Famous TUAMITES

Martin Andrew O'Brennan

Martin Andrew O'Brennan was my great great grandfather. His daughter, Marian, married John J. Bodkin of Tuam. They were married in St. Louis, Missouri. They must have known each other in Tuam because I have a copy of the letter John wrote home to his Mom & Dad asking permission to marry "Dizy O'Brennan" with no further explanation of who she was. There's a lots of info. on him. He came to the US in 1867 leaving his family in Ireland. He was at a Chicago City Council meeting and a wall fell on him. I have copies of a letter he wrote them asking for reimbursement for his medical bills and lost income. John & Marian's first daughter was baptized in St. Genevieve, Missouri and one sponsor was Catherine Brannan, which I think was Marian's sister. So the Brannon name...??? Martin's wife & all of his nine children came to the US, so I wouldn't expect there to be any of his direct descendants in Ireland - which is a shame considering what he wrote about and his strong feeling for Ireland. I would LOVE to get in touch with some of his siblings descendants. His parents were Martin & Sara O'Brennan of Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. He was born in 1812. I would like to know anything I don't already know! I am especially curious about his death. I can find nothing in this country, but know there was an article in the Galway Vindicator, 9 March 1878 that says he died in an "accident in the street". I have not been able to get a copy of that article. 

I have an 1855 copy of "Ancient Ireland" by Martin and "Newspapers and Nationalism" by Marie-Louise Legg (1999) which has a chapter about Martin.

I grew up and never heard his name. I knew a great great grandfather had been arrested for things he wrote, but was released because "his family kept publishing his newspaper while he was in jail." That was the family story - that they let him go because it didn't stop the opinions from being printed. Now I know he was arrested 3 times, twice in Tuam and once in London in 1867. Another cousin says he fled the country dressed as a woman to escape incognito. That cousin has hired a professional genealogist,
Tom McCarthy  to write the family history soon. If you have any info. on Martin I'm sure he would appreciate it. This story has to be printed by Feb. 2004 when my cousin Bill Hanley, descendant of Henrietta O'Brennan who married Wilhelm Vail, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Vail Rubber Co.

Barbara Hettwer

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