All posts by The Power Clan Gathering 2016

About The Power Clan Gathering 2016

Calling all folks with the last names Power, Powers, Poor, Poore, le Poher, de Paor, Powys to a Clan Gathering at the seat of the original family at Dunhill, County Waterford, Ireland 27-30th August 2016.

Individual Events now booking

Some individual events for the Power Clan Gathering 2016 are now available to book and more events shall be added in this manner as the event draws closer.

Click here to book for our :

  • family history and DNA lecture
  • Curraghmore Day (including tour of house and gardens with lunch)
  • Spectacular closing event at the Medieval Museum Undercroft, along with Slainte Show.

Mass Irish Emigration to the USA

A phrase heard often in Ireland that “everyone has someone in America!” – meaning that it’s rare the family that doesn’t have connections in the United States, be they first generation or earlier.  The phrase is equally accurate for Newfoundland and Canada and in modern times,  Australia.

Throughout the centuries, Irish people, young and old,  have always left this island in their droves and for various reasons – oppression, famine, adventure, war and conflict, opportunity … it is interesting then to see the names of those Powers (and others, of course) that pop up in the pages of newspapers and journals, making their mark in one way or another, before the Internet and instant communication became ubiquitous.

There are some great online resources available, allowing us to delve into local (sometimes very local) US history – and when we find a subject – like the recent post on Sheriff John Powers of Nebraska – we take great pleasure in exploring a little bit more about the emigrant in question, trying at least in the broad sense, to add some social context and a sense of place to the individual and those they might have left behind on “the Ould Sod”.

An interesting snippet found its way to our keyboard recently, which perusing “The Daily Phoenix” of Columbia, South Carolina, from 1874.

The total number of emigrants from Ireland in the first six months of the present year was 45,781, of whom 25,163 were males and 60, 917 were females.  As compared with the corresponding period of 1873, there was a decrease of 14,359.  Since the 1st of May, 1851, the total emigration from Ireland has been 2,252,745.

Despite the inaccuracy in the sum of the first two figures, the last line in that article is simply nothing short of astonishing.  Whole cities worth of people were moving lock, stock and barrel from Ireland during this time, and the figures quoted don’t even go back as far as 1847, when the Famine was at it’s height.

As a concept, Irish people of today readily acknowledge the Great Famine and all its terrible loss and suffering, but I don’t think we can equate today’s sense of space and freedom with just how many more people were on our island just 150 odd years ago.

And to sign off, and as was bound to happen, not all the Powers who made the journey managed to keep their noses out of strife !

Cincinnati, Ohio, 1875

PS : That’s  a $4000 fine today !


Powers lost in World War I

On the afternoon of Sunday, 28th August, during the Power Clan Gathering 2016, our group will travel to the west Waterford town of Dungarvan to take part in the World War I commemoration ceremonies, which honour the 1,100 local Waterford men and women who fell during that conflict.

On that day, with ceremonies led by the Irish Branch of the Royal British Legion, we will especially remember those men named Power that are commemorated on the Dungarvan WWI memorial wall, the driving force behind which was local TD John Deasy.

The 50 men named Power who fell serving in the Allied forces of World War I are listed here in this document and we shall be featuring stories on a few of them as the time draws closer to the commemoration.

Dungarvan WWI Memorial Wall

“Honest John” Power – Sheriff, Douglas County, Nebraska

2016-06-22_0955 “Honest John” Power (1949-1916) was Sheriff of Douglas County, Nebraska, having emigrated to the New World at the early age of 16.

Born in Waterford, Ireland in 1849, in the teeth of the Irish Famine, he arrived as a teenager in the city of Philadelphia he trained as a cooper (barrel maker), before later living in Kansas City, Missouri and eventually settling in Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1882, he, like many enterprising Irish emigrants before him, started a business of his own on 4th and Jones Streets, Omaha and soon built up an extensive trade.

As Edward Morearty mentions in his book “Omaha memories : recollections of events, men and affairs in Omaha, Nebraska, from 1879 to 1917”,

He is known as “Honest John,” a title which he justly deserves, as all who have come in contact with him, either as a private citizen or a public official, can fully substantiate. He made one of the best sheriffs that Douglas County ever had.

In politics Power was a Democrat and was elected to the office of Sheriff of Douglas County in 1899, an office which he held for several years and through several re-elections.  Having retired from law enforcement, he once again entered the trading arena, this time in addition to cooperage, he bought and sold coal, as president of the Power-Heafey Coal Company.  His company also engaged in the manufacture of some of the first washing machines.

A dedicated family man, Power had many wide interests and was amongst others, a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  He married twice, first to Mary Quinlan (d. 1888) and then to Mamie O’Malley (d. 1915 who also predeceased him.  He has at least 4 children that I could find.

From 1914
From 1914








He died at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Omaha, surrounded by his sons and daughters, of heart failure, in 1916.  For a wonderful tribute paid to the man, by the Omaha Jacksonian Club, of which he was a prominent member, see this reproduction of the article from the “Omaha Daily Bee” newspaper, from Omaha, Nebraska, January 1916.

TC Power & Bro, magnates of the American Frontier

Thomas C. Power

“T. C. Power and Bro” was a prominent mercantile business started by Thomas Charles Power (left) (1839-1923) and his brother John (1844-1901), who were to become well established traders in Montana and across several southern Canadian provinces.

Of Iowa and Pennsylvania Irish Catholic stock, their parents Michael Power and Catherine McLeer arrived in Iowa, via Missouri in the 1830s.  Their father Michael, himself an established mercantile man, had came to the United States from Ireland as a young emigrant.

In 1867, Tom C. Power,  having completed his private schooling in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, travelled up the Missouri River to Fort Benton, Montana and opened a general mercantile store, in partnership with his brother.  During the years of the US Civil War, the Powers were involved in trade along the mighty Missouri River, primarily dealing with steamboats.  TC Power eventually became president of a steamboat line, at one time owning and operating 9 steamers.


The Power brothers gradually established themselves in the trading business and this enterprise was to become very profitable, with thirteen stores being established on the norther US border with Canada and two on the Canadian side.

John W. Power

“Power and Brother”, and other notable firms, dominated trade and freighting on the northern plains of the USA by the mid 1870s.  Throughout their time in business, the Powers were involved in military and Indian trade (particularly buffalo hides), steam-boating, freight shipping, stage coach lines, mail contracts, cattle ranching, banking, bridge building and town planning.

By 1875, their trade with local tribes for buffalo hides reached an incredible 36,000 in number, which they sold to markets in New York, Chicago and other cities.   This was a remarkable feat in both accomplishment and value, as a hide was approx USD$2 at the time, translating to roughly US$750,000 or €660,000 nowadays – one hunting season’s gains!

When the buffalo herds declined, they continued a profitable trade with miners and stockmen in the area around Fort Benton, Montana.  This trade also helped the city of Fort Benton (called the Birthplace of Montana) become an important river trading post, the town, established in 1846, already being one of the oldest settlements in the American West.

As Henry Classen puts it, in his paper “Shaping the growth of the Montana Economy: T.C. Power & Bro, and the Canadian Trade 1869-93” :

Fort Benton’s two largest merchant
partnerships, T.C. Power & Bro. and I.G. Baker
& Co., became leaders among the pioneers in
the big business of Canadian prairie trade during
this period. They created international marketing
and purchasing networks for importing
buffalo robes and furs and for exporting foodstuffs,
ready-made clothes, metal and wood
products, and livestock to Canada.

2016-06-21_1250This advertisement, from paper “The Mineral Argus” of Maiden, Montana (1886) and advertising their store in Lewistown, Montana, gives and interesting look at their stock, their large area of trade and a good insight into the firm.

When their establishment was incorporated, Power was president of T.C. Powers & Co. and T.C. Powers Mercantile Company of Fort Benton, Montana. After settling in Helena, Montana in 1876, Power started another firm, T. C. Power and Browhich, a prominent mercantile company which served the northwestern United States and western Canada. He also served as president of the American National Bank of Helena and represented the state in the US senate, serving from January, 1890 to March, 1895.The town of Power, Montana was named in TC Power’s honour.

We would urge the reader to invest some time in a more in-depth biography of both remarkable men which can be found in the early 1900s publication “Progressive men of the state of Montana”, now available online.


Ever wondered what writing system, alphabet and sounds your Irish Gaelic speaking ancestors used ?

The Irish alphabet has only 18 letters with no k, j, x, y or z for example. Other letters approximate these sounds. In earlier written forms of Irish Gaelic, dots and other diacritics were used to elongate sounds or to add lenition. 

This list contains an interesting explanation, and gives approximate English lettering and sounds. Interestingly, the names of Irish Gaelic letters (not to be confused with the sounds they make) are all named after spieces of trees found on the island. 

Find out more about your Power family’s history at this summers Power Clan Gathering in August.