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Thomas James Donnelly

The son of Thomas John Donnelly and Nora Heffernan Donnelly, Thomas James Donnelly was born December 18, 1900 in Canastota, Madison County, New York. He was the sixth of seven children. He was named "Thomas" for his father and "James" for his father's brother who died in childhood. (His maternal grandfather was also named "Thomas.") His eyes were blue, his hair brown, and he was of medium height. Tom graduated from Syracuse University. He was a salesman who moved from Madison County, New York to Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio when he married Cincinnati native, Clare Cecilia Meiners Donnelly, on October 12, 1929 at Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati. Tom was based out of nearby Indianapolis, Indiana, and he and "Ceil" met through a co-worker of Tom's from Cincinnati who knew the Meiners family. In 1930 they lived at 1038 Kreis Lane in Cincinnati. Most of their married life they lived on Wynnburne Avenue in the Green Hills area. Together they had five children: Mary Clare Donnelly Minges, Thomas J. Donnelly (Mary's twin who died in infancy), Anne ("Nancy") Roger Donnelly Riley, Thomas Meiners Donnelly, and Catherine n("Katie") Theresa Donnelly O'Fallon.

Later in life Tom managed a Saint Vincent de Paul store on Bank Street in Cincinnati and took over the operation of the family's Sacred Heart Press from his father-in-law. Thomas loved having his grandchildren visit at his Wynnburne home in Green Hills. His grandson Tom Donnelly recalls staying over at his grandparents' home and falling asleep to the sounds of his grandparents saying the rosary. Thomas died of complications from emphysema and prostate cancer at age 79 on September 25, 1980 in Cincinnati. He is buried in the Meiners family plot in Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Cincinnati.

DNA tests on his direct-line male descendants reveal him to be a Celt descended from the Irish clan of Ui Neill who claimed the Irish High Kingship from 600 to 1000 AD. Niall of the Nine Hostages was one of the most prominent descendants of Conn of the Hundred Battles who was the first high king of Ireland. On one of Niall's raids into Britain, a child later to become Saint Patrick was abducted. The four treasures of Ireland were the Lia Fail (the Stone of Destiny), the Spear Luin (the Spear of Direction), the Claiomh Solais (the Sword of Truth), and the Coire Anseasc (the Cauldron of Prosperity). The Stone of Destiny would cry out when a true King of Ireland stood on it. Conn of the Hundred Battles found the Stone of Destiny. The Spear of Direction was renowned for accuracy, and no one carrying it ever lost a battle. No one ever escaped from the Sword of Truth once it was pulled from its sheath. The Cauldron of Prosperity was bottomless, capable of feeding an army.

DNA testing also reveals Thomas Donnelly and his direct male descendents are of the patrilineal clan of "Oisin" (pronounced "O-sheen") (Y-chromosome clade R1b). Oisin lived about 40,000 years ago in the Celtic area of Western Europe. Oisin was one of about seventeen men alive at that time from whom all people alive today are descended.

Thanks to his children and grandson Thomas C. Donnelly for so much of this information. Any errors, however, are mine alone. Please go to the "edit" link on this site with any corrections or additions.



  • Created by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
  • Added: 30 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5129471
  • Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas James Donnelly (18 Dec 1900–25 Sep 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5129471, citing Saint Joseph Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Sharlotte Neely Donnelly (contributor 19199118) .