John C. O’Neill

The Irish Nationalist and U.S. Army Officer Who Invaded Canada

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About the Book

In June 1866, an 800-man contingent of the Irish Fenian Brotherhood invaded Canada from Buffalo, New York, in an effort to free Ireland from British rule. The force was led by Irish-born John Charles O’Neill, a veteran of the Union Army’s 5th Indiana Cavalry.
The three-day invasion was a military success but a political failure, yet O’Neill was celebrated for his leadership and humanity. Elevated to the presidency of the Fenian Brotherhood, “General” O’Neill would again lead Irish nationalists against Canada in 1870. Jailed and later pardoned by President U.S. Grant, O’Neill left the Fenians and attempted a third, futile attack into Canada.
O’Neill then became a colonizer, urging Irish Americans to abandon cities in the East to settle on the fertile plains of the West. O’Neill City, Nebraska, is named in his honor.
This first full-length biography covers the rise, fall and resurgence of a remarkable figure in American and Irish history.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Fox is a retired librarian from Fredon, New Jersey. He often speaks on both Irish emigration and New Jersey history.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas Fox
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9793-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3675-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael P. Ruddy 1
Preface 5
Introduction 11
1. Maimed from the Start 15
2. West Meets East 30
3. Days of Glory 39
4. Nashville and the Fenians 51
5. Ridgeway 62
6. Irish Hero, American Celebrity 71
7. The General Becomes a President 80
8. Vermont and Imprisonment 98
9. I Promise Until I Don’t 110
10. A Second Career 121
11. Nebraska 130
12. Death in Omaha 155
13. Legacy 165
Epilogue 177
Appendix A: 1876 ­O’Neill Manifesto 189
Appendix B: Timeline 197
Appendix C: The ­O’Neills/Macklins in New Jersey 201
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 217
Index 225