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Donated Material: Biographies


DARCY/DORSEY, John. Born, 1828, County Clare, Ireland.
Died February 23, 1904, Refugio County, Texas, U.S.A.

Type of Material:


Joseph C. Dorsey, great grandson of John Dorsey
1828 - 1904
County Clare and Refugio County, Texas, U.S.A.

John Dorsey was a native of County Clare, Ireland, according to his monument at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Refugio, Texas, U.S.A. He came to North American circa 1850.
According to the parish register, John, son of Patrick Darcy and Ellen McGuane, married Mary Moran of County Kildare, Ireland, at Notre Dame Catholic Church in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on 25 April 1853. She was the daughter of John Moran and Margaret Walsh. It was at this point that his surname was changed from Darcy to Dorsey, when the French priest used the English spelling. Since John and Mary could not read nor write they carried this spelling with them the rest of their lives.

The Notre Dame Parish Register shows John’s first child, Margaret, was born in 1854 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Dorsey family moved from Canada to Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1854 where sons Patrick Robert, James William and John H. were born in the years 1855 to 1859. Family history suggests that other Darcy/Dorsey family members from Ireland may have lived in Boston at that time also.

John moved his family to Texas in the latter part of 1859 and is listed on the Refugio, Texas, tax rolls for that year. On 30th of April 1860 he was on the Refugio County List of Insolvents for 1859. He and his family were listed in the 1860 census as the "Dawsey" family living in Nueces County on a street in Corpus Christi, Texas.

John was a hard working Irishman who loved people and loved life. He was always involved in some type of work to support his family. Five years after arriving in Refugio, he got into trouble with the Union Army over his carrying supplies for the Confederate Army. As far as he was concerned he had not taken sides in the Civil War and was willing to work and make a living carrying supplies for anyone that needed it done. On the 11th day of August 1865 he was in the Office of the Federal Marshal George van de Sande at Corpus Christi, Texas, where he swore his Amnesty Oath to the Union and received his Parole of Honor, promising not to help the so-called Confederate Government again. Actually, John had been delivering supplies to widows of confederate soldiers and that is why he was considered a confederate.

It would appear John never got around to becoming a citizen. He took the Declaration of Intent on the 26th of August along with Thomas McGuill of Ireland, but no records have ever been found of his becoming a naturalized citizen.

Six more Dorsey children were born in Refugio. They were George Henry, Michael, Ellen Ann, Mary Elizabeth, Rose Grace and George Edward. All were baptized at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Refugio. In the naming of their ten children, John and Mary used what was known as the Irish naming traditions in naming their children.

John owned the Mission Hotel in Refugio, Texas, where the HEB grocery store is now located on Alamo St., and he owned a ranch out towards the town of Blanconia in Bee County, Texas. John was also a teamster, wagoneer, farmer and rancher. In 1875 Father Antoine, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church, hired John and his son Patrick to go to Indianola, Texas and bring three nuns, who belonged to the order Sisters of Mercy, to his new school and convent at Our Lady of Refuge. A few days later, on September 16th, a storm came through wiping out the town of St. Mary's, Texas, and badly damaging Indianola, Texas About ten years later Indianola was wiped from the face of the earth by another storm.

John Dorsey had outlived his wife by eleven years when he died on February 23, 1904; it was the beginning of a bad year for the Dorsey family. Four months later, youngest son George Edward died on June 22nd followed by eldest son Patrick Robert on June 26th, both involving horseback riding accidents.

The descendants of John Dorsey are now spread from the Rio Grande Valley to Houston and Waco in Texas, and in Oklahoma.

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