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Dear Friends of the Fenian Memorial Committee of Rhode Island,

On May 5th, 2018 two Fenians, members of the Catalpa Six who escaped from Fremantle Prison in Western Australia in 1876, Robert Cranston and Thomas Darragh, were honored at an unveiling of their new gravestones and a commemoration in Philadelphia.


This was only accomplished because of the generosity and labor of the Fenian Memorial Committee of Rhode Island, Division 39 of the AOH in Philadelphia, other AOH divisions, Irish-American organizations like the American Unity Conference, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Irish National Caucus and supporters throughout the country.
 

May 5th was chosen as the date for the event since it coincided with the death of Bobby Sands, the first of 10 republican prisoners to die on hunger strike in Long Kesh Prison in 1981.  The erection of the gravestones in Philadelphia is part of an ongoing effort by George McLaughlin and the Fenian Memorial Committee of Rhode Island to place gravestones or markers at the resting places of Fenians, especially those associated with the Catalpa escape.  Markers had previously been placed in Pawtucket, RI for James McNally Wilson and in Chicago, IL for Martin Hogan. The project will continue with the placing of a grave marker for Father Patrick McCabe in Waseca, Minnesota.  Fr. McCabe was responsible for smuggling crucial communications between the Fenian prisoners, including John Boyle O'Reilly and the Catalpa Six, and John Devoy in New York, which eventually led to their rescue.  He had to flee Australia after the Catalpa rescue and eventually reappeared in Waseca County, Minnesota as a pastor to Irish immigrants at St. Mary's Church, where he is buried.  We hope to have the funds and the logistics established by the new year and install the commemorative marker in Minnesota in the spring of 2019.


A number of photos,some excerpts from the Philadelphia commemorative booklet, including the piece I wrote about my personal journey with the Catalpa Six, and the oration at each grave are attached to this email.

We are also in the midst of forming an advisory board for the Fenian Memorial Committee of RI, with representatives from  Washington, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  More on this in a future email.

Go raibh mile maith agat!

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
--
George Thomas McLaughlin
B.A., Queens College
M.A., Rhode Island College
P.D., Fordham University

"Nothing conquers but truth." - St. Augustine

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