John Philip Holland 1841

John Philip Holland 1841

Place of migration:
Migrated to/Born in USA

Seán Pilib Ó hUallacháin aka John Philip Holland was an Irish engineer from Co Clare, who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy, and the first ever Royal Navy submarine, the Holland 1.

Holland was born in 1841 to John and Mary Scanlon Holland in Liscannor, Co. Clare. His mother was an Irish speaker, so John and his four brothers learned English only after they were old enough to attend school at St Macreehy's National School, and later, the Christian Brothers school in Ennistymon from 1858. Holland then joined the Irish Christian Brothers in Limerick. He worked as a schoolteacher in Drogheda until 1872.

In 1873 Holland emigrated to the United States and settled in Paterson, N.J., Initially working for an engineering firm, he returned to teaching again at  St. John's Catholic school for 6 years until 1879.  This school in Paterson, New Jersey has been renamed the John P. Holland Charter School.

With financial support from the Irish Fenian Society (who hoped to use submarines against England), he built the Fenian Ram, a small sub that proved a limited success in a test run. His J.P. Holland Torpedo Boat Company received a contract from the U.S. Navy to build a submarine in 1895, and in 1898 a successful Holland, the first truly practical submarine, was launched. The U.S. government ordered six more; similar orders came from England, Japan, and Russia.

Holland’s final years were marked by litigation with his financial backers. One of his last inventions was an apparatus designed to enable sailors to escape from damaged submarines.

John Philip Holland died in Newark, New Jersey and was interred at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, NJ. In Ireland, a monument stands at the gates of Scholars Townhouse Hotel, Drogheda (the former building of the Christian Brothers school where Holland taught) in his honour. 

John Philip Holland crop.jpg (219×219)

Additional Information
Date of Birth 24th Feb 1841  
Date of Death 12th Aug 1914  
Associated Building (s) The Monastery ENNISTYMON  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Máire Ní Scannláin (aka Mary Scanlon)  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) John Holland of the British Coastguard Service  


The Father of the Modern Submarine USA VIEW SOURCE

Buildings Associated with this Ancestor