‘Flags of Old Ireland for One Cent!’ and ‘All’s right- Dad’s Sober’: New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 1864

What was St. Patrick’s Day like 150 years ago? What type of groups marched in the Parade, and what types of imagery did they use? We are fortunate that the full line up of the 1864 New York Parade survives, together with detailed descriptions of the dress and banners of each Society. What emerges is an image of a Parade we would still recognise, down to street vendors selling cheap Irish imagery to revellers. However, just as today St. Patrick’s Day is often associated with the Irish love of a party, in 1864 the main focus of many of the groups was abstinence from alcohol. The post below provides a description of the event and also includes a full descriptive list of all the banners flown during the Parade, offering a unique insight into the imagery, motivations and agendas of New York’s Irish community during the period of the American Civil War. 

'St. Patrick's Day in America, 1874' (Library of Congress)

‘St. Patrick’s Day in America, 1874′ (Library of Congress)

All the newspapers agreed that New York’s 1864 St. Patrick’s Day parade was the most imposing they had ever seen. Attempts to commercialize the event were alive and well 150 years ago, with vendors at almost every street corner offering shamrock and miniature Irish flags to the expectant crowds. Cries of ‘The Flag of Old Ireland for one cent!’ were heard throughout the city. For those who embraced the occasion, the men could wear sprigs of shamrock or evergreen on their clothes, while women were decked out in green dresses or ribbons. The city did its bit as well- many of  the stage horses had the Irish national colors on their headgear, while the city railroad cars were similarly decked out. Everywhere from City Hall to ships in the harbor displayed flags and bunting to mark the occasion.

The morning of 17th March 1864 started out cloudy and overcast but the weather would clear up before noon. One reporter remarked that the streets were ‘wonderfully clean’ (before adding the caveat- ‘for New York streets’). As was usual the celebrations began with mass. A solemn High Mass took place in St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 10.30, with Carl Maria Von Weber’s Mass in G being selected and sung by the Choirs of St. Patrick’s and St. Peter’s. The Reverend Francis T. Boyle announced from the pulpit that the days collection was to be given to the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul for the relief of the poor. He then gave his sermon, which covered much of the history of religion on the island of Ireland, before touching on more recent times:

‘When famine came upon them [the Irish], if they were not a people of faith, they could never have upheld themselves in the hour of that dreadful calamity. Standing over the graves of their wives and children, their eyes streaming with tears, they still said, “The will of God be done;” they gave God the glory. In the land of the stranger they made monuments of the past which incited them to their duty in the present. The hardy pioneer of the West puts pictures of Christ and His Mother on the walls of his cabin, and tells their history on his humble beads.’

An example of a Von Weber Mass being sung in Church

Finally the time had arrived for the parade proper- the procession itself included no fewer than 20,000 participants. Assembling on East Broadway around 11.oo, the different groups began to arrange themselves into an order of march. Military contingents set out from their armories to the rendezvous. Some 600 men of the 69th New York were there, supported by 400 men of the 99th New York National Guard. The latter unit, which was led by Fenian John O’Mahony, had only received its colors the night before and had not yet been given uniforms. Other military contingents included men of the 1st New York National Guard Cavalry, the 70th New York National Guard, and the ‘Napper Tandy’ Light Artillery of Brooklyn. With everyone finally in some semblance of order, at 12.20 a signal gun was fired at the junction of East Broadway and Grand St. by command of Sergeant Major Mulqueen and men of the 4th Artillery. With that, the hordes of military and civic societies began their march. It would take them down East Broadway and Chatham Street to the City Hall Park and beyond. The order in which the military led the parade is set out in the table below.

MILITARY PROCESSION
Colonel James Bagley and staff
69th New York ‘Brigade Lancers’ Troop
70th New York State National Guard Troop C (Brooklyn), Captain McCarthy
1st New York State National Guard Cavalry, Colonel D.C. Minton
70th New York State National Guard ‘Napper Tandy Light Artillery’, Major Smith
69th New York Engineers
Drum Corps
Band
Lieutenant-Colonel James Cavanagh, 69th New York Infantry, and staff
69th New York in column by companies
Phoenix Zouaves
Band
Colonel John O’Mahony, 99th New York State National Guard, and staff
99th New York State National Guard (1st Phoenix Brigade) in column by companies

Table 1. Military Procession Order of March, St. Patrick’s Day 1864 (after New York Irish-American)

Statue of Father Theobald Mathew on Dublin's O'Connell Street. He founded the Abstinence Movement in Cork in 1838 which spread to the United States. Members took 'The Pledge' to remain sober for life. (Image via Wikipedia)

Statue of Father Theobald Mathew on Dublin’s O’Connell Street. He founded the Abstinence Movement in Cork in 1838 which spread to the United States. Members took ‘The Pledge’ to remain sober for life. (Image via Wikipedia)

Following the large military contingent came the Civic Procession, headed by the Grand Marshal. Their order of march was as follows:

CIVIC PROCESSION
Grand Marshal Mr. Denis Meagher, Greenpoint Ancient Order of Hibernians
Aids and Special Aids to the Grand Marshal
Judge Connolly and the Treasurer of the Convention of Irish Societies (in an open barouche)
FIRST DIVISION
Marshal Edward Milligan with Aids
Connell’s Band
Thomas Francis Meagher Club (c. 300 men)
SECOND DIVISION
Marshal Thomas Lalor and Aids
8th Regiment Band
Drum Corps
Temperance Cadets of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, South Brooklyn
Father Mathew T.A.B. Society No. 1 of South Brooklyn (1.077 men)
THIRD DIVISION
Marshal John J. Therry with Aids
Stewart’s Band
Temperance Cadets of the Immaculate Conception (c. 125 boys)
Immaculate Conception Total Abstience and Benevolent Society (c. 425 men)
FOURTH DIVISION
Marshal Daniel Hagerty and aids
Longshoremen’s Union Benevolent Society (c. 700 men)
FIFTH DIVISION
Marshal Charles Allen with Aids
Band
Quarrymen’s Union Protective Society (c. 1500 men)
SIXTH DIVISION
Marhsal John McCloskey and Aids
Muller’s Band
Temperance Cadets of Brooklyn E.D. (c. 50 boys)
Father Mathew T.A.B. Society, No. 3, Brooklyn E.D. (c. 500 men)
SEVENTH DIVISION
Marshal James Kavanagh and Aids
Union Brass Band
Dungannon Volunteers of 1782
Hibernian Benevolent Society (c. 300 members)
EIGHTH DIVISION
Marhsals James Sandford and John Tucker with Aids
Dodworth’s Band
Ancient Order of Hibernians of New York (c. 2,500 men)
Finley’s Band (marching with AOH NY Divisions)
Schinneller’s Band (marching with AOH NY Divisions)
Muller’s Band (marching with AOH NY Divisions)
Grafula’s Band (marching with AOH NY Divisions)
Drum Corps of 22nd New York (marching with AOH NY Divisions)
Whitworth’s Band (marching with AOH NY Divisions)
Strattonport Band (marching with AOH NY Divisions)
Ancient Order of Hibernians of Melrose and Morrisania
Marshal Michael Henry
Band
Ancient Order of Hibernians of Weehawken, New Jersey
Ancient Order of Hibernians of Long Island (c. 1,500 men)
NINTH DIVISION
Marshal Patrick Nyhan with Aids
Governor’s Island Band
St. Peter’s Temperance Cadets (c. 150 boys)
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Total Abstinence Society (c. 250 members)
TENTH DIVISION
Marshal James Cavanagh with Aids
Connell’s’ Second Band
Temperance Cadets (c. 100 boys)
Father Mathew T.A.B. Society No. 2 of New York (c. 650 men)
ELEVENTH DIVISION
Marshal Thomas Brennan with Aids
Band
Father Mathew T.A.B. Society No. 3 of New York (c. 200 members)
TWELFTH DIVISION
Marshal Michael Daly with Aids
Cecilian Band
Barry Benevolent Society (c. 200 members)
THIRTEENTH DIVISION
Marshal James Cullen and Aid
Robertson’s Band
St. Bridget’s Mutual Benefit and Benevolent Society (c. 500 members)
FOURTEENTH DIVISION
Marshal Stephen Quin and Aids
Nolan’s Cornet Band
Father Mathew’s Total Abstinence Benevolent Society No. 2, of Brooklyn (c. 470 members)
FIFTEENTH DIVISION
Marshal Edward L. Carey with Aids
Schelble’s Band
Father Mathew U.B.T.A.B. Society of New York (Parent Society) (c. 1,100 men)
SIXTEENTH DIVISION
Marshal James Crumley with Aids
Father Mathew U.B.T.A.B. Society, Branch No. 1 (c. 300 members)
SEVENTEENTH DIVISION
Marshal Bernard Grogan with Aids
Noyer’s Band
St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Total Abstinence & Beneficial Society of Brooklyn (c. 250 members)
EIGHTEENTH DIVISION
Marshal Richard Halpin with Aid
Marine Guard Band
Shamrock Society No. 1 of Brooklyn (c. 150 men)
NINETEENTH DIVISION
Marshal John Dwyer with Aids
St. James’ Roman Catholic Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society (c. 350 members)
TWENTIETH DIVISION
Marshal Michael Kean with Aids
Collins’ Band
Hibernian National Greens
Benevolent Society of the United Sons of Erin (c. 225 members)
TWENTY-FIRST DIVISION
Marshal Michael Duffy with Aid
Hibernian Universal Benevolent Society (c. 100 men)
Cavalcade of mounted men and vehicles

Table 2. Civic Procession Order of March, St. Patrick’s Day 1864 (after New York Irish-American)

Throughout the parade the streets were thronged with spectators- it was remarked that there was a ‘total absence of cases of intoxication’ among them, a factor perhaps influenced by the large number of abstinence societies taking part. After the march passed through the Park they were reviewed by the Mayor, Common Council and heads of the Municipal government. A salute of 17 guns was fired under the command of Captain James McMahon, before the column moved up Broadway to Union Square. Here the huge parade saluted the statue of Washington before passing down 14th Street, 7th Avenue, 23rd Street, 1st Avenue, 9th Street and finally onto 4th Avenue where the marchers finally broke up. In total it took the procession an hour and a half to pass any given point.

Even New York’s Navy Yard had got in on the act that St. Patrick’s Day. The ships played national Irish airs that morning, while a procession of laborers and mechanics belonging to Brooklyn’s Hibernian Societies visited the Yard for a reception. Throughout the city that evening many of the groups had dinners to celebrate the feast day- the Sons of St. Patrick went to the Astor House, while the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick retired to Delmonicos. The New York Irish-American recorded the details of the parade in incredible detail. We are extremely fortunate in that they also described the uniforms, flags and banners of the participants. This offers us a unique social insight into the imagery of Irish emigrant groups in 1864 and their efforts to highlight their dual allegiances to both the United States and Ireland. These remarkable descriptions have been condensed for readers below, with the dress, banners and mottoes of each of the Society’s in the march described in turn.

A scarlet Phrygian Cap, similar to that worn by many Temperance Cadets on St. Patrick's Day, 1864. (Image via Wikipedia).

A scarlet Phrygian Cap, similar to that worn by many Temperance Cadets on St. Patrick’s Day, 1864. (Image via Wikipedia).

The Uniforms, Banners, Flags and Mottos

THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER CLUB: The members all wore green and gold badges with the name of the society on them. They carried their banners on a truck drawn by eight grey horses. On the front of the truck was the inscription ‘The Union of States- One an inseparable-Now and Forever’, while on each side was ‘On our side is Virtue and Erin: On theirs is the Saxon and Guilt’ and ‘The Union and the Constitution- One and Inseparable.’ The end of the truck bore ‘The Green above the Red.’ The flags of Ireland and the United States were carried with the banner of the society, which on one side had the Maid of Erin below an Eagle which carried a scroll inscribed: ‘T.F. Meagher Club. Protection in Sickness- Sympathy in Death.’ The reverse of the banner showed a sick room with members of the club providing relief. A second banner had an image of Thomas Francis Meagher with the inscription: ‘We Honor the Patriot.’ and underneath ‘Presented to the T.F. Meagher Club, January 19, 1853, by a Committee of Ladies Favorable to their Cause.’

TEMPERANCE CADETS OF THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, SOUTH BROOKLYN: The boys wore a uniform of a green shirt and cap with black pants. Their drum corps wore white uniforms trimmed in green. They carried a white banner with the inscription: ‘Temerpance Cadets of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, South Brooklyn.’ A second banner was inscribed: ‘All’s right- Dad’s sober’, while other banners carried religious phrases. Also among their ranks was a green flag and the Stars and Stripes.

FATHER MATHEW TEMPERANCE AND BENEVOLENCE SOCIETY NO. 1, SOUTH BROOKLYN: Members wore green and gold regalia. Their banner had on the obverse a figure of Father Mathew with a sunburst and round tower. Over this was the name of the Society and it’s date of incorporation, December 1861. On the reverse was a representation of the Visitation and the inscription ‘We visit our sick and bury our dead.’ The staff of the banner was adorned with a wreath presented by the ladies of South Brooklyn. The banner was carried with an Irish flag displaying the harp and sunburst at its centre and the Union flag. Two other silk banners were also carried by members.

TEMPERANCE CADETS OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: They wore green and white shirts with crimson Phrygian caps trimmed with green. Their banner had an image of the Immaculate Conception, and they also carried the flags of Ireland and the United States.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION TEMPERANCE AND BENEVOLENCE SOCIETY: The men all wore regalia. Their banner, which was surmounted by a large gilt eagle and bore green streamers, was carried on a truck drawn by four grey horses. The obverse of the banner carried a picture of the Immaculate Conception and a scroll reading ‘Immaculate Conception Total Abstinence Benefit Society. Organized July 10, 1862.’ The reverse had a representation of the Reverend Dr. Morrow administering the temperance pledge to a group of people, with a view of the Church of the Immaculate Conception and parochial house. Underneath was the inscription: ‘Be sober and watch, for you adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.’ Another banner bore two Irish wolfhounds supporting a shield quartered with the arms of Ireland and the United States. It also had the name of the Society on it and the motto: ‘Gentle when Stroked- Fierce when Provoked.’ Also among the ranks was a silk United States flag carrying the name of the society and an Irish tricolour of ‘green, white and yellow.’ Another Stars and Stripes and green flag made up the society’s banners.

LONGSHOREMEN’S UNION BENEVOLENT SOCIETY: Members wore green and gold regalia and rosettes. Their banner carried a representation of a ship receiving her load (lading) with the inscription: ‘Longshoremens’ Union Benevolent Society: Organised Oct.13 1844; Chartered March 13, 1853.’ The reserve showed members of the society visiting a sick man and the motto: ‘Union, Protection, and Benevolence.’ The Society’s second banner had on the obverse representations of Jackson and Lafayette and a shield emblazoned with the flags of all nations. Two clasped hands carried the motto ‘Unity’. Flags of Ireland and the United States were also carried. In the background was a view of the Battery (on Manhattan) with the inscription: ‘Longshoremens’ U.B. Society. We know no Distinction but that of Merit.’ On the reverse was Hope with a horn of plenty and holding two little children by the hands, together with members of the Society in procession. Over the scene was the inscription ‘Whatsoever you do unto one of those Little Ones, the same you do also to Me.’ The Stars and Stripes, green flag and more banners followed.

QUARRYMAN’S U.B. SOCIETY: Members wore green and silver regalia and carried two banners. The first bore figures of O’Connell and Washington on the obverse, with a scroll reading: ‘Quarrymen’s Union Protective Society; Chartered May 13, 1850.’ The reverse depicted Columbus landing with the motto: ‘United we stand- Divided we fall.’ The Society’s second banner had a good Samaritan on the obverse with the name of the society. The reverse showed members assisting a sick man, with the motto: ‘We visit the sick and bury the dead.’ The Society also carried a United States flag.

TEMPERANCE CADETS OF BROOKLYN E.D.: The cadets wore green shirts with black belts and pants and had crimson Phrygian caps. They had a white banner edged with green and crimson which bore the inscription:’ Total Abstinence Cadets. Presented by the Father Mathew T.A.B. Society of Brooklyn E.D., March 17, 1864.’ They also carried a green flag and the Stars and Stripes.

FATHER MATHEW TEMPERANCE AND BENEVOLENCE SOCIETY NO.3, BROOKLYN E.D.: Members wore green and gold regalia ornamented with harps and stars along with green, white and crimson rosettes. They wore their temperance medals on their left breast. Their banner was made of green silk and on the obverse had a depiction of Ireland (represented by a beautiful woman) mourning over a harp. In the background was a lake and ruined tower. There were fountains of water on each side, and over all was an inscription: ‘I saw, I signed, I conquered’ underneath which was written ‘Father Mathew, though dead, still lives in the hearts of his followers.’ The reverse of the banner had a representation of Father Mathew administering the temperance pledge, while the Maid of Erin played a harp surrounded by a blaze of glory. The inscription on that side read: ‘Father Mathew Total Abstinence Benefit Society, No. 3 Brooklyn, E.D. Organized July 6, 1863, Chartered Sept. 16, 1863.’ In addition to the banner the society carried two Irish and two United States flags. Interestingly the entire Society had been photographed on St. Patricks Day prior to taking part in the march. The image was exposed by Jackson at the corner of North 9th and 2nd Streets, Williamsburgh- it is unclear if any copies survive.

DUNGANNON VOLUNTEERS OF 1782: Members wore the 1782 uniform.

HIBERNIAN BENEVOLENT SOCIETY: Members wore green and gold regalia with rosettes. Their banner was carried on a truck drawn by six grey horses and it’s staff was decorated with crimson and green streamers, with a large gilt eagle on top. The staff also carried a wreath of flowers. On the obverse was depiction of O’Connell and Washington along with the harp and Eagle. It carried the motto: ‘United we stand- Divided we fall.’ The reverse had an image of Jackson with a Phoenix and the combined arms of the United States and Ireland, and was inscribed: ‘Our duty is to aid and protect the afflicted.’ In addition the Society carried two silk United States flags.

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.1: Their banner was carried on a car drawn by eight grey horses with plumed headgear. The front of the car had an image of Washington and Lafayette with an eagle and the combined arms of the United States and Ireland. The reverse of the car had O’Connell and Sarsfield, on either side of a harp draped in the American flag and the motto: ‘Faith, Hope and Charity; Under these we Conquer.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.2: Their banner had on the obverse a shamrock covered rock in the midst of waves, surmounted by an eagle and sunburst. It carried the motto: ‘United we stand-Divided we fall’, underneath which was written: ‘Ireland! vast is the ocean that divides us- But boundless the love that unites us.’ The reverse of the banner depicted Washington crossing the Delaware and the inscription ‘We relieve our sick and bury our dead.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.3: The banner carried on its obverse and image of St. Patrick and the Maid of Erin, with inscription ‘Let Friendship Flourish’ above, and ‘We visit the sick and bury the dead’ below. The reverse showed Brian Boru and the words ‘Let Erin Remember the Days of Brian the Brave.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.4: The banner carried an image of Patrick Sarsfield on the front, wearing full armour and destroying a serpent, along with the legend: ‘He was Ireland’s glory and the terror of her enemies.’ The reverse showed Charles Carroll of Carrollton signing the Declaration of Independence and the motto: ‘We honor the heroes of ’76.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.5: The front of the banner carried St. Patrick and ‘King Malachi’ in full armour. A scroll over them bore the name of the Society and a quotation from Moore: ‘Let Erin remember the days of old. Ere her faithless sons betrayed her, When Malachi wore the collar of gold, Which he won from the proud invader.’ The reverse carried the Maid of Erin weeping over a harp, along with Grattan in the uniform of the 1782 Volunteers. This side had a quotation from Davis: ‘When Grattan rose, none dared oppose The claim he made for Freedom.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.6: The banner carried St. Patrick on the front, preaching before the Royal assemblage of Ireland at Tara. It had the inscription ‘We support the sick, and bury the dead.’ The reverse had an image of Marshal McMahon with a harp and the legend: ‘Here I am, and here I shall remain.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.7: On the obverse the banner had a representation of St. Patrick and Robert Emmet with the couplet: ‘Oh, list ye the Joyful news that’s wafted o’er the sea; There’s life in Holy Ireland yet, and love of Liberty.’ The reverse carried General Jackson and the legend: ‘Ireland- the land of my forefathers.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.8: The Society’s banner had Daniel O’Connell standing on the steps of Derrynane on the front and the inscription ‘We support our sick and bury our dead.’ The reverse carried Brian Boru and the Maid of Erin.

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.9: One the obverse of the banner was an image of Hugh O’Neill in complete armour and on horseback. Across his shoulder he wore a green scarf with the red hand of Ulster emblazoned on it. The Maid of Erin appeared on the reverse with the inscription ‘We support our sick and bury our dead.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.10: The banner they carried had Thomas Francis Meagher on the front, along with a harp resting on a rock and entwined with wreaths of shamrocks. The reverse carried the Maid of Erin under the quotations: ‘This freedom now so seldom wakes, The only throb she gives, Is when some heart, indignant, breaks, To show that still she lives.’ The banner also carried a depiction of the surrender of Cornwallis and ‘In Union there is Strength.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.11: The banner depicted O’Connell and Washington on the obverse with Jackson and Montgomery on the reverse. The reverse also had the shields of America and Ireland and the mottos: ‘United we stand- Divided we fall’ and ‘We visit the sick and bury the dead.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.12: On the obverse of their banner was Lord Edward Fitzgerald and General Jackson along with the Irish harp and the quote ‘Let Erin Remember the Days of Brian the Brave.’ The reverse showed Columbus landing in American and the motto ‘United we stand- Divided we fall.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.13: The front of the Society’s banner depicted O’Connell and Washington with the motto ‘United we stand- Divided we fall.’ The reverse had a sick member of the society being given relief, with ‘We support our sick and bury our dead.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.14: On the obverse of the banner was O’Connell and Washington along with the motto ‘Let friendship Flourish.’ The reverse had Sarsfield and Jackson and the inscription: ‘Humanity, Fidelity, and Love.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.15: The front of the banner had representations of O’Connell and Washington with an Irish harp surmounted by an eagle. Between them and underneath the American shield was the motto ‘Let Friendship Flourish.’ The reverse carried Ireland (a beautiful woman) leaning on a harp, together with ‘Humanity, Fidelity, and Love.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.16: The Society’s banner had Hibernia and St, Patrick on the front with an allegorical representation of friendship between them. The reverse showed members of the Order helping a sick brother and the inscription ‘United we stand- Divided we fall’ and ‘We relieve the sick- We bury the dead.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.17: On the front of the banner was Washington and Patrick Henry with the inscription ‘We protect the Constitution and the Adopted Citizen.’ The reverse showed St. Patrick bestowing his benediction on the Maid of Erin underneath the inscription ‘We support out sick and bury our dead.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.18: Their banner was carried on a truck drawn by ten grey horses. Marching alongside were two pipers playing national airs. The banner itself had a figure of O’Connell on the obverse, with an Irish wolfhound by his side. The reverse had a large harp over a stag and tower, along with the motto: ‘Let the World be our Republic.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.19: The front of the banner showed the capture of Major Andre (during the War of Independence) with the quotation ‘We pledged our Lives, our Fortunes, and Sacred Honor’ underneath. The reverse depicted the Vale of Avoca and the words ‘On our side is Virtue and Erin; On theirs is the Saxon and Guilt.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.20: The banner showed Brian Boru defeating the Danes on the front, with the verse: ‘Long his loss shall Erin weep, Ne’er again his likeness see. Long her strains in sorrow steep- Strains of Immortality.’ The reverse of the flag showed St. Patrick.

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.21: The obverse of the banner had an armed depiction of Hugh O’Neill with the inscription: ‘O’Neill, the Pride of his Country, and the Terror of her Enemies.’ The reverse showed St. Patrick and the Maid of Erin along with the verse: ‘And as buried Saints have given perfume To shrines where they’ve been lying. So our hearts shall borrow a sweetening bloom From the image he left there in dying.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF NEW YORK, DIVISION NO.22: The Society carried a banner that showed the Maid of Erin playing a harp and a monk with a wolfhound crouching at his feet. Over both were a stag’s head and the sunburst. The reverse depicted O’Rourke, ‘Prince of Brefni’ in full armour, opposite Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Beside them was the inscription: ‘We have Sacrificed and Bled for Liberty’, while beneath them was: ‘We Hail the Land of our Birth: We Protect the Land of our Adoption.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF MELROSE AND MORRISANIA: The banner of the society had St. Patrick and Brian Boru on the front with the inscription ‘Se support our sick and bury our dead.’ The reverse showed Washington on horseback with the name of the Society: ‘Ancient Order of Hibernians of Melrose, Westchester Co.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF WEEHAWKEN, NEW JERSEY: Their banner was carried on a truck decorated with evergreens and drawn by two horses. The banner had the surrender of Cornwallis on the obverse with figures of O’Connell and Patrick Henry on the reverse and the inscription: ‘Let Liberty’s Spirit not rest, Till it moves like a breeze o’er the waves of the West.’ The Society also carried a United States flag.

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.1: They carried their banner on a car drawn by six grey horses. On the front it had Hugh O’Neill with the depiction ‘The Pride of his Country, and the Terror of her Enemies.’ The reverse showed the Maid of Erin playing on a harp.

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.2: Their banner had St. Patrick and the Irish harp on the front, with the motto: ‘Faith, Hope and Charity- By these we Conquer.’ The reverse depicted Washington and had the inscription ‘First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.3: The front of the banner had St. Patrick and Washington with  the inscription: ‘Our Comet shines to chase foul mists away. And drive dark falsehood from our land to-day.’ The reverse showed Hugh O’Neill and Patrick Sarsfield with the quotation ‘Forget not the field where they perished, The truest, the last of the brave.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.4: They carried their banner on a truck drawn by eight white horses all with plumed decorations on their heads. On either side of the truck was the Irish and American flags. In the truck itself a harper played tunes. The banner had St. Patrick and O’Connell on the front, along with a harp and eagle and the inscription ‘United we stand- Divided we fall.’ The reverse showed Brian Boru in his armour with the inscription ‘Remember the Days of Brian Boroimhe.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.5: One the obverse of the banner were two woulfhounds supporting a shield and the motto: ‘Gentle when stroked- Fierce when provoked.’ The reverse showed St. Patrick preaching before the Royal Assembly of Tara.

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.6: The frame of their banner was decorated with wreaths and streamers. On the front was a figure of Sarsfield, with a harp and round tower. Underneath them were the words: ‘Sarsfield is the word, and Sarsfield I am.’ The reverse had a figure of Marshal McMahon and the inscription: ‘Oh, Erin my Country, I weep for your fall. My sword and my shield await on your call.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.8: Their banner had St. Patrick and the Maid of Erin on the front with the inscription ‘Strike the tuneful harp once more, There’s hope of Liberty on Erin’s shore.’ The reverse depicted Major O’Reillly and Lafayette with the motto ‘Union and Liberty.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.9: On the front of the Society’s banner was O’Connell and Washington with the motto ‘Gentle when Stroked- Fierce when Provoked.’ The reverse had Marshal MacMahon and the Maid of Erin with the mottoes ‘For my Country I Mourn’ and ‘Friendship, Unity, and Love.’

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS OF LONG ISLAND, DIVISION NO.11: The obverse of their banner had St. Patrick and ‘King Malachi.’ A scroll over them had the name of the Society and the quotation: ‘Let Erin remember the days of old. Ere her faithless sons betrayed her; When Malachi wore the collar of gold, Which he won from the proud invader.’ The reverse bore the Maid of Erin  and Henry Grattan with a harp surmounted by an eagle. Over them was written ‘Let Friendship Flourish’ and underneath the quote ‘When Grattan rose, none dared oppose The claim he made for Freedom.’ The Society also carried and Irish flag.

ST. PETER’S TEMPERANCE CADETS: They wore small badges and had a banner of white with the inscription ‘St. Peter’s Temperance Cadets.’ The cadets also carried a wreath with a white cross at its centre. They carried a green flag with the harp and shamrock and also the flag of the United States.

ST. PETER’S ROMAN CATHOLIC TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY: Members wore a green badge with the name of their society in gilt letters on it, together with a green rosette. Their banner bore a figure of St. Patrick and the inscription ‘St. Peter’s Roman Catholic T.A. Society; Organized, March , 1860.’ The reverse had Christ and St. Peter walking on the water, with the name of the Society. Behind the banner was a harp device wreathed in flowers. The Society also carried a green flag and a United States flag.

FATHER MATHEW T.A.B. SOCIETY NO.2 OF NEW YORK: All the members wore regalia. Their banner was of green silk edged in gold and on the obverse had a representation of Father Mathew administering the pledge. A scroll over his head read: ‘Father Mathew T.A.B. Society, No. 2, of New York.’ The reverse had the Maid of Erin leaning on a harp with an angel hovering over her and a crown of laurel. The scroll bore the name of the Society and also: ‘There’s not, within this lovely land, A fairer sight to see, Than those who march beneath our flag, In sober dignity.’ The staff of the banner also bore a wreath. The Society also carried a second banner which had two wolfhounds supporting the united flags of Ireland and American and the motto: ‘Gentle when Stroked- Fierce when Provoked.’ The staff of this flag also had a wreath, upon which was written in gilt letters: ‘Noble cause, live for ever!’ Guide colours were also carried, which were red, white and blue and carried inscriptions such as ‘Unity, Harmony and Benevolence’ and ‘In Union there is Strength.’

FATHER MATHEW T.A.B. SOCIETY NO.3 OF NEW YORK: The members were dressed in green and gold regalia. They carried the flags of Ireland and the United States.

BARRY BENEVOLENT SOCIETY: Their banner had images of Commodore Barry and Washington along with the inscription: ‘Barry Benevolent Society: Organized October 30, 1861: Chartered, 1864.’ The reverse showed members of the Society helping a sick man, with the words: ‘I was sick, and you visited me.’ A wreath hung from the staff of the banner and the Society also carried the Irish and American flags.

ST. BRIDGET’S MUTUAL BENEFIT AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETY: They wore medals and rosettes of green, white and crimson. The front of their banner had a representation of St. Bridget with St. Bridget’s Parish Church and Schools in the background. Beneath this was a Committee of the Society making their report to the President and the inscription: ‘St. Bridget’s Mutual Benefit and Benevolent Society; Organized March 4, 1863.’ The reverse of the banner showed a sick member of the Society receiving the last rites, while his family receive assistance. In the background is the Angel of Mercy with the Cross and Scales of Justice, bearing the legend: ‘Faith, Hope, and Charity. We Comfort the Sick and Pray for the Dead.’ In addition the Society carried silk flags of Ireland and the United States.

FATHER MATHEW TOTAL ABSTINENCE B. SOCIETY NO.2 OF BROOKLYN: The members wore green and gold regalia. Their banner was of green silk edged with gold with a representation of Father Mathew administering the pledge on the front. Over this was a scroll carried in an eagle’s beak which read: ‘Father Mathew Total Abstinence Benevolent Society No, 2, of Brooklyn.’ Underneath this was written ‘Relief in Sickness or Distress.’ The reverse depicted a harp wreathed with shamrocks, together with a wolfhound and round tower. Under this was fountain of cold water. The flags of the United States and Ireland were depicted in the upper part of the image, along with a scroll reading: ‘Temperance-in hoc signo vinces.’ A wreath hung from the banner’s staff, and the Society also carried a United States and Irish flag.

FATHER MATHEW U.B.T.A.B. SOCIETY OF NEW YORK (PARENT SOCIETY): The members wore green and gold regalia ornamented with harps and shamrocks. Their banner was carried on a car drawn by twelve bay horses with plume headpieces. The sides were covered in green, white and blue drapery ornamented with mottoes, harps and shamrocks. On one side was written ‘Our object is Temperance and Unity’ and on the other ‘We follow in the footsteps of the Apostle of Temperance, the Rev. Theobald Mathew.’ The rear of the car had ‘We visit the Sick and bury the Dead’ with below ‘By the Pledge We Conquer.’ The banner had a full length portrait of Father Mathew administering the pledge, with a man and his family (the man having just signed the pledge). The inscription read: ‘Father Mathew United Temperance B. Society, Organized Dec. 2, 1851; Chartered July 8, 1855.’ The reverse had the Maid of Erin leaning on a harp with the quotation: ‘The Harp that once thro’ Tara’s Halls, The soul of Music shed.’ A wreath was placed on the banner’s staff. Cadets followed the car and carried small flags.

FATHER MATHEW U.B.T.A.B. SOCIETY, BRANCH NO.1: Members wore their Society’s regalia and carried a floral device presented by the Temperance ladies of the 9th Ward. The wreath of flowers was a circled by gilt oak leaves, surrounded by a harp and with the inscription in gold: ‘Father Mathew U.B.T.A.B. Society, Branch No. 1.’ They also carried two United States flags.

ST. ANNE’S R.C.T.A.B. SOCIETY, OF BROOKLYN: Members wore green and white rosettes with white badges fringed in gold and bearing the name of the Society. The banner was wreathed in gold shamrock with a figure of St. Anne on the front and the inscription ‘St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Total Abstinence and Beneficial Society, of Brooklyn. Organized April 5, 1863.’ The reverse showed a sick room with a priest administering the last rites. Overhead the Angel of Hope pointing to the Cross and the inscription: ‘We comfort the sick and bury the dead.’ They also carried with them an Irish flag presented to them that morning. It bore the harp and sunburst along with the motto ‘Erin go Bragh.’ They also carried a United States flag.

SHAMROCK SOCIETY NO.1 OF BROOKLYN: Their banner had on the obverse St. Patrick along with the name of the Society and the legend: ‘We relieve our sick and bury our dead.’ The reverse bore an image of Washington with the name of the Society and it’s date of organization, 1829. They also carried a small banner which had a harp and the inscription: ‘Erin and the United States.’ They also carried the Stars and Stripes and a number of boys had small flags.

ST. JAMES’ R.C.T.A.B. SOCIETY: Members were dressed in their regalia and carried a banner that had a golden cross on the front surrounded by rays of light, with the motto: ‘In hoc signo vinces.’ The reverse had the inscription: ‘New York Roman Catholic Total Abstinence Benevolent Society: Organized Nov. 1st, 1849.’ They also had a large Irish flag, with the harp and shamrocks embroidered on it and a Union flag

BENEVOLENT SOCIETY OF THE UNITED SONS OF ERIN: Members wore their regalia and on their banner carried images of Washington and the Maid of Erin, with a view of a ship sailing on the Ocean. Underneath this were the lines: ‘Behold yon gallant vessel, how swift she speeds her way: The golden sun is rising to guide her through the spray, While Erin’s guardian genius in splendor stands serene, With Tara’s ancient emblem, she gazes on the scene; Upon the deck brave Barry stands; he comes in Freedom’s name; He comes to meet the haughty foe, amid the rushing flame. The orphan’s prayer to Heaven ascends for Erin’s noble son; Nor are his deeds forgotten in the land of Washington.’ The reverse showed one of the members of the Society with a horn of plenty, relieving the family of a deceased member, with the motto: ‘Charity softens the pillow of death.’

HIBERNIAN UNIVERSAL BENEVOLENT SOCIETY: Their first banner showed an Irish emigrant taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States with the motto: ‘United, we stand; divided we fall.’ The reverse showed the landing of Columbus, the name of the Society and the date of its charter in 1828. After the banner was a gilt harp covered in floral wreaths. A second banner had a portrait of Washington and the name of the Society.

References

New York Irish-American 26th March 1864.

New York Times 18th March 1864.

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Categories: New York, St. Patrick's Day

Author:Damian Shiels

I am an archaeologist based in Ireland, specialising in conflict archaeology.

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4 Comments on “‘Flags of Old Ireland for One Cent!’ and ‘All’s right- Dad’s Sober’: New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 1864”

  1. Marsha
    March 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    Fascinating. I’m digging into the dusty archives to find my Irish immigrant ancestors, so I am also reading and learning about Irish history, which I regret not having done before, being at least 25% Irish. My gr-grandfather fought in the Civil War, and I have his military records. I have info on Keatings/Nashes/O’Connors in Nebraska, Illinois and Kansas.

    • March 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Hi Marsha,

      Thanks for the comment! Who did your great-grandfather serve with? Also do you know what county he was from originally?

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

  2. Steve Reilly
    March 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    For those of you, who could not attend this year (17 March 2014) St. Patrick’s Day New York City Parade, with the 69th New York, let me tell you how it is. . Like 1864, it is overcast and this year, its cold with a strong north wind. The 69th New York marched up from their Hq’s on Lexington Avenue and turned left into 51st Street, stopping at 5th Avenue. They filed into Saint Patrick’s at 0815 to attend mass. After mass, the 69th lined up again, on 51st Street behind Major Flynn, the new commanding officer and the American and Regimental Flag. You may recall Major Flynn, from the book he wrote on the 69th, in Iraq. Traffic was stopped on 5th avenue by the NYPD. The Regimental Bagpiper started to play and the 69th New York National Guard, about 800 soldiers strong, marched out onto 5th Avenue, followed by its Veterans Corps and turned south to 41st Street and U turned. At 1100, they started north on 5th Avenue, into a killer wind with the temp. in the mid to low 20s. and the Parade was on. My son, 1st Lt. Rich Reilly was interviewed by Cablevision’s NEWS12 on the history of the Regiment and I came home. Last years parade, was a good 25 degrees warmer, so I will watch it on TV and hope for warmer weather next year.

    • March 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Hi Steve,

      Many thanks for this update!

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

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