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John McDermott (1826-?)
Born in Ireland, settle in Detroit before moving to Bay City in 1864.

1892 biography. -- Added July, 2011.

History of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan - 1892


This gentleman is among the oldest living residents of Bay City, and was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, in 1826, and came with his parents to New York when a mere lad. He then went to St. Catherines, Canada, where he served an apprenticeship as a ship builder with a noted workman in that line. He then came to Detroit, Mich., and engaged in the same business on his own account, building a numer of boats there and carrying on the business until 1861, having in the meantime employed a large force of men, numbering from three hundred to five hundred and having both ship-yard and dry-dock. Selling out his business at the breaking out of the war, he enlisted in the defense of his country, starting out as Captain, having an independent company of about two hundred and fifty men. He took this company and went to Chicago, but in May previous he tendered his services to the President of the United States, but they not being able to accept him in Washington, he received a very highly complimentary letter from President Lincoln and then went to Chicago, and was mustered in June 1, 1861, as Captain of Company A, Twenty-third Illinois Infantry and was sent to the Army of the West. His first active engagement was at Lexington, Mo., where their regiment was taken prisoners.

On October 1, 1864, this gentleman was commissioned by Gen. Fremont, then in command of the Western Department to return to Michigan and recruit a regiment to be attached to the Irish Brigade (the Twenty-third Illinois, known as the Mulligan Brigade). He made Monroe his headquarters, but his home being in Detroit he recruited the men in that section of the Stte. On account of the Fremont and Blair misunderstanding, the men were fearful the regiment would not be accepted by the War Department. He therefore sent a man to Washington and obtained the acceptance of President Lincoln and Gov. Blair, who was also in Washington and also a commission from the War Department recommending by the President, for him to raise a battery of light artillery. This he did and the battery was detached as soon as the regiment was raised and was known a the Eighth Michigan Battery.

A commission from Gov. Blair was received by our subject on January 1, 1862, as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Thirteenth Michigan Infantry which was the one he had raised, and he was with this regiment until he received his honorable discharge September 18, 1863, on account of disability. During his service in the army he was a very efficient and brave officer and received very flattering recommendations from Gen. Todd and others, for promotion but his health failing he was compelled to leave the service.

In the winter of 1864, Mr. McDermott came to Bay City and here engaged in the mercantile business. Subsequently selling out he ws appointed Deputy Collector and Inspector of Customs at the Port of Bay City which position he held for eighteen years. His health still being poorly he was obliged to resign his position. While in Detroit in 1858, he was elected to the State Legislature on the Democratic ticket, which met at Lansing the following term. He was on the Military Committee and was active in getting the first per diem for the militia they had.

Hon. John McDermott was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Twomey March 18, 1848, who is a native of May Stone Cross, Canada, to whom were born ten children, four still surviving, Ellen M., who is at home; Mary Louisa, wife of Thomas Fitzpatrick of Ashland, Wis.; Fannie Josephine and Emma Gertrude who are at home. He and his wife are members of the St. James Catholic Church, in which our subject has been very active. Socially he is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. For many years this gentleman lived on the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets which dwelling he erected in 1890. He also owns the McDermott Block which is a fine and convenient business building. He has been an invalid for the past five years. While Bay City was yet a village our subject was a member of the Village Council and upon its incorporation as a city was one of the first councilmen to hold office. H also served on the Board of Supervisors.

1888 Political Bio. -- Added Aug. 2008.

Early History of Michigan - Political Biographies (1888)


Representative from Detroit in 1859, was born in Ireland in 1826, and came to Detroit in 1844. He was a ship-builder by occupation and was connected with vessel interests until 1861, when he raised a company which was mustered into the service as company "A" of the twenty-third Illinois infantry, and formed part of the famous " Mulligan brigade," in the war of the rebellion. He was taken prisoner at the siege of Lexington, Mo., resigned his captaincy in November, 1861, and in January, 1862, was appointed lieutenant colonel of the fifteenth Michigan infantry, serving until September 18. 1863, when he was mustered out at his own request. In 1864 Col. McDermott removed to Bay City, and was deputy collector of customs at that port from 1866 to 1883. He is now engaged in the insurance business at Bay City. He was a Democrat prior to and during his legislative term, but a Republican during and since the war.

Additional Notes.

    1870 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • McDermott, John - b. 1826 Ireland
  • Catharine, wife - b. 1830 Canada
  • Nellie, dau. - b. 1852 Mich.
  • Louisa, dau. - b. 1856 Mich.
  • Anna, dau. - b. 1862 Mich.
  • Fannie, dau. - b. 1864 Mich.
  • Emma, dau. - b. 1868 Mich.
  • Emma, unk. - b. 1855 Ireline
  • John, unk. - b. 1852 Malta Italy

    1879-80 - Directory: Bay City, Mich.

  • McDermott, Frank - tailor T B Donnelly, bds John McDermott.
  • McDermott, John - deputy collector customs, Tribune Building 5th, res. n w cor 6th Adams.
  • McDermott, Nellie M. - postofice clerk, res n w cor Adams and 6th.
  • St. Patrick's Mutual Benefit Association, organized March 17, 1865. Incorporated 1873. John McDermott, President.

    1880 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • McDermott, John - b. 1827 Ireland - married 51 years.
  • Catharine, wife - b. 1831, Canada
  • Nellie M., dau. - b. 1852 Mich.
  • Annie, dau. - b. 1864 Canada
  • Fanny, dau. - b. 1866 Mich.
  • Emma C., dau. - b. 1868 Mich.
  • Ellen, aunt - b. 1840 Ireland
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Bay Co. Civil War
People Referenced
Blair, Gov.
Donnelly, T.B.
Fitzpatrick, Thomas (s-inlaw)
Fremont, Gen.
Lincoln, Pres.
McDermott, Annie (dau)
McDermott, Ellen M. (dau)
McDermott, Ellen (aunt)
McDermott, Emma G. (dau)
McDermott, Fannie J. (dau)
McDermott, Frank
McDermott, John (subject)
McDermott, Mary L. (dau.)
McDermott, Nellie M. (dau)
Todd, Gen.
Twomey, Catherine (wife)
Subjects Referenced
8th Michigan Battery
13th Michigan Inf.
15th Michigan Inf.
23d Illinois Reg. Co. A
Ashland, WI
Bay City, MI
Bay Co., MI
Chicago, IL
Civil War
Co. Fermanagh, Ireland
Detroit, MI
Irish Brigade
Lansing, MI
May Stone Cross, Canada
McDermott Block
Michigan Legislator
Mulligan Brigade
New York
Lexington, MO
St. Catherines, Canada
St. James Church
Washington, DC
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.