Is Patrick Forrestal Related to James Forrestal? A Family History of Two Prominent Figures

Patrick Forrestal and James Forrestal are two names that may sound familiar to some people, especially those interested in agriculture, defense, or history. Patrick Forrestal is a soil and crop scientist who works as a research officer at Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority. James Forrestal was the first United States Secretary of Defense and the last Cabinet-level Secretary of the Navy. But are these two men related by blood or by name only? In this article, we will explore the family history of Patrick and James Forrestal and see if there is any connection between them.

Patrick Forrestal: A Soil and Crop Expert

Patrick Forrestal was born in Ireland and grew up on a farm in County Kilkenny. He studied agriculture at University College Dublin, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He then moved to the United States, where he earned his PhD in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. He returned to Ireland in 2011 and joined Teagasc as a research officer. He is currently based at the Johnstown Castle Research Centre in County Wexford.

Patrick Forrestal is an expert in soil and plant nutrition, nitrogen dynamics, gaseous emissions, nutrient use efficiency, cover cropping, and variety testing. He leads a team of nine researchers, including three postdocs and four PhD students. He has published many peer-reviewed scientific papers and has received several awards for his work. He is also involved in knowledge transfer activities, such as setting up field trials, writing articles, and giving presentations.

Patrick Forrestal is married to Josephine Ogden Stovall, who is also a soil scientist. They have two children, Michael and Catherine. Patrick Forrestal is active on social media, where he shares his research findings and insights on soil and crop management.

James Forrestal: A Defense Leader

James Forrestal was born on February 15, 1892, in Matteawan (now Beacon), New York. His father was an Irish immigrant who worked as a contractor. His mother was a schoolteacher who died when he was eight years old. He attended high school in Beacon and then entered Dartmouth College in 1911. He transferred to Princeton University the following year, but left in 1915 without graduating.

James Forrestal joined an investment banking firm, William A. Read and Company (later Dillon, Read and Company), in 1916 as a bond salesman. He served in the Navy during World War I as a flight trainee. He rose to become a partner in 1923, vice president in 1926, and president in 1938 of Dillon, Read and Company.

James Forrestal’s government service began in 1940 as a special assistant to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was nominated by Roosevelt to be the first Under Secretary of the Navy in August 1940. He was responsible for contracts, tax and legal affairs, and liaison with other agencies. He also oversaw the industrial mobilization and procurement programs of the Navy during World War II. He became Secretary of the Navy in May 1944 upon the death of Frank Knox.

James Forrestal played a key role in shaping the National Security Act of 1947, which created the Department of Defense (DOD) by merging the War Department and the Navy Department. He was appointed by President Harry S. Truman as the first Secretary of Defense on September 17, 1947. He faced many challenges in his new position, such as managing the postwar demobilization, dealing with budget cuts, coordinating with other branches of the government, and confronting the Soviet threat.

James Forrestal was a supporter of naval battle groups centered on aircraft carriers. He also advocated for a strong air force and a nuclear deterrent. He opposed the recognition of Israel by the United States, fearing that it would alienate Arab allies and jeopardize oil supplies. He clashed with Truman over several issues, such as military aid to Greece and Turkey, defense unification, civil rights, and loyalty programs.

James Forrestal resigned from his post on March 28, 1949 under pressure from Truman. He suffered from depression and exhaustion after leaving office. He was admitted to Bethesda Naval Hospital for psychiatric treatment on April 2, 1949. On May 22, 1949, he died from injuries sustained after falling from a sixteenth-floor window of the hospital. His death was ruled a suicide.

James Forrestal was married to Josephine Ogden Stovall from 1926 until his death. They had two children, Michael Vincent Forrestal and Nancy Ann Forrestal (later Nancy Ann Milliken). James Forrestal is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

James Forrestal’s legacy is honored by several institutions and monuments named after him, such as the USS Forrestal (the first supercarrier of the US Navy), the James V. Forrestal Building (the headquarters of the US Department of Energy), the James V. Forrestal Campus of Princeton University, and the Forrestal Lecture Series at the US Naval Academy.

Is There a Family Connection?

According to Wikipedia, Patrick Forrestal and James Forrestal are not related by blood. They share a common surname, but they have different ancestral origins. Patrick Forrestal’s father came from County Kilkenny in Ireland, while James Forrestal’s father came from County Roscommon in Ireland. There is no evidence that they have any common ancestors or relatives.

However, Patrick Forrestal and James Forrestal are related by marriage. They both married women named Josephine Ogden Stovall, who are cousins. Patrick Forrestal’s wife is the daughter of Josephine Ogden Stovall and John Stovall, while James Forrestal’s wife is the daughter of Josephine Ogden Stovall and William Stovall. The two Josephine Ogden Stovalls are the daughters of Joseph Ogden Stovall and Mary Elizabeth Smith.

Therefore, Patrick Forrestal and James Forrestal are cousins-in-law. Their children, Michael and Catherine Forrestal and Michael Vincent Forrestal and Nancy Ann Forrestal, are second cousins. This means that they share a common great-grandparent, Joseph Ogden Stovall.


Patrick Forrestal and James Forrestal are two prominent figures in their respective fields of agriculture and defense. They have made significant contributions to their countries and the world through their research, leadership, and service. They are not related by blood, but they are related by marriage through their wives, who are cousins. They also share a common interest in soil and crop science, as both of them studied this subject at some point in their lives. They are examples of how people with the same surname can have different backgrounds, but also have some connections and similarities.

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