0, son of Batt Leahy and Margaret Lenihan. Caherlevoy is at the point where Cork, Kerry and Limerick converge. Four of his 7 siblings emmigrated here to Washington, DC, beginning around 1910. I have found the entry records for each of them - Mike, George, Dan and my grandmother, Johanna.
I have found five pieces of documentary evidence for Eneas. He is shown at home with his family in Caherlevoy in the 1901 UK census. He can next be found in the 1911 UK census as a private in the Irish Guards at the Pimlico Barracks in the city of Westminster. The next record shows him enlisting in the United States Army at Camp Meyer, Arlington, Virginia, across the river from Washington, in December, 1913, precisely one week after my grandparents' wedding. In December 1915 he is shown on the manifest of a steamship with the rest of his company entering the port of New York, returning from military service in the Panama Canal Zone. Finally, he is shown being discharged from the Army in upstate New York at the end of March 1916.
There is not a lot of family lore surrounding him. My father believed he had been a cook on a steamship. A couple of years ago, I learned that one of my cousins has a huge frypan that had belonged to him; the story attached to it is that he had used it as a cook on an Erie Canal boat. At first, I had envisaged something like the canal boats used in Europe and here on the C & O Canal, but in researching it a bit, I learned that by Eneas' time, the Erie had been considerably enlarged and modernised. By then, it accomodated quite large lake steamers and freighters that even sailed Atlantic coastal waters.
He also left behind a trunk with his name inscribed with his sister (my grandmother), which is in the possession of another cousin. One day, while staying with my grandparents' family, sometime after his US Army discharge, he disappeared. As it happens, my grandfather and his brothers, as well as his brothers-in-law all appear in WWI US Draft Registration records; Eneas does not, so he appears to have disappeared before June of 1917. Neither does he appear in the US Census of 1920.
My dad's eldest brother, who was born in 1914, could recall accompanying his mother to offices trying to find out what had happened to him. Two rumors had circulated; one that he had gone to Canada, possibly to join the RCMP, and another that he had gone to Australia. Fairly careful research into both possibilities has turned up nothing.
What follows are my speculations:
First, based upon his age, Eneas would not have served a full term of enlistment in the Irish Guards before about 1914. Of course, he could have been discharged for medical reasons, but it is unlikely that he would then be fit for induction into the US Army a year-and-a-half later.
He could also have been discharged dishonorably. There as growing dissension among Irish soldiers in the British Army, but this was usually dealt with by imprisonment rather than discharge. Likewise, other non-political offenses would probably not have resulted in discharge.
Speculation 1 - He deserted the British Army.
Second, while all of Eneas' emigre siblings can be found in immigration records between 1909 and 1913, he cannot. Of course, such records are not perfect; I have not been able to locate a number of relatives' immigration records from the 19th century. However, by the time Eneas and his siblings arrived, the immigration system was well managed. His siblings - all of whom bore relatively common names - can be easily identified despite the fact that three of the four given names appear more than once. Only Eneas - an unusual name - cannot be found.
Speculation 2 - He either entered under an assumed name or in some other fashion entered the country without documentation. Why? See Speculation 1.
There is one other piece of information, which may or may not be pertinent. Many of the Irish immigrants in DC at the time came from that same area as my grandparents and their families. A distant relative by marriage of my grandfather - he was married to my grandfather's 2nd cousin - was a man named Jim Dore, who by this time was the head engineer at he Old Soldier's Home. According to 2 independent sources in Ireland, Jim was also the head of the IRA (I believe, at this time, it was actually the IRB) here in Washington, DC. At the time, Eneas' brother Dan Leahy was an ambulance driver at the Home. One of Jim Dore's responsibilities would have been to recruit men - especially men with military experience - to go to Ireland and fight for independence. There is some circumstantial evidence that he may have recruited Brigadier General J. J. O'Connell (no known near relation to my O'Connell/Leahy family), who was living here in DC at the time of the Easter Rising.
J. J. O'Connell eventually became one of Michael Collins' top lieutenants during the subsequent Irish Civil War. He was captured by Anti-Treaty Forces and threatened with execution, though eventually he was traded for prisoners held by the Free State Government.
In any event, Eneas would almost certainly have known Jim Dore.
Speculation 3 - As an experienced soldier, he was recruited to return to Ireland and did so under an assumed name to protect himself from the consequences of his desertion from the British Army as well as to protect his family from reprisal. He most likely died while fighting under that assumed name.
Of course, it is possible that something mundane happened to him while staying with his sister's family. Perhaps he was simply knocked over the head and dumped in the Potomac River after a night of drinking - death by misadventure, as the Brits call it; but the mystery of his arrival here and circumstantial evidence of his contact with the Republican movement have lead me to the speculations I've shared here.
Can anyone here point me to any records - Republican or otherwise - which might hold the possibility of further investigation?
Joe Ó Connell