In his famous “Voice From The Tomb” letter of 1873 to John Devoy in New York, a Fenian prisoner in Freemantle, Western Australia, James McNally Wilson wrote, “What a death is staring us in the face, the death of a felon in a British dungeon, and a grave amongst Britain’s ruffians. I am not ashamed to speak the truth, that it is a disgrace to have us in prison today.” In an unbelievable story that exemplifies the strength of the Irish diaspora connection, McNally Wilson and five others escaped with the help of Devoy and scores of other American Fenians. The “Catalpa Six” arrived in New York to great celebrations on August 19, 1876. To find out more about this escape, see our August 19th article.
The Fenian Memorial Committee of America, led by George McLaughlin, has previously placed commemorative stones or markers at the graves of Father Patrick McCabe (Minnesota), a key organizer of the escape, as well as at the graves of Catalpa escapees James McNally Wilson (Rhode Island), Robert Cranston (Pennsylvania), Thomas Darragh (Pennsylvania) and Martin Hogan (Illinois).
At Saint Mary’s Cemetery, 103 Pine Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on the centenary of James McNally Wilson’s death, November 6, 2021, the Fenian Memorial Committee of America will commemorate his life, his escape from the infamous Fremantle Prison, and his continued resistance to the Crown throughout his remaining years in America.
Tribute will also be paid to those who escaped with him on the whaling ship Catalpa, especially Michael Harrington and Thomas Hassett, both of whom are buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, NY, whom we hope to finally honor with tombstones in the coming year.
A social will follow at The Galway Bay Pub, 156 South Bend St., Pawtucket, RI. Memorial pins will be available with all proceeds going to the Fenian Memorial Committee of America for the purchase and erection of grave markers for Harrington and Hassett.
To donate and stay up to date with the campaign please visit www.fenianmca.org . You can contact George McLaughlin by calling 401-688-2463 or by email, email@example.com