Here's a fantastic piece of oral history about the family of Packy Dillon. It's based on the recollections of Packy's daughter, Irene, and her husband Charles Wilson. It was compiled in December of 1956 by Wilson and I'm going to post what I think are the most relevant part.
John Dillon came to
from Mitchellstown, New York , about 1838 at the age of 17 years. He was employed by the proprietor of a meat market as a delivery boy. In making his deliveries, he met Alicia Donnelly, employed as a maid for a well to do family. County Cork, Ireland
At the age of 19, he married Alicia, then aged 16. (Alicia came to this Country from
, Belfast , in the North of Ireland) It is not known how long this pair remained in County Down , but they journeyed to New York whether by rail, steamboat or sailing ship is not known. They must have had in mind a search for business opportunities. How long they remained in New Orleans Rene does not remember her grandmothers telling her. However, they came to New Orleans by steamboat landing here on St. Louis Morgan Streetaround 19th Street. The Dillons then rented a stall in Union Market located at Broadway to 6th, Lucas to Morgan, the site of the present Union Market. Many St. Louisians now living, among them this writer, remember the old market as a place where the choicest meats, vegetables and game were on sale. At that time and for many years after all kinds of wild game was for sale, and was very plentiful, deer, bear, ducks, geese, quail, rabbits etc. in season.
Locust Streetproperty was adjacent to during the Civil War. This camp was attacked by the Confederates, but how the skirmish came out the writer does not know (shame on him). The Dillons location was quite a way West of the district which extended from what is now East of Camp Jackson 12th Streetand extending to somewhat West of Jefferson Avenue. The Dillons served practically all of the residents. He also had a contract to butcher cattle for the Army at Jefferson Barracks.
There was born to John and Alicia Dillon the following children-Steve, John, Patrick, James, Bridgett, Mamie and Edward. About 3 or 4 were born who died in infancy.
John was a large contributor to
at its building. He was a patron of the sports, especially prize-fighting and made more than one trip to Mullanphy Hospital , always by steamboat, to witness the big ones. He did not make this trip without wagering on the result and they say he was a good judge of fighters as he was of cattle. John was a prominent member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which is still in existence now but much diminished in membership. Rebe is in possession of a huge sash of green silk hand painted with the Hibernian emblem and reaching to the floor when slung across the shoulders, and which he wore at the head of the parade, always on a trusty and prancing steed. New Orleans
It is told of John, that on occasion when a patron of a saloon made a disparaging remark about the Virgin Mary, John tossed the offender through the ornate mirror which adorned all swank saloons in those days. The damage, $500, was paid by Dillon. John had two brothers, both of whom went West from
, and it is supposed engaged in the cattle business. One of the brothers subsequently visited him in St. Louis and told that he had married a full-blooded squaw. Neither brother was heard from after this. St. Louis