(Fanny) Isabelle Parnell was born in Avondale, County Wicklow,
Ireland on September 4, 1848 the second of four daughters and three
sons to John Henry Parnell and Delia Tudor Stewart, the
American-born daughter of Admiral Charles Stewart. Delia, Fanny
fiercely anti-English a trait she inherited her father's side of the
Charles Stewart, Delia father, was commissioned a lieutenant in
the U. S. navy in March 1798. He first assignment was aboard the
frigate United States, as fourth lieutenant under the command of
During his long and
distinguished carrier, Stewart, served in the Quasi-War with
France, in both the Barbary wars in the Mediterranean and in the War
of 1812 with Britain. He retired in 1863 after 63 years of service.
He was promoted to rear-admiral in 1862.
Delia grandfather, Tudor, fought the English in the War of
On the other hand,
Fanny's father linage was deeply rooted in the protestant
Ascendancy. , nonetheless, her mother was no restrained in her
loathing of the English. Her a
mother was fiercely anti-English and
passed a lot of that sentiment on her children, especially Fanny and
By age of fifteen Fanny
was somewhat of an accomplished poet who was contributing poems to
the Fenian's Irish People newspaper founded in 1863 by
John O'Leary and others. When the newspaper was suppressed by the
British overseers in 1865 she contributed articles and poems to the
Nation and United Irishman newspapers.
After the end of the
Civil War in America many of its Irish-born veterans returned to
Ireland to take part in the planned Fenian Rising of 1867. Amongst
those who fell on hard times, some of whom were spongers, made their
way to the Parnell residence in Upper Temple Street in Dublin where
they received food and, oftentimes, money from Fanny's mother Della.
following the death of her father, Fanny moved with her family to
Dalkey and in 1860 moved from there to Dublin.
Fanny took a
great interest in Irish politics and attended the trials of the
In 1864, under the pen name Aleria' she
began publishing her poetry in the 'Irish People' in Dublin, the
newspaper of the Fenian Brotherhood.
In 1865 she
moved with her mother to Paris and then in 1874 to Bordentown in New
Jersey, While in Paris she cared for wounded soldiers in the three
month long Siege of Paris.
In 1880 Fanny
Ladies' Land League to raise money in America for the Land
League in Ireland. A pamphlet, 'The Hovels of Ireland' (1880), and
a collection of poems, 'Land League Songs' (1882), were widely
published. Her best known poem
'Hold the Harvest', was described
by Michael Davitt, leader of the Land League, as the "Marseillaise
of the Irish peasant".
Most of her work was published in the Boston Pilot, the leading
Irish newspaper of the 19th century in America.
known of the amount of work that Fanny and Anna, her sister, put
into the running of the Land League Committee. It was Fanny, known
as the Patriot Poet, who appealed to Irish-American women to form
an relief fund to help the Land League in Ireland. Anne, who was
the more radical by far, was responsible for all the funds
collected. She acknowledged every contribution and saw to it that
the money went to the right quarter. The $60,000, or so, collected
by the relief fund came from poor Irish immigrants in cities around
America. The money went a long way in averted another famine in
Ireland in 1879 and 1880.
return to Dublin in 1880, Anne founded the Ladies Land League, which
became a formidable force. When Michael Davitt, Charles Stewart
Parnell and other Land League leaders were imprisoned in 1881 the
Ladies' Land League took over their work. Other than an office in
Dublin very little else was provided in the line of help or
instructions. Nonetheless, the women were not daunted by the task
at hand, proceeding to hold public meetings encouraging tenants
to withhold rent, resist evictions and boycott landlords. They
raised funds to support prisoners and their families and built
wooden huts to shelter evicted tenant families. By 1882 they had
five hundred branches, thousands of women members and considerable
publicity. Their meetings were frequently broken up by police.
Thirteen of their members were imprisoned - not as political
prisoners like the men but as common criminals. Considered the first
modern Irish female agitator, Anne became estranged from her brother
after he withdrew support for her movement.
The Parnell women were indeed in the forefront of the Women’s
Liberation movement and were passionate advocates for human rights.
Together with the thousands of other women activists they showed how
the women of Ireland could be just as tough as men when the need
died on July 20, 1882 at age 34 in Bordentown, New Jersey. Her body
was taken by train to Boston. The casket bearing her remains was
open for family and friends to view at Tudor home on Beacon Hill
before being buried at the Tudor family plot at Mt. Auburn Cemetery
On April 11,
2001, the Parnell Society of Dublin placed a granite marker at the
grave site, honoring Ms. Parnell's role as a patriot and poet of
Tomás Ó Coısdealha
cemetery AND grave location
NAME: Mt. Auburn
PHONE NO. (617) 547-7105
ADDRESS: 580 Mt. Auburn Street,
Cambridge, MA 02138
GRAVE LOCATION: N/A
HEADSTONE AND INSCRIPTION
Back to Biographies Posted 11/15/08