Dorothy Garesché Holland

January 1973


Madison Coordinator’s note: The following information was provided by John Fitzwilliam of Bethpage, NY. The piece is reproduced here with the permission of the author’s son Dempster King Holland of St. Louis, MO, and is a chapter in her book The Fitzwilliam, O’Brien and Watson Families: History and Genealogy. Only 125 copies were printed.  Dorothy Garesché Holland died in 1997.   Richard P. Sevier


Thomas Fitzwilliam emigrated to the United States from the Vale of Avoca, County Wicklow, Ireland about 1821. It is not certain exactly when he came to Milliken’s Bend (he is not listed in the 1840 Madison Parish census), but by 1850 he was the 20th largest landowner in Madison Parish.[1] Mrs. Holland chronicles the genealogy and history of Thomas Fitzwilliam’s family and that of his brother, James, who apparently died at sea on the trip over from Ireland, but his wife Bridget, and their children went on to Milliken’s Bend. These two gentlemen left over 400 descendants who have lived throughout the United States – all with roots in Milliken’s Bend. …Richard P. Sevier July 2001


The noise of the Battle of Hastings had subsided, the fighting was over, and William the Norman was King. One young knight had distinguished himself for his bravery and he was summoned by the Conqueror and given a scarf from his arm as the new ruler of the English said "Henceforth, you will be known as the son of William."

“Fitz" simply means son, it comes from the French word "fits" and does not impugn the legitimacy of the person involved[2]. There is absolutely no foundation for the wishful thinking that Fitzwilliam means son, illegitimate or otherwise, of William the Conqueror.

In an old English periodical there is an account of the incident:

The most remote ancestor to be traced of this family was Sir William Fitz-Godric, who was cousin to King Edward, the Confessor; whose son and heir Sir William Fitz-William being Ambassador to the Court of William Duke of Normandy, attended him in his victorious expedition into England in 1066, as Marshall of his army; and for bravery at the battle of Hastings-received a scarf from the Conqueror's own arm.[3]

During the succeeding centuries some of the family settled in Ireland; from then on there are two distinct branches of the Fitzwilliams, the English and the Irish.

The fortunes of the English branch really began with Sir William Fitzwilliam (1460-1534), sheriff of London, who acquired the future family seat at Milton, Northamptonshire in 1506. His grandson, also Sir William Fitzwilliam, was thrice deputy of Ireland. The latter Fitzwilliam's grandson took the Irish titles of Viscount Milton and Earl Fitzwilliam (1716) and the English titles of Baron Milton (1742) and Viscount Milton and Earl Fitzwilliam (1746) were added.[4]

There is another paragraph about the Sir William, deputy of Ireland:

Sir William ... was employed by Queen Mary in Ireland, under Thomas Ratcliffe, Earl of Sussex, Lieutenant of that kingdom; and besides other employments there, was by Queen Elizabeth made five times Governor of that kingdom. As a farther evidence of the trust she reposed in his Fidelity, he was constituted Constable of Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire; where he behaved with so much civility towards his prisoner, Mary Queen of Scots, that the morning previous to her execution she presented him with the picture of her son James, afterwards King of England; which still remains in the family.[5]

There is a large printed pedigree chart of the Fitzwilliams, beginning with Sir William Fitz-Godric, and ending with the birth of William Charles Demuro Wentworth Fitzwilliam (born curiously enough at Demuro, Michigan) in 1872, the heir-apparent. On the chart there are through the centuries the names of many younger sons whose lines have not been carried down; it is perhaps from one of those younger sons of the English branch that our Fitzwilliams are descended.[6]

There is an account of the Irish branch of the Fitzwilliams in an article titled "Catholic Families of the Pale." (The Pale was that portion of Ireland with Dublin as its center where the English and Anglo-Irish lived; the term was an old one and persisted for several centuries.)

The Irish family of Fitzwilliam are presumed to spring from the same ancestors as the illustrious Yorkshire family, although it was only in the seventeenth century that the lords of Merrion abandoned their distinctive arms to adopt those of the Earl Fitzwilliam of England. It is said that the family came to this country in the reign of King John (1199-12161 but it was not until the fourteenth century that they became established as landlords in Co. Dublin.[7]

Although the Irish Fitzwilliams were essentially Catholic, a Thomas Fitzwilliam was a staunch supporter of Queen Elizabeth and at the dissolution of the Irish monasteries was rewarded,

... by the gift of the monastery of Holmpatrick with 131 acres of arable land, 12 acres of meadow, and 18 acres of furze together with one water and one wind mill, four islands etc ....

He later became a member of the Privy Council and was held in high esteem by the Queen .... His loyal services were rewarded by a knighthood.[8]

Although Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam was a Protestant, his children were raised Catholics and the family remained in that faith for several centuries. His son, Sir Richard Fitzwilliam, was created Baron Fitzwilliam of Thorncastle and Viscount of Merrion by Charles I, and his son and heir, Oliver, was an ardent supporter of Charles I and later of Charles II. The fifth viscount, Richard, conformed to the Protestant religion arid spent much of his life in England where his daughter married the Earl of Pembroke.

The seventh Viscount Merrion, Richard, gave and endowed the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University in England and left the remainder of his large estate to his relative, the Earl of Pembroke. The last Viscount Merrion, John Fitzwilliam, died without heir in 1833 and the title became extinct. Fitzwilliam Square arid Street in Dublin are named for this branch of the family.[9]

After World War II Captain Morgan Sayers Fitzwilliam USN, a member of the U.S. Military Quadripartite Government in Berlin, had frequent conferences in London and there made the acquaintance of the eighth Earl Fitzwilliam. The Earl hailed Captain Fitzwilliam as a cousin, said he knew about those who had left Ireland for America, entertained him several times at the family estate and promised after post-war duties were over to go through the family archives and trace the relationship. However, he was killed in a plane crash before this was done. Captain Fitzwilliam went to call on another member of the family and before he had an opportunity to introduce himself, the man looked at him and said, "I don't know where you came from or who you are but I do know you are a Fitzwilliam." Repeated efforts to find documentary proof of the relationship have failed; a letter to the present earl was not answered; a letter to the Dowager Countess, who lives in Ireland, brought a gracious answer but only the information that all records are in England. Inquiries to several historical societies and the Genealogical Office in Dublin brought nothing. However, as the name is such an unusual one and as the Earl Fitzwilliam was so insistent in claiming our branch as related to his, we must conclude that there is a relationship. The ninth Earl who lives at Oakham, Rutland, is childless and his heir, Captain William Thomas Wentworth Fitzwilliam is also childless, so the title will die out.

So much for the probable background of the Fitzwilliam family with which we are concerned - the three brothers who left Ireland during the first half of the nineteenth century. Now the actual records, memoirs, letters and other documents will be considered.

We know that James and Mary Byrne Fitzwilliam had a daughter, Mary, baptized in County Arklow in 1785, who married Patrick Kinsley in 1812 and after his death in 1834 entered the Convent of the Presentation in Dublin where she was known as Sister Mary Jane de Chantal Kinsella.[10] There are three letters from her (which will be quoted later) in which it is clear that she was the sister of Thomas and James. From the will of Thomas Fitzwilliam we know that he had a brother James, at least one other brother (presumably Dennis of St. Louis) as he mentions "brothers," and three sisters, Mary (the nun), Bridget and Sarah.

Thomas Fitzwilliam arrived in New Orleans in 1821, according to his naturalization papers, the tradition being that he came from the Vale of Avoca, County Wicklow, by way of Virginia. That same year he married Anna Hennings, born in Amsterdam, and the daughter of Michael and Margaritte Hennings. (A copy of the marriage certificate has three mistakes: his place of birth is given as "Meneribben" instead of Moneyribben; his father's name is given as Thomas instead of James, and his bride's birthplace is listed as Hamburg.)


Thomas Fitzwilliam (1793? – 1853)


There are few records of the life of Thomas Fitzwilliam; no one knows what his business was at first, when he bought the cotton plantation at Milliken's Bend, up the Mississippi River from New Orleans, near Vicksburg, or how he had enough money for the purchase. Did he bring the money with him from Ireland? Or did perhaps his wife, Anna, bring a substantial dowry? The wording of his will might indicate the latter. Milliken's Bend was a small settlement where an Irishman named Milliken had either a plantation or a store. It was destroyed during the Civil War and later the site washed away by the river.

Thomas Fitzwilliam was one of five men responsible for collecting money to build St. Patrick's Church in New Orleans. The large number of Irish who had emigrated to that city resented the French language used for sermons and announcements and decided to build their own church. As Thomas actually purchased the land the mortgage was made out in his name. He and many members of his family were eventually buried there, the last burial in the Fitzwilliam tomb in St. Patrick's Cemetary being that of Florence Haggerty in 1958. In her will Anna Hennings Fitzwilliam left her pew to her children.

Thomas Fitzwilliam is listed in the New Orleans Directory for 1842 as living at 89 Julia Street, so perhaps he kept a town house as well as the plantation. His first child, Mary Clementine, born in New Orleans in 1822, married when quite young, Dr. James Rogers Riggs, and the second daughter, Amelia, married John A. Haggerty in New Orleans in 1843. Their mother died in 1844.

In 1846 Thomas married for the second time, the thirty-year old Eliza Watson, daughter of Ringrose Drew and Frances Mahon Watson of St Louis County, who had come from Limerick in 1818. Apparently they lived entirely at Milliken's Bend. It is interesting to speculate as to how they met; did Thomas, like so many plantation owners, make a yearly trip to St. Louis where they stayed in such style and for so long a time that the leading hotel was called the Planters' House?

Mrs. Thomas Fitzwilliam (Eliza Watson) 1816-1883

Eliza has left in her own handwriting an account of the important events in her brief married life:

Thomas Fitzwilliam Jr., son of Thomas and Eliza Mary Fitzwilliam was born on the second of September 1847 at six o'clock in the morning at Milliken's Bend, La. Thomas Maher Fitzwilliam was baptized on the 11th of November 1847 by Stephen R. Montgomery: P. Maher and his wife Caroline sponsors. T.M.F. was received into the Church on the same day of the week on which he was born (Thursday.) Frances Anna Fitzwilliam was born on the last day of August 1849 at half past five in the morning at Milliken's Bend, La. (Friday).

Frances Anna Fitzwilliam was baptized on the 23rd (Wednesday) of January 1850 by the Revnd. Mr. Petrat. C.B. Minnis and Mary Minnis and R.D. Watson, Frances Watson are her sponsors.

Eliza Mary Fitzwilliam was born on the sixteenth of September, on Tuesday night at eight o'clock 1851.

Eliza Mary Fitzwilliam was baptized on the 13th of January 1852 (Tuesday) by the Revnd. Mr. S.N. Montgomery of Vicksburg, Miss. Godfather Mr. R.D. Watson. Godmother Mrs. Frances Watson. Mr. and Mrs. Maher stood as proxies in the evening (Wednesday.)[11]

Elizabeth (Mrs. John J. O’Brien), Thomas and Frances Fitzwilliam with Nurse - 1852

Few details of the plantation life are available. Eliza Mary left when she was so young that she was not able to tell us any stories about this period except one that her mother had told her. When the little Eliza was only a few months old her mother took her, the two older children, Frances Anna and Tommy, up to St. Louis to visit her parents. On the trip the river boat caught fire but fortunately another boat was close by and came to their rescue. The passengers were transferred from the burning boat to the other. The Fitzwilliam party became separated and when Eliza and the negro slave nurse met on the other boat they found, much to their consternation, that neither one had the baby. One of the crew called to the burning boat and asked someone to go down and search the stateroom. There was the baby and the man carried her up to the rail and threw her over to the rescue boat where fortunately she was safely caught and cared for.

Sometime in the late forties, the exact date unknown, deciding to emigrate to America, James, the brother of Thomas, left Ireland with his wife, Bridget Doyle, and at least five of their children, James William, Patrick, Michael, Matthew and John Denis. Apparently James died at sea and his widow and the five boys made their way to Milliken's Bend, being joined there by the oldest son, Thomas, who had come to this country earlier. Bridget died in 1853 and the lives of the sons will be discussed later.

To continue with Eliza Fitzwilliam's memoirs:

Thomas Fitzwilliam departed this life August 27th 1853 at 7 o'clock. An excerpt from his obituary reads:

We have been rarely called upon to record the departure of a more valuable, useful and universally beloved citizen than Thomas Fitzwilliam. Had it been left to our poor judgement to decide, we could have selected no one that could have been less readily spared from the relations of life than the subject of this brief memoir.

There still remain three letters to the bereaved widow, soon to bear her fourth child.)[12] I Two are from her parents, on a single sheet of paper, folded but not in an envelope. The postmark is St. Louis, Sept. 3, paid 3 cents.

My Beloved Eliza,

Night before last Ring brought us the truly sad account of our dear Friend's death ....Let us try to imitate his virtues; may he who tenders the wind to the shorn lamb comfort my dearer than ever Eliza.

Recollect my Child the solemn and Paramount duties that now devolve on you, your Children will have to look to you for so much...

How fondly did I anticipate his coming up, to know him was to love him. Ring left yesterday morning, he will go down to you when the sickness subsides. Manette and all of the family express the kindest feelings for you. Your father writes Mr. Maher this post….

You will be glad to hear that I hope George is ordained by this time, his health has not been too good for some time Past. Ring hears frequently from John, he is well thank God as is Isadora and his dear Babe. Nicholas is well. I wish he was with us. Elizabeth is here ....

I hope yourself, Thomas, Frances and Lizzy are well. May I ever have the happiness of seeing my dear Children. Your Father and myself pray that the Almighty will strengthen and preserve you. Kiss my sweet children for me and may God help you is the fervent Prayer of your affectionate Mother, Frances Watson

Fruit Hill Farm, August 31, 1853

My Dear Eliza,

A few lines to unite with you my sincere sorrow and affliction for the loss of our beloved and esteemed friend. I can hardly tell you how much Mother as well as myself feel this visitation of providence ....

Take courage Eliza - hold up and don't despond - you and the children are dearer to us now than ever - write frequently particularly. As soon as safe to travel on the river Ring volunteers to go down to look after your business and bring you and children up . .... I have no doubt Mr. Meyer (probably Maher) will be your best friend and will give you all requisite advice. I don't know La. probate laws, but it appears to me an overseer should be employed to push the present crop into market - keep accurate accounts of every outlay to the cent - that most likely you will have to testify to.

My next letter will be long - in haste. Kiss the children for Grandpa and believe me my Dr. Eliza, your affectionate Father, R. D. Watson.

Fruit Hill Farm - Friday, Sep. 2

The third letter was addressed to "Mrs. Fitzwilliam, Millikens Bend, Louisiana, America", had -no stamp and was postmarked "New York Packet."


            Presentation Convent

                                    George's Hill, Sept. 25, 1853

My very dear Sister,

How shall I express the grief which I experienced on receiving the melancholy intelligence of my brother's death and hasten to assure you how fully I participate in the sorrow of your heart for the severe loss you sustain in being deprived of a good husband, an affectionate father and a kind protector. He was all this, and to me, dear Sister, he was a dear brother, tho separated for many years this did not lessen the severity of the final separation but in all we must bow with perfect Submission to the Adorable Will of our loving Saviour Whose Ways are inscrutable to our weak understanding ....

Tell the dear little children how I sympathize with them, give them my fondest love and blessing and to each and all. I was delighted to get the lock of hair; it was so thoughtful of you to send it. I was glad dear Thomas was with you at the time as I am sure it was a comfort to you ....

Accept my many thanks for all your care of those orphans. You had much trouble with poor little Michael for which I feel truly grateful. May our divine Lord be your General, may He be your Consolation in this hour of affliction is my earnest prayer ....Consider me your truly attached,

Sister Mary Jane Kinsella

I had a letter written for some weeks to my poor brother awaiting Mr. Maher's return but he never called. Now it is too late. Adieu.

A copy of Thornas Fitzwilliam's will is interesting as it mentions so many of his family:  

In the name of God, Amen. The last Will and Testament of Thomas Fitzwilliam being at this time in good health (thank God) but aware that in the midst of life we are in death and that the most robust are liable to be called home at any minute and wishing to make some disposition of my affairs for the guidance of those that are dear to me and who I may leave behind I hereby publish and declare my Will as follows.

1st I commit my body to the earth whence it came, 2nd I wish as soon as possible after my death to have my debts all paid (so as not to Sacrifice the property) and when that is done to have the remains of my Wife Anna and my own moved to St. Patrick's Cemetary New Orleans and placed in a tomb with a marble slab and our names on it.

3rd I wish $500.00 to be given in the most judicious way to have masses said for our Souls.

4th. Should my daughter Amelia not receive her mother's portion before my death I wish her to get Ten thousand dollars in place of Fifteen hundred for which latter sum she holds my notes.

5th One hundred dollars to be given to the Catholic Female Orphan Asylum New Orleans.

6th. One hundred dollars to my nephew John Kehoe (my God Son).

7th One Hundred Dollars for the removal of the remains of Daniel Garvey (or Gassey?) (my nephew) whenever his mother may wish.

8th. One hundred Dollars to my father, in case of death before it reaches him to have it applied to have Masses said for his and my mother's Souls.

9th. One hundred Dollars to each of my brothers’ sons John, Patrick, Michael, James and Matthew and one hundred Dollars to Sister Bridget, Sister Mary being a nun would not receive any.

10th. Fifty Dollars to Jean oldest daughter to Sister Sarah and in case of her death to be divided among her children, and Fifty Dollars to Thomas eldest son of my brother James, and to the balance of the children of my brothers and sisters thirty dollars each.

11th. The balance of the third which the law allows me to dispose of I give and bequeth to my daughter Amelia and my son Thomas to be divided equally between them. However should I have any more children by my present wife Eliza then and in that case each one shall have as much as Amelia and Thomas.

I hereby appoint C.B. Minsir (Minnis), Mr. Philip Maher and Ringrose D. Watson my Executors. Should any one of them die or refuse to serve I authorize the other two to act or appoint one in his stead. Signed THOMAS FITZWILLIAM. Millikin Bend Madison Parish, La. March 9th 1848

A request - I hope my children and friends will remember me in their prayers and that my children will raise theirs as they have been raised themselves.

P.S. I have erased the name of Maurice Cassman and substituted for it my father-in-law Ringrose D. Watson.

Filed 30th of August, 1853 signed T.F. Forbes Clark.[13]

The following inventory of property was found among the papers of Thomas Fitzwilliam:

Eight Hundred and eighty acres of land situated in this parish appraised at $40 p. acre                                                                                                              $35,200.00

Buck, a negro man                                                                              1,000.00

Sally, a negro woman                                                                         1,000.00

Jerry Lee & Amy same                                                                        2,000.00

Alick Hill & Patsy, and their children

Leander, Cordelia & Martha                                                               3,250.00

Maria Ann and her child Ellen                                                          1,425.00

Lewes and his mother Wealthy                                                        1,300.00

George Batts and his wife Fanny and their children

John, Alick, William, Sam, Geo, Richard                                                    4,300.00

John Sheppard and his wife Pyisen (?) and

their children, Prince, Robt. & infant                                                2,850.00

Caroline and her children Washington & Matilda                                     1,650.00

Celia and her children, Isabella, Rodrigo and Angellica                          1,550.00

Susan and her child Minerva                                                            1,000.00

Philip and his son Virgil                                                                     1,700.00

Mack, a man                                                                                         1,100.00

George Moore                                                                                          600.00

Vincent Knight & his wife Harriet                                                        700.00

Ireana, a woman                                                                                     600.00

            a yager                                                                                               5.00

            1 rifle                                                                                                  1.00

            5 doz. Claret 53.00                                                                         15.00

            2/3 Bbl. whiskey                                                                               8.00

            3 parts Bags shot                                                                             3.00

            1 Keg nails                                                                                        6.00

            2 Glafs Lantherns                                                                              .75

            1 carriage & harness                                                                     60.00

            Household and kitchen furniture                                             100.00

            Farming utensils                                                                            90.00

            1 waggon                                                                                        70.00

            1 do [ditto]                                                                                        35.00

                                                                                                over    $61,872.75

list continues on the reverse side:

                        Amt. forwarded                                                           $61,872.75

1 cart                                                                                                              10.00

4 mules                                                                                                        275.00

7 horses                                                                                                       600.00

2 blind do $30 1 saddle horse $100                                                       130.00

3 yoke oxen $60                                                                                         180.00

1 yoke oxen                                                                                                  45.00

28 [lead Cattle $7                                                                                       196.00

50 Head Hogs $2                                                                                       100.00

Saddlery                                                                                                          5.00

12 Chairs and sofa                                                                                      35.00

2 Card Tables 57,50                                                                                    15.00

1 Set dining do.                                                                                            35.00

Silver Ware & Armoir (?)                                                                             40.00

1 Desk S 10, Bedstead 810                                                                        18.00

1 Carpet & Rug                                                                                            20.00

3 Rocking chairs                                                                                            1.50

5 Blankets, 5 Comforts & 12 sheets                                                         15.00

24 napkins, 10 pillows, 10 pillow cases I Hair Matrass & 13 Towels  35.00

1 Double Gun & Dressing Case                                                               10.00

Library of Books                                                                                           25.00

Silver and Plated Ware, Table Cutlery Decanter, Castor, Wine Glasses, Candle stick and Fruit Tray                                                                                                                   87.00

1 Side Board                                                                                                 15.00

1 Gold Watch & Chain                                                                                75.00

1 House &, Lot containing 4 acres near River                                   2,500.00[14]


This a final sad little note in Eliza Watson Fitzwilliam's memoirs:

Antynette Isadora Fitzwilliam was born on the 3rd of October at half past five o'clock in the morning. She was baptised on Sunday evening the 9th by early candle light by Revnd. Mr. Kelly. R.D. Watson and Isadora Watson sponsors. She died Friday evening 14 about four o'clock.

At an unknown date Eliza Watson disposed of her property and returned to the home of her parents, Ringrose D. and Frances Mahon Watson, at Fruit Hill, St. Louis County. Her second child, Frances Anna, died in childhood. Eliza was apparently well-to-do with what she inherited from her husband and later on from her parents, and a farm, "Eagle Hill," from an uncle, John Drew Watson. She became an autocratic old lady and her daughter Elizabeth used to tell two stories of her: when she entered a room everyone had to stand up, she would select the chair she preferred and regally seat herself. Also, any publication which arrived at the family home, newspaper or periodical, must be given to her first; she would not read anything that had been opened by another. One obituary calls her a "woman noted ... for her positive spirit." Another reads:

Mrs. Eliza Fitzwilliam, relict of Thomas Fitzwilliam, died at her old homestead, now the residence of Dr. J.J. O'Brien, Friday morning May 4th, 1883 in her 68th year.

Another link is thus broken in the chain of old settlers of this county. Her father, Ringrose J. (sic) Watson, settled upon or near the place on which she died, in 1819, and where she remained up to the time of her marriage with Thos. Fitzwilliam of Milliken's Bend, La., in 1846. After the death of her husband in 1854 she, in company with her children, returned to this county where she spent the remainder of her useful life. She leaves two children, Thomas L. Fitzwilliam and Mrs. Dr. O'Brien, who will ever cherish and revere the sacred teachings of their departed mother.

The oldest of the children of Thomas Fitzwilliam by his first wife, Anna Hennings, was Mary Clementine, born in 1822 in New Orleans. She married first Dr. James Roger Riggs, a graduate of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. They had seven children: Will, Amelia, Ella, Sarah, Eva, Anna, and Mary, all born at Milliken's Bend.

Here there must be a slight digression. In 1961 David F. Woods a Fitzwilliam descendant of Baltimore, and his wife happened to be at the St. Joseph Central House in Emmitsburg, Maryland and saw a small grave marked "Ella Riggs, Milliken's Bend, La." Struck by the place name but unfamiliar with "Riggs" they wrote the superior and asked for information about Ella. The following are excerpts from her answer:

Ella Riggs did attend St. Joseph's Academy (as it was called in 1860 etc.) and she is listed as a pupil in the years 1857. 1862 which shows that she spent five years here. There are three other names, Mary, Anna, and Amelia Riggs . ... However, Ella was not a pupil when she died in 1863. When the war broke out, the schools were closed and the Sisters went to the battlefields. The pupils from St. Joseph's who were from the South and could not go home went to live with friends they had made or to whom the Sisters knew would take proper care of them. It evidently seems that Ella Riggs was living not too far from here and request must have been made that she be buried in our private cemetary, as were a few other pupils who died froth the cholera. When the war was all over relatives placed suitable monuments over their graves. 14[15]

The father of the children, Dr. Riggs, had died in 1859 at Milliken's Bend and in 1861 his widow, Mary Clementine, married Colonel William F. Bledsoe a widower from Virginia with three daughters, Henrietta, Mildred and Adeline. The two older Bledsoe girls married soon after and in 1865 the Colonel and Mary Clementine with her four surviving daughters and one son and his youngest daughter moved to Old Independence, Texas,[16]

Here the girls were placed in the Baylor Female College and their brother, (Will, in Baylor University. Anna Riggs married her stepfather's brother, Dilmus T. Bledsoe, and had two children who died very young. Her step-sister, Mildred Bledsoe Chilton, died leaving four children, and one girl Sarah or Sally was raised by Charles and Sarah Moore, and another Jane by Anna and Dilmus Bledsoe. Jane married Henry James and lived to the age of ninety, dying in 1948, leaving a son, Fleming James, a daughter, Dorothy James Barlow, and five grandchildren.

Amelia Riggs married William Timon Smith, the--son of J. Carroll Smith, one of the executors of General Sam Houston's will. They are both buried at Hearne, Texas. Of their six children only one has left descendants; Anna born in 1873, married P.G. Proctor, a cotton merchant of Burnet, Texas and they had two children. Charles Timon Proctor, married Virginia Lee and has a daughter, Joan; Anna Letyr Proctor is married to Colonel Milton Hubert Baughn Jr. and they have a married daughter Amelia Baughn Hetrick and a son, Charles Thomas Baughn. The Baughns lived in Germany for several years when Colonel Baughn was stationed there and their children attended school there. Mrs. Baughn, "beta," is active in many civic organizations in San Antonio, Texas.

There are no living descendants of the two other daughters of Mary Clementine Fitzwilliam Riggs Bledsoe; Sarah Riggs Moore and Eva Riggs Smith Park.

The second daughter of Thomas Fitzwilliam and Anna Hennings, Amelia Euphrasie, was married in 1843 in New Orleans to John Aloysius Haggerty, the son of Michael and Mary Theresa Field Haggerty. He was a cotton agent, probably for the plantation owned jointly by him and Thomas Fitzwilliam. When he went abroad each year to sell the cotton he would take his family with him, always including slaves as nurses for the children. They were in Paris with their seven children when the eighth, Alice, was born, and the Civil War making travel almost impossible, they stayed there for its duration. The girls were sent to convents for their education, Amelia to one conducted by the Religious of the Sacred Heart; she died there arid was buried at Tours but later was brought back to New Orleans for reburial.



Amelia E. Fitzwilliam (Mrs. John A. Haggerty) 1824-1898                                                                   John A. Haggerty (1821-1869)

John A. Haggerty, who had a New Orleans partner in the cotton brokerage business, had bought patent papers from a man who was destitute-and could not afford to file them. Haggerty put the papers in a desk drawer before he left for France, remarking to his partner that when he returned they would consider the patent. Due to the War his absence was much longer than he had anticipated and when he returned he found his business ruined. He remembered the papers and searched for them. They had vanished and he found that his partner had filed them and developed the idea of manufacturing steel bands for baling cotton (still used today) and had become extremely wealthy. Each Christmas the Haggerty children were summoned by the renegade partner and each was solemnly handed a silver dollar.[17]

In extremely straightened circumstances, John A. Haggerty was dying when his youngest child, Florence, was born in 1869. The oldest girl, Anna, opened a small private school which was quite successful and Alice, against her mother's wishes, obtained a position, an unheard of thing in those days for a young lady in New Orleans. Florence Haggerty lived until she was eighty-nine; she never married and all of her life was energetic and wonderful company with a sharp sense of humour and a zest for life.

Only two of the children of Amelia and John Haggerty married, Kate was the wife of William P. Nicholls, the nephew of Governor Nicholls of Louisiana; she has no living descendants. Alice married Charles J. Allain of an old French family of New Orleans and it is their daughter, Elise, arid her family who are the only descendants of this branch. She married Frederick Robert Swigart, whose grandfather on leaving Germany had dropped his own name of Van der Planitz and taken his mother's name of Schweighardt, later simplified to Swigart. Elsie, a widow for many years, has two children, Alice married to Robert H. Van Borssum with nine children and several grandchildren; and Frederick Robert Swigart married to Donna Lemarie with eight children and several grandchildren.

The name of the only son of Thomas Fitzwilliam is puzzling. His mother listed him as "Thomas Maher Fitzwilliam" in her page of family information but later he is referred to in newspaper clippings and by his family as "Thomas L.," which we must accept.

He was taken to St. Louis some time shortly after the death of his father in 1854. Not much is known about the childhood of Thomas and his sister Elizabeth except their schooling. Elizabeth was sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles and Thomas to the Jesuit school at Spring Hill, Alabama. Some seventy years later his sister mentioned this fact, adding that one spring vacation he had brought two classmates home with him; she remembered the name of one but had forgotten the name of the other - and she couldn't understand why as he was such a handsome boy!

Thomas L. Fitzwilliam was at one time deputy sheriff in St. Louis County and later was employed at the County Court House. In 1872 he married Laurilla Bradford, the daughter of Giles and Sarah Wash Bradford and the niece of a Methodist bishop. She was a descendant of Governor William Bradford, signer of the Mayflower Compact and second chief executive of Plymouth Colony. They had four sons, Thomas B., Edgar, John and Horace. Edgar was killed in a street-car holdup before his twentieth birthday; Horace married but had no children.[18]

Thomas L. Fitzwilliam (1847-1926) and sons Thomas B., Edgar G., John J., and Horace B.


Thomas B. Fitzwilliam who married Martha Bradshaw, had two sons, Clifford and Howard. Clifford married Estelle Goessling and moved to Dallas where his two sons were born, Thomas C., and Clifford who was killed in 1967. Thomas C. Fitzwilliam married in 1957 Nancy Geraldine Bassett and they have two daughters,; he is sales representative for Southwestern Steel Container Co. Howard Fitzwilliam, who died in St. Louis in 1962, married Frances Bailey and they had two daughters, Patricia Schroetker, who has one daughter, and Joan Magino, who has four children.

John Jules Fitzwilliam married Frances Smith and had one son, Edgar J. Fitzwilliam. He married Lucille Keevil and they live in Mattoon, Illinois, and have one married daughter, Janet Ozier, and two grandchildren.

Laurilla Bradford Fitzwilliam was, according to her granddaughter-in-law, an extremely intelligent and charming woman. Unfortunately she and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Fitzwilliam O'Brien, saw little of each other. Laura was a staunch Methodist and Elizabeth an equally staunch Catholic and neither had any sympathy with the other's beliefs in a day when there was no ecumenism.

(For more about Elizabeth F. O'Brien and her family see the O'Brien chapter.)


The Family of James Fitzwilliam


James and Bridget Doyle Fitzwilliam were alive in 1848 when his brother Thomas made his will; both were dead, James at sea and Bridget at Milliken's Bend, when James’ son Thomas wrote a statement concerning the legacies left to his family by his uncle. In this statement of 1856 he says his parents had ten children, five of whom were dead. He says two infants, both named Bernard, have died, and elsewhere is the information that the only girl named Mary, died young. We also know that Thomas, James William, Patrick and John Denis all grew to marnhood, married and had families. This leaves one more boy who survived; Thomas named a Matthew, John and Michael in his list of the ten. Apparently John, the first named, died young as the name was given again; Michael apparently died at Milliken's Bend, judging from the reference in the letter from his aunt, Sister Mary Jane Kinsella. So Matthew must have been the survivor; however, family tradition calls him "Arthur" and holds that he "joined the wrong side in the Civil War" and was never heard from again. As there is no record on any Matthew or Arthur Fitzwilliam serving in the Union forces, the mystery is unsolved.[19]

The oldest son of James and Bridget Doyle Fitzwilliam, Thomas, was born in County Wexford in 1833.[20] He was about sixteen when he arrived in this country with only $25 and is thought to have stayed for several years in Philadelphia where he learned printing and engraving. He came to New Orleans later and was at Milliken's Bend when his uncle Thomas died. His younger brothers seem to have been staying there after the death of their mother and now much of the responsibility for them fell on Thomas. With the help of his mother's brother, M. J. Doyle of Austin, James William, Patrick and the mysterious Matthew, were placed and Thomas himself raised the youngest, John Denis.

Thomas (1833-1917) and Mary Louise (Kimball 1847-1916) Fitzwilliam

The story is that when James and Bridget left Ireland they had $40,000 in gold with which to establish themselves and their family in this country. When they died they were still British subjects and under the law the fortune went to the eldest son, Thomas. He was the business man of the family, concerned also with the legacies of his uncle Thomas' will of which there is mention in the following letter, parts of which were too faded to decipher:

Presentation Convent, George's Hill

July 22, 1857

My dearest Thomas,

I received your letter dated June 10 about ten days ago and I did not expect the pleasure of writing so soon but I thought it well to tell that our Attorney McManus made enquiries regarding Mr. Goodisson [?] and that he has been dead these two years.

I therefore thought it well not to redeem the cheque which I here enclose to you and indeed you need not thank me for if I could have got it honoured in Dublin I would have been sorely tempted to give it to one of the little people back home ....

Your cousin James was with me last week and mentioned all you desired regarding the legacies. Of course they will now see about the matter and in the proper manner, too ....

Do not forget to give my love to your brothers - tell James and Pat that l will send them by the next opportunity a pair of Carmelite scapulars to make them good and holy ....

Give my fond love to Amelia and Mary when you have an opportunity of seeing them. Mrs. Healy [?] asks you to have the goodness to say that she feels very uneasy at not hearing from them having written five times without a line in reply. She has a letter from her sister who complains of like neglect ....

I have given all the news that would interest you, my dearest Thomas. It's a long letter that will try your patience. Adieu now my poor dear child and begging of God to bless and protect you, believe that your devotedly attached Aunt, Sister M. Jane Kinsella.[21]

There is another letter written two years later in July 1859 in which Sister Kinsella tells of' the death of Mary, the daughter of one of her nieces, while the child was in school in Dublin. Another cousin, Mary, sister of a Thomas, died the Christmas before, much to the grief of her father as she was an only daughter. As for that Thomas, "he served his time to Mr. Moran and after that went to a situation in Gorey, but is now at home with his father and his brother James is in a situation in Arklow. "

The letter ends:

When you write mention all particulars about your health and also tell me about your brothers, how they are going on, and if they continue at school. I wish you would make Dennis write me a little note and enclose it in the next letter ....

Have the goodness when you next write to Indiana[22] to give my affectionate love to all our relatives and also to your own brothers. I beg you write personal affectionate regards and best wishes to Mrs. Turner and family from me.

In 1860 Thomas Fitzwilliam opened a stationery store and printing and engraving shop on Camp Street in New Orleans. It was successful from the very beginning and in the first year cleared $10,000, which Thomas gave to the Good Shepherd nuns to start their convent. The shop continued until the 1940's when it was sold; there is a description of the business in the obituary of Thomas Fitzwilliam:

Mr. Fitzwilliam was born in County Wexford in 1833 and came to New Orleans in 1853. He learned the printing and bookbinding trade as a youth and as a young man embarked in business for himself in the same building in Camp Street his firm occupied at the time of his death, a period of 57 years. His advertisement appeared in the first issue of THE TIMES in 1863 and his advertisements of job printing, lithographing, bookbinding, stationery and office supplies continued from the time of the TIMES through all its successors down to the TIMES-PICAYUNE of today. He was one of the organizers of the old Hibernia Bank and was the only surviving member of the first board of directors of that institution.

In 1862 Thomas married Mary Louise Kimball, the daughter of Captain William P. and Mary Bendy Kimball of England. They had six children, the oldest of whom died in infancy. The oldest surviving daughter, Mary, entered the Religious of the Sacred Heart and was superior for some years at the Rosary in New Orleans and later at the convent in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, where she died. Only one of the other sisters married and she had no children. The descendants of this branch are those of the only son, Thomas William Fitzwilliam, who continued the printing business and who married Jane Frances Kelly. Nine children were born, three of whom entered the Order of St. Ursula; Mary, Sister Mary Elizabeth; Jane, Sister Mary Columba; and Madeleine, Sister Mary Michelle. Their sister Frances, a retired teacher, contributed a great deal of information about this branch of the family and was generous in supplying letters, pictures and other papers. Three of the four sons married and had families; John, who died in New Orleans, married Claire Gregoire and had four children: John and James are both deceased; Claire is married to Ferde Canik and has four children, and Patrick is married to Muriel Miranne and has five children.

The second son of Thomas William and Jane Kelly Fitzwilliam was Augustin J. who died in 1956 leaving one son, Augustin J. Jr., who is married to Ann Webb and has three daughters. The third son, Commander Albert Fitzwilliam USN (ret.), married Anita Cassidy and has six daughters.

In 1874 Thomas Fitzwilliam must have received the news of the death of his aunt, Sister Mary Jane Kinsella on April 22. In the convent archives is her history from which excerpts are taken:

She was a widow and rather advanced in life at her entrance, but truly pious and sensible and ardently desired to devote herself to God. Her early education had been somewhat neglected, yet she was not all wanting in talent; but the lack of early culture is rarely supplied in later life. However, Sr. M. Jane applied herself with humility, earnestness and zeal to the study of those branches necessary for the performance of the duties of the Institute. She labored as assiduously as the youngest postulant, and although so long her own mistress in the world she was a model of docility in the Convent, even learned to work a sampler with the docility of a child. Our dearest Lord, who loves the lowly of heart, seemed to bless the efforts of this humble Sister, and it has been remarked that her pupils made greater progress than those of others more competent to teach.

Sister M. Jane was rather grave and rigid in her ideas, ever seeking for spirituality and always desirous to advance in perfection and withal, kind and good-natured and would enjoy a cheerful quiet recreation as much as any of the sisters. She filled the office of Infirmarian for many years ....

James William Fitzwilliam, the second surviving son of James and Bridget Doyle Fitzwilliam, was born in Coolgreany County Wexford, in 1837.[23] He carne to Milliken's Bend, La. with his mother probably about 1850.                                                                           

Capt. James W. Fitzwilliam (1837-1893)                                                                      Mrs. James W. Fitzwilliam (Nancy Cartwright 1835-1887)


Shortly after, he went to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where one of his mother's relatives, James Clifford, lived, and where He became apprenticed as a carpenter and mill-wright. In 1859 he married Nancy Cartwright and two young sons, James Henry and John David, were born. When the Civil War began he joined the Confederate forces as a private and in 1862 he sent Nancy and the two babies to her brother in Austin, Texas. He has a long record of heroic fighting, much of which was preserved by his granddaughter, Grace Fitzwilliam and condensed for this account.[24]

His first battle was that of Wilson's Creek (near Fort Smith) Arkansas, September 10, 1861. He was with the Arkansas Mounted Rifles of General Sterling Price. Franz Sigel's Union army attacked from the east and General Nathaniel Lyon from the center. The Arkansas forces were routed but rallied and came back, killing or capturing Sigel's forces. After the battle James W. Fitzwilliam looked for his brother Patrick who was with Herbert's Pelican Rifles, a Louisiana regiment that had fought in a cornfield. A stranger called to him and as he approached he saw the man was his brother Pat, his face blackened by powder and his lips swollen from biting cartridges. Patrick said he had had enough and was going to get a transfer to the commissary.

After the battle of Wilson's Creek Captain Jim decided he did not like being a foot soldier. He transferred to the Cavalry in Hood's Brigade, considered by some Texans as the state's only effort in the Civil War. Actually there were only 4000 Texans who served in the Brigade. As many as 60,000 Texans fought for the South but only Hood's outfit and Terry's Texas Rangers served as units. Generals Lee and Longstreet used the Texas Brigade as sort of shock troops - a blitz organization. The Brigade was made up of great foragers but they were never able to find enough shoes, hats, or clothing. They never made good marks for appearances or discipline.

After the transfer to cavalry, Captain Jim fought in northeast Arkansas on the Missouri line. Because of his leadership, ability as a rider and markmanship he became known as the "Marion of the Confederacy." His tactics were of guerilla warfare, hit and run. His outfit was accredited with the prevention of Missouri joining the Federal side.[25]

In March 1862 Captain James was in the battle of Elk Horn Tavern or Pea Ridge. In December of that year he was wounded in the battle of Prairie Grove, ten miles southwest of Fayette, Arkansas. An artillery shell killed his horse and a soldier pulled him off the animal but ran on. The next morning a Yankee burial detail carried him to the Prairie Grove Church where the wounded and dying were crowded away from the cold. Women who lived near came on horseback and in carriages to offer their help and their homes to the surgeons laboring in the blood-stained church. In the evening a surgeon muttering, "They'll die anyhow," ordered the wounded officers taken to one of the homes, Captains Cline and Fitzwilliam.

The night was dark and the driver of the ambulance didn't know the roads. While Captain Cline propped him up, Fitzwilliam drew an army revolver [packed in a basket of lunch and given him by one of the nuns serving as nurses] from the pocket of his overcoat that had been serving as a pillow and placing the end of the barrel between the driver's shoulders, ordered him to drive where he was told. They drove all that freezing night and by morning had reached the Confederate lines. Gen. Price sent the driver back to the Union Army and kept the ambulance and the mules as spoils of war.[26]

After the war was over Captain James W. Fitzwilliam settled in Bastrop, Texas, and shortly afterward on a trip to Austin was accosted by carpetbaggers who tried to capture him. He outwitted them and returned to his home. They tried again and again to surprise him but he would hide in the woods, only coming out when he heard his sons give the all-clear signal by hooting like owls. Sometimes he would remain hidden for several days and his children would have to bring him food. He was in business with the Williams brothers in a saw mill and in 1867 bought the Aldridge property which had on it a house built in 1853 by slave labor. He enlarged the house and added a second story; much of the old furniture is still in the house including some old ironstone china and Victorian furniture given by the Captain to his wife. It is a spacious and lovely house on a little hill surrounded now by about 150 acres, the rest of the property having been sold. He farmed and raised cattle on the ranch, and derived much entertainment by refighting Civil War Battles with two old friends and neighbors, Captain Morgan, a Methodist minister who was not allowed to shoot a man in battle but who could carry a sword, and Joseph Sayers, later U.S. Senator and governor of Texas, for which two men his grandson was named.

Nancy Cartwright Fitzwilliam died in 1887 and two years later Captain James married again, a widow, Mrs. Ida Walker Harris, who was thoroughly disliked by her step-children. Captain James died in 1893 and an excerpt from his obituary reads;

Such is a brief sketch of the life of one of the most enterprising successful and useful citizens of Bastrop County. He did not seek office, but as a county commissioner, accepted office as a duty and rendered faithful and valuable service to the county.

At thirteen years of age, an orphan, without patrimony, he engaged in that struggle of life with a courage that triumphed over adversity and leaves an example for the emulation of all who would succeed by merits and deserve the plaudits of mankind. Integrity, Industry and frugality were rewarded with Honor and Plenty - his integrity inspiring respect, and his industry and frugality securing competence. As citizen and soldier he was without reproach - and few, indeed, have gone hence forever, so much esteemed and lamented by those who knew them as James William Fitzwilliam.

Captain James' integrity and patriotism made a lasting impression on his family; many of his descendants have served their country, imbued by the sense of patriotism passed on to them by his example.

He was survived by his second wife, the two sons mentioned before, James Henry and John David, and two daughters, Nancy and Frances. The widow tried to claim everything, land and money; the children, of course, fighting for their share. She enlisted the aid of the parish priest, who unfortunately took her side, with the result that (the two Fitzwilliam brothers left the Catholic Church. Finally, the estate was settled, going to the children, who however, had to turn over part of the ranch profits to the widow. The two sons worked hard to make a profit; John David and his family lived on the ranch and raised cattle and James Henry did the selling, sometimes in his own meat market, sometimes driving the stock to Kansas City.

James Henry Fitzwilliam married in 1886 Mary Susan Powell of Otis Texas, and they had three children, James Powell, Katherine Estelle, and Morgan Sayers. James married in 1915, Gray Parrott and had one son, Dr. Clare Dennis of Fort Worth, married to Mildred Leslie and the father of two sons, James Dennis and Charles Thomas. Dr. Fitzwilliam served four years in the Philippines during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Heroic Achievement. Katherine Estelle married Sid Whitaker but had no children and died in 1918, James Henry Fitzwilliam, who died in 1915, was known for his love of people and conversation and was a masterful story teller. He was a sheriff for almost twenty years and a Texas Ranger.

Captain Morgan Sayers Fitzwilliam USN joined the Navy in 1914, later graduating from Texas A and M with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1923.

Captain Morgan Sayers Fitzwilliam

Having resigned from the Navy in 1919, in 1927 he married Hazel Coley of Texarkana, Texas. They went to Brazil in 1930, where they lived for some years and where their son, James Crosby, was born. Captain Fitzwilliam was recalled to active Navy duty in 1941 and spent four years in Washington in the Civil Engineer Corps, retiring in 1946. He was then asked by General Lucius Clay to go to Europe with him as a specialist in the Utility Section of the U.S. Military Quadripartite Government in Berlin. In order to do this he had to be given a temporary rank as an army brigadier-general as the French, Russian and British members were all generals and would not deal with anyone below their own rank.

They lived in Berlin, Bad Homburg and Frankfurt, Germany, until Military Government was turned over to the State Department in 1951. They moved to Bonn, tire new capital of West Germany where they lived until his retirement in 1954.

The Sayers FitzWilliams have one son, Lieutenant-Colonel James Crosby Fitzwilliam, who joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1957. he spent several years in Japan and then after tours of duty in the United States Studied Arabic at the Presidio before a year as Signal Advisor in Saudi Arabia. Later he spent a year at the Electronic Headquarters in Vietnam after which he returned to this country and studied at the General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. he has received decorations, including the Legion of Merit. He married Marjorie Watson and they have two young sons.

The second son of Captain James William and Nancy Cartwright Fitzwilliam was John David who married Fannie Goodman and lived at the old home in Bastrop all of his life, dying there in 1944. His oldest daughter, Nell, now lives there and manages the ranch and about 40 head of cattle. She takes loving care of the old home, called "Wexford" and cherishes all of the beautiful antiques. Her sister Grace was the first woman faculty member at Texas A and M where she taught English literature. Interested in local history she did research for the Bastrop County Museum and was the author of articles on local history. They had one brother Edwin, who like so many of the descendants of Captain James William, served his time in the military services and was in the army for four years during World War I. he married twice but had no children.

Captain James and Nancy Fitzwilliam had three daughters, Alice Fowler, who died before her father, Nancy and Frances. Frances married soon after her father died, John McPhaul of Washington, D.C. She died in 1905 shortly after the birth of her sixth child, and Nancy, "Aunt Nan," moved to her sister's home and helped raise the family, dying in 1932. There were six McPhaul sons, including the last, Henry who died at the age of six weeks. The oldest son, Frank, married Kathryn Love in 1925. He served two years in the Field Artillery in France during World War I and later joined the Post Office Department where he remained until his retirement. He died in 1958 and is survived by one daughter, Patricia Immke.

The second son of Frances Fitzwilliam McPhaul, John Joseph, born in 1897, enrolled in the Navy in 1918 and served in active duty for more than a year. He married Edna Leary and they had three children, two girls, Mary Ann who married her cousin, Colonel James R. Anderson, and Edna Frances whose career with the State Department has placed her in American Embassies all over the world - Japan, Yugoslavia, West Africa, Greece and Taipei. Their brother, Dr. John J. McPhaul, after receiving his M.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1956, started his military as well as professional career and today is Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force with the Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and lives in nearby San Antonio. He holds membership in many professional societies and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He married Marilyn O'Neil and has two children.

The third son of Frances Fitzwilliam McPhaul, Julius, married Ruth Ann West and is survived by three children: Nancy who married James G. Gill and has four children, Mary Ruth who married Kevin J. Mulroy and has four children; and Donald James who married Roberta Duke and has four children. The fourth son, Alexander, died in 1919 aged eighteen. The fifth son, Thomas Fitzwilliam McPhaul, married Mary Irene Kirby in 1929 and they have two children, Thomas Francis married to Mary Lou Dacier and Mary Joan married to Everett Van Slyke Barnes.

To return to the family of James and Bridget Doyle Fitzwilliam, Patrick, the third son arrived in America with his mother about 1850. Apparently he spent some in New Orleans with his older brother Thomas, learning the engraving and printing business. He fought for the Confederacy as was already mentioned and later married a girl named Ross. They had five children and about 1905 the family left for California where they bought property in downtown Los Angeles from which they made a great deal of money. Several times they returned to visit relatives in New Orleans and Bastrop but recent efforts to trace them have been unsuccessful. Patrick died almost blind before World War I; all that is known about his family is that one member was a jockey and another a professional gambler.

The fourth son, Matthew, middle name possibly Arthur, vanished after the Civil War, said to be fighting with the Union forces.

The fifth son of James and Bridget Fitzwilliam, John Denis, always called by his second name, was raised by his bother Thomas in New Orleans. He, too, fought in the Civil War and after hostilities ceased, settled in Galveston where he married Frances Shannon.                                                              

John Denis Fitzwilliam (? – 1891)                                                                                                 Mrs. Denis Fitzwilliam (Frances Shannon ?-1913)

Denis was an accountant with the Moody Cotton Brokers and he and Frances had five children, three sons, Thomas, John Bernard and Denis, and two daughters, Amelia and Agnes, They lived on East Winnie Street, just back of the Catholic Cathedral, a fortunate location.

After the devastating Galveston flood of 1900 this home was the only one remaining for four blocks, due to the protection of the Cathedral. Their home was used as a distribution point for supplies for the storm refugees. Prior to the storm Denis and his brother-in-law, William Shannon, tried to move their horses to a high point in the city. Failing to find a place they turned the horses loose and the two men hurried home, arriving just as the first tidal wave hit the city; it washed them across the front yard, up the steps and onto the porch. The two men went upstairs to "rest a bit" and slept through the whole storm. The children were at school and not allowed to return home.

When the storm had spent itself the National Guard took charge of the city to prevent looting and to supervise the clean-up of the city. Denis and William along with other able-bodied men were forced to work for a number of days. In later years when retalking over their experiences, Frances and her sister, Maggie, were fond of referring to this episode as the "only hard labor" the two men ever did. In gratitude for their escape Frances and her sister took care of the altar linen at the Cathedral for the rest of their lives.[27]

Thomas and Denis were sent to New Orleans to learn engraving from their uncle Thomas Fitzwilliam and so skilled did they become that both were employed by the Post Office Department in Washington, where they were considered the finest engravers in the department. When he retired Denis was Chief of the Foreign Section of the Post Office. Both men married rather late in life and neither had any children. Of the two daughters, Amelia married but had no children. Agnes married James R. Anderson, who had been born in Scotland; he died when their two children were still very young and their uncles Thomas and Denis helped with their support. The third brother, John Bernard, was, according to all reports, fonder of a good time than hard work.

Both of the Anderson children continued the military traditions of the family. Frances was a Navy nurse during World War lI, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant-Commander, the highest available at that time. She married in 1960 Arthur M. Anderson and they have adopted two children. Colonel James R. Anderson USAF married his cousin, Mary Ann McPhaul, and they have four daughters and one son. He served as Meteorological Officer during World War II and was recalled to active duty in 1950. Since then he has been sent as Meteorological Officer to Japan, Korea and England. He attended the Air War College and is presently Chief Environmental Services Division, Operations Directorate, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has many decorations, including the United Nations Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

The Family of Dennis Fitzwilliam

Dennis Fitzwilliam of St. Louis must have been a brother of Thomas and James, although no written proof has been found.[28] There are two reasons for concluding he was a brother: the long-established knowledge of relationship between the two branches and the even more conclusive fact that when the grandson of Dennis, Henry Fitzwilliam Woods, married the granddaughter of Thomas, Mary Elizabeth (May) O'Brien in 1899 they had to obtain an ecclesiastical dispensation. This is necessary if the couple have the same great-grandfather.[29]

Very little is known about Dennis except that he was married in Dublin to Sarah Cullem and that their first child, John J. Fitzwilliam, was born in Ireland about 1834.                                                               

 John J. Fitzwilliam (1834-1910)                                                                                                   Mrs. John J. Fitzwilliam (Lizzie Cosgrove)

The name of Dennis Fitzwilliam was first included in the St. Louis Directory in 1845. From 1854 he is listed as "fur buyer," at times with H. and R.B. Whittemore. From 1859-60 his son is also listed at what must have been the family home at 121 Green Street.

Dennis and Sarah had five more children; Jane, Thomas "who died as the result of an injury from a small stone thrown at him whilst in play." James, Peter and Mary Katherine. Dennis' name does not appear after the Directory of 1860, none were published during the Civil War so it is impossible to know when he died or moved away. No one knows where he is buried but as most of the family stayed in St. Louis it is reasonable to assume he died here.

Two sons fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War; the youngest, Peter, was killed fighting under General Sterling Price in Arkansas. James, the fourth child, was a member of Morgan's Raiders and was captured arid imprisoned in the raid on Cincinnati. He either escaped or was released but after the war he disappeared and was never heard of again.

The oldest son, John J. Fitzwilliam started out as a clerk with Bacon, Hyde and Company in St, Louis. Later he served for a brief time as secretary of an American corporation in Monterey, Mexico. He married Lizzie Cosgrove and had five children. His career is summed up in his obituary, presumably from a St. Louis newspaper, dated May 9, 1910:



John J. Fitzwilliam, formerly of St. Louis, died at his home no. 415 Line St., Evansville, Ind., yesterday morning. For the last five years he had been auditor of the Southern Indiana Traction Company, whose main office is in Evansville.

Mr. Fitzwilliam, who was a native of Wexford County, Ireland, spent most of his life in St. Louis, having come here with his parents while he was a child.

For a number of years Mr. Fitzwilliam was cashier of the Hibernia Bank in St. Louis. When the city acquired Forest Park he was named as one of the Commissioners to receive and maintain it. He was twice elected to the office of City Register and later served as Health Commissioner during the great smallpox epidemic. He was a staunch believer in vaccination, and by his efforts in this direction did much to abate the epidemic.

Mr. Fitzwilliam was a member of the volunteer fire organization of the early days of St. Louis and also a strong Confederate sympathizer. He was a member of the state militia during the encampment at Camp Jackson at the opening of the Civil War but escaped capture when the camp was taken by Union soldiers28[30] He was prevented later from joining two of his brothers in the Confederate army but was arrested by the Provost Marshall on a charge of being a secessionist and of sending quinine through the lines to the Confederate Army, then badly needed by the army. For this he was confined to the Gratiot St. jail which was used as a military prison.

Mr. Fitzwilliam is survived by his daughters, Mrs. John J. Nolan whose husband recently retired as Mayor of Evansville, Mrs. M.K. Outley and Miss May Fitzwilliam, all of Evansville. The sons are Edmond P. Fitzwilliam of St. Louis and Robert E. Fitzwilliam of Pasadena, Calif. A sister Mrs. Jane Philbert of this city also.


Mrs. John J. Nolan (Val Fitzwilliam 1869-1953)                                                      Edmond Peter Fitzwilliam (c. 1865-1939)

Of the five children of John J. Fitzwilliam, Mamie married Dr. Fred Outley who died after a short married life. She was a trained nurse and "dearly loved by the family" as was her sister May, who never married. Edmond Fitzwilliam, the oldest son, married three times: first, Bertha Link by whom he had one daughter, Mabel, who was first married to William Beard by whom she had two sons and then to John J. Driscoll; second, Julia Wilson by whom he had four other children; and third, Alice Waddell who survived him and lives in St. Louis.

Edmond's oldest son, Edmond, died in 1965; he was married and had one son, Edmond who is married and has a son. Edmond's second son, Robert is unmarried and is in the real-estate title business in Clayton, a St. Louis suburb. The third son, John J. Fitz-William, Jack, is married to Billye Hager and they have nine children, three of them married, and nine grandchildren; Jack is sales representative for Sligo, Inc., steel supplies. The sister of the three men, Elizabeth, was married to Roland Zell but had no children. She died after a fire in 1970.

The first John J. Fitzwilliam had a third daughter, Valentine or Val, who married John J. Nolan in Evansville, Ind., in 1887. According to her daughter-in-law she "was surely one of the world's most charming women - and remained so until her death at the age of eighty-five." The Nolans had two sons, Val, the eldest, married Jeanette Covert, who like himself, was a graduate of the University of Indiana. He was a lawyer and at the time of his death in 1940 United States District Attorney for Indiana. Jeanette Nolan is one of the best known writers of books for readers of high school age and for young adults. She has more than fifty titles to her credit; for a partial list see "Family Writings."[31] Val and Jeanette Nolan had two sons and one daughter. The eldest, Val Jr., is a professor of law at Indiana University, married with three children. The second son, Alan, is a lawyer in Indianapolis and the author of several books. He had five children by his first wife who died and he is married again to a widow with three children. The sister of the two men, Kathleen, is married to Alan H. Lobley, also a lawyer. John and Val Nolan's second son, Eugene, died in 1969, leaving his widow, the former Kathryn Braun, a married son, John Patrick, and a daughter, Mrs. William Swanson.

The youngest son of John J. Fitzwilliam and Lizzie Cosgrove was Robert Emmet who is survived by a son, George Fitz-William of Denver and a granddaughter of Washington, D.C.

To return to the children of Dennis and Sarah Cullem Fitzwilliam: there were besides the sons, two daughters, one of whom, Jane, married Henri Philibert. The Philiberts were descended from two early St. Louisans; Joseph Philibert, a fur trader, had married a daughter of Jean Baptiste Ortes, a carpenter who had built the first church in St. Louis. Ortes had come from Bedous, France, with Pierre Laclede and had made the voyage up the river from New Orleans with him in 1763. His widow, Elizabeth, lived to be about one hundred and in 1855 was consulted by Richard Edwards when he was writing THE GREAT WEST. She was then the only one alive who remembered Pierre Laclede. Jane and Henri Philibert had three children, one of whom, Catherine, married her cousin, Edward Philibert, and had children. Unfortunately, efforts to trace this family down to the present generation have been unsuccessful.

The youngest child of Dennis and Sarah Fitzwilliam was Mary Katharine born in 1847. Like all of the Fitzwilliams she was an ardent supporter of the Confederacy and on one occasion she was at home in the family residence in what is now down-town St. Louis. Hearing a company of Union soldiers marching down the street, she seized a Confederate flag and rushed to the porch, waving the flag vigorously. An impetuous soldier aimed his gun at her and fired, fortunately missing her.

In 1866 Mary Katharine married Henry Woods, who had been born in Roscommon, Ireland, the son of Henry Woods, whose wife had also been a Woods, although no relation.

Mary Katherine Fitzwilliam (Mrs. Henry Woods 1847-1907)

Although the Gaelic version of the name is Uaidgh or Oudgh, the family is descended from "a Captain Harry (or Henry) Woods who went to Ireland with Cromwell's army. However, the later Henry Woods was Irish, Catholic and a tenant farmer."[32] Henry Woods came to this country when he was about nineteen. He and Mary Katharine had twelve children, three of whom died in infancy; two became nuns, Florence, Sister M. Laura of the Good Shepherd Order, and Helen, Sister Mary Florence of the Sisters of Mercy. One son became a priest, the Right Reverend Thomas Raymond Woods. For many years he was pastor of St. Thomas Church in St. Louis and was made a monsignor; retired for several years, he has now, at the age of eighty-seven, returned to his former parish as assistant.

Two of the daughters never married, Laura and Frances Genevieve. Mary Jane Woods married William Sanguinet in 1892;[33] they had seven children, two of whom died in childhood. One daughter, Estelle, never married, the three others did. Florence married Joseph Bauer and they had one son who died in infancy and two daughters, Angela who married George Gram and Phyllis who married John Dubnik and has four children. The second daughter of Mary Jane Sanguinet, Catherine, married Herman Dues and they had four children; Paul who died in 1968, Donald who is married and has seven children; Elizabeth married to Robert Saenger and Gretchen married to William Allison. There is one Sanguinet son, Ferdinand H., of St. Louis married to Lola Hart; their one son is married to Elenore Mollman and they have three children.

The third married Sanguinet daughter, Virginia, was the widow of William D. Roach when she married in 1967 Frank Cernic. By her first marriage she had three daughters; Cleophas married to Charles V. Sullivan with seven children, one married; Mary Louise married to Louis Clark has four children; and Jeanne married to Vernon Reidel with seven children, two of them married.

Three of the sons of Henry and Mary Katharine Woods married; John J. married Loretta O'Brien and they had one son, John J. Woods Jr. who married Ruth Tilton and has three children. William F. Woods, who was a St. Louis accountant, married Margaret Chamberlain and they had five children;[34] the eldest Margaret is a Religious of the Good Shepherd and returned last year from Rome where she was an Assistant in the Order. She is currently at the Marygrove Good Shepherd School where as Sister Mary Assumption she is a counselor. Jane, the second daughter, is a Medical Research Technician at Washington University in St. Louis and Marian the third daughter is married to Willard Bierly, has two daughters and lives in Danville, Calif. Will Woods had two sons; William is with the St. Louis Post Office; George, who is an accountant with the U.S. Government, recently returned from Germany and lives in San Mateo, California, with his wife, Mimi Mousessian, and their two children.

One of the most interesting of all the families included in this compilation is that of Henry Fitzwilliam Woods and Mary Elizabeth (May) O'Brien.[35] To begin with their children are doubly descended from both the Watson and the Fitzwilliam lines. Both Henry and May were people of strong and attractive personalities and he had a career well summed up in his obituary from a Port Washington, N.Y. paper of April 4, 1963:

Henry F. Woods, who lived in Port Washington for about twelve years, was buried in St. John's Cemetary, Middle Village, L.I.. He died on Thursday at the home of his daughter Mrs. William O. Lightfoot with whom he had made his home since last April. He was in his 91st year. Previous to last April he had lived with his son, Henry F. Woods Jr. at 8 Hilltop Road, Baxter Estates.

Mr. Woods' brother, Rt. Rev. Thomas R. Woods of St. Louis, Missouri, celebrated a requiem Mass at St. Mary's Church Manhasset on Saturday morning.

Mr. Woods was a native of St. Louis, Mo., and a graduate of Saint Louis University there. He started his newspaper career as a reporter with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and later joined the editorial staff of the St. Louis Republic, on which paper he was in charge of the coverage of the St. Louis World's Fair. He later was city editor and night editor of that paper. In 1914 he came to New York to join the editorial department of the old New York Herald as copy editor. Subsequently he was copy editor on the old New York World. For some years he conducted his own publicity business and later was associated with the Ghost Writers Bureau in New York.

Mr. Woods was a contributor to national magazines and was the author of FAMOUS AMERICAN SAYINGS, coauthor with his son Ralph of PILGRIMAGE PLACES in North America and author of GOD'S LOADED DICE, a story of the adventures of his friend, Edward E. Morgan in Alaska .....

Two more items could have been added - his was the first interview with the Wright brothers after their history making initial flight; and the fact that within one year Henry F. Woods and four of his sons - Henry Jr., Ralph, Eugene and David - all had books published. (See "Family Writings.")

In 1919 May O'Brien Woods died, shortly after the birth of their ninth child, Joan. Of necessity the family was broken up, the three older boys, Henry, Jack and Ralph were on their own and the two younger ones, Eugene and David, were sent to Campion, the Jesuit boarding school at Prairie du Chien Wisconsin. The three girls came to the St. Louis area, Katharine to her aunt and uncle, Dora and Ferdinand Garesché in Madison, Illinois; Mary Elizabeth to her grandfather Woods and his daughters. Laura and Genevieve; and Joan to her uncle and aunt, Watson and Lydia O'Brien. The three older Woods boys in their youth shipped out as seamen, visiting many foreign ports.

The eldest son, Henry Fitzwilliam Woods Jr., who died in February 1972, married Mary Carmen and had one daughter, Mary Jane, married to Joseph Quinn and has five children. His obituary appeared in the New York TIMES:

Henry F. Woods Jr., retired public relations counselor, died yesterday in the Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, at the age of 71. He had moved-here from Port Washington, L.I., in 1965 on leis retirement as vice president in charge of public relations for the Young & Rubicam advertising agency.

Before joining Young & Rubicam, Mr. Woods was with McCann Erickson and the United States Advertising Corporation. He was the author of "How to Become Well Known," "Profitable Publicity," and "How to Get the Breaks."

The second son, John or Jack, died in 1952 in Seal Beach, California. Although married three times he had no children.

Ralph, the third son of Henry and May Woods, married Lillias Watt and they have one daughter, Patricia, a lawyer in her own right, married to Judge Paul R. Huot of Ramsey, New Jersey, and they have three children. Ralph has been writing all of his life and is the author of countless magazine articles and some fifty books. His best known work is A TREASURY OF THE FAMILIAR which has gone into thirty printings and sold more than half a million copies. He has also ghostwritten books for well known personalities.

Eugene, the fourth son, is the owner of Walter Kidd Sales Service and married Mary Geismar in 1934; they live in Manhasset, L.I., and have a daughter Kathleen and a son, James Fitzwilliam Woods, who is married and has two children.

David F., the fifth son, started with the U.S. Line and traveled to and in Europe for the company. He has spent most of his time in newspaper and publicity work, being for many years the publicity representative for Alfred G. Vanderbilt and the Belmont Park and Pimlico race tracks. He writes RACING VIGNETTES for syndicated radio and is currently writing a column for the BALTIMORE EVENING SUN, "Direct Line for Action." He is married to Mona Thomas whose interesting family background includes Stuarts of the royal line, a great great grandfather who was part Indian and great-great grandparents scalped by Indians about 1800. Dave and Mona have two children, a son, David Fitzwilliam Woods, who served as a lieutenant jet pilot in the U.S. Air Force and is married with three children. They also have a daughter, Martha, married to Robert Mack; they live in California and have three boys.

The eldest of Henry and May Woods' three daughters, Mary Katharine, married Karl Edelmann, born in Bavaria, Germany. In 1949 they legally changed their names to Charles and Katharine Cobelle. He is an extremely competent artist and Kay did the publicity and promotion for him. In 1943 they adopted a boy, Peter Woods Cobelle, and in 1950 they were divorced. Kay and Peter went to Dallas to live and she has become well-known for free-lance publicity and promotion, numbering among her accounts the Cipango Club, the Tishman Realty Co. of New York, the Dillingham Corporation of Hawaii and the Dorado Hilton Hotel of Puerto Rico. Peter is assistant principal of a Dallas public school and in 1969 was named "Outstanding Young Man" by the Dallas Jay Cees and in 1970 was nominated for the Distinguished Service Award given by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce.

The two younger Woods daughters are married, Mary Elizabeth to W. Oliver Lightfoot; they live in East Meadows, L.I., and have six children. Joan married Alexander L. Monteith and several years ago they moved from St. Louis to San Bernardino, California. Their daughter Judith is married to Major Jack Bartlett and they have three children; their son Kelly Monteith is an actor comedian, playing night clubs and writing his own material. In January 1973 he made a successful appearance on the Jack Parr show.



In the almost fruitless quest for Fitzwilliam information from Ireland, a letter was written to the IRISH INDEPENDENT, asking the readers for information about the family. Two letters were received: one from Mrs. Annie McCarthy of Ballynattin, Co. Arklow, saying her father's aunt, Mary Kehoe, had married James Fitzwilliam of Arklow and they had six children, all of whom were dead. (This might be the James to whom Sister M. Jane Kinsella referred in her letter, "James is in a situation in Arklow.") Mrs. McCarthy also wrote that James had two sisters, one married to a man named Moran (the name Moran is also mentioned in the letter), and the other to a Mr. Kavanagh.

The second letter received in February of 1971 was from Mrs. P. O'Hara of the National Library who had very kindly checked Griffin's Valuation, the first valuation made for rates or taxes. She found in 1853 in the townland of Moneyribben, Parish of Inch, County Wexford, James Fitzwilliam had a house, offices and about 64 acres of land. John Fitzwilliam had a house, offices and about 68 acres. In the Register of Electors for 1956 Alice and Mary Fitzwilliam are registered from the same place. Mrs. O'Hara also found that members of the family were there in 1828 but there was no exact record of names.

A letter to the Wexford County Historical Society brought an answer from the editor of their publication, "The Past," the Reverend Seamas S. de Val, giving the same information about Griffith's Valuation and adding another item concerning a house and yard owned by Thomas Fitzwilliam of the village of Coolgreany.

Letters were written to the three Fitzwilliams in the Irish telephone book, that to the Countess Fitzwilliam has already been mentioned; the other two were to William and John, who proved to be father and son. William answered, saying his family had come from the borders of Wexford, that his father was John and his grandfather James. Although it sounded as though they were members of the same family there was no real proof.

[1] 1850 US Census

[2] Edward MacLysaght, IRISH FAMILIES, 17.

[3] THE UNIVERSAL MAGAZINE, July 1779, London.



[6] Chart loaned by Thomas C. Fitzwilliam of Dallas.

[7] REPORTORIUM NOVUM, Vol. 2, no. 1, 1957-58,88-108, John Kingston.

[8] Ibid, 90.

[9] Ibid, 91-95.

[10] Information received from Sister M. Brendan Whelan, superior of the Presentation Convent, June 21, 1971.

[11] Collection of Elizabeth Fitzwilliam O'Brien.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Copy of will lent by Mrs. Frederick R. Swigart

[14] Inventory lent by David F'. Woods.

[15] Letter to David F. Woods from Sister Josephine, April 27, 1961.

[16]Information about the family of Mary Clementine Fitzwilliam from Mrs. Milton Baughn. For background information on plantation life in and around Milliken's Bend before, during and after the Civil War, see BROKENBURN, THE JOURNAL OF KATE STONE. The Bledsoes are mentioned several times.

[17] Information about Amelia Euphrasie Fitzwilliam from Mrs. Frederick Swigart.

[18] Information about Thomas L. Fitzwilliam from Edgar J. Fitzwilliam.

[19] General Services Information, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[20] Information about Thomas Fitzwilliam from Frances Fitzwilliam of New Orleans, who also loaned copy of paper about legacies.

[21] Both letters from Sister Kinsella loaned by Frances Fitzwilliam

[22] Who were these relatives? John J. Fitzwilliam of St. Louis did not go to Indiana until much later.

[23] Information about Capt. James W. Fitzwilliam from Capt. M. Sayers Fitzwilliam.

[24] Grace Fitzwilliam, "Captain James W. Fitzwilliam", BASTROP ADVERTISER, Sept. 8, 1955.

[25] Letter from Capt. M. Sayers Fitzwilliam.

[26] Grace Fitzwilliam

[27] Letter from Captain Sayers Fitzwilliam who supplied information about Denis Fitzwilliam.

[28] Much of the information about Dennis Fitzwilliam and his descendants was compiled by the late Henry F. Woods and lent me by his daughter, Mrs. Oliver Lightfoot. In the paper there is a reference to the "collateral branch... of Milliken's Bend."

[29] Regulation checked with the Rev. William B. Faherty S.J., Professor of History, Saint Louis University.

[30] The Camp Jackson incident marked the beginning of Civil War activities in St. Louis - a divided city. It was believed the state militia under General Daniel Frost had a large amount of ammunition destined for the South. General Nathaniel Lyon imprisoned the forces, among them the writer's grandfather, Ferdinand L. Garesché.

[31] Information from Mrs. Val Nolan and WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA

[32] Family history left by Henry F. Woods.

[33] Information on the Sanguinet family from Estelle Sanguinet.

[34] Information about the William Woods family from Jane Woods of St. Louis.

[35] All members of this family co-operated in sending information for which I am deeply grateful.