Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from American National Biography. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 August 2019

Morrissey, Johnlocked

(12 February 1831–01 May 1878)
  • Rodney P. Carlisle


Morrissey, John (12 February 1831–01 May 1878), gambler, prizefighter, and U.S. congressman, was born in Templemore, County Tipperary, Ireland, the son of Timothy Morrissey, a factory worker, and Julia or Mary, whose maiden name is unknown. He immigrated with his family to Canada in 1834 and then moved with his family to Troy, New York, where he grew up. As a youth, Morrissey joined several street gangs in Troy and was constantly involved in brawls and gang fights. He worked briefly in a wallpaper factory and in the Burden iron works. He was the leader of a gang called the Downtowns, which engaged in continuing fights with the Uptowns. By 1848, at the age of seventeen, Morrissey began to consider a career in prizefighting after beating a gang of six Uptowns in one afternoon. He got a job as a deck hand on a Hudson River steamer, and about 1849 he married Sarah Smith, the daughter of the ship’s captain. They had one child who died in childhood....

Access to the complete content on American National Biography requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.