A Son of Erin Is Called Home

Remembering Thomas V. Murphy, WWII flyer. Thomas V. Murphy, Jr was born in Baltimore in 1922. A great-great-grandson of Terence Murphy, who emigrated from Tallanstown, County Louth, in 1863, Tom spent his youth doing what all boys do – playing ball, going to school, and, in those days, dodging streetcars. At the age of 16, his mother passed away and Tom stepped up to play a big role in...

Patrick Killen with his daughter, Margaret, and son, Joseph Patrick, 1934.

My Grandfather the Diver Served in WWII

My grandfather, Patrick Joseph Killen, (“Pop”), was born in Downpatrick, County Down, in 1897. He sailed with his sister Margaret for America in 1911, and arrived in New York on his 14th birthday. Many of his family were already here, but, sadly for him, his older sister Mary stayed behind, and he would not see her again for 57 years. In 1920, Patrick received his Certificate of Service to...


Dad, the Navy, and JFK

My father Cyril DeFever grew up on a dairy farm near Detroit, Michigan. His parents had immigrated to the U.S. from Belgium. My mother, Marie Clancy, the daughter of an insurance man, was Irish. Her grandfather grew up on Turbot Island off Connemara. Her uncle Robert Clancy was a U.S. senator. Dad boxed as a young man (Joe Louis’s manager wanted to manage him). He won the Golden...


Freedom Fıghters

These photographs of my grandfather, Sgt. Earl K. Giffin, and his sister, Lt. Gladys Giffin, were taken in Paris after the city was liberated during World War II. Both Earl and Gladys had been serving in Europe since June of 1944, and were eventually reunited in Paris. Raised in Plattsburgh, NY, they were two of Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Giffin’s thirteen children. The Giffin family descended from...

Luke Masterson.

An Irish Soldier

1861: Luke Masterson, 4th Cavalry Mounted Volunteers. ℘℘℘ My great-grandfather Luke Masterson immigrated to the U.S. from County Cavan, Ireland. In 1861, he enlisted in the 4th Cavalry Mounted Volunteers of New York. As a member of this group, he fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. His brother, Patrick, was a member of the 4th Infantry of New York. Patrick died in combat due to wounds...