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James Maguire, son of James and Mary Maguire, was born on May 15, 1832 at Greenville, County Cavan, Ireland. 1858 records show he married one Alice Devine Smith at age 24  in 1857, who was also born in County Cavan, Ireland, and had are 8  children; John born in 1860, Sarah born in 1861, James born in 1963, Thomas born in 1865, Samuel born in 1867, William born in 1868, Alice Jane born in 1872 and Joseph born in  1874. James Macguire’s name is often found on many documents listed as McGuire, instead of Macguire, but it has been determined he is one and the same.

After migrating to America, James ended up in California. A letter from James Maguire found in the U.S. Consul's correspondence in Sydney stated that in California he enlisted in Company C of the 5th Infantry California Volunteers, on September 25, 1861 at Camp Union in Grass Valley, Sacramento, California. His service record states he was born in Ireland around 1843 and at time of enlistment was 5'7", hazel eyes, brown hair and occupied as a miner. Figuring backwards from his age when he supposedly mustered in, however, would place his birth around 1833 and knowing he was born in 1832, that means the information on his service records are in error. McGuire remained in the 5th Infantry California Volunteers, Captain John S. Thayer’s Company C, until he reenlisted as a Veteran Volunteer on February 9, 1864 and was transferred to Captain William French’s Company D of the same regiment on November 30, 1864 as a Corporal; being mustered out on September 15, 1866. His son Thomas was born in 1865. He then enlisted in the United States Regular Army into Colonel W.N. Grier’s “L” Troop of the 3rd Cavalry, on  October 3, 1866.

The 5th Infantry Regiment was originally organized in California from September to November, 1861; attached to the Departments of the Pacific and New Mexico.

It was ordered to Camp Latham, Southern California on February 1, 1862 and joined Carlton's Expedition from Southern California through Arizona to Northwest Texas and New Mexico from April 13th through September 20th; with Companies "C," "F," "H," "I" and "K" at Camp Wright and Fort Bowie. In December 1862 Companies C and H were stationed at Fort Yuma and then at Tucson and Messilla February in 1863. The month of May found Companies C, F, and H back at Tucson.

Actions in which Company C and her sister companies were involved in included skirmishesin the Chirlcahua Mountains, September 8-9, 1863; a skirmish on the Gila River, November 5, 1863; a skirmish in the San Andreas Mountains, January 26, 1864 and operations in New Mexico and Arizona beginning on February 1, 1864; McGuire reenlisting as a Veteran Volunteer on February 9, 1864 and continuing with the operations in New Mexico and Arizona through March 7, 1864. 

During that time they participated in an expedition from Camp Mimbres, February 24-29, 1864 and at Pines Altos, Arizona on February 27, 1864. On May 16-August 2, 1864 they were at Fort Goodwin, until October, when they were ordered to Las Cruces on October 8, 1864 and most of the regiment were mustered out beginning on November 27th;  McGuire being transferred to Company D of the 1st Veteran Infantry on November 30, 1864.

The 1st Battalion of Veteran Infantry  was organized during the months of November and December, 1864, by consolidating the veterans of the First Infantry, California Volunteers, into two companies, which became Companies A and B, and consolidating the companies of Fifth Infantry into five companies, which became Companies C, D, E, F, and G, of the battalion. Colonel Edwin A. Rigg, of the First Infantry, was made Lieutenant-Colonel and commander of the battalion, and Major Joseph Smith, of the Fifth Infantry, was made its Major. The Board of Officers decided by lot that Company F should be broken up, and it was so ordered by the Department Commander, in Special Orders No. 9, dated at Santa Fe, N.M., March 16, 1865.  The same order directed Lieutenant-Colonel Rigg to assume command, with headquarters at Fort Craig; previous to this time the battalion had been under command of Major Joseph Smith at Franklin, Texas.

The following remarks are found on the monthly returns of the battalion, filed in the Adjutant-General’s office:

Remarks on Return of Company D, First Veteran Infantry, for September, 1865.

“On the twelfth instant, a detachment of the company, ten mounted and twenty foot, under command of Lieutenant John Slater, was sent in pursuit of Indians, who had driven off some of the animals on herd belonging to the post of Fort McRae, N.M.  On the seventeenth instant they overtook the Indians in the Miembres Mountains, killing several, and wounding many of them, recovering most of the stolen stock, besides a lot of Indian ponies, mules, etc.  In this action Lieutenant Slater was very seriously wounded; private John Kelly very dangerously and private Richard B. Mason very seriously wounded by firearms, which were the only weapons used by the Indians during the fight.  The detachment returned to the post on the twentieth instant, having marched a distance of two hundred and seventy-five miles”.

There is no indication on the Muster Rolls if McGuire was present or absent through December 31, 1861, but they do reveal he was present from January/February 1862 until he was promoted to Corporal on September 11, 1862. He is next shown on the rolls in November/December 1862 and noted as being present from March/April 1863 until he was honorably discharged and re-enlisted into the veteran volunteers, on February 9, 1864; by Captain Archer, 5th U.S. Infantry, Mustering Officer.

Maguire was due to receive a $62 bounty payment at that time and was stationed at Mesilla, New Mexico. Three further installments of $50 each were paid progressively during 1864 and he was shown present until November 30, 1864; which was the last muster-out roll in his file and is assumed to be the date he was discharged. His file also states he had been on extra duty in the cook house in June 1862, was on detached service in November 1862 looking for mule thieves, again on extra duty as a cook in February/March 1863 and on detached service as an escort in May 1863. In February/March 1864 he was shown as being on detached service again, guarding government stock at Camp Cottonworks, New Mexico. He was finaly mustered out, as a Sergent, on September 15, 1866 at Las Pinos New Mexico with his company.

Frederick Dyer's "Compendium of the Rebellion", volume 3, states that James Maguire’s regiment was organized in California between September and November 1861 and was attached to the Departments of the Pacific and New Mexico. The companies of the Regiment were spread throughout garrison posts in Southern California and Arizona, after being ordered to Camp Latham, Southern California, on February 1, 1862; Company C being located at Camp Wright and Fort Bowie before its final posting to Fort Goodwin, while Company D served at Tucson, Arizona. Both companies were then ordered to Las Cruces, Arizona on October 8, 1864.

The book "St Michaels Mittagong" by Deborah Gilroy indicates that James and Alice MAGUIRE arrived in Berrima from county Cavan, Ireland, in 1862; one of their children being born on the ship during their voyage to Australia. Now knowing that he was still in the service of the California Veteran Volunteers until September 15, 1866, it appears that date has to be in error. In 1871, they purchased their first block of land in Diamond Fields Road, where Chapel Lane cemetery is now situated, and called the property "Greenville". Apparently naming it after a lake "Greenville" in county Cavan, Ireland. The first two years they were there their home was nothing more than a tent, on “Crooked Creek”; their last two children being born during that time. Later James acquired tWo more blocks of land, bringing his total holdings to 140 acres.  Their first real home was a simple hut, constructed of bark, later building a larger hut; 30 feet by 15 feet in size constructed of rough hewn slabs and a bark roof with a real ceiling in it. Above the ceiling in the loft was an area used for the storage of tools and horse harnesses.

All the doors on the hut were made a full six feet in height as the “shortest” man in the family, Joe McGuire, was a full 6 feet 2 inches tall. The nearest town or settlement to the McGuire farm was Berrima, which required a full days ride in a horse-drawn wagon over three miles of bush tracks and then another fifteen miles over what was called “blue metal” gravel roads. Eventually a Catholic Church was built in the Marist Brothers Cemetery on Diamond Field Road and still later a school was built on Old South Road just above the Marist Brothers gateway.

James and Alice eventually had a total of eight children, of which only three ever married. Sara married James Hennesy in Sydney, William married Emily Brown and moved to Murwillumbah and Joseph married Lucy McRae; remaining on the family farm until they died. Sara had ten children and Joseph had three.

In 1871 James and Alice had a daughter Jane and on October 4, 1873 another son, Joseph, was born to them at Mittagong, New South Wales.

Maguire was noted in Consular file papers that he was never given official discharge papers and that he was 1st Duty Sergeant at his time of discharge. The letter in the Consular file was stamped as having been received on June 19, 1878. James Maguire was also noted on yet another letter in the Consular files in Sydney, dated June 15, 1876. His service record further states he enlisted at Grass Valley on October 21, 1861 for a period of 3 years and was mustered into service at Sacramento at 28 years of age. There is a 30 day difference in when he stated he enlisted and when the records states he enlisted, but the confusion may come from when he enlisted in the Volunteers and when he was inducted into the Company itself.

According to information discovered on his death certificate, Maguire had lived 38 years in New South Wales, which would indicate he arrived in Sydney, Australia in 1859; so we know that figure is in error; as he actually arrived around 1876  and died at sixty-four years of age on June 22, 1897. His death was followed by that of his wife Alice in 1899. From information received from Max Rogers, we now at long last know that James Maguire was buried in the Roman Catholic Section of the Chapel Lane Cemetery, Diamond Fields Road in Mittagong, New South Wales; south of Sydney.

Also buried in Chapel Lane Cemetery are his wife Alice who died on May 16, 1899, his son James who died in 1897, Thomas who died on January 8, 1945 at 80 years of age, Joseph who died on July 24, 1953 at age79, Allan who died  December 20, 1987 at age 81 and daughter in law Lucy, who died on August 21, 1948.

Records reveal that his son Joseph, born on October 4, 1873 at Mittagong married a woman named Lucy McRae in 1905 and five years later, in 1910 his other son James died; followed by Joseph in 1945 and Lucy in 1948.

The land occupied by Chapel Lane Cemetery was originally owned by the Burke family, who set aside one acre for a “Roman Catholic Chapel and burial ground”; the earliest burial taking place in 1861. The road leading to the cemetery was then called Chapel Lane and the hill known as Chapel Hill, hence the name of the cemetery. The road was later renamed Diamond Fields Road, as there were diamond fields in the vicinity. The Diamonds were discovered after the cemetery and road were named Chapel Lane. The cemetery was closed from 1910 to 1918, from which time is appears the Marist Bros took over the cemetery.

Adjutant-General’s Office Records, 1865, California

Berrima District Historical Society

“Bowral Free Press”, 1891, 1893 & 1905

Bowral Mittagong Census, 1894-1895

"Compendium of the Rebellion”, Frederick Dyer

Latter Day Saints Genealogy Files

Marist Brother Cemetery Records, N.S.W.

Max Rogers, Mittagong researcher

Mitchell Library, Sydney, Au.

Mittagong Chapel Lane Cemetery, N.S.W.

Mittagong Drafting Service, Mittagong, N.S.W.

National Archives, Washington, D.C.

“Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 To 1867”,

Regimental Histories

"St Michaels Mittagong", Deborah Gilroy

 Suzanne Warmerdam

“The Army of the United States; Historical Sketches of Staff and Line”, New York Maynard, Merrill & Co., 1896

 “The Four Mails” news, 1945 & 1948

 “The Southern Mail” news, 1952

 USA Consulate Melbourne - Dispatches - FM4/4646 and 4647

USA Consul Sydney - Register 1836-1906 - Film FMU/613

USA Consul Sydney - Dispatches 30 Sept 1875 - 27 Jan 1882 - Film FM4/620

5th California Volunteer Infantry Muster Rolls

 5th California Volunteer Infantry Regimental Histories


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