Select McCarthy Miscellany


Here are some McCarthy stories and
accounts over the years:


MacCarthy Origins


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

Date MacCarthy Relationship
1118-1123 Tadgh I eldest son of Muiredach
1123-1138 Cormac III his brother
1138-1143 Donogh III his brother
1143-1185 Dermod I his nephew
1185-1206 Donal I his son
1206-1207 Fingen IV his brother
1207-1229 Dermod II son of Donal I
1229-1247 Cormac IV his younger brother
1247-1252 Donal II his younger brother
1252-1261 Fingen V his son
1261-1262 Cormac V his younger brother
1262-1302 Donal III son of Cormac IV
1302-1306 Donal IV his son
1306-1310 Donogh IV his brother
1310-1326 Dermod III son of Donal IV
1326-1359 Cormac VI his brother
1359-1390 Donal V his son
1390-1428 Tadgh II his son
1428-1469 Donal VI his son
1469-1503 Tadgh III his brother
1503-1508 Donal VII his son
1508-1516 Cormac VII his brother
1516-1558 Donal VIII his son
1558-1596 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.

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:
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.
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

The Historical Atlas of Westmoreland
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

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

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.

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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