Skip to main content

Mary Ann Driscoll, acct. 5546

The family of Mary Ann Barrett Driscoll from Roscommon made the news much more often than the typical Irish immigrant.  Though her husband, native-born New Yorker Mark Driscoll, always told the census taker he was a mere sailor, we know he ran sailor’s “dance house” and bordello near the East River waterfront because a murder in the establishment made headlines in 1857. Most of the newspaper pages reproduced below are accounts of that tragedy, which the press referred to as “the Water Street Murder.” He made headlines again in 1866 when he was arrested for theft.  A female Irish immigrant working in his dance hall took a man to a private back room (undoubtedly for the purposes of prostitution), stole money from her customer, and was seen giving some of it to Driscoll. He was convicted of grand theft and sent to Sing Sing Prison.  Among the documents reproduced below is the description of Driscoll written by the jailers at Sing Sing, including details on his scars and the tattoo on his arm of a large “female figure with an anchor in the background.” We also include an account of Mark’s father, Francis Driscoll, an Irish immigrant shoemaker who converted from Catholicism to Methodism and become an itinerant preacher. Mark Jr. followed his father into a life of crime. He was convicted of burglary in 1881 and sent to Sing Sing too. 

Additional Information on Mary Ann and Mark Driscoll:

Name: Mark Driscoll

Event Type: Death

Event Date: 06 Feb 1868

Event Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, United States

Residence Place:

Gender: Male

Age: 33

Marital Status: Married

Race: White

Occupation: peddler

Birth Year (Estimated): 1835

Birthplace: U.S.

Burial Date: 08 Feb 1868

Cemetery: Calv

Father's Birthplace: Ireland

GS Film Number: 1324521

The History of Georgia Methodism from 1786 to 1866, Rev. George G. Smith, D. D.  Atlanta: A. B. Caldwell, Publisher, 1913.

pg. 290

Dennis O. Driscoll was an Irishman.  His Catholic parents dedicated him to the priesthood; but for some reason their aims were defeated and Dennis became a bootmaker and came to America.  He was like many of his countrymen, overfond of a glass, and became a wretched drunkard.  In a Methodist meeting he was awakened and converted and joined the Methodist Church.  He became a preacher and joined the Conference.  He was a man of earnest piety, simple, unassuming, a patient toiler in hard fields.  Alas! Now and then his old enemy would overcome him, and once he was suspended, but he rose again and died in the work in great peace.

pg. 428

LIST OF THE DEATH Of the South Georgia Conference

Name: Dennis O’Driscoll

Entered Itinerancy: 1851

Died: 1883

Age: 80

Place of Burial: Smithville, Ga.