the Gaelic O’Madain or descendant of Madain.
This was a shortened version of
the earlier Gaelic Madadhan which meant
“dog” or “hound.” The
hound was famous in Gaelic heraldry for having the virtues of speed,
Madden Resources on
- Maddens of Park Lock
Maddens in Limerick.
- Madden Connections John
and Bridget Madden from Ireland to Australia.
- Madden DNA Project Madden
first Madden was reputedly Madadhan,
a chieftain of a sept in the 10th century from
around Clogher in county Tyrone.
was said that some of the tribe moved south and, with the
spiritual assistance of Saint Grellan, defeated the pagan kings in east
and then established the first known and most enduring plantation in
Galway. The O’Madden homeland, known as Siol
was fact in east Galway on the banks of the
river Shannon between
the Longford barony and Lusmagh parish in Offaly.
They remained relatively independent until the arrival of the
English in the 16th century.
When Donal O’Madden led a revolt in
1595 his castles at Meelick and Cloghan were destroyed in a bloody campaign that resulted in
the death of
many O’Maddens. As the Annals of the Four
Lord Justice left an
English constable, Master Francis, at Meelick and took hostages from
O’Maddens. Thus was Siol Anmchadha taken
and it is not easy to state or enumerate all that was destroyed on that
The O’Maddens retained some power
in the area in the 17th century.
Derryhivenny castle in fact was built as late as 1643. But later confiscations meant that they had
lost all by the start of the 18th century.
Maddens dispersed at this time. Some
like James Madden who fought for James II
at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 were outlawed for treason. James became one of those “Wild Geese” who fled
to France and stayed there.
There were Maddens in Kildare (the Maddens of Athgarret) and Maddens
also in Limerick and Cork. John Madden had moved to Limerick in
mid-1700’s to involve himself in the construction of the
Limerick-to-Killaloe canal. Maddens were later lock keepers on
the canal. Meanwhile Paul Madden who died at
Buttevant parish in county Cork in 1782 was the forebear of some notable Maddens
By the time of Griffith’s Valuation
in the mid-19th century, the largest number of Maddens in Ireland was
still in Galway, followed by Tipperary and Cork.
came to England. One
route was through the British army or navy.
William Madden of the Royal Marines made his home in
in 1800. One of his sons Frederic grew
up to be the leading English palaeographer (manuscript archivist) of
his day. Other Maddens headed to
Lancashire mainly in
the 19th century in search of work.
America. There were Maddens in
America in colonial
Owen Madden married Catherine Donawen in Boston in 1745 and they later
St. George, Maine. As a Loyalist he sought
land in Canada, but was unsuccessful. He
and his family remained in Maine.
In August 1758, in Spotsylvania county, Virginia, a poor
named Mary Madden bore a child, Sarah Madden, whose father was said to
been a slave and the property of Colonel James Madison, father of the
president of the United States. This daughter became indentured to the
Madisons. There she worked as a seamstress to pay off the fine of her
until she was thirty-one years old.
Sarah Madden bore ten children. When the
term of her indenture was over, she
and her youngest son, Willis, struck out for themselves.
T.O. Madden recounted their family history in
his 2005 book The
Maddens of Culpeper County.
Thomas Madden, born
in Frederick county, Virginia in 1765, fought in the Revolutionary War. His descendants were to be found in Illinois
and Texas by the time of the Civil War, the former fighting on the
side and the latter on the Confederate.
Another Madden line was in Frederick county, Maryland at this
time. Richard Madden of this family moved
county, Georgia in the 1790’s.
Thomas Madden had come to Maryland in the 1770’s and was
believed by his descendants to have fought in the Revolutionary
War. By 1800 he had migrated south with his family to Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi river (then under Spanish
rule) where he was
employed as a surveyor.
were Maddens who arrived later from England.
Martin Madden, born in Durham, emigrated with his parents to
a young boy in 1860. He prospered there
in business and was a US Congressman from 1905 until his death in 1928.
notorious was Owney Madden
grown up in Lancashire. He came with his
widowed mother Mary to New York in 1902.
He thrived there as a gangster and underworld boss during
Prohibition times in
the 1920’s before retiring with his wealth to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Canada. One early Madden arrival
Loyalist from America. John Madden had
come to Philadelphia from Dublin in 1760.
But when the Revolutionary War broke out, he took his family to
and in 1795 crossed the border into Canada.
He settled at Napanee near Kingston, Ontario where he died at
age of 98 years. Later Maddens
intermarried with other prominent Loyalist families in the Bay of
area. Descendants held a family reunion
in 1931 and again in 1997.
Australia. John Madden, a
brogue-maker, was found guilty of “seditious practices” at the
Galway assizes in 1820 and was transported on the Dorothy to
NSW. His wife
Margaret and sons Patrick and John did follow him, but eighteen years
Among other Madden arrivals were:
Madden from county
Clare who came to Melbourne as a bounty (assisted) immigrant sometime
early 1840’s. He farmed, firstly in the
Kilmore area of Victoria (where Joseph Madden ran the Gold
Diggers’ Home a decade or so later) and subsequently in Peak
Madden from West Meath who was tried for sheep stealing and
transported to Tasmania on the Blenheim
in 1851. His wife Rose and three
children followed him four years later
(apparently leaving five of their children behind).
- and Patrick and Margaret
Madden who came to Queensland from Limerick in 1863.
Their family story was covered in Lorae
Johnson’s 2003 book Madden Connections
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
mac Gadhra Mór
was the reputed 10th century forebear of the O’Madden clan.
Richard Madden was a 19th century Irish
writer, abolitionist, and
historian of the
Sir Charles Madden was Second-in-Command of the
British Royal Navy during World War One.
Madden was an American football coach who won the Super
Bowl for the Oakland Raiders in 1976.
He earned greater renown as a commentator on his NFL telecasts
Select Maddens Today
- 10,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 14,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 13,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)
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