This Week in the History of the Irish: November 10 - November 16

DOMHNAIGH -- On November 10, 1896, Lady Mary Heath (born Sophie Catherine Pierce), pioneer aviator and athlete, was born in Newcastlewest, County Limerick. Sophie was brought up in Newcastlewest and Dublin, where she attended a boarding school. At the outbreak of World War I, she went to England and served as a dispatch rider for the Royal Flying Corp. There she acquired an army-officer husband, William Elliot-Lynn, and perhaps an interest in flying as well.

(Right: Newcastlewest Historical Society - Lady Mary Heath in 1928)

After the war Sophie was active in women's sports. She helped to found the British Women's Amateur Athletic Association and assisted in getting women allowed into the Olympic Games. In 1925, she began her active interest in flying and was soon a full fledged pilot. In 1926, she became the first woman in England to earn a Commercial Pilot's License and the first to make a parachute jump. Sophie would go on to set several aviation firsts, including the first solo flight from Cape Town, South Africa, to London. (The plane she flew on the flight would later be bought by American aviatrix Amelia Earhart.) In 1929, she toured the United States lecturing and doing flying demonstrations and was badly injured in a crash in Cleveland, Ohio. She was soon back giving demonstrations, however. Her lifestyle made normal relationships difficult; by 1929, she was married to her third husband. Sophie changed her name to Lady Mary Heath when she married her second husband, Sir James Heath. After returning to Ireland, Lady Heath bought and attempted to run an airline, but it failed, as did her third marriage. She moved to England, but once there she developed a drinking problem and her health began to fail. She suffered a bad fall in a public bus and died in May 1939.

SATHAIRN -- On Nov. 16, 1814, Michael Kelly Lawler, general in the Union army during the American Civil War, was born in County Kildare, Ireland. Lawler emigrated to the United States with his family at just 2 years of age. His family moved from New York to Maryland, and finally to Gallatin County, Ill., where they settled. Michael married the daughter of a large landowner and opened a mercantile business in Shawneetown. He also commanded a company in the local militia and went to war with the regiment in Mexico in the 1840s.

(Left: Library of Congress Gen. Michael Kelly Lawler)

He distinguished himself with the 3rd Illinois during General Winfield Scott's advance to Mexico City. Lawler returned to civilian life after the Mexican War, but with the coming of the Civil War he mustered into Federal service as commander of the 18th Illinois Volunteers. Colonel Lawler was accused of excessive physical abuse of his men early in the war, but was acquitted of the charges by department commander Henry Halleck. Lawler was wounded in command of his regiment at Fort Donelson in February 1862, but recovered from his wound and was promoted to brigadier general. He commanded a brigade at Port Gibson, Champion's Hill and Big Black River Bridge during the Vicksburg campaign. During the siege of Vicksburg, Lawler's men captured over 1,100 Confederate prisoners in one of the campaign's most successful assaults on the rebel defenses. He was transferred to the Department of the Gulf and commanded the department's 4th and 1st divisions of the XIII Corps until the end of the war. Lawler returned to a farm he owned near Equality, Ill., after the war and lived there until his death on July 26, 1882.

The Reverend Cotton Mather, sworn enemy of "witches" in the colony of Massachusetts

SATHAIRN -- On November 16, 1688, Irish Catholic Ann "Goody" Glover was hanged as a witch by the Puritans in Boston. Goody was born in Ireland in the first half of the 17th century and came to Massachusetts colony when she, her husband and daughter, like many other Irish men and women, were deported from Ireland by Oliver Cromwell. She went first to Barbados, where her husband died, then to Boston. She and her daughter found domestic work in Boston, but unlike most other Irish Catholic immigrants of the time, they refused to convert, in spite of the lack of priests or a church to attend. Holding to her religion would prove a fatal mistake for Ann. Soon, she was falsely accused of stealing from her employer, John Goodwin, and was dismissed from his employ. The "stolen" items were found to have been misplaced, but the downward spiral of Ann Glover's life was set in motion. When Goodwin's four children began acting "strangely" after Ann departed, no one doubted the cause: witchcraft. Who then could be the witch? Certainly an Irish Papist with a possible grudge against the Goodwins was first on the list. Glover spoke only Irish, no doubt another reason she was looked on with suspicion. She was interrogated by the Reverend Cotton Mather, of later Salem Witch Trial infamy, using translators about whose actual knowledge of the language we can only speculate. It comes as no surprise that Mather claimed that Ann Glover confessed she was a witch. Though no other confessed-witch had ever been hanged at the time, Mather condemned Ann Glover to death. On November 16, 1688, Ann Glover was hanged in Boston, for, in all likelihood, the misfortune of being a resolute Irish-speaking Catholic in Puritan New England. On November 16, 1988, the Boston City Council took note of the injustice done to Ann Glover 300 years earlier by proclaiming that day "Goody Glover Day" and condemning what had been done to her.

VOICES

I heard great cheering to the right of our line and, looking in that direction, saw Lawler in his shirt sleeves leading a charge upon the enemy.
        -- General U.S. Grant at the Battle of Vicksburg

'The proof against her was wholly deficient.'
        --Robert Calef, a Boston merchant speaking of Ann "Goody" Glover

BIRTHS

November - Samhain

10, 1774 - Oliver Goldsmith (Author - Pallas, Co. Longford)
10, 1879 - Patrick Pearse (Revolutionary - Dublin)
10, 1896 - Lady Mary Heath (nee Pierce) (Pioneer aviator and athlete - Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick)
11, 1873 - Daniel Daly (Double Medal of Honor winner - Glen Cove, NY)
14, 1908 - Joseph McCarthy (Controversial U.S. Senator – Grand Chute, WI)
15, 1791 - George Croghan (Soldier in the War of 1812 and Mexican War – Louisville, KY) 
15, 1881 - William Pearse (Revolutionary, brother of Patrick - Dublin.)
15, 1887 - Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (American artist - Sun Prairie, WI - paternal grandparents, Pierce and Catherine O’Keeffe, were from Co. Cork.)
16, 1814 - Michael Kelly Lawler (Union General - Co. Kildare)
16, 1899Mary Margaret McBride ("The First Lady of Radio," - Paris, Missouri)

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

10, 1798 - Tone tried and convicted by court martial in Dublin; sentenced to be hanged.
10, 1861 - Young Irelander Terence MacManus buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
11, 1880 - Ned Kelly is hung at Old Melbourne Jail in Australia.
11, 1918 - Armistice Day (Veteran's Day) -- First World War ends.
14, 1180 - St. Laurence O'Toole, Archbishop of Dublin, dies in France.
14,1889Pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly (aka Elizabeth Cochrane) begins a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days. She completes the trip in 72 days.
14, 1923 - W.B. Yeats is announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
15-17, 1890 - Catherine (Kitty) O'Shea divorce hearings.
15, 1985 - Garret Fitzgerald and Margaret Thatcher sign Anglo-Irish Agreement.
16, 1688 - Irish Catholic Ann "Goody" Glover is hanged as witch by the Puritans in Boston.
16, 1920 - RIC Auxilaries murder three Irish Volunteer prisoners on Killaloe Bridge, Co. Clare.

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Tags: American Civil War, On This Day, United States

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