“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. 

Programme of Events for 2016

Folks – here finally (and apologies for the delay) is our Programme of Events for the 2016 Gathering, August 27th-30th 2016.

  • Programme available for download here.  Please feel free to share it with your friends and family, who may be thinking of joining us.
  • Patrons not already joining the Ireland-Newfoundland Festival of the Sea should aim to arrive in Ireland on either Friday 26th or early Saturday 27th August.

Provisional Programme of Events
27th – 30th August
Dunhill  ᴥ  West Waterford  ᴥ  Waterford City

– ‘Meet & Greet’ session in a Waterford City hotel, with refreshments.
– Orientation & explanation of the Programme of Events
– Travel to Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary for the opening event, which is also the closing event of the Ireland/Newfoundland Festival of the Sea 2016

– ‘Mass of Remembrance’ in Dunhill parish church
– Walk the Anne Valley Trail to Dunhill Castle, ancestral home of the Powers.
– Short talk on the history of the Castle, followed by coffee and chat in Harney’s pub, Dunhill.
– Travel to Dungarvan, Co. Waterford & take lunch and a stroll at your leisure.
– WWI Memorial Ceremony, at Dungarvan Memorial Wall, remembering the Powers who fell in the Great War, followed by chat and refreshments.
– Short tour of Dungarvan Castle, an Anglo-Norman fortification founded in 1185.
– Return to Waterford City for dinner and music in a local hotel.

–  Tour of Curraghmore House & Gardens, historic home of the de la Poers.
– Catered picnic lunch in the grounds of Curraghmore, including local food/produce showcase event.

– Return to Waterford city for dinner in a local hotel.
– Evening concert in Christchurch Cathedral, Waterford, with local musicians and storytelling from a seanachaí.

–  Tour of the famous Waterford Crystal showrooms and manufacturing facility.
– Lunch at leisure and free time for shopping in Waterford city centre.
– Guided tours of both Reginald’s Tower or the new Medieval Museum and undercroft.
– Ancestry.com DNA/Power Clan lecture
– Gala closing event at Medieval Museum Undercroft with food, music and Sláinte show.

Gathering Package include:

  • All talks and lectures
  • Entry to all tours including Curraghmore, Reginald’s Tower, Dungarvan Castle, Waterford Crystal and Medieval Museum.
  • Christchurch and Carrick-on-Suir concerts.
  • 4 evening meals, 1 lunch and 3 refreshments.
  • Local transport (including airport pickup/return, if needed)

Price per person : EUR€ 350, CAD$ 530, US$ 380, GBP£ 255.  A payment facility will be made available on this website in the coming weeks.  Payment doesn’t have to be immediate but reserving your place by email is important!

All questions please to conanjpower@gmail.com

Dates comfirmed for 2016 Power Clan Gathering

Calling all Powers around the World !

The dates for the 2016 Power Clan Gathering have been confirmed as Saturday 27th to Tuesday 30th August.  Work is almost complete on a provisional Program of Events and this will be made available shortly.  Event packages will be available for purchase on this site.

The Gathering will be based in Waterford City with days also based in Dunhill/Curraghmore and West County Waterford.

We appreciate your patience in the meantime, and if we can be of any assistance, please email your query to conanjpower@gmail.com or fill out the form below.

Irish Emigrant Trails

Visit Ireland's Emigrant Trail websiteHere at the Power Clan Gathering, we’ve taken a step into family history and have started an exciting new project called “Irish Emigrant Trails“.

Our aim is to assist those of you who are planning a trip to Ireland with your family history, and then, based on the results, develop a trail for you to follow when you get here – either with us as a guide or by yourselves.

By tailoring the trail around the research we do before you arrive, visitors can get right down to it – we aim to find homesteads, grave sites, parishes, villages/towns etc. where possible, all while seeing the wonderful sights Ireland has to offer.

We’d be delighted to hear your feedback on this new project and if we can be of any assistance to anyone planning their next trip (or maybe the first ?), please contact us over at Irish Emigrant Trails … or via Facebook.

As the slogan says, “Come find where it all began …”

Flight Specials

Thinking of joining us for the Power Clan Gathering ?

Here are some of the offers right now from the various airlines that’ll help you get here.  All prices are subject to availability and are current as of today, May 14th.


  • Birmingham – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £42 pp
  • Bristol – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £45 pp
  • East Midlands – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £40 pp
  • Edinburgh – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £42 pp
  • London Gatwick – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £99 pp
  • London Stansted – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £61 pp
  • London Heathrow – Dublin, Aer Lingus, 30th May – 5th June, £115 pp
  • Leeds/Bradford – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £43 pp
  • Liverpool – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, £40 pp


  • Berlin – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, €110 pp
  • Frankfurt – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, €85 pp
  • Paris Beauvais – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, €65 pp
  • Madrid – DublinRyanair, 30th May – 5th June, €185 pp

Canada & USA

  • Boston – DublinAir Canada, 29th May – 7th June, US$748 pp
  • St. John’s (NL) – Dublin, Air Canada, 29th May – 7th June, CA$1,184 pp
  • Toronto – DublinAir Canada, 29th May – 7th June, CA$1,087 pp
  • JFK – Dublin, United Airlines, 29th May – 6th June, US$514 pp
  • Chicago – DublinAmerican Airlines, 29th May – 7th June, US$738 pp

Nicknames Competition !

COMPETITION TIME AGAIN in partnership with WLR fm

We want to know your Power Clan nicknames and the stories behind why each branch of the clan was know as such.

There were so many Power families in Waterford and surrounding areas that they had to be differentiated by nicknames … and we’re sure there are some funny or unusual ones about.

For example, one of our committee member’s family is known as”The Mountain Powers” to distinguish them from the Power families who lived at the bottom of the mountain – “The Jeffs” !

So please leave your stories and nicknames in the comments and we’ll give 2 tickets to our Gardenmorris BBQ and Ceilí event on June 2nd to the winner !