The Ancient Order Of Hibernians Division 9 of Port Jefferson, NY received its charter March 31, 1968.The founding members of our division adopted Father John Murphy of Boolavogue as their namesake.
Father Murphy was one of the leaders in the Irish rebellion of 1798. Father John Murphy was born in 1753 County Wexford Ireland to Thomas and Johanna Murphy. He left for Spain in 1772 to pursue his calling to the priesthood.Ireland at the time was a British sectarian colony and throughout the land Catholic Churches were outlawed by many protestant landlords forcing young Catholics with the calling to flee to Spain to be educated in the faith.Father Murphy returned home after 5 years of education.He was ordained by Bishop Sweetman and made curat of Boolavogue.
Ireland during this period was politically and economically controlled by the Protestants. Catholics were barred from voting and holding any public offices.The influences of the American and French Revolution inspired an underground movement called The United Irishmen which was formed in 1791. The United Irishman planned a rebellion for May of 1798, but it was a failure in Dublin where most of its leaders were arrested immediately at the start of rebellion.In County Wexford, Bishop Caufield ordered all Catholics to surrender and lay down all arms and sign and oath of loyalty to the British King George III. Father Murphy and some 750 of his parishioners signed an oath to comply with the Bishop’s wishes that proclaimed they were not members of United Irishmen. Ireland was now under martial law and was ruthlessly enforced by the newly formed militia and yeoman and they reigned terror on the Irish people.On 26 May 1798 twenty eight men were taken into Carnew and executed by the yeoman.They also proceeded to burn houses throughout the land.
When Father Murphy learned of these atrocities and that the yeoman were planning an attack on Boolavogue He made a decision to take a stand. Fr. Murphy and 30 of his parishioners armed with 1 gun and a few pikes intercepted the attack on Boolavogue killing 2 yeoman and causing the remaining invaders to flee.The Wexford Rising had begun. On 27 May Fr. Murphy and a band of locals raided a nearby arms depot and recovered arms and pikes they had previously surrendered to the British. One thousand Rebels gathered and they were armed with pikes and pitchforks. When attacked the well armed British militia and yeoman were defeated and the Rebels captured over 100 guns.The following day Fr. Murphy led five thousand Rebels in an advance that captured the town of Enniscorthy. Two days later the rebels fifteen thousand strong defeated a militia at Three Rock Hill and proceeded on to capture Wexford town. The Fighting rebels were now divided into three separate armies with Fr Murphy at the head of one. On 21st of June the last battle of the rising began at Vinegar Hill about 500 rebels were killed including Fr Murphy’s brother Patrick.The British recruited the aid of German mercenaries to aid in the the battle. The British operating under the orders of take no prisoners.This was a ruthless call to kill everyone including all wounded and captured Rebels. Fr. Murphy and 3000 Rebels set off in a retreat from the Hill to the midlands.The rebels marched over 80 miles in three days. On June 24 the Rebels captured Asthcomen County Kilkenny. Fr Murphy was hoping to receive aid from the French but they were a no show and he had no Rebel reinforcements. Fr. Murphy and the Rebels fate was now sealed. Unfortunately without reinforcements the rebellion was on its final legs. Fr. Murphy now admitted “We have lost” and ‘We will go home to Wexford to meet our fate.On the way back to Wexford Fr. Murphy and a fellow Rebel James Gallagher were separated from the main group in a dense fog. At a friendly house near Blackstairs Mountains.He celebrated his final Mass.
On July 2nd Fr Murphy and James Gallagher were captured by the yeoman and brought to British Headquarters in Tullow County Carlow. They were summarily tried and found guilty of being REBELS and sentenced to death.Fr Murphy was mercilessly tortured and was hanged in the market square in Tullow. The yeoman cut off Fr. Murphy’s head put it on display on a spike and burned his body in a barrel.
The five week Wexford Rising was one of the bloodiest periods in Irish History.It is estimated that more than 30,000 people died as a result of this bloody war.Father Murphy died not only as a patriot but also as a martyr for the Catholic Church. As a results of Father Murphy and the Rebels actions we vow to “Never Forget” their sacrifices. It is these words we keep in our hearts and pledge to always remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defiance of their nation. In the intrepid name of Father John Murphy and Ireland’s Sons of freedom.
We the members of “The Rebel 9” stand united in brotherhood dedicated to preserving the memory of all those who took a stand in defiance of tyranny. It is a tribute to the memory of there fighting spirit that we proudly claim the name of THE REBEL 9. It is our Division’s honor to protect and preserve the heritage of our noble forefathers and promote the good order of Hibernian tradition in friendship and Christian Charity.