The McNevin Family

McNevin family crest

(Crest No. 183. Plate 58.)

THE McNevin family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Brian, son of Eocha Moy Veagon, King of Ireland, A. D. 350. The ancient name was Naidhfin, which signifies “Messenger.”

Another authority derives the name from Cnaimh—Irish, a bone—which has been Anglicized Bone and Bonas. The possessions of the McNevins were located in the present County of Galway.

The McNevins, according to the “Book of Leacan,” were chiefs of a district called Crannoy MacCnaimhin, or Crannagh MacNevin, in the parish of Tynagh, barony of Leitrim, and County of Galway. There are many of the name still living in that county.

The McNevins have been conspicuous for their patriotism and devotion to their country’s interests, both in ancient and modern days.

Dr. William James McNevin was one of the four members of the “Executive Directory” of the United Irishmen previous to the insurrection of 1798. His three companions were Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Arthur O’Connor, and Thomas Addis Emmet. McNevin was a native of Galway and a practicing physician in the City of Dublin. He had been educated on the Continent, as institutions of learning were closed to Catholics in Ireland at the time. His services to the Irish cause during that troubled period, his incarceration and sufferings, and his escape to America with Thomas Addis Emmet are well known to Irish readers. For nearly half a century he continued to reside in New York, where he attained social and professional prestige. He was “President of the Friends of Ireland” for many years, and wrought unceasingly for the advancement of his race both here and in Ireland. His remains rest in St. Paul’s Churchyard, where, through the gratitude of his countrymen, a splendid monument has been erected to his memory. He was an accomplished scholar and linguist, and the author of several works on various subjects. His uncle, Baron McNevin, lived at Prague, and was physician to Empress Maria Theresa.

Thomas McNevin, another member of this family, was a prominent figure in the early days of the Forty-eight movement. He contributed to Duffy’s “Library of Ireland” two valuable historical works—“The History of the Volunteers” and “The Confiscation of Ulster.” He also edited the standard edition of “Shiel’s Speeches.” He died prematurely.