McCarthy’s Irish background

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Joseph McCarthy was born on 14 November 1908 in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, to a family with strong Irish roots. His paternal grandfather, Stephen, was born in Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary, in 1825. Moving to America in 1858, he married Margaret Stoffel, who was born in the present-day Czech Republic, and bought farmland in Grand Chute. McCarthy’s American-born father, Timothy McCarthy, later wed Bridget Tierney, a native of Center, Wisconsin. Both of Tierney’s parents, Peter Tierney and Catherine Sheehan, were born in Ireland; while the exact birthplace of Sheehan, whose year of birth is listed as 1825, is not known, genealogical information asserts that Peter Tierney was born in Rahoon, outside Galway, in 1812. McCarthy’s family were dutiful Mass-going Catholics, and they attended St Mary’s Church in the nearby town of Appleton, Wisconsin, every Sunday. In an area dominated by German and Dutch farmers, St Mary’s catered for the area’s Irish Catholic minority. McCarthy later attended the Jesuit Marquette University in Milwaukee, becoming a lawyer and later a Wisconsin judge, before commencing a political career after a stint in the Marine Corps in the Second World War.


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