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Myles Walter Keogh

Narrative and Photographs by Elisabeth Kimber

The Memorial Stone This is in a pretty little memorial garden (created as a millennium commemoration) in Keogh's home town of Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland. The garden is close by the river, just across the bridge (which you'll see later) from the town. There are also stones and sculptures commemorating other famous sons of the town; for its size, it's produced a surprising number. An archbishop, a leading scientist, all sorts. The plaque reads:

The Colonel from Leighlin who died in
one of the greatest battles to grip the
public imagination,
The Battle of the Little Big Horn
or what became known as
Custer's Last Stand.

The Town of Leighlinbridge
The bridge itself is, I think, said to be the oldest in Ireland, built by King Richard II. (If I remember correctly.) Known as "the valerian bridge" because of the valerian growing out of the stonework. Very pretty. The small castle you see at its far end was a British garrison during the 1798 rising (in which Keogh's uncle was executed by the British -- unjustly, as he hadn't been an active rebel) and for some years after. It's tempting to think that little Myles might have watched the troops clattering by in their gorgeous uniforms, and that this is what made him want to be a soldier! (Though not for the wicked British, of course, after what they did to Uncle Patrick.)

Note: See also "A Visit to Orchard" by Elisabeth Kimber and Robert Doyle

The rather grand gateway to Orchard, Leighlinbridge, the house where Keogh was born The driveway curves on for another quarter-mile or so, then there's a cattle-grid and a gate that (on the day I went) was very firmly tied shut with baler twine . . . so I kind of got the message that casual callers weren't invited. Pleased I did, as I later learned that there'd been illness in the family (yes, still the Keoghs! -- though they've changed the spelling to Kehoe now) and it would have been tactless to go barging in. It was enough of a delight to catch this glimpse of the place: a lovely, comfortable-looking old stone farmhouse with a pretty walled garden, set in gently rolling pastureland. Great horse country. Easy to imagine Keogh, as a boy, galloping his pony hell-for-leather across the fields, leaping hedges and ditches. . . .

The Stained-glass Window

This is in the church at Tinryland, a village about 10 (?) miles from Leighlinbridge, where Tom, Keogh's brother, made his home. (Their eldest brother, Patrick, took over Orchard after their mother's death.) I don't know for sure, and the priest wasn't around to ask when I visited, but I imagine it would have been Keogh's sister Margaret who commissioned the window. It's a tiny church, very plain, so this window and another companion Keogh family one really make a splash. Nice.

The bottom reads:


The even grander gateway to Tom's house, Park, Tinryland More driveway-creeping! (I felt like a burglar. It's a wonder I wasn't arrested!) While Orchard is a really nice, big, rambling stone farmhouse, and looks to be a very comfortable family home, Park is -- as far as I could see -- a little grander. Not in the "stately home" bracket, but a little bigger than Orchard. I was told that Keogh's sabre and saddle are there!!! So I presume the present inhabitants are a branch of the family. Again, a very prosperous-looking farm; and its main business now is, believe it or not, fruit juices and fruit smoothies -- Park is the headquarters of Sunshine Juices. Supplies the whole of Ireland. An enterprising family, these Keoghs. ---- About a mile down the road from here is the site of the old Ballybar racecourse, which would have been at the height of its fame when Tom was living there. Must have made for some very entertaining times when Keogh was on his home leaves.

(Something very sweet: I got hopelessly lost looking for Park, and had to ask for directions in the village shop . . . and the shopkeeper chatted away about Keogh's last visit as if it had been only days ago, not 130 years!)

©2005 Elisabeth Kimber

(copied from the New York Army & Navy Journal)

We extract from the Auburn papers the following accounts of the burial of the late Col. Myles W. Keogh, at Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, NY. Oct 26: Promptly at 2pm the funeral procession moved from the St James Hotel, where the pallbearers had assembled, and marched in the following order: The Pall-Bearers; Auburn City Band; Military, Lt. Judge, commanding; Post Crocker, G.A.R.; Post Seward G.A.R.; Hearse, draped with the National colors; Carriages bearing the family of E. T. Throop Martin and Army officers. A detail from Post Seward fired minute guns during the march and the ceremonies at the grave. The flag at the State Armoury was flown at half-mast, as were numerous other flags about the city. Volunteers from the several Auburn organisations of the 49th NY Militia were formed into a company, charged with the duties of escort and firing party, according to military etiquette. At the receiving vault the casket was draped with the American flag, upon which were placed some beautiful floral designs. The bearers then placed the casket in the hearse and the line moved to the grave on the lot of E.T. Throop Martin Esq. The pall-bearers were Gen. W. H. Seward, Col. C.C. Dwight, Col. J. E. Storke, Col. E.D. Woodruff, Surgeon Theo. Dimon, Major L.E. Carpenter, Major W.G. Wise and Capt. W.M. Kirby. The following officers of the regular army were present: Gen. L.C. Hunt, Col. R.N. Scott, Surgeon R.N. O'Reilly, Gen. A. J. Alexander, Lieut. J.W. Martin. The grave was laid with evergreens and flowers, and at its head, the base of a handsome monument to be erected in memory of this dead soldier, was strewn with other floral tributes. The remains were lowered into the grave, when the solemn burial service was read by Rev. Dr. Brainard. A dirge was then executed by the band, after which three volleys of musketry were fired by the military, and the procession marched from the cemetery in the same order as on its entry, the immediate friends remaining until the grave was closed. The obsequies were most solemn and imposing, and in every way befitting the rank and record of the fallen brave in whose honour they were held.