Life in Boston

 

John Boyle O'Reilly - Boston

John Boyle O’Reilly – Boston

 

It took John nearly nine months to make it safely to America, where he was later to become the editor of the influential newspaper, the Boston Pilot. John Boyle O’Reilly never forgot the kindly assistance rendered to him and wrote two letters to James Maguire as he was heading towards fame in the literary world of Boston.

But, it was John’s loyalty to his Fenian comrades still locked-up in Fremantle Prison that would forever immortalize his name in Fenian folklore: the role he played in helping execute their escape from Fremantle Prison in 1876. One of the most brazen and daring rescues ever attempted in Australia’s maritime history: The Catalpa Rescue.

Wild Geese statue in Rockingham, Western Australia

Wild Geese statue in Rockingham, Western Australia, recognising the six escapees on the Catalpa.

John Boyle O’Reilly, poet, writer, felon, orator, conservationist and humanist died at the young age of 46, but not before he left a legacy that lives on in the hearts and minds of those in pursuit of justice and equality for the common man. John Boyle O’Reilly died on August 10 1890.

Later O’Reilly was to become US president John F Kennedy’s favourite poet and quoted him in many of his speeches, it is a matter of contention whether Kennedy had O’Reilly exhumed and reburied in Arlington National Cemetery, where notable American citizens and war dead are buried.

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