Age: 44, credited to Eden, VT
Unit(s): 9th VT INF
Service: enl 9/10/64, m/i 9/10/64, Pvt, Co. H, 9th VT INF, tr to Co. C, 6/13/65, m/o 12/1/65
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 03/1821, Ballintemple, County Armagh, Ireland
Burial: Old Catholic Cemetery, Lowell, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Denis & Karen Jaquish
Findagrave Memorial #: 121213190
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not Found
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
Webmaster's Note: If this soldier enlisted before 9/1/62, and was with the regiment on 9/13/62, he would have briefly been taken prisoner along with the entire regiment at Harper's Ferry. Read the blue section of the unit's Organization and Service for details.
2nd Great Grandfather of Ann Bradell, Elverta, CA
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Old Catholic Cemetery, Lowell, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.
Patrick Finnegan was born in March 1821, in Ballintemple, Laughgilly Parish, County Armagh, Ireland, the oldest of ten children born to Peter and Margaret Finnegan. As a young man Patrick went to England, where he married Mary Valley, and started a family.
Soon after this his mother was widowed. She took what assets she had, and with her younger children sailed to Quebec. From there she emigrated to Vermont to the Chittenden County area. Patrick chose to uproot, and move his growing family to the same area.
By the mid 1800's the mother relocated to Eden; Patrick followed her, and they each purchased farmland in the northern part of the town.
With the belief that he had his family well established, and in the spirit of patriotism, Finnegan enlisted in Company H of the 9th Regiment of the Vermont Volunteers. At 44 years old he served his new country with pride, and was honorably discharged in the fall of 1865.
Upon returning to his home and family, with barely time to shake the trauma of war, and reacquaint himself with civilian life, he faced a bigger battle than what he had experienced in the war zone.
It seems that, while Finnegan was away, a neighbor, Leonard McDowell, somehow acquired a bond for a 100 acre wood lot adjacent to his property, which Finnegan had purchase for his own use, prior to enlisting. Such wood lots are valuable to a farmer, as the logs produced income through the winter months, when farmland was not workable.
Neither Finnegan or McDowell were willing to settle this dispute legally, and tension boiled between the two men. Eventually it became a neighborhood concern, as tempers flared, and threats of violence, and even death, echoed throughout the hills of Eden. It was obvious this dispute was eventually going to end in a very bad way.
The day came, on January 11th, 1867. McDowell, his teen age son and a hired hand, approached the wood lot, with intent to to fill an order for logs. Finnegan ordered them off the land with a five minute warning.
McDowell's refusing to go infuriated Finnegan, and a challenge ensued. Both men had their axe in hand, as did McDowell's son. Which one threw the first blow is not known, but eventually McDowell's son hit Finnegan with a blow severe enough to knock him to the ground. As he laid there, Leonard McDowell swung his axe and buried it in the side of Finnegan. Within a few minutes Finnegan expired, with his last words being "You have killed me, You have killed me, on my own soil. God have mercy on me." McDowell was unconcerned, and walked away saying "Let him die, Let him die."
Finnegan's older sons placed their dad's lifeless body on a sled and drew it home. He was buried at the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lowell Village. The two McDowells were immediately arrested, and jailed.
A Court trial was was held the following spring, with murder charges brought against both McDowell and his son. The trial lasted three days, and ended in a "not guilty" verdict. The judge's opinion was that both men were fighting in self defense, and obviously one or the other would die.
Finnegan was survived by his wife Mary, and eight children: Peter, age 21, Mary Ann, age 15, Margaret, age 14, Dennis, age 12, Twins, Bridget and Ellen, age 10,Catherine, age 9, and Susan, age 8. Also, to mourn his loss was his elderly mother, Margaret,and several brothers.
Sources: January & June issues, 1867, News & Citizen & headstone inscription
Submitted by Deanna French.