Our Mission

The Fenian Memorial Committee of America was founded on the principle that Irish-America and the Irish diaspora throughout the world should honor and remember Fenians and other Irish patriots who gave their freedom, and sometimes their lives, for the cause of Irish liberty. Discovering and erecting or restoring the grave markers of these men and women is the unfinished business of their ethnic, ideological and spiritual descendants throughout the world. It is another chapter in the long march towards an unfettered and unified Ireland. We call upon all people of Irish blood and all Irish organizations in America and throughout the world to join us, no matter what their differences might be, in completing this unfinished business. Over time, political parties have vacillated and views concerning Irish freedom have changed, but the cause of our patriot dead has remained the same. Therefore, members of the governing body of the Fenian Memorial Committee of America will not be members of any Irish political party. Furthermore, only those who died for the 32 County Irish Republic shall be recognized by this committee. It is the duty of all members to, when possible, to clean the graves of known patriots in their area; to inform the association of any memorial in need of repair; and to attend commemorations. All members are expected to show the greatest respect for all aforementioned graves.

A Brief History of the Fenian Memorial Committee of America

The Fenian Memorial Committee of America has its roots in Central Falls, Rhode Island, almost two decades ago. Its founding and development are intertwined with the story of the voyage of the Catalpa, a whaling vessel which sailed form New Bedford, Massachusetts with the intent of rescuing a small group of Fenians who had been sentenced to a life of penal servitude in the infamous Fremantle prison in Western Australia for treason against the crown. Six men were indeed rescued and brought to America in 1876. They eventually distributed themselves, with the help of supporters, throughout different states, including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York. Another famous Fenian, John Boyle O’Reilly had preceded them in his escape from Fremantle and spent the rest of his short life in Boston, Massachusetts.

Many "secret" heroes—Fenians and sympathizers-- helped all of this come true, but Father Patrick McCabe was an essential one for all of these men. After the Catalpa escape, McCabe had to flee Australia, eventually finding a home in the wilds of southern Minnesota, tending to mainly Irish immigrant farmers in a mission church. The Fenian Memorial Committee of America has placed markers or tombstones at the graves of four of the Catalpa Six (James McNally Wilson, Martin Hogan, Robert Cranston and Thomas Darragh)—in Pawtucket, RI, Chicago, IL., and Philadelphia, PA—as well as at the grave of Father McCabe near Waseca, MN.

Our work continues.

 

 

We are happy to announce that our new campaign has begun. Thomas Hassett (Doneraile, County Cork) and Michael Harrington (Macroom, County Cork) were Fenians who escaped from Fremantle Prison in Western Australia as part of the Catalpa Rescue in 1867. They are both buried in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York City https://calvarycemeteryqueens.com. They have no gravestones. As part of the Fenian Memorial Committee of America's work, Hassett and Harrington will be the last of the Catalpa Six to have gravestones and/or memorial markers erected by the Fenian Memorial Committee of America to identify them, their heroism and their sacrifice.

 

For Donations by Mail:

Fenian Memorial Committee of America
P.O. Box 10416
Cranston, RI 02910

Make Checks Payable to:
George T. McLaughlin
memo: Fenian Memorial Committee of America