Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick

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Thomas Dongan (Dungan)

Birthplace: Castletown Kildrought, Celbridge, County Kildare, Leinster, Ireland
Death: December 14, 1715 (76-85)
Place of Burial: City of London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir John Dongan, 2nd Baronet and Mary Dongan
Brother of Sir Walter Dungan, 3rd Baronet; William Dungan, 1st Earl of Limerick; Edward Dongan; Bridget Nugent; Alice Nugent and 5 others

Occupation: 2nd Earl of Limerick
Managed by: Jonee Platt
Last Updated:

About Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick

Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick was appointed Governor of New York in 1688 by the Duke of York who became James II. Dongan build a mansion on Staten Island in 1688.

Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick (1634 – December 14, 1715), was a member of Irish Parliament, Royalist military officer during the English Civil War, and governor of the Province of New York. He is noted for having called the first representative legislature in New York, and for his granting the province's Charter of Liberties.

He was born in 1634 in Castletown Kildrought (now Celbridge), County Kildare in the Kingdom of Ireland. He was the youngest son of Sir John Dongan, Baronet, Member of the Irish Parliament. As Catholics, his family faced persecution after the overthrow of Charles I and fled to France. While in France, he served in an Irish regiment with Turenne. He continued to stay in France after the Restoration and achieved the rank of colonel in 1674.

After the Treaty of Nijmegen ended the French-Dutch War in 1678, Dongan returned to England in obedience to the order that recalled all English subjects fighting in service to France. James, Duke of York, who had served as a fellow officer of Dongan's in French army, arranged to have him granted a pension and high-ranking commission in the army and designated for service in Flanders. That same year, he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Tangiers. In 1682, James, who had become the Lord Proprietor of the Province of New York after it was acquired from the Dutch, appointed Dongan as provincial governor (1684-1688 and granted him an estate on Staten Island. The estate eventually became the town of Castleton; later, another section of the island was named Dongan Hills in honor of Dongan. He was replaced as Governor by Francis Nicholson.

At the time of his appointment, the province was bankrupt and in a state of rebellion caused by the mismanagement of the previous governor. Dongan was able to restore order and stability through tactful means. On October 14, 1683, he convened the first-ever representative assembly in New York history, which convened at Fort James.

Dongan was to grant land grants to establish several towns throughout New York State including the eastern Long Island communities of East Hampton (town), New York and Southampton (town), New York. The land grants were called the Dongan Patents. The patents set up Town Trustees as the governing bodies with a mission of managing common land for common good. The Dongan Patents still hold force of law and have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court with the Trustees -- rather than town boards, city councils or even the State Legislature -- still managing much of the common land in the state.

In 1698, his brother William, Earl of Limerick, died with issue. Because of his service to the Crown as a military officer and as provinicial governor, he was granted his brother's title and a portion of his brother's forfeited estates by a special Act of Parliament for his relief.

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Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick's Timeline

Castletown Kildrought, Celbridge, County Kildare, Leinster, Ireland
December 14, 1715
Age 81
St. Pancras Churchyard, City of London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom