Select Madden Miscellany

Here are some Madden stories and accounts over the years:

Madadhan Mac Gadhra Mor 

Madadhan mac Gadhra Mor who died in 1008 is thought to have been the forebear of the O’Maddens/Maddens in Ireland.

He was the son of Gadhra mac Dundach who fought at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.  On the occasion of his death, reputedly killed by his own brother, the Annals of Ulster
described him as the Chief of Siol Anmchadha (along the banks of the river Shannon in what is today east Galway). 

Madudan's only known issue was Diarmaid mac Madudan.  His son Madudan Reamhart Ua Madadhan, who was the clan chief until 1096, was the first of the
Siol Anmchadha to adopt the surname of O’Madadhan.

The Madden Lock Keepers in Limerick

In 1757 cutting began in earnest on the Limerick-to-Killaloe canal and David Madden supervised the passage of the first canal barge to Killaloe in 1799.

The Maddens became lock keepers at the Park Lock in 1830 and it stayed with the family.  The stewardship of the lock passed from David Madden to his son Thomas and wife Kate in 1860 and they were to remain there for the next forty five years.  Thomas and Kate raised seven sons while they were lock keepers.

Two of his sons Mike and John were described by a local man Gus Doyle as follows:

"I saw Mike Madden break the ice on the canal with a sledgehammer so that he could take his boat up the canal, as he did for many years.   Mike was an outstanding Cloughoun hurler, as was his brother John who captained the 1914 Exiles team in New York.  Mike was the friend of everyone boating or walking.  His little cottage off Troy's Lock was an open house to everyone alike."

John had in fact emigrated to New York from Limerick in 1911.

Another son David became a lock keeper at Errina Lock further up the Shannon river.  Thomas sadly drowned in 1930 when the boat from which he was fishing crashed into the Black Bridge.  Denis meanwhile was a champion boxer who defeated Yank Kenney for the Irish welterwight championship.

Paul Madden's Descendants in Cork

Paul Madden who died in 1782 was the forebear of some notable Maddens from Cork.  Their numbers included:
  • Owen Madden (1790-1853), a Justice of the Peace  
  • Daniel Owen Madden (1815-1859), novelist, historian, biographer, and political commentator  
  • Rev. Samuel Owen Madden (1831-1891), Dean of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork  
  • Alderman Paul J. Madden (1839-1901), mayor of Cork  
  • Sir John Madden (1844-1918), Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria  
  • Sir Francis Madden (1847-1921), Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly  
  • and Rev. Canon Owen Madden (1871-1947), Chancellor of the Diocese of Cork.

Captain William Madden of the Royal Marines

William John Madden grew up in Cole Hill House in Fulham that had been built for his father in 1770.  He served for many years as Paymaster for the Royal Marines and later used his expertise to help with the financial affairs of fellow officers.  This was sufficiently successful to enable him and his wife Sarah to purchase their home at 31 St. Thomas’s Street in Old Portsmouth in 1800.  They continued to live in the house until both he and his wife died in 1833 within a few days of each other.

The inscription on his gravestone read:

“To the memory of Captain William John Madden, eldest son of James Madden esq. of Colchill House in Fulham, and brother of Major General George Madden.  He was born on October 26, 1757 and died on May 3, 1833.”

The eldest son Lewis, born in 1783, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines, serving almost twenty years in the French Revolutionary Wars.  Much of Lewis’s retirement was taken up by the new practice of brass rubbings of which he had become quite expert.  His younger brother Frederic, eighteen years the junior, spent much effort in securing a collection of these rubbings in the British Library.

Thomas Madden, Missouri Pioneer

In 1800 Thomas Madden lived about three miles outside the town of Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi river.  At that time the community was visited by the Rev. William Murphy a Baptist minister and his three sons.

The English-speaking visitors were dismayed to find they were not able to communicate at all with the French-speaking inhabitants of the town.  Fortunately someone contacted Thomas Madden and he came into town to invite the visitors to his home.  Madden made them feel welcome and advised them on where good pieces of land wereavailable for settlement.

Later Madden moved his family about fifteen to twenty miles southwest of Ste. Genevieve to the large land grants he had secured from the Spanish near the present day town of Coffman and then called the Saline township.

Thomas Madden and his wife Margaret had a large family.  A genealogy chart for their family was offered by historian Lucille Basler in his book Pioneers of Old Ste. Genevieve,Missouri.

Owney Madden in New York and Hot Springs, Arkansas

Owen Vincent Madden was always known as Owney.  The gangster Meyer Lansky considered him the toughest man he knew.  And he knew plenty of tough men.  Wells, his long-time light duty man, said:

“Owney didn't want any attention.  He didn't want anyone making a fuss over him.  He always said his birthday was on Christmas, so that no one would celebrate him."

He added that he was very private, but very generous with his money.

And plenty of money he had.  Years of prohibition liquor revenue from his various New York enterprises left him with considerable wealth.  He spent a time in Sing Sing prison.  After his release he was informed that he was no longer welcome in the state of New York by the powerful politicians there.  Thus he decided to move his fortune and apply his organizational skills to the small valley town of Hot Springs, Arkansas with a very large, and soon to be, larger illegal gambling operations.

Norwood Phillips, a well-respected attorney and native of Hot Springs, considered Madden to be the most generous wealthy man he had ever known.  Madden's generosity had an impact on the youth of the community - by virtue of the largest Boys Club constructed in Arkansas at that time - and in the purchase of uniforms for the High School band, among whose members included former President Bill Clinton, according to Phillips.

His passions extended to the many pets he had and to the homing pigeons that he loved to utilize as couriers of cryptic messages between himself and New York mobsters.

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