Select Gorman Miscellany

Here are some Gorman stories and accounts over the years:

Gormans and O'Gormans Today

O'Gormans outnumber Gormans in Ireland today.  But outside Ireland it is almost all Gorman.

Numbers (000's)

O'Gorman was a reintroduced spelling after years of English rule.  It had become the majority spelling in county Clare by the late 19th century and in Tipperary and indeed for all of Ireland by the late 20th century.  A few McGormans exist, mainly in northern Monaghan.

The Gormans of Meath

The migration of members of this family to Meath took place in the ninth century, where their descendants remained until the 16th century when Gormanstown passed into the possession of the English family of Preston.  Though their property was lost to them, the Meath O'Gormans did not forsake their ancient district. Numbers of them were still to be found at Monknewtown and Slane, although some of them were in reduced circumstances.  Slane had been their burial-place.  In that churchyard numerous tombstones belonging to them still exist.

One line of Gormans did prosper later.  James O'Gorman had served as a lieutenant in King James II's army in Ireland.  His son James Gorman, toeing the English line, was a timber merchant in Dublin and his descendants remained there, although they continued to be buried in Slane.

Richard O'Gorman, from Dublin via Prison to America

Richard O’Gorman, from a respectable Dublin family, joined the Young Ireland Party and took an active part in the public disorders of 1848.  But the British Government took a hard line on their protests.  He and eight others were captured, put on trial, convicted of treason, and sentenced to death.  Protests from all round the world then forced the Government to commute the sentence to life transportation.

O’Gorman never went to Australia.  Instead he managed to escape to France in a fishing smack out of Cork and later made his way to America.  He did not become, as some stories have it, Governor General of Newfoundland.  Instead he became an American High Court Judge and a proud American patriot.

The Tragic Story of Camila O'Gorman

The O'Gormans with their money, position and background were very influential in Argentine society in the 1840’s.  Adolf O'Gorman's daughter Camila was a friend of the ruthless and repressive dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas's daughter, Manuelita, and she was received at functions in the official residence.  

In 1846, at the age of twenty, she met and fell in love with Father Uladislao Gutierrez, from a well-known family in Tucuman, who had recently arrived in Buenos Aires. The young couple eloped on horseback.  

The fugitives fled to the north and were at large for around six months.  They were in the end captured in the small town of San Andres.  It was here on August 18, 1848 that the lives of Father Gutierrez, Camila O'Gorman, and her unborn child met a violent end.  They were tied to chairs and shot to death by a military firing squad.  

Camila got no leniency from Rosas.  He accepted full responsibility for the execution and said that nobody had made any plea for the couple.

Reader Feedback - O'Gormans in Nova Scotia

I was wondering if you happen to know the origin of the O'Gormans in Nova Scotia.  They started with Daniel O’Gorman who married Catherine Power in Prospect, Nova Scotia in 1829.  Some say it was county Cork, others say county Clare or county Limerick.  Any tips would be most welcome.

Kathleen Louden (

Larry Gorman's Barren Town

Larry Gorman’s song Barren town, made up in New Brunswick “to speak my mind on womenkind,” has a satirical bent.  This verse is a fair sample:     

“Now they’ll marry a man, it’s if they can,  
And keeping house they’ll go; 
Till all at once they’ll shove on style,  
Let the wages be high or low. 
And it’s all for a cake they cannot bake –  
It is fun to see their pies –  
And they’ll swear that the flour is poor and sour,   
And the dough it will not rise.”

Not that many of Larry’s songs survived.  When he died in Brewer, Maine in 1917, his widow Julia destroyed copies of every piece that he had written.

Gormans in Baseball

The Gorman name has had a long association with the game of baseball.  

It started with Arthur Pue Gorman, the US Senator from Maryland who in his youth was one of the founding members of Washington’s first baseball club.  It was even said that the capital’s famed baseball nickname, the Senators, derived its name from Gorman's stature within the game and the city and his presence at the ballpark. 

Until his death in 1906, Gorman held a special place in the game's history, as a member of the Mills Commission which eventually unearthed, although erroneously, the historical origin of the game iwith Abner Doubleday. 

Another Gorman, Lou Gorman, spent more than three decades in baseball management, beginning in the 1960’s and mostly with the Boston Red Sox.  Then there are the Gorman umpires - Tom Gorman, starting in the 1950’s, and his son Brian who began in the 1990’s

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