William J. Onahan

Life
[?-?]; b. Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow; parents moved to Liverpool, 1845, in parish of Mgr. Nugent; acolyte in St Nicholas pro-Cathedral; emig. America, 1852; raised regiment during Civil War at own expense; social reformer; founded St. Patrick’s Day society in Chicago; appt. Chamberlain of the Sword and Cape by Pope, Dec. 1893; ‘preier Catholic layman’; various govt. offices in Chicago; public speaker; lectures published; hon. degress from Notre Dame University, and St John’s Coll. NY, and St. Xavier’s, Cincinnati; a Laetare medallist with John Gilmary Shea, Augustine Daly, General Newton, and Mr Charles Bonaparte. JMC

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References
Justin McCarthy
, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904), gives extract on Patrick Sarsfield from Eminent Irishmen in Foreign Service, which includes George II's remark: ‘Cursed be the laws that deprive me of such subjects!’; quotes extensively from Macaulay on Irish Roman Catholsic of great ability, emergy, ambition; dexterous Irish diplomats, Irish counts; Irish Kinghts of St Louis, &c., ‘who if they had remained in the house of bondage could not have been ensigns of marching regiments or freemen of petty corporations’; account of Boyne (Irish losses 800-1,500 v. 300-500); ‘your majesty has won the race’; Lenehan in his History of Limerick says, ‘the soul of the defenders was Patrick Sarsfield’; defection of Luttrell; Sarsfield arrived Brest, 3 1691; 450,000 Irish soldiers died on continental fields (or perhaps 600,000); Sarsfield’s death at battle of Landen (sometimes Neer-Winden), ‘Would to God this were shed for Ireland’; carried to neighbouring village; ‘Ireland’s favorite hero’.

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