Official Permission to Establish the AOH in America

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The Establishment of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

In 1836, some Hibernian members who had immigrated to America wished to organize a branch of the order in New York City. They communicated their desires to their brothers in Ireland and in June received the following instructions from the Hibernians in Ireland to wit:

“Brothers, greetings – be it known to you and all it may concern, that we send to our brothers in New York full instructions with our authority to establish branches of our society in America. The qualification for membership must be as follows:

First – All members must be Roman Catholic and Irish or Irish descent, and of good and moral character, and none of your members shall join in any secret societies contrary to the laws of the Catholic Church, and at all times and at all places your motto shall be: “FRIENDSHIP, UNITY AND TRUE CHRISTIAN CHARITY.”

You must love without dissimulation, hating evil, cleaving good. Love one another with brotherly love, without preventing one another, let the love of brotherhood abide in you, and forget not hospitality to your emigrant brother that may land upon your shores, and we advise you, above all things, have natural charity among yourselves.

Also be it known unto you that our wish and prayer is that when you form your society, in many cities or towns, you will do all that is in your power to aid and protect your Irish sisters from all harm and temptation. As the Irish woman is known for her chastity all over the world; some of them may differ from you in religion, but, brothers, bear in mind that our good Lord died for all, therefore be it known unto you that our wish is that you do all that you can for the Irish emigrant girls, no matter who they may be, and God will reward you in your new country, and doing this you will keep up the high standing and honor of the Irish in America.

We send these instructions to you, hoping that you will carry them out to the best of your ability. Be it known unto you that you are at liberty to make such laws as will guide your workings and for the welfare of our old society, but such laws must be at all times according to the teaching of the Holy Catholic church, and the obligation that we send you, and all of your workings must be submitted to any Catholic priest, when called for. We send you these instructions, as we promised to do with a young man that works on the ship, and who called on you before. Send a copy to our late friend that you spoke of and who is now working the Pennsylvania. Hoping the bearer and this copy will land safe, and that you will treat him right, we remain your brothers in the true bonds of friendship, this 4th day of may, in the year of our Lord, 1836.”


PATRICK McGUIRE – County Fermangh
JOHN REILLY – County Cavan
PATRICK McKENNA – County Monahan
JOHN DERKIN – County Mayo
PATRICK BOYLE – County Sligo
JOHN FARRELL – County Meath
THOMAS O’RORKE – County Leitrim
JAMES McMANUS – County Antrim
JOHN McMAHON – County Longford
PATRICK DUNN – County Tyrone
PATRICK HAMILL – County Westmeath
DANIEL GALLAGHER – Glasgow, Scotland
JOHN MURPHY – Liverpool, England