HISTORY OF THE AOH
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Catholic, Irish American Fraternal Organization founded in New York Cityon May 4th, 1836. The Order can trace its roots back to a parent organization, of the same name, which has existed in Ireland for over 300 years. However, while the organizations share a common thread, the North American AOH is a separate and much larger organization.
The Order evloved from a need in the early sixteen hundreds to protect the lives of priests who risked immediate death to keep the Catholic Faith alive in occupied Ireland after the reign of England's King Henry VIII. When England implemented its dreadful Penal Laws in Ireland, various secret social societies were formed across the country. These groups worked to aid and comfort the people by whatever means available.
Similarly, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America was founded on May 4th, 1836 at New York's Saint James Church, to protect the lergy, and church property from the "Know Nothings" and their followers. At the same time, the vast influx of Irish Immigrants fleeing famine issues in Ireland in the late 1840's prompted a growth of various social societies in the United States. The largest of which was, and continues to be, The Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Active across the United States, The AOH seeks to aid the newly arrived Irish, both socially and politically. The numerous Divisions located throughout the US traditionally have been among the first to welcome new Irish Americans. Here, the Irish culture of art, dance, music, and sport is fostered and preserved. The newcomers can meet some of "their own" and are introduced to the social atmosphere of the Irish-American community.
The AOH has been at the political forefront for issues concerning the Irish, such as; Immigration Reform, Economic Incentives both in the US and in Ireland, The human rights issues addressed in the MacBride Legislation, Right to Life, and a peaceful solution to the issues that divide Ireland.
The AOH also provides a continuing bridge with Ireland for those who are generations removed from Ireland.
The Somerset County Ancient Order of Hibernians Saint Patrick Division 1 was established in 1983 by 16 Charter Members. Since then we have grown to a current membership of over 200 members who help promote the AOH Motto of:
"Friendship, Unity, & Christian Charity"
in Somerset County and surrounding area for over 30 years.
For Further information on the AOH please visit both the National AOH Website and New Jersey State AOH website by clicking on the links to the right.
Somerset County Ancient Order of Hibernians
Saint Patrick Division I
New Jersey AOH