Thomas Francis Meagher
Summary Location: 19 The Mall
Thomas Francis Meagher was born in Waterford, on the 3rd August 1823, son of the first Catholic mayor of Waterford for over 200 years. Meagher became a revolutionary as a young man, fighting for Ireland's independence from British rule. He was known as "Meagher of the Sword" due to his fiery revolutionary speeches urging war to achieve the goal of independence.
In 1848 the British charged Meagher, and several colleagues, with high treason and condemned them to death. The following year his sentence was commuted and he was banished for life to Tasmania. He escaped in 1852 and made his way to New York City. There he studied law, worked as a journalist, and traveled to present lectures on the Irish cause.
At the beginning of the American Civil War, he joined the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of brigadier general. He was most notable for recruiting and leading the Irish Brigade and encouraging Irish support for the cause of the Union. He was married twice and had one surviving son, from his first wife. Following the Civil War, Meagher was appointed acting governor of the Montana Territory. In 1867, Meagher drowned in the swift-running Missouri River after falling from a steamboat at Fort Benton.