For The Love of Ireland

A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie


Alexander Sullivan   1847 - 1913

 This information was compiled from several sources including a book titled The Clan-na-Gael and the Murder of Dr. Cronin by John T. McEnnis, published in 1889.


Alexander Sullivan claimed to have been born in Maine where he spent his childhood; however, it was discovered that he was, in fact, born in Canada.  This prevented him later on from being chosen Senator James G. Blaine’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket in 1884.


Alexander Sullivan had been described as a clean-shaven man, dressed impeccably in a black suit, cowboy boots, who often carried a gun.  He had a striking face and his eyes were piercing and magnetic.  People either liked Alex or hated him. Known for his oratorical skills, he was seen as a powerful man, and assumed by his very nature born to be a leader.


Alex was ambitious and developed many political friends. As a reward for campaigning for General Grant, who was running for his first term as President, Alex was appointed Collector of Internal Revenue for the Territory of New Mexico in 1869. Alex was removed a year later from this position after a question arose regarding the whereabouts of some missing funds.


While Alex lived in Santa Fe he was involved in a shooting with Mr. Heath, the Secretary for the Territory, over a woman.  Neither he nor Mr. Heath was seriously hurt in the shootout.  With no further prospect of success in Santa Fe, Alex left and drifted to New York.  In 1873 Alex came to Chicago where he worked as a political reporter.  He married aspiring journalist Margaret Buchanan, a year later.


Due to Alex’s ability to persuade people, he was successful in his efforts to get Dan O’Hara elected City Treasure.  At Dan O'Hara's request, Alex was given the position of Secretary of the Board of Public Works for Chicago in 1874, which Alex held until he was arrested for murder.


Alex was known to have a volatile temper, and he killed Francis Hanford on the evening of August 7, 1876 while Margaret sat in their carriage waiting for him.  Mr. Hanford had apparently  insulted Margaret publicly and Alex was seeking revenge.  Though there were witnesses, and he was tried twice for murder, Alex was found not guilty.   Afterwards, he studied the legal system and went on to become a prominent Chicago attorney and advocate for home rule in Ireland.


In 1881, Alex was elected president of the secret Clan na Gael and in 1883 president of the Irish National League of America.  He resigned in 1884 from his position with the National League, so that he could devote more time to "other activities".  Just what were those activities?  You will need to read For the Love of Ireland and search online for that information.



For The Love of Ireland

The story of Margaret Sullivan & the Secrets of the Clan-na-Gael

A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie