Joseph McGarrity (1874-1940) was born in Carrickmore, County Tyrone, Ireland. He emigrated to the USA in 1892 at the age of 18 and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1893 until his death he was a leading member of the Clan na Gael organisation. He also was a successful businessman; however, his business failed on three occasions, twice due to embezzlement by his business partner. McGarrity helped sponsor several Irish Race Conventions and founded and ran a newspaper called the Irish Press from 1918-22 that supported the War of Independence in Ireland.
During the First World War, while the USA was still neutral, McGarrity was involved in the Hindu German Conspiracy; he arranged the Annie Larsen arms purchase and shipment from New York to San Diego for India.