12 August 2007

Great Great Grandfather John Haltigan, or as we like to call him: Triple G

We recently made the oul' Haltigan pilgrimage to Kilkenny to have a gander at the evidence of my Irish ancestry. Just a few minutes walk from town we found St. Patrick's Graveyard, former site of St. Patrick's Church and still the housing the church's graveyard. Graves here date as far back as the 16th century.
Many Haltigan feet have passed this way and it felt eerie and exciting to follow in those footsteps. I felt particularly close to the generation before mine, and fancied the spirits of my parents tagging along behind us, recalling their own trip here in the eighties and thrilled to see their enthusiasm for family history alive and kicking.

John Haltigan's grave is one of biggest in the cemetery. My memory may be faulty, but I recall the citizens of Kilkenny refurbishing it about 20 years ago. I am fairly certain the original looked just like this one, so I don't know if this one is altogether new or just refaced.

I was a little disappointed to see that twenty-odd years of exposure have already taken quite a toll. Again relying on shaky recollections (Haltigans, please correct me where I am wrong) the refurbishment took place after my parents, uncles and aunts got friendly with the local population (some of whom live on Haltigan Terrace, more on that soon.) This appears to be the only updated grave in St. Patrick's.

The inscription reads:
Erected to the memory of John Haltigan by the Nationalists of Kilkenny who have known him to make a life long struggle for Irish freedom for which crime British law, aided by the informer, Nagle, consigned him to a living tomb where the fiendish torture of years shattered his vigorous form but failed to subdue his noble spirit. May his unselfish patriotism be imitated until Ireland is once again a Nation. Died 10 July 1884 aged 66 years
Some close up detailing on the headstone.
On the side it reads:
Also his wife Catherine Haltigan Died January 19 1899 Aged 83 yearsMore detail.
Did my best to weed and clean the site up.
Later that day we went to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society to inquire about finding out more information on past Haltigans, and we picked up this book....
...which included a full page photo of Triple G's gravestone soon after restoration with the full inscription to the right. Also from the Kilkenny Archaeological Society we got a form to fill out for family history research but as the price was steep (starting at ninety Euros) I am going to find out more about what they offer. It's possible that they'll get the same info my father and his brothers got years ago (see bottom of this entry for what I have of that.) I don't know if the K.A.S. looks for all information about any Haltigans or just tracks down one individual for that price.

Not far from St. Patrick's is a wee little street called Haltigan Terrace. Yay!! I tried knocking on doors and demanding the occupants give me back what is rightfully mine but got only slammed doors. Kidding!! But I do I wish I had the temerity of my mother, who if memory serves, did knock on some doors and met some lovely folks living on the street named for her Great Grandfather-in-law. For those who knew Rita, can't you just picture her short little rolypoly frame and unabashedly cheery disposition at the doorstep? Who wouldn't invite that munchkin and her husband in for a cuppa?
She and my father, or maybe Aunt Helen and Uncle Phil (interchangeable couples for all intents and purposes, two Kreuder sisters who married two Haltigan brothers) became lifelong pen-pals and friends of some Haltigan Terrace residents and it was they who got this street marker erected and maybe even who instigated the refurbishment of John Haltigan's grave. I know my Uncle Lee figures into all this information gathering, visiting and friend-making but I am not sure which brother (and wife) accomplished what.

Chris will post more about our lovely Kilkenny trip, but for those who are interested I've included below the information my father's generation collected on John Haltigan, most from a genealogical researcher in Kilkenny I believe.


John Haltigan was the eldest son and second child of James Haltigan and Margaret Jackman of Upper Patrick St, Kilkenny. He was born and christened 23rd of April, 1819. He had four brothers and and five sisters.
In 1844 or '45 John Haltigan married Catherine Keating and lived at Brownstown. His family was as follows:

James baptised 25 May 1847
John baptised 18th October 1849
Elizabeth baptised 18th September 1853
Thomas baptised 20th July 1856
Andrew baptised 20th January 1859 (my great grandfather)
Patrick baptised 6th July 1862
William baptised 25th January 1864 (died in infancy)

The family seemed to have lived at Loughboy up to the time John left Kilkenny for Dublin, 1861 or shortly afterwards. His eldest son James left for the states before him. John returned to Ireland in 1877 and died in Cork in 1884. He is buried in St. Patrick's Kilkenny.

Parish registers consulted through the courtesy of Very Rev. Fr. J. Clohosey, Adm. St. Patrick's

In 1856 John Haltigan was employed as a printer on the Kilkenny Journal. When the I.R.B. (Irish Republican Brotherhood) was established, Haltigan was appointed Deputy Head Centre for Kilkenny and in that capacity acted as one of the four pall-bearers at the funeral of Terence Bellew McManus in 1861.

When "The Irish People," the weekly organ of the I.R.B. was established, Haltigan was appointed foreman printer, and following it's seizure by the police in September, 1865, he was arrested and sentenced to seven years penal servitude. He served four years of this sentence in Portland and Pentonville prisons. While he was in jail in 1867, the Manchester Martyrs - Allen, Larkin and O'Brien, were tried and executed - so that though Haltigan was a member of the Fenian movement he had no direct connection with the attack on the prison van that led to the execution of the three aforenamed.

After serving four years of his sentence, Haltigan was released and arrived in New York in 1873 and acted as foreman printer for his son James, who was then editor and publisher of "The Sunday Citizen." He returned to Kilkenny in 1877 and died in Cork 1884. He is buried in St. Patrick's, Kilkenny. There is a terrace named in his honour - Haltigan Terrace.

John Rutherford in his book "The Secret History of the Fenian Conspiracy" (London, 1877) says: "Another conspicuous lieutenant of Brophy's was the printer, Haltigan, the man who superintended the drilling of the Brotherhood in the city (Dublin) and who used to beard the police engaged in the observance of these doings with consummate audacity and insolence. Haltigan, an enthusiast in his way, trained his eldest son so thoroughly in conspiracy that the lad - barely sixteen - took his father's place in the Brotherhood, when he (the father) was condemned to a long term of penal servitude in 1865."

Further reading:
Savage's "Fenian Heroes and Martyrs" New York 1868
John O'Leary's "Recollections of Fenians and Fenianism" London 1896
John Devoy's "Recollections of an Irish Rebel" New York 1929
Tynan's "The History of the Irish National Invincibles and Their Times" New York 1894
James S. Stephen's "Chief Organiser Irish Republic" New York 1966
Joseph Denieffe's "Recollections of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood" New York 1906

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Hi kel! I really enjoyed reading the History here. Didn't know any of this. Thank you.
PS Myrnn is sending you a copy of Alli's Real Simple! So cool.