AOH Marian Division 5 History


Our Origin - 100 Years Ago

by Jim Mahoney

Marian Division #5 had it's inception 100 years ago in a coffee house on Market Street in San Francisco. At this time Frank C. Sullivan, T.P. O'Dowd, a well-known tailor, and Frank Drady, editor of the now defunct newspaper, The Leader, joined forces to form our Division. The meeting at the coffee house was a luncheon for a group of prominent Irishman at which a dialog was developed on the importance of starting this Division. These gentlemen then took the ball and ran with it. After the luncheon the three retired to O'Dowd's tailor shop and set into motion the plans for the new Division. Recruiting was left in the able hands of O'Dowd and soon the numbers grew. So influential was O'Dowd in forming the division that he was named the first president. More than this is not known about the other Division officers but history tells us that the National President was John J. Keating and National Secretary was James J. Bree.

Since 1916 (Rebellion in Ireland) the division has been involved in both Irish and Irish-American affairs. During the Irish Rebellion, division #5 was in the forefront of collecting money to send to Ireland. At one time the Division provided $500 (a large sum at the time) to the Tipperary contingent of the I.R.A. to fight the Black and Tans.

On the local front the organization was instrumental in helping fellow Irishmen and their families get settled and find jobs here in America. During the depression the Division even organized and supported a bureau which found work for unemployed brothers. In war years the US got financial and physical support from our brothers and many distinguished themselves in the service.

Over the years the division has always been there for not only our own brother but also other in need. The Division was involved in community activities and supported G.A.A. with their own Division-sponsored football team and in later years even had a basketball team that won pennants in local associations. Many brothers were Presidents of the United Irish Societies in addition to serving as County and State Hibernian Presidents

The history of this Division cannot be told here completely, only some brief highlights, but suffice it to say it has been a long and glorious one. It is unfortunate that more records were not kept. It is up to us to see to it that future efforts will be more accurately recorded for posterity. We current day members of Division #5 are proud of our heritage and our predecessors who gave us a blueprint for the future. Let us take up the challenge and try to continue the good work in Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.

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