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By Linda Harney MacDonald                                                                                                                                     Issue No. 53
NEW ADDRESS: 1269 Road 9, Powell, WY 82435                                                                                       Jan-Mar 2000
Web site:

George Julian Harney
(1817-1897), known as Julian, was a journalist, political activist, and member of the Chartist movement. He was born in the Deptford section of London, on 17 February 1817, the son of George Harney, a sailor. "Harney was a more committed and ardent radical than most English activists of his generation" according to historical accounts. He took part in the struggle against the Newspaper Stamp Act 1832-55. In his teen years he worked with Henry Hetherington, a renowned publisher of un-stamped (therefore illegal) periodicals. Harney was imprisoned in London twice for selling The Poor’s Man’s Guardian, a weekly paper started in 1831. He was again imprisoned in Derby for selling the same paper in 1835. He was elected one of the three delegates for Newcastle at the general convention of the industrial classes, on 25 Dec 1838, and lived to be the last survivor of the 53 members. During the late 1830's Harney helped J. Bronterre O’Brien, whom he much admired, produce the militant London Mercury, and in 1839 he edited, with J.C. Coombe, nine issues of the London Democrat. He was much influenced by the militant ideas of O’Brien, William Benbow, and Feargus O’Connor.

Harney was one of 59 Chartists tried at Lancaster in 1843 for taking part in the ‘Plug Riots’ at Manchester, during August and September of 1842. Although he was kept in the Warwick Gaol (jail), his conviction was reversed on appeal. The riots were so called because the strikers removed the boiler plugs, making the mills unworkable. In "Trial of Fergus O’Connor, Esquire, and 58 other Chartists, on a Charge of Sedit[ion]", published in London, 1843, Mr. O’Connor claims the strike was largely a spontaneous, unpolitical, and often violent reaction to wage reductions, and he claimed the Chartists became involved in an attempt to direct and discipline the outburst. The Chartist view, which was widely publicized in the Northern Star newspaper and in numerous pamphlets at the time, was that the strikes had been deliberately fostered by the manufacturers in an attempt to disarm the campaign and also to pressure the government to repeal the unpopular Corn Laws.

Sub-editor, and sometimes editor, of the Northern Star paper, the chief Chartist organ, in 1843, Harney purchased the paper in 1853, and renamed it The Star of Freedom. Prior to this he started the Democratic Review of British and foreign politics, history and literature, editing all 15 issues between June 1849 and Sept 1850. He started the Red Republican, editing all the issues from June through November 1850, and started the Friend of the People, a journal of social science, editing it from December 1850 through July 1851, later merging this paper with the Northern Star. Other papers he started include Friend of the People (Dec 1850-Apr 1852); Star of Freedom (Apr 1852-Dec 1852); and The Vanguard (Jan 1853-Mar 1853). Interested in the international struggle for universal suffrage, Harney also founded a society called The Fraternal Democrats in 1845, and this London Democratic Association attracted thousands of workers. It was through these organizations that he met Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Harney was a member of Brussels Communist Correspondence Committee and an influential English workers' leader, known as a left wing Chartist. jharney1.jpg (23729 bytes)

Harney lived for a time in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, and while there he edited the Jersey Independent from 1855-62.

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Even after the collapse of the Chartist movement, Harney remained a militant activist. He was one of the earliest English converts to Marxism, and was the first to publish the 'Communist Manifesto' in English. While most Chartists sought peaceful change, Harney seemed committed to a revolutionary overthrow of the traditional system and establishment. He supported the Union in America's Civil War which led him to move there in 1863.

Uncle Julian
George Julian Harney lived in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts for over 20 years, from 1863 to 1888. During this time he worked in the Boston State House as an assistant in the secretary's office. He also wrote newspaper columns and editorials for The Commonwealth and the Newcastle Weekly Chronicle. Family letters, which refer to him as 'Uncle Julian', show he was involved in the network of people bringing Irish immigrants to this country, including many "relations of the Harneys." Letters also refer to his accepting Irish refugees while he was in the Channel Islands. There are indirect references of him 'making papers' for illegal immigrants, perhaps using the Boston State House stationery.

In the summer of 1863, during America’s Civil War, Harney visited Washington, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and kept an account of his trip and the battles being fought around him. He traveled with Senator Sumner, and they visited with President Lincoln in June of that year. He also visited with Major George L. Sterns, who was commissioned to raise "colored" regiments. (Twenty-one black Harneys served in the U.S. Colored Corp, Union forces).

George Julian Harney was born in England, the son of a sailor (or seaman), George Harney (1784-1850) and Sarah (Southcott) Harney. He attended the Royal Naval School in Greenwich. English parish records show his brothers were, Rupert, John (who died in a swimming accident in America), and William. Rupert and William remained in England, and died there in 1887 and 1888 respectively. Their sisters were Elizabeth and Sarah Ann Alice Harney, born at Bermondsey. In a poem, called "St. Peter's Holiday", Harney mentions he is Irish and discusses religion as follows:
"...My Sisters were Protestants, after my Mother;
But Dad, being Cath'lic bred I so and Brother..."

George Julian Harney was married twice, first to Mary Cameron, on 14 September 1840, at Mauchline, Ayr, Scotland. She died about 1853. He married a second time to Marie (LeSuer) Metivier, the widow of James Metivier, and they lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As mentioned above, George Julian Harney was in America between 1863 and 1888, returning to Richmond, Surrey, England at that time. He died there on 9 December 1897, at 80 years of age. His health had been poor for years, probably a result of his time spent in English prisons for his political activities.

References and further reading: Anderson, D., "George Julian Harney..." in Biographical Dictionary of Modern British Radicals (Brighton, 1984), II:2327-33; Black, Frank Gees & Renee Metivier Black, editors "The Harney Papers" (Assen 1969); Cole, G.D.H., Chartist Portraits (New York, 1965); Boase, Frederick, "Modern English Biography"; O'Connor, Fergus, editor: "Trial of Feargus O'Connor, Esquire, and 58 other Chartists, on a charge of sedit;" London, 1843, 391-446; and web sites:;, 1997. Photo (page 1) and speech (below) from
Chart reference: SUGHS.ENG.


George Julian Harney, who was considered a better writer than speaker, gave the following speech at Derby, 28th January 1839.

"We demand Universal Suffrage, because we believe the universal suffrage will bring universal happiness.  Time was when every Englishman had a musket in his cottage, and along with it hung a flitch of bacon; now there was no flitch of bacon for there was no musket; let the musket be restored and the flitch of bacon would soon follow.  You will get nothing from your tyrants but what you can take, and you can take nothing unless you are properly prepared to do so.  In the words of a good man, then, I say 'Arm for peace, arm for liberty, arm for justice, arm for the rights of al, and the tyrants will no longer laugh at your petitions'.   Remember that."



As America expanded westward, this outpost in the Wyoming wilderness played a crucial role in the transformation of the West, first as a fur-trading center, then as a military garrison. For over five decades, it was a landmark and way station for the cavalcade of trappers, traders, missionaries, emigrants, pony express riders, and miners going west. It was also an important staging point for the U.S. Army in its dealings with the plains tribes displaced by migration and settlement.

A trading post was built at the site of the Laramie River near its confluence with the Platte River, in 1834, by the fur trader William Sublette. He immediately sent word to the Sioux and Cheyenne chiefs that he wanted to buy their buffalo hides. The American Fur Company bought the post in 1836, making it a major trade center.

In the 1840s it became a stopping point for emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail, and its trade shifted from buying furs from the local tribes, to supplying the pioneer emigrants for their trek west.

While early relations between the Indians and the white settlers were peaceful, as immigration increased, conflicts increased. In 1849 the army bought Fort Laramie and made it a military outpost for two companies of mounted riflemen and one of infantry. As conflicts escalated in the 1850s and 1860s, the fort's main purpose shifted to protecting emigrants and hosting major treaty councils. The Oregon Trail became the primary overland route west when the Civil War eliminated the southern route, and Fort Laramie was considered a major link across the continent. The pony express had a stop here until the completion of the transcontinental telegraph, which also had a station at the fort. It was later an important stop for travelers on the Cheyenne-Deadwood stage road to the gold fields of the Black Hills.

General William Selby Harney was called upon, at the insistence of the tribes, for the treaty council held in 1868. The Sioux called him "Man-Who-Always-Keeps-His-Word". Running Antelope, a Hunkpapa Sioux, commented "I never met a [white] man of sense since, except Father DeSmet, and I listen to him." Harney was called out of retirement to establish the reservation system for the Blackfoot, Crow and Sioux. He is shown in the photo below as an old man with white hair and a full beard. The Indian leaders, also old men by this time, told Harney of the broken treaties and of supplies that were promised but not provided. Harney felt the Government had betrayed the tribes when he discovered

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General Harney (right center, with full white beard) at the treaty council held at Fort Laramie, 1866.  Newberry Library photo.

the Bureau of Indian Affairs had under-counted the population on the reservations to keep expenses down. The few supplies received included rotten blankets, half empty sugar barrels, and useless items. The tribes were also upset because the army had built additional forts along the Boseman Trail which went through their traditional hunting grounds. More and more wagons rolled through this area on their way to the gold and silver fields of Montana. White men were slaughtering the buffalo for sport and leaving the meat to rot on the plains. The Indians responded by attacking the wagons and small detachments of soldiers. At the treaty council, the Sioux were further dismayed to learn that their hunting grounds were outside the area drawn up as a reservation. A compromise was reached, that allowed the tribes to hunt outside the reservation, in their traditional areas. Harney returned to Washington D.C. and reported that "he never met an honest Indian agent, except maybe one" and he recommended the War Department (Army), not the Bureau of Indian Affairs run the reservation system. Harney's words of complaint were lost in the committee chambers of Congress. Secretary of War Belnap, controlled who received the trade concessions on the reservations, and he was tempted by bribery, embezzlement, and deal-making. He was eventually impeached but escaped punishment by resigning before the trial. The greed of people like Belnap undid the promising work of peace with the Plains Indians started by men on the treaty council, like General Harney.

In spite of Harney's efforts, it wasn't long before the terms of the Laramie Treaty (also called the "Harney Treaty") were broken. Gold was discovered in 1874 in the Black Hills, a sacred area well inside the lands guaranteed to the Sioux by the treaty. Prospectors and miners flooded the region despite efforts by the army to keep them out. Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and their followers decided to fight, and the Great Sioux Campaign of 1876, found Fort Laramie again serving as a major staging and logistical center.

Fort Laramie Today

The setting of the fort looks much like it did when the post was the center of activity in the area. Some structures, dating back to 1849, have survived intact. Nearly a dozen structures have been completely restored so the visitor can glimpse the historic past of the fort. The historic site is located about 3 miles southwest of the town of Fort Laramie, Wyoming, off U.S. Route 26.

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Officers Quarters at Fort Laramie. Photo by T. Witt, postcard.

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View of the landscape at Fort Laramie.  Photo by L. MacDonald.

For additional information visit the web site at: on the Internet, or write to the National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Fort Laramie, WY 82212. - Most of this article taken from a brochure obtained at the fort (GPO 1997-417-648/60039).





In issue HU51, it was announced that a new group, "The Friends of Harney House" has been formed to restore and preserve the mansion of General William Selby Harney, in Sullivan, MO. According to the group's Secretary, Stephanie Light, this is the only structure owned by the General that survives, and in this way it holds a lot of the General's legacy.

So far this ambitious group as managed to raise $19,000 to match grant funds of over $23,000. While this is not a bad start, the group has a long way to go, and requests nationwide support from Harney descendants and others interested in preserving our history. The group is in need of donations of approximately $500,000 a year for the next four years. Stephanie writes:

"We are a serious and persistent group ready for the challenges ahead and welcome any ideas that will produce positive results for the renovation of this special historic building left to us by Major General William S. Harney. It is here, we are here, are you with us?"

She has indicated she wants "captains" in every state working on this cause to save a piece of American history. If you have a few dollars to donate, or if you can serve as a "captain" in your state, please contact Stephanie Light at: Friends of General Harney House, Inc., P.O. Box 398, Sullivan, MO 63080.
- From an email letter, dated 7 Jan 2000, from Stephanie Light, Secretary, Friends of General Harney House, Inc.
Note:  Retraction - It will not be possible to have "captains", per Stephanie, 4/22/00.  But donations are very much appreciated.

General Harney's House, Sullivan, MO

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Thanks to the following Harney descendants for contributing to the cost of copying and mailing this newsletter. Your interest and contributions is what keeps this newsletter going.

Andrew & Shirley Harney, Rehoboth, MA; Daniel J. Harney, Costa Mesa, CA; David P Harney, Fayetteville, NC; Edward & Carolyn Harney, Melfa, VA; John D Harney, Salisbury, CT; Thomas C. Harney, Laurel, MT; Marjorie (Harney) Kennedy, Falls Church, VA.


The following note was received by email from Pat Myers, in December, 1999:

The Harney Connection -
maybe you have come across this: My G-grandmother (b.c.1860's) was a HANLON.  Her sister, Mary, married James HARNEY, probably in Rhode Island.  They had 7 sons, 6 of whom died of TB (tuberculosis) between the ages of 17-22.  James and Mary also died of TB.  Their remaining son, named James, like his fahter, was adopted and took the name BRENNAN.  His daughter, Norah Brennan, who was a business woman in Providence, never married.  She was born in the early 1900's, and of course was really a Harney.

What a sad story about the ending of a Harney line!

The following Harneys were found on the Public Record Office's web site -

Name, Age, Date, Ship
HARNEY, Bridget, 24, Mar 1857, "Cyclone"
HARNEY, Janet, 19, June 1859, "Herald"
HARNEY, Jno, Oct 1852, "Julia"
HARNEY, Mary Ann, Oct 1852, "Julia"
HARNEY, Pat, 21, May 1853, "Marco Polo"
HARNEY, Richard, Oct 1852, "Julia"

The above persons sailed to Australia from British ports.

The following photo of a memorial plaque honoring William Wallace Harney was provided by Sandy Southwick, of Port Orange, Florida.(Also see HU48)

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Will Wallace Harney was the founder of Pine Castle, Florida, and was instrumental, through his writings, in bringing many people there. The inscription reads:

"To these lands known as
There came in 1860 a gifted teacher,
Lawyer, journalist, poet,
Writer of verse and story.
Here he became pioneer settler.
Here he erected his rustic forest home.

Beside the waters of Lake Conway
Here he wrote of the Florida
Scene and life for leading papers
And literary magazines

To his memory
This plaque is erected by

The Orange County
Historical Commission, 1972"


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Rev. Fr. Ray Melton, CC, Vice President of the Drum Heritage Group, turning the sod for the new Visitor Center, at Drum, Co. Roscommon, Ireland.  - June 1999.

After the ground-breaking ceremony last June, the construction of the new Visitor Center has experienced some delays. It turns out the site was a Pagan site before Christianity come to Ireland, and a licenced archaeologist had to be present to supervise the excavation, and file a report to the proper authorities. Despite the slow start, the new building is now underway. It will house a reception area, research room, and exhibition area. Exhibits will include photographs of the dwellings now in ruins and each photo will identify the names and details of the people who occupied the houses at the time of the 1901 Census in Ireland. Another exhibit will include details and personal memories of the Great Famine of the 1840s.

Wake House
In addition to the building of the Visitor Center, the ambitious Drum Heritage Group has also started building a "Wake House" near Nure. It will form part of the Remembrance Park, which is planned. Activities include a planned Millennium Walk, from Ardkeenan to Clonmacnoise, which is scheduled for September 2000.

The Wake House will have a traditional thatched roof.  Inside will be featured a limestone tablet similar to what was used for the coffins in past times. Other replicas of olden days will include three-leg stools, and artifacts, such as the Rush candles and clay pipes that were part of the custom and traditions at wakes in Ireland over the centuries.

The Millennium program included a candlelight vigil on 5th January, 2000, where local customs were reenacted, and prayers said for loved ones.

Roscommon Hit Hard by the Famine
County Roscommon, with a drop of 31 per cent from its pre-famine population, suffered more than any other county in Ireland. At that time most people depended on the potato for subsistence. The years 1846 and 1847 saw a total failure of the potato crop. The Athlone workhouse was built in 1841 with room to aid 800 poor people. By the summer of 1849, almost 3,000 people took shelter in the workhouse, many of them suffering from prolonged starvation and fever. Another workhouse was built in the town of Roscommon, which could hold 900 people. Over 2000 showed up there, but were unable to gain admission. Most of them were also stricken with the fever, and the wailing of grieving mothers and their sick and hungry children can only be imagined by today's 'affluent' society. It is estimated there were 13,000 deaths in County Roscommon during a three year period. - History taken from a newspaper clipping from the Roscommon Champion.

Roscommon Drama Group
"Voices from the Famished Land" was presented at St. Joseph's College, Summerhill, at the invitation of the Drum Heritage Group, as a fund-raiser for their Visitor's Center project.

The Roscommon Drama Group cast had already made two tours of the U.S. and presented 15 performances throughout Ireland, prior to this engagement. After their time in Roscommon, they were scheduled to go on to Scotland.

The show opened with musical themes reflecting on the onset of the Famine, the potato blight, and the subsequent hunger and epidemic of diseases which followed. The second part of the show dwelt with dispossession of the small land holders, evictions and emigration. The entire performance was intermingled with music and songs of this historic time, and brought tumultuous applause from the audience. It was a memorable night for all who saw the production. - From news-clipping provided by Edward Egan.

Blueb.gif (370 bytes) Cemetery: A marble orchard not to be taken for granite.
Blueb.gif (370 bytes)Can a first cousin, once removed, return?
Blueb.gif (370 bytes) Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.


Despite inclement weather conditions, thousands of people turned out for the annual celebrations at Drum on Sunday, 27th June 1999. Pilgrim walkers started off from Monksland, Cloonakilla and Thomastown, and followed the ancient Mass paths leading from their villages to Drum. The pilgrimage ended with the celebration of an Open Air Mass. Edward Egan, Hon. Treasurer of the Heritage Group, thanked and complimented the large crowd who turned out, and especially the pilgrim walkers who had come from outside the area of Drum

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Young Cormac Harney from Curraghaleen led the Curraghaleen group of walkers on their pilgrimage over ancient Mass paths, on Sunday, 27 June 1999.

One of the Drum Heritage Group's past activities was the restoration of St. Brigids well. It was a dream come true for the Group when, Sally Ann Bohan, a grandchild of the Hon. Secretary, Babs Bohan, was baptized at the well. On researching the history of the well, Mr. Egan determined the last baptism there likely took place prior to the year 1172. It was in this year that a synod of Bishops and Clergy was held at Cashel and decreed that from then on all baptisms were to take place at the churches. It is believed that baptisms were common place at holy wells up to that time.

Upcoming Events

23 June 2000
Mid-summers night Millennium Bonfire at Ardkeenan hill, the ancient resting place for funeral processions on their was to Clonmacnois. Celebration includes music, and a children's pageant.

25 June 2000
The next Open Air Mass celebration is scheduled at Drum.

17 Sept 2000
The Great Millennium Walk. Walkers will assemble at Ardkeenan hill. A rest period is scheduled at Nure, where refreshments will be served, and traditional music and entertainment provided. A further one hour journey will take the walkers to the banks of the Shannon, where they will be ferried to the opposite bank. A video covering the entire walk will be made available on request.

If you plan to be in Ireland this year, be sure to include a visit to Drum in your itinerary.
- Articles, photos, and news clippings, from Edward Egan, Drum Heritage Group.

Book Review
Angela's Ashes by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Frank McCourt, is a memoir of his childhood, and a realistic account of what it was like being Irish and poor. Frank was born in America, but circumstances led the family back to Ireland when he was four years old. The book has been made into a motion picture, but I have not seen the movie version, so can only comment on the book. It is very well written and I highly recommend it for those interested in understanding their Irish ancestry.

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Translation: May the Angel of Light shine brightly on your door tomorrow. - From The Prints of Cuala Press, Barre, VT.

IRISH GLEANINGS - by John D. Bowen

Now is the time to plan that trip that you have been wanting to make to Ireland. With the Internet, things have just gotten easier. Before planning a trip be sure to visit the Irish Tourist Board Web site at You may also ask them for their annual brochure, booklets and maps, but their web site allows you to put in a town name that you would like to visit and then shows you a map of where the town is. Oh, how many hours I would have saved in the past if this had been around in previous trips. You can now map out all the places you would like to visit and it will keep each of your routes stored until you complete your itinerary

The Irish Tourist Board has, in just about every town in Ireland, a centrally located place in which you can stop in the morning and plan the days activities and make reservations for the evening at your destination site. They will even make the reservations for you. One of the best ways to see Ireland is by staying in the Bed and Breakfasts places throughout Ireland. At first, most of us Americans are hesitant to try this. We've become so accustomed to the impersonal nature of hotels and motels, in the United States, that we think our privacy will be compromised by staying in another's home. Banish the thought. The Bread & Breakfast is like a mini-hotel where your privacy is respected and you can either interact with the host/hostess or not. When you check in you are given a key to your room and the front door (if needed), and then shown to your room, informed as to when breakfast is served, asked if you need any directions and then left to be on your own.

One of the great joys is the Irish Breakfast that comes with the Bread & Breakfast. Something that the day and a visit to Ireland is not complete without. If you care to interact, however, you'll usually find the true warmth of our Irish Friends, listen to their marvelous stories (they are wonderful story tellers) and truly love Americans. My theory is that in each American they see the possibility of that long lost cousin or other relative that they heard so much about, that left and went to America. They will also give you the inside story on where to eat dinner or what to do if you request that of them. Bread & Breakfasts that are associated with The Irish Tourist Board are inspected by them and must meet their standards.

The Irish Tourist Board (Bord Failte) web site also has other places to stay in Ireland. You can search by premise name, or by Marketing Group (name brand facilities) or by accommodation type. You can get Hotels, which are "stately country houses, luxurious castles, intimate old-world inns and modern premises… in this category." Irish hotels and guesthouses have a star classification system with 5 stars being the most luxurious to one star simplicity. One of the things to check on is whether you have a private bathroom (bath and/or shower in the room) or you are sharing bathroom facilities. You must be specific in requesting this. Telephones are also something that does not necessarily come with a room, so if you need one be sure to ask. You can also find Guesthouses and Farmhouse accommodations on their site. Browse their maps and create your route viewing the things to do and places to stay. Check it out.

The following draft registrations for Harneys for New York are found on M1509 Roll NY 388. The draft registrations are a good source of genealogical information. Some of the information they include are: Full Name; Home Address; Date of Birth; Citizenship; Employment; Family members dependent on you for support; Married or single; Race; Previous military service; and Exemption. Also there is a physical description.

Roger Anthony Harney, 39 Broad St, Waterford, Saratoga, New York, age 20 years, DOB 21 April 1898, White, Native Born, Mail Messenger, United States Government, 50 Broad St, Waterford, Saratoga, New York. Nearest relative: Mrs Mary Harney (mother) 39 Broad St, Waterford, Saratoga, New York, Short, Slender, Brown eyes, Red hair.

Thomas J. Harney, Age 29, 10 Second, Waterford, NY, DOB 21 Oct 1887, Worcester Mass. Chauffeur for John Knickerbocker, Troy NY, Mother is dependent on him. He is single and Caucasian. He does not claim exemption from the draft. He is medium height and slender build with gray eyes and sandy hair.

End of Harney Update, Issue 53

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Last updated: 31 Aug 2006