Callahan J. McSwiney (1809 - 1865)

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Birthplace: Ballyvolane House, Gouldings Glen,, Cork, Cork, Ireland
Death: Died in New York City, NY, USA
Cause of death: "Died after a few hours' illness"
Occupation: Distiller
Managed by: Angela Tugwell
Last Updated:

About Callahan J. McSwiney

9 January 1809 - Birth of Callahan McSwiney is recorded in Registration of Births, at St. Marys and St. Annes, North Parish, Cork, Ireland (Obituary in the Telegraph, New York, states he was born in the City of Cork on the 9th of January, 1809)

The son of Patrick McSwiney and Ellen Lane, with numerous brothers and sisters, living at a large home 'Ballyvolane House', Ballyvolane, in the north-east area of Cork City, and near the family Grain Mill business.

Born Callahan McSwiney - emigrated as such to the USA - and later changed his name to O'Callaghan McSweeny.

From the 1850s to the 1870s the principal manufacturers of Cork were in brewing, distilling, and tanning. • three distilleries, worked by the Cork Distilleries Company Limited ; • four breweries, manufacturing large quantities of single, double, and extra stout, for home consumption and exportation to England viz.:

    * Sir John Arnott and Co.'s, 
    *Beamish and Crawford's, 
    * '''Lane''' and Co.'s, and 
    * Murphy and Co.'s. 
   The '''chief tanneries''' were those of the Messrs. Dunns, '''Hegartys''', Hacketts, Kelly, Lyons, '''McSwiney,''' etc

Callaghan listed his profession as 'Distiller' in the 1860 US Census, and, prior to going to the U.S., his business was listed at #1 Winthrop Street, Cork City, Cork Co., Ireland. , His family were all very well educated, some attaining high positions in the Roman Catholic church in Ireland, France and the U.S. - his brother Patrick McSwiney was Professor of Theology at Carlow University, and subsequently became President of the Irish College (Seminary) in Paris.

Obituary read he "was a man of fine education and acquirements, and remarkable for his strength of mind, loftiness of aim, and nobility of spirit. He was a perfect gentleman, and what is of still greater value, an earnest Catholic, faithful to all his duties. Being a man of a generous, loving heart and strong affections, he endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact and he leaves many to regret his sudden departure from amongst them."

Callaghan emigrated first to the United States with his son Patrick, c. 1849 (see obituary below), while his wife and other children went to live with her parents in Kerry. They followed later after he had established himself in the USA.

  • Passport application 12 May 1905 for Edward states that his father (Callaghan) emigrated to the United States sailing on board the Swatara from Liverpool on or about the 17th day of March 1849...

(*Source Ancestry.com: Passport Applications 1795-1905 (M1372) issued 20 May 1905)

The Swatara in 1848 was a sailing ship of "92/95 tons, and owned by Capt. Stephen Baldwin, a ship owner and merchant of Philadelphia" (Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Film M425, Reel 67. Immigration Ships - http://www.immigrantships.net/v12/1800v12/swatara18481026.html) It should be noted that from 1838 to 1875, only vessels which had been surveyed were included in the Lloyds Register. After that date, the Register was extended to take in all British vessels over 100 tons, and from 1890 its scope was broadened to include all British and foreign sea-going vessels over 100 tons.

The ship was bound for Philadelphia and was shipwrecked and beached on 23-24 April 1849 near Lewes (formerly Lewiston), Delaware. This occurred before the establishment of a federal life-saving service so that all efforts to rescue the passengers were undertaken by local residents and other vessels.

The Evening Post: New York, Thursday April 26, 1849:

"Philadelphia, April 25th. - The ship Swatara, from Liverpool for Philadelphia, previously noticed as being ashore below Cape Henlopen, is said to be perfectly tight, and will doubtless be got off with the aid of a steamboard tomorrow. The passengers still remain on board; some of them appear to have suffered considerably by the rough weather previously experienced"

An article in "The History of Dutchess County, publisher Matthieu in 1909", p. 620 states "the two barely escaped with their lives and were compelled to walk forty miles afoot to the Delaware River, where they got a boat to take them to Philadelphia."

All 320 passengers were rescued and most of them were eventually transported to the Philadelphia Lazaretto by '''5 May 1849'''.  The Philadelphia Lazaretto was the quarantine station for immigration and was located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  It was operated and overseen by the Philadelphia Board of Health.  

The Hibernian Society at a special meeting on May 12 1849 took action to render the large number of passengers, mostly Irish, aid and relief. (Source "Irish American Historical Miscellany, Chapter XXI, by John D. Crimmins). "In the early 1790s, when the war had ended and relations with Europe resumed, an influx of emigrants from Ireland arrived in America. To assist these emigrants....the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland was incorporated and chaired by John M. Nesbitt, then president of the Friendly Sons.Gradually, the membership and activities of the Friendly Sons were absorbed by the Hibernian Society. In 1898, the Hibernian Society changed its name to the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland. The Society, one of the oldest Irish organizations in the United States, still exists today with members from all over the nation." (Source: Historical Soc of Pennsylvania, Question of the Week › 2009 Questions ›March 15, 2009)

Eventually O'Callaghan dropped Patrick off at Villa Nova College (now Villanova University) in Philadelphia, where a relative of his wife (The Reverend William Harnett, O.S.A.) was President. He then went to Cincinnati and stayed about a year before moving to New York to greet Honoria and his children, who followed in 1850. They settled in Manhattan, N.Y., and some of his children in Brooklyn. Four of their sons became priests, one a doctor, and one daughter a Sister.

1855 O'Callaghan was naturalized .........before the Common Pleas Court of New York, at New York, on the 15th day of September 1855..(source: Edward's 1905 passport application)

1856 (Source: see image under photos) In son Patricks U.S. Passport application in August 1856, he writes "I was born in Cork in Ireland on or about 8th day of July 1838, that I am a citizen of the United States and am about to travel abroad and I am a citizen of the US by virtue of my father's naturalization before the Common Pleas Court of New York, at New York, on the 15th day of September 1855".

1857, April 1: Test Book account 14037, Callaghan - native of Ireland and married - Depositor with Emigrant Savings Bank est 1850 for Irish Immigrants. (Source: Ancestry.com New York Emigrant Savings Bank 1850-1853 database on-line)

1860 U.S. Fed Census Record, 5th district, 11th Ward, New York states that "Callahan" profession was "Distiller" and his personal estate was valued at $1000. He was 56 years old at the time. Also listed are Honora (46), Julia (22), Daniel (18), Edward (16), Roger (14), Callahan (12) - all born in Ireland - and 3 year old Francis, born in New York. (Note the census taker spelled the name Callahan in both cases without a 'g')

[Obituary stated he had a total of fourteen children - only nine grew to maturity.]

1867 Passport application for O'Callaghan McSweeny

(Source: Which newspaper? Article entitled "Irish-American Obituary") stated Mr. O'Callaghan J. McSweeny, a highly respectable citizen...died at his residence No 232 Madison Street.....was an Irishman by birth, born in City of Cork on 9 January 1809, he emigrated to this country in 1849.

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O'Callaghan McSweeny's Timeline

1808
January 9, 1808
1809
January 9, 1809
Cork, Cork, Ireland
1833
November 26, 1833
Age 24
Republic of Ireland
1834
October 26, 1834
Age 25
Cork, Ireland
1836
February 5, 1836
Age 27
Cork, Munster, Ireland
1837
February 1837
Age 28
1838
July 9, 1838
Age 29
Cork, Ireland
1840
February 1840
Age 31
Cork, Cork City, Cork, Ireland
1841
October 24, 1841
Age 32
Cork, Cork, Ireland
1843
September 4, 1843
Age 34
Cork, Cork, Ireland