Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-1798) was the founding member of the United Irishmen and leader of the 1798 Irish Rebellion.
Born in Dublin, he was the son of a coach-maker from Bodenstown Co. Kildare, who ran his business from Stafford Street. In 1781 he entered Trinity College but by his own admission was not a dedicated student. In 1785 he eloped with Matilda Witherington, age 16, who lived with her grandfather, a clergyman, in Grafton Street at the time.
In September 1791 Tone published An Argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland and that October (in conjunction with Thomas Russell (1767–1803), Napper Tandy and others) founded the Society of the United Irishmen. In 1794 the Society of United Irishmen became a sworn association, using oaths that clearly aimed at the overthrow of the Kingdom of Ireland. He was advised to leave Ireland in April 1795 and emigrated to the United States, in May, and lived in Philadelphia.
The United Irishmen reformed in 1796. The Society began seriously to look to France to support a rising with troops and so, Wolf Tone was sent there, where he served for some months in the French army under Hoche.
The United Irishmen Rebellion broke out in 1798 and Tone was captured in Letterkenny on 3 November. He died in prison sixteen days later in unclear circumstances.
Wolfe Tone was buried in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare. He has been commemorated in many parts of Ireland, including Wolfe Tone Square (Dublin), Wolfe Tone Street (Limerick), and Wolfe Tone Bridge (Galway). In 1963 a statue was erected in his honour at St. Stephen's Green and there is also one in Bantry (where he had landed with French troops for the unsuccessful attempt to overthrow English rule in 1796).
|Date of Birth||20th Jun 1763|
|Date of Death||19th Nov 1798|