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Register of the Papers of the



1.5 ft.



The John Costello family left Dublin, Ireland, and sailed from Liverpool, arriving in the United States on July 27, 1833, after a forty-seven day journey.  They intended to make their home in Cincinnati "for its locality, for health, prospects in business, and advantages for investments of capital," but settled temporarily in Philadelphia.  A son, James P.C. Costello, and perhaps other members of the family, lived in Tennessee for a number of years during which time James made the acquaintance of Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk.  The remainder of the family stayed permanently in Philadelphia, never carrying out the original intention to settle in Cincinnati.

By profession John Costello was a "woollen merchant," but it appears that the family's main income was derived from Dublin real estate, primarily residential rental property.  Before departing for the United States, John Costello gave power of attorney to William Woodlock, making him business manager of the family property.  Soon Woodlock became too ill to handle affairs and responsibility was passed on to Alfred Barrett, an attorney who proved to be an irresponsible person who mismanaged affairs, absconding with a considerable sum of James' wife's money.  After the unfortunate incident with Barrett and the death of John Costello, ca. 1836-1846, James returned to Dublin to take charge of the family property and to direct the complicated business of settling his father's estate.


This collection was purchased in 1974.


The Costello family papers, 1827, contain correspondence, 1833-1874, the bulk of it between John Costello and his business manager, William Woodlock, and between James Costello and his brother Nicholas and Cornelius.  The correspondence is concerned mainly with business affairs; it describes various properties and contains comments about the tenants and necessary repairs.  It also outlines the circumstances behind several lawsuits in which the family was involved, and is useful in establishing relationships between family members and the people named in the lawsuits.  The few letters of a personal nature contain expressions of sympathy and reminiscences of deceased relative, opinions about the American Civil War, observations of the political situation in Ireland, and denunciations of the legal profession.  The correspondence is arranged chronologically, and is followed by financial records and legal papers, 1827-1872, also arranged chronologically.

James Costello wrote poetry, and manuscript copies as well as the final printed versions of his poetry are contained in the collection.  They include: "The Azure-Robed Knight and The Lady of the Isles, a Poem on the Installation of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, as Chief Knight of the Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick," ca. 1874, "The Danish Conquest, or The Royal Marriage, a Poem on the Marriage of Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales," 1863, "Visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to Ireland," and untitled poems.  Miscellaneous items include genealogical information about the family of Georgina Craven Costell, unidentified fragments of receipts and account books, and a bound recipe book containing recipes for food, rat poison, ink, and remedies for curing various ailments.

The box list of the Register of the Papers of the Costello(e) Family is two pages long.