Mount Vernon Genealogical Society - Founded 1991
Founded 1991

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Patrick’s Eventful Life

Written by George McKittrick, MVGS' 2023 Writing Contest Winner
Patrick Hasson, a first cousin four times removed[1], led an eventful life.   Born in a rural townland near Draperstown in County Derry, Ireland on December 23, 1834, he came to the US in 1850 with his father.  The bark[2] Douglas which brought the rest of his family to Philadelphia on June 19, 1854 also carried a young lady named Rose Devlin.  Though born in Ireland in 1836, Rose grew up in Scotland.   
Patrick worked for a time for a harness maker in Philadelphia.   On January 12, 1856 he enlisted in the 4th US Infantry and served an eventful five years in the Pacific Northwest[3].  In early 1861 he was discharged with the rank of sergeant and came back east.  Unable to secure an officer’s commission when the Civil War started, Patrick attended a commercial college and joined a Fenian Brotherhood circle in Philadelphia.  He worked as a saddler[4] for the Artillery Reserve of the Army of the Potomac from mid-1863 to the end of 1864.  Rose Devlin, meanwhile, left her position as a domestic servant in the home of Samuel R. Phillips, a saddle and harness maker.
In the summer of 1865, Patrick wrote a letter[5] volunteering to go to northern Ireland to recruit for the Fenian Brotherhood, or as he put it “to unite the strength of those who would freely embrace the cause”.  And he went.  Belfast was not the most fertile recruiting ground for Fenians but Rose Devlin lived there at the time and it beat invading Canada[6], which some Fenians would attempt.   On February 20, 1866, Patrick was arrested in a pub[7] and thrown in prison as a suspected Fenian.  The US consul at Belfast unfortunately was pro-British and did nothing.  Patrick’s brother Michael wrote to his congressman, S. E. Ancona, who wrote to the State Department[8].   The new US consul to Belfast, Gwynn Harris Heap, acted on July 24, his first day on the job.  Patrick was released on July 25 and escorted by the constabulary directly to a ship leaving for America that day, leaving no chance to say goodbye to Rose.  
Back home Patrick wrote a letter to thank Congressman Ancona.  In late August, he wrote a second letter[9] asking the congressman to nominate him for an army commission.  Ancona did so.  Patrick passed the required examination in early October but was rejected because he had not served two years in the army during the war.  Plan B was working as a grocer and living with his brothers[10] James and Michael in Reading, Pennsylvania.  However, a change in army rules, a letter to the Secretary of War from the congressman, and a successful re-examination in January 1867 resulted in a second lieutenant’s commission in the 14th US Infantry.  
His first posting was Camp Mojave, Arizona Territory.  The murder of a chief, Wauba Yuma, by a freighter named Samuel C. Miller in 1866 ignited the Hualapai[11] War.   In time, a beefed-up military response to hit and run raids and depredations by the Hualapai at mining camps and   along the toll road that carried goods and mail from the Colorado River into interior Arizona was deemed necessary.  Dubbed the “Grand Army of the Colorado” by some wags, 130 mounted troops were sent out in search of Hualapai rancherias during the last three months of 1867.   Patrick Hasson, though infantry, led one cavalry detachment[12] of 25 to 49 men for extended scouts[13].  The Arizona Miner newspaper carried a humorous, distorted, and critical article about one of his first engagements[14] and a column dismissive of an angry letter of rebuttal[15] from Patrick.  Patrick was given a brevet[16] promotion to first lieutenant for one engagement where 19 Indians were killed and 17 captured and he was wounded.   He was given a brevet promotion to captain for the overall scout.[17]  The paper carried two stories of praise[18].
In July 1869, three companies of the 14th US Infantry moved to Nashville, Tennessee for Reconstruction duty.  On election day, August 5, Patrick led one of several mounted infantry troops into Nashville to assist civil authorities in the event of disturbances.   On August 21, he led a detachment to Shelbyville to help enforce laws against illegal distilling and returned on the 24th.  At the beginning of September, he led a detachment to Smyrna.   On September 6, Patrick wrote[19] to ask about staying longer than he had rations for.  White folks thought everything was fine and troops were not needed.  However, black folks talked of threats, a killing, whippings, and bands of masked men walking in the night.  Patrick extended his troop’s stay in the area, spending time in Murfreesboro and Tullahoma before returning to Nashville on October 12.   In March of 1870, the 14th US Infantry companies left Tennessee for the Dakota Territory.
Patrick’s request in December 1870 to transfer from infantry to cavalry, which paid more, was not approved[20].  He was increasingly tapped for quartermaster and commissary[21] duties.  He was promoted to first lieutenant[22] in April 1872 while stationed at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming.  In March 1873 he took six months leave, travelling to Pittsburg[23], New York City, Belfast[24], Paris and Greenock, Scotland, where Rose Devlin now lived with her parents[25].   In September 1874, twenty years after they met[26], Patrick and Rose married at Bishop’s House in Omaha, Nebraska[27].   Their first son, Charles Ancona, arrived nine months later at Fort Cameron, Utah[28].
A daughter named Rose joined the family on September 1, 1876.  Five days later Patrick left for Camp Robinson, Nebraska.   From there, the companies marched to Fort Fetterman where General George Crook’s Powder River Expedition was forming.   Two companies from the 14th were part of the infantry battalion in a force of over 2,000 in a winter campaign to disarm, dismount and escort to reservations Indians who had annihilated Custer at the Little Bighorn.   The cavalry battalion attacked Dull Knife’s Northern Cheyenne village on November 25, 1876[29].  Efforts over the next month to find Crazy Horse’s village were thwarted by bad weather, budget excesses, and supply problems.  After marching 675[30] miles in Wyoming winter weather that pummeled the troops with blizzards and temperatures 40 degrees below zero[31], the expedition ended.   Patrick returned to Utah in mid-January to see the grave of little Rose who had died October 28.  With the post surgeon ill, an acting assistant post surgeon[32] had treated the baby.
Rose gave birth to a son named John Patrick at Camp Douglas, Utah in April 1878.  Patrick was away, having been posted to Ogden, Utah as temporary quartermaster of the depot there.   In late May[33], he returned to see his new son.  Patrick wrangled an assignment as recruiting officer at the Columbus Barracks in Ohio starting in October, hoping to escape brutal winters for a couple years.  But the small quarters at Columbus were drafty and cold, Patrick felt slighted by the other officers, his sons still got sick during the winter, and Rose was unhappy.  An argument with the one-armed acting assistant post surgeon A. F. Steigers[34] got heated and Patrick called him a liar and struck him.  The ensuing court martial found Patrick guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. General W. T. Sherman disagreed[35].  Instead of being drummed out of the service, Patrick returned to his duty of training and escorting recruits to their posts[36].
In 1884 after nearly three years in Colorado, Patrick and Rose moved to his final post at Vancouver Barracks, Washington.  It was a quiet posting[37] except for 1885 and 1886 when his troops were called upon during anti-Chinese labor riots in Seattle.  He was promoted to Captain in 1889 and took over the company gardens[38].  The old soldier retired in 1892, bothered by rheumatism and declining eyesight especially for reading.
Patrick and Rose[39] grew prunes on a 200-hundred-acre farm in Orchards[40] for a decade.  Patrick also took part in an experiment to grow flax, thinking, if it worked, that the Pacific northwest might challenge the Irish linen industry.  They gave up farming in 1902 then lived comfortably in Vancouver for the next 25 years.  Patrick invested in real estate[41].  Rose played her piano and entertained guests from near and far – Patrick’s relatives and old comrades.
All love stories come to an end.  In 1927, after more than half a century of married life and in their early 90s, Rose died in February followed seven months later by Patrick.  They are buried in Mother Joseph Catholic Cemetery[42] in Vancouver, Washington.  So is their son Charles Ancona[43] along with Charles’ first and second wives[44].  Their son John Patrick, who also had an army career[45], died in Los Angeles in 1973 and rests with his wife in Arlington National Cemetery.  Neither son had children.
Figure 1 Patrick Hasson MAY be the second from left in the first row.   Military Images, Vol 21, No 2, The Indian Wars Issue (Sep – Oct 1999), p32.
Letter from Patrick Hasson to John O’Mahony, July 22, 1965. The Catholic University of America, University Libraries, Digital Collections,
U.S. Army. Adjutant General’s Office. Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916.  Available at National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC on microfilm or from FamilySearch.
Appointment Commission Personnel Branch Files, ACP File 2697-ACP-1872, Patrick Hasson, 14th US Infantry, Box 186. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Record Group 94, Entry Number 237.
Department of California, District Orders Received. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Record Group 393/1 Entry Number 532.
United States. Walapai papers. Historical reports, documents, and extracts from publications relating to the Walapai Indians of Arizona. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1936. Pages 48 – 83.  Available on
Arizona Miner. Library of Congress, Digital Collections, Chronicling America.
Thrapp, Dan L. The Conquest of Apacheria.  Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1967.  (Patrick Hasson is discussed in Chapter IV The Walapais War)
Thrapp, Dan L. “Dan O’Leary, Arizona Scout,” Arizona and the West, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Winter, 1965), 287-98. (Available at
Gird, Richard. Official Map Of The Territory Of Arizona.  San Francisco, A. Gensoul, Pacific Map Depot, 1865. From David Rumsey Map Collection at
U.S. General Land Office. Territory of Wyoming Map.  New York, Julius Bien, 1876.  From David Rumsey Map Collection at
Greene, Jerome A.  Morning Star Dawn: The Powder River Expedition and the Northern Cheyennes, 1876.  Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.
Grinnell, George Bird.  The Fighting Cheyennes. New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1915.  Available on
Bourke, John G.  “Mackenzie’s Last Fight with the Cheyennes:  A Winter Campaign in in Wyoming and Montana” Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States.  Available on
Kime, Wayne R., editor.  The Powder River Expedition Journals of Colonel Richard Irving Dodge.  Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1997. 
Military Division of the South, Letters Received 1869. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Record Group 393/1 Entry Number 4406.
Court Martial Case Files. QQ-1200, 1st Lt. Patrick Hasson. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Record Group 153, Entry Number 15.
Press Copies of Telegrams Sent, 1867 – 1885.  National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Record Group 393/1, Entry Number 3726.   Selected years.
Laurie, Clayton D. “The Chinese Must Go, The United States Army and the Anti-Chinese Riots in Washington Territory 1885-1886”, Pacific Northwest Quarterly, January 1990, Pages 22-29.
Lockley, Fred. History of the Columbia River Valley from The Dalles to the sea. Chicago, S. J. Clarke Pub., 1928.  Captain Patrick Hasson, Pages 593- 598.  Available on
Utley, Robert M.  Frontier Regulars, The United States Army and the Indian 1866 -1891.  New York, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1973.
Huntley, F.A. “Bulletin 33 - Fiber Flax Investigations”, Washington Agricultural Experiment Station.  Available on
Washington. Superior Court (Clark County); Washington State Archives (Olympia, Washington).  Washington, Clark County, probate records, 1854-1979  Consolidated probate records for Patrick and Rose Hasson. FamilySearch Film # 004363423 pages 72-129.
[1] My ancestor came to the US from Ireland in 1828 while his brother, Patrick’s father John, came almost a quarter century later.  Two sisters came with spouses in 1837.  A third sister came with the rest of Patrick’s family in 1854.
[2] A sailing ship usually with three masts, two of which are square rigged.
[3] Detailed in his ACP file and in Fred Lockley’s book.  In late May of 1856, his military career and life almost ended when his unit was attacked for several days.  Eleven men died and sixteen were wounded and it looked like the rest were going to die of thirst or be killed by the Indians.  Reinforcements arrived in the nick of time.
[4] Presumably, he made and repaired the harnesses used on the horses that pulled the cannons.
[5] Letter from Patrick Hasson to John O’Mahoney, July 22, 1865.  The Catholic University of America, University Libraries, Digital Collections,
[6] See Klein, Christopher.  When the Irish Invaded Canada. New York, Doubleday, 2019.
[7] Patrick was arrested along with Francis O’Neill, the proprietor of the pub and Head Centre for Belfast, William Harbinson, and John O’Rorke, a pensioner with a wooden leg.  Newspaper articles misspelled Patrick’s last name and described him as “lately an officer in the Federal army.” (See British Library Newspapers on  Arrests on suspicion of being a Fenian followed by imprisonment occurred throughout Ireland following the Habeus Corpus Suspension Act.

[8] Papers relating to foreign affairs. 1866/67: v.1, Pages 14, 153-154, 173-174, 204.  The arrest and imprisonment without trials of Americans in Ireland created an outcry, stirring up memories of British impressment of sailors on the high seas. Available on  The corresponding British paper trail is on FindMyPast.

[9] Patrick also wrote a letter to the Secretary of State complaining about his treatment by the British. See US Department of State, Rights of American citizens. Message from the President of the United States, in answer to a resolution of the House of November 25, 1867, relative to a trial and conviction of American citizens in England for Fenianism ... Part 1., pp 322-323.  Available on

[10] The brothers’ father John died in 1859 of the fits, the name for epilepsy on the Census mortality sheet.  Their widowed mother Bridget lived at 11 Mill St, on the grounds of the ironworks, near the brothers’ uncle who was a foreman there.
[11] Alternately spelled Walapai which is how it is pronounced.
[12] Company L of the 8th US Cavalry and Company E of the 1st US Cavalry
[13] Special Orders, No. 15, HQ District of Upper Colorado, September 25, 1867.  National Archives, Washington, DC. Department of California, District Orders Received. Record Group 393/1 Entry Number 532.
[14] “Damaging Report”, Arizona Miner, October 19, 1867.  The story found fault with his decisions during the engagement since the Indians got away.  To make things worse, the paper got his name wrong.
[15] “Lieutenant Hasson”, Arizona Miner, November 9, 1867.  Thrapp provides a plausible account of the engagement that reflects favorably on Hasson.
[16]Brevet promotions remained a way of recognizing performance on the battlefield after the civil war.  However, reforms meant regular rank had to be used for uniforms, insignia, orders and pay.  Congress did not consider brevets for Indian warfare until 1890 when they retroactively confirmed 144 since 1867.  See Utley.
[17] Letter from William Redwood Price, Brevet Col. Major 8th Cavalry to Brevet Col. John P. Sherborne, Ass’t. Adjutant General, Department of California, January 9, 1869.  ACP file.
[18] “Brilliant Success of Lieut. Hasson”, Arizona Miner, November 16, 1867 and “Not Conquered”, December 21, 1867.
[19] Letter from Patrick Hasson to Lt. Wm. W. McCammon, Post Adjutant, September 6, 1869. National Archives, Washington, DC.  Military Division of the South, Letters Received 1869. Record Group 393/1 Entry Number 4406.  This is one of the most moving records I’ve come across while doing genealogy research.
[20] Letter from Patrick Hasson to E.D. Townsend, Adjutant General, December 14, 1870. ACP file.
[21] Quartermaster was “responsible for barracks and quarters, transportation of personnel and material, and procurement and distribution of most classes of supply” while Commissary of Subsistence was “responsible for the content, procurement and distribution of rations” according to Utley.
[22] Replacing Anthony Mahoney who died while on sick leave in Boston
[23] On March 25, 1873 Patrick was issued a passport in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  He was described as 5’ 7.5” tall, dark grey eyes, dark hair, a round face, medium forehead and nose, small mouth, short chin, and dark complexion.  (The “h” at the end of Pittsburgh became definitive in 1911, though some used it before then.)
[24] Patrick presumably stopped to see some old Fenian comrades.  The William Harbinson memorial in Milltown Cemetery in Belfast was erected in 1912 to honor the head centre of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who died in prison in September 1867.   On the memorial are inscribed the “names of fellow sufferers in the jails,” one of whom is Lieutenant Patrick Hasson.  Patrick’s rank at the time of his visit to Belfast was Lieutenant.
[25] John Devlin, a general contractor, and his wife Rose lived at Devlin’s Land, 7, off Ann Street, in Greenock with their daughter Rose and sons Patrick and James. (1871 Census of Scotland,   In a few years, the address was renamed 7 Nile St, Greenock.
[26] It may not have seemed as long for Rose – her age on the marriage license was 30 rather than her real age of 38.
[27] Douglas County, Nebraska Marriages, 1854 – 1881.  Page 63.  Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002.
[28] Officers’ wives at frontier forts were greatly outnumbered by men and enjoyed a high standing according to Utley.  But it could be a harsh, dangerous, and at times uncomfortably lonely life.
[29] On November 30, at the bivouac on the Crazy Woman Fork of the Powder River, apparently recovered from the forced march by the infantry described by Bourke and Dodge, Patrick requested a board of survey to fix responsibility for the property lost when a recruit named John Kelley deserted with his rifle and other items. The board met the next day.  National Archives, Washington DC.  Powder River Expedition Letters Sent, Record Group 393/1 Entry number 3960.
[30] 400 miles for those who joined the expedition at Fort Fetterman and longer for those who started in Nebraska.
[31] The mercury in thermometers would freeze, which happened at temperatures of minus 38 F.
[32] While there were some excellent army surgeons, many were far less competent than a civilian doctor.   According to Utley, low pay and frontier discomforts discouraged able doctors from the military.
[33] Patrick apparently sent a telegram requesting this.  The next day, May 22, 1878 he received a reply from an assistant adjutant general relaying a command of General Crook that “Upon the completion of your transferring funds and property you will rejoin your company”.   National Archives, Washington, DC. Press Copies of Telegrams Sent, 1867-85.  Record Group 393/1 Entry Number 3726.
[34] Alonzo F. Steigers (1842-1899) was a career contract doctor for the military from 1871 to 1892.  He lost his arm when wounded while accompanying an Indian scout and treatment was delayed until he returned to Camp Verde, Arizona.  His last job was in Washington, DC working in the library of the Army’s medical museum.
[35] Court martials were quite common, usually dereliction of duty, desertion or drunk on duty for an enlisted man.  For officers the charges were more varied and at times petty.   One court martial during the Powder River Expedition was almost brought because an officer poked fun at the way a subordinate walked at the end of a very long march. So, even when found guilty, the required sentence was often not carried out after being reviewed.  
[36]   Three weeks after Sherman’s ruling, Patrick took 20 days leave to escort his family to New York City.  Rose took the two children to visit her family in Scotland for the first time.  I think her father was ill.  He disappears from the Greenock postal directory a year or so later.
[37] Patrick began investing in real estate, an activity that continued through the rest of his life.  He also represented his regiment and company in rifle competitions.  Vancouver’s pleasant climate and the barrack’s closeness to Vancouver and Portland made for much livelier social opportunities for officers and their wives.
[38] Fresh fruits and vegetables were very difficult to come by (and extremely expensive) at many remote military posts, so a tradition of growing your own developed when duties, climate, soil and water allowed.
[39] Their sons probably sometimes helped but they attended a small Catholic college in Vancouver and then in the late 1890s entered the military.
[40] About 10 miles northeast of Vancouver and known as The Hasson Ranch. 
[41] Patrick Hasson shows up about 50 times between 1884 and 1921 in Clark County, Washington deed records, which are on FamilySearch. The bulk of his estate at probate was a handful of residential properties.     
[42] Known as St. James Acre until 2007.
[43] Charles enlisted in the Washington National Guards and then the 1st Washington Volunteer Regiment during the Spanish-American and Philippine wars. He was in the band, which meant that during combat he was a messenger running back and forth along the line. His civilian career was spent in various positions as a clerk.  After the death of his first wife, he moved back home and took care of his aging parents.  He had Paget’s disease and cardiac problems and died in a VA facility in Portland, Oregon after a stay of 99 days in 1942.     
Patrick’s sister Jane Coughlin (1829 – 1914) is also buried here.  When widowed she move from Chicago to live with her brother Michael in Park City, Utah.  After his death, she moved to Vancouver.
[45] John Patrick was wounded in the leg in 1900 during the Philippine War.  He rose to the rank of Colonel before retiring in 1942.  Like his father he spent a lot of his service in Quartermaster duties.  During one stint in Washington DC in the 1920s he lived about a block away from my first apartment when I came to Washington, DC many decades later.  His wife, Margaret Smith, was also an army brat.  She died in 1948.