The Utica Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is one steeped in history. We are spending time conducting research on the history that has led to what the parade is today. Check back soon for more details. If you notice errors here or have information on the history of our great parade please contact David Wood.

Here is an article that covers some of the history of the parade and its first Grand Marshal written by Al Sisti in 2007:

Statesman, Entrepreneur… and the first Parade Grand Marshal

When Bill Barry leads the way this year, he will be following the footsteps of many past Parade Grand Marshals… including those taken by the founder of Utica’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, John C. Devereux. Born at his father’s farm, The Leap, near Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland, 5 Aug., 1774, John Devereux landed at New York about 1797, gave dancing lessons in Connecticut, and in 1802 opened a store in Utica, New York. He was successful and became wealthy; was public spirited and enterprising. He was elected the first mayor of Utica in 1840. He and his brother Nicholas founded the Utica Savings Bank. Dr. Bagg in “The Pioneers of Utica” says, “a settler of 1802 and a very prince among his fellows was John C. Devereux whose honourable career and many deeds of charity left behind him a memory as verdant as that of the green isle whence he came.” In addition to these many citations, he is also credited with being the founder, organizer and grand marshal of Utica’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade… in1824! That day, he had organized the city’s first St. Patrick’s Day banquet at Bagg’s Hotel, after which he led the guests and others in what would be the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He led them again the next year… and the next… and the next; for 24 years in all. Local historian Judge John J. Walsh recounted: “In later years, a huge parade through the streets of Utica became a regular feature of the day, following a Mass in Old St. John’s Church, and in later years at St. Patrick’s in West Utica,” Walsh wrote. “Until his death in 1848, Utica’s chief Irishman, John C. Devereux, always headed the marchers, wearing a green sash and sporting a genuine shamrock from the ‘oul sod’ in his buttonhole.” Utica, and the Irish community, still feels the influence of Mr. Devereux to this day, with his name evident on various streets and structures throughout the city. In fact, the local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians has been chartered as the John C. Devereux Division. Wherever you end up on parade day, and whatever you end up doing, doff your cap and lift a glass to John C. Devereux: A great American, a great Irishman, and a great Utican. (some material for this article was liberally taken from “The Catholic Encyclopedia,” “The Pioneers of Utica” and “Vignettes of Old Utica”).

Below is the list of Grand Marshal’s from 1978 to 2020 are listed below:

  • 2020 – Nicholas Durr
  • 2019 –  John Sullivan
  • 2018 –  Judith Weeks
  •  2017 – Vaughn Lang
  •  2016 – Christopher McGrath
  •  2015 – Steve McMurray
  •  2014 – Sister Maureen Denn
  •  2013 – Russell E. Brooks II
  •  2012 – Patrick Costello
  •  2011 – Honorable Michael Dwyer
  •  2010 – Frank Kealy
  •  2009 – James O’Looney
  •  2008 – James Kellmurray
  •  2007 – William Barry
  •  2006 – Tom Coyne
  •  2005 – Dr. Daniel Murphy
  •  2004 – Mike Austin
  •  2003 – Bill Corrigan
  •  2002 – Jim Simpson
  •  2001 – Rev. Sean O’Brien
  •  2000 – Charley Thomas
  •  1999 – Joseph T. White
  •  1998 – Dan Callahan
  •  1997 – Kevin Kearney
  •  1996 – Barbara Klein
  •  1995 – Michael Simpson
  •  1994 – Vincent Colgan
  •  1993 – Robert Kelly Sr.
  •  1992 – Joe Kelly
  •  1991 – Frank Dulan
  •  1990 – Sen. James Donovan
  •  1989 – Walter Doyle McIncrow
  •  1988 – Michael McGuirl
  •  1987 – Jack Callahan
  •  1986 – Robert Griffin
  • 1985 – Gerald Darby
  • 1984 – James O’Brien
  • 1983 – Vincent Bannigan
  • 1982 – Howard Welch
  • 1981 – Raymond Durr
  • 1980 – John Oakes
  • 1979 – Vincent Corrou Jr.
  • 1978 – Jerome (Jerry) Morgan
    •  WE ARE MISSING NAMES FROM THIS TIME, IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THIS INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT US!
  • 1849 – Michael McQuade
  • 1824 to 1848 – John C. Devereux