Select McCarthy Miscellany

Here are some McCarthy stories and accounts over the years:

MacCarthy Origins

McCarthy, a variant of MacCarthy, means "son of love" and is the most common surname in Ireland which uses the prefix Mc or Mac (son of). 

The origin of the name began with Cartach an Eoganacht Chaisil, a king who died in 1045 in a house fire deliberately started by one of the Lonergans.  Cartach was a contemporary and bitter rival of Brian Boru. The McCarthy clan were pushed out of their traditional homelands of the Golden Valley in Tipperary by the expansion of that sept in the middle of the 12th century. 

Cartach's son used the appellation Muireadhach mac Carthaigh. 
Muireadhach died in 1092.  His sons, Tadhg and Cormac, adopted MacCarthy as a proper surname.

MacCarthy Kings of Desmond

Tadgh I
eldest son of Muiredach
Cormac III
his brother
Donogh III
his brother
Dermod I
his nephew
Donal I
his son
Fingen IV
his brother
Dermod II
son of Donal I
Cormac IV
his younger brother
Donal II
his younger brother
Fingen V
his son
Cormac V
his younger brother
Donal III
son of Cormac IV
Donal IV
his son
Donogh IV
his brother
Dermod III
son of Donal IV
Cormac VI
his brother
Donal V
his son
Tadgh II
his son
Donal VI
his son
Tadgh III
his brother
Donal VII
his son
Cormac VII
his brother
Donal VIII
his son
Donal IX
his son

The Fate of Poets

Diarmaid MacCarthy of Cork was probably a graduate of the famous Blarney Academy of Poetry of which he later became president.  Alas, the 17th century was a cruel time for the arts.  The "Wild Geese" had fled and there was little money or regard for poets. 

When Diarmaid's horse died, there was no patron to pay for replacing it and so he was prevented from travelling.  He wrote a tragic poem about his fate, a fate shared by all of the hereditary poets at the end of the Gaelic era, including his kinsman Eoghan MacCarthy, also of Cork, a prolific poet in both Irish and English.

Daniel McCarty in Virginia

A plaque in the old courthouse in Warsaw, Richmond County, lists the names of both Daniel and his father Dennis McCarty as being among the first prosecuting attorneys of that county.

Daniel McCarty is buried in the old Yeomico church cemetery in Westmoreland County.  The following inscription on his tomb is taken from an article by a Mrs. Elenor Griffith Fairfax in The Southern Churchman in 1888.

"Close to the base of the right and east gable is the rocky foundation of a vault, in size 15 by 18 feet. It is now a grassy mound with several cedar trees growing upon it.  Near the center of this bound is a grey stone much defaced by time.  It is only after repeated efforts that I have succeeded in marking out the inscription, which is as follows:

'Here lyeth the body of Daniel McCarty, who departed this life the fourth of ___ 1724 in the forty fifth year of his age.  He was endowed with many virtues and good qualifications, but the actions proceeding from them bespeak their praise.

Here also lyeth the body of Thaddeus McCarty, youngest son to Daniel McCarty, who died the 7th of February 1731 in the 19th year of his age.'"

The Historical Atlas of Westmoreland County states that Daniel was born in 1679 in England, the son of Dennis and Elizabeth McCarty.  He was a captain in the colonial militia, a sheriff in 1710, and a justice in 1714.

Francis McCarthy to Australia in 1821

Francis McCarthy was accused of "uttering unlawful oaths" in his native Roscommon.  This was a charge interpreted in the English courts as "making political agitation" or "taking part in a seditious conspiracy."  The sentence therefore was harsh - 14 years transportation.

He had been tried and convicted in Cork and was then led to a blacksmith who fitted him with the standard four pound leg-irons, "the badge of infamy and degregation riveted upon me."  He was then confined to a hulk left over from the Napoleonic wars where he was chained to a berth already occupied by rats, to await transportation on the John Barry.  He was twenty six years old, for that period unusually tall (five feet eight inches), with a shock of ginger hair and a bushy ginger beard.

One photograph of him in later life survives.  After he had served his sentence, he was described in the register of St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney as "a laborer of ruddy face."  That he had been convicted of a political crime and married an ex-convict servant girl "of dark and pocked complexion" was considered at the time to be a further stain on his character.

Daniel McCarthy, An Early Settler in Canada

Daniel McCarthy had been an overseer of an estate in county Cork.  Forebears had tried unsuccessfully to make a life in Spain.  Daniel and his wife Abigail opted for Canada.  They arrived there in 1838 and moved to a homestead near Keene, southeast of Peterborough in Ontario. 

The 200 acres they had been granted by the Crown were rocky and covered in bush, some swampy as they were near the Indian river that flowed through Keene.  Their first priority was to build some sort of shelter until their log house was ready.  This was in the form of a shanty near the Indian river.  Legend has it that Abigail cried and wanted to return to Ireland immediately.

Daniel was instrumental in having funds collected to build a Catholic church in Keene, walking to Kingston with a petition to have such a church built.  The family donated some of the wood for the construction.  The church was heated by a box stove and lit by coal oil lamps.  There were sheds for horses at the back of the church.  The first pews were privately owned and some parishioners brought their own chairs.  Daniel took turns with the other men sleeping in the church on occasion after it opened in 1856, in order to protect it from the Cavan Blazers, an anti-Catholic group.

D. Gayle Nelson in her book Forest to Farm: Early Days in Otonabee describes Keene as it was in 1839.  It had three taverns.  Roger Bates had built a stone tannery near the mill on the Indian river.  A carding and shingle mill had just opened on the river.  A five shilling fine was levied on anyone crossing the bridge in Keene faster than a walk, perhaps a comment on the condition of the structure.

William McCarthy, The Last of the Old-Style Teamsters

William McCarthy was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1919.  When he was fifteen, he stole a car and took Boston police on a high-speed chase until he ditched the car near the offices of Teamsters Local 25 and hid in the cab of a tractor-trailer cab.  When the driver returned, McCarthy talked him into taking him to New York City.  Two years later, he stole a blank baptismal certificate and faked his birth date so that he could qualify for a chauffeur's license.  He joined Local 25 and worked for Benjamin Motor Express.

In 1946, after ten years at the wheel, he became business agent for Local 25, based in Boston, and its 7,000 members.  He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming president of the local in 1955 and a vice president of the national union in 1969.

The Teamsters were a corrupt union by this time.  Jimmy Hoffa and other Teamster leaders would make strategic alliances with organized crime in deals that benefited both the Mafia, who obtained sweetheart deals, and the union leaders who received kickbacks and other forms of assistance.  Four of the union's presidents were to be indicted on criminal charges; three of them (including Hoffa) went to prison. 

It was William McCarthy, the last of the old-style Teamster union leaders, who signed the consent decree in 1989 settling a Federal Government racketeering suit and allowing for a court-appointed trustee to supervise the first direct election of union officers.

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