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extracted from: Armagh Guardian, June 4th & 11th, 1849
brig Hannah of Maryport, Captain Curry Shaw, from Newry April 3rd 1849 to Quebec - thirty-four survivors remained aboard aboard the barque Nicaragua, Captain William Marshall, and arrived at Quebec on May 14th 1849. On the 30th April, Captain Marshall transferred twenty-eight survivors to the barque Broom (from Glasgow) and seventeen to the [barque] Lord Byron and twenty-two to the barque Aldebaran. On the 2nd of May, another twenty survivors were transferred to the Port of Glasgow. The date of arrival at Quebec for the latter four vessels, is unknown. (list of passengers)
June 4th 1849
The heart-rending tidings of the total wreck of the Hannah, freighted with nearly two hundred emigrants, bound for Quebec from Newry, was reported yesterday afternoon at Lloyd's, the particulars having been received by the American mail-steamer, America, at Liverpool.
The unfortunate vessel, the Hannah, was a brig between 150 and 200 tons burden, belonging to Maryport, and manned by a crew, it is said, of 12 seamen, under the command of Mr. Shaw, the master. On the 3rd of April last she sailed from Newry with the above number of emigrants on board, having previously been overhauled and examined by her Majesty's emigration agent at that port. The emigrants chiefly consisted of agricultural labourers and their wives and children.
The passage up to the 27th, considering the season of the year, was as favourable as could be expected. The vessel then encountered heavy winds, and a quantity of floating ice. The master, as well as possible bore off, in order to clear it, but it flocked round in huge masses, and on the morning of the 29th the unfortunate ship struck on a reef of ice of such magnitude as to carry away part of her bottom. It was about four o'clock when she took the ice, and the concussion threw the emigrants into a state of the most painful excitement. The poor creatures were below asleep, and immediately after the fearful striking of the ship they were to be seen rushing up to the deck with merely their night clothes on in the most indescribable confusion and alarm. The sounding of the pumps at once convinced them that the vessel was foundering. There were several feet of water in the hold, and it was rapidly increasing. As the only chance of keeping the ship afloat, a cry was raised to keep to the pumps until assistance could be obtained from some passing vessel, and also, it is presumed, to allow of the boats being prepared for the rescue of the emigrants. What steps were taken to secure their preservation no mention is made in the report received. A charge, however, is laid against the master and the first and second officers, of their having been guilty of one of the most revolting acts of inhumanity possible to be conceived. They had got the life-boat out, and the moment they found the vessel would inevitably go down, they jumped into it, and abandoned the wreck with the living mass on board. the gurgling noise of the rising water in her hold intimated to the helpless creatures their perilous condition, Already was the lower deck covered, too forcibly showing that her foundering was near at hand. The terrible scene that here ensued may be briefly told as one of the most agonising description, scarcely to be depicted. Their screams for help, rent the air, and it was with difficulty, that the remainder of the crew could induce the frantic creatures to comprehend the only chance left of saving their lives. Fortunately the ice was firm under the ship's bows, and the seamen convincing them as to its security many got on it. Its solidity being then apparent, a desperate struggle took place among the emigrants to leave the wreck. Men, women, and children many having infants suckling at the breast, with nothing on but their night-attire, were to be seen scrambling over the mass of ice. Many of the poor creatures slipped between the huge masses, and were either crushed to death or met with a watery grave.
The last to leave the wreck
were some of the crew, who contrived to save a small portion of spirits
and a few blankets.- Soon after they had got clear the ship's stern
rose, as it were, above water, and she went down head foremost, just
forty minutes after the collision with the ice. The sufferings of
the wretched creatures, exposed as they were amid towering masses
of ice, with a raging freezing gale of wind from the S.S.E., were
most harrowing. The seamen who were amongst them humanely gave up what
covering they had to the females, who had been
shockingly wounded and bruised in their course over the ice.-
On the 29th., about half-past six o'clock,
the wind blowing a strong gale from the S.S.E. and
a thick fall of sleet, the ship lying to the windward of a large
field of ice, Cape Rye [Ray] being S.E. by E.
about 27 miles distant, discovered something on the ice, which subsequently
turned out to be a flag of distress.-
As far as Captain Marshall could ascertain from the survivors, the number that perished by being crushed to death between the ice and frozen to death were from 50 to 60. As soon as he had succeeded in getting all on board the ship was got under weigh, and proceeded in the direction of Cape Ray. Every comfort that his means and the ship's capability afforded were placed at the sufferers disposal. The next day, meeting with the barque Broom, of Glasgow twenty-seven of the poor creatures were transferred on board of that vessel, and, in the course of the following day, forty-nine of the survivors, for comfort's sake, were placed on board three other vessels. The Nicaragua reached Quebec on the 10th of last month, where the remainder of the sufferers were landed. their names were Alexander Thompson, his wife and four children; William Tadford, wife and one child; William Anderson, wife, and four children; John Murphy, wife and four children; David Gurwin and wife, Patrick McGill, James Murphy and wife; Dr. William Graham; Peter McFearling (his father, mother and rest of the family drowned), also the following seamen of the Hannah.- John Offin, John Smith, John Parker, Richard Harwin, Alexander Harris, and David Jordan. The names of the emigrants shipped on board the vessel(s) from the Nicaragua are not mentioned.
The fate of the master and the others who took to the life boat and abandoned the emigrants is not known.
June 11th, 1849
THE WRECK OF THE 'HANNAH'.
We (Newry Telegraph) by this week's mail from America, have received, from a friend in Quebec, the following communication relative to the loss of the brig 'Hannah' from this port. For the perfect accuracy of the representation of our correspondent, we can unhesitatingly vouch; and his statement, with the explanatory list setting forth the names of the parties saved and lost, and specifying the counties whence they had emigrated will be read with much interest, and will have the effect of allaying the deep and painful anxiety which the tidings of the disastrous occurrence excited in the minds of many of the inhabitants of the rural districts adjacent to Newry:-
Quebec, 18th May, 1849.
List of passengers per brig 'Hannah', Curry Shaw, master, from the port of Newry, Ireland, which was wrecked by the ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the 29th April, 1849, distinguishing those saved and those lost, as nearly as can be ascertained:
Total number ascertained to be lost, 49, which, with 127, the number saved, made 176, the total number supposed to be embarked.
It is known that Alexander Thompson, his wife and four children; William Tadford [Tedford], wife and one child; William Anderson, wife and four children; John Murphy, wife and four children; David Gurwin [Gurvin, Garvin] and wife, Patrick McGill [McGinn] , James Murphy and wife; Joseph Kerr, wife and two children; Ann McGinn [McGenn] (all six children lost); Dr. William Graham; Peter McFearling (his father, mother and rest of the family drowned), also the following seamen of the Hannah.- John Offin, John Smith, John Parker, Richard Harwin, Alexander Harris, and David Jordan, arrived at Quebec aboard the Nicaragua.
It is ascertained from Captain Marshall's petition for compensation, that the following survivors arrived at Quebec aboard the vessel Port of Glasgow. Michael McGill, wife and two children; Owen McCourt [McCourse] and wife; Patrick McGurk [McGuerk], wife and two children; Peter Murphy, wife and one child; John Delaney [Delva], wife and sister; James Murphy and wife and sister's child.
Captain William Marshall of the barque Nicaragua, of Gloucester, maintained a list of passengers victualled by him. He recorded the names of some of the passengers differently than the list in the Armagh Guardian and included some names not listed in the Guardian.
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