DORSEY DESCENDANTS: A HISTORY OF THE DESCENDANTS OF MURT
DARCY & CATHERINE MURPHY OF RATHNEEGERAGH, COUNTY CARLOW, IRELAND
(2nd ed. 2004)
(c) 1988, 2004
Thomas J. Reed
All rights reserved.
For hard copy available from Thomas J. Reed. 71 W. Fifth St., New Castle, DE 19720.
In keeping with the National Genealogical Society's Standards for Sharing Information
With Others (2000) the following family history of the descendants of Murt Dorsey and Catherine Murphy will contain no references
to living persons.
CHAPTER ONE: FIRST GENERATION: MURT DARCY
This short family history is not designed to be the last word on the descendants
of Murtagh Dorsey. It will not be a definitive answer on the Irish origins of Murtagh Dorsey, either. The reason for writing
this capsule family history is to provide a way of sharing my information with other Dorsey descendants. If so, then others
who have information which could lead to a more complete history may be encouraged to come forward and share their heritage.
I have sufficient information at this time to permit the construction of a fairly
accurate family history of the Dorsey family. It is in everyone's interest to produce this history in usable form. I believe
the following history will serve that purpose.
A. The Irish Origins of Murtagh Dorsey
"Dorsey" is a variant spelling of "D"Arcy", which is also spelled "Dorcy", "Darcy"
and "Dorsy" in old Irish records. The D'Arcy family is an Anglo - Norman family which emigrated to Ireland from England in
the Fourteenth Century.1 The original French seat of the D'Arcy family is a chateau about 30 miles northwest of
Paris in Normandy. The first individual bearing the surname "D'Arcy" was a Norman knight named David D'Arcy, who died before
the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. David's son, Christopher D'Arcy, is supposed to have been a crusader. David D'Arcy's
great grandson, Sir Richard D'Arcy, was one of William the Conqueror's retinue of plundering Norman knights who assisted him
in defeating the Saxon king of England. According to Burke's Peerage, Sir Richard D'Arcy was the founder of the English and
Irish branches of the D'Arcy family.2 One of the descendants
of Sir Richard D'Arcy, Sir John D'Arcy, was sent to Ireland by King Edward II as Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1328. Sir
John D'Arcy married Lady Jane Burke (De Burgo), daughter of the Earl of Ulster.3 The Irish D'Arcy family sprang
from this marriage. Although O'Hart suggests that a Gaelic Dorsey family also sprang up in Connaught at about the same time,
as a result of an English scribe's Anglicization of "O'Dorchaide" (son of the dark
haired man),4 there is little evidence to support O'Hart's conclusion that the D'Arcy family of Counties Galway,
Mayo and Clare were unrelated to the Anglo-Norman D'Arcies of Counties Meath and Westmeath. Both families carry the same coat
of arms and are registered with the Ulster King of Arms as one family.5
Sir John D'Arcy's son Willim D'Arcy, made his seat
in Platten, in the Barony of Lower Duleek, County Meath, a few miles south of Drogheda. Sir John's remote descendant James
(Riveagh) D'Arcy, is usually thought of as the founder of the D'Arcy family
in Connaught. He was appointed chief magistrate of the Town of Galway by Queen Elizabeth I, and Vice President of the province
of Connaught.6 A full geneology of the ancestry of James (Riveaugh) D'Arcy is given
in Appendix One.
James (Riveagh) D'Arcy had seven sons: Nicholas (who
died without issue), Martin, Patrick, James, Anthony, Mark (who died without issue) and Andrew (who died without male issue).
He had a single daughter.7 The descendants of Martin D'Arcy established a seat in Clunane, County Clare. The descendants
of James D'Arcy set up castles at Ballybocock and Tuam, County Galway
and seats in Gorteen and Houndswood, County Mayo. Anthony emigrated to France and settled at Brest. Patrick D'Arcy's descendants
founded family estates at Kiltolla and New Forest, County Galway.8
The holdings of the D'Arcy family in the Town of Galway
were confiscated during the Cromwellian uprising of 1641-49, after Lord Clanrickard's successful siege of the Town of Galway
in 1642. Most of the heads of the various branches of the D'Arcy family, with the exception of D'Arcy of New Forest, also
lost their hereditary landholdings during the same period, and were turned out of possession in favor of loyal Protestant
noblemen such as the Marquis of Clanrickard and his supporters.9 The former landowners became tenants to English
absentee owners, and were reduced to a state of penury.
The trail of the D'Arcy family ends about 1700 in confusion.
Having lost their lands, they left no wills, or family settlement deeds to assist a later researcher in locating and identifying
them. The Penal Laws, designed to crush Catholicism, barred all Catholics from public office, land owning, horse owning, or
any practice of their religion. Thus, no parish registers from the 18th century have survived giving births and deaths. The
early Irish census records burned in 1922, destroying the 1821 and 1840 censuses which gave highly accurate data on all Irish
families regardless of wealth and prominence. The only early documents which survive and can be used to trace Irish ancestry
today are the deeds and other instruments in the Registry of Deeds in Dublin.
In the mid-1908's, I made a search of Irish records for Murt
Dorsey’s Irish home town. There are two substitutes for the burned Irish censuses of 1841 and 1861. After the 1845-47
Potato Famine, in which some 1,000,000 Irish died from malnutrition and disease, and an estimated 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 Irish
left Ireland for England, Canada and the United States, Sir William Griffith's Primary Valuation of every Irish County
gives a fair substitute for a census of Ireland for the years 1852 to 1856.
The Primary Valuation of Ireland was originally prepared for the English Chancellor of the Exchequer for property tax
assessments. It contains a list by households of all heads of households in every Irish county in 1851. I searched Griffiths
for Counties, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Meath and Westmeath, and found at least 14 householders in County Galway, 7 householders
in County Mayo, 6 householders in County Clare, 9 in County Meath and 5 in County West Meath listed under the surname "Darcy."
For some reason, I ignored "Darcy" householders in Counties Tipperary, Wexford and Carlow. Since Griffith's does not include
any heads of families who died or emigrated during the Famine years, it is not a good source for lists of Irish residents
for the period 1837-43, the years in which Murtagh Dorsey emigrated from Ireland to North America.
The second source books were the Tithe Applotment
Book for the Church of Ireland. The tithe applotment books for many Church of Ireland parishes survived the 1922 Public
Records Office fire and provide a fair listing of all Irish, Protestant and Catholic, who had a "hearth" and were required
to pay tithe to the Protestant Established Church. These books are assessment rolls listing the heads of households and their
tithable leaseholds for the tithe payable to the established church. The books are compiled by diocese and by civil parish.
The earliest books date from the mid 1820's. Most were made out a decade later, well before the Great Famine. In 1985, I examined
microfilm copies of the Tithe Applotment for the counties of Galway, Mayo, Clare, Meath and Westmeath, for leasehoulders using
the surname "Darcy." He failed to make a check for "Darcy" heads of families in Wexford and Carlow.. This search turned up
no connection between any listed head of family and Murtagh Dorsey. Again, I neglected to look for "Darcy" heads of families
in Tipperary, Wexford and Carlow.
I also wrote to the Galway Tribune in 1985, asking
for assistance in locating the Irish relatives of Murtagh Dorsey. Only one helpful suggestion came from Irish correspondents.
An elderly lady living new New Forest in County Galway stated that she believed Murtagh Dorsey was related to the Darcy family
of New Forest. Nothing came of this lead.
In 1998, Parsons Software Co. released a CD-ROM version
of Griffiths’ Primary Valuation Index. I bought that disc and used the search engine on my computer to scan for every
known variation of the name "Darcy" in a county other than those I had already recorded. I found only one place in all of
Ireland where "Murtagh Dorsey" appeared: Tipperary North Riding. "Murtagh Darcy" turned up in Griffiths Primary Valuation
for the parish of Killodiernan, Lower Ormond in 1851 with 91 acres taxable. Of course, this fellow could not have been my
ancestor because my Murtagh Dorsey was living in the State of New York in 1851 and running his own small farm in the United
States. But it was an odd coincidence, so I decided to start a library search on Tipperary history to see what would turn
I soon discovered that Roman Catholic parish records
had been computerized for Tipperary North Riding and an organization known as the Tipperary North Heritage Foundation had
been given exclusive rights to this computer data base. In 1998, I wrote a letter to Nora O’Meara, the chief of research
for the Tipperary North Heritage Foundation accompanied by the initial research fee for a search of the parish records for
any baptism, wedding or burial involving Murtagh Dorsey, and the answer arrived within weeks. O’Meara’s prompt
response showed baptisms of three children from 1837 to 1842 for Martin & Catherine Darcy of the parish of Monsea/Killodiernan,
residing on the townland of Urrha. One of their three children was Maria or Mary, baptised at Puckane chapel in 1842. The
probability that there might be two Irish couples of the same first and last names as Murt Dorsey and Catherine, my ancestors,
who had a daughter named Maria or Mary between 1837 and 1842, just as my ancestors had, was so astronomically unlikely that
this constituted strong circumstantial evidence that this couple were my ancestors.
This didn’t explain the references to Murtagh Darcy
in Griffiths’ Primary Valuation in 1851, long after my Murt and his wife had come to the United States. That
Murtagh Darcy had to be someone who was a close relative of my Murt Dorsey, maybe his father, uncle or cousin.
That’s when I encountered Daniel Grace’s books
on Nenagh and vicinity. General histories of the County had not been particularly helpful, but Grace’s Portrait
of a Parish: Monsea & Killodiernan (1996), pinpointed my research. Although Murtagh Darcy of Killadangan of the parish
of Killodiernan was no more than a bit player during the 1830's and 1840's, he turned up as a Poor Law Guardian elected by
his fellow-farmers to represent their electoral district in 1842. He also made a £ 1 10s donation for poor relief in the depths
of the Famine. There must be some connection. Daniel Grace’s The Great Famine in Nenagh Poor Law Union (1999) added
tantelizing tidbits of information, including a quotation from Murtagh Darcy of Cloghprior about the condition of poor people
in the Poor Law Union. Were there three men of the same name in Tipperary during the early 1840's, one in Urrah, another in
Cloghprior and a third in Killadangan? If my ancestor was the son of Murtagh Darcy, the Poor Law Guardian, why would the son
of a strong farmer who had leases on more than 90 acres of good County Tipperary ground decide to give up his own small holding
in the parish of Killodiernan and risk death, sickness or worse on the way to the New World? Why did he choose to settle in
an out-of-the-way place in upstate New York? In 1845, when Murt and Catherine Dorsey settled in North Greenwich, there were
no other Catholic families within ten miles of their homestead and no other Irish families in a settlement that had been a
planned Scottish colonization project in the 1760's.
Despite the lack of a definite connection, I decided
to take a trip to Ireland in the summer of 2000 to meet Daniel Grace and Nora O’Meara. Grace had offered to take me
to the site of the Darcy cottage in Killadangan and to meet a distant descendant of Murtagh Darcy, Michael Ryan, who may have
some information for me on the family. So we made flight reservations for a trip to Ireland then on to France. My wife loves
travel and she made me agree to a week in Paris after our Irish adventure.
I had been corresponding with Daniel Grace since 1998.
I had learned that he followed the same line of work I did: he was a history teacher in the local Christian Brothers Secondary
School in Nenagh. I accepted his very generous offer to guide us, so we planned a rendevous on August 1 at the Heritage Center
Emily, my wife, anticipated that our Irish visit would
be another boring two or three days’ wait while Tom did research in dusty old libraries. She did not think the trip
would turn into a first-class adventure tour. She was unprepared for the Formula One driving style affected by Irish drivers
on the highways, nor for the approach of lorries(trucks) at high speed on the wrong side of the road (for an American). She
was certainly completely unprepared for the kind of welcome that Tom and Emily received from their Tipperary correspondents.
We arrived at the Heritage Center in Nenagh after a challenging
25 mile drive from our motel in Limerick. The Heritage Center was in the four story granite Governor’s House in Nenagh.
This eight sided structure was the central core building of the old County prison, that was converted into a convent after
the end of the division of Tipperary in the 1880's. When a better convent was built to the rear of this octagonal four story
stone structure, it became the Heritage Center and museum. The second floor had an exhibit on local history, and the research
center was situated on the first floor.
Nora O’Meara turned out to be a very pleasant,
efficient women in her mid thirties. She promptly rang Daniel Grace in his home in Ardcrony about five miles north of Nenagh.
While we were waiting for him, we toured the exhibits and the old gatehouse where the cells of condemned murderers were located.
The prison at Nenagh, built around the central octagonal core, had six cell blocks that radiated from the core, a design pioneered
by John Haviland’s Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Five of the six cell blocks had been demolished
to make way for the new convent.
Daniel Grace fit the American image of an Irish secondary school
teacher, tall, good-looking, shock of grey hair, blue eyes and a chronic sense of humor. He found us sitting on the steps
of the Heritage Center. Since he knew the history of Tipperary North like the backof his hand, he knew where the Darcy homestead
had been. He also knew that the gravestone readings from four different graveyards in the vicinity included Darcy graves.
Nora O’Meara quickly copied all these readings for us. Of course, he knew who Murtagh Darcy, the Poor Law guardian was,
and had lined up a visit to two farms to meet relatives who were his descendants.
To avoid any chance of a missed stop, Danny offered to
drive us. We jumped into his car and started northwest towards the crossroads village of Puckaun. Danny told us the chapel
there, on the site of an 18th century mass house, had been built by the Darcy family in 1859. A visit to this plain
country church with the Latin date stone loosely translated as " James Darcy, Builder" turned up a dedicated station of the
cross in memory of the Darcy family the gift of John Darcy. The Darcy family had left many footprints in and about Puckaun.
Danny Grace then spirited us away to the southwest to
the hill of Killadangan, overlooking Lough Derg two miles to the west, to the Fogarty farmstead. Winnifred "Winny" Fogarty
met us at her door yard, a very modern homestead on the top of Killadangan hill, apologizing that her husband was busy at
work, and was not available to give us a brief run down on the former inhabitants of their farm. Danny guided us down hill
past a 19th century cottage and barn yard to the foot of the hill where a third, vine covered abandoned stone cottage
stood next to a manure yard and modern barn. We climbed out of Danny’s Peugot and scrambled over the weeds into the
tumbled down old place. According to Grace, this was the original Darcy cottage that dated back to the 18th century,
last inhabited more than 30 years ago by an elderly descendant of the original owner, Murtagh Darcy.
The lower floor of the wrecked cottage once had an impressive
mantel and fireplace, now removed. The stairs were intact leading to the second floor and Danny and I climbed them to inspect
the ruins of the upper level. Clearly a substantial building in its day this old derelict was the Darcy family’s homestead.
I took photos with a disposable camera we had thought to buy before coming to Nenagh.
After our tour and photographic, we climbed the hill
to Winnie Fogarty’s house where we were treated to lunch (sandwiches and Irish tea) and a visit with Winnie and her
son Michael. She was a grammar school mate of Danny Grace at the national school at Puckaun. The Darcy family connection was
with her husband, so she again apologized for not being able to help us as we consumed her fine sandwiches and drank her good
Danny had another stop in mind for us at Newtown, about
four miles from Puckaun. In the course of meandering over the hills of Tipperary, he paused at Dromineer to permit us to inspect
the castle and photograph the swans swimming in Lough Derg. It was a very short drive to Newtown to the cottage of Michael
Ryan, age about 90. Danny explained he had saved this stop for last because we would not have been able to get away had we
gone there first.
Michael Ryan was a descendant of Murtagh Darcy on his
mother’s side and a walking encyclopedia of Darcy family history. We filed into his cozy parlor and sat down at table
with Ryan and his wife, a former British Army nurse. Ryan started the family tale, appropriately for him, with the story of
a 1920 or 1921 ambush of a British lorry convoy nearby in which one of the Darcy men had been an instrumental part. Then we
got into the main business of our call: what could Ryan tell us about Morty Darcy and his descendants? Ryan started a story
beginning in 1822 when Morty Darcy was evicted from his farm at Morty’s Quay in the neighboring parish of Castletownarra
and moved to Killadangan with his family. Ryan could recall only one son, Daniel of Killadangan, who took over the farm from
his father, who lived to be 101. He thought there were more, but he did not know who they were. Ryan told us that Morty had
been flogged in 1798 at Nenagh for his part in the 1798 uprising against British rule. He then traced the family line from
Daniel of Killadangan down to his mother and himself, while I scribbled notes as fast as I could. We took photos of the Ryans
for the scrap book.
When Danny Grace dropped us at our rented car that afternoon,
we had the best day of the trip behind us. We had a small wooden cupboard catch from the Darcy homestead, a note pad full
of information, photographs of the places and people in and around Puckaun that were our relatives in the old country, and
a dozen leads to follow with further research at the National Library in Dublin and at home via microfilm from the Mormon
Church family History Library.
When we got back to the United States, I started following
up on our leads. I also decided to write Dennis Lowery.the Washington County, New York, archivist on the off-chance that he
might have something I didn’t find on the Dorsey family back in 1979. The county did not have a full-time archivist
in 1979. I found out very quickly that Lowery had been indexing records that had never been indexed before, including boxed
naturalization records. Lowery was able to find Murt Dorsey’s 1847 affidavit of naturalization giving his age, month
in which he was born, birth place, his port of departure for North America, and his landing in Quebec and the all-important
dates of departure and arrival. My Murt Darcy was a native of County Carlow, fifty miles to the east of Tipperary.
B. Murtagh Dorsey, b. Mar. 1812 - d. Apr. 9, 1883.
I made a thorough search of all public records in the
Washington County, New York, court house in Fort Edward in 1979. At that time, naturalizations were not indexed and were in
boxes of loose papers in the Court House. In 2000, Dennis W. Lowery, the Washington County, New York Archivist, located Murtagh
Dorsey’s naturalization papers. On 25 May 1847, Murtagh Dorsey (who spelled his name "Mirt Dorsy" for purposes of his
naturalization papers) stated that he was born in the Town of Rathnagg, County Carlow. He was thirty-five years of age as
of March, 1847, and boarded ship for North America at Waterford on 21 April 1842, arriving at Quebec in June, 1842. Dorsey
then informed the Clerk of Court that he left Quebec for Peru, Clinton County, New York where he lived for two years before
settling in Washington County.10
In those times, two or three-masted sailing ship called
packet ships were the transatlantic work-horse that hauled passengers and cargo from Great Britain to her North American possessions.
These ships invariably returned to Great Britain with cargoes of Canadian lumber. The packet ship had a deck-house cabin for
well-to-do passengers with a hold fitted out with bunks for the steerage passengers. The captain’s quarters were aft
in the stern, and the crew bunked in the forecastle. Most Irish emigrants could afford nothing better than steerage. The ship’s
master was bound to provide food and water for his steerage passengers by law, but only enough to keep them alive for a four
weeks’ passage. Most passengers had to buy additional food to take with them to avoid starvation.
Murtagh and Catherine Darcy probably took ship in a packet
called the Thistle, a two masted brig whose skipper was Mr. Thomas. This vessel departed Waterford on 21 April 1842
and arrived at Gross Isle outside Quebec City on 31 May.11 Its passengers probably disembarked the next day. The
emigrant ships from England and Ireland usually departed in April in order to arrive at the ancient walled city of Quebec
in the late spring as soon as the ice that choked the St. Lawrence River broke up. British Lower Canada was not Murt and Catherine
Darcy’s real destination Although no records of their trip survive, it is likely that the Darcy family took passage
in a river steamer or bateaux heading up the St. Lawrence River 50 miles river to Sorel. At Sorel the family would have changed
to a bateaux that followed the course of the Richelieu River from Sorel to the head of Lake Champlain. The family crossed
the invisible line between British Lower Canada and the State of New York, entering the United States. They made a two year
stop at Peru south of Plattsburg where Catherine gave birth to their son Richard in the spring of 1843. A substantial Irish
colony had settled there to work the forges and smithies in that community. The Darcys continued down the Lake, crossed the
watershed to the Hudson River valley into Washington County, on the east side of the Hudson.
Following this discovery, I started to make connections with
other researchers in the United States, Canada and Ireland who were working on related families in Carlow. His affidavit declared
that he emigrated from the townland of Rathnegeragh, County Carlow in April 1842, arriving in Quebec on 1 June 1842. I immediately
went to the Index to the Townlands of Ireland and discovered that Rathnegeragh was in the Barony of Idrone East, Civil Parish
of Fenagh, Myshall Roman Catholic Parish. Brian Mitchell’s A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland identified the Poor Law
Union and the Probate Registry District for lands in the townland. That led to examining the extant index to wills and deed
registry records for real estate transfers in the townland. I found nothing pertaining to anyone with the surname "Darcy,"
but I did learn from this research and Griffiths Primary Valuation that all the land in Rathnegeragh was owned by the Earl
I ordered the Myshall Roman Catholic Parish Register
through the local Mormon Church Stake Library and spend several Saturday mornings extracting information relating to the surname
"Darcy" and as I later discovered our Byrne, Holmes and Murphy relatives. I found the marriage entry for Murt Darcy and Catherine
Murphy, who were married 28 January 1836. The same parish registry listed Murt and Catherine Darcy’s three children
baptized in the same parish:
1. Mary Darcy, baptized 20 January 1837. This infant grew up to become Maria Dorsey,
wife of Cpl. Patrick Cooney, Co C, 30th NY Infantry, of Victory Mills, NY.
2. Ann Darcy, baptized 19 September 1838. No record of this child exists in our
famikly’s New York records. She likely died before Murt & Catherine emigrated to the United States in 1842.
3. Thomas Darcy, baptized 8 January 1841. This was a surprise. My great grandfather,
Thomas M. Dorsey, listed his birthplace as North Greenwich, Washington County, NY, in his Civil War enlistment papers, and
gave his birth date as 1844, a date corroborated more or less by New York and U.S. census returns for 1850, 1855 and 1860.
My best guess is that this Tom Darcy died before 1844, and my great grandfather was given his name to keep the name "Thomas"
alive in the family.
The parish records were full of Darcy marriages and Darcy
baptisms. The Darcy family intermarried with the Byrne, Holmes, Murphy and Stapleton families living in Rathnegeragh, Drumphea
and Collesnaghta, three adjacent townlands located in the southern part of Fennagh Civil Parish. The Roman Catholic parish
of Myshall contains an out-chapel at Drumphea, put up in 1811. It is probable that our family’s marriages and baptisms
took place in the chapel. Thanks to Sheila Connolly of Massachusets, I have a photo of the chapel at Drumphea. The precise connection
between the other Darcy families of these three townlands and our Murt & Catherine Darcy has not been established, because
Murt’s father and mother have not been identified. Here are some likely candidates for other Irish families related
1. Richard Darcy married Catherine Stapleton prior to 1834. They have six children
listed in the Myshall baptismal records from 1834 to 1847, suggesting that this family did not emigrate.
2. Thomas Holmes married Catherine Darcy before 1836. The Holmes had six children
in the Myshall parish baptismal records from 1836 to 1844.
3. Lawrence Darcy married Catherine Murphy before 1839. This couple had two children
baptized in 1839, and the family disappears from the parish register. Interestingly enough, a "Lawrence Dorsey" family shows
up in the New York and U.S. census for Washington County, NY, in Easton, Lawrence Dorsey was born in Ireland as was his wife,
Bridget, according to the 1860 U.S. Census. The couple did not have a son named "Richard" listed in these census reports.
Richard Dorsey of Lebanon, NY enlisted in the 21st New York Cavalry at the same time as my great-grandfather Thomas
M. Dorsey, enlisted. Is this a coincidence?
Using Irish naming customs as a guide, I would conclude
from this that Murt Dorsey’s father was named Thomas or Richard Darcy, because he named his first-borne "Thomas" in
1841, and his second son "Richard" in 1843. The opposite conclusion suggests that Catherine Murphy’s father was named
Thomas or Richard. The usual naming practice in 19th century Ireland was to name the first-born son after the paternal
grandfather, the second after the maternal grandfather. A less common practice reversed this order. I have no idea what the
practice was in the Darcy family in Ireland, but my great grandfather Thomas M. Dorsey named his first born son "James" for
James Gavigan, his maternal grandfather, and his second son "Murt" after his own father. If this custom was the family custom,
then my best guess is that Murt’s father was Richard Darcy. Thomas Murphy would then be Catherine Murphy’s father.
I have searched for estate papers for the 3rd
and 4th Earl of Bessborough to confirm this if possible. The usual custom for Ireland in those times was to rent
land for a two-lives lease. If Murt left Ireland in 1842, there is a chance he surrendered a lease to his landlord, the Earl
of Bessborough, that would identify his father. So far I have not been able to find any relevant leases. The English gentry
did not record farm leases to Irish tenants. The gentry kept the rent rolls and leases, usually in the custody of their solicitors.
So I have much to do. By the way, three researchers have
helped me with information, photos and hints on possible records sources:
1. Sheila Connolly of Quincy, Massachusetts. She is a descendant of the Murphy
and Troy families of Rathnageragh who has visited Drumphea and has done a photo essay on the Drumphea region.
2. Ned Byrne of Bagenalstown, Ireland. Ned is a local historian who knows everything
about everyone. He grew up in the townland of Drumphea, and furnished me with tombstone readings from the Drumphea church
3. Tom Moore of Dublin, Ireland. Tom is probably a distant cousin. He is a Darcy
of Rathagerath. His mother lives near the chapel at Drumphea and has helped me confirm some of the gravestone readings for
To recapitulate: Murtagh Dorsey was born in Ireland around
1812 in the Townland of Rathneegeragh, Barony of Idrone East, County Carlow.12 He married Catherine Murphy 28 January
1836 in the chapel at Drumphea, Roman Catholic parish of Myshall, County Carlow.13 Murt, Catherine and Maria L
Darcy emigrated to British Lower Canada from Waterford in April, 1842, and disembarked at Quebec on 1 June 1842.14
In the summer of 1842, the Dorsey familt stopped in Peru,
moving across the Au Sable River the next year,1843, to Keesville, a factory town in Au Sable Township, ClintonvCounty, on
the border of Essex County. Keesville was a center for the iron industry in those days. It had blast furnaces, drop forges,
rolling and slitting mills as well as specialty shops which turned out cut nails and other iron products.15 There
was great need for unskilled labor, which may explain why Murtagh Dorsey lived there in December, 1843, when his eldest son,
Richard, was born.16 Keesville also had an Irish Catholic church by 1840, staffed by a resident priest.17
By 1845, however, Murtagh Dorsey and his family had moved
about 100 miles southward to the village of North Greenwich, (pronounced "Green Witch"), Greenwich Township, Washington County,
New York, on the east side of the Hudson River about 30 miles north of Albany. Two more sons were born between 1845 and 1847,
18 when Murtagh Dorsey bought a cottage with seven acres on the eastern edge of North Greenwich. This cottage was
standing in 1979 when I visited North Greenwich. The house cost $275.00, most
of which Murtagh Dorsey borrowed from William Reid, the local storekeeper.19 Most of Murtagh and Catherine Dorsey's children were born and raised in this cottage.
By 1866, Murtagh Dorsey could afford to sell his cottage
and buy a more pretentious Greek Revival house a mile north of North Greenwich in Argyle Township.20 Argyle Township
had originated as a mid-eighteenth century colonization scheme for resettling Scottish Highlanders in the New World. The Duke of Argyle bought several thousand acres in New York and resettled his crofters
in large lots. Murt Dorsey bought his second farm from one of the descendants of these Scottish settlers, James Stewart.21
Murtagh Dorsey lived in this house until his death
April 9, 1883. However, shortly before his death, he deeded the farm to his son, Lawrence Dorsey, in return for a life care
arrangement for himself and his wife.21 Catherine Dorsey outlived her husband by several years, dying in the Village of Victory,
Saratoga Township, Saratoga County, New York around 1885. Murtagh and Catherine Dorsey were interred in unmarked graves in
the Victory public cemetery, Saratoga Township.22 This cemetery is located within a few rods of the Saratoga Victory Monument.
The cemetery is laid out along old trench lines left by the British Army after its defeat by Gen. Horatio Gates in 1777.
Murtagh and Catherine Dorsey had at least nine
children, seven of whom apparently survived to become adults: Maria L., wife of Patrick Cooney; Richard, who married
his brother's widow, Bridget Gavican Dorsey; Thomas, Bridget's first husband, and a Civil War veteran, Michael, who
may have emigrated to Texas around 1870; Lawrence, the stay behind son who took over the home farm and married a local
woman; Catherine who died in 1861; Murtagh J., who married Kate Banks of Kankakee County, Illinois, and John H. Dorsey,
who eventually settled in Chicago, Illinois.
1. The name "Dorsey", a corruption of "D'Arcy" is a place name indicating that the original
D'Arcy came from the town of Arcy in Normandy. The complete genealogy of the Irish Dorsey family appears in three different
publications with minor differences. Sir Bernard Burke's Irish Peerage (1896) gives the line from Sir Richard D'Arcy through
the resident titleholder at New Forest, County Galway in 1895. John O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees 401-02 (Dublin, 1987) (Geneological
Book Co. reprint, 1976) nearly duplicates Burke. Hardiman's History of the Town and County of Galway 11-12 (Dublin, 1820 )
(Beacon Printing Co. reprint, 1975) gives a variation of the lineage, based on Lodge's Peerage. All three indicate that Sir
Richard D'Arcy was a descendant of David D'Arcy.
2. Burke's Irish Peerage 275-76. See also Burke's General Armory (1896).
3. Hardiman, 11-12.
4. This alternative to the traditional descent of the D'Arcy families of Connaught is proposed by O'Hart. O'Hart
fails to explain why a Gaelic family would bear the same arms as an Anglo-Norman family. The Ulster King of Arms would probably
not issue a patent for the Anglo-Norman arms to a native Irish chieftan.
5. O'Hart 401-02.
6. Hardiman 11 -12.
9. Hardiman, Appendix Number VII lists the survey and valuation of all houses confiscated in Galway
by the the Cromwellians, which shows several houses and lots owned by various D'Arcy families which were confiscated, and
their English owners in 1657. Similar forfeitures in the Liberties of Galway are listed in Appendix Number VI. The D'Arcy
family appears in several episodes cited by Hardiman. In 1635, Martin D'Arcy, Sheriff of Galway, was arrested, brought to
Dublin and thrown in prison, where he died. Peter D'Arcy was taken hostage by Lord Clanrickard in 1642 upon the capitulation
of the Town of Galway. Ibid. 94, 114. James II nominated Patrick D'Arcy, Oliver D'Arcy and Martin D'Arcy burgesses
of Galway in 1687. Ibid. 153.
10. Naturalization affidavit, Mirt[sic] Dorsey, Washington County, NY dated 25 May 1847, miscellaneous naturalization
papers, Washington Co, NY.
11. Lloyd’s List for the week of 1 June, 1842 showed only two vessels that came close to matching
Murt Dorsey’s migration from Waterford to Quebec: the Thistle and a ship that did not arrive in Quebec until
after 1 June.
12. Naturalization affidavit of Mirt Dorsey, Washington Co. NY, Misc. Papers.
13. Parish Register, Myshall R.C. Parish, County Carlow. The U.S. Census, Argyle Twp., Washington Co. New York, 21,
HH 88, stating that Edward Haley, a brother in law, was residing with Murtagh and Catherine Dorsey. At the same time, Maria
L. Cooney reported in the 1880 census for the Village of Victory, Saratoga Twp., Saratoga Co., New York, p. 387, household
380, that her aunt, Bridget Haley, was residing in her family. Just how these Haleys are related to Murt and Catherine Dorsey
14. Naturalization affidavit of Mirt Dorsey, Washinton Co. NY, miscellaneous papers.
15. A complete description of the village of Keesville appears in A. Hurd, History of Clinton and Franklin Counties, New
York, pp. 207-09 (Philadelphia, 1880, reprinted New York, 1978).
16. Obit. Richard Dorsey, Mitchel County, Iowa Free Press Mar. 15, 1922, (p. & col. unk.).
17. Hurd, 207-09.
18. Thomas M. Dorsey was born ca. 1845, and Michael Dorsey was born ca. 1846-47. Both were listed in the 1850 U.S.
Census as sons of Murtagh Dorsey.
19. Warranty deed from Alonzo Ensign and Dorothy, his wife, to "Marck" Dorsey, dated May 1, 1847, recorded Jun. 2,
1847, Deed Record 16, p. 145, Washington Co., New York; Mortgage from Murt Dorsey and Katherine, his wife, to William Reid,
dated May 1, 1847, recorded Jun. 2, 1847, Mortgage Record TT, page 386, Washington C., New York.. William Reid is listed as
a store keeper at North Greenwich from 1816 until his death in 1860. C. Johnson, History of Washington County, New York, 354
20. Warranty deed from James Stewart and Anna, his wife, to Murt Dorsey, dated April 2, 1866, recorded April 6, 1866, Deed
Record 56, page 294, Washington Co., New York. Murtagh Dorsey paid cash for this land. The old Dorsey house was described
to the author by an unnamed long-time resident of Greenwich as a white frame farm house.
21. Johnson, Ibid.
CHAPTER TWO: THE SECOND GENERATION: CHILDREN OF MURTAGH AND CATHERINE DORSEY
11. Maria Lousia Dorsey (b. bef 20 Jan/ 1837 - d. 9 Sep. 1886). Maria Louisa Dorsey was born in the Townland of Rathneegeragh,
Myshall Parish, Barony of Idrone East, County Carlow, Ireland. She was baptized 20 January 1837in the Chapel at Drumphea.1
She traveled to North America with her parents, and resided with them in Clinton and Washington Counties, New York until about
1860 when she took a job as a seamstress at Victory Mills, Saratoga Township Saratoga County, New York.2 For a
while, she boarded with the family of Charles Clements until she married Cpl. Patrick Cooney of Victory Mills, NY, 6 June
1863 in Schuylerville, Saratoga County, New York.3 Patrick Cooney was a brick mason who enlisted in Co C, 30th
New York Infantry at the outbreak of the War Between the States. The 30th New York was a two year regiment that was part of
the Original Iron Brigade, Army of the Potomac, during some of the greatest battles of the war.4 Patrick Cooney
was captured by the Confederates November 16, 1861, near Fairfax Court House, Virginia, and taken to Castle Thunder Prison,
Richmond, Virginia. Pvt. Cooney was paroled February 22, 1862 at Newport News, Virginia.5 Pvt. Cooney drew a long
furlough home, and did not report to his unit until November, 1862, missing the Penninsula Campaign, the Second Battle of
Manasses, South Mountain and Antietam. However, Patrick Cooney saw action in the Battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862,
and in the Chancellorsville Campaign of May, 1863.6
Patrick Cooney married Maria Dorsey shortly before his regiment was mustered out of the service in June, 1863 at Albany.
The Cooneys bought a house in Victory, near the cotton mill, and started their family. Eventually, Patrick developed rheumatic
heart disease, which turned him into an invalid. Maria Cooney continued working at the mill, until, worn out with exhaustion,
she died September 9, 1886, at 49. Patrick survived her less than a year, dying in August, 1887.7 Patrick and Maria
Cooney had ten children, eight of whom survived them. The eight who lived to become adults were Ellen, Murtagh, George Catherine,
Patrick, Jr. and Maria Louisa, the twins, Sarah and Charles.8
12 Ann Darcy (b. bef. 19 Sep. 1838- d. bef. Apr. 1842). Ann Darcy was baptized 19 September 1838 in the Roman Catholic
Parish of Myshall, County Carlow, probably in the chapel at Drumphea. No record of this child exists in our family’s
New York records. She likely died before Murt & Catherine emigrated to the United States in 1842.9
13. Thomas Darcy (b. bef. 8 Jan. 1841- d. bef. Apr. 1842). The first Thomas Darcy was baptized 8 January 1841. My best
guess is that this Tom Darcy died before 1844, and my great grandfather was given his name to keep the name "Thomas" alive
in the family.10
14. Richard M. Dorsey (b. Dec. 30, 1843 - d. Mar. 9,1922 ). Richard Dorsey was born in Keesville, Clinton County, New
York on the last day of 1843.11 He lived with his parents in Clinton and Washington Counties, New York, growing
up and attending grammar school in North Greenwich, New York. After the usual six years of schooling prevailing in those days,
Dick hired out to a neighboring farmer. In 1860,he was working for Gardner Tucker in North Greenwich.12 There is
no evidence that Dick Dorsey served in the War Between the States. In 1870, Richard Dorsey was boarding at the residence of
Alanson Wilcre in Argyle, Washington County, New York. He listed his occupation as stage driver.13 In 1868 the
Greenwich, New York Peoples' Journal noted that Dick Dorsey was involved in racing horse drawn cutters on the lake
ice on local ponds. Some time between 1870 and 1873, Dick Dorsey left Washington County, New York, and moved to Will County,
Illinois, where his younger brother, Tom Dorsey, had gone into business as a saloon keeper.
Dick Dorsey is the principal figure in an October, 1873, article in the Wilmington, Illinois Advocate which describes
how a young man named Willet was tossed out of Dorsey's Billiard Saloon by the proprietor. Willet pulled out a revolver and
began shooting at the establishment, threatening to take Dorsey's life. The local police were called in to restore order.14
Richard Dorsey apparently took over the Billiard Saloon after his younger brother Tom's sudden death in February, 1873.
He eventually married Tom Dorsey's widow, Bridget Gavican Dorsey, November 2, 1875, in Wilmington, Illinois.15
It is unclear whether the Dorsey Saloon was continued after 1875. At any rate, Dick Dorsey branched out into cattle and livestock
auctioneering. His auctioneering advertisements begin in the Wilmington, Advocate around 1875 and appear periodically
until his migration from Illinois to Iowa in the mid 1880's.16 The Dorsey Auction Room and Sales Barn was located
across from the Chicago & Alton railroad depot. The old building, converted into a residence about 70 years ago, is still
Dick Dorsey also got into local politics. He was elected alderman for the First Ward of the City of Wilmington in 1882,
and represented his ward until 1886. The Advocate carried several stories on city council meetings which included comments
on Alderman Dorsey.17
In 1886 or 1887, Dick Dorsey and his family left Illinois and moved to Mitchel County, Iowa, in the north central part
of that state. The Dorseys lived on a farm in Rock Township, outside Osage, which Dick Dorsey had purchased in partnership
with a Chicago businessman. Dick continued to act as a livestock auctioneer, and began breeding high quality draft horses.
In 1906, Mr. and Mrs. Dorsey moved from the farm to a house in nearby Osage. Dick Dorsey was semi-retired from 1906 until
his death March 9, 1922.18 Bridget Dorsey survived her husband. She lived until June 5, 1924.19
Richard and Bridget Dorsey had five children: Francis, John M., Catherine, William J., and Mary Dorsey.20
15. Thomas M. Dorsey.(b. ca. 1845 - d. Feb. 17, 1873). Tom Dorsey, the third child and second son of Murtagh and
Catherine Dorsey, was born in Washington County, New York, around 1845.21 Tom Dorsey grew up in North Greenwich
and attended grammar school there. In 1860, he was a hired hand living with the family of Isaac Hanks in North Greenwich.22
In the summer of 1863, about the same time his older sister, Maria, married Patrick Cooney, Tom Dorsey ran away from home
and enlisted in the Union Army. Tom Dorsey, barely 17, passed himself off as 23,23 and managed to enlist in the
21st New York Cavalry Regiment, which was being raised in Troy and Rochester, New York, by two veteran officers, Col. William
Tibbits and Lt.Col Charles Fitzsimmons.24
Tom Dorsey was assigned to Company "E". Shortly after his enlistment, the regiment was mobilized and was sent by steamboat
and by rail to Washington, D.C. At that time all cavalry regiments in the eastern theatre were trained at the Cavalry Depot
located in Giesboro, Maryland. The Giesboro depot was located on what is now Andrews Air Force Base. The 21st New York Cavalry
received its weapons, horses and riding tack at this station. The regiment also got five months' basic training in riding,
horse care and cavalry tactics.25 When the regiment completed basic training in January, 1864, it was assigned
to the Shenandoah Valley, under the command of Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel. Union forces serving in the Shenandoah Valley sector
of the Virginia front had been badly led and severely mauled by a succession of Confederate commanders, beginning with Maj.
Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's Valley campaign of the spring of 1862. The 21st New York Cavalry reached the front in February, 1864,
in time to be sent on long range reconnaissance patrols, to do picket duty, and other routine cavalry chores before the spring
campaigning season sent Sigel's army in motion southward. Union grand strategy for 1864 called for a simultaneous advance
by western forces led by Maj. Gen. William Sherman, in the direction of Atlanta, by the Army of the Potomac led by Maj. Gen.
George Meade across the Rappahannock River toward Richmond, and by Gen. Sigel southward "up" the Shenandoah Valley toward
Staunton. This grand strategy was coordinated by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, Chief of Staff of the Union Army, under express
orders from Lt. Gen.Ulyssus Grant.26
According to plan, Sigel was to seize Staunton, midway up the Shenandoah Valley. Once Staunton was taken, the Union would
control a vital rail junction and cut off a major source of supplies for the Confederacy. Sigel was then supposed to strike
south easterly over the Blue Ridge Mountains at Lynchburg, Virginia, the largest Confederate supply depot and transportation
center west of Richmond. Gen. Sigel split his command into three attack groups. One attack group, consisting of an infantry
division led by Brig. Gen. George Crook, set out from Charleston, West Virginia for Staunton. A second West Virginia attack
group, a reinforced cavalry division under Brig. Gen. William W. Averell, was under orders to destroy Confederate salt works
at Saltville, Virginia, and break the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad between Saltville and the Black River. Gen. Sigel
took personal command of the third attack group, an infantry division commanded by Brig. Gen. Jeremiah Sullivan and a Cavalry
Division commanded by Maj. Gen. Julius Stahel. Tom Dorsey's regiment was brigaded with other New York and Pennsylvania units
On May 15, 1864, Sigel's attack group collided with Confederate infantry and dismounted cavalry at New Market Virginia.
The Federal army was repulsed by a brilliant attack led by Confederate Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge. The 21st New York Cavalry
was posted on the Union left, between the Valley Pike and a stream known as Smith's Creek. Early in the engagement, the cavalry
charged a Confederate artillery battery and its infantry support, and was turned back by well aimed rifle fire. Later in the
afternoon, the regiment was assigned rear guard duties, and had to cover the Federal withdrawal across the bridge at Meem's
Gen. Sigel was relieved of command by Gen. Grant, and was replaced by Maj. Gen. David Hunter. In late May, 1864, Hunter
started his main attack group southward toward Staunton again. This time, Hunter was able to soundly thrash a motly Confederate
force of around 5,000 at Piedmont, Virginia, a few miles north of Staunton. on June 5, 1864. The cavalry, under Gen. Stahel,
played an extremely important part in this engagement. The 21st New York fought dismounted, using its breech loading carbines
with great effect on Confederate infantry. Gen. Stahel was wounded, but refused to leave the field. Later, he would receive
the Congressional Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry displayed on this field.29
Gen. Hunter pressed on after the Battle of Piedmont, taking Staunton June 8, and uniting the three attack groups at Staunton
into a 18,000 man strike force. Hunter pushed on to Lexington, pausing to burn the Virginia Military Institute and the home
of Governor John Letcher. His army then crossed the Blue Ridge and struck at the outposts of Lynchburg, Virginia. Suddenly,
Gen. Hunter lost his nerve and broke off the attack on Lynchburg. He began an ill- considered retreat back across the Blue
Ridge and inexplicably westward towaerd Charleston, West Virginia.
By doing so, Hunter allowed a Confederate army corps under Maj. Gen. Jubal Early to move unopposed down the Shenandoah
Valley toward Washington, D.C. Gen. Grant hastily diverted two army corps away from the Richmond front to defend Washington,
which materially reduced his forces and prolonged the struggle in Virginia for many months. For his decision to abandon his
theatre of combat to the enemy, Gen. Hunter was sacked and replaced by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan.30 Tom Dorsey's
regiment went through the agony of the retreat from Lynchburg. Like most cavalry regiments, both horses and men went hungry
for lack of proper quartermaster planning. The army stumbled out of the mountains early in July, unfit for anything. Despite
the weakened condition of men and animals, Washington viewed the situation so desperately that Hunter's cavalry divisions
were loaded on steamers at Charleston, West Virginia, unloaded at Parkersburg on the Ohio River, and sent on Baltimore &
Ohio railroad trains to Martinsburg, West Virginia at the north end of the Shenandoah Valley, where the 21st New York was
pulled off the train and sent chasing after Gen. Early.31
In late August, the regiment was sent to remount camp in Cumberland Maryland for rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, Tom
Dorsey did not make that trip. He had become ill on the retreat from Lynchburg and was sent to the military hospital at Annapolis,
Maryland. Tom was in hospital until September, 1864, when he was sent back to his unit in time to rejoin the fighting. The
21st New York rejoined Gen. Sheridan's army after the Battle of Cedar Creek. It was in almost continuous action from November,
1864 until the end of the war, skirmishing with Confederate detachments, and participating in the awful mid-December expedition
against Gordonsville, Virginia.32
At war's end, the 21st New York Cavalry was not mustered out of Federal service. Instead, it was sent west to Colorado
Territory to mann Ft. Collins, a military post some 50 miles out of Denver. The regiment was assigned to guarding stage coaches
and wagon trains, since the region was in the midst of a five year Indian war.33 In late 1865, Tom Dorsey was promoted
to corporal. He was mustered out of Federal service July 3, 1866, and allowed to make his way east on his own.34
Tom Dorsey apparently returned to Washington County, New York for a year or so.35 However, by 1867 or 1868,
he had relocated to Wilmington, Will County, Illinois. On August 6, 1868, he married Bridget Gavican, daughter of James Gavican
and Mary Martin, in Wilmington.36 Bridget was the second child of James and Mary Gavican, who had emigrated from
County Longford, Ireland, with their oldest child, John, between 1842 and 1850.37 The Gavicans settled in Wilmington
Township, not far from Wilmington, where they raised a large family.
Tom and Bridget Dorsey had three sons born to them during their short marriage: James M, born September 7,1869, Thomas,
born January 2, 1870 (died the same day), and Murtagh, born December 30, 1870, died January 30, 1871.38
Tom Dorsey apparently invested his enlistment bounty money in real estate in Wilmington. He purchased a business building
across from the Chicago & Alton Railroad depot which he turned into a billiards saloon, and several vacant lots about
town.39 Tom Dorsey is listed as the proprietor of a saloon in an Illinois Commercial Gazetteer published in the
1870's40 Thomas M. Dorsey died suddenly of inflammation of the lungs February 17, 1873, in Wilmington, Illinois.
He was survived by his widow, Bridget, who later married his older brother, Dick, and by his three year old son, James.41
16. Michael J. Dorsey (b. ca. 1847 - d. unknown). Michael Dorsey, two years younger than his brother, Tom, cannot
be accounted for at this time. There is a persistent family legend that either Michael or Murtagh Dorsey went to Texas after
the War Between the States, but no convincing evidence of this migration has been located. In 1860, Michael, aged 13, was
living at home with his parents. In 1870, he is gone without any explanation. He was not mentioned in any family settlement
17 . Lawrence Dorsey (b. ca. 1849 - d. between 30 Aug. 1887 and 11 Apr. 1888). Lawrence "Lorra" Dorsey, the fourth
son of Murtagh and Catherine Dorsey, was born in Washington County, New York and remained on the home farm, caring for his
parents until his father died in 1883.43 Sometime between 1870 and 1880, Lorra Dorsey married Catherine, who pre-deceased
him.44 Lorra and Catherine Dorsey had two children, John R. and Frances Dorsey.45
In 1883, Lawrence Dorsey, Catherine, his mother, and Maria Louisa Cooney signed an agreement which released Maria's claims
against the home farm, in return for a $450 cash payment made to Catherine for her support. Maria agreed to care for her mother.
None of the other Dorsey children participated in this settlement agreement. Lorra and his wife continued to live on the Dorsey
farm until the early 1890's. Lorra died sometime after he made out his will in 1887. His wife, Catherine, and his son, John
R. Dorsey, died before 1887. Frances Dorsey was orphaned. She was put out to the Misses Welch of Fort Edward, New York, to
raise. Lorra left his entire estate to his younger brother, John H. Dorsey, except for a charge on John Dorsey's legacy to
pay for his daughter's care.46
18. Catherine Dorsey (b. ca. 1852 - d. 1861). Catherine Dorsey was born in Washington County, New York, around 1852.
She appears in the 1860 New York State census return for her father's household, but does not appear in any later census.
She died in 1861 and is buried in the family plot at Victory Cemetery, Saratoga County, New York.47
19. Murtagh J. Dorsey (b. ca. 1853 - d. unknown). Murtagh Dorsey is something of a shadow figure. Although his life
story is better known than that of Michael or even Lawrence, the sum of his life history at this writing is very short. Murtagh
Dorsey was born about 1853 in Washington County, New York. Murtagh appears in the 1860 and 1870 United States Census for Washington
County, New York, residing with his parents. He does not appear in the 1880 census.48 In 1882, a short article
in the Wilmington, Advocate describes the wedding of Murtagh J. Dorsey to Ms. Kate Banks of Union Hill, Kankakee County,
Illinois. The Dorseys told the newspaper that Murt and his wife were going to reside in Chicago.49 Nothing more
is known of Murt Dorsey's life.
20. John H. Dorsey (b. ca. 1856 - d. after 1922). John Dorsey was the baby of the family. He was born around 1856
in Washington County, New York. John Dorsey lived in Washington County up to the late 1880's.50 He married Mary
and had two children, Fanny E. and Thomas M. Dorsey.51 Mary Dorsey died before 1892. John Dorsey relocated to Chicago,
Illinois, leaving his children behind in the care of his wife’s relations. When Lawrence Dorsey died in 1892, John Dorsey
was living in Chicago.52 In 1907, John Dorsey made a trip to Wilmington to visit relatives and to help a friend,
Alderman Whalen, buy a horse.53 By 1910, John Dorsey was living on Peoria St. in Chicago with his second
wife Belle, and four children. 54 John Dorsey was still living in 1922, when he attended his brother's funeral
in Osage, Iowa.55 John Dorsey married again married and had several children. Madeline Dorsey was supposed to have
kept touch with John Dorsey's daughters, but nothing further has been located on John Dorsey's family at this time.
1. Baptismal record. Myshall R.C. Parish County Carlow, Ireland for 1837 (unpaginated).
2. U.S. Census of population 1860. Village of Victory, Saratoga Twp.. Saratoga Co., New York, 525 HH 2037 (Charles Clements* boarding house).
3. Marriage certificate. Fr. J. Hoffman, pastor of Visitation Roman Catholic Church. Schuylervilie, New York. executed
April 28. 1888, attached to pension application #289049, minor heirs of Patrick Cooney. deceased. NARA.
4. This brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen John Hatch and later by Cot. Walter Phelps. was composed of the 22nd,
24th and 30th New York infantry, the 84th (14th Brooklyn) New York Infantry and the 2nd
U.S. Sharpshooters Regiments. When the brigade was dissolved in June,1863, its name was assumed by Brig. Gen. John Gibbon*s brigade for the duration of the war.
5. Compiled military service record. Cpl. Patrick Cooney. Co. "C". 30th New York Infantry, U.S. Vols, NARA. See also invalid*s pension application #3 14839. Patrick
Cooney. dated Jun. 22, 1880. NARA. Patrick Cooney stated in his invalid*s pension application that he sprained his knee at Belle Plaine, VA. Feb. 12, 1862. and was
taken prisoner February 22. 1862. being released in June, 1862. The War Department records attached to his pension application
provide the following explanation:
A detachment of this Regt. while with forage train was captured at Dulin*s Farm. Nov. 16, 61. Prisoner of war records show him (Cooney) captured at Dulin*s Farm - Nov. 16, 61, Confd at Richmond
Va. Nov. l861. paroled at Newport News. Feby 22, 62. Reported at Camp Parole, Md. date
not given. Sent to Aquia Creek or Alex. Va. Nov. 62.
See also F. Phisterer, New York in the War of the Rebellion 1861 to 1865
, 2078 (3rd Ed. Albany, N.Y., 1912).
7. Death certificate of Maria L. Cooney, attached to Pension Application #289049, minor heirs of Patrick Cooney, deceased,
8. U.S. Census of Population 1880. Saratoga County. NY, p. 387. HH 380.
9. Baptismal records, Myshall Parish. County Cariow, 1838 (unpaginated).
10. Ibid.. 1841 (unpaginated).
11. Obit. Richard Dorsey, Mitchell County, Iowa. Free Press Mar. 15. 1922.
12. New York State Census. Village of North Greenwich. Greenwich Twp.. Washington Co., New York, dwelling 717. house hold
of Gardner Tucker.
13. U.S. Census 1860, Washington County, NY, Argyle Twp., p. 4 HH 64 (Alanson Wilcre).
14. The full account in the Wilmington, Illinois Advocate for Oct. 4. 1873. p. 1. col. 2 is as follows:
C.W. Willet. a young man who had been employed in Gurney*s livery stable, in this city, for several weeks was brought before Police Magistrate Mcintosh on Wednesday morning,
charged with assault with intent to kill. From the evidence adduced on trial, it appears that young Willet entered Dorse~s
billiard saloon on the evening previous at about 8 o*clock and indulged in two or three games of billiards. It was evident
that he had been drinking, but apparently not to any great extent: during the playing
he made insulting remarks to by standers and made his presence odious generally.
After the game (in which he was defeated) he monopolized the billiard table, "fooling
with the balls, and keeping other customers waiting for the table. On being asked to sit down quietly or leave, he fancied
his dignity insulted and became more abusive than ever. When his conduct became unbearable, the proprietor*s patience was exhausted and he seized Willet and ejected him without
ceremony at a side door. W. asked to he let in again that he ‘night get his coat and pay his bill; he was told to come
in and get his coat -- never mind his bill -- but that he must keep quiet or leave. W*s language and threats after getting in again, became worse than before -- in fact, unfit for print -- when lie was again put out, falling over the stoop railing at the side door. Mr. Dorsey then stepped
inside and bolted the door, when a pistol shot was heard and a ball struck the building. Still unsatisfied. W. hung around
the house, swearing he would watch all night to get a shot at Dorsey. etc., etc.
In short, a warrant was taken out and Willet was incarcerated in the "stone jug" near the Stewart House. On trial, Wednesday
niorning. the prisoner was found guilty, bonded
over for trial, his bail being placed at $1,0000. Failing to get bail, he was committed to the county jail on Wednesday
As there were no other persons named "Dorsey" living in Wilmington at the time, the article referred to Richard Dorsey.
15. Marriage license and return. Richard Dorsey to Bridget Dorsey. issued Oct. 21, 1875. marriage executed Nov. 2. 1875.
by Fr. Thomas O*Gara. St. Rose Roman Catholic
Church, Wilmington. Illinois. See also marriage certificate, executed Nov. 2. 1875, St. Rose Church, Wilmington, Illinois.
certified by Fr. George Kuzma. May 17. 1979.
16. See Wilniington Advocate for Oct. 4, Oct. 11. Nov. 1. Nov. 8, 1878.
17. See Wilmington Advocate for Apr.13, Apr. 18, 1883, Mar. 26. 1886.
Minutes of Wilmington City Council, Mar. 21. Mar. 23. 1882 (election returns).
18. Obit. Mitchel County Free Press Mar. 15. 1922.
19. Petition for letters of administration and final report of estates of Richard Dorsey and Bridget Dorsey, deceased,
Mitchel County. Iowa, District Court, filed Jul. 15, 1931 by William J. Dorsey, administrator; Obit. Bridget Dorsey. Mitchel
County Free Press Jul. 19, 1924.
20. U.S. Census of Population, Mitchell Co. IA. ED 117. p. 14B, HH.
21. Thomas M. Dorsey*s birth date is inferred
from his stated age in U.S.Census of population 1850, Village of North Greenwich. Greenwich Twp., Washington Co., New York,
230, HH 458.
1860, p. 777, HH 1822 (Isaac Hanks). and from his stated age of 26 on his gravestone in Oakwood Cemetery. Wilmington. Illinois.
22. U.S. Census of population. 1860. Village of North Greenwich. Greenwich Twp.. Washington Co. New York. 777. HH 1822
23. Enlistment contract, compiled military service record Cpl. Thomas M. Dorsey, Old Wars Section, NARA. See also original
muster roll. Co. "E". 21st New York Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Vols, Old Wars Section, NARA.Dorsey*s description in the muster roll reads height:5* 7¼", fair complexion. hazel eyes and brown hair.
24. The history of the campaigns of the 21st New York Cavalry Regiment, U.S.
Volunteers is taken from Reed, Tibbits’
Boys: The History of the 21st New York Cavalry (Univ. Press of America 1997). Dornbusch lists only two short articles by Lt. Col. Charles Fitzsimmons describing his
participation in the Battle of New Market and the Lynchburg Expedition. William B. Tibbits
was born and raised in Hoosac. New York. He attended Union College, and studied law briefly, before going into business as
part owner of a mill. In 861, Tibbits volunteered for service in the 2nd New
York Infantry Regiment, a two year outfit, which saw action on the Penninsula, at Second
Manassas. Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He rose from Lieut. to Major in two years. Charles Fitzsimmons was born in
New York City, but was raised in Rochester. In 1861. he enlisted in the 3rd New York Cavalry, became major of the
regiment, and saw a great deal of action in and around New Bern, North Carolina in 1862-63, being wounded at least once. Both
men sought to raise a new regiment in the summer of 1863, but could succeed only by combining their efforts. Tibbits received
a Colonel*s eagle. while Fitzsimmons was designated
25. Ibid., 65-80. The cavalry camp at Gieshoro is featured in Miller, Photographic History of the Civil War 10:1-2
12 (Review of Reviews. New York, 1912).
26. Tibbits* Boys. 104-118. Gen.
Sigel*s version of the opening days of the
spring campaign of
1864 appears in Buell & Johnson. ed., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, 4:487-88 (Century PubI. Co., New York.
1886). (hereafter "Battles & Leaders").
27. Battles and Leaders, 4:491-92.
28. Tibbits* Boys 119-142. The best
available book on the action at New Market is William C. Davis, The Battle of New Market (New York. 1975). The Confederate
side of the battle appears in an article by Brig. Gen. John M. Imboden in Battles and Leaders, 4: 480- 86. Gen. Sigel
tells his side of the story at Ibid., 487-91.
29. Tibbits* Boys 143-60. There
are few good accounts of the Battle of Piedmont. The battle field is practically unmarked, save for a monument at the spot
where Gen. Jones was killed. The battle is not listed in James C. Robertson*s Guide to Virginia Civil War Sites (1985). Roughly 10,000 Federal troops overwhelmed between 4,500
and 6,000 Confederates under the command of Brig. Gen. W. E. "Grumble" Jones. There are two long out of print books which
deal with Piedmont. The first, Milton W. Humphries* A History of the Lynchburg Campaign (Charlottesville, Va. 1924) was written by an elderly professor who had served
in Jones* command as a teen ager in 1864.
l*he second, Sen. Henry A. Dupont, The Campaign
of 1864 in the Valley of Virginia and the Expedition to Lynchburg (New York, 1925) was written by Sen., Dupont of Delaware
in his 80*s. As a young Lieutenant fresh out
of West Point. he had been assigned to the West Virginia theatre, and had become a battery commander in a regular artillery
Both accounts are excellent reviews of this battle and of the Lynchburg campaign. Dupont also gives a very accurate description
of the Battle of New Market. There are two modern accounts of the battle. Marshall M. Brice*s Conquest of a Valley (Charlottesville, VA: Univ. Press of Virginia. 1965) is
an apology for the failure of Confederate leadership during the battle. Scott Patchen*s The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont, Virginia (Fredericksburg. VA: Sergeant
Kirtland*s Museum & Historical Soc*y 1996) is another comprehensive account of this battle.
30. Tibbits*Boys. 161-90. A good
account of Gen. Early*s 1864 raid on Washington.
D.C. is found in Frank Vandiver*s Jubal’s
Raid: General Early’s Famous Attack on Washington in 1864 (Westport. CT. 1974). Hunter*s scorched earth policies preceded Sheridan*s later destruction of civilian supplies and equipment by four months. On the
way to Lynehburg. Hunter burned the Virginia Military Institute and Gov. Letcher*s home in Lexington in retaliation for what he believed was a bush-whacking episode as his troops approached
Lexington. Hunter needed no excuse to destroy civilian factories and warehouses.
32. Ibid., 191-203.
33. Ibid., 218-223.230-43.
34. Ibid. 263-79. 284-96. See also 52. Compiled military service record. Cpl. Thomas M. Dorsey Co. "E", 21st New
York Cavalry Regiment. U.S. Volunteers. Old Wars Section, NARA.
35. Thomas M. Dorsey was godfather for his sister, Maria L. Cooney*s son, Michael. baptised
October 8, 1867 in Schuylerville. Saratoga County, New York, at the Church of the Visitation.
Baptismal record of Michael J. Cooney. Oct. 13. 1868, certified June 10. 1980 by Rev. James F. Toole, pastor, Church of
the Visitation. Sehuvlerville, New York.
36. Marriage record. Thomas M. Dorsey to Bridget Gavican, issued Aug. 5. 1868. returned Aug. 6, 1868, marriage witnessed
by Rev. Bartholomew Lonergan, pastor. St. Rose Roman Catholic Church. Wilmington. Illinois. Records of the Clerk of Court
Will County, IL.
37. The author has compiled a history of the Gaviean family of Lanesboro, County Longford, and is in contact with Gavican
cousins in Counties Longford and Roscommon, some of whom are descendants ol* James Gavican*s older
brother. John, who inherited the family farm near Lanesboro. ‘ftc author has the marriage of James & Mary Gavican
from St. Mary*s parish, Lanesboro. and the
christening record of John Ciaviean, their son.
38. The stones for James & Murtagh Dorsey are adjacent to the grave of their father in Oakwood Cemetery, Wilmington.
39. See Wilmington. Illinois, Advocate, Oct. 4. 1873. p. 1, col. 2; Dec. 13. 1873, page & col. unk.
40. See R.L. Polk. ed.. 1878 Gazeteer of Illinois, 1142 for a representative
listing for R. Dorsey, saloon keeper, Wilmington.
41. Death date from tombstone, Oakwood Cemetery, Wilmington Illinois, and from death notice, Wilmington Advocate Jan. 3. 1873.
42. Michael may very well have died as a youngster.
43. See family settlement agreement by and between Lawrence Dorsey. Maria L. Cooney and Catherine Dorsey, dated Dec. 13.
1883. recorded Dec. 14, 1883. Deed Record 95. p. 187. Washington County. NY: warranty
deed ftom Murt Dorsey and Catherine, his wife, to Lawrence Dorsey. dated Feb. 2, 1883, recorded Feb. 5. 1883, Deed Record
93. p. 249. Washington County, NY.
44. Lawrence Dorsey*s last will & testament
dated Aug. 30. 1887, probated Mar. 9. 1892, Washington County, NY. mentions a deceased wife. Lawrence*s wife is given as "Catherine" in U.S. Census 1880 Washington Co..
NY. Argyle Twp. F 128. p. 20B. HH 64.
45. U.S. Census 1880. Washington County. NY, Argyle Twp.ED128, p.20 B HH64.
46. Last Will & Testament of Lawrence Dorsey, deceased, dated Aug. 30, 1887. probated Mar. 9. 1892, Surrogate*s Court microfilm records. Washington Co., NY. Lawrence
recited in his will that he lived in Kingsbury in 1887. There are no conveyances of the Dorsey farm in South Argyle during
Lawrence*s lifetime. What became of the farm
is a mystery.
47. See U.S. Census 1850. Washington Co. NY. North Greenwich Twp., p.230, HH 458.
48. See U.S. Census 1860 Washington County, NY. North Greenwich Twp., p. 753, HH 1628. Murt may be the "Mertin Dorsey"
who appears as a hired hand in the household of John Ferguson in U.S. Census 1880 Washington County, NY, Argyle Twp., p. 10,
HH 135. Murt does not appear in his father*s
household in the 1880 U.S. Census for Argyle. Washington County. New York.
49. Wilmington Advocate Dec. 22. 1882, p.3, col. 2. Murt Dorsey may be the "M.J. Dorsey" who was paid a $4.00 claim
by the Wilmington City Council August 13. 1877. See Wilmington Advocate Aug. 17, 1877. p. 2. col. 2.
50, See U.S. Censusl 1880 Washington Co.. NY, North Greenwich Twp, p. 753. HH 1628;
1870, Argyle Twp, p. 15. HH 225; New York State Census 1875. Argyle, Washington County, NY, dwelling 194 (Mat Dorsey).
51. Guardianship Order and Bond In re Fanny E. Dorsey, age l0 in 1891, and Thomas M. Dorsey, age 12 in 1891, Surrogat&s
Court. Washington Co., NY. See also U.S. Census of Population. Town of Greenwich. Washington Co.. NY. ED I p.249A HH 327/369
which lists the family as John Dorsey age 22. occupation farmer, Mary Dorsey age 21 wife, keeping house and children Thomas
age 2 and Fanny age 3 months.
53. John Dorsey visited Wilmington in 1907. accompanied by a friend. Alderman Whelan of Chicago. Wilmington Advocate,
Apr. 12, 1907. page & col. unknown.
54. U.S. Census 1910, Cook County. IL. City of Chicago, ED 1351. p. 186A, HH 18. The census return is as follows: John
H. Dorsey. head of household age 52, Belle L, wife age 47. children Raymond age 16, Vivian age 14, Viola age 13 and Richard
J. age 7.
55. Obit. of Richard M. Dorsey. Mitchell County Free Press Mar. 15. 1922, page & col. unknown. John Dorsey is
listed in R.L. Polk & Co., Chicago City Directory for 1912 as an "investigator" residing at 6052 Peoria St. He is
listed at the same address in the 1917 directory. An"M.J. Dorsey Ins. Co." appears in the 1912 directory at 208 S. LaSalle
St. See also U.S. Census of Population 1910 Cook Co., IL, ED 1251, 186A HH 6817 (Peoria St.); U.S. Census of Population 1920
Cook Co.. IL. ED 213, 269B HH135 (Kankakee St.).
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