The Kennedy Files : Timeline Of November 22nd,1963


John Fitzgerald Kennedy, America’s first Irish-Catholic president, was a son of two families whose roots stretched back to Ireland.

The Fitzgerald family was from the rural County Limerick village of Bruff. Between 1846 and 1855, some of the Fitzgeralds migrated to America to escape the devastating potato famine. Thomas Fitzgerald, born in Bruff in 1823, and Rose Anna Cox, born in County Cavan in 1835, were the parents of John Francis Fitzgerald, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 11, 1863.

On September 18, 1889, John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald married Mary Josephine Hannon of Acton, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Michael Hannon and Mary Ann Fitzgerald, both born in Ireland. Their daughter, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was born on July 22, 1890 in Boston. She was John F. Kennedy’s mother.

During the same period that the Fitzgeralds migrated to America, Patrick Kennedy, a cooper, left his ancestral home in Dunganstown, County Wexford, and sailed for the United States. In 1849, he married Bridget Murphy, who was born about 1827 in Owenduff, also in County Wexford. Nine years later she was a widow with four small children, the youngest of whom, Patrick Joseph Kennedy, would become John F. Kennedy’s grandfather.

In November 1887, Patrick Joseph “P. J.” Kennedy married Mary Augusta Hickey, daughter of Irish couple James Hickey and Margaret M. Field. Their son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, was born on September 6, 1888 in East Boston. He was John F. Kennedy’s father.

The Fitzgeralds and Kennedys lived and worked in Boston, seeking to take advantage of the economic opportunity offered in America. But,first, they had to overcome the harsh, widespread discrimination against Irish-Catholic immigrants at that time. The early Kennedys and Fitzgeralds worked as peddlers, coopers and common labourers; later they became clerks, tavern owners and retailers.

By the end of the century, Patrick “P. J.” Kennedy and John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, the president’s maternal grandfather, had become successful Boston politicians. Honey Fitz served twice as mayor of Boston and as a member of the U.S. Congress.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy relished his Irish heritage. During President Kennedy’s historic visit to Ireland in June 1963, he remarked to the people of New Ross:

“When my great grandfather left here to become a cooper in East Boston, he carried nothing with him except two things: a strong religious faith and a strong desire for liberty. I am glad to say that all of his great-grandchildren have valued that inheritance.”

Having traced the Irish roots of JFK we now shift our focus to the tragic events which occurred fifty years ago today as the President was gunned down in Dallas, Texas.


Timeline of November 22,1963

Early Morning — President John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States Of America, makes a few remarks to several thousand people outside the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth where the president and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy spent the night. The first lady is still getting ready for the day. The president shakes hands with some in the audience.

In the hotel, the president speaks at a breakfast meeting with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

11:20 a.m. — The presidential party leaves Carswell Air Force Base for the short flight to Love Field in Dallas.

11:40 a.m. – The presidential airplane , Air Force One lands in Dallas. The presidential party gets into a Lincoln convertible; Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, were already seated in the front seats. The presidential motorcade proceeds on 10-mile route through downtown Dallas, headed for the Trade Mart where the president was to speak at a luncheon.

12:30 p.m. — Gunshots ring out as the motorcade went passes the Texas School Book Depository at Dealey Plaza.

The president is shot in the head and neck. Connally is also hit.

12:38 p.m. — The Lincoln goes directly to nearby Parkland Memorial Hospital but the president cannot be saved.

12:57 p.m. — Last rites are administered.

1 p.m. — President Kennedy is pronounced dead. Connally would later recover.

1:15 p.m. — Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit is shot in Oak Cliff, Texas. Witnesses later said Lee Harvey Oswald was spotted in the area with a gun.

1:22 p.m. –Texas Book Depository officials have checked their employees and determined Lee Harvey Oswald is missing. Police find a rifle at the depository.

About 1:45 p.m. — Police locate and arrest Oswald at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff.

2:15 p.m. — The president’s body is taken to Air Force One at Love Field.

2:38 p.m. — Before the plane departs, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office and is sworn in as the 36th president.

7:05 p.m. — Oswald is charged with the murder of Tippit.

Later that night, Oswald is arraigned for the murder of President Kennedy.

Nov. 23 — President Johnson declares Nov. 25 a national day of mourning

Sunday, Nov. 24 — As Oswald is to be moved from Dallas police headquarters to jail, a man suddenly appears and shoots him point-blank. The shooting is seen live on television by a nation gripped by the tragedy of the president’s assassination. The shooter is identified as Jack Ruby. Oswald died later that day at the same hospital where the president had been taken.

Later Sunday — A caisson drawn by six gray horses and accompanied by one riderless black horse escorts President Kennedy’s flag-draped casket from the White House to the nation’s Capitol. His body laid in state at the Capitol Rotunda where approximately 250,000 mourners came to pay their respects.

Nov. 25: President Kennedy is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Millions watch the ceremony on television. Jacqueline Kennedy and the president’ brothers Robert and Edward light an eternal flame at the president’s grave.

Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Images courtesy of and Dallas Morning News

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