Revolutionary Mitchel Women

The Rev John Mitchel died in Feb 1840 and thereafter (as before) his son John had the strong support of his mother Mary…

Jenny Mitchel

… and her daughter Henrietta and her daughter-in-law Jenny, wherever and whenever possible. Mary for example moved to Dublin in 1846 (having frequently visited prior to this), with Henrietta, daughter Mary and son William, to be with the couple, and after John was transported she immigrated to the United States – later living in London and then moving back to Newry.

In Dublin Jenny became a full participant in all his political activities, eventually becoming a revolutionary like her husband. John relied on her strength and organisational abilities. The Mitchel home became a centre of Young Ireland activities.

So in Feb 1848 when he established the United Irishman John Mitchel had the strong support of his family. 

All the Mitchel women wrote anonymous letters and articles, edited contributions, researched books and newspapers and completed all that was necessary to keep the newspaper in existence. Her husband John and his friend and associate of the time, Thomas Devin Reilly included women in their revolutionary plans and even assigned them a role in combat. 

Outlining how to ambush the army in the street, for example, Reilly stated that ‘women and chambermaids’ could be employed as ‘propelling forces’ who could throw ‘furniture, pokers, window-pots’ from upper windows on soldiers below.

The United Irishman proclaimed republican principles and insisted that the lower classes were the true carriers of the national and revolutionary spirit in Ireland. 

… more later …


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