Fr. O'Callaghan was a strong-willed priest on a mission. His determination to rid society of the sin of usury (monetary loans that he thought the church should consider unethical) led him to leave Ireland where he took up his cause first in New York, then in Rome. The end of his efforts, which were not taken seriously, resulted in him being sent to act as first pastor to a remote group of Catholics in Vermont.
My interest in Fr. O'Callaghan began not because of his campaign against the errors of capitalism, but because of the description he wrote of his first voyage to New York. It turns out that the priest made the same journey on the same ship in 1823 as my great-great-great-grandfather Patrick Cowhey, and the difficulty of the voyage led him to write about it. Fr. O'Callaghan makes mention of the experience within his 1824 book explaining the reasons behind what became his life's campaign Usury or Interest Proved to be Repugnant to the Divine and Ecclesiastical Laws and Destructive to Civil Society.
|The 1835 printed edition of Fr. O'Callaghan's book|
"In expectation that America, the garden of liberty, would grant what had been denied me in Ireland, that is, power to pursue my clerical office, I sailed from Cork by the ship William, on the 6th of March, 1823, [some texts indicate the 8th of March] and after a boisterous passage, made New-York the 23d April. Visiting my old friend, Rev. John Power, of Skibbereen, Ireland, who for some years dignified the pulpit of this city. Several days elapsed in recounting our mutual adventures, putting and solving spiritual questions, and grieving for the distress and gloomy prospects of mother Erin. As soon as my constitution, that had been broken down by the long and stormy passage, was retrieved at his hospitable table, he presented me to Dr. Connelly, bishop of that city..."
|A famine ship during a storm|
|Passengers on the Ship William arriving in New York, April 23, 1823|
Life at a Glance
- Name at birth: Patrick Cowhey (possibly O'Cobhthaigh)
- Parents: Unknown
- Born: About 1807 in Ireland
- Siblings: Unknown
- Immigrated: Departed Cork aboard the Ship William between 6 and 8 March 1823; arrived in Port of New York on 23 April 1823
- Married: To Ann (unknown maiden name) about 1831, probably in New York City
- Children: John (1832-1836), William (1834-1892), Ann (1837-1864), Ellen (1840-1898), Thomas (1842-1899), Elisabeth (1844-1845), Johanah (1844-1846), John (1846-1920), Michael (1846-1855)
- Duration of Marriage: About 40 years ending at Patrick's death on 7 March 1871
- Died: 7 March 1871 in Pottsville, Schuylkill, PA about age 64
- Buried: probably at St. Patrick's Cemetery, Pottsville, Schuylkill, PA
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge organized by Amy Johnson Crow. The theme for Week 10, in which this article falls, is "Stormy Weather". Most of this article was previously published here at Small-leaved Shamrock. [Note: Hat tip to Donna Pointkouski of What's Past is Prologue for the summary format I've used at the end of this article.] Find more stories of my ancestors' journeys on my Voyages of My Ancestors Pinterest board.