Mr and Mrs Barney Williams

We have several earlier posts on Civil War Gazette related to Irish songster Barney Williams, and his wife Mary. All of these images are scanned from the originals in our possession.

Barney Williams, (Bernard O’Flaherty) was born in Cork county Ireland in 1823. His parents immigrated to America when he was a young boy and settled in New York. By 1836, at age 13, he was connected with the Franklin theatre. He learned clogging while in Ireland and became the first professional clogger in America by 1840. In his early performance-days Barney performed negro minstrels, the circus, and performed a variety of song-n-dance routines. Click on the following links to read about Williams’s performance career during the Civil War in America.

We recently found the following images of the famous performing-couple to share with our readers.

scan0003.jpg by you.
The Illustrated London News, July 26, 1856: p, 91

Mrs Barney Williams as the “Yankee Girl”

scan0002.jpg by you.
Mrs Barney Williams, The Gleason Pictorial, October 22, 1853: p. 264

Mrs. Barney Williams

I found this broadside ad promoting a performance of Barney Williams.

scan0001.jpg by you.
Barney Williams broadside ad


  1. Barney is my great-great-great-great(I think thats enough) grandfather. I have been trying to research him for quite some time now. We have alot of the play bills of him & Marie his wife. We even have the scrap book that Marie made of his career. thank you for posting this I am looking forward to looking into him more.

  2. I am writing a book about mid-nineteenth-century acting couples and would be interested in the collections that housed these documents. Also, Mr. Desmond if you are ever willing to share access to your private holding, I would be very interested in seeing them. Thanks, Nan Mullenneaux, Duke University,

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