Irish Schoolmasters in Early New York City
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Ryan Library of Iona College possesses a vast collection of research material on the Irish in early America, collected by Michael Joseph O'Brien.1 This collection, some 25,000 pages of typed, printed and written material, constitutes O?Brien?s research efforts to illustrate the contributions of the Irish to the development of America. The section on Irish teachers in America is some seven-hundred pages of manuscript material dealing with the original thirteen colonies, plus Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois. This paper describes the significant presence and educational accomplishments of the Irish schoolmasters in New York City. The reader, however, should come to a realization of O?Brien?s love of his people and his efforts and ability to portray the contributions of the Irish to the development of early America.2 Michael J. O?Brien was born on April 5, 1870, in the town of Fermoy in County Cork, Ireland. He was educated in the Christian Brothers? school in Fermoy, worked for a time in Ireland, and arrived in New York City on July 4, 1889. Shortly after landing in New York he obtained a position with the Western Union Telegraph Company, from which he retired in the mid-1930s. Soon after his arrival he came to the conclusion that the Irish contributions to early America had been neglected, and he began his research, a project which occupied most of his leisure time for his remaining years.
The penal laws and emigration In considering Irish contributions to education in early America, it is necessary to examine the status of schoolmasters in Ireland after the enactment of the penal laws in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Under British rule the Irish had long been the victims of unjust laws. Beginning in 1695, however, the British authorities sought to deprive the Irish people of the opportunity of an education. Ultimately, it became treason to support education, build schools, or even send a child to be taught in a neighbor?s home. A reward was offered if a schoolmaster was found guilty of practicing his profession. The penalty for such a conviction ?was transportation as a ?convict? to the West Indies or to the American plantations.? The purpose of these penal laws obviously was to keep the Irish ?in darkness and ignorance, through the destruction of the schools and the banishment of the schoolmasters.? Irish men and women dedicated to education had no alternative but to leave their native Ireland; and many migrated to the American colonies. Fortunately in America at that time there was no government system of education or restrictions upon teachers. Many resumed their educational calling and, with no love for Great Britain?s oppressive laws, helped to develop the love of independence that America offered.3 In regard to the effects of the penal laws, O?Brien cites the following about an incident in the British House of Lords: It is related that on one occasion when a member of the English House of Lords tauntingly referred to the Irish peasants as ?rude and ignorant,? Lord Byron answered promptly and with that bitter sarcasm for which he was noted: ?Aye, well may you call them ignorant, my Lord, when you burned the schoolhouse and hanged the schoolmaster!? That pithy reply from a generous Englishman was the quintessence of the story of the Irish schoolmaster in his own country under the operation of the Penal Laws, a piece of legislation that was described by Edmund Burke as ?one of the most frightful engines of oppression that the perverted ingenuity of man could conceive!?4 Irish Schoolmasters in Early New York City by Harry M. Dunkak, Ph.D., C.F.C. Vol.23, 2009 NEW YORK 1R15H HISTORY PAGE 21 Irish pedagogues settled in significant numbers where a large number of Irish settled, including New York City. Some schoolmasters were employed as private tutors in homes of the wealthy. As a general rule private tutors were better educated and frequently taught foreign languages, philosophy, astronomy, and higher mathematics, in addition to the rudiments of education. Irish teachers, not highly educated, taught in common schools where they were confined to imparting the rudiments of education.5 EARLY SCHOOLMASTERS IN NEW YORK As far back as 1704 Thomas Flynn not only performed the occupation of "chirugeon" (surgery) but had opened a school in Wind Mill Lane, now Cortland Street. There is no record that he had any training as a teacher, or as a surgeon for that matter. When announcing the opening of his school, Mr. Flynn expressed the desire "that his pupils would not have to travel too far up town" for their education. In recognition of his contributions the "minutes of the Meetings of the Common Council of the City of New York" indicate "that on May 27, 1702, Thomas Flin (sic) was admitted Freeman" of the City. Obviously Thomas Flynn was a prominent citizen of New York City before 1704. From 1725 to 1731 the Reverend Thomas Colgan, an Irish Protestant clergyman, directed the "Charity School" that was part of Trinity Church. In 1732 Thomas Colgan was appointed Pastor of Grace Church in Jamaica, Long Island, where he also taught at a school until his death in 1755.6 Miles Reilly was another of the early Irish schoolmasters. O'Brien could not find the date of his arrival from Ireland, but stated, with great certainty, that he was a private tutor in New York in the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The fact that he taught foreign languages meant that he was well educated. In 1734 the French ship Eglinton was blown off course and forced to advertisement he portrayed his depth of knowlland in New York City. Mayor Thomas Lurting edge and versatility. On May 12, 1766, the folcalled upon Reilly as "Interpreter" and "Linguist" lowing advertisement appeared: Illustration: Western Union Telegraph building in New York City in the late 1880s. Michael O'Brien began working at the company soon after his arrival in the city in 1889. Courtesy of Library of Congress. when conversing with the vessel's captain.? A cotemporary of Miles Reilly was Ireland-born James Magrath who opened a school in Dock Street. In 1740 he is mentioned as a physician and medical lecturer.& When Miles Reilly died in 1774 the New York Gazette "referred to him as a gentleman of great learning and physician of the most exalted eminence.?9 In 1748 Cornelius Lynch conducted a school in Stone Street where he taught writing, arithmetic, vulgar and decimal fractions, navigation, surveying, mensuration and merchants' accounting.1 He died in 1753 and was buried in Trinity churchyard. His headstone reads: "Cornelius Linch (sic), died May 21st, 1753, aged 45 years.""1 At the New York City surrogates office the will of John Wilson, schoolmaster and born in Ireland is on record. The will is dated September 12, 1749, and probated ten days later. Wilson appears to be a native of County Monaghan, as he bequeathed his estate to "William and Margaret, children of me and my wife, Mary, and living at Aughna Malagh in County Monaghan, Ireland."12 James Farrell appears to have been versatile eighteenth century schoolmaster, based upon his advertisement in the New York Mercury.13 The advertisement reads in part that James Farrell will begin teaching "reading, writing, arithmetic, vulgar and decimal, logarithmically and instrumental, merchants' accounts, carefully and expeditiously" in the house of Mrs. Elizabeth Witt on July 12, 1756.14 One of the prominent private schools for some years prior to the American Revolution was conducted by Thomas Carroll. His school was originally in Broad Street and then moved to Wall Street, where it was patronized by the leading families of the City. Apparently he was a teacher of rare ability and enjoyed a great reputation for educating the young. In newspaper Vol.23, 2009 PAGE 22 NEW YORK 1RISH HISTORY Illustration: Dublin-born statesman Edmund Burke characterized the penal laws as "one of the most frightful engines of oppression..." He became member of the British Parliament in 1775 and was a leading spokesman for liberal conservatism. Courtesy of New York Public Library.
Taught by Thomas Carroll in his Mathematical School now removed from Broad Street to Wall Street, opposite the Custom House in the City of New York: Writing, Trigonometry, Mensuration, Arithmetic.
Projection of the sphere, Surveying in Theory, Bookkeeping, Astronomy, Geometry, Dialing, Algebra, Fortifications, Navigation, Conic Sections, Gunnery, Construction & Use of Charts, Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion.
He will lecture to his Scholars every Saturday on the different Branches taught in his School, where Gentlemen, if they chuse [sic] to favour his School with their Company are invited, that they may be convinced his Pupils must be Proficient.15 After teaching for more than a third of a century Mr. Carroll retired to his suburban home in Old Greenwich Village. Thomas Carroll's death in 1789 was announced in the newspaper where he was referred to as "an eminent teacher of the mathematics." In addition, "his abilities in his profession were superior" and his "many valuable qualifications endeared him to his friends and acquaintances. "16 A contemporary of Thomas Carroll was Edward Riggs who first started teaching as master in his school in 1766 in Kingston, New York." In 1767 he announced that his school had been moved to Coldenham, New York." Upon the conclusion of the American Revolution, Riggs moved to New York City, after teaching with fine reputation for many years in other parts of the State. He opened a new school in Little Queen Street and advertised that "he will teach the Latin and Greek Languages, Rhetoric, History and Geography upon very reasonable terms." He also informed the public that his wife will also teach "young Ladies the English Grammas, proper Reading, Writing" and the "Needle-work now in Fashion."19 The Daily Advertiser in 1785 announced "the death of Mr.
Edward Riggs, a native of Ireland, for many years teacher of a grammar school in this country."20 James and William Gilliland, two brothers from the Village of Caddy, County Armagh, Ireland, became school teachers in New York City before the American Revolution. In 1772 James opened a school near the Old City Hall and taught writing, merchants' accounts, navigation, dialing, surveying and Measuring in General." With the outbreak of the American Revolution James Gilliland's name can be found on the muster rolls as a captain of a "New York Regiment of Sappers and Miners."22 His brother William came to America during the French and Indian War (1754-1763) and served in a British regiment. He was discharged in 1758 and came to New York City where he sensed the need for teachers. Although not a professional teacher his education in Ireland allowed for the opening of a private school in Golden Hill in what is now the neighborhood of John and William Streets. Later William was hired by a wealthy merchant from the island of Jamaica to tutor his children. He eventually married a daughter of this gentleman and received a substantial dowry, which established him in New York society.23 In the 1760s William abandoned teaching, bought some 60,000 acres of land in the Lake Champlain district of northern New York and attracted many Irish families to settle in that area.24 Through Hugh Gaine's newspaper of May 6, 1771, we learn that James O'Brien opened a school in New Street. He previously had schools near the "Fly Market" (Maiden Lane and Queen, now Pearl Street) and "Horse and Cart Street" (now the present William Street below Wall Street).35 O'Brien obviously was successful because a 1780 newspaper ad reads: A School is opened by James O'Brien in New Street, who for many years kept School in this City and the tuition of the Children of several of its principal inhabitants. He proposes to teach reading, writing and ciphering with book-keeping to such as may chuse (sic] it.
James O'Brien curiously added that he would Vol.23, 2009 NEW YORK 1R15H HISTORY PAGE 23 teach young ladies all kinds of needle-work.26 Two Irishmen announced in 1775 that they opened a school where they would teach varied and useful subjects. The ad read: William Glenny and James Barry have opened a school the 25th instant in the house on Golden Hill, where youth will be instructed in the English Tongue, Grammatically, Writing, Arithmetic, Book-keeping, Latin and Greek Classics, a general course of Mathematics, viz.-Euclid's Elements, Algebra, Trigonometry, Conic Sections, Fluxions, Navigation, Surveying, Dialing, Gunnery, Fortification, the elements of Astronomy, Geography, etc. Night School opened the same Evening.7 In 1777 a Master Thomas McClenahan announced that he was opening a school at 954 Water Street where instruction would be given in "reading, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping, dialing, surveying, navigation, and Vocal Church music." Very interestingly he added that "the greatest attention will paid and the utmost endeavors used to rectify their morals."24 In some of the schools operated by Irishmen, foreign language instruction, especially French, was part of the curriculum. In 1779 Michael Fitzgerald placed an ad in the newspaper stating that he was capable of "teaching French in ItS grammatical purity and elegance, with pronunciation peculiar to it." Reading, writing and arithmetic would also be part of the curriculum.29 Thomas Egan also offered French at his school at 30 King Street. "The French language is taught in the most perfect and easy manner" as Thomas Egan proclaimed that for many years he had resided in France. In addition, he assured parents that the young pupils would also receive instruction "in the paths of virtue and justice. "30 Marcus Burke at 4 Peck Slip conducted a "Mercantile Academy." In a 1787 newspaper ad he announced that he had served an apprenticeship in a mercantile school in Ireland and was a master of all business activities. Mr. Burke felt confident that he could develop in his pupils the abilities to advance themselves materially in their future business lives 31 In later ads Marcus Burke guaranteed the teaching of "all the different branches taught to young men preparing themselves for college."34 In 1786 Mr. Patrick Coffey informed the public that he had "removed his grammar School to 21 Smith Street33 "where he instructed youth in the Greek and Latin languages." He mentioned that "his School is patronized by Gentlemen of the first literary abilities in the City" for his perfect knowledge of the languages and attention to instruct his pupils. Coffey added that, if the number of pupils exceeded 25, he would hire an assistant.34 Christopher Flanagan had a curious and very interesting history. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. At age seventeen he came to this counputa brit during the American Revolution. At the end of try and joined the Continental Navy Illustration: Thomas Addis Emmet was an older brother of Robert Emmet and a leading figure in the society of United Irishmen. Jailed in Dublin for revolutionary activities in 1798, he immignued to New York in 1803 where he joined the bar. He served briefly as State Attorney General and went on to a nationally distinguished career as an attorney in the United States. Courtesy of Irelandhistory.org. the Revolution the American government, as a reward for his services, gave him some public land in the Western Reserve. Instead of settling on the land, Christopher sold it and returned to Dublin where he established a school that was recognized as one of "high order." Impressed by Adam Clark, an itinerant Wesleyan preacher, he converted to the Wesleyan Church. As a result of the "ostentatious display" of his new faith, he aroused such indignation among his fellow Dubliners that he sailed for New York City. In 1787 Christopher Flanagan established himself as a private tutor at 29 Ann Street. Later he opened at the corner of Nassau and Cedar Streets a very successful bookstore that specialized in books on the Methodist Religion. At times he preached from the pulpit of the old Methodist Church on John Street. All of these accomplishments gained him great notoriety among New Yorkers. His son, James Flanagan, became a prominent New York City lawyer, a charter member of the political Tammany Society and a Justice of the City of New York. After a very impressive life Christopher Flanagan died in 1805.35 In his research Mr. O'Brien found in early New York City three school teachers named O'Connor. In the office of the Secretary of State there is recorded the marriage of "Jeremiah O'Connor, Schoolmaster of New York City, under the date of April 20, 1775."% Mathais Vol.21, 2007 PAGE 24 NEW YORK 1RISH HISTORY Photo: Detail depicting a schoolmaster and child from Thomas Crawford's "Progress of Civilization" sculpture in pediment over entrance of Senate wing ofthe U. S. Capitol. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
O'Connor of Corsalla, Country Sligo, Ireland, migrated to New York around 1780. Although he lived in Bedford Village, now part of the Borough of Brooklyn, he conducted a school at 57 Fair Street (now Fulton Street) in Manhattan. Mathais O'Connor died in 1791 during a yellow fever epidemic that plagued New York. The records of the surrogate's court of August 10, 1791, show that his wife, Elizabeth O'Connor, inherited his estate.
In the New York City Directory of 1811 there is a brief mention of a Michael O'Connor as a schoolmaster in Spring Street. 37 In the early part of the ninetenth century elite private schools outnumbered public or "common" schools in the City of New York. The wealthy usually placed their children under the tutelage of private tutors. In 1811 Patrick Walsh opened one of these elite private schools. In the Shamrock or Hibernian Chronicle of October 5, 1811, Mr. Walsh announced the opening of his "United States Academy" at No. 18 Doyers Street. He pledged "that the most scrupulous attention will be Paid to the morals and education" of those students sent to his Academy. Adults wishing to advance their knowledge of literature were invited to join the classes at the Academy. Michael O'Brien believed that the "United States Academy" was the "celebrated Private school" mentioned in the New York annals of 1818 as being "conducted by Nelson and Walsh. "88 address Mrs. Heffernan taught the "English and French Languages, writing, arithmetic, geography, music drawing, dancing and all kinds of needle and fancy work. "40 SIGNIFICANT ROLES IN COLUMBIA &- BEYOND Irish teachers played prominent and significant roles in Columbia College (founded as Kings College in 1754). Robert Harper was born in Ireland in 1733 and arrived in New York City in 1761. Obviously he was well educated because soon after his arrival Harper was hired as teacher at Kings College where he continued to work for fifteen years. Professor Harper also achieved considerable social prominence in New York society and became involved in land development In Broome County, New York, near the Pennsylvania border. Harper was able to convince many of his Irish countrymen to migrate and settle in the Broome County area." After leaving his teaching post at Kings College, he became involved in politics. Robert Harper became a member of the convention which formed the first constitution of New York State after the American Revolution, and in 1780 was appointed Deputy Secretary of the State, an office he held until 1795.42 Doctor Samuel Clossey, M.D. arrived in New York from Dublin, Ireland, in 1762. On October 14, 1765, he was appointed a tutor at Vol.23, 2009 Michael J. O'Brien not only examined the newspapers for the names of Irish schoolmasters, Kings College and in two years attained the posibut also consulted City directories of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In these sources he found sixty-one names, but wrote that he believed that this still did not constitute a complete list.3? O'Brien also noted that the public apparently was slow at that time in accepting and recognizing the talents of females for the teaching profession. There were some females listed in the directories, and he did find an ad in the New York Herald, A Gazette for the Country of March 8, 1797, for a Mrs. Heffernan who returned "her most sincere thanks to her numerous friends for the encouragement...to succeed in her Academy at 105 William Street." At this tion of Professor of Natural Philosophy. He was described as "a very able instructor" and clever surgeon who developed a very active medical practice in Dublin before migrating to New York. He was frequently mentioned in the New York newspapers as "very active as a public lecturer on Medical and scientific subjects." In 1773 Alexander Hamilton took some medical courses from Clossey at Kings College. 8 In 1784 William Cochran, a Trinity College graduate, opened a school at 23 Maiden Lane at which Latin, Greek, History and Geography were taught. This establishment was called the "Columbia College Grammar School" and was NEW YORK 1RISH HISTORY PAGE 25 described as "probably the best school in the City"44 and its master as "a highly accomplished and elegant scholar."45 On December 23, 1784, Master Cochran was appointed "Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages" at Columbia College.- When General James Clinton was seeking a college for his son, De Witt, he approached his friend, James Duane, New York City's Mayor, who approached Cochran and convinced himto undertake the tuition and tutor the young Clinton.47 Under Professor Cochran, young Clinton became proficient in Latin, Greek and Mathematics. 38 In December, 1786, Mr. George Wright, also a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, was hired as an assistant at the "Grammar School." William Cochran assured the public that with the united endeavors of himself and Wright the minds of the "youth committed to their care" will be greatly improved.49 Professor Cochran tutored another distinguished American, John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia, In a letter Randolph wrote that "There was an Irishman named Cochran who wasour humanity professor." Under his tutelage he mastered the Eaton Grammar. Randolph also related: "We read Demosthenes together and I used to cry for indignation at the success of Philip's arts and arms over the liberties of Greece."50 Another distinguished Irish educator at Columbia was Robert Adrian, born at Carrickfergus, Ireland, in 1775. In 1791 he visited Belfast and joined Theobald Wolfe Tone's Society of United Irishmen. After taking part in the Rebellion of 1798, the British Government put a reward for his capture. He fled Ireland and settled in the United States. He taught at academies in Princeton, New Jersey, and at York and Reading, Pennsylvania. Robert Adrian then taught mathematics and natural philosophy at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and later became professor of the same branches of study at Columbia College.31 Thomas S. Brady, an accomplished Irish scholar, came to the United States in 1812. He taught at a classical school at 13 Beekman Street for several years, "meanwhile studying law and died a Judge of the District Court." His son, James T. Brady, was educated at his father's school and became a noted American lawyer. It is reported that while studying at his father's school "he gained so much legal knowledge at an early at period that when but sixteen years of age he acted as junior counsel for his father."52 The Irish born James Napoleon McElligott was a university graduate who devoted his life to education, including the preparation of textbooks. He conducted private educational institutions in the City in the early part of the nineteenth century and was the founder of The Teachers Advocate, a journal devoted to science and literature.53 Dennis Hart Mahan, father of the distinguished naval authority/writer, Captain Alfred T. Mahan, was another eminent New York City schoolmaster. He later became Assistant Professor of mathematics at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he continued to teach until 1825. In that year Dennis Mahan was appointed "Principal Assistant Professor of the Corps of Engineers" and "sent abroad by the War Department to study public engineering works and military institutions." During his lifetime Dennis Mahan received several university degrees and his textbooks on engineering received world-wide acclaim. 54 An Irish teacher first appeared in Brooklyn in 1779 when Master James Foley "informed the public in general that he has opened a School at Bushwick, Long Island, where he proposes to teach the Latin and Greek Languages," as well as English grammar, writing and arithmetic. He added that parents may be assured that the morals of their children will receive proper attention. In the following year James Foley informed the public that his wife has also started a school for young ladies where they will be instructed in needlework, reading, writing and arithmetic.$5 The next Irish schoolteacher in Brooklyn was Michael Hogan in 1797. For two-hundred dollars per year he taught at an old log cabin schoolhouse in the Gowanus district. Many years later, this primitive building became Public School No. 2.56 In 1809 Illustration: Columbia University began in Trinity churchyard as "King's College" in 1754 under a charter from King George Il. It was re-chartered by the state of New York after the American Revolution and in 1787 became a private institution. Courtesy of Columbia Universiry.
Vol. 23, 2009 PAGE 26 NEW YORK 1RISH HISTORY Illustration: New Yorks second City Hall building (seen here around 1789) in Manhattan was built in 1700 at Wall and Nassau Streets. It became Federal Hall after New York became the first capital of the new republic. Courtesy of Library of Congress. "a schoolmaster named Hogan, a native of the Emerald Isle," is mentioned as teaching in school at Forty-fourth Street between Second and Third Avenues in Brooklyn.5 In 1807 an Irishman named Valentine Derry, "a thorough classical scholar and possessed of eminent gifts for instruction," was teaching at Erasmus Hall, an academy founded shortly after the American Revolution. After 1809 John Brannon and Edward Cassidy also taught at Erasmus. In 1819, another Irishman, the Reverend John Mulligan was appointed Principal in charge of Erasmus Hall. 58 One of the "noted classical schools" of that period was conducted in Flatbush, Brooklyn, by an Irishman, Richard Thompson. Thomas Addis Emmet, the brother of the great Irish patriot, Robert Emmet, placed his three sons in this school. In a letter, dated September 15, 1809, Emmet proudly wrote to a friend of the great reputation of this Flatbush school and the virtues and abilities of Mr. Thompson "who is very competent, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and of very unexceptionable character. "59 The Borough of Queens also had its share of Irish Schoolmasters. In Newtown, now called Elmhurst, there were several Irish teachers. James McCarroll in 1764 announced that he "has opened a school near Benjamin Waters, in the bounds of Newtown, where scholars will be genteelly boarded on reasonable terms."- By the year 1765 McCarroll believed he was successful and "encouraged by the universal approbation....continues to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, bookkeeping, plain and spheric trigonometry, surveying and navigation. "61 In 1774 Charles Duffie informed the public his Grammar School at Newtown continues to prepare students for College "in an easy and expeditious manner; boarding on the spot with genteel facilities at a reasonable rate." Duffie added that the morals of the students would not be neglected.62 Another Irishman, John Kearns, conducted a school at Newtown during the American Revolution It is possible that he taught in Newtown as early as 1772 because he is recorded as a witness to the will of "Patience Lawrence of Newtown, Queens County," in May of that year. John Kearns died in 1781 and was succeeded by James O'Connor who taught in Queens County until 1787, after which time he was the master of a school at 2 Dover Street in New York City.64 Michael O'Brien found Irish schoolmasters in Richmond County, New York City, also known as Staten Island. One of the witnesses to the will of a James Egbert, dated October 26, 1765, and probated in Court on April 16, 1768, was "Jeremiah Connor, Schoolmaster: "65 In the Surrogate's Office there is on record the will of "John Watts of Staten Island, Shopkeeper," dated January 30, 1772. The tWo witnesses who signed this will were "Terence Reilly, Schoolmaster" and "James Duffie, Schoolmaster."66 Another Irish schoolmaster in Staten Island was the Reverend Richard Charlton. Charlton was born in the Town of Longford, County Longford, Ireland, in 1705. On May 25, 1721, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated in the spring of 1726 with a bachelor of arts degree. There is no date for his coming to New York, but in 1747 he moved to Staten Island where he opened a school. Charlton tutored Dr. Peter Van Schaack who became an eminent eighteenth century New York City physician and a rigid educational disciplinarian. Under Charlton's strict tutelage Dr. Van Schaack received the foundation for his medical profession and became acknowledged as one of the finest Latin scholars in New York. Charlton also tutored James Duane, a member of the Continental Congress and the first mayor of New York City, following the American Revolution. The Reverend Charlton died of dysentery in 1777,67 This article has placed in perspective Michael J. O'Brien's research and thoughts on the subject of Irish schoolmasters in New York City. Although he was not a trained historian with an earned doctorate in history, there is no question about his intentions, devoted meticulous research Vol.23, 2009 New York Irish History page 27 and the number of publications over a period of many decades. His research into the contributions that Irish schoolmasters made to the development of early New York City demonstrates he spared no efforts to inform all Americans of the role played by the Irish in early America. This became a labor of love over a period of some sixty years, and for the most part Michael Joseph O?Brien succeeded in his chosen objective.
Notes 1. Michael Joseph O?Brien passed away on November 4, 1960, in Yonkers, New York. In the fall of 1962 his daughter, Mrs. Kathleen Sheridan, donated his vast manuscript collection, correspondence, research notes and letters (some 25,000 pages of material) to Iona College. In 1930, University College, Dublin, conferred (in absentia) the honorary degree of LL.D upon Mr. O?Brien for his great research on the Irish in early America. The Michael J. O?Brien papers are part of the Brother Charles B. Quinn, C.F.C., Ph.D., Irish Collection in the Ryan Library of Iona College. The Quinn Collection consists of various manuscript collections and some 8,000 books (constantly increasing in number), with almost 1,000 of them in the Irish language. 2. Except for an introductory article, ?Irish Schoolmasters in the American Colonies, A Preliminary Review,? Journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Vol. XXV, 1926, O?Brien?s research material on Irish schoolmasters in early America has never been published. 3. ?Irish Schoolmasters in the American Colonies, A Preliminary Review,? Journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Vol. XXV, 1926, 2-3. 4. Ibid., 2. 5. Ibid, 6. 6. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 3. 7. Bradford?s New York Gazette, May 27 & June 3, 1734. 8. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 4. 9. New York Gazette, April 14, 1774. 10. History of the School of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church of the City of New York; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 5. 11. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 5. 12. New York City Surrogate?s Records, Lib. 17, p. 5; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 5. 13. In 1752 Hugh Gaine, a native of Belfast, Ireland, established the New York Mercury. 14. New York Mercury, July 2, 1756. 15. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, May 12, 1766. 16. New York Journal and Weekly Register, December 3, 1789. 17. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, May 26, 1766. 18. Ibid., June 8, 1767. 19. New York Packet, November 20, 1783. 20. Daily Advertiser, September 2, 1785. 21. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, December 14, 1772. 22. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 10. 23. Ibid., 11. 24. ?Colonial Land Papers of New York, August 15, 1765?; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 10-11. 25. New York Mercury, May 6, 1771. 26. Ibid., May 29, 1780. 27. New York Journal or General Advertiser, October 26, 1775. 28. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, December 15, 1777. 29. Ibid., June 19, 1779. 30. Ibid., January 24, 1780. 31. New York Packet, March 23, 1787. 32. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 16. 33. Now Nassau Street 34. New York Packet, July 6, & August 12, 1786. 35. New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 25; O?Brien, ?Research notes,? 16?17. 36. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 24. 37. Ibid. 38. The Shamrock or Hibernian Chronicle was an Irish New York newspaper edited by Thomas O?Connor, father of the celebrated lawyer, Charles O?Connor. New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 15, 179; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 30. Vol.23, 2009 page 28 New York Irish History 39. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 20?21. 40. New York Herald, A Gazette for the County, March 8, 1797. There are also the names of nine women in the City Directories that O?Brien consulted. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 20, 21, 22. 41. Smith, H. P. (Editor), History of Broome County, New York. With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, Syracuse, New York, 1885; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 5?6. 42. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 6. 43. Hamilton, Allan McLane, The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton, 1911; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 9. Allan Hamilton was a grandson of Alexander Hamilton. 44. Smith, Thomas E. V., The City of New York in the Year of Washington?s Inauguration, New York, 1899, 195. 45. Hosack, David, Memoir of De Witt Clinton, New York, 1829, 28. 46. Moore, George H., The Origin and Early History of Columbia College, New York, New York, 1890; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 27. 47. Lamb, Martha J., History of the City of New York, New York, 1896, Vol. 2, 283. 48. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 27 49. New York Packet, December 15, 1786. 50 Garland, Hugh, The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke, New York, 1851; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 28. 51. O?Brien ?Research Notes,? 28?29. 52. Morris (editor), Makers of New York, Philadelphia, 1895; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 32. 53. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 32. 54. Ibid., 32?33. 55. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, June 7, 1779, April 10, 1780. 56. Stiles, Henry B., History of Brooklyn, New York, 1884, Vol. 2, 869; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 21. 57. Stiles, Henry B., History of Brooklyn, New York, 1884, Vol. 3, 190; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 21. 58. Strong, Thomas M., Ph.D., History of the Town of Flatbush, New York, 1842; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 21. 59. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 22. 60. New York Mercury, May 28, 1764. 61. Ibid., April 22, 1765. 62. Ibid., July 1, 1774. 63. Riker, James, Annals of Newtown, New York, 1852, 155. 64. O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 23?24. 65. Surrogate?s Records, Lib. 26, p. 272; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 31. 66. Surrogate?s Records, Lib. 28, p. 243; O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 31. 67. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, October 13, 1777; ?O?Brien, ?Research Notes,? 3?4. Among the O?Brien manuscript notes is a letter from a Thomas E. Cassidy providing further information on Richard Charlton. Charlton was the maternal grandfather of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774?1821), the Foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, a teaching order of nuns. Mother Seton became the first American-born canonized Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Vol.23, 2009