Category Archives: History

Dunhill Castle – a poem by Tom Power

Dunhill Castle

by Tom Power, Kill, Co Waterford

Now empty and forlorn you watch the seasons come and go
But what care you for summer sun or a fall of winter snow;
The ivy now grows green around your ancient wall,
No music now or song from within your banquet hall,
No noise around you now but the lowing of the cattle.
But if I stand and listen I might hear the sound of battle.

Cromwell came and did lay siege – he attacked and attacked again,
But each attack was bravely met by your mistress and her men;
around your grounds and ramparts the sound of sword and gun.
After many days of battle they had Cromwell on the run.
But then disaster struck and all because of a drink,
no, not the alcoholic kind, but a keg of butter milk.

The chief gunner was dissatisfied, he expected a stronger brew,
So above your battered walls the surrender flag he flew,
Cromwell then gained entry; revenge was in his eyes,
He blew up the castle and your mistress bravely died;
From inside your broken walls smoke curled up to the sky,
No one loves a traitor so Cromwell hung the gunner high.

Now a ruin you gaze across that lonely Annestown bog,
where you watched them haul the turf in summers now long gone.
You tower above the winding road a reminder of the past,
below you now on that same road cars and tractors travel fast,
but you go back for centuries, perhaps you can recall,
when they were no road, but just a path through oak woods big and tall.

In this peaceful valley now the song birds sweetly sing,
The river Ann flows gently by the ruined castle of Dunhill;
And if you pass this way, going to Annestown or Tramore,
As you gaze up at castle you might see the Mistress De La Poer;
Is that her wandering there, where she fought and died so proud,
Or perhaps it’s just a trick of light, the shadow of a passing cloud.

* Tom Power published a book of poems in 2007, “Waterford In Pictures And Verse”, launched at the Arts Centre Dungarvan by Julian Walton. His novel, “The Mysterious John Grey” is available from orders@choicepublishing.ie

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.

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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.

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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.

Ridgley C. Powers – Governor of Mississippi

Ridgley Ceylon Powers (1836-1912) was a Union officer in the American Civil War and a Mississippi politician who served as that state’s Governor from 1871 to 1874.  Born in late 1836 to Milo Powers and Lucy Ann Dickinson,  his education was attained at the University of Michigan and at Union College in New York, where he took classes in 1862.

rcpowersDuring the Civil War, he served as a private in Company C of the 25th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and rose to the rank of colonel by time of his discharge in 1865. After his military service, he moved to Mississippi and settled in Noxubee County, where he ran a cotton plantation. Powers joined Mississippi’s newly established Republican Party in 1868 and was elected lieutenant governor in 1869. Although most Republican officials were very unpopular during the period after the war, Powers retained the confidence and respect of the people during his term as lieutenant governor and later as governor.

Powers died in Los Angeles, California in 1912.

Dunhill Castle – a poem by Tom Power

Dunhill Castle

by Tom Power, Kill, Co Waterford

Now empty and forlorn you watch the seasons come and go
But what care you for summer sun or a fall of winter snow;
The ivy now grows green around your ancient wall,
No music now or song from within your banquet hall,
No noise around you now but the lowing of the cattle.
But if I stand and listen I might hear the sound of battle.

Cromwell came and did lay siege – he attacked and attacked again,
But each attack was bravely met by your mistress and her men;
around your grounds and ramparts the sound of sword and gun.
After many days of battle they had Cromwell on the run.
But then disaster struck and all because of a drink,
no, not the alcoholic kind, but a keg of butter milk.

The chief gunner was dissatisfied, he expected a stronger brew,
So above your battered walls the surrender flag he flew,
Cromwell then gained entry; revenge was in his eyes,
He blew up the castle and your mistress bravely died;
From inside your broken walls smoke curled up to the sky,
No one loves a traitor so Cromwell hung the gunner high.

Now a ruin you gaze across that lonely Annestown bog,
where you watched them haul the turf in summers now long gone.
You tower above the winding road a reminder of the past,
below you now on that same road cars and tractors travel fast,
but you go back for centuries, perhaps you can recall,
when they were no road, but just a path through oak woods big and tall.

In this peaceful valley now the song birds sweetly sing,
The river Ann flows gently by the ruined castle of Dunhill;
And if you pass this way, going to Annestown or Tramore,
As you gaze up at castle you might see the Mistress De La Poer;
Is that her wandering there, where she fought and died so proud,
Or perhaps it’s just a trick of light, the shadow of a passing cloud.

* Tom Power published a book of poems in 2007, “Waterford In Pictures And Verse”, launched at the Arts Centre Dungarvan by Julian Walton. His novel, “The Mysterious John Grey” is available from orders@choicepublishing.ie.

Edermine House, County Wexford

Edermine House, which was built by Sir John Power, of Power Distillery fame, in 1838. This impressive collection of buildings has been described as “possibly the most interesting domestic architectural ensemble in County Wexford.”

edermine

Edermine House, a fine example of the Greek revival style, is a two-storey, three-bay Italianite villa designed by John B. Keane, with a handsome portico formed by Doric columns. There is a five-bay side elevation with a Venetian window.

Edermine, with it’s chapel And splendid Victorian iron conservatory designed by Richard Turner and James Pierce – an extraordinary curvilinear conservatory with a central semi-dome, flanked by plant houses that once housed a grapery and a peachery. The chapel commissioned by Sir James
Power and his wife, Jane, built in the 1850s. Lady Power was a daughter of Pugin’s Irish patron, John Hyacinth Talbot, and the Power family later intermarried with the Cliffe family of Bellvue.

chapelA plaque on the door and a second inside the chapel has led many to believe that the chapel is too late to have been designed by AWN Pugin, and they have ascribed it to either his son, Edward Welby Pugin, or to JJ McCarthy. However, Pat Doyle has long believed that the chapel is an original work by Pugin and that McCarthy merely supervised its later construction, and many contemporary writers believe the intermarriages between the Talbot and Power families underpin the supposition that the chapel was originally designed by the elder Pugin and that the project was supervised either by his son or by McCarthy.

Words and Photographs copyright to and courtesy of Reverend Patrick Comerford, Wexford and Dublin.  With thanks.