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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Irish Gun Runners Erskine Childers and Molly Alden Marry at Trinity Church in Boston


Molly & Erskine Childers aboard the Asgard, a gift on their wedding day

English-born Irish rebel Robert Erskine Childers married Mary (Molly) Alden Osgood at Trinity Church in Boston on Tuesday, January 5, 1904.  They met at a state dinner hosted by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company at Faneuil Hall and were married after a three-week courtship.

The Boston Globe called the wedding "One of the most interesting events of the social season in Boston....In the distinguished gathering which filled the auditorium of the church was quite a delegation of Londoners, all friends of Mr. Childers, who is clerk of the house of commons and a personal friend of Lord Denbigh."

Both were idealists from upper class families whose passions turned toward Ireland

Childers was a gifted writer whose book, Riddle of the Sands, published in 1903, is considered the first spy-novel thriller.  In 1911 Childers published his book, TheFramework of Home Rule, in which he decried British abuse of freedoms in Ireland and other colonies around the world.

In July 1914 Childers and Osgood carried out a daring gun running operation, shipping arms and ammunition from Germany to Howth aboard the yacht Asgard, which Molly's family had given the couple on their wedding day.  

A close ally of Eamon deValera, Childrens was secretary-general of the Irish delegation involved in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.   He rejected the final treaty and was involved in the subsequent Irish Civil War.  He was captured and executed on November 24, 1922, despite strong protests and appeals from around the world.

Irish leaders in Boston held a memorial for Childers at Faneuil Hall following his death.

Their son, Erskine Childers, became the fifth President of Ireland in 1973. 

Find out more about Boston's Irish history at IrishHeritageTrail.com.