Francis & Sally (Friel / Freel) Cassidy

By Don Cassidy

Frank Cassidy (1835-1899) was born in Clogher and married Sally Freel (1836-1912) born in Inver, County Donegal, daughter of Francis Freel and Katie McCracken. John Cassidy of Dublin now owns this property and has marked out the revered birthplace of Frank Cassidy and Hugh Cassidy. He extends a welcome to all Cassidys and hopes they will visit.

Note: According to [Father Donald Cassidy], the Freels came to America during the famine and made some money in the California Gold Rush (around 1849). Then they moved to New York City. But, New York was kind of a tough place and they didn’t want to raise Sally there. So they returned to Donegal. Their sons stayed in New York.

Francis and Sally lived in the townland of Aughlim, County Donegal. They had 10 children, and most of their descendants now live in the United States.

According to our info, our grandfather, Francis Cassidy was born in 1869. I don’t know if they followed tradition but there was an Irish custom where the first two sons were named after their grandfathers and the third son was named after the father. The oldest was John.  Francis was the second son– named after his other grandfather and his father.

This property later became known as “Our Grandfather’s House”. It was inherited by son John, who was know as Big John.  John was the father of John P, Francis Michael, Margaret, Annie, Emily et al.  Francis Michael worked the farm after Big John died.  I believe Jimmy McGroarty is part of this family.

Another son was named Patrick. Patrick spent his adult life in Dublin. Uncle Don got his middle name from Uncle Hugh, who could have been Francis’ brother or his uncle.


John Cassidy, born in 1806, married Kitty McGinty and they settled in Clogher on a site now preserved by great grandson John Cassidy of Dublin. (They are Chris’s great, great, great grandparents)

John and Kitty’s son Frank Cassidy was born in the Clogher house. He married Sally Freel of Gold Rush lore.

Francis and Sally moved to Auglem into the house known as Grandfather’s house.

Francis and Sally’s children included Francis who married Julia Brennen in Boston and returned to Aughlem in 1905 while his mother, Sally Freel was still alive. Sally died in 1912 and Francis and Julia went back to Boston in 1921.
(John of Dublin‘s grandfather, Hugh was another son of John and Kitty)

Sally Freel