Connecticut AOH History

This history of the A.O.H. in Connecticut was researched by past national director and current Connecticut A.O.H. historian J. Philip Gallagher. It was written in 1992 by Brother Gallagher. The original paper version of this document was prepared by Leo M. Corkery.

The web version of this document was prepared by John Wiehn, Connecticut state secretary and webmaster. Brother Wiehn has added links to the web version to articles from various Connecticut newspapers. These articles are taken verbatim from the actual newspapers of the day.

1836……..The Ancient Order of Hibernians was founded in New York City
1869……..First A.O.H. Division in Connecticut was founded in Bridgeport
1872……..First annual state convention in Connecticut was held in Hartford
……..P. Daley of Hartford was elected first A.O.H. State President
1875……..1,000 Hibernians march in New Haven for O’Connell centennial
1876……..John P. Murphy of Norwich elected state president for first time
1882……..First Bienial A.O.H. Convention held in Stamford
1885……..A.O.H. Parade in Hartford has thousands of marchers
……..Current A.O.H. division in Naugatuck founded
1886……..The First Connecticut Unit of the Hibernian rifles was founded in New London
1887……..Huge A.O.H. state parade in New Haven was reviewed by the governor and the national president of the A.O.H.
1890……..First A.O.H. national Convention to be held in Connecticut takes place in Hartford
1895……..First Ladies Auxiliary of the A.O.H. in Connecticut was chartered in Naugatuck (March 8th, 1895)
1896……..Ladies Auxiliary of the A.O.H. hold first state convention in Hartford. Eleanor McCann of South Manchester elected first state president of the L.A.O.H.
1897……..National Director John P. Murphy of Connecticut helps to reunify the A.O.H. in America

St. Patricks Day Celebration in Waterbury, Connecticut 1897

1898……..Ladies Auxiliary of the A.O.H. organized March 15th in Meriden. 280 members signed rolls first night.

1903……..A.O.H. State Parade and field day bring 30,000 people to Hartford

1908……..Father John D. Kennedy of Danbury elected National director of A.O.H.
1910……..A.O.H. membership in Connecticut peaks at 8,450
1916……..A.O.H. state convention at Middletown pledges support for revolt in Ireland
1919……..Delegates to A.O.H. state convention in Danbury demand United States recognize Irish republic
1923……..A.O.H. State Convention at New Haven denounces the Ku Klux Klan
1933……..500 attend A.O.H. State convention banquet at Norwich
1935……..Despite the Depression the A.O.H. state convention in Stamford reports a gain in membership of 300.
……..Annual Meriden A.O.H. Field day has 500 in attendance.
1941-1946……..There was no A.O.H. state convention held in state for 5 years due to world war II.
1946……..Years of Depression/World War reduce A.O.H. membership to an all time low.
……..Mary Carolan of Hartford, Re-Elected National L.A.O.H. Vice-President.
1950……..State President Malachy Lyman of Stamford begins an A.O.H. revival in Connecticut by founding a new division in Bridgeport.
1954……..Malachy Lyman of Stamford, elected national treasurer of A.O.H.
1958-1962……..Under the leadership of state president Patrick Sherwin, Three new divisions are chartered in Connecticut.
1960……..Patrick Hogan of Stamford, elected National President of the A.O.H.
1962……..Bridgeport is the largest A.O.H. division in the U.S. and Danbury ranks as 4th largest 1965……..State President Cornelius Collins of Waterbury leads 5 bus loads of Connecticut Hibernians to visit Kennedy gravesite at Arlington.
1968……..Cornelius Collins of Waterbury, elected National A.O.H. Vice President.
1972……..Joint Session of 44th Biennial Convention votes to send telegram to governor Thomas Meskill praising his stand against abortion.
1978……..John Henry of Norwalk, elected National Treasurer of the A.O.H.

1982……..John Henry of Norwalk, elected National Secretary of A.O.H.

1983……..Hundreds of Connecticut Hibernians participate in Boat ride on Connecticut River to raise funds for Irish Way Program.

1984……..The L.A.O.H. becomes a seperate and equal organization.

1985………51st Biennial State Convention meets in Danbury. J. Philip Gallagher elected AOH State President and Dorothy Kasey of Meriden elected LAOH State President.

1986……..Governor William O’Neill proclaims May, Hibernian month in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the order’s founding in America.
……..Shiela Clifford of Waterbury, elected National President of the L.A.O.H.
……..First Annual A.O.H. Connecticut State Golf Tournament.

1987……….52th Biennial State Convention meets in Naugatuck. J. Philip Gallagher of Danbury and Dorothy Kasey of Meriden both re-elected AOH and LAOH State Presidents respectively.

1989……….53rd Biennial State Convention meets in Bridgeport. James J. Gallagher of East Lyme elected AOH State President; Mary Daley of Stamford elected LAOH State President.

1991……..Five bus loads of Connecticut Hibernians visit Ellis Island
……..54th Biennial State Convention meets in Meriden – James Gallagher of New London is re-elected state president of A.O.H. and Catherine Egan of Danbury, elected State President of L.A.O.H.

1992……..Frank Kearney, Sr. of Meriden completes 6 years of service to the AOH National Board as National Director (4 years) and Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Award (2 years).

1993………55th Biennial State Convention meets in Mystic, hosted by New London Division. Thomas Egan, Jr. of Sandy Hook elected AOH State President and Marge Sheehan of Bridgeport elected LAOH State President. AOH convention delegates recognize Frank Kearney Sr. of Meriden as “Connecticut AOH Elder Statesman”.

1994……..J. Philip Gallagher of Bethel completes 4 years of service to the AOH National Board as National Director (4 years) and Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Award (2 Years).

……..Danbury Hibernians celebrate the 5th Anniversary of “The Greater Danbury Irish Festival”, the only Connecticut Irish festival organized and operated by an AOH/LAOH division.

1995………56th Biennial State Convention held in New Britain. Thomas Egan, Jr. of Sandy Hook re-elected as AOH State President and Lee Cullan of Norwalk elected LAOH State President.

1997……..State’s AOH & LAOH lead way in passing Connecticut Public Act 97-45

Connecticut’s Public Act 97-45 — An act concerning the Teaching of the Great Famine in Ireland in the Public Schools. May 14, 1997

………………57th Biennial State Convention held in Stamford. Edward McGuinness of Norwalk elected AOH State President and Catherine Walsh of Stamford elected LAOH State President.

1998…...James J. Gallagher of East Lyme completes 6 years of service to the AOH National Board as National Director (4 years) and National Political Education Chairman (2 years).

– September …….Meriden Division celebrates its 75th Anniversary. National Vice President Ned McGinley, National Secretary Tom McNabb and National Treasurer Jack Meehan in attendance.

1999……..58th Biennial State Convention meets in Waterbury. National President Tom Gilligan in attendance. Frank Kearney Jr. of Meriden is elected state president of the A.O.H. and Jerilyn Kindelan of New Britain is elected state president of the L.A.O.H.. Convention delegates vote to approve motion to make attempt at hosting National convention in 2002 at Foxwoods Casino Resort. Presentation will be made at National Convention in Baltimore in July of 2000.

2000……..Meriden AOH/LAOH hosts “Hearts and Shamrock Reception” to pick winning tickets for Statewide Raffle in February. Proceeds will fund 2002 Convention presentation in Baltimore.

– March…….Bridgeport John F. Kennedy sponsors its 50th Annual Communion Breakfast. The Breakfast is believed to be the largest AOH communion breakfast in the country.

– March…… Connecticut Hibernians Jim Gallagher (New London), Jim Finley and Frank Kearney, Jr. (both of Meriden) are part of the committee than compiles “The Irish-The Great Hunger and Irish Immigration to America”. The manual is commissioned by the Connecticut State Department of Education as an aide in implementing Public Acts 97-45 and 97-61 which allows the teaching of the Great Hunger in Connecticut Public Schools. Both bills were written and introduced in 1997 by Connecticut State Senator Tom Gaffey, a member of Meriden Division 1.

– May 6th…..Bridgeport’s John F. Kennedy Division celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

– June………..Fairfield County Board celebrates its 125th Anniversary.

– July 5th….. Connecticut Choosen to host National AOH/LAOH Convention in 2002 by delegates in Baltimore.

– August…….CT State Board publishes it first web site, designed by State Secretary John Wiehn of Waterbury.

2001……..March 11th — Naugatuck A.O.H. Division Repairs and Redicates 100 plus year old statue of Saint Patrick.

– June……..Biennial State Convention held in Danbury. Convention attended by AOH National President Ned McGinley. Frank Kearney, Jr. of Meriden re- elected to second term as AOH State President and Lorraine Sheridan of Stamford elected LAOH State President. AOH delegates approve an increase in yearly per capita payments to be phased in over a two-year period. Bridgeport selected as host of 2003 state convention.

2002…….Connecticut Hibernians host the first AOH/LAOH National Convention in Connecticut since 1890 at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino. Convention is hailed by National Hibernian Digest as the convention that “set the standard by which future conventions will be compared”. Thomas Egan Jr. of Sandy Hook elected National Director, Brother Thomas Fahey of Xavier High School in Middletown appointed National Chairman of Missions & Charities and J. Philip Gallagher of Bethel appointed Deputy National Historian.

– December…William McCarthy of East Hartford passes away after having served 29 ½ consecutive years as State Board Treasurer. State Secretary John Wiehn of Waterbury appointed as Secretary/Treasurer for remainder of term.

2003

– January…..State Board meets in Danbury and division representatives approve a state wide membership drive and a 2003 budget that includes $2000.00 in charitable donations.

-June 8: 60th Biennial State Convention held in Bridgeport. David Howe and Helen Collins of Bridgeport elected State Presidents of the Connecticut AOH/LAOH respectively. Meriden selected as host of 2005 State Convention and John Kasey of Meriden honored as “Connecticut AOH Elder Statesman”.

2004 

– March….. Meriden Hibernians host the 30th Annual St. Patrick’s Parade the oldest AOH sponsored St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Connecticut.

– April….. New Britain Hibernians organize and sponsor “Toons for TJ” a community concert that raises over $11,000.00 for the Make a Wish Foundation of Connecticut.

– May….. Naugatuck Hibernians sponsor a concert featuring Andy Cooney that helps raise $10,000.00 used to replace a stained glass window at St. Francis of Assisi Church. The original window was donated to the parish by the Naugatuck Hibernians in 1890.

– July….. Thomas Egan Jr. of Danbury is re-elected to second term as National Director at AOH/LAOH National Convention in Philadelphia. Brother Thomas Fahey of Middletown is reappointed to National Board as Pro Life Chairman, J. Philip Gallagher of Danbury is reappointed Deputy National Historian and Frank Kearney, Jr. of Meriden is named National Chairman of 2006 National Convention in Boston.

2005

– January….. Rev. Edward J. Small, S.J. of Stratford, a member of the Bridgeport Division is appointed to the National Board as Deputy National Chaplain.