History Behind 3-7-77

Civil War

No brigade in the Civil War was more distinguished by its ethnic character than the colorful, hard-fighting Irish Brigade. Repeatedly hurled into the hottest part of the fighting, these units ...

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It is time for Montana to give up its founding myth of vigilantism, which perpetuates an incomplete and racist version of our past. Montanans need to remove official ...

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Montana Highway Patrol

Vigilantes are an often revered part of Montana's history… Helena, the capital, even boasts its own tribute to the vigilantes with a "Vigilantes Day" including a parade and other events. ..

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John F. Kennedy on the 69th Irish Brigade

About Thomas Francis Meagher

Meagher was born in 1823 to a prosperous merchant family in Waterford, Ireland. His rollercoaster of a life should be the envy of us all. Meagher became an Irish nationalist and campaigned for an independent Ireland, free from England. He was a rousing speaker and inspired the 1848 uprising in Ireland referred to as the New Ireland Rebellion. He was arrested and condemned to death for treason against the British crown.

His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and he was transported to the British penal colony in Van Diemen's land, which is now Tasmania. He escaped and made it to NYC, 10,323 miles away, in 1851 and was met by adoring crowds of Irish immigrants. Among the greeters, however, was Malcolm Tierney Campbell, a British Secret Service informant. Meagher was an immediate hero among Irish immigrants and loudly proclaimed that one day he would return to Ireland and drive the British out. The British Secret Service kept close tabs on Meagher in America and, in the author's opinion, were financed Meagher's murder in 1867. Meagher joined and then parted ways with the Fenians, a secret Irish revolutionary group made up of US Army veterans who were committed to overthrowing British rule in Ireland. During Meagher's time in Montana, the Fenians made several cross-border raids into Canada in an attempt to seize the Canadian Province and use it as a platform to launch an invasion of Ireland. There was a large group of Fenians in Montana, a Canadian border state, when Meagher was Governor and it may not have been a coincidence that British Army Captain Wilfred Speer, travelling with $40,000 in gold [the equivalent in purchasing power to about $1,318,395 today] was travelling on the steamship Octavia which docked at Fort Benton on June 20, 1867, 12 days before Thomas Francis Meagher disappeared from that very same dock. Speer would not hear about Meagher's disappearance, however, because a Union soldier sentry on the Octavia, Private Barry, who also happened to be a Fenian, shot Speer in the head point blank on the deck of the Octavia just before the boat reached Fort Benton.

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Why Doubt Persists

[A] very severe illness compelled me to defer to an answer to your letter, but realizing the importance of your request, I reply at my earliest convenience, though my health compels me to call the pen of a friend to my assistance. . .

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British Spies

British and Canadian officials took the threat posed by the Fenians seriously and directed that spies originally planted to monitor Confederate sympathizers in the northern United States ...

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Resisting The Truth

Why does the Montana Historical Society resist the truth regarding the death of Thomas Francis Meagher? Well, I'm glad you asked. . . .

Here's Why

US Lynching From 1882 to 1968


Total Lives Lost


Killed In Former Confederate States


% of total Lynchings Were Of Black Men/Women


% of Lynchings in Montana Where Of White Men/Women

Statistic: Number of executions by lynching in the United States by state and race between 1882 and 1968 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista