The Healy family of Georgia became notable in U.S. history because the siblings achieved much in the second half of the nineteenth century, most within the Catholic Church. They were born in Jones County, Georgia to Mary Eliza, a mulatto slave, and her common-law husband, Michael Morris Healy, an Irish Catholic immigrant from County Roscommon, who became a wealthy cotton planter. As they were born into slavery, the children were prohibited from being educated in Georgia, although they were majority European in ancestry. The wealthy planter sent his mixed-race children to the North for education to ensure their futures. The sons attended a combination of Quaker and later Catholic schools in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, with Patrick and Sherwood earning doctorates at Saint-Sulpice in Paris, France; the three daughters were educated at Catholic convent schools in Montreal, Canada.
Of the nine children who lived to adulthood, three of the sons became ordained Catholic priests and educators. All three daughters became nuns; Eliza Healy, who joined the Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal, attained the rank of Mother Superior at their convent and school of Villa Barlow, St. Albans, Vermont, which she managed for 15 years. She was a noted educator as well.
Michael joined the United States Revenue Cutter Service, a predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard. Today he is claimed as the first person of African-American descent to command a federal ship. He was notable for serving more than 20 years along the 20,000-mile (32,000 km) coastline of the newly acquired Territory of Alaska. Three of the Healy children have been individually honored by the naming of various buildings, awards and a ship for them. The former site of the Healy family's plantation near Macon, Georgia is now called Healy Point. It includes the Healy Point Country Club.