The HIBERNIAN GUARDS, a Cleveland-based independent military company of Irish-American volunteers, made its first public appearance during the July 4th parade in 1847, under the direction of Capt. P. A. McBarron. It was extremely active in the 1850s under Capt. William Kinney, establishing an armory on Oregon St. (Rockwell Ave.) and holding annual parades, dinners, and balls. Still under Kinney's leadership in June 1861, the Hibernian Guards, numbering 49 men and muskets, were mustered into service for 3-year stints as Co. B in the 8th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Army. The company saw action in such CIVIL WAR battles as Antietam and Gettysburg before its original members were mustered out of service on 13 July 1864. As a part of a larger army unit, the Guards had lost their group identity.

In Sept. 1874, the Guards were formed anew by Capt. Edward B. Campbell. The unit held a ball that Thanksgiving, marched in the 1875 Washington's Birthday Parade, and established an armory at 161 Detroit. It apparently did not last until 1876, however, perhaps losing members to a new unit of Irish-American Civil War veterans, the Emmett Guards (see FIFTEENTH REGIMENT, OHIO NATIONAL GUARD).

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