Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (1849-1926)

Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, the second child of Mathew Fitzpatrick and Mary Lynch, was born on 19 July 1849 in Haverstraw, New York. In the 1850 Federal Census, he and his older brother, John can be are identified as members of the household and still living in Haverstraw in Rockland County. He is once again found in the 1860 Federal Census still living in Haverstraw with his parents and siblings.

At some point between 1860 and before 1878, Thomas moves to Chicago, Illinois and he is recorded as getting married to Johanna Powers on 28 May 1878 in the Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index. Very little is known about Johanna Powers except that she was born in Ireland. She can be first found on a New York Passenger list on 21 September 1874 at the age of 16 years on vessel that originally departed Liverpool, England with a stop in Queenstown, Ireland where she presumably embarked on the vessel.  She is traveling by herself at the young age and lists her occupation as “servant.”  It must take great courage for a 16-year-old poor girl to leave her home by herself and immigrate to a new country!

In the 1880 Federal Census, Thomas is found living on 577 State Street in Chicago with his new wife and a new son, Mathew who is one year old.  The household also includes his younger brother Matthew, his sister Ellen and his mother Mary.  Thomas lists his occupation as saloon keeper.

He is next found in the 1900 Federal Census living at 4208 5th Street in Ward 29 of Chicago.  The census states that he owns the house free and clear of mortgage.  Other members of the household include his wife, Johanna and their children, Matthew (21 years old), Morris (19 years old), Thomas (16 years old), Margaret (14 years old), Mary (13 years old) and Agnes (5 years old).  He lists his occupation as carpenter but that he has been out of work 8 months in the last year.

Martin and Mary (Fitzpatrick) Kennedy with Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (c1921)

Martin and Mary (Fitzpatrick) Kennedy with Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (c1921)

In the 1910 Federal Census he is still living at 4208 5th Street in Chicago.  The members of the household list almost all of their children including Matthew, Morris (spelled Maurice in this census), Margaret, Mary and Agnes.  The only one who has left the home is Thomas, the father of the Omaha Fitzpatricks.  He lists his occupation as being a “county clerk” in the county offices.

At this point little, he is difficult to find with certitude.  There are at least three surviving pictures of him with members of the family that are not dated.  The adjacent picture shows him with his daughter Mary and her husband Martin Kennedy.  There is another photograph from that same day with his granddaughter, Helen Marie that will be included in a later post.  This photograph is most likely from around 1921 based on his appearance and the appearance of the young married couple that does not depict any of their children.  The next photograph which is also undated shows what appears to be an older Thomas with two of his children, Matthew Fitzpatrick and his wife and Mary Kennedy with her daughter Mary who was born in 1923, so this photograph can be safely dated as being between 1923 and 1924.  The photograph appears to be taken from an unknown rural area or farm.

1924 circa- Thomas J Fitzpatrick, Mary Fitzpatrick Kennedy holding baby Mary, Mary Luella Fitzpatrick, Matthew Fitzpatrick- 1a

Last known picture of Thomas J Fitzpatrick with Mary (Fitzpatrick) Kennedy holding baby Mary, Mary Luella Fitzpatrick and Matthew Fitzpatrick – c 1924

Thomas J. Fitzpatrick died on 20 July 1926 and is buried at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery that is located on 2755 West 111th Street in Chicago, Illinois.  His wife, Johanna (Powers) Fitzpatrick probably died before 1921 but her death certificate and site of burial have never been identified but she is most likely buried at the same cemetery.  Their children which will be the topic of the next blog were:

  • Matthew T. Fitzpatrick (born 1979)
  • Morris Fitzpatrick (born 1880)
  • Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (born 1884)
  • Margaret J. Fitzpatrick (born 1885)
  • Mary A. Fitzpatrick (born 1887)
  • Agnes V. Fitzpatrick (born 1894)

Mathew Fitzpatrick (1807 – c1869)

As discussed in the previous blog, Mathew Fitzpatrick, is most certainly the ancestor of the Omaha Fitzpatricks.  As noted earlier, Ellen (Ryan) Fitzpatrick (she is buried in Mt. Olivat Cemetary in Chicago, Illinois), who we know to be the younger sister of Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, lists his birth place as Waterford, Ireland on the information from the Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index.  We do not know when he immigrated to the United States but we do know that it was not before 1843 as his oldest son, John is born in Ireland.  We also know that it was before 1849 as his next oldest son, Thomas (our ancestor) is born in 1849.  He married Mary Lynch (1819 – c1887) who was from Limerick, Ireland in an unknown location in Ireland and had one son, John, who was born in 1843 in Ireland.

He most likely arrived in New York with his wife, Mary and  his son John.  Although, we cannot prove it, in 1844, a “John Fitzpatrick” placed a notice in a Boston newspaper looking for his brother, Mathew Fitzpatrick (with one T) who has a last known residence of Brooklyn, New York.  Although there is no way to prove this with certitude, this is a highly likely match for the known facts and this most likely represents his younger brother who immigrated separately and is trying to find his older brother.

In the 1850 federal census, we can find Mathew Fitzpatrick and his family living in Haverstraw, New York which is in Rockland County on the Hudson River above New York City.  Haverstraw, which was known for its brick industry, had a large influx of Irish immigrants in the middle of the 19th century.  The 1850 census, lists a household that includes his wife Mary in addition to John (age 7) and Thomas (age 2) in addition to a second family consisting of his younger brother, John Fitzpatrick (age 29) and his wife, Mary (Foley) Fitzpatrick (age 30).  Mathew lists his occupation as shoemaker.

In the 1860 federal census, Mathew Fitzpatrick and his family are still living in Rockland County although he is now identified as living in township of Warren.  His name is spelled “Matthew” in this handwritten census; this is the only time that this spelling is used.  His occupation is still listed as being a shoemaker and the household includes his wife Mary, the two older boys John and Thomas but there are now two daughters, Mary (age 7) and Ellen (age 5).

The Fitzpatricks make a move from Haverstraw, New York to Chicago, Illinois somewhere between 1860 and 1869.  In the 1869 Chicago directory, a Matthew Fitzpatrick, a shoemaker, is listed as living at 288 4th Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.  Also living in the household is his son, Thomas Fitzpatrick, who is a carpenter.  At this point, the record goes cold and we do not find him listed in the 1870 federal census and his wife Mary is now listed as head of the household and we assume that he died between 1869 and 1970.  His burial place is also unknown but a likely starting point would be Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Chicago.

What happened to his wife, Mary Fitzpatrick?  We know that she moved with her husband to Chicago between 1861 and 1869 as we can find her living on 228 4th Avenue in Chicago in the 1870 Chicago Directory where she is listed as the widow of Matthew Fitzpatrick .  She can also be found in the 1870 Federal Census where she lists her occupation as “keeping house” with a estate worth $900.  Also living in the house are Thomas (apprentice to a house carpenter), Mary Ann (appears to say dress maker), Ellen (apprentice to possibly a dress maker) and Matthew (age 9 years).  In the 1880 federal census, she is the household of her son, Thomas where she is curiously listed as a boarder.  The  exact date of her death has not been identified but she does not appear in the 1890 census.  Her burial place has not been identified but it is reasonable to presume that she is buried in Chicago.

The number of children is known to be at least 5 children that survived.  Their children are as follows:

  •  John Fitzpatrick (1843 or 1844- ?) – in the 1860 federal census his occupation is listed as a laborer.  It is likely that he also moved to Chicago around 1868 as 1870 Chicago Directory lists a John Fitzpatrick living at 333 4th Avenue which is one block away from his mother is widowed.  He has a wife born in Ireland and two children, named Mary (2 years old and born in Haverstraw, New York) and a second daughter who is not yet one and she is born in Illinois.  He works in a freight depot.  John has 12 children of which 8 survive.  He eventually become a policeman and dies sometime after the 1900 census.
  • Thomas J Fitzpatrick (1849 – 1926) – our ancestor who will be the topic of the next blog
  • Mary Ann Fitzpatrick (1853 – 1911) – she is believed to have married a man with the last name of Lawler and is buried in Chicago, Illinois.  We do not know if she had any children.
  • Ellen Fitzpatrick (1860 – 1938) – she married Timothy Ryan, who was born in Ireland in 1883.  While she was born in Haverstraw, New York, she lived most of her adult life in Chicago, primarily in Ward 32.  This union produced six children, James, May L., Anna, Thomas J, Timothy and John.  She is buried in Mt. Olivat Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Mathew (also Matthew) Fitzpatrick (c1861- c1909) – the 1870 federal census lists him as being born in New York while the 1880 federal census identifies him as living in the household of his older brother Thomas J. Fitzpatrick.  His occupation is listed as being a grocery clerk.

The Fitzpatricks Come to America

Family stories relate that the “Omaha Fitzpatricks” came to the United States sometime in the middle of the 18th century.  Family legend on the Mathew Fitzpatrick side of the family including one verbal source (my father Edward Fitzpatrick) stated that there were three brothers and that they may have even killed a British soldier.  A second verbal source (Betty Hawman) was also independently told that there were three brothers and they had “biblical” names.  This has subsequently been confirmed by multiple lines of research on and Bobbi McCaffery, who has married in to the David Fitzpatrick side of the family.  She has been doing research on the Fitzpatrick brothers and has amassed an amazing amount of genealogical research on the Fitzpatrick family.

Genealogical research from multiple sources now confirm that all three brothers immigrated from and were probably born in County Waterford in IrelandThere is strong family historical and even some documentation that they came from Dungarvan which is a coastal town in County Waterford. There are now a number of documents that prove that “Fitzpatricks of Omaha” are all descended from Mathew Fitzpatrick (c1807 – c1869) and Mary Lynch (1819 – 1887) that will be discussed in more detail in a later blog.

The middle brother, David Fitzpatrick (1815 – 1893), is known to be born in County Waterford in Ireland where he married Catherine Foley (c1805 – 1894) in Dungarvan.  In the genealogic records, her date of birth is highly variable depending on the source and could be anywhere from 1796 (unlikely since that would make her 19 years older than her husband) to 1810.  One document identifies her as being 10 years older than her husband which would make 1805 a likely birth date.  They had three children that were all born in Ireland, Catherine (died at age of 3 in Ireland before 1852), John W. also known as “Big John” (1844 – 1893) and Patrick D. (1849 – 1932) also known as “Big Pat”.  Patrick is known to have been born in Dungarvan in the County of Waterford.  David is known to have arrived without his family in New York 15 March 1851 on the ship George Green that sailed out of Liverpool.  He got a job in construction working on the Illinois-Michigan Canal and eventually sent for his family.  He waited in New York for his wife and children but the ship was delayed and he needed to return to work.  He arranged for an unknown relative to be on the alert and meet his family but the plan went awry and Mary Fitzpatrick arrived with John (3 years old) and Patrick (1 year old) on the ship Kossuth on 29 March 1852 in a new country and no one to meet them.  In the confusion, John wandered off and disappeared further compounding Catherine’s misery.  According to family stories, Catherine was found holding baby Patrick and crying on a doorstep by an Irish policeman.  The story has a happy ending as this policeman, found suitable lodging, food for the family, the missing John and the relative that was supposed to meet them.  Great story!  David and his family moved to Peru, Illinois by 1860.  They were known to have taken in boarders.  Of interest, Michael Foley and other members of that family that are surely relatives of Catherine Foley are found in an adjacent dwelling.  The Fitzpatrick and Foley families appear to have been very close.

John Fitzpatrick (1821 – died between 1864 and 1870) was born in Dungarvan in County Waterford.  He married Mary Foley (1820 – 1884), who is also thought to be born in Dungarvan.  She is most likely the sister or close relative of Catherine Foley and Michael Foley (see above). Their exact date of arrival in the United States is not known.  In the 1850 federal census of Haverstraw, New York, which is in addition to listing Mathew Fitzpatrick as head of the household, it also lists a second Fitzpatrick family, composed of John and Mary Fitzpatrick who are also from Ireland and are most certainly the younger brother and his wife.  She is known to have died on 9 June 1884 in Walton, Lee, Illinois and is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Campus, Livingston, Illinois.  They known to still be in Haverstraw, New York in 1853 as they have two sons, John H. Fitzpatrick, known as “Little John” and Patrick Joseph Fitzpatrick, known as “Little Pat” that are both born in that year in Haverstraw.  There is no documentation to indicate whether or not they are twins.  Sometime between 1853 and 1864, they move to Livingston County in Illinois.  There are numerous known descendants of this branch of the family, particularly in Illinois.

In the next blog, we will start to expand on what is known about our direct ancestor, Mathew Fitzpatrick.

The Fitzpatricks- Barons Castletown

John Fitzpatrick, 1st Baron Castletown of Upper Ossory (1807-1883)

John Wilson was born in Middlesex, England.  He was the illegitimate son of John Fitzpatrick, 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory and Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson. It is known that he served in the English Army and then returned to Queen’s County (name of County Laois at that time) where he served as Sheriff in 1836.  He was elected to Parliament in 1837 and would serve in that capacity at least three different times.  In 1842, by Royal decree, his name was changed to John Fitzpatrick.

Lady Augusta Fitzpatrick

Lady Augusta Fitzpatrick

In 1869, Queen Victoria created a new peerage and he became the 1st Baron Castletown of Upper Ossory.  He died in 1883 and is buried at Grafton Underwood in Northamptonshire, England.  He married Augusta Mary Douglas in 1840 and had three children:

  • Bernard Edward Barnaby Fitzpatrick (1848 – 1937)
  • Edith Susan Esther Fitzpatrick (? – ?)
  • Olivia Amy Douglas Fitzpatrick (? – 1895) 

Bernard Edward Barnaby Fitzpatrick, 2nd Baron Castletown of Upper Ossory (1848-1937)

Sir Bernard Fitzpatrick was born in Brighton, Sussex, England (1) on 29 July 1848.  He was educated at Eton and Oxford where he received a degree in law and history.  He served in the 1st Life Guard from 1871 to 1874 and at one point was stationed in Egypt.  Following his military stint, he returned to Ireland and like his father became Sheriff of Queen’s County.  He successfully ran for Parliament as a member of the Conservative Party and served in that capacity from 1880 to 1883.  He later served as Chancellor of the Royal University from 1880 to 1883.

Painting of a young Bernard Fitzpatrick

Painting of a young Bernard Fitzpatrick

He married Hon. Emily Ursula Clare St. Leger, daughter of Hayes St. Leger, 4th Viscount Doneraile and Mary Ann Grace Louisa Lenox-Conyngham on 23 April 1874.  He and his wife lived on a large estate of 22,241 acres in Granstown Manor that burned down in 1977 (see photograph below).  She died on 14 March 1927 at the age of 73 and is buried at Doneraile Court, Doneraile, County Cork, Ireland.  There was no issue from this marriage and the title of Baron Castletown became extinct.  He died on 29 May 1937 at the age of 88 at Granstown Manor, Abbeyleix, County Laois, Ireland.

The Fitzpatrick Tartan

Clan Fitzpatrick tartan

Clan Fitzpatrick tartan

The clan Fitzpatrick also has its own tartan (see adjacent photograph).  While clan tartans are usually associated with Scottish families, several Irish families including the Fitzpatrick’s do have a registered tartan.  Nothing is known about the origin of this tartan other than that is was worn by Bernard Edward Barnaby Fitzpatrick, 2nd Baron Castletown of Upper Ossory during sessions of the House of Lords as early as 1880.  At least one website will make a custom kilt out of the family tartan.

Grantstown Manor - last home of Fitzpatrick Lords

Grantstown Manor – the last home of the Fitzpatrick Lords

This blog concludes the history of the Mac Giolla Phádraig/Fitzpatrick clan.  Future blogs will cover the brothers Fitzpatrick that immigrated to New York and gave rise to the Omaha Fitzpatricks.

The Fitzpatricks- Earls of Upper Ossory

John FitzPatrick, 2nd Baron Gowran and 1st Earl of Upper Ossory (1719-1758)

John FitzPatrick (he capitalized the P) was the son of Richard FitzPatrick and became the 2nd Baron Gowran.  As Baron Gowran, he represented Harristown and Queen’s County (new name for County Laois) in the Irish House of Commons.  In 1751, he was elevated to Earl of Upper Ossory, the highest level in the peerage system ever attained by a Fitzpatrick.  He married Lady Evelyn Leveson-Gower, daughter of the 1st Earl Gower on 29 June 1744 and they had four children:.

  • John FitzPatrick (1719-1758)
  • Hon. Richard FitzPatrick (1748-1813)- Richard was one of the most interesting of the Fitzpatricks.  Hew was educated at Eton and joined the British Army as a lieutenant.  Despite his opposition to the war on the colonists, his regiment was ordered to fight the colonists  in New York and he fought in the Battle of Brandywine and Battle of Germantown.  He was eventually promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and returned to England where he was elected to parliament where he spoke out against the war on the colonists in the House of Commons.  He also retained his position in the British Army and was eventually promoted to Major General.  He became a powerful Whig politician and served as Secretary of War and as Chief Secretary of Ireland.  He was also a noted poet and wrote political satire. His writings included “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Almack’s Assembly Room” which was a parody on Thomas Gray’s “Eton College Ode.”   He also wrote a poem called “Verses Inscribed in the Temple of Friendship at St. Anne’s Hill.”  He never married but had numerous affairs including one with Lady Caroline Carpenter and was noted for having a “taste for married women of the Whig persuasion” including Lady Anne Foley, who was said to have sent him the following note after giving birth- “Dear Richard, I give you joy.  I have made you the father of a beautiful boy….P.S. This is not a circular.”

    Lady Mary FitzPatrick, daughter of John FitzPatrick, Earl of Upper Ossory

    Lady Mary FitzPatrick, oldest daughter of John FitzPatrick, Earl of Upper Ossory

  • Lady Mary FitzPatrick (c1747-1778)- married the Stephen Fox 2nd Baron Holland of Foxley on 20 April 1766.  they had two children, Hon. Caroline Fox and Henry Richard Fox, who became 3rd Baron Holland of Foxley (see her painting)
  • Lady Louisa FitzPatrick (1755-1789)- married General William Petty (formerly Fitzmaurice) 2nd Earl of Shelburne (later the 1st Marquess of Landsdowne) on 19 July 1779 at St. George’s, Bloomsbury, London.  Her son, Henry-Petty-Fitzmaurice was 3rd Marquess of Landsdowne.  She died in 1789 at Berkeley Square in London.

John FitzPatrick, 3rd Baron Gowran, 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory, Baron of Upper Ossory of Ampthill  (1745 – 1818)

John FitzPatrick, 2nd and last Earl of Upper Ossory was born in Ampthill, Befordshire, England.  He was educated at Westminster and Cambridge (Trinity College).  He was a member of the Whig party and a member of Parliament for Bedfordshire from 1767 to 1794.  He married Anne Liddell on 26 March 1769 at Kingston upon Thames in Surrey, England after having their first child (see below).  They had three children:

Lady Ann Fitzpatrick, daughter of John Fitzpatrick, Earl of Upper Ossory

Lady Anne FitzPatrick

  • Lady Anne Fitzpatrick (1768 – 1841)- see photograph of an etching done by Sir Joshua Reynolds that is on display at the National Museums in Liverpool.  Anne was the result of an affair between John Fitzpatrick and Anne Liddell who was married to Lord Grafton.  This affair resulted in a scandal and divorce before she married Lord FitzPatrick.  Anne was initially put in foster care but finally retrieved after the death of Mary and miscarriage of twin sons and was brought up in the household.  She never married.

    (c) Lady Lever Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

    Lady Gertrude FitzPatrick

  • Lady Mary FitzPatrick (1770 – 1771)
  • Lady Gertrude FitzPatrick (1774 – 1841) – see photograph of painting that is llocated in the Lady Lever Art Gallery.  Gertrude never married but she and her older sister did inherit the family estate.

In addition to his wife, he also had children by Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson.  They were apparently never married.  There were three children from this liaison.

  • John Wilson-Fitzpatrick (1807-1883)
  • Richard Wilson- (? – 1850)
  • Emma Mary Wilson (? – 1882)

John FitzPatrick, the last Earl of Upper Ossory died on 1 February 1818 at Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England. He is known to have suffered from gout.  He is buried at Grafton Underwood in Northamptonshire, England.  All of his titles became extinct since he did not have a legitimate male heir; however, the peerage of the family will be reborn through John Wilson-Fitzpatrick, his illegitimate son.

The Fitzpatricks- Barons Gowran

Richard FitzPatrick, 1st Baron Gowran (circa 1662-1727)

There is a dispute as who was the father of Richard FitzPatrick.  One reference states that he is the second son of John Fitzpatrick.  However, the Church of Latter Day Saints states that his father was Andrew Fitzpatrick.  Andrew Fitzpatrick was the son of Edmund Fitzpatrick and the grandson of Florence Fitzpatrick, 3rd  Baron of Upper Ossory.  He married Anne Robinson, younger daughter of Sir John Robinson in 1718 and had at least two sons.

Fitzpatrick Mausoleum on Paddington Street in London

Fitzpatrick Mausoleum on Paddington Street in London

  • John Fitzpatrick
  • Richard Fitzpatrick (the honorary Richard Fitzpatrick married Anne Usher and when she died in 1759 at the age of 30, he had the historic Fitzpatrick Mausoleum built which still stands on Paddington Street in London)

Richard entered the Royal Navy and had commands of the HMS Richmond, HMS Assurance and HMS St. Albans. On 18 July 1690 he captured a French frigate with 36 guns after a 4-hour fight in which he only suffered 4 casualties and the French suffered 40 casualties. In 1690-1691, he drove two French frigates onto the shore and helped to cut out 14 French merchantmen out of a convoy of 22 ships. In 1696, he was promoted to captain of the 70-gun HMS Burford and he successfully brought off 1300 cattle with horses, boats and small vessels on at attack of a French island near Brittany. He was promoted to an even larger command, taking over the 80 –gun HMS Ranelagh and took part in several encounters. Soon after this he retired.

In 1696, he received a grant from King William III for his service.  This grant consisted of towns and lands of Grantstown and addition to other lands in Queen’s County.  In the same year, he also inherited the lands and estate of his older brother Edward Fitzpatrick.   He also acquired the estate of his wife Anne Robinson which was in Farmingwood in Northhamptonshire in England (he is buried there).  In 1715, he was raised to Irish peerage as the first Baron Gowran of Gowran, Kilkenny.

The Fitzpatricks – Barons of Upper Ossory

Brian Oge Mac Giolla Phádraig, 1st Baron of Upper Ossory (c1485-1575)

Brian, also known as Barnaby Mac Giolla Phádraig (Mac Gilla Patraic), was a crafty leader of the clan.  Sensing a change in the political winds, he sent an envoy to Henry VIII and offered to submit the King of England.  In a controversial move, he became the first Gaelic chief to surrender his lands to the crown. In this bold move, he also gave up the rights of all members of the Mac Giolla Phádraig clan …”who of course were not consulted as to this act of treachery towards them.”  Henry VIII regranted the lands back to Barnaby under a royal charter making him the first Baron of Upper Ossory after he swore loyalty to him.  Additional expectations included wearing English-style clothes, speaking English, following English laws and customs and conversion to the new Anglican Church. Very few Irish chiefs actually left the Catholic church for the Anglican Church. The Gaelic name Mac Giolla Phádraig was “normanized” to Fitz-Patrick or Fitzpatrick.  While many of not most members of the clan continued to use the name Mac Giolla Phádraig or Mac Gilla Patraic; he is officially became Barnaby Oge Fitz-Patrick, 1st Baron of Upper Ossory in June of 1541. He also had the distinction of becoming the first native Irishman to sit as a member of the Irish parliament. In 1543, he traveled to London to be knighted by Henry VIII in person.

As part of the submission, Baron Barnaby Fitz-Patrick also sent his oldest son, Barnaby Fitz-Patrick to become the “companion and bedfellow” of the future king, Edward VI.  This political move would have a tremendous impact on the history of the clan Fitzpatrick.

Baron Fitz-Patrick also realizes that he needs to align the family with their powerful historic enemies, the Butlers, the Earls of Ormond.  First he sends his younger brother, Diarmaid (Dermot) Mac Gilla Patraic to Earl Pierce Butler because he had murdered one of Butler’s sons. According to one source, he was held “in fetters and was never heard from again” and according to another source he “died a cruel death.” To further cement his relationship with the Butlers, he married Margaret Butler, the daughter of Pierce Butler, the eight Earl of Ormonde. This union produced seven sons and one daughter:

• Barnaby (Brian) Fitzpatrick
• Domhnal (Donal) Fitzpatrick (see story of Gortnaclea Castle)
• Fingbin (Florence) Fitzpatrick- would become the 3rd Baron
• Geoffrey Fitzpatrick of Ballyamlaebh
• Tadig Fitzpatrick- sent to Dublin by his father under “trumped up” charges and hanged for crimes in 1546
• Turlogh Fitzpatrick
• Callogh Fitzpatrick
• Grainy (Grace or Grizzel) FitzPatrick- married Edmond Butler, 2nd Viscount Montgarret who was her first cousin

What happened to Lady Margaret Fitz-Patrick is unknown but Brian Oge Fitz-Patrick Phadraig later married Elizabeth O’Connor. This union would have profound affects both from her influence and her children. This union produced at least one daughter, which may have been Graine Fitzpatrick (see above).  His story is intertwined with that of his son and is completed in the section under his son.

Gortnaclea (Grantstown) Castle (built before 1556)

The ruins of Gortnaclea Castle stands on the edge of the Gully River which separates the edge of Ossory from Laois.  The earliest mentioned occupant was Donal Fitzpatrick, a younger brother of Barnaby Fitzpatrick, 2nd Baron of Upper Ossory and later Florence Fitzpatrick, 3rd Baron of Upper Ossory.

Ruins of Gortnaclea Castle in County Laois
Ruins of Gortnaclea Castle in County Laois

This ruin is described as a “massive” building that is 31 feet square externally with an eastern wing that is now destroyed.  The walls are 8-9 feet thick.

The most notable event in this history of this castle was the imprisonment of the Black Earl of Ormond.  He was taken prisoner by Owney O’Moore on 10 April 1600 at Corrondogh near Ballyragget.  The O’Moores did not have a strong enough castle and he was conveyed to the Fitzpatrick castle as the Fitzpatricks and O’Moores were allies at that time.  Owney O’Moore later was nervous about this location and moved him to the woods of Laois before eventually moving the prisoner to Dempsey’s Castle at Ballybrittas.  The Black Earl of Ormond was eventually released on 12 June 1600 for £5,000.

Barnaby (Brian) Fitzpatrick, 2nd Baron of Upper Ossory (c1535-1581)

Barnaby was the eldest son and heir of Brian Mac Giolla Phádraig.  He married Joan Eustace, the daughter of Sir Rowland Eustace, viscount of Baltinglas by whom he issued one daughter, Margaret Fitzpatrick who married James, Lord Dunboyne.

A young Barnaby was sent to London to be raised as a courtier and increase the court influence of the family.  Barnaby grew into his role readily and served as the “proxy for correction” or “whipping boy” of Prince Edward, the son of Henry VII.  Whenever, Prince Edward made a mistake, Barnaby would be punished.  He became fast friends with Prince Edward and was later made one of six gentleman-in-ordinary of Edward’s privy chamber.

In 1547, he was selected as one of the henchmen for Henry VIII’s funeral and Barnaby carried a banner of ancient arms during the funeral procession.  He was successful in submitting a petition on behalf of his father for Leix Abby to become part of the family holdings.  He spoke English fluently and he was the first of our clan to sign his name as  “Fitzpatrick” in the English manner.  When Henry VIII died, the new King Edward VI, continued to take a kindly interest in him and sent him in 1551 to France to continue his education.  He was introduced by the lord admiral, Lord Clinton to King Henry II of France and he was appointed a gentleman of his chamber.  On his departure from France on 9 December 1552, he was commended for his conduct by King Henry II and the constable Montmorency.  Much of the correspondence between Barnaby and King Edward VI survives and has been printed in the “Literary Remains of Edward VI (pages 63-92).  Barnaby would also change the family coat of arms to reflect his experience in the French court (story to follow).

The “Chronicle of Queen Jane” records that in 1553, that Barnaby was involved in a street brawl with a priest outside of a pub.  The exact wording of this event is as follows:  ‘the Erle of Ormonde, Sir (blank) Courteney Knight and Mr. Barnaby fell out in the night with a certain priest in the streate, whose parte a gentyllman coming by chance took, and so they fell by the eares; so that Barnabye was hurte.  The morrow they were led by the ii sheryves to the counter in the Pultry, where they remained (blank) daises.

Barnaby returned to Ireland in 1554 to his father and new step mother Elizabeth (O’Connor).  Barnaby was unhappy in that his father and Elizabeth had loosened their ties to England and he quickly became disgruntled.  He disliked Elizabeth and called her “the most naughty and malicious creature alive.”  In 1556 Barnaby was chosen to lead a band of Mac Giolla Phádraig horsemen and kerne (lightly armed foot soldiers) against the Scots in Ulster.  After successfully completing this mission for the King of England, he was then appointed to a permanent position in the royal forces as captain of 40 kerne.  He eventually recruited many additional soldiers and horsemen for his armed force.

Barnaby became increasingly influential and powerful at the expense of his father and members of the clan Mac Giolla Phádraig were moving in support of him to the point that in 1559 he staged a coup d’etat and his father was deposed as clan leader.  The family felt that it would be more advantageous to be ruled by Barnaby since he was close to the British throne.  His father Brian spent the rest of his life confined to Upper Ossory as a virtual prisoner of son.  In 1566, Barnaby declared his father to be old, frail, impotent and incapable of leadership.  The crown conferred him with regency powers and Barnaby was granted his father’s estate.  In that same year he was knighted by Sir H. Sidney. He became the official 2nd Baron of Upper Ossory after his father’s death in 1575.

Baron Barnaby Fitzpatrick was quick to take advantage of his influence in the court of England.  He solicited at least three estates situated across the Nore River during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  These three estates would later be lost to Edmund Butler by 1622.  Unlike his father, Barnaby did not cooperate with the Butler family and he had a continuous feud with Thomas Butler, the “Black Earl of Ormond.”

In May of 1573, the Graces of Roscrea ransacked Lord Barnaby Fitzpatrick’s house at Cullahill and kidnapped his wife and daughter.  The Fitzpatricks countered by forcibly entering Foulkescourt Castle and rescuing a prisoner.  The Fitzpatricks also continued to escalate their campaign against the Butlers in Kilkenny, including assaulting their tenants, stealing their livestock, attacking and burning two of the border castles.  The Butlers filed a formal complaint with the Lord Deputy of Ireland, William Fitzwilliam with no known official royal action being taken.  At one point the Earl of Ormonde declared that there was “not a naughtier or more dangerous man in Ireland than the baron of Upper Ossory.”  Queen Elizabeth appointed Lord Henry Sidney as the new Lord Deputy of Ireland in August of 1575 and he was even less sympathetic to the Butler family.  In the spring of 1576, two brothers of the clan Fitzpatrick, Tirlagh and Callough raided areas in northeast County Kilkenny and occupied the Ormond castle in Durrow.  It remained in Fitzpatrick hands throughout the summer.

Lord Barnaby’s younger brother, Geoffrey Fitzpatrick and his camp of followers felt that the Lord Barnaby held too much power and that cooperation with the Tudor dynasty was destroying the family.  Although there are not many details, it is know that he and his followers rebelled against Lord Barnaby in 1578.  In that same year, it is known that Barnaby Fitzpatrick defeated and killed the great rebel Rory Oge O’More.  He had the rebel’s head taken and set up at the castle in Dublin.

In July of 1579 a rebellion against English rule was launched by the FitzGerald dynasty of Desmond in Munster, Ireland when James FitzMaurice FitzGerald landed in Ireland with a force of Papal troops which triggered an insurrection in the southern part of Ireland.  The rebellion was finally put down in 1583 with the death of Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond.  Lord Barnaby Fitzpatrick attempted to steer a course of neutrality but his half-brothers, Dermot and Turlough Mac Giolla Phádraig broke ranks and joined in the rebellion against the Tudors.  The Butlers of Ormond took advantage of this fragmentation of the Fitzpatrick clan and accused Barnaby of treason against the crown.  In January of 1581, he and Lady Fitzpatrick his wife were imprisoned in Dublin Castle on 14 January 1581.  He became sick and never recovered and died on 11 September 1581 in the house of William Kelly, surgeon in Dublin.

The Fitzpatrick Coat of Arms

In all probability, the clan Mac Giolla Phádraig had a Gaelic standard, banner or flag but it has unfortunately been lost in history.  The coat of arms depicted on the previous page is one of nine known major variations of the coat of arms of the Fitzpatrick family.  The first known coat of arms is only known as a sketch and was produced c1600.  It consists of shield with a saltire (cross running horizontally as seen in the more recent version) with a chief (the band above the cross with three sun rays instead of the fleur-de-lis which was added later to the shield as shown in the adjacent image.  The distinctive blue chief with three fleur- de-lis in gold that is present in almost all newer versions of the coat of arms was believed to be awarded by the French to Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick, Second Baron of Upper Ossory who was King Edward VI’s representative in France from 24 November 1551 to December 1552.

Fitzpatrick Coat of Arms
Fitzpatrick Coat of Arms

The coat of arms also depicts the family crest on top of the helmet.  In addition to increasing the height of the wearer, the crest allowed for easy identification of the wearer in battle.  They were typically made of metal, wood or even boiled leather.  The Fitzpatrick crest demonstrates a green dragon reguardant with a black lion guardant that has the left paw resting on the dragon’s head.

 There are at least two reported family mottos and they may even be versions of each other.   The motto – Fortis sub Forte Fatiscet – can be interpreted as “The strong will yield to the strong.” A second motto, “Ceart ládir abú” is apparently difficult to translate from Gaelic as some authorities translate it to mean “Right and Mighty Forever” while others have translated it to mean “Might is Right.”

Fingbin (Florence) Fitzpatrick, 3rd Baron of Upper Ossory (after 1542-1613)

Florence Fitzpatrick was a younger brother of Barnaby and he became 3rd Baron of Upper Ossory.  He married Catharine, daughter of Gilla Patrick O’More of Leix and they had five sons and a daughter:

  • Thady (Taidg, Teighy) Fitzpatrick
  • John Mac Gilla Patraic (used the old family name)
  • Geoffrey Fitzpatrick of Ballyraghan
  • Brian (Barnaby) Fitzpatrick of Watercastle near Abbeyleix
  • Edmond Fitzpatrick of Castle Flemyg
  • Catherine Fitzpatrick

Florence inherited a clan that was highly fragmented with multiple spheres of influence.  His younger brother Geoffrey Fitzpatrick and his camp of followers continued to have their separate sphere of influence in defiance of the new Baron.  Florence’s half-sister Grainne, who was the daughter of Brain and his third wife Elizabeth also had a separate sphere of influence which further fragmented the power of the new Baron.  Finally, Shane Mac Giolla Phádraig, who was supposedly a bastard son of Brian also had followers antagonistic to the Baron of Upper Ossory.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, James VI of Scotland came south and accepted the crown of England as King James I.  King James I appointed Sir Arthur Chichester as the new Lord Deputy of Ireland.  Under his administration, in 1605 judges decided that the freeholders of Upper Ossory were now out from under the feudal powers of Florence Fitzpatrick which was a death blow to the old ways and power of the family.  After 1605-1606, Upper Ossory ceased to be ruled even nominally by the traditional overlord.

Florence, 3rd Baron of Upper Ossory tried to deprive his eldest son, Thady of his birthright and to make John the heir of his possessions.  Ultimately, the estate was partitioned with the share allotted to Thady to be known as Manor of Cowlchill and the shared allotted to John being called the Manor of Castletown-Offerland.  Florence Fitzpatrick is buried in Aghamacart in County Laois.

Thady (Taidg, Teighy) Fitzpatrick, 4th Baron of Upper Ossory (?-1627)

Thady Fitzpatrick, the 4th Baron of Upper Ossory married Joan Butler, the daughter of Sir Edmund Butler of Cloughgrenan.  They had had least one son:

  • Barnaby FitzPatrick

He inherited a much smaller inheritance and weaker family but still held the title off Baron of Upper Ossory.  In 1622, the king’s favorite, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham was involved in a land grab in Upper Ossory.  Under the euphemism of “surrender and regrant,” there was a confiscation of much of Upper Ossory.  The 4th Baron of Upper Ossory had to surrender their control of 25,000 acres and were only regranted 10,500 acres while the Duke of Buckingham was given 10,788 acres.  This made the Fitzpatrick family one of the poorest peerages in all of Ireland.

 Castle Clonburren

Clonburren Castle in County Laois
Clonburren Castle in County Laois

The ruins of Castle Clonburren are located on remote farmland between Rathdowney and Johnstown in County Laois.  It is almost 50 feet high and was the principle stronghold of Thady Fitzpatrick, the 4th Baron of Upper Ossory.  According to one source, it was known to be abandoned by 1647. 

Barnaby FitzPatrick, 5th Baron of Upper Ossory (?-c1638)

Barnaby FitzPatrick had at least one son:

  • Barnaby (Brian) Fitzpatrick

Castle Grantstown (before 1653)

The ruins of this castle are located in County Laois and is to the west of Ballycolla, in a field just southwest of Granststown Lough.  It was built by one of the Lords of Upper Ossory but the exact date is unknown.  It is known that in 1653 the castle was held by Gilbert Rawson but by 1696 it had been granted by William III to Richard and Edward Fitzpatrick.

Ruins of Castle Grantstown in County Laois
Ruins of Castle Grantstown

This is only Fitzpatrick castle that is a circular tower.  It is five stories high.  At the wall walk level there are two surviving machicolations (floor opening between the supporting corbels of a battlement, through which stones, or other objects, could be dropped on attackers at the base of a defensive wall)

Barnaby (Brian) Fitzpatrick, 6th Baron of Upper Ossory  (?-c1666)

Barnaby FitzPatrick had at least one son:

  • Barnaby (Brian) Fitzpatrick

Barnaby (Brian) Fitzpatrick, 7th Baron of Upper Ossory (?-1696)

Barnaby, the last Baron of Upper Ossory was a captain in Early Clancarty’s Regiment.  He married Margaret Butler and had three sons:

  • Brian Fitzpatrick- died childless
  • Keran Fitzpatrick- died young
  • John Fitzpatrick- married but only had daughters

The seventh baron was attainted since there was no male heir and the barony forfeited on 11 May 1691.  This is the end of the first reincarnation of the Baron of Upper Ossory but not the last.