Deasy, Timothy (1838/41–1880), soldier, Fenian, and politician, was born in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. During 1847 his family emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, and settled in the nearby city of Lawrence, in a district dominated by Irish immigrants. He may have completed an apprenticeship as a tailor before enlisting, with his brother, Cornelius, in the 9th (Irish) Massachusetts regiment of the Union army in June 1861. Both brothers survived the brutal campaigns in Virginia between 1862 and 1865. Promoted to lieutenant in 1862, Timothy showed heroic bravery during the defeat of the Union army at the Battle of the Wilderness, early May 1864, when he steadfastly kept his company together, despite serious wounds, as the army fell apart during a brushwood conflagration.
He had earlier joined the American Fenian Brotherhood and, upon discharge from the army in June 1865, was sent to Ireland to assist the IRB in organising a rising. He was appointed to the IRB's military council, though he seems to have acted in a minor capacity. Landing in Cork on 26 August, he stayed briefly in Skibbereen, and moved to Clonakilty on 14 September, eluding the attentions of the authorities until detained under the Peace Preservation Act on 24 September. After two weeks in custody he was released and ordered to leave the country. Back in Ireland within a month, he assisted in the escape of James Stephens (qv) from Richmond jail, Dublin (24 November 1865). Re-emerging in the USA in early 1866, he was consulted by Capt. John O'Neill (qv) during preparations for the ill-conceived invasion of Canada on 31 May 1866. Some months later he returned to Cork under instructions from the Fenian leader Col. Thomas J. Kelly (qv) to further plans for a rising in the county. He was second-in-command to Kelly during the abortive raid on Chester castle on 11 February 1867, and later that month fled to Dublin. It is unclear whether he participated in the Fenian rising of 5-6 March 1867, although he successfully escaped arrest in the aftermath. Resident in Manchester with Kelly through the summer of 1867, the pair were arrested outside a Fenian rendezvous on 11 September. On 18 September, while being transferred from the courthouse in Manchester to the county jail, they were rescued from a police van by local Fenians, much to the embarrassment and anger of the British authorities. Deasy slipped back to New York in October to a rapturous welcome from American Fenians, and had begun management of a public house in Lawrence when on 23 November 1867 the three ‘Manchester martyrs’ were hanged for shooting dead a police sergeant during the rescue.
It was alleged that Deasy clandestinely returned to Ireland again in late 1867, and was involved in some way in the clumsily organised Clerkenwell prison explosion in London on 13 December. During the later 1860s and the 1870s he severed his radical links, and took up electoral politics. He was elected to Lawrence City Council in 1870 and to the Massachusetts house of representatives in 1876 and 1878, overcoming significant anti-Irish prejudice in the attempt. A self-effacing man within Fenian ranks, he seems to have taken the role of background adviser in operations, but it is not easy to define his organisational significance. He died 10 December 1880 and is buried in the family plot in the Immaculate Conception graveyard, Lawrence; he never married.