Celebrating 140 years of promoting Irish culture and heritage!
HISTORY OF THE
KNIGHTS OF ST. PATRICK
Founded in New Haven in 1878, the Knights of St. Patrick is a cultural, educational, nonsecular organization promoting and preserving the Irish heritage. Our first President was a man who overcame prevalent anti-Irish sentiment in America (“Irish Need Not Apply” signs had been commonplace). Francis Donnelly, a native of County Tyrone who emigrated in 1836, prospered in real estate and in the quarry business. His success story is repeated by other founding members and subsequent Presidents. Their lives echo the business, civic and political history of New Haven.
Charter members of the Club included Doctors John Luby, William Sheehan, James Maher and M.C. O’Connor. This medical quartet founded The Hospital of Saint Raphael. These same men — along with Past Presidents Daniel Colwell and John McPartland — would help Father Michael McGivney of St. Mary’s Church, Hillhouse Avenue, start the Knights of Columbus. Colwell was first Exalted Secretary and Dr. O’Connor was first Exalted Physician of the K of C.
Past President William Neely and his partner Edward Malley operated a clothing store on lower Chapel Street for many years. The name Malley’s became synonymous with downtown New Haven. Past President James English was Chairman of the New Haven Water Company and a Director of SNET. He is credited with founding United Illuminating Co.
During the Depression and subsequent war years, Club membership dwindled until a committee was formed under the leadership of John M. Golden for the express purpose of reorganizing and rebuilding membership. Mr. Golden guided Club affairs for nearly thirty-six years until his retirement in 1974. His portrait and the portraits of nearly all of our Past Presidents are proudly on display today in our Club facilities at 1533 State Street.
The heartfelt virtues of the original members are very much alive today. We constantly open our collective hearts and Club facilities to worthy and charitable causes: Red Cross Blood Drives; Connecticut Hospice events; the Irish History Round Table; the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee; Ancient Order of Hibernians and meetings on the Irish Immigration Reform Movement. Many members and several Officers are deeply involved in the Connecticut Special Olympics Committee. The Knights of St. Patrick were proud volunteers at the spectacular 1995 World Games in New Haven.
Here, then, is an organization which for 136 years has followed the urging of C.T. Driscoll, Esq., at the first Dinner in 1878: “Let each of us do something to reflect credit and add to the sum total of the glory of the Irish race.”
William J. Nolan
Past President and Club Historian
The Knights of St. Patrick has over 200 members and welcomes new members. Irish and non-Irish are encouraged and welcome to join the Knights of St. Patrick!
John Tolbert, President
Mark Smith, Vice President
Patrick Smith, Secretary
Michael York, Treasurer
Phone: (203) 789-9535
1533 State St
New Haven, CT 06511-2740
Sunday 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Monday 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Tuesday 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Wednesday 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Thursday 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Friday 4:30 PM to 11:00 PM
Saturday 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM