Feirtear/Feiritear/Farritor/Ferriter Connections

Posted by Seoirse on 11/25/2007 in Commentary

I am writing somewhat early of a holiday weekend morning, and if a certain fuzziness or haze extends into this essay, that must be the cause. I wish to write about our collective family, in the extended sense.

By result of English predations, we have a family with what seems to be an identifiable common root. Not only are we identifiably one family by virtue of our surname, but the genealogy suggests that we extend from an identifiable ancestor, or few ancestors. By virtue of a sustained familial oral tradition, we have maintained a certain sense of identity with that common ancestor, and this has been a continuous thread, through generations. Thanks to the care of ancestors whose memories held the nature of inter-relationships and thanks to Padraig Feirtear who gathered these memories and put them on paper we have a fabric of information to serve as a map for understanding our past, and how were are connected. And most recently, we have the dedication and tenacity of individual family members who have taken advantage of modern research tools, willingness to travel, and an ability to focus on details such that the extensions of the family tree both in Ireland and in the immigrant destinations are being clarified, delineated, and documented.

I am not suggesting that the genealogical work is complete, nor are certain issues dating back to the diaspora all resolved. I am stating that enough is understood such that our common familial sense is validated. I am willing to wager that each of us were reared with an understanding that were were personally connected to the earliest Ferriters, and certainly to Pierce Ferriter. While the certainty of this connection may have varied from family group to family group, the sense of connection has existed in every Ferriter/Farritor/Feirtear that I have met.

So, we have what must be a rare opportunity - that of establishing and strengthening familial relationships that may have not consiously existed, or that may have been remote and tenuous.We have a basis for recounting the individual stories and sagas of our experience, for the benfit of all. We can do this via this blog, or other communication means, and by meeting one another face to face. To that latter end, I am working to organize an "All Ferriter Family Gathering", to take place August 13 - 16, 2009. As plans develop and become better defined, I will keep all interested family members informed.

Meanwhile, I will comb the internet and other sources for Ferriters yet to be located and contacted.


An American Ferriter Story

Posted by Seoirse on 11/21/2007 in Genaology

What follows is a bit of history and a bit of background, for the greater understanding of our collective family. First, please understand that I am not a genealogist. While I have always cherished a love of family history, and an interest in learning more about our past, I have neither the discipline, nor the patience to execute the hard and detailed work necessary in genealogical research. A fair analogy would be found in my love of maps – while not a cartographer, I love to pore over maps, envisioning places and terrain features, and imagining what being there might be like – in similar manner, I love family trees, wondering about the lives of the people identified, and what those people lived and felt.

My father was Charles Arthur Ferriter, deceased now these past 37 years. Since those who knew him well are diminishing in number, I will offer a snapshot of what I know, such that the cousins he never knew might have some understanding of his role in history, and of his place in our family. C.A.Ferriter was the son of the son of a Ballyferriter area Irishman. His father, John Patrick Ferriter was raised in the Midwestern United States, amongst people who were themselves immigrants, or the sons and daughters of the same, many of them still speaking the Mother Tongue. John Patrick passed along to his son a firm sense of what it meant to be an Irish-American, and to be a Ferriter. Romantic by nature, my father conserved and passed along those famous stories involving the early Ferriters, the FitzGeralds, of Pierce Ferriter’s brave fight against the Cromwellians, and of his martyrdom at the hands of the English. When I was small, he would bid me good night and lights out with the sign of the cross blessing recited in Irish.

Commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy as a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1924, C.A Ferriter, (nicknamed “Thug” during his midshipman years), went on to serve 30 more years in the service. Thug Ferriter served first in submarines, then in cruisers, followed by command and staff duties in a variety of surface vessels.

He married my mother Ann Patricia Flanigan in 1932, and began a family, which grew to four sons, (Pierce, Charles, John, and Nicholas), by 1941. When WWII began, he was on duty with what was then called the Asiatic Fleet, commanding the U.S.S. Whippoorwill at Cavite Naval Base, on Manila Bay, in the Philippines. During the initial Japanese attack on Cavite, which followed Pearl Harbor by about 48 hours, Lt. Commander Ferriter, at the helm of the “Whip” was instrumental in saving a crippled destroyer and her crew, and action which earned him the Navy Cross, for valor.

Under orders to leave the Philippines ahead of the Japanese, Thug took the Whippoorwill and sailed alone across a thousand miles of enemy controlled seas to the Dutch East Indies, and then to Australia, where surviving U.S. forces regrouped. During these months in early 1942, my mother did not know if he was alive or dead.

C.A. Ferriter served continuously at sea for the entire war, in the Pacific. He was the Executive Officer, (second in command), of the heavy cruiser “Indianapolis” during many of her key engagements, debarking for a new assignment prior to her ferrying the first atomic weapons to Tinian Atoll, and her tragic sinking. He set foot in Japan prior to the formal treaty signing ceremonies.

Following WWII, Thug returned home, and my sister (Sue) and I were born.

As the Captain of the U.S.S. President Jackson, my father participated in the Inchon Landing, the key amphibious operation of the Korean War.

Charles Arthur Ferriter retired from the United States Navy as a Rear Admiral in 1955. Post-retirement, he returned to school, and obtained a Masters Degree in Education from the University of New Hampshire in 1958, and completed a career in the employment of the State of New Hampshire as an administrator at a state hospital.

Once fully retired, my father devoted himself to his family, to writing, historical research, and religious activities. When my mother passed away in 1966, he became more fully focused on spiritual matters, becoming actively involved as a lay brother, 3rd Order of Franciscans. He died on August 13, 1970, and is buried next to his wife in a small military cemetery on the U.S. Naval Shipyard, Kittery Maine.

As an epitaph, I would like to provide a clear understanding that my father lived a rich and complete life, and was successful by almost anyone’s standards. For all of his tremendous service under the Stars and Stripes, he never parted company with his “Irishness”, and passed this sense along to his children. He represents a fine example of the fruition of an immigrant family in America, and his life should be recognized as having been a stout cord in the cable that is our collective heritage, across time.
George (Seoirse) Ferriter, Wisconsin U.S.A.


Archived comments:

 Morgan Ferriter said...

    Thanks so much George for having the courage to organize an All Ferriter Family get-together. Also you're lucky your family held onto the language, ours did not. Your Father's life sounds fascinating, look forward to hearing more about it at the FFG. Michele Farritor McMurray

    21 November 2007 09:58

 Caroline said...

    Having just watched the new documentary "The War" I feel more familiar with the battles that your father was involved in. His story is amazing, something movies are made out of. Thanks for sharing!
    Caroline McMurray (Michele's daughter)

    23 November 2007 08:18

 Kate Brew said...

    Hi George,

    Your Father and Mother would be very proud of you. You're the family poet now, and well done.

    Kate (Ferriter) Brew

    6 July 2010 21:21

 bob bridges said...

    Hi George,something caused me to think about you yesterday and I mentioned your fathers name to a friend who graduated from Annapolis about 15 or 20 years ago.He said he knew of rear admiral Ferriter and his distinguished career.I remember with fondness our friendship in the summer of 1970 and am still saddened by the events on the evening of your fathers death.I remember your life changing dramatically after that,and I have often wondered what path your life took.It sounds to me like you are doing well. regards Bob Bridges

    28 February 2011 12:24

 scott winning said...

    My name is scott and it so happens that I was involved in cleaning out the estate I have a box of old correspondence if any of you are interested. You may contact me via email scottwinning1@yahoo.com or phone 2072525381.

    26 June 2011 08:00


Macallai Pádraig Feiritéar, Lia ós a Leacht

Posted by Seoirse on 7/15/1998 in Genaology

Le Barra Ó Donnabháin


This article originally appeared in The Irish Echo DATED: July, 15-21, 1998 View on Irish Echo site

I mí Lúnasa na bliana seo caite chuir Breandán Feiritéar glaoch orm á rá go raibh sé chun turas a thabhairt ar Nua Eabhrac. Bhí sé ag obair ar scannán faisnéise ar shaol Phádraig Feiritéar (1856-1924). Dúirt sé go mbíodh "An Síogaí Infhiúchtach," mar ainm cleite ag Pádraig agus go mbíodh sé ag scríobh altanna don Gaodhal agus don Gaelic American. D’iarr sé orm roinnt cuardaithe a dhéanamh i Leabharlann na Cathrach. An lá céanna fuaireas bosca mór ó Angela Carter agus tuairim is caoga cóip den Gaodhal fé iamh. An tarna cóip a thógas as an bosca chonaiceas ar an gclúdach —"Sgeulta ó Iarthar Éireann, Uimh.1 ‘Méaras Ferritear’ — ag "An Síogaidhe Infhiúchtach." Tháinig Pádraig chugamsa. Muna raibh baint éigin ag "An Síogaí Infhiúchtach" le sin, ní Barra mo ainm.


"Sa bhliain 1923, tugadh Pádraig Feiritéar go Chicago le go bhfaighfeadh sé bas go sítheadh grách i measc a dhaoine muinteartha. Bhí saol callshaothach , uaigneach curtha isteach aige. Ba é a thoil uachta go seolfaí go Dúglás de hIde i gColáiste na hOllscoile Átha Cliath an bailliúchán de 38 lámhscríbhinn gur chaith sé ré a shaoil dá mbreacadh agus dá gcnuasach. Is iontu seo ata an léargas is grinne le fáil ar shaol Gaelach na Mumhan sa darna leath den 19ú aois. Mar sin féin, nior scríobhadh fós ainm an Fheiritéaraigh i n-ogham chraobh, ná níor tógadh a lia ós a leacht." Is leis na focail seo a chuireann Breandán tús leis an scannán. Tá ainm an Fheiritéaraigh scríofa i n-ogham chraobh faoi dheireadh.

Saolaíodh Pádraig Feiritéar ar 10 Marta 1856, ar an mBaile Uachtarach, i gCorca Dhuibhne. Muiris Feiritéar an ainm a bhí ar a athair agus dob í Neil Mhichíl Uí Mhainnín a mháthair. B’é Pádraig an ceathrú duine de ochtar cloinne. Bhí sé bacach óna óige ach ní heol dúinn cad a bhain dó. Bhi feirm daichead bó acu — bhíodar go maith as taobh le formhór na ndaoine ach bhíodar ar chumas toile an tiarna talún mar aon leo. Bhí móramh na ndaoine beo bocht. Bunaíodh Conradh na Talún in 1879 chun cabhrú le tineontaithe beaga na tíre. Bhí Pádraig Feiritéar páirteach sa ghluaiseacht ó thosach agus nuair a bunaíodh craobh den Chonradh i mBaile an Fheirtéaraigh ar 13 Meán Fomhair 1885, toghadh é mar rúnaí.

In olltoghchán 1885 thug Padraig ana chabhair do Edward Harrington fear Pharnell i gCorca Dhuibhne agus ceaptar gur mar gheall ar sin nách bhfuair sé post mar oifigeach fóirithinte cé gurbh é an duine ab oiriúnaí díobh san a chur isteach air. Lean sé leis an dtroid i gcoinne na dtiarnaí talún agus ag tarraingt droch aird air féin. Faoi 1887 bhí siopa oscailte aige sa Daingean agus bhí an United Irishman á dhíol aige ann. Ní raibh na Sasanaigh chun na maslaí agus na gníomhartha so a ligint in aisce leis.

Ag crinniú mór sa Daingean d’éirigh idir Pádraig agus póilín. Chuir an póilín ina leith gur mhaslaigh an Feiritéarach é, go raibh sé ag glaoch Stringer agus Harvey Duff air agus ag gríosadh na ndaoine ina choinne. Fuair sé dhá mhí príosúin i dTra Lí. "Ní raibh sa mhéid sin ach tosnú. Ó dheireadh na bliana 1886 go dtí mí Iúil 1888 nuair a scaoileadh amach as an bpríosún é don uair dheireannach, ní raibh mórán suaimhnis ón dlí aige. Is léir go raibh drochamharas ceart ag na hudaráis air." – "Pádraig Feiritéar (1856-1924): A shaol agus a shaothar," le Seán Ó Sé. Agus níor stop na húdaráis le Pádraig.

Ar an 21 Iúil 1887 tháinig na báillí agus suas le céad póilín agus caitheadh Muiris Feiritéar agus a chúram as an sean áit agus fágadh ar thaobh an bhóthair iad. D’fhág obair an l’ sin a rian ar mheon Phádraig go lá a bháis. Thaispeáin muintir na háite an meas a bhí acu ar na Feiritéaraigh an lá san mar: "Bhailibh múintir an pharóiste is lasmuigh de pharóiste agus tógadh tigh fada fairsing dóibh in aon lá amháin ar fheorainn Bhaile ‘n Chalaidh," -S.O Dubhda.
D’fhan Pádraig dílis do Pharnell go deireadh. Nuair a fuair sé bás i 1891 chuaigh Pádraig go Baile Átha Cliath agus shiúl sé sa tsochraid go Glas Naíon. D’fhág an scoilt i measc lucht leanúna Pharnell agus a bhás, an ghluaiseacht ar mhíthreoir ach d’ainneoin sin bhí obair mhór déanta acu. Briseadh ar chumhacht na dtiarnaí dáiríre. Anois cé go ndearna Pádraig cion fir ar son na tíre i gcúrsaí polaitíochta is mar scoláire G’ilge is mó a mhairfidh a ainm. I 1896 ruaigeadh as Éirinn é. Ón lá san go lá a bháis i 1924 bhí Pádraig anso i Meiricea ag cleachtadh a cheirde.

Ní foláir nó bhí ainm an scoláire amuigh air óna óige mar nuair a tháinig Jeremiah Curtain go Ciarraí i 1887 ag bailiú béaloidis is chun Pádraig a chuaigh sé ag lorg cabhrach. Is léir go raibh ard-mheas aige air. Níl fhios againn cathain a thosnaigh sé ag bailiú is ag breacadh síos béaloidis nó ag cóipeáil lámhscribhinní don chéad uair ach lean sé de go dtí gur thit an peann óna láimh. Chonaiceas, le déanaí, na focail dheireannacha a scríobh sé, rud a d’fhág cnapán im scórnaigh. De chinniúint d’aimsigh Breandán iad i siléar i Chicago mar a rabhadar ag feitheamh lena theacht. Beidh saol agus saothar Phádraig i Meiricea agam dhaoibh amach anseo. Ádh mór.


More about seoirse

George Edmond Ferriter

From a branch of the Ferriter family that made its way to Illinois and Iowa during the middle part of the 19th century, George is a resident of Doylestown in the state of Wisonsin, USA. His was a family group that, while scattered, developed a tradition of keeping the family history alive in a sort of oral tradition. George has had a lifelong interest in Ferriter family history, both the history of the family in Ireland and of the traveling branches. He has written many short blog pieces of Seoirse Feiritear, and has presented at earlier Ferriter events on several topics. In 2015, George will make a presentation on Ferriters who served in the US Civil War. This will focus on the individuals, but also on the larger context of the Irish in this conflict. Extending from a military line, George is a veteran of the US Air Force. George's grandfather John Patrick Ferriter, and his father Charles Arthur Ferriter were career military men as veterans of WWI and WWII respectively. A retired engineer, George currently serves as Village President in Doylestown.