas, served during the Revolu- 
tion in Col. C. D. Wynkoop's New York regiment. 
Among the ofticers of the regiment were Capt. Henry 
O'Mara, Lieut. John Welch and Ensign John Dunn. 

Obrian (O'Brian), Thomas, of New York; served 
during the Revolution in the Sixth Massachusetts regi- 
ment of the Continental line; a native of Dublin, Ireland. 

Obrian (O'Brian), Patrick, soldier of the Revolution; 
is mentioned as of the Sixth regiment, Dutchess county, 
N. Y., militia. 

Obrien (O'Brien), Morgan, served during the Revolu- 
tion in Col. Albert Pawling's New York levies. The 
quartermaster of the regiment was Edward Connor. 

Obryan (O'Bryan), James, served in a New York com- 


pany of " provcncels," 1764. Barnaby Byrne was captain 
of the company, and Thomas MCarthy was a Hcutenant. 
Fifteen of the command were born in Ireland. 

Many thousands of O'Briens are to-day found in the 
United States. They are very numerous in New York, 
Boston, Chicago and other great centres. The Boston 
city directory, for instance, contains over fourteen closely 
printed columns of O'Briens, aggregating about one thou- 
sand names. This indicates a host of O'Briens in that 
city alone. There, as elsewhere, they form a very im- 
portant factor in the social, business and educational Hfe 
of the community. 

T. H. M. 


" Advance Light Brigade," Gen. Thomas Cadwalader's 73 

American Academy of Social and Political Science 10 

American Authors, Society of 10 

American-Irish Historical Society, Annual Dinner of the 3 

American Revolution, Daughters of the 29 

Annals of the Four Masters 53 

Armorial Bearings of the O'Briens 48 

Augustus of Western Europe, The 50 

Battle of Buena Vista 72 

Battle of Clontarf 50,51,52 

Battle of Drury's Bluff 71 

Battle of Fontenoy 61 , 64, 65 

Battle of Gaines' Mill 71 

Blenheim, Irish Regiments at 61 

Board of Education, New York 4 

Brian Boru 16, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53 

British Armed Vessel Captured by Capt. John O'Brien 39 

British Fleet of Merchantmen Captured 40 

British Flag, Capt. Jeremiah O'Brien Hauls Down a. 29 

Capture of a British Armed Vessel by Capt. John O'Brien 39 

Capture of a British Fleet of Merchantmen 40 

Capture of the Margaretta.. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 

Carbray, Hon. Felix, Quebec, Canada 10 

Chandler, Hon. William E 43 

Charitable Irish Society, Boston 10 

Chronology, O'Brien 53 

Clan O'Brien, Sketch of the 48 

Clontarf, Battle of 50, 5 r , 52 

College of the City of New York 4 

Commander-in-Chiei's Guard (Organized by Washington) 67 

84 , 

' ' Congress' Own " Regiment 68 

Congress, Provincial, of Massachusetts 32 

Congress, The Forty-third and the Forty-fourth 77 

Corcoran's Irish Legion 70 

Crimmins, Hon. John D., New York City 2, 4, 44 

Daughters of the American Revolution 29 

De Galmoy's Horse 61 

Eighty-eighth New York Infantry (in the Civil War) 6, 76, "]"] 

Emmet, Dr. J. Duncan, New York.. 5 

Emmet, Robert, the Irish Patriot. 5 

Emperor of the Scots, Brian. 49 

•' First Flying Squadron of the Revolution," 34 

First Naval Fight of the Revolution 27, 28 

Fitz James' Horse 64 

Florida War, The 72 

Fontenoy, The Irish Brigade at 61 , 64, 65 

France, O'Briens Prominent in 61, 62, 63, 64, 65 

Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, New York 5, 10 

Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Philadelphia. 74 

Gargan, Hon. Thomas J., Boston 3, 4, 44 

Gettysburg Battlefield Association 4 

Governor's Foot Guard of Connecticut 10 

Great Stewards of Mar and Lennox, The 51 

Hale, Hon. John P .42, 43 

Hannibal, Capt. John O'Brien Commands the 35 

Hastings, Hon. Hugh, State Historian of New York. 10 

Haverty, Major Patrick M., of Meagher's Irish Brigade 6 

Hibernian Society of Philadelphia 75 

Hiberjiia, The American Privateer. 39, 40 

Irish Brigade at Fontenoy, The 61 , 64, 65 

Irish Brigade, Meagher's 6, jj 

Irish-French Troops in the American Revolution 66 

Irish Legion, Corcoran's 7° 

Irish Literary Society of New York 10 

Irish Regiments at Blenheim 61 

Irish Troops Depart for France and Spain 61 

Kilmallock's Dragoons 64 

Kincora, The O'Briens' Court at 48 


Knight Grand Cross of St. Ferdinand, Don Jose O'Donnell. 66 

Knight Grand Cross of St. Louis, Gen. Arthur Lally 64 

Knight of Malta, Maurice MacMahon g. 

Knight of St. Hermonogilda, Don Tomas O'Ryan-y-Vasquez. 66 

Knight of the Golden Fleece, Col. J. F. E. Sarsfield. 64 

Knight of the Valley, Thomas Fitzgerald en 

Knights of St. Louis, O'Briens who were 62, 63, 64 

Liberty Pole Erected at Machias.. 21 

Linehan, Hon. John C, Concord, N. H 4, 44 

Long, Hon. John D., on the Fight in Machias Bay... 30, 31 

Machias, A Liberty Pole Erected at '21 

Machias Committee of Safety ,2 

Machias Patriots Hold a Meeting at O'Brien's Brook 24 

Mar and Lennox, The Great Stewards of 51 

Margaretta, Capture of the 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 

McAdoo, Hon. William, New York City. . ". 3, 4,' 1 1 ,' 44 

Massachusetts Historical Society 14 

Meade, Rear Admiral Richard W. (U. S. N.) c 

Meagher's Irish Brigade g -^ 

Medal of Honor Legion 5' jq 

Mexico, War with 

Military Order of Foreign Wars. 10 

Motto of the O'Briens ' _ .3 

Municipal Art Commission, New York. 4 

*•■ Musketry Battalion," Col. S. J. Altec's 81 

Muster of Irish Lords and their Forces 55 

New England Historic-Genealogical Society 14 

New Hampshire Historical Society. 10 

New York Board of Education _ . 

New York Chamber of Commerce 10 

New York Gaelic League jq 

New York Historical Society. 4 jq 

New York Municipal Art Commission ' 4 

New York Normal College 

New York State Board of Law Examiners 4 

New York Supreme Court. 4, 5, 9 

Ninth Connecticut Infantry (" The Irish Regiment " ) ' 73 

Ninth Massachusetts Infantry (in the Civil War) 71, 74 


O'Briens, Armorial Bearings of the 48 

O'Brien Burial Ground at Machias 37 

O'Brien Chronology 53 

O'Brien, Si<etch of the Clan 48 

O'Brien's Brook, Meeting of Machias Patriots at 24 

O'Briens' Court at Kincora 48 

O'Briens in the Civil War.. 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78 
O'Briens in the Revolution (in addition to the O'Briens of 

Machias) 68, 70, 71, 72, 75, 76, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82 

O'Briens in the War of 1812 70, 73, 75 

O'Briens Prominent in France 61, 62, 63, 64, 65 

O'Briens Prominent in Spain 65 

O'Briens Prominent in the United States 67 

Plymouth County, Mass 45 

Port Hudson, Siege of 70 

Provincial Congress at Watertown, Mass 32 

Regiment de Athlone 64 

Regiment de Charlemont 64 

Regiment de Mountcashel 64 

Regimento de Hibernia 66 

Regimento de Irlanda 65, 66 

Regimento de Limerick 65 

Regimento de Ultonia. 65, 66 

Regiment of Berwick 61 

Regiment of Buckley 61 

Regiment of Clare .61, 62, 63 

Regiment of Dillon 61, 64, 66 

Regiment of Dorrington 61 

Regiment of Lally 62 

Regiment of Lee 61 

Regiment of Navarre 61 

Regiment of O'Brien 62 

Regiment of Rothe 61 

Regiment of Walsh 63, 66 

Scotia Major and Scotia Minor 49 

Sherman, Rev. Andrew M., Morristown, N. J., Sketch of 45 

Spain, O'Briens Prominent in 65 

State Board of Law Examiners, New York 4 


" The Noble Senior of Ireland" 54 

Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Infantry (in the Civil War) . .68, 69, 75 

U. S. Naval Academy Alumni Association 10 

War of 1812, O'Briens in the 7°, 73 

War with Mexico 73 

West Point ■ 72 

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