A History of Trenton 1679-1929

Published under the auspices of the Trenton Historical Society

Princeton University Press 1929

CHAPTER XVII Social and Fraternal Organizations of Trenton

By Elma L. Johnston, Special Writer on the Trenton Times and associated newspapers


The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the outstanding organization in this country whose members are Roman Catholics of Irish birth or descent, had its origin in Ireland in the sixteenth century. It was first established in the United States in 1836, and in Trenton in 1871 when a few Irishmen gathered at the home of Christopher McCann in South Trenton. The prime movers were William Reilly and James Sharkey, who had come to Trenton from the coal-mining region. An organization was effected with the election of William Reilly as president, James Sharkey as vice-president, Edward McKeever as secretary and Christopher McCann as treasurer.

Division No. 1, the Mother Division, was formally organized March 22, 1872. This division eventually located in St. Mary's Cathedral parish, and Division No. 2 was organized in South Trenton, January 23, 1882, with William F. Grenan as president, John Waldron as vice-president, John J. Mullen as recording secretary, John Landerkin as financial secretary and John Haggerty as treasurer.

Division No. 3 was organized in the Chambersburg section in October 1888, with John P. Casey as president, Peter Doyle as vice-president, Michael Callery as recording secretary and William Cantwell as treasurer. Division No.4 of St. Joseph's parish was organized in 1890 with James E. Clinton as president, Hugh Kennedy as vice-president, Andrew McDonough as recording secretary, Michael M. McDonough as financial secretary and Henry Brown as treasurer. Division No. 5, embracing largely the Swamp Angel section, was organized in 1893 with Thomas P. Burns as president, Patrick Martin as vice-president, Joseph Higgins as recording secretary, Joseph McDonough as financial secretary and Roger Henry as treasurer. Division No.6, which was a reorganization of Division No. 3, came into existence in 1898 and later on Divisions 7, 8 and 9 were organized.

The officers of the different divisions constitute the County Board, through which the present A.O.H. building on North Warren Street was acquired as headquarters for the entire order of the city, and since then a movement has been on foot for the consolidation of all the divisions with Division No. 1 having within its ranks the larger part of the nearly one thousand members of the order in this city. The only remaining separate divisions of the order at this time are Division No. 2 and Division No. 7. The A.O.H. in this city has paid out many thousands of dollars in sick and death benefits, and has taken an active part in all Catholic movements as well as in Irish movements.