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.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Meagher had joined the Irish Brigade which formed in New York City and had eventually became a Brigadier General, taking part in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Meagher became friends with President Abraham Lincoln and was in the honor guard at Lincoln's funeral. In addition, Meagher formed a particularly close relationship with Secretary of State William Seward that would prove to be a political disadvantage later in his career. Seward had begun his political career campaigning against the political influence of Freemasonry in the United States and had formed the Anti-Masonic political party. Seward was also a strict abolitionist prior to the Civil War and this issue resulted in him being passed over by the Republican Presidential National Convention in favor of a compromise candidate, Abraham Lincoln. Seward nearly had his face cut off by a Confederate assassin, simultaneous to the Lincoln assassination, and was facially disfigured and politically neutered after Lincoln's assassination. In addition, Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, a slave owning Senator from Tennessee, and Grand Master of American Freemasonry for the United States was actively negotiating with the British Government for reparations after the Civil War. During the war, the British had sold the Confederacy state of the art British war ships and permitted British Navy sailors to "enlist" in the Confederate Navy for purposes of sinking American civilian shipping. By the end of the Civil War nearly all goods shipped from the US overseas had to be transported on British commercial vessels to avoid being sunk by the "Confederate Navy"! Just before Meagher's disappearance, the British had agreed to pay reparations to the US Government, and British Army Captain Speer had been dispatched to visit Fort Benton carrying a great deal of money. Perhaps more than reparations were agreed upon.

It was into this political cauldron that Seward lobbied Johnson on Meagher's behalf for a political appointment at the end of the Civil War. Meagher was appointed by President Andrew Johnson to be the Acting Governor of the Montana Territory. Meagher arrived in Montana to find that the Montana Freemasons had formed a vigilante group to hang people suspected of various crimes. Meagher opposed the vigilantes in Montana and on July 1, 1867, Meagher vanished at Fort Benton, Montana. The Montana Historical Society, founded by Wilbur Fisk Sanders, Grand Master of Montana Freemason, has always reported that Meagher fell from a boat docked at Fort Benton and apparently drowned. Sanders was one of the last people to see Meagher alive. There is not a scintilla of physical evidence to support that highly unlikely scenario for the disappearance of Thomas Francis Meagher. His body was never recovered. The "eye witness "account" of Meagher's disappearance, drafted by a third party and submitted in writing two years after the event is provided at this website. It lacks credibility, and in the author's opinion, fits a pattern of betrayal by Irish informants. There is overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Meagher was murdered by vigilantes to prevent him from becoming an elected US Senator from Montana and eventually holding the Freemasons accountable for extrajudicial murders carried out by Montana Vigilantes. It is not coincidental that the Montana Historical Society has always lionized the Montana Vigilantes for the extrajudicial lynchings carried out during Meagher's time in Montana. It is also not coincidental that one of the founding members of the Montana Vigilantes, Paris Pfouts, departed Fort Benton, Montana with $20,000 in gold, two days after Meagher was reported missing.

Below is a relevant timeline to help put the above events in context.


Aug. 3, 1823 – Thomas Francis Meagher born to wealthy merchant family in Waterford, Ireland.

1826 – William Morgan, who had announced he would write a book about the secrets of Freemasonry, was abducted by Freemasons in Batavia, N.Y. and presumed murdered. His body has never been found. A public reaction against Freemasonry caused the formation of the Anti-Mason Political Party by William Seward and others and the closure of all but one of the Freemason Temples in the United States.

1839 - William Seward, one of the founders of the Anti-Mason Party was elected Governor of New York (1839-1842) and then appointed to the US Senate by the legislature. Seward, who campaigned for Irish- American votes in New York City, became a friend of the Irish-American community.

1848 – New Irish Rebellion – Meagher condemned to death. Seward and other US politicians petition the British Government for clemency for Meagher and his co-conspirators and Meagher's sentence is commuted to life in prison in Tasmania.

1851 – Meagher escapes Tasmania and arrives in New York City and lectures around the country on England's oppression of the Irish. Seward befriends Meagher. 1861-1865 – US Civil War – Meagher helps form the Irish Brigade, supports the Union cause, and becomes friends with Abraham Lincoln.

November 1864 - Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity in his re-election campaign chose Andrew Johnson, a slave owning former Senator from Tennessee as his Vice-Presidential running mate.

Oct 18-27, 1864 – John Wilkes Booth travels to Montreal and stayed there for at least ten days. (October 18-27), returning first to New York, on or about November 1, and then to Washington on November 9. Booth stayed at the St. Lawrence Hall, a hotel thought by many to be the finest hotel in the city. It was also the headquarters of the Confederate Secret Service, the name given to Confederates stationed there from early 1864, under instructions from Jefferson Davis and Canadian Secret Service Chief, Judah Benjamin.

Nov. 9, 1864 – Booth returns to Washington, D.C., and Booth's previous plot to kidnap President Lincoln and exchange him for captured Confederate troops has changed into a plan to assassinate Lincoln and Seward.

April 14, 1865 – Lincoln assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. William Seward assaulted and disfigured in his home by John Powell, a Confederate Army assassin. Andrew Johnson becomes President.

September 1865 – Seward, still recovering, lobbies President Johnson for a post-Civil War position for Thomas Francis Meagher. Meagher becomes Acting Governor of the Montana Territory

1865 – Paris Pfouts made a trip east to visit NYC and Wash. D.C., Boston – met with President Andrew Johnson. Pfouts objects to Meagher's appointment as Acting Governor of Montana.

Sept. 18, 1865- London Times – "At 9 o'clock on Friday night a large force of police was dispatched from Dublin Castle to Parliament Street, where they divided into two bodies and blockaded both ends of the street. [They raided the offices of newspaper] the Fenian Brotherhood…Ten persons, including the proprietor, were made prisoners and carried, under a strong escort, to the College-street police station. No resistance was offered, and the only one who protested was a man named MURPHY, who described himself as an American citizen, and stated that he should invoke the protection of Mr. SEWARD." of-the.html

Oct. 21, 1865 – The Fenian National Convention was held at Nashville, TN, a militant branch of the Fenians, led by former US Army Captain John O'Neil, devised a plan to capture and hold hostage Canadian territory to force the British to free Ireland. Fenians massed along the Canadian border. [PLEASE NOTE TO UNDERSTAND THE INVASION:] - Thomas Billis Beach, AKA "Henri Le Caron", born in Colchester, England, joined the Union Army – rising to the rank of lieutenant. After the war, Le Caron renewed his friendship with Union Officers and joined the Fenian Brotherhood. Le Caron began a 25 year long career as a British spy reporting and thwarting the efforts of the Fenian Brotherhood, and later the Clan na Gael, another militant Irish revolutionary organization. He was 'commissioned' as a Major in the Fenian ranks on 60 dollars salary a month and $7 per diem expenses. He was subsequently promoted to Colonel and became the Inspector General of the Fenian Brotherhood, then Brigadier and Adjutant-General while all the time feeding information back to England and also to the Canadian authorities about Fenian activity including the Fenian "invasions" of Canada in the 1860s and 70s. The invasions failed miserably in part due to the information passed by Le Caron. At one stage every document issued from the Irish Brotherhood organization was passed by Le Caron to his handler in England.

November 1865 - 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 shift their attention to the Fenians. Prescott.

March 1867 – Wilbur Fisk Sanders, Founder of the Montana Historical Society and the Vigilance Committee, travelled to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the abolition of the Territorial Legislature that Gov. Meagher had convened and to invalidate legislation passed by that legislature. He succeeded on both counts.


May 1867 - Sanders returned from Washington, D.C., to Montana and made plans to run for elected office in Montana.

June 20, 1867 The Steamship Octavia with a cargo of 174 tons and 70 passengers including Governor Green Clay Smith and his family. The trip of Octavia had been marred by the murder of an English nobleman, Captain Wilfred D. Speer of the Queens' Guards. Speer was shot point blank in the head by U.

S. Army sentry Private William Barry, an Irishman and part of a contingent of 100 soldiers from the 13th Infantry Regiment in route Camp Cooke. The Octavia had departed Fort Benton down river June 25th although the murder of the Englishman was still the talk of the town and the incident added to the animosity and tension of the Irish/English conflict. Pfouts's family and his $20,000 in gold would depart on the Octavia. Pfouts himself would remain in Fort Benton.

Late June 1867 - Sanders travelled to Fort Benton and was one of the last people to have spoken with Meagher on July 1, 1867, the day of his disappearance. Both Wilbur Fisk Sanders and Paris Pfouts, founders of the Montana Vigilance Committee, were present in Fort Benton, Montana, when Meagher was reported missing.

July 1, 1867 – Thomas Francis Meagher disappears in Fort Benton, Montana, allegedly falling off the Steamship G.A. Thompson.

July 3, 1867 – Pfouts departs Fort Benton on another Steamship. Pfouts autobiography makes no mention of Meagher's disappearance or the frantic search to find his body from July 1-3, 1867. Pfouts settles in Dallas, Texas and purchases the Dallas Herald newspaper. None of the Fenian leaders had ever led a rebellion in Ireland. None were as decorated as Thomas Francis Meagher of the Irish Brigade during the American Civil War. The "street cred" that TFM possessed probably led to his early death. British Secret service has continued to penetrate Irish Secret Revolutionary societies down to the present day. See "Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder and Memory In Northern Ireland ", Patrick Radden Keef, 2019