Philip Sheridan 1831


Philip Henry Sheridan was born on the 6th of March 1831. There is some debate as to his actual place of birth, with uncertainty as whether he was born in the US (New York, Massachusetts or Ohio), or if he was born in Ireland and brought ot the US as an infant. (Please see the comments below for more discussion on this). His parents were John Sheridan and Mary Meenagy, who had immigrated from Killinkere in County Cavan, Ireland.  Philip was the third of six children.

Philip grew up in Somerset Ohio, where he worked as a boy in town general stores, and eventually as head clerk and bookkeeper for a dry goods store. In 1848, he obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy from one of his customers, Congressman Thomas Ritchey.

In the American Civil War he was a career United States Army officer and a Union general . His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with General-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant, who transferred Sheridan from command of an infantry division in the Western Theater to lead the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac in the East. In 1864, he defeated Confederate forces under General Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley and his destruction of the economic infrastructure of the Valley, called "The Burning" by residents, was one of the first uses of scorched earth tactics in the war. In 1865, his cavalry pursued Gen. Robert E. Lee and was instrumental in forcing his surrender at Appomattox.

Sheridan married Irene Rucker in 1875. He was 44 and she was 22. They had four children: Mary, born in 1876; twin daughters, Irene and Louise, in 1877; and Philip, Jr., in 1880. 

In later years, Sheridan fought in the Indian Wars of the Great Plains. Both as a soldier and private citizen, he was instrumental in the development and protection of Yellowstone National Park.

In 1883, Sheridan was appointed general-in-chief of the U.S. Army, and in 1888, shortly before his death, he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army during the term of President Grover Cleveland.

Sheridan Headstone at Arlington Cemetery


Additional Information
Date of Birth 6th Mar 1831  
Date of Death 5th Aug 1888  


  • Is there not still some debate about where Sheridan was born. There is a house in Killinkere with a sign claiming he was born there.Unfortunately the book that would prove it one way or the other is missing. The one before it is there as is the one after it.


    Sunday 9th December 2018, 08:10PM
  • According to the U.S. federal census of Ohio in 1850, Philip Sheridan was born in Massachusetts. Sheridan later gave NY and Ohio as his birthplaces, but this early census indicates otherwise. I hope this is helpful. Pat

    Name: Philip H Sheeder
    [Philip H Sheridan]
    Age: 23
    Birth Year: abt 1827
    Birthplace: Massachusetts
    Home in 1850: Somerset, Perry, Ohio, USA
    Gender: Male
    Family Number: 136
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    John Sheeder 45
    Mary Sheeder 40
    Philip H Sheeder 23
    Mary Sheeder 16
    John N Sheeder 13
    Michael Sheeder 9
    Patrick Miner 4

    Source Citation
    Year: 1850; Census Place: Somerset, Perry, Ohio; Roll: M432_719; Page: 329B; Image: 398

    Source Information 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.


    Sunday 9th December 2018, 09:58PM
  • Thanks for that Patricia. Adds to the mystery. The stone at the house in Killinkere says "The birthplace of General Philip H Sheridan 1830 to 1888 .The stone was erected by the department of Irish veterans of WW1 of the USA.Inc .23/6/1969.

    I was told that he had harboured thoughts of running for President and if it had been confirmed he had been born in Ireland he could not run. My Father jokingly came up with the conspiracy theory that the church registray book has disappeared conveniently as it would have recorded his birth. The missing book would not only solve that mystery but help those of us with family from the area with a big gap due to the missing book.


    Monday 10th December 2018, 07:10AM
  • Galoglas and Patricia, Thanks for the helpful information. We have had some debate on Facebook about this too. I am going to edit the original Chronicle to indicate that there is some uncertainty about Philip's place of birth and suggest your comments as valid routes of inquiry.


    Laura Colleran

    Monday 10th December 2018, 09:01AM

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