Eustace Families Association
Thomas Eustace of
Westmeath & Georgia, Vermont
the mid to late 1800’s, there was considerable Irish Catholic settlement in
the Georgia/Milton area of Vermont. Some of the early immigrants from
Ireland who lived in the Georgia area were Thomas Eustace, John King, Pat
Duffy, Pat McGrath, Pat Ryan, John Mahoney, James Cavanaugh, Peter Johnson
What attracted these people to the Georgia area? As is common with all
immigrants it was a fresh start, a better life. Since most Irish coming to
America chose to settle in urban areas, one has to assume that those coming
to Vermont were seeking opportunity in agriculture, ie. owning their own
land. This was almost impossible in Ireland in the early 1800’s.
the Irish were very clannish by nature, and the Church was the heart of
their social structure. It was important that they have close access to an
established religious community. French-Canadian immigrants had established
a Catholic community in Milton in the early 1800's. Rev. Jeremiah
O'Callaghan celebrated Mass at the home of Etienne Perrault as early as
1844. Construction of St. Ann's Church was completed in 1859 and they
received their first resident pastor, the Rev. Francis Picart. Thus the
Georgia Irish became bonded to their Milton brethren.
Frank Eustace and James
Cavanaugh credited to Georgia, and George Currier, credited to Franklin,
served together in the First
Vermont Infantry, Company C. They re-enlisted and joined Peter King,
Francis Kinney and Marshall St. Germaine in Company B, First Vermont Cavalry Regiment.
Francis B. Eustace of Georgia,
First Vermont Infantry, Co. C
First Vermont Cavalry, Co. B
The Irish in
By Mike King
The Vermont Central Railroad also
served to draw immigrants to the area. During construction they had
advertised in Ireland for laborers and word of mouth must have made it known that
there were employment opportunities. Many of the Georgia Irish worked at some
point for the railroad which was headquartered in East Georgia. Francis
Eustace, Peter King, John King (Jr.), Michael McGrath and others were all
employed by the Vermont Central Railroad.
John King and Michael McGrath both made a career of railroading. Peter King
and others used it as a stepping-stone to establish themselves as farmers.
Thomas Eustace, who was born In Westmeath County, Ireland in about
1798 and came to Georgia as early as 1828. He may have been the first Irish
immigrant to settle himself in Georgia. He married Catherine O'Neill in 1831
and they had one child (also Catherine) born in 1832. Thomas' wife died the
same year. He married Sarah Birney and they had six children: James, Helen,
Mary, Francis, Esther and Edward. Sarah died in 1858. The Eustace farm was on
the Oakland Station Road. Thomas died In Westford in 1886 on the farm of
Peter and Esther (Eustace) King.
Another of the early Irish immigrants was Pat McGrath who was born in County
Clare in 1822. His son, Michael McGrath, married Mary McMullen. Her father,
Francis, was one of the first Irish settlers in Milton. He died there at the
age of 97 years. Michael and Mary's son, the late Sen. John McGrath, became a
prominent farmer-businessman in the area.
The "John McGrath farm", on Route # 7, stands as a testimony to the
impoverished and landless people who came to the area, destitute but hopeful,
and were able to accumulate land and possessions.
About 1847 Pat Duffy and John and
Mary (Duffy) King came from Corballis, County Louth, Ireland to the
Georgia/Milton area. They probably landed in Canada and traveled from there
to Vermont as this was the usual procedure.
Pat Duffy married Mary Ann Mahoney, the daughter of John and Mary Mahoney.
Pat had a blacksmith shop in West Georgia and he died there in 1901. At the
time of his death he was 82, having been born in County Louth to Patrick and
Kate (Gartland) Duffy in1818. Many of his descendants still live In Milton.
These Kings were known in the early years as the "Irish Kings" to
distinguish them from the Anglo-Kings and more particularly from the
French-Kings. French families in St. Ann's Church with the surname
"LeRoy" or "Roi' changed their name to the more Anglicized
"King". In the early years the two ethnic groups segregated
themselves to a certain extent. St, Ann's Cemetery reflects this as the Irish
are predominately buried on the one side and the French on the other.
John King, who was a tailor by trade, married Mary Duffy in the Tallanstown
Church, County Louth, Ireland in 1837. Peter, Catherine, Mary, Alice, and
John were all born and baptized in Ireland. Bridgett, the first born In
America was born in Milton in November, 1847.
Two Of John King's sons served in the Civil 'War. John Jr. was a Sergeant. in
the 9th Vermont. Infantry Regiment. and Peter served in the First Vermont
Cavalry with fellow Irishmen Francis Eustace and James Cavanaugh, both of
whom were from Georgia.
During his three-year enlistment Peter was able to save enough from his
meager army pay to procure a down payment on two small parcels of land. He
purchased these holdings from Peter and Margarette Johnson who were
communicants of St. Ann’s Church and almost certainly Irish immigrants
themselves. This land and small house was located on the west side of Route #
7 near where it is joined by 104A.
In 1867 Peter King married Esther Eustace and their first two children, Mary
and Agnes, were born in Georgia. Peter was at this time employed as a section
hand on the railroad. at East Georgia.
Peter King subsequently sold the Johnson property to his sisters.
Kate (King) Conlin, Bridgett, Rose-Agnes and Fanny. his parents, John and
Mary King, lived out their years there. John died In1881 and Mary in 1889.
Peter then purchased a property just east of the Georgia Highbridge near the
Ransom Smith holdings. He soldthis to Zeb Wagner in 1874 and purchased his
farm in Westford in1877. That area is now known as "King's Hill."
In 1852 the Clintons and Conlins came from Mansfieldtown, CountyLouth,
Ireland to Milton. Apparently these two families had knownthe Kings and
Duffys in Ireland and they had probably encouraged them to come to Vermont.
Given the clannish nature of these Irish immigrants, within ashort time
nearly everyone was related. Michael Conlin marriedKate King in 1861. Jane
Clinton married Owen Conlin, ElizabethClinton married James Ryan. Some of the
siblings were JohnClinton, John Conlin, Clinton Ryan and Clinton Conlin (son
ofHenry Conlin). Katherine Conlin married Michael McGee and theirdaughter
married a Mahoney which would tie them in with the
Peter and Esther (Eustace) King's two oldest daughters married the brothers
George and Michael Gillin of Fairfax. Their mother, Margarette Nolan, had
immigrated from County Louth as well. The Eustaces were related to the
O'Kanes through Charles O'Kane whose wife, Elizabeth, was a Birney. (This was
Mrs. James Ryan's grandmother.)
Pat Ryan, who was married to Ellen Kennedy, had a farm on Goodrich Hill. They
were related to the Georgia Laughlins as Marcus Laughlin's mother was Ellen's
sister, Elizabeth Kennedy. Following Pat on the farm was his son, Tom Ryan.
This parcel of land on the Georgia/Fairfax line was subsequently owned by
thelate Paul King of Fairfax, whose mother was a Laughlin and whose
grandmother was Elizabeth Kennedy Laughlin. Paul was the grandson of Peter
and Esther (Eustace) King and therefore a descendant of "Irish” John
King was well.
Today there is barely a remnant of Irish descendants in Georgia. Catherine
(Kate King) Conlin was the last of the "Potato Famine" Irish. She
passed away In 1928. The late Catherine (Conlin) Palmer was her great
granddaughter. Her sons, Richard, John, Gary and two daughters, Colleen
Paquette and Cheryl Carwin still live in Georgia.
The most prolific family has been the Duffys. Although originating in
Georgia, they nearly all live in Milton now. "Blacksmith" Pat
Duffy's great-grandson, Pat Duffy, is married to Joanne Ryan. Between them
they are related to many of the old Irish families.
Remarkably, the Duffys have maintained their presence in Irelandas well. In
1990 James Duffy and his son were still occupying thesame land from which Pat
Duffy and Mary (Duffy) King had left somany years ago. There is also a John
King living in nearbyMansfieldtown, County Louth, Ireland.
In Fairfax, Vermont, Irma (King) Mitchell, Mary (King) Ratte, Patty (King)
Reaves, Shaun Luther, and Bernard J. Keefe aredescendants of both John King
and Thomas Eustace. Thus they canclaim the distinction of being descended
from both the first (Thomas Eustace) and the last (Catherine Conlin) of the
Current Franklin County Senator Francis Howrigan is also connected to the
Georgia/Milton Irish through the Kennedys and the Melavins. Sen. Howrigan is
a farmer-businessman in the tradition of the late Sen. John. McGrath and,
like Sen. McGrath, is the grandson of poor Irish immigrants. As one of the
last vestiges of Irish tradition, Senator Howrigan has sought to promote a
keen sense of family values. He knows that for a people and civilization to
survive, the family must be paramount.
Finally In St. Ann's Cemetery * there stands, amidst the multitude of
gravestones, a striking reminder of Irish heritage.Both the McGrath and King
headstones are crowned by a Celtic Cross, the ancient Irish symbol of a
Christian people. These symbols stand as a memorial to ages now past and as a
profound reminder for future generations yet to come.
* Georgia Irish Catholics were buried in. St. Ann's Cemetery in Milton
because it was the consecrated ground of St. Ann's Parish to which they
Mike King is a descendant of
Esther Eustace and her husband Peter King. He works as a foreman for the
provincial power company and together with his wife and three children lives
on a ranch in Rose Prairie, British Columbia, Canada.