August 3, 1823


August 3, 1823


Thomas Francis Meagher (3 August 1823 – 1 July 1867) was an Irish nationalist and leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848. After being convicted of sedition, he was first sentenced to death, but received transportation for life to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in Australia.

Thomas Francis Meagher, nationalist and transportee; journalist and lecturer; brigadier-general on Union side in US civil war, and Governor of Montana, is born in Waterford


In 1852, Meagher escaped and made his way to the United States, where he settled in New York City. He studied law, worked as a journalist, and traveled to present lectures on the Irish cause.

Civil War

He married for a second time in New York. At the beginning of the American Civil War, Meagher joined the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of brigadier general.

Irish Brigade

He was most notable for recruiting and leading the Irish Brigade, and encouraging support among Irish immigrants for the Union. By his first marriage in Ireland, he had one surviving son; the two never met.

Montana’s Territorial Secretary of State

Following the Civil War, Meagher was appointed Montana’s Territorial Secretary of State by President Andrew Johnson, and served as acting territorial governor.

Died in 1867

In 1867, Meagher drowned in the Missouri River after falling from a steamboat at Fort Benton, Montana. His death has been disputed by historians, with varying hypotheses including weakness from dysentery, intoxication, suicide, and murder. A 2016 analysis by Timothy Egan, in The Immortal Irishman, suggested Meagher may have been murdered by Montana political opponents.


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