McTier, Martha (c. 1743–1837)

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McTier, Martha (c. 1743–1837)

Irish letter writer . Born Martha Drennan in Ireland around 1743; died in 1837; sister of William Drennan (a member of the United Irishmen); married Samuel McTier (a politician).

Martha McTier was born around 1743 in what is now Northern Ireland. Her brother, William Drennan, was a member of the United Irishmen, an organization inspired by the French Revolution that hoped to separate Ireland from Britain and institute a united, secular republic. Through her association with him, McTier met many of the leading Irish politicians and reformers of the day. Her political connections were further extended through her marriage to Samuel McTier, president of the First Belfast Society of United Irishmen. McTier maintained an extensive correspondence, and her political commentary has proven valuable to historians studying Irish and British politics in the turbulent period around the turn of the 19th century. She was also an avid gambler who held her own with men, writing, "I play as well as any of them, and when I lose too much, I will quit it."


Newmann, Kate, comp. Dictionary of Ulster Biography. The Institute of Irish Studies, the Queen's University of Belfast, 1993.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan