Thomas Hore was born in South Wexford in 1796 . He left for the United States in 1820 and was ordained in Richmond, Virginia. On his return to Ireland in 1827 he was appointed to Camolin in Co. Wexford. In 1841 he was appointed parish priest of Annacurra (Killavaney). In October 1850 he led a group of approximately 450 emigrants, mostly from South Wicklow and Wexford, to America with the intention, as outlined in his sermon reproduced below, of establishing a settlement there. The settlement which was called Wexford was eventually established in the state of Iowa in April 1851, though many of the original emigrants who had accompanied Hore had settled elsewhere in the United States by then. Hore returned to Ireland in 1857 and died there in 1864.1
County of Wicklow
Tinahely June 3rd 1850
I beg to state that I attended Divine Service on yesterday at the R.C. Chapel of Whitefield.
After service the Revd. Thomas Hoare P.P. addressed a numerous and mixed congregation who had assembled for the purpose of hearing him explain his views for giving up his parish and emigrating to America and the reasons which induced him to leave this country.
Mr. Hoare commenced by saying that he had promised on a previous occasion to explain to his parishioners his views for leaving this country for America as it might seem strange to them that a man of his age and position in the country should think of doing so.
He then stated his reasons were chiefly these:
That he commenced his mission in America where he remained for many years and therefore he was more competent to judge of the relative interests and prospects of both countries. That he done so as he had the permission of his late bishop and to encourage younger clergymen as well as the laity of this country to follow his example believing as he did that the clergy were required more there than here and that the mass of the people would much benefit their condition by going there as he (Mr. Hoare) saw no prospects improving by remaining in this country but the certainty of inevitable ruin should they remain. He then proceded to dwell in forceable language on the contrast that existed between America and this country stating the independence prosperity and comfort which the American people enjoy while in this country there exists but misery degradation and starvation. Said that he believed that the people had in a great measure invited these evils on themselves through their party animosity bigotry and ill will which they entertained towards each other that such had been the curse of Ireland the evil consequences of which left Ireland and Irishmen as they were, “the bye word and scorn of all civilised nations” That Catholic as well as Protestant were alike to blame for keeping alive those feelings of animosity towards each other, that England always fostered it and by which she was able to make use of either party at her will for her own purposes.
He then said that as this was probably the last time he would address them on this subject he would speak to them freely and went on to say that Ireland had to thank England and English legislation for all the miseries and sufferings which this country had endured and under which it still suffered. That he was no prophet but that he could see that at a distant day England would suffer for her misgovernment and ill treatment of Ireland, that it was a notorious fact that England was at the present despised and distrusted by nearly every nation in the world and had not scarcely a friendly power in Europe to assist her in the event of a war which every day threatened her. That her Irish subjects were every day ?ying from the country in thousands and he believed and trusted that the tide of emigration was only commencing to flow. That the time would come when England would want Irishmen to aid her in her battles but would not have them to get. That the downfall of England was certain at no distant day and that Ireland too would sink with her.
He then dwelt for a long time in describing the climate, soil etc. of America, the comfort and prosperity of its inhabitants etc. and mentioned as a mark of the growing prosperity of the former emigrants from this country the vast sums that they were daily remitting to their friends at home to enable them to join them and quoted several cases of individuals with whom he said he was personally acquainted who in a few years became men of independence and fortune and who if they remained in this country would never be anything better than paupers.
That there their lands were free soil. No rents tithes or tax to pay save country cess that there was no such thing as bigotry known there that there every man might worship his god in the form he liked without incurring the ill will of his brother man as was unfortunately too often the case here where man made god and his scriptures the causes of ill will and hatred instead of love.
He next went on to say that he intended leaving this country about the commencement of September next and that he would that day commence to take down a list of the names of such as were willing to accompany him as by going with him it would be a great saving to them as he intended to charter a vessel if he found he had as many ready to go as would enable him to do so, and that he expected that each applicant would be ready to deposit the sum of 10/- (ten shillings) as a guarantee to him and as a portion of their passage money. Said his place of destination was the State of Ohio remarking that it was one of the best in the union for climate soil etc and that he intended to purchase land there himself and hoped to be able to form a colony there of his own people.
Mr. Hoare then concluded by exhorting all such as could accompany him to do so if they valued their own or families’ future welfare and as he believed that there was not the slightest of hopes of doing good by remaining in this country but on the contrary inevitable destitution.
About 2000 persons were present many of whom came a distance of seven or ten miles. I understand that about one hundred persons gave down their names with the intention of accompanying Mr. Hoare and it is supposed that from six to seven hundred persons will leave the country with him.