Genealogy Trails History Group

Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Genealogy and History

Volunteers Dedicated to Free Genealogy

Massachusetts logo

 


line
Biographies

line

Patrick donohoe

    Patrick Donahoe, the founder of the "Pilot" and the Nestor of Catholic journalism in New England, was born in Munnery, Parish of Kilmore, and County Cavan, Ireland March 17, 1814. He came to this country in 1825, and located in Boston. After a few years' schooling here, while still in his teens he entered the printing-office of the "Columbian Sentinel," where he acquired the art of typesetting and other branches of the business. The prejudice was very great against Irish Catholics in those days, and amounted to almost an exclusion from the social circle. There were but few Catholics in Boston at that time, and only one little church to accommodate the Catholics for miles around. In no way discouraged by the prevailing proscription, however, the youth fought his way until he reached manhood, all the time having in view the establishment of a paper to defend his religion and race; and the opportunity finally arrived. "The Jesuit," a paper established by Bishop Fenwick, of Boston, was about to be discontinued, and Mr. Donahoe, with Mr. Devereaux, secured the paper, and changed the name to the "Literary and Catholic Sentinel." This paper did not prove successful, however, and was subsequently abandoned.

    Repulsed, but not defeated, Messrs. Donahoe and Devereaux, in a few years later, again began the publication of another Catholic paper, the Boston " Pilot," which, under his management, reached a popularity probably not surpassed by any Catholic or Irish paper on the continent. At the breaking out of the Civil War Mr. Donahoe took an active part in the organization of the Irish troops for the defense of the Union. He was treasurer of the funds for equipping and preparing the gallant old Irish Ninth Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by Col. Thomas Cass, for service, and on the day of their departure presented the regiment with ten bags of gold, each containing one hundred gold dollars, - one gold dollar for each man.
    He also assisted in the formation of the Faugh-a-Ballagh, Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Regiment,' and aided the boys at Camp Cameron, Cambridge, during the early period of the war. His paper, the "Pilot," also took a leading part in encouraging and sustaining the Federal cause.
    Mr. Donahoe accumulated a large fortune, notwithstanding he gave away large sums to various charitable purposes; to one institution alone, in Boston, he gave not far from ten thousand dollars.
    In 1872, St. John's Church, on Moore street, this city, was offered for sale, the congregation having purchased another on Hanover street. He saw the great need of a school in that section of the city, and purchased the building, and made it over to the Rt. Rev. Bishop Williams. On this estate he paid some six or seven thousand dollars, interest on the original purchase, $20,000. His intention was to pay the purchase-money, and he probably would have done so were it not for the great fire and other financial disasters. There is now a flourishing school in the building, of some nine or ten hundred children (girls), under the charge of the good Sisters of Notre Dame. Scarcely a church in New England that did not receive of his bounty. The poor priest from Ireland experienced his charity and hospitality. The American College at Rome, Mill Hill College, England, for the education of priests for the colored race, and other foreign institutions, partook of his charity.
    The great fire in Boston, in November, 1872, destroyed his splendid granite block, which cost to erect $150,000. His book stock, stereotype plates, etc., to the value of $100,000, were destroyed. Mr. Donahoe had a fine catalogue of Catholic works, and books relating to Ireland. All were swept away in a few hours. The building was one of the finest in the city. This was a terrible blow. The work of a lifetime swept away by the fire fiend! A few weeks after the great fire, Mr. Donahoe was burnt out a second time; his bookstore on Washington street was destroyed in May, 1873. Nothing daunted, Mr. Donahoe commenced to erect a suitable place for his business, and built a large and commodious structure on Boylston street, which he occupied in seven or eight months after the great November fire. The severe financial losses which he incurred, however, were so extended that he was compelled to fail in business shortly afterwards. In addition to his large newspaper and publishing business, he had previously opened a private bank, where he took money on deposit. At the time of his failure he was indebted to depositors to the amount of $73,000. His Grace Archbishop Williams came to the rescue, and purchased a three-fourths interest in the " Pilot."
    He placed it under the editorial and business management of John Boyle O'Reilly, and from that time forward yearly installments from the earnings of the paper were paid to the depositors, until 1883, when the full principal was returned. The business adversity which Mr. Patrick Donahoe was subjected to was due to many unfortunate causes.
    He was in the habit of assisting his friends by indorsing their paper, to enable them to carry on their business, and in this way he lost about $250,000. In the great Boston fire he lost over $350,000. To these may be added the losses of two other fires, which took away all his surplus capital. He had still the means to pay every dollar he owed; but when the panic came, and the friends who had lent him money to carry on his business were forced to call in their assets, he was compelled to go under. The " Pilot" office and bookstore, that cost, with fixtures, nearly $140,000, sold for $105,000, and the journal (worth $100,000), the machinery of which cost over $38,000, sold for $28,000. And so it was with his residence, and other property which he had mortgaged after the fires to enable him to carry on his business, - they shrunk in value so that they did not realize what they were mortgaged for.
    Mr. Donahoe was twice married, first on Nov. 23, 1836, and four children were the result of this union, one of whom survives. His second marriage occurred April 17, 1853; he has since become the father of three sons and one daughter, all of whom are living.
    He has filled many positions of trust. He was one of the Board of Directors for Public Institutions for nine years, President of the Emigrant Savings Bank, President of the Home for Destitute Catholic Children, etc. The latter institution is partly indebted to him for the splendid building now situated on Harrison avenue, East Concord, and Stoughton streets.
    He is at present engaged in the passenger and foreign exchange business, in which he has been interested for upwards of forty years. This was the only branch of his business that he was able to save from the wreck of his vast enterprises.  He also publishes " Donahoe's Magazine," which has attained a very large circulation, and is increasing in favor with the Irish people at home and abroad. [Source: The story of the Irish in Boston: By William Taylor Jr. and James Bernard Cullen; Publ. 1889; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]

Edward Donovan

    State Senator (Third Suffolk), was born in Boston, March 15,1864. He was educated in Boston's public schools, and is a graduate of the Phillips Grammar School, West End. In school, young Donovan displayed marked ability in declamation, and in later years has won a high reputation as an eloquent and effective public speaker. When quite young he lost his estimable father (Lawrence), who, for more than a quarter of a century, was among the prominent merchants of Boston, being a leading tobacconist. For some years Edward has been one of the most efficient and trusted accountants in the employ of Brown, Durrell, & Co., one of the largest jobbing houses in the United States. When hardly twenty-one years of age young Donovan took an interest in public affairs, and attracted attention by his activity, especially in Ward 8. He was elected a representative to the General Court for the years 188788, and Senator from the Third Suffolk District for the year 1889. In 1887 he was the youngest member of the House, and is the youngest man ever elected to the Massachusetts Senate. During his legislative service he has served on the Committees on Street Railways, Military Affairs, Water Supply, and Special Committee on Soldiers' Records, and has demonstrated his high talent and ability to perform yeoman service for the people and the Democratic Party, as a champion of every cause needing a helping hand. During his three years in the Legislature he has won the distinction of being one of the most eloquent and forcible debaters. Mr. Donovan is of an even temperament, and more than ordinarily well balanced mentally. He is a member of numerous societies, at the present time (1889) being president of the Hendricks Club of Boston, one of the most influential Democratic organizations in Massachusetts. [Source: The story of the Irish in Boston: By William Taylor Jr. and James Bernard Cullen; Publ. 1889; Tr. by Andrea Stawski Pack.]

William A. Dunn

    Physician, born in Boston, Sept. 6, 1852. His people settled in this State more than half a century ago. His paternal grandmother was an old resident of Lawrence, Mass., and was buried there in 1845. His mother, nee Julia Kearny, was related to the family of Gen. Phil. Kearny. Dr. Dunn graduated as a Franklin Medal scholar from the Eliot School at the age of thirteen years. He possessed a rich and beautiful contralto voice, and was the soloist of his school.
    He sang in a choir of adults when but eleven years of age, and was very frequently heard in concerts, and became known as "the boy contralto." The position of soloist in the choir of the Church of the Advent was tendered him, which he did not accept. He passed a successful examination for admission to the English High School; thence he went to Boston College, from which he graduated, having received in his last year all possible honors from that institution.
    These comprised three silver medals and the gold prize for dramatic reading. He received the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and afterwards the honorary degree of Master of Arts, and then proceeded to Harvard University, to pursue a course of medical studies. He was graduated with such distinguished honor that he received the prize of surgical house doctor at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he resided for sixteen months.

    His experience while at Harvard, as assistant to the professor of medical chemistry, served him in a great measure at the hospital. He was the assistant of Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, with whom he was associated in the compilation of his work on consumption. He was asked by Mr. Terry, a wealthy Southerner, to act as his medical companion during a three years' sojourn in Europe; although that gentleman made him a tempting proposal, the young physician decided to remain in Boston. He became assistant to Dr. John G. Blake, with whom he remained one year, and then began to establish himself in practice, and opened an office on Chambers street, where he has remained ever since, and has become the possessor of wealth. His extensive practice requires an assistant's services, and is still growing. In 1876 Dr. Dunn was the Professor of Chemistry at Boston College, later he taught physiology there. About the same year he was made assistant surgeon in the battery of the Second Brigade, M.V.M.; the first battalion of cavalry, in the same brigade, claimed him as its assistant surgeon in the following year, and afterwards he became the surgeon, which position he held until 1881, when his other medical duties compelled him to resign. In 1878 he went to Europe, and there pursued his medical investigations and studies with his friend, Mr. George Crompton, of Worcester, Mass., the famous inventor.
    In 1882 he was appointed assistant surgeon to the Carney Hospital, and in 1884 he was one of the visiting surgeons, which position he now holds, and while serving in that capacity he has performed many difficult surgical operations. He was elected to the School Committee in 1886, receiving the nomination of both political parties. In 1887 Governor Ames appointed him, together with Hon. John F. Andrew, one of the trustees of the Institution for the Feeble-minded, for three years. He is trustee of the Union Institution for Savings. In 1887-88 the Alumni Association of Boston College elected him its president. He is a life member of the Young Men's Catholic Association, a member of the Charitable Irish Society, the Eliot School Association, the Clover Club, the Puritan Club, and the Boston Athletic Club. He is medical examiner for several courts of Foresters. Dr. Dunn has written much. In 1882 he published a pamphlet on the Therapeutics of Vivisection, which he read before the Massachusetts Medical Society; also a paper on the "Use and Abuse of Ergot." Several of his cases have been printed in the medical journals. He is a member of many societies, such as the American Medical Association, the Boston Society for Medical Observation, the Boston Medical Benevolent Association, and the Bostonian Society.  [Source: The story of the Irish in Boston: By William Taylor Jr. and James Bernard Cullen; Publ. 1889; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]



BACK -- HOME
MassachusettsGenealogy Trails
©Genealogy Trails History Group