ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
MISSOURI STATE BOARD

AOH HISTORY

Missouri Irish History (a work in progress)


1770-Count Alexander O’Reilly born at Baltrassna Co. Meath, Ireland appointed first governor of Missouri lands in the Louisiana Territory
1790-the first Irish settlement in Missouri “Boris Brule Bottom” near St. Genevieve
1804-Lewis and Clark expedition stopped near the bluffs of the future city of Kansas City. Youngest member of the expedition George Shannon age 17. George Shannon in the year 1865 would become the Mayor of Kansas City and was known as the owner of the largest clothing store in town
1805-Joseph Murphy, born in Ireland in 1805 shaped the destiny of thousands of settlers to the west with his shop producing the Murphy Wagon in St Louis
1806-Peter Richard Kenrick, born in Ireland, Archbishop of St Louis from 1847-1895
1808-Joseph Charles of Westmeath, Ireland initiated the first newspaper west of the Mississippi in St Louis (Missouri Gazette)
1815-Thomas Hart Benton, editor of The Missouri Enquirer, was Missouri’s 1st US Senator
1820-March 17 is the first recorded date of a St Patrick’s Day program in St Louis. It was part of the festivities of the Irish Immigrant and Corresponding Society.
1836-Ancient Order of Hibernians in America is formed in New York City and in Pennsylvania
1845-when Ireland's potato crop partially failed, to 1847, when starvation and disease rose to dramatic levels, to 1852, when the economy and population was just getting back on its feet, the Irish were the Silent People. The "Great Hunger", known as An Gorta Mor in Gaelic, happened in an era when millions of people knew only famine, oppression, and degradation. The potato famine itself was a natural disaster such as a flood or an earthquake, and there is no way to predict when such an event will happen. A fungus known as "phytophthora infestans" causes the blight itself. But to be prepared for such an event and to deal with it in a correct and timely fashion is the important issue. The English, the ruling body in all of Ireland at the time, did not remedy the situation, nor did they care to. In fact, they seemed to do the opposite. Over 1 million people died and over 1 million left Ireland because of the famine.
1850-town of Kansas is established. This was a trading post at the junction of the the two rivers since 1821.
1851-Robert Vinton Kennedy began the first newspaper in Kansas City
1853-Father John B. Bannon was born in Ireland in 1829 and was ordained a priest in 1853. Shortly after his ordination, he was sent to St. Louis, Missouri. Father Bannon was loved not only by his parishioners but also by the city at large which, by 1861, boasted of having the second largest Irish population in the Southern and Border States. When the war erupted Father Bannon enlisted as Chaplain in the 1st Missouri Confederate Brigade. A Confederate veteran later described Bannon’s actions on the battlefield during the war: "While his mission was one of peace, he became noted for his bravery in the field in attending the wounded and the dying in very exposed places. He was both a pious and practical man, and became a ministering angel wherever broken and bruised humanity needed help and consolation." At the close of the war Bannon returned to Ireland and resumed his priesthood.
1856-Father Bernard Donnelly, “The Builder” of Kansas City He was responsible for the first group of Irish Settlement of Kansas City. He brought Irish laborers from New York and Boston to level the streets of the city.
1858-Fenian Brotherhood founded in America
1860-St James the Greater parish is formed in St Louis
1861-All Irish companies were formed for the Civil War. The Emmet, Montgomery and the Washington Guards were all Irish. The Irish in the Confederate forces were considerably less.
1866-Phelim O’Toole, Hero of the Great Southern Hotel fire in St Louis he is credited with saving 12 lives
1867-Rt. Rev. Msgr. Timothy Dempsey is born in Cadanstown, Offaly, Ireland was pastor of St Patrick’s Church in St Louis initiated a temporary home for indigent and poor men in St Louis
1870-St Louis, the Ancient Order of Hibernians soon after the formation of the original chapter, almost every district in the city had a division. In St Louis it was formed by John Tigh, Andrew Ferry, Peter Leonard and Patrick Coughlin the AOH founded in 1836 in New York City as a religious, political and fraternal society; it was open to Catholic men of Irish descent aged 16-45. DAUGHTERS OF ERIN are their female auxiliary. In the 1860s and 1870s, it provided the structure for the "Molly Maguire’s: labor movement among Pennsylvania coal miners.
The following is a list of Division in the 19th Century in St Louis
Division No. 1 (St. Patrick’s)
Division No. 2 (South St. Louis, Michigan & Robert)
Division No. 3 (St. John’s)
Division No. 4 (St. Malachy)
Division No. 5 (Annunciation/Cathedral Hall)
Division No. 6 (Assumption School)
Division No. 7 (Franklin & 23rd)
Division No. 8 (Morgan & Putnam)
Division No. 9 (Cass & Spring)
Division No.10 (902 W. 3d)
Division No.11 (Morgan & Broadway)
Knights of the A.O.H. (St. Patrick’s Hall)
1871-The Ancient Order of Hibernians first formed in Kansas City on February 11, 1871; four years later they had 125 members. It was originally formed by Dennis Halpin, who gathered together the finest young men in Northwest Missouri. The only surviving organization from the last century, today run one of the largest St Patrick’s Day Parades in the nation. In 1891 there were at least 11 divisions in the city, 4 from Wyandotte and 7 from Jackson County.
1873-Col. Joseph A. Corby owned and published the St Joseph Gazette
1883- The Land League called for a Philadelphia convention of all the Irish organizations in America to support Charles Stewart Parnell's Irish Parliamentary Party in their fight for Home Rule. The Irish AOH endorsed Home Rule and Alexander Sullivan, a former member of AOH Div 8, Chicago, who had been suspended for non-payment of dues, aspired to Presidency of the new American branch of the Land League. Sullivan conspired with Henry Sheridan of Div 8, to have the Division financial secretary give him credentials as the Division representative to the convention instead of an officer named O'Malley, who had been elected by the membership. Sullivan was nominated for President of the American Land League, and Andy Brown, County delegate from St Louis, seconded the nomination guaranteeing a subscription of $60,000. if Sullivan were elected. Sullivan was elected. When asked where the money would come from, Brown replied, “from the AOH”. Sullivan went to AOH National Delegate (President) Jeremiah Crowley, asking that an assessment be levied on every member to honor the pledge he made at the Convention. The assessment was so ordered with no regard for the feelings of the members - many of whom vehemently objected to the Irish AOH position.

   Meanwhile, many of the rank and file of the American AOH refused to communicate further with Crowley, and appointed Francis Kiernan as National Delegate until the next National Convention in Cleveland on May 16, 1884. At that convention, Crowley appeared and, after a bitter credentials battle, was seated. At the end of a stormy convention, Henry Sheridan of Chicago, Sullivan's co-conspirator was elected National Delegate by a slim majority, and Crowley was made Chairman of National Directory. Three months later, a notice in the New York Times announced that another National Convention of the Order had been held on August 13 in New York City during which the members of the National Board, who were elected in Cleveland, were tried and expelled on charges of conspiring to introduce Irish National Politics into the American Order and merge it with the fragmented Fenian Brotherhood. John Nolan (formerly of the Irish AOH) was elected National Delegate.

[Link to the 1884 National Directory]


   On August 26, the `expelled' Board sent a circular to all Divisions reporting, "a conspiracy has been unearthed in New York which has been in secret operation for 18 months, headed by Hugh Murray of New York County and aided by one Mr Nolan, ex-member of the Irish AOH." They accused the `conspirators' of holding a mock convention, electing officers, and seceding from the organization. They also revealed that they had come to New York to determine the state of affairs, and learned that before the Cleveland Convention had even met, the New Yorkers had raised $800. and sent Mr Nolan to Ireland with a message to the Irish AOH that he would be elected National Delegate for America if the Irish AOH would support them as the legal AOH. The circular reported that the Irish order agreed, and, by that agreement, had conspired with the `New York traitors' and thereby demonstrated that they were “unfit to preside at the head of an organization of the magnitude of ours”. The Cleveland Board therefore announced that they had severed all links with the group that they had once “looked to as a faithful friend and father” adding, for good measure, that they were a drain on the Order in America, intellectually a disgrace, and had sacrificed the whole organization for a few New York favorites. It was signed by the Cleveland National Board including Henry Sheridan, National Delegate and Jeremiah Crowley, Chairman.

   Law suits followed by both sides over Division and County property and the right to use the name `Ancient Order of Hibernians' There were now two organizations in America: one took the name of the AOH, Board of Erin, and the other the AOH in America. American branch also changed the title of National Delegate to National President. Some of the Board of Erin members in Ireland continued to send correspondence and merchandise to the Board of Erin in America, while others recognized only the AOH in America. In 1886, National President Nolan of the American Board of Erin traveled to the Board of Erin Convention in Ireland to stop them from communicating with the AOH in America. He charged that some of the Board of Erin members had continued their support for the American faction, and the animosity which had split the Order in America was thereby exported to Ireland and they too split with expulsions and law suits resulting.

   Thus did politics, personal greed, and petty jealousy bring to a shameful and disgraceful state, one of the noblest of the ancient Orders of Ireland It would be many years, filled with accusations, lies, and treachery before saner heads prevailed and the two factions in America were brought to true brotherhood. The sad part is that the bond between the American and Irish branches of this noble order was never officially reconciled. The intervening years have dimmed the recollection of the dispute, but the memory that one existed was never truly forgotten.

   Years later, the apolitical and religious posture of the Irish organization dictated their decision to support Parnell's struggle for an independent Ireland through Parliamentary reform and they became champions of Home Rule in Ireland. The appearance in the early 1900's of a more militant faction never swayed the AOH Board of Erin from that commitment, and they were often criticized for not being outspoken disciples of the revolutionary action proposed by the heroes of Easter Week. They remained true to their principles, and gave neither support nor opposition to the militants during the 1916 insurrection, the War of Independence, and the Civil War that followed. This again strained relations with the American AOH who supported the militants although AOH divisions in Ireland who remained affiliated with the American Board did take part in the rising.

   For years, the two Boards remained as distant cousins who never spoke. Few remembered, or even knew, the old animosities, and fewer still held grudges against the branch of the Order across blue highway home, yet the breach remained - in spite of the fact that the AOH in America proudly pointed to their Irish heritage and the fact that the Irish organization had a litany of proud accomplishments and opposition to the Crown.
   Then, in 1981, Jack Connolly, President of the AOH in America, stopped into an AOH hall in Ireland. His historic gesture, opened dialogue between the two branches of the Order, and resulted in the visit of a group of Belfast Hibernians to Boston and New York to march in their St Patrick's Day parades. Hospitality was provided to visiting Hibernian officials during the next few administrations, but little of significance occurred until 1992 when Board of Erin Secretary Frank Kieran visited America. Hibernian hospitality was extended by the American Board and, in conversations held during that visit, it was proposed that the two branches consider a joint project. At the 1994 American National Convention in Louisville Kentucky, it was announced that the joint project would be a memorial to the victims of the Great Hunger to be erected in Ireland in 1995.
1885-The AOH State Board is incorporated in the State of Missouri as a Benevolent Corp. since 2/13/1885 (this type of corporation is no longer available).  The name of the corporation is Ancient Order of Hibernians of the State of Missouri.
1888-Kansas City Division #1, Kansas City Missouri founded July 1, 1888 changed named to Patrick Pearse
1888-Ancient Order of Hibernians hold their National Convention in St Louis
1894-The Irish immigrants felt the brunt of prejudice in Kansas City. The most violent period came around 1894. Usually known as "the A.P.A., "The American Protective Association was a secret proscriptive society the United States which became a disturbing factor in most of the Northern States during the period 1891-97  Its purpose was indicated clearly enough by its open activity in arranging lectures by "ex-priests," distributing anti-Catholic literature and opposing the election of Catholics to public offices. Of the A.P.A. ritual and obligation there was frequent publication during the years 1893-94, now divulged by spies, and now admitted by ex-members. What purports to be a full exhibit of these oaths may be found in the "Congressional Record," 31 October, 1893, in the petition of H.M. Youmans for the unseating of Representative-in-Congress William S. Linton. These oaths bound members "at all times to endeavor to place the political position of this government in the hands of Protestants to the entire exclusion of the Roman Catholic" etc. The first Council of the A.P.A. was established 13 March, 1887, at Clinton, Iowa. The founder was Henry F. Bowers, a lawyer of that town, a Marylander by birth, and then in his sixtieth year. The order seems to have spread slowly. Its first outcropping in local politics occurred in 1891 at Omaha, Neb., where it endorsed the Republican ticket and swept the town (heretofore Democratic) by a large majority. The A.P.A. seems to have moved down the Missouri river from Omaha. In Missouri, Kansas City was its first conspicuous base. After the fall election of 1892, a delegation representing the A.P.A. of Kansas City asked Governor-elect Stone to blacklist all Catholics when making appointments. "Your association," replied Governor Stone, "is undemocratic and un-American, and I am opposed to it. I haven't a drop of Know Nothing blood in my veins." The following cities are among the more important which were generally regarded as under A.P.A. political dominance during all, or a portion, of the period of 1893-96: Omaha, Kansas City, Rockford (Ill.), Toledo, Duluth, Saginaw, Louisville; and, to some extent, Detroit, St. Louis, and Denver. In New York its principal activity was at Buffalo and Rochester. Pennsylvania (where the so-called patriotic societies were numerous), Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were also overrun, politically, by the new order. It was particularly militant in California. If we except Kentucky and Tennessee the A.P.A. made but little impression in the South, although there were mild outcroppings in Georgia and Texas.
1903-John J. Glennon, Archbishop of St Louis from an Episcopal see west of the Mississippi
1904-Ancient Order of Hibernians hold their National Convention in St Louis, during the World’s Fair
1908- Preamble of constitution revised and adopted at the national convention held at Indianapolis, Ind., 21-26 July, 1908:
The members of The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America declare that the intent and purpose of the Order is to promote Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity among its members by raising or supporting a fund of money for maintaining the aged, sick, blind and infirm members, for the payment of funeral benefits, for the advancement of the principles of Irish nationality, for the legitimate expenses of the Order, and for no other purpose whatsoever.
The motto of this Order is Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. Friendship shall consist of helping one another and in assisting each other to the best of our power. Unity, in combining together for mutual support in sickness and distress, Christian Charity, in loving one another and doing to all men as we would wish that they should do unto us.
(1) This Order is to be formed exclusively of practical Catholics. Therefore, each member is expected to comply with all his Christian duties. (2) Should any of the members fail in the above, and instead of giving edification and encouragement, become a stumbling block and a disgrace to the Organization, such a one, after proper charitable admonition, unless there be an amendment in his conduct, shall be expelled from the Order. (3) In order, however, that all may be done with justice, Christian Charity  and edification, there shall be in each county a Chaplain, appointed by the Ordinary of the Diocese, to be consulted by the Division before determining anything relating to morality or religion. (4) The Chaplain in each county shall see that nothing is done or countenanced within his jurisdiction which is contrary to the laws of the Catholic Church, the decrees of the Plenary Councils of Baltimore, and the Synodical Constitutions of the Diocese. In any difficulty or doubt which he may not be able to solve, he shall consult the Ordinary of the Diocese. (5) All Divisions of this Order shall adopt the foregoing preamble, and their special Constitution and By-Laws shall be in harmony with the Constitution and By-Laws of this Order.
The constitution of 1908 gives full directions regarding the government of the organization and the manner of joining it. Article XXXV, sect. 1, treats of the place of joining the order: "Members of this Order shall join and belong to a Division in the city or town in which they reside if the Order exists therein or in the nearest locality in which a Division is located."
1914-Edward Henry O’Hara, Medal of Honor recipient was born in St Louis, ands served as a s a Lieutenant in the US Navy. Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with 1 gold star. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron 3 on 20 February 1942. Having lost the assistance of his teammates, Lt. O'Hare interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of 9 attacking twin-engine heavy bombers. Without hesitation, alone and unaided, he repeatedly attacked this enemy formation, at close range in the face of intense combined machinegun and cannon fire. Despite this concentrated opposition, Lt. O'Hare, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship in making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down 5 enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point. As a result of his gallant action--one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation--he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage. (Chicago Airport is named after him)
1916-Easter Rising in Dublin
1919-1921-Irish War of Independence against Britain
1947-1948-St Louis Billikens NCAA Basketball Champion, led by All-American Ed Macauley
1947-Kelly Bar is established by Randal Kelly of Co. Clare in the oldest building in Kansas City dating back to 1850 it was owned by Albert Boone grandson of Daniel Boone. It was a provision and outfitting store.
1948-Father Tim Dempsey Division #1, St Louis founded Sept 1948
1953-1965 Raymond R. Tucker, of Irish descent is Mayor of St. Louis
1958- St Louis Division 2 Cardinal John J Glennon, St Louis founded 1958
1960-John F. Kennedy Irish Catholic Senator from Boston, is elected President of the United States
1960-.Patrick Hogan of Stamford, Conn. is elected National President of the A.O.H.in St Louis during the Ancient Order of Hibernians National Convention
1964-Pat McBride, a graduate of St Louis University played 3 times in the US Olympic soccer team
1972-St Louis Irish Arts led by Helen Gannon provides education and entertainment of the Irish culture 
1972-First Annual Kansas City St Patrick’s Day Parade
1972-January 30: Bloody Sunday in Derry. British paratroopers shoot 13 civilians during civil-rights march.
1973-First Freedom for All Ireland Dinner in Kansas City
1974-1978-John M Keane from St Louis is elected AOH National President
1975-St Louis Division #3 Bishop Thomas Drury, St Louis founded June 25, 1975
1978-Beginning for All Ireland Speaker Award in Kansas City by the Patrick Pearse Division 1978-Jack Holland, Belfast journalist and author 1979-Bishop Thomas Drury, Corpus Christi, Texas 1980-David Lewis, New York civil rights attorney 1981-Reverend Sean McManus, CSSR, President Irish National Caucus 1991-Mary Pike, civil rights attorney 1992-James J Clossick, IRA veteran and AOH member
1979-Pope John Paul II visits Ireland and calls for an end to violence
1981-1982-Ten Republicans die on hunger strike in Maze Prison, Northern Ireland.  Dying hunger-striker Bobby Sands elected to British Parliament
1984-St Louis AOH has the first annual St Patrick’s Day Parade on Forsyth Blvd. in Clayton. Mike Fitzgerald and Harry Tobin was the Co Chairman, and Jim Sheerin is the Float Chairman. Parade featured Missouri AOH State President Anthony Conroy. It would move to Dogtown from here the following years.
1990-1994 George J. Clough Jr. from St Louis is elected AOH National President
1993-Michael J Roarty Division #1, St Charles County founded April 26, 1993
1994- beginning of the Heart of America International Peace Award in Kansas City by the Patrick Pearse Division 1994- Gerry Adams, President, Sinn Fein 1995-Beradette Devlin McAliskey, Peace Activist 1996-Representative Peter King (New York) 1997-Rosemary Nelson, Human Rights Lawyer (Posthumously) 1998-Albert Reynolds, Prime Minister of Ireland 1999-Ray Flynn, Ambassador to the Vatican 2000-David Andrews, Foreign Minister of Ireland 2001-The Wolfe Tones 2002-Fr. Aidan Troy, C.Ss.R. Holy Cross Girls School 2003-Joseph Cahill/Marie Moore 2004-Martin O’Muilleoir 2005-Fr. Alec Reid C. Ss. R.
1994-Celtic Fringe is established in Kansas City to provide networking and support for people in transition locating from European Celtic countries
1997-St Joseph Division #1, St Joseph Missouri founded March17, 1997
1997- First Tionol in St Louis thanks to Hibernian Mike Mullins people from 7-80 years of age learn how to play Irish music, learn Irish dance, and learn to speak in Gaelic
1999-Pope John Paul II comes to St Louis
2003-St Louis Hurling Club, became recognized by the GAA
2005-2007 Patrick Casey of the St Joseph Division is the AOH State President
2007-2009 Michael Brassil from Div. 2 Cardinal John J. Glennon Division in St Louis is the AOH State President
2009-2011 John “Greg” Dorsey from the Patrick Pearse Division in Kansas City is AOH State President
2011 John Wilson from the Michael J Roarty Division in St Charles is the AOH State President