Captain Thomas O ‘Malley Baines

Baronies of Mayo Map
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San Francisco Skyline by Andreas Praefcke 2008
Louisburgh, Co. Mayo

Military / Author

Captain O ‘Malley Baines led a colourful life in several countries yet was a staunch Fenian.  He once made a vow to never cut his hair until Ireland was free!

Thomas O ‘Malley Baines was born in Louisburgh during 1844.  His father’s demise occurred shortly following his birth. During 1848 the family (a sister, his mother plus himself) were evicted from their holding as part of the Marquess of Sligo’s famine clearances on his estate.


When Captain O ‘Malley Baines enlisted in the army he was assigned the task of the organization of the Irishmen among his comrades.  He was successful at that but he was arrested then charged with treason during 1855.  His trial occurred before Judge Keogh with a sentence passed of ten years servitude in the penal colonies in Australia.  He was transported from Ireland; a Fenian convict in February 1867.  Pardoned by Queen Victoria during December 1870 then released from prison on 11th March 1871.  Along with four companions he went to New Zealand but during June the following year they were expelled by the Government.


Following their expulsion, they returned to Sydney, Australia.  They sailed for California then reached America on 1st March 1872.  He made a new career with book sales.

Trip Abroad

Captain O ‘Malley Baines travelled to Australia during 1882 to retrieve the bones of an old Irish compatriot who had been transported with him as a prisoner.  His intention was to travel to Ireland to rebury his remains.


He penned an autobiography entitled My Life in Two Hemispheres; What was suffered for Love of Country 1889 (Henderson California) in which he recounted the Fenian movements history as he saw it.  In his autobiography he stated also that: ‘I joined the Papal Brigade, was taken prisoner of war at Ancona, Italy during September 1860: liberated from the military prison at Genoa in November of the same year.’

Private Life

Captain O ‘Malley Baines was married during 1877.  He was the father of two children: Robert Emmet & Thomas Addis.


The demise occurred of Captain O ‘Malley Baines at his home on Ivy Avenue, San Francisco during 1899.

His obituary was published in The Connaught Telegraph on Saturday 20th May that same year.


Mayo People ( ) [assessed 14th June 2019]


Comments about this page

  • Autumn,
    My name is Bryan Lamkin and I am a Professor Emeritus of History at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. I’m writing a book about 19th-century Irish immigrants who lived in the American West, based on their written records. Do you know if there is any additional primary source material from your 2x great grandfather besides his Two Hemispheres book? Thanks so much.

    By Bryan Lamkin (18/12/2021)
  • Delighted to hear from you Autumn.

    Congrats on researching your family tree.

    You must be proud of his achievements.

    By Noelene Beckett Crowe. (24/10/2019)
  • He is my great great great grandfather.

    By Autumn Harrison (24/10/2019)

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