Harman Blennerhassett was a descendant of Killorglin’s “Black Jack” Blennerhassett. Revolution was in the blood. “Black Jack” participated in the Glorious Revolution which placed William of Orange on the throne of England after the Irish campaign of 1689-91. Later “Black Jack” wrote the most famous genealogy in Kerry history.
Harman’s revolutionary activities a century or so after “Black Jack” are shrouded in mystery, but all histories tell us that he sold the Killorglin Blennerhassett estate to Lord Ventry (Thomas Mullins, Burnham, near Dingle) in 1796 and departed for America. Respectable histories omit the scandal which surrounded his departure. Harman’s wife was his niece Margaret Agnew, daughter of Harman’s sister Catherine Blennerhassett and Capt. Robert Agnew. Both families were scandalised by the marriage and Margaret’s family disowned her. The couple departed England for New York to settle in the USA. For eight years they lived in their mansion (pictured below) on an island in the Ohio river, Blennerhassett Island.
Then, in the spring of 1805, Aaron Burr, former Vice-President, entered the scene and somehow influenced Harman to join the Burr conspiracy to create a Southwestern empire in what remains today a part of the United States. Opinion is still divided on Harman’s role, if any, in the Burr conspiracy, but he had to defend himself in court when the conspiracy failed. The episode features in all the biographies of Burr.