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
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
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

  • 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
  • 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

John Madden grew up in Cole Hill House in Fulham that had been built
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:

the memory of Captain
William John Madden, eldest son of James Madden esq. of Colchill House
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
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
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.

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

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
Springs, Arkansas with a very large, and soon to be, larger illegal

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

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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