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My ancestors - O'Mara - Contents


James Mark Sullivan

  
   
(Left) Jim Sullivan. Detail of 1910 photo.
(Right) Nell O'Mara. Detail of 1905 photo.




James Mark Sullivan,
Jim Sullivan,
Irish-American lawyer, journalist and diplomat,
pioneer of film in Ireland,
born Dromaloughane, near Killarney, Co.Kerry, 6 January 1870.

He was taken to US as child, probably 1884.
He was educ at schools in Palmer, Massachusetts.
Reporter for Hartford Courant and Waterbury American.
Worked as night clerk, Hotel Jefferson, 440 State St, New Haven, Connecticut, 1898-1902 (while going through college). The hotel is apparently demolished (see street view).
He was educ Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut. Entered 1899 (age 29). Won various prizes. Class Orator. LL.B. 1902.
Lawyer in New Haven, 1903-04.
Registered as lawyer in New York, 1904-16.
His daughter Sheila said he worked on the high-profile celebrity murder trial (1907-08) of Harry Kendall Thaw. But [Felter and Schultz, 2004] found no record of this. Possibly he worked as a junior lawyer on the case for a short time.
He had Irish nationalist views.
He met the O'Maras when he was visiting Ireland, giving a speech at a grave.
Living New York at mar 1910.

He mar 11 Oct 1910, St.Munchin's, Limerick, Ireland [GROI], to Nell O'Mara [Ellen, born 6th June 1882].
He was age 40, she was age 28. Obituary says mar 10 Oct 1910.
He is listed as living NY state at time of appointment 1913.

U.S. ambassador to Dominican Republic, 1913-15:
He was appointed Aug 12, 1913 as U.S. Minister to the Dominican Republic, West Indies (the Dominican Republic occupies E half of island of Hispaniola, W half is Haiti). He is sometimes described as "Minister to Santo Domingo", the capital (the oldest European city in the Americas).
See State Dept list (and here and here). He is listed as "Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary" (plenipotentiary, diplomatic envoy, representative, invested with full powers of independent action), "Non-career appointee".
He is listed as in Santo Domingo at Stephen's birth in Limerick, 2 Sept 1913, listed as "Governor of Sandomingo".
His sister Ellen was there with him in Nov 1913.
It is said that when the British ambassador visited, Sullivan insulted him by receiving him in his underwear.
There was fighting between insurgents and the native government 1914. US sent warships to patrol the island 1914 [DANFS]. He was on 3-man US commission to mediate a peace, Aug 1914. "Both sides ultimately accepted the American suggestions which provided for the establishment of a constitutional government and the institution of elections under United States "observation"" [DANFS].
He left post, June 20, 1915.
US finally occupied the country 1916.

He settled in Ireland.
He established the Film Company of Ireland in Mar 1916 (NOT 1915) [Barton, 2004], [Felter and Schultz, 2004].
He was one of the pioneer film-makers in Ireland. The Film Company of Ireland was "the first indigenous Irish film company". The most important Irish film production company of the silent era. It had no permanent studio. Movies were made on location or in foreign studios. Actors were Abbey Theatre people and independent actors.
They aimed to make films to aid the nationalist cause. James J. Walsh was a director of the company.
Headquartered on Sackville Street. The offices, along with 3 early short Irish theme films, were lost in the April 1916 rising.

Fought in 1916 Rising:
He was pro-Sinn Fein. He fought with the rebels in the 1916 Rising:
He was living 43 Pembroke Rd, Dublin, at time of 1916 rising, near The O'Rahilly and the Humphreys'. He is listed there in [Thom's, 1917].
He went out to fight on the first day of the Easter Rising, 24th Apr 1916.
He was jailed after the rising. Was in Arbour Hill prison. Was in Kilmainham with Dick Humphreys.
Pat Lavelle said: "My brother in law Dick Humphreys told me that Uncle Jim Sullivan was the life and soul of the prisoners up at Kilmainham gaol. Dick knew because he was one of them. He said that they were all feeling very gloomy, most of them sentenced to death or likely to be, and that Uncle Jim came in on them like a fresh breeze with his hearty laughter and his big voice and American wisecracks and without a tremor of fear; for who could touch an American citizen if all came to all".
Apparently he was under threat of execution "but not executed due to his American diplomatic passport". (Unlikely he would have been executed. Many rebels were under threat of execution, but after 15 were executed, public opinion was so negative that executions were stopped.)
Nell Sullivan's niece Eithne O'Mara stayed with her at the time of the rising, when Nell's husband was in jail along with Eithne's future husband Dick Humphreys.

Film Company of Ireland moved office (must be later in 1916) to 34 Dame St, Dublin, top floor. Listed there (as "Irish Film Company") in [Thom's, 1917].
See Films of James Mark Sullivan, 1916-20.
He produced the major Irish film Knocknagow (1918).
He was a friend of Michael Collins, with whom he made the Republican Loan film (1919).

Nell dies, 1919:
Jim is still described as of 43 Pembroke Rd in Feb 1919 [CO 904]. He was then in America, and had trouble getting a visa from London to get back into Ireland. He was in America when Donal died Apr 1919, and took the first boat back, only to see his wife die May 1919.
Nell's address in grave record is still 43 Pembroke Rd, Dublin.
She died 17 May 1919, Strand House, Limerick, age 36 yrs [death notices], [grave], [GROI]. [Family bible] is wrong to say 19 May.
[GROI] says she died of "enteric fever" (typhoid). [Family bible] also says typhoid. Apparently she got it from Donal.
The story that she died in Flu Epidemic of 1918-19 is false.
See death notice in Irish Independent, May 20, 1919.
Her body was brought to Dublin, funeral from Kingsbridge, 20 May 1919, bur Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. W.T. Cosgrave was at her funeral.
See death notice in Irish Times, May 24, 1919.

Jim was left to raise family on his own. He moved to 4 Palmerston Park, Rathmines, Dublin. He never went back to his former home after Nell died.
He produced the film Willy Reilly and his Colleen Bawn (1920).
The Film Company of Ireland was wound up 1920.
Jim went back to US in 1920, taking the children.
[Obituary] describes him as "first representative of Irish Provisional Government in America 1920-22". Not sure if this is true. Perhaps confusion with his brother-in-law James O'Mara.
Registered as lawyer in New York, 1924-30.
The family is listed in Flushing, Queens, NY, in [US Census, 1 Apr 1930], he is "lawyer".
He retired 1930, settled in St.Petersburg, Florida.
Address in grave record is 235, 11th Ave NE, St.Petersburg, Florida (see map).
He died 15 Aug 1935, St.Petersburg, Florida [grave], age 65 yrs.
Body brought back to Ireland in 1936. See funeral notice, Irish Independent, Saturday, June 27, 1936.
Body brought back on the California, landed at Dublin Sun 28 June 1936. See item in Irish Independent, Monday, June 29, 1936.
Funeral at Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, 29 June 1936, bur with his wife in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
See brief biography.
Jim and Nell had issue:


  1. Donal Sullivan,
    Dono, NOT Donald,
    written as "Donal Dhu" on grave ("Black Donal"),
    born 1912, Ireland,
    Una Lavelle has photo of "Donal" as infant 1916 with his mother,
    died 10 Apr 1919, age 7 yrs [grave],[grave record], shortly before mother,
    of same cause as mother [apparently she got it from him],
    NOT 1918,
    death not found in [GROI] 1918-20,
    he is NOT Daniel Sullivan, age 7, died 1919, Killarney district,
    bur Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.


  2. Stephen Sullivan,
    Steve, listed as "Stephen O'Mara Sullivan" at mar,
    born 2 Sept 1913, Strand House, Limerick [GROI].


  3. Ellen Sullivan,
    Nell, birth cert has her as "Ellen O'Mara Sullivan", bapt "Ellen Sinn Fein Sullivan", though later she went as "Ellen Maureen Sullivan",
    born 11 May 1916 (just after 1916 Rising, father must have been in jail), 43 Pembroke Rd, Dublin [GROI],
    mar 22 Aug 1935, St.Paul's, St.Petersburg, Florida, to Marlow White [born 31 July 1915] and had issue.


  4. Sheila Sullivan, born 1917, Ireland,
    listed as "Julia", age 12, in [US Census, 1 Apr 1930], note her grandmother was Julia,
    can't find birth in [GROI],
    she is NOT Sheila Constance Sullivan, born Dublin South, 1st qr 1919 [GROI],
    1930 census says she was born New York but this may not be true since it also says her siblings were born New York,
    went back to Ireland at age 18, 1935,
    mar Michael Callaghan and had issue.





Jim Sullivan, 1913.
See larger and full size.



Jim Sullivan.
See larger and full size.



Must be Nell O'Mara.
See larger and full size.


 

Nell O'Mara's wedding, 1910, Strand House, Limerick.
On benches: Bill O'Sullivan (left), Fr. Paddy (right).
Front centre group: Phons (left), the 3 Rynne children, Joe (right).
Main row (left to right): Frank Healy, Norrie (front), Ethel O'Neill, Kat, Nell, think Stephen, Ellen Pigott, Stephen O'Mara, Jim Sullivan, Ellen Sullivan, Mary, James, Agnes Cashel, (unknown priest).
This is front door of Strand House.
Note US flags.
See larger and larger and full size.


 

Nell O'Mara's wedding, 1910, Strand House, Limerick.
Left to Right: Nell O'Mara, Norrie O'Mara, their mother Ellen Pigott (died Oct 1910), Mary O'Mara, sister-in-law Agnes Cashel.
At front: Kat O'Mara.
See larger and full size.


 

Nell O'Mara's wedding, 1910, Strand House, Limerick.
The 2 parents and the 9 children.
Back (Left to Right): Stephen, Fr.Paddy, Nell, Norrie, Stephen O'Mara, Mary, Joe, James,
Middle: Ellen Pigott.
Front: Phons, Kat.
See larger and full size.



Must be Nell O'Mara with one of the children.
Location: Front of Strand House.
See larger and full size.
See other copy. From [P40/910]. Used with permission of [UL Archives].



Extract from p.97 of [Link, 1954].
Arthur S. Link describes Sullivan's term as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic as "one of the most disgraceful chapters in the history of the American foreign service".




Piaras Béaslaí papers



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