The Mulligan Family

Mulligan family crest

(Crest No. 114. Plate 30.)

THE Mulligan family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his fifth son Ir. The founder of the family was Heber Donn, son of Ir. The ancient name was Maologan and signifies “Dullwitted.”

The heads of the sept were styled Princes of Moyliffey, and their possessions were located in the present Counties of Mayo, Londonderry, and Cavan. In the last-named county the Mulligans and O’Dalys were hereditary bards to the O’Reillys. The Mulligans were also chiefs of Tir MacCaerthain, in the County of Londonderry. The name of this territory is still retained in the barony of Tirkeerin, on the east side of Lough Foyle and adjoining the barony of Cianachta, or Keenaught, in that county. The O’Mulligans, Anglicized to Molyneux, were also a clan in Tyrone.

Colonel James A. Mulligan, a distinguished soldier of the late Civil War, was a descendant of this family. He was born in Utica, N. Y., 1830, and died at Winchester, Va., July 26, 1864. At the opening of the war he raised an Irish regiment, the Twenty-third Illinois, and defended Lexington, Mo., from July until September, 1861, holding the town against large odds. He afterward had command of Camp Douglas and took part in several engagements. He declined the rank of brigadier-general, preferring to remain with his regiment. At the battle of Winchester he was wounded while charging the enemy’s lines, and, on seeing the colors were liable to be captured, he made the men who were bearing him from the field abandon him to save them, repeating his order, when they hesitated: “Lay me down and save the flag.” He died in the hands of the enemy.