92 Marianna O’Gallagher – Historian, Author, Story Teller / Jeremiah O’Gallagher

  • It is with deep sadness that our committee has learned of the passing of Marianna O’Gallagher in Quebec City on Sunday morning 23rd May 2010.
  • In 2009, the committee requested permission from Marianna to include her name on Side 3 of the Ireland Canada Monument for her endless efforts in her writings and other works to highlight events at Grosse Ile, Quebec during the years 1845-1850.
  • Instead, Marianna in her unselfishness recommended that her grand-father Jeremiah O’Gallagher, originally from Macroom in County Cork be included for his efforts to complete the AOH Celtic Cross at Grosse Ile Quebec to honour the 6500+ Irish that died on the the island during the years of 1845-48. Jeremiah O’Gallagher’s name was subsequently added to the list of 100 names.
  • In August 2009 prior to the 150th  anniversary celebrations on the island and in Quebec City, Marianna donated a stone from the original cross which was broken off during a storm in the late 1940’s and asked that it be included in the completed Ireland Canada Monument. The stone had been left from the subsequent repair work done to the cross by her father Dermot O’Gallagher and Dr. Larkin Kerwin.
  •  The committee was delighted to receive such a historic piece and the stone will be included in the completed Ireland Canada Monument.
  • The stone was later transferred by his Excellency Ambassador Declan Kelly to Archbishop J. Michael Miller CSV at the Transfer of the Stone ceremony held at Place des Arts Coquitlam on October 5th 2009 with Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart attending.
  • Today, the stone is now on display at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Coquitlam British Columbia.
  • When the Ireland Canada Monument is built all Irish Canadians will owe Marianna O’Gallagher a debt of gratitude.
  • See also Marianna O’Gallagher’s writings.
  • http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/obituaries/2010/0529/1224271392381.html
  • Dia Dhuit Marianna. (May God be with you Marianna.)

Biography

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The stone from the AOH Cross on Grosse Ile at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Coquitlam B.C. donated to the Ireland Canada Monument by Marianna O’Gallagher.

O’GALLAGHER, Marianna, C.M., C.Q.1929-2010 

  • On May 24th, 2010 at the ‘‘Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec (Hôpital Laval)’’, at the age of 81 years old, passed away Marianna O’Gallagher,  daughter of the late  Dermot I. O’Gallagher and the late Norma K. O’Neil. She lived in Québec City.
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  • The family will receive condolences at
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  • Funérarium Lépine-Cloutier
  • 1025, route de l’Église
  • Québec (Québec) G1V 3W1
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  • Sunday, May 30th, 2010 from 14:00 to 17:00 and from 19:00 to 22:00 as well as Monday, May 31st, 2010 from 11:30 to 13:30.
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  • The funeral service will be held on May 31st, 2010 at 14:00 at St-Patrick’s Church, 1145, de Salaberry, Québec City.
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  • She leaves to mourn her brothers, her sister and her brothers in-law and sisters in-law : the late John (Nicole Paquette), the late Brendan (Dorothy T. McNeil), Patrick (Liliane Blanchard), Neil, Ellen Clare (Ken Wood) as well as many nephews, nieces and friends. She leaves to mourn cousins and relatives of the Conway, Delaney, O’Neil and Loney families.
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  • In lieu of flowers, please donate to the ‘‘Fondation de l’Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec (Hôpital Laval)’’, 2725, chemin Ste-Foy, Québec (Québec) G1V 4G5 tel : 418 656-8711 or the ‘‘St-Brigid’s Home Foundation’’, 1645, chemin St-Louis, Québec, (Québec) G1S 4M3 tel : 418 681-4687 or Irish Heritage Quebec, 1145, de Salaberry, Québec (Québec) G1R 2V7 tel : 418 527-2238.
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  • Parc Commémoratif La Souvenance

  • For information  : (418) 529-3371
  • Fax : (418) 529-9506
  • Email : lc@lepinecloutier.com
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  • A memorial register is available for signature at
  • www.lepinecloutier.com

http://www.lac-bac.gc.ca/grosse-ile/021023-2300-e.html

http://landersbrendan.tripod.com/id12.html

  • THE BEGINNING
  • Macroom: the town that never raised a fool
  • In Ireland Jeremiah Gallagher, son of John Gallagher and Mary Meany was born in April 1837 in the town of Macroom in County Cork.  He was baptized on April 7 of that year in the church of St. Colman of the Diocese of Cloyne, and  his godparents were Kate Corkery and another Jeremiah Gallagher.  His father John was a stonemason in a day when that trade was one of the essential building trades. Walls and fences and houses rose under the guiding hands of the stonemason.
  • The stonemason was also a church builder, but in a day when few if any Catholic churches were being built and the Protestant sects had taken over all the grand medieval monastic churches in Ireland, there was little church building going on.  However, tombstones or grave markers were also a part of the stonemason’s repertory and John traveled the country doing that, or his people had so done, and that travel brought them to County Cork, since the origins of the Gallagher are in County Donegal.  The town of  Carraig Mor in County Donegal was a name dear to Jeremiah’s heart, and he never forgot it. John, the father, the stonemason, set up a home for himself in Macroom in County Cork.
  • Macroom is a hilly town at the headwaters of the river Lee that finds its way to the sea at Cork, through a gentle countryside rich in green beauty, huge trees and brush today.  The Lee is the source of power for a great modern development, but whatever structures or dams that were built are subtly hidden and even in 1974 only a wide placid lake taking over former sheep pastures indicated the presence of a modern power development.  At the City of Cork, the Lee passes through the city under several bridges new and old and forms a harbour for ships from all over the world. The seaport itself is named Cobh (pronounced Cove) and used to be called Queenstown.
  • At Macroom, even today, one sees the ruins of ‘the Castle’, which for many long years, after being in Irish hands, served as headquarters for one of the many garrisons of British soldiers who policed Ireland in the sad days of British occupation.  These garrisons, whether of police or of soldiers acted as rent collectors, evicted the people from their homes, or punished evil in ways they saw fit wherever they judged it to be, and generally kept the country in subjection. It is no wonder that Cork became a centre of resistance to tyranny during long years.
  • Macroom was also the centre for the 19th century Gaelic revival, and its school under Canon Peadar O’Conor was renowned from one end of the land to the other. Canon O’Conor had settled there for a time shortly after his ordination and graduation from Maynooth when in his late developing fervour for things really Irish he realized that there was a very pure form of Gaelic spoken in Macroom, and that a small school for boys already existed there.  The Macroom school figures prominently in his memoirs and a bronze plaque on the bridge over the Lee attests to his own scholarly exploits there.  Such was the spirit of the place where Jeremiah grew up.  The town of Macroom today is not industrialized; it preserves a quiet air. Great elm trees stand in the walled fields.  The streets, fairly wide by 19th century standards are hilly, and bordered by the stone cottages that typify Western Ireland towns.  They stand shoulder to shoulder, painted in pastels, and sturdy, almost secretive in their dignified privacy.  As you walk along the paving, you can be no more than four or five feet from the best chair in the parlours of every house, and with but a mild stretch of your arm upwards, on the street, you can touch the eaves of any house.
  • The Church of Saint Colman, where Jeremiah was baptized, burnt later and was replaced by a stone building squat and solid on the side of the hill.  There is plenty of open space around it – the convent and school to the north, the priest’s house, the wide open paved yard in front, to the west.  Where in Canada, this space might serve as a parking lot, at Macroom it is a smooth swept expanse of concrete, with huge Celtic crosses in rows on either side that mark the memory of pastors and curates from the long past of the old parish.  The view of the Lee Valley to the south is soft and green, with the great dark bulk of elm trees predominating.
  • Jeremiah described to his son Dermot why it was easy to believe in fairies.  He told how he used to lie down in the tall grass and watch the lark flying higher and higher into the sky thence to fall like a shaft into the waiting nest.  As he watched the sky he could distinguish the sounds of little bugs and crickets and things moving through the greenery around his ears.  Easy it was to imagine that it was the little people that were there.
  • William Penn was born in Macroom, and County Cork was the seat of much Quaker activity in Ireland.  The pacific nature of the Quakers was not reflected in many of the events of Cork’s history.  From the days of the famine, Jeremiah remembered one incident that always made him smile.  He remembered waking in the middle of the night, and with his brothers looking from the loft over the kitchen down into that room where his mother and two or three neighbors were excitedly and hurriedly carving up a deer that they had poached from the landlord’s deer park. Ordinarily memories of Ireland did not elicit smiles.
  • Sometime around 1858 Jeremiah left this town, with the heavy baggage of heritage in his heart and head.  His brothers Frank and James would eventually all be found in Quebec City together with him, pursuing their new lives. It appears that Frank arrived first. Frank very early made a good reputation for himself as a school teacher, with Sillery Academy on the Foul on Road the scene of his success. According to tradition, his education in Ireland had been at Teachers’ College of Dublin University.  This tradition was held by his nephew Dermot, son of Jeremiah, but has not been authenticated.  Numbered among his students in Sillery were the Powers, O’Brien’s, Connellys, Ryans of the locality, but the best known was Charles Fitzpatrick, who became a lawyer and a politician, and served at various times as Attorney-General of Canada, defender of Louis Riel in 1885, Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, creator of the Alberta School Law, capping all with the title of Sir Charles.  He frequently stated that his education under these men (Jeremiah had joined his brother Frank in the Sillery school) was the solid foundation for his own scholarship.  The daily newspaper, it appears, was Frank’s principal teaching aid.  The other strong point of the school was its excellent mathematical training, for both Jeremiah and Frank were competent, indeed, brilliant mathematicians.
  • A couple of stories on the mathematical side :  it seems that when Jeremiah crossed the ocean, on a steamship, not a sailing vessel, he took a last evening stroll around the deck before retiring one night – probably smoking his pipe.  As he passed what turned out to be the bursar’s cabin, he saw that the light was still on and a stream of profanity accompanied its rays out onto the deck.  Curious and bold, he tapped on the door to inquire the reason for the unhappiness!  Maybe he heard strains of Ireland in the man’s cursing. The bursar was caught in the midst of calculations which had gotten beyond him. Jeremiah picked up the pencil, scanned the paper, and ran over the pages without any flurry, and finished the man’s job for him.  Both Frank and Jeremiah boasted of being able to add two columns of “figgers” at a time in an addition.  It is not recorded if the bursar was in a position to return Jerry the cost of his fare!
  • The story about Frank occurs in his old age when he retired from Quebec, and went to live with his daughter Norah in Montreal.  Norah ran a boarding house for McGill students.  One night two of them were struggling over some math problem. Mrs. O’Neill, for such was her new name, said, “Ask Pa.”  Pa was abed in the room off the kitchen.  The boys hesitated, but finally went in to see “Pa” and in no time he had helped them solve their problem.
  • At some point in his early years in North America, Jeremiah, like D’Arcy McGee, had considered living in the United States.  Again tradition in the family states that it was in Philadelphia that Jerry Gallagher had landed, that he had spent some time in Boston, had visited New York, but eventually chose Quebec.  He did not go immediately from the States to Quebec City, where his brother lived, but went to Montreal in 1859to work as a time keeper on the Victoria Bridge.  The bridge was in the last stages of its building before its inauguration by the Prince of Wales in 1860.
  • Photos exist for that inauguration, with the Prince of Wales and a grand turn-out of dignitaries.  However, another set of pictures shows another ceremony that took place at the same period.  When the workers of Petto and Brassey were digging to prepare the space for the underpinnings of the bridge, they came upon the 1847 Irish famine cemetery of  Point Saint Charles.  No doubt many of the men of the work force knew of it already.   They insisted that this sacred place be marked, and so the company provided the means for the men to have a huge boulder from the riverbed inscribed with the words:
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PRESERVE FROM DESECRATIONTHE REMAINS OF 6,000 IMMIGRANTSA.D. 1847-48THIS STONEIS ERECTED BY THE WORKERSOFMESSRS PETTO BRASSEY AND BETTSEMPLOYED IN THE CONSTRUCTIONOF THEVICTORIA BRIDGEA.D. 1859.

  • I have searched the old photos of the inauguration without being able to locate Jeremiah’s face among the throng, but to me it is very likely that he was there.
  • QUEBEC
  • By 1872 Jeremiah was established in Quebec City, changing residence often, at first with Frank, later on his own.  Between his arrival in Montreal in 1859, and his settling in Quebec in 1872, he taught in Sillery Academy with his brother, and at the Séminaire de Québec. For his work as professor of English for the scholastic year 1867-1868 he earned $200.00. To further his education, he went to Ste. Anne-de-la-Pocatière College.  This was a classical college of the old style, with a broad curriculum of preparation for the priesthood and for law; but there was plenty of science and math.  Jeremiah obtained engineering and a surveying degree, both recognized later by the respective professional Corporations.  Jeremiah remained at the college for six years and taught English and commercial subjects.  He also learned French.  His colleagues set him up with a Chair of Gaelic.  This appears to have been an honorary chair, and not a teaching department.  The college of Ste. Anne attracted many Irishmen. The music director of the college was an Irish bandmaster retired from a British Regiment.  Father Bernard McGauran from Sligo who was the first priest sent to Grosse Ile in the summer of 1847 had obtained his theological training there.  Many of the local priests had their stories to tell about that summer when Grosse Ile, the quarantine station, received thousands of sick and dying Irish immigrants. This, coupled with his knowledge of the grave site at Point St. Charles must have been influences leading to one of Jeremiah’s later accomplishments.
  • It was in 1872 that he found employment at the City Hall in Quebec, in the waterworks department whose chief was Charles Baillargé. Jeremiah eventually became manager and directed the laying of the 40″ main from Lac St. Charles to a pumping station at the corner of de Salaberry Avenue and St. John Street.  Later a reservoir was dug on the Plains of Abraham (near the Joan of Arc Gardens).  Rue de l’Aqueduc marks the trail of the watermain through the flats of Limoilou.  His work was of such calibre that Scientific American Magazine commented on it, as a good piece of work, laying pipe through a flat area which was below tide level, and still managing to maintain the flow that would carry the water up again to the reservoir.
  • There is an interesting paragraph on page 120 in George Gale’s book Quebec ‘Twixt Old and New, published in 1915 by the Telegraph Printing Company.  It is titled “Life saving at the Champlain Wharf”
  • Another rescue worthy of note in the seventies, when two prominent citizens of Quebec, Messer. Daniel McGie, broker of Peter Street, and the late Jeremiah Gallagher, C.E., civic waterworks manager, were the principal actors.  They bravely leaped from the steamer “Maid of Orleans” to the rescue of a man who had accidentally fallen from the boat when nearing the Champlain market while returning from the Island. They kept the man afloat until assistance was at hand and a final rescue affected.
  • Jeremiah became a member of the Canadian Association of Civil Engineers. In 1874 he was received into the Quebec Corporation of Land Surveyors, and the Association of Dominion Land Surveyors.    Two years later, 1876, the Commissioner of Crown Lands appointed Jeremiah as examiner for candidates for land surveying.
  • In his role in the city waterworks office, Jeremiah assessed water taxes. One such assessment that of the Séminaire de Québec amounted to $2000.00 in 1893. The Séminaire had not been granted charitable institution status by the city and hence was charged taxes.  The Seminaries’ letters of complaint were answered by Jeremiah O’G.  He was forced, said he, with sincere regrets, to warn the Séminaire that if they did not pay their taxes, he would be forced to order his department to cut off their water.  A meeting of the Seminary Council decided that they had better pay, or promise to pay the tax, else they should be forced “à bovver element des liqueurs et de se laver sous les cieux.”
  • SOCIAL LIFE
  • Jeremiah was not short changed in joie de vivre.  He was a good flute player, and often played in the orchestra for Saint Patrick’s Day concerts.  He also enjoyed singing to the accompaniment of his wife Marianne, who played both piano and organ.  She was the organist at St. Roch Church in Lower Town Quebec, and practiced at St. Patrick’s, where her son Dermot accompanied her, but his role was that of organ pumper, in the days before electricity filled the bellows.  When her official liturgical practice was over, Marianne used to indulge in classical music, and Dermot remembered that often her playing rendered him very pensive and sad.  According to Dermot, Jeremiah was not a good actor, but he loved recitations, which he encouraged his son to learn – “Who fears to speak of ’98?” being one of his favourites.
  • When the Music Hall on Saint Louis Street burned on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1900, Jeremiah and Marianne were in the audience with their children, enjoying the afternoon concert. Dermot often referred to the bravery of the manager and his assistant is getting people out of the hall without a panic.
  • Jeremiah could not dance because of an injury to his knee that had come about when he was at St. Anne-de-la-Pocatière. One hot summer afternoon he decided to go swimming in the Saint Lawrence, without benefit of a bathing suit.  When he came out of the water, and began to walk towards his clothing piled on a rock above high tide mark, he was embarrassed to see a family group appear on the beach.  In an attempt to run for his clothing he slipped on the slimy rocks and fell, damaging his knee.  He used a cane almost all his life, and he showed his son Dermot good form in “single sticking” – use of the cane, or his blackthorn stick for defence.  He used his cane very jauntily.
  • Jeremiah enjoyed playing cards, and often joined his friends at St. Patrick’s Literary Institute in the church Hall (McMahon Street) before the Institute had its own place.  According to Tom O’Neill, the CNR station master at St. Foy, he was also an excellent chess player.
  • He liked both hunting and fishing.  He owned a couple of good shotguns, with their leather cartridge pouches.  The belt could be worn over one shoulder like a bandolier. There was a powder section with a mechanism that allowed a measured amount of powder to be poured out at a time.  Jeremiah often went on fishing trips with friends at Lake Edward in the Laurentians.  He was also a competent cook, his years of bachelorhood having served him well in this aspect.
  • He loved logic and exact language, a love he instilled in his children despite their groaning when he called for the dictionary, especially if it interrupted a meal.  He admired intelligent illiterates; hence his friendships were broad based and varied. He despised the ignoramus who betrayed his ignorance publicly.  In a letter to his son Dermot at Loyola College in 1907, he wrote: “… knowledge is power. A fair knowledge of things general is all the fortune I had, and is, I regret much, all that you have to depend on. So study hard, learn everything you can, inquire into everything, trust in God, lead a good Christian life, and God will look after you. ”
  • MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
  • In 1888 at the age of fifty-one, Jeremiah Gallagher married Marianne Corrigan of Ste. Foy, daughter of James Corrigan and Catherine McGrath of Fermanagh.  Marianne was then the organist at St. Patrick’s Church.  The marriage took place on June 5 in the chapel of Saint Bridget’s Home on the corner of de Salaberry and Grande Allée. Jeremiah’s Brother Frank Gallagher and James O’Donnell, another relative, were the witnesses. Why not Saint Patrick’s Church?  Jeremiah had been serving as a trustee of the Home, and its accountant for some time, hence the choice of that chapel.  By that time quite a few parishioners were living in the area, and the chapel was like a second church for the parish.
  • Jeremiah and Marianne had three children; a son Ibar was born and died in 1890, Dermot, born September 26, 1891, and Mary Eileen, born April 11 in 1894 lived into old age. Marianne was thirty-seven at the time of her marriage.  The family lived at 13 Conroy Street near the Parliament buildings (it is now Taschereau Street). Because of Jerry’s role as head of the waterworks department, the Gallaghers on Conroy had a telephone, one of the first in the city.
  • In 1892, Jeremiah purchased land in the country… for a summer home.  For $500.00, borrowed, he bought a house on a piece of land in the suburbs of Ste. Foy.  The lot extended from St. Louis Road to low tide in the Saint Lawrence River.  The neighbouring properties had names like Spencer Grange, and Rose Cottage, and Kilmarnock and Ravenswood, so Jeremiah called his land “Carraig Mor” after the town in Donegal from which his father had moved to Macroom.  Donegal was the original homeland of Clan Gallagher.  There was a small mountain or a BIG ROCK on the property in Ste. Foy, so the Gaelic Carraig Mor was quite apt.
  • An interesting little note here:  when French-Canadians measured riverside land they calculated the distance by walking a horse into the water at low tide until the water touched its belly.  Where the horse stood became the boundary of the land.
  • My father’s memories of Carraig Mor in his youth are worth a word here:  moving day each spring was an adventure. Each summer saw the Gallagher caravan move from Conroy Street to Ste. Foy.  Mother and father and children in a cart with the supplies they would need for the summer packed in solid wooden crates, not cartons!  The hens and rooster miserable in a cage or two, the cow ambling behind the wagon on a long tether, and Rory the Irish terrier gaily running in and out and around the cart as they worked their way steadily out Grande Allee and St. Louis Road to the solid old wooden house called Carraig Mor.  Jeremiah’s summer would be one of commuting between his job at City Hall and his quasi farm in Ste. Foy where the chickens and ducks enjoyed free range living and the children played free in field and woods and shore.
  • According to Dermot, Jeremiah was a devoted family man.  His letters to his son are full of attention to the boy’s work, and the most traditional of fatherly advice, but couched in terms neither harsh nor condescending but full of acceptance of the person of the child to whom he was writing, as one quite capable of understanding everything that was said to him.  He never seemed to be totally satisfied with the kind of education his son was getting; hence Dermot attended almost every elementary school that existed in Quebec City.
  • In the privacy of his own home he was very affectionate, he and his wife enjoyed constant banter.   There could also be moments of exasperation. And it was usually Jerry who burst into tears.  The fiery temper that his children and many of his grandchildren inherited showed itself for reasons too.  The injustices perpetrated in Ireland, and which Jerry no doubt felt as keenly as if they had been dealt directly at him caused him not only sorrow, but often extreme anger.  Once, on Saint Patrick’s Day, an overly jocular friend phoned to offer greetings that were just too joyful.  To the melancholy Gael, at that moment, nostalgia for the Ireland he had left, and for the Ireland that was still not free, struck Jeremiah in his deepest feelings.  He ripped the telephone off the wall.  There was no humiliating explanation to be offered to anyone, but simply the request to one of his men at City Hall, “Fix it.”
  • Marianne complained that his desk was always covered with papers, meaningless papers according to her, drawings of pipes, and pipes and pipes, drain pipes and water pipes, elbows and T-joints.  Once, unfortunately, she attempted to clean up his desk, with a resulting temper tantrum, or almost.  His son Dermot can remember that when his father was angry, his own name Dermot turned into a roar that sounded like DAMMIT.
  • At the same time, however, he could melt at a word from his wife or daughter.  When Mary was a very little girl she was sent off to boarding school.  On the weekend her mother went to visit her, and Mary was so glad to see her, and had been so lonesome, that she insisted on coming home.  Marianne could not refuse, and did not know how she would explain to Poppa why the girl had come home. When Poppa did arrive home, his first question was, “How’s Baby?”
  • Marianne answered, “She’ll tell you herself.”
  • Before Jerry could splutter a few words, Mary said, “Poppa, I was hungry.”
  • “For God’s sake, Marianne, give her something to eat.”
  •  And that was the end of boarding school for Mary. Son Dermot would go to Loyola College for high school in Montreal where he was packed off with a Gaelic dictionary and letters from his father in Gaelic.  The only letters Dermot saved, however, were those written in English.
  • To his son Dermot he accorded a companionship exercised in long buggy rides in the summer out the Cap Rouge Road westward of Carraig Mor. Young Dermot went fishing, too, with his father, and his father’s friends.  The Press Club at Lake Edward was the scene of Jeremiah’s last fishing trip, expressed in no uncertain terms when Dermot helped his father out of the rowboat onto the wharf.  The son remembered it.  Though he remembered the pathos of that moment he also remembered glorious enjoyment of small victories and just plain fun. One of the games the men played for eight-year-old Dermot’s entertainment on a fishing trip was mind-reading.  Bill Jewell proved without a doubt that he could read Dermot’s mind, by finding with unfailing accuracy exactly which of three spoons the boy had touched, first when he did it when Bill’s eyes were closed, and then in Bill’s absence from the room.  Endlessly Dermot tried to touch one spoon out of the three – with a finger – then in desperation with his hand pulled into the sleeve of his sweater.  Bill pointed out the right spoon every time. Finally the two men could not hold in any longer. Bill showed Dermot that his father was a collaborator.  As soon as Bill returned to the room, Jeremiah, indifferently reading at the table, placed his pipe in the centre, or on either side of his mouth to indicate to Bill which spoon had been touched.
  •  Many stories show that he had good sense of humour plus the cleverness to use it to good effect.  One story from the Lake Edward tales is that of a very pompous British Army type who was showing off about all the places he had been in his military career, and his exploits there.  Jeremiah, by a series of mutters and grunts got the message across to his friend Bill Jewell that this man should be taken down a peg. Jerry then addressed Bill as Sergeant Major, and Bill addressed Jerry as Colonel.  They reminisced through a series of imaginary adventures in India and Western Canada to the amusement of their fishing buddies and the discomfiture of their pompous guest.
  • Another adventure could be used to illustrate his knowledge of Carpe Diem – grasp the moment.  As a young engineer in the waterworks department he was called to inspect a certain house on Grande Allée where the water pressure seemed to be stuck at a mere dribble.  The Irish maid (they were mostly Irish maids in the English houses on Grande Allée in those days) brought him down to the cellar and hovered over him as he glanced at the entry from the water main. With one short turn of the valve he opened the pipe and the problem disappeared.
  •  The maid, in an exasperated voice asked, “Is that all there is to it?”
  •  “No,” said he, and swept her, unresisting into his arms and ardently kissed her.
  •  From the top of the stairs came another exasperated voice: “Peggy, come up here at once.”
  •  Another time he was able to do a favour for the local gas company – his mathematical skills helped them to solve a serious problem of some kind.  The grateful management sent a company executive to his home to express in person the company’s thanks.
  • “How can we ever thank you, Mr. Gallagher?” was the query.
  •  Silently Jeremiah took his visitor to the kitchen, showed him the gas meter, and said, “Remove that,” and remove it the company did, much to the mystification of later owners of the house on Conroy Street.
  • At that time when both recreation and entertainment were a do-it-yourself affair, and there was neither radio nor television to trap people into sitting for hours passively absorbing others’ work, most towns and cities had a variety of societies and organizations, benevolent and social, intellectual as well as recreational.  Jeremiah was, like many of his fellows, a member of several societies.  Their number was almost endless in Quebec, and from about 1869 both Jeremiah and his brother Frank were active ordinary members in some and on the board of directors of many such associations.  Jeremiah was Corresponding Secretary of the St. Patrick’s Catholic and Literary Institute; the same for the Irish League in 1872.  He and Frank from 1870 to 1873 were on the executive of the Quebec Hibernian Benevolent Society which has been labeled by some historians as a Fenian front.  Jeremiah believed that only force could ever remove the British from Ireland, but that violence on this side of the ocean was pointless and out of place.  One story, mysterious because of one pronoun, illustrates the kind of man he was.  At some point in the Irish Republican Brotherhood history Jeremiah had received a message to go to Levis and meet a certain man, evidently a spy sent to report of Quebec activities. . Jeremiah was to “deal with him”.  According to Dermot, Jeremiah recognized the person in question, followed him onto the Levis ferry, stood beside him at the rail and contemplated his next move. “He was to throw him overboard, but he thought of his eternal soul and he could not do it.”  Since the story was told in the third person, I cannot determine whether Grandfather Jeremiah was thinking of his own soul, or that of the spy he was supposed to deal with.
  • It is on the area of devotion to the land that he had left, and to the welfare of its people here, that he should best be remembered.  Men like Frank and Jerry kept alive in the hearts of their countrymen a love of Ireland and handed on to their children knowledge of its history.  This is evident among his grandchildren: knowledge, love and respect for Irish history, received from him and handed on by his children Dermot and Mary.
  • When the Hibernian Cadets were formed in 1908, the study of Irish History and the Gaelic language formed part of their training.  Like the other societies of Quebec, it too had its anthems, and its prayers, oaths and passwords that transmitted to the young members a constant awareness of their heritage.
  • The Hibernian Benevolent society seemed to disappear about 1883, but it apparently re-emerged as the Land League, for its officers were the same as that of the former society.  Based on the ideals of its overseas counterpart, the Land League sought, by lobbying the government, by raising money, by disseminating information, to further in America the work of the parent body in Ireland.  Famous speakers came to Quebec where they received good audiences among the Irish.  This part of the work of Francis and Jeremiah Gallagher deserves deeper treatment than it receives here.
  • In addition to his interest in national affairs, Jeremiah also tended to things closer to home: later in life he was President of Saint Patrick’s Total Abstinence Society of Quebec, but when he became a member, at age 68, he had to do it his way:  he summoned the parish priest to his home. There he recited before him the words of the pledge, then reached into the liquour cabinet, poured himself a glass of whiskey, tossed it off, neat, and then never touched another drop in his life.
  • Jeremiah was active on the Managing Committee of Saint Bridget’s Home, serving as auditor for many years.  While he was at City Hall his profession of land surveying did not fall into the background: in 1892 he was already a long-time member of the Corporation of Quebec Land Surveyors.  He was also member of the debating club and of the Emerald Snowshoe Club. His devotion to the church was evident also: in 1891 Jeremiah was Vice-President of the parish League of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
  • As a member of the Quebec Catholic School Commission he was instrumental in having Saint Mary’s Academy built for the growing Irish population that occupied the streets immediately north of the Parliament Buildings.  His intention was to collect there all the Irish girls who were scattered about the city in small private schools, run by women out of their own parlours.  The boys already had the advantage of Saint Patrick’s School on McMahon Street, run by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. In Jeremiah’s plan, both teachers and pupils would be brought together under one roof to enjoy the advantages that the School Commission could offer.  Jeremiah died before his plan was completed, but the building wore its name on the façade in English Saint Mary’s Academy.  The building occupied a block that cornered on St. Augustine Street, across from St. Matthew’s Cemetery.  The school under the care of the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec for many years did its share of educating Irish girls, until the Leonard School opened in 1935. Saint Mary’s was not exclusively an English or Irish school, hence the creation of a new school for Irish girls in 1935.
  • DENOUEMENT
  • It was with Bill Jewell that Jeremiah’s last trip to Lake Edward took place. That lake, a long train trip from Quebec City, was known for its TB sanatorium, as well as for the Press Club with all its fishing privileges.  The Press Club was reached by a five-mile ride by steam launch from the train station.  The club had an interesting roster : Bill Jewell, jack-of-all-trades; Joe Gale, proprietor of the Olde Curiosity Shop on St. Louis Street; his brother George Gale, author of Quebec Old and New, among other similar volumes on Quebec City’s history.  The lawyer-writer-newspaperman John Jordan was an acquaintance of Jeremiah’s at the club.  Jordan authored The Grosse Ile Tragedy and the Monument to the Irish Fever Victims 1847, a comprehensive volume published in 1909 by the Quebec Chronicle, on the occasion of the unveiling of the Celtic Cross at Grosse Ile. The Press Club was a representative group – there were French, Irish, English, Catholic and Protestant members.  There were not too many venues in which men of the differing backgrounds of Quebec could meet.
  • On this occasion of Jeremiah’s last trip to Lake Edward, in the beginning of the summer of 1914, Jeremiah and Bill set off very early in the morning in a large rowboat –two pairs of oars – to go to Gull Rock five miles down the lake.  When dusk fell, the men at the camp, including Jeremiah’s son Dermot, began to feel some concern for the missing fishermen who had not even given a halloo from the distance. One by one the men wandered down to the dock to wait.  Before total darkness fell they could make out the boat, with two weary oarsmen pulling hard and slow on the oars.  The boat was full of fish.  Two very weary but very happy men climbed out of the boat, many hands to help them onto the welcome steadiness of the wharf.  That was Jeremiah’s last trip.
  • MONUMENTS
  • Of lasting value, quite apart from the total of the intangibles that the man left to his descendants, is the monument that he designed for Grosse Ile, that innocent little island down river from Quebec City, which from 1832 onwards served as a quarantine station for the thousands of immigrants who came to Canada in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  In 1846 and for the next two years, especially 1847, Grosse Ile was the scene of death and desolation for thousands of Irish driven from their homes by famine and pestilence in Ireland, famine worsened by British parliamentary indifference.  In 1909, the Ancient Order of Hibernians of both Canada and the United State, raised a monument to honour their beloved dead, and those who had come to their aid, namely the Clergy of the Diocese of Quebec, and the families who had adopted orphans.  For  more than ten years the AOH had been making the plans, collecting the money needed.  Canon Eustace Maguire, of Sillery was the chaplain at the time. Jeremiah was Secretary, and as civil engineer was called upon to execute the design for the monument.  A contest had been held, publicized in the AOH magazine.  Many versions of the Celtic Cross had been suggested, and Jeremiah worked his plan from that start.  He made his first sketches on the wall of the kitchen at 13 Conroy Street.  As contributions flowed in the monument grew in stature. His son Dermot recalled those drawings and the discussions among the men – Father Maguire, Denis Coveney, and others, over the contents of the inscriptions and so on.  The inscription finally decided on was to be in three languages – English, French and Irish, and Irish written in the old script – not called the old script in 1908!
  • The Gaelic inscription was written by Jeremiah, but he called upon a well known scholar of the day, Major MacCrystal of the 69th Regiment of New York, the Fighting 69th, to read it and comment.  In their letters Jeremiah insists on the term artificial famine, to describe the situation of 1847.  The monument honours “the children of the Gael who fleeing unjust laws and an artificial famine ended their days on this island”. The names of forty-seven Catholic priests who tended the sick and the dying appear on the north face.
  • Perhaps this stone monument could also stand as a reminder to us his descendants.  The granite reminder stands tall and solid, blown by Saint Lawrence winds, but it fulfills its purpose.  It is caught fast and completely in Canadian soil.
  • In August of 1914, before ever the bright flame of republican independence could flash out of Ireland to tell its sons that the New Ireland was born, Jeremiah died.  Ireland’s good was a faraway thing that he strove for and failed to effect in the way that he wanted.  Closer to his heart, and greater in its success, was his gift to his children of his faith in God and in himself, and a lot of other strong characteristics, not all angelic, but colourful and useful and good.
  • Marianna O’Gallagher
  • January 28, 2003-01-28 Still in draft form, but beginning to take shape.
  • Copied for Tony June 7 2007
  • Dedicated to Dermot and Mary
  • Touched up a little April 2006 – around the time of his birthday
  • More polish August 10, 2008
  • Why “O” – when
  • Reflections on the “O”
  • Copy  Dermot Christmas 2008