Due to the evolution of the language, the hispanization of foreign nouns, and different spelling errors, the surname O’Crowley is possible to find it written in different ways, being the most common cases: O’Crowley, Crowley, O’Crouley and even , O’Cronley. Having said that, we can begin to talk about Dermot Crowley and Mary O’Donnell who, in 1727, got married in the old Parochial Church of San Miguel, located in Limerick capital. After that and, probably, due to religious conflicts between Protestants and Catholics, as well as a period of bad harvests, they left, from Limerick itself, towards the then thriving and cosmopolitan city of Cádiz, in 1730.Both were born in the province of Munster. Specifically, in the case of Dermot, nicknamed Jeremiah, he was from Limerick County, and was baptized in the Parish of Kilfinane. For her part, Mary, who belonged to Clare County, was baptized at Kilfenora Parish. In the link did not intervene or any capital, and both lived what Demetrio, hispanic name of Dermot, managed to contribute with his work as a tailor. Fruit of this couple was born, on February 21, 1740, the Cádiz-born Pedro Alonso O’Crouley O’Donnell, the only survivor of the children they had, as the rest died at a tender age. He was baptized on the 24th of that month in the Church of Santa Cruz, also known as Old Cathedral. It studied, first, in the School of the Company, until later, in 1749, the same year in which its father died, was sent to Senlis (France), next to Augustinian monks, with which it learned Latin, English, and French with an uncommon perfection. For its part, Mary O’Donnell died in 1768.
Pedro Alonso O’Crouley, merchant by profession, made four transatlantic trips to the Port of Veracruz, corresponding to the years 1765, 1768, 1772 and 1776, being, in the course of the third of them, when he wrote his book Compelling Idea of the Kingdom of New Spain. On January 27, 1784, aged 43, O’Crouley celebrated his wedding with María de los Dolores Power Gil, 19, born on July 13, 1764, and daughter of Juan Power and Eugenia Gil, close to the personal circle of Pedro. She was a young woman from Cadiz with Irish, Spanish, Belgian and Dutch ancestors. Together with her husband she had 9 children between 1785 and 1802: María de los Dolores; Juan Josef; Antonio; Antonia; Eugenia; Elena; Pedro Alonso; Katherine; and María Josefa.
One of the most important milestones in Pedro’s life was having been recognized as a noble. For this he resorted to the opening of a file of nobility, alleging that his ancestors had been squires in Ireland. Also, he managed to be part of prestigious institutions of the time such as: the Holy Brotherhood of Toledo; the Real Sociedad Bascongada de Amigos del País; the Edinburgh Antiquarian Society; and the Royal Academy of History. In addition to his profession as a merchant, O’Crouley stood out especially in his activity as an antiquarian, his true passion, that earned him a greater recognition and for which he has become mostly remembered. So, he came to house, in his palace house, the current street Manuel Rancés No. 6, the well-known Museaei O-Croulianei, the result of a personal collection composed of valuable coins, cameos, sculptures and other museum pieces, where his repertoire of paintings occupied an important place, being the same as authors such as José de Ribera, Alonso Cano, Murillo, Zurbarán, Rubens, Pablo Veronese, Van Dyck, Ribalta, Castillo, Céspedes, Velázquez, Carreño, Carla Dolci, Laurent de la Hyra, Piombo, Burgundian, etc. He left a good account in the annex of a work by Joseph Addison, which he translated, adding a list with most of the antiquities he managed to gather: Dialogues on the usefulness of ancient medals.In a time of greater economic complications, marked by epidemics and successive wars, he devoted himself to collecting clippings about the War of Independence and the Cortes of Cádiz, a material delivered in the Cádiz-based Seminary of San Bartolomé, as he left reflected, the deceased father, Anton Solé. However, to this day, the current direction of the center keeps closed the doors to all kinds of investigations, denying in turn, the existence of such documentary material, which would also contain handwritten letters from Pedro himself.
Finally, about his descendants, it is worth mentioning some of the most famous ones, such as his own son Pedro Alonso O’Crowley Power, author of the theatrical work El padre romano; her granddaughters Amalia O’Crowley Sabater, author of El granto del verdugo, and Adelaida Riquelme O’Crouley, director of the Normal School of Teachers of Ciudad Real, Granada and Alicante, as well as of the Normal School of Central Teachers of the Kingdom (in Madrid); his great-grandson José Villalba Riquelme, Minister of Defense during the time of Alfonso XIII; and his great-great-grandson José Villalba Rubio, a Republican colonel in charge of the defense of Málaga during the Spanish Civil War.
Author: José María Millán Fuentes