News and British American Intelligencer 1860 Mar.14 pp. 1,2,3,4,6
& Mar.28 pp. 10,11
Hungarian, Allan Line 1859-1860
The Allan Line steamship Hungarian, Captain Thomas Jones,
from Liverpool and Queenstown, destined to Portland, Maine, with an
etimated 130-140 passengers and crew (sometimes estimated at 205), departed
Liverpool February 8th 1860 & Queenstown
February 9th 1860. On the night of February 19th 1860, she wrecked
on Cape Ledge, the west side of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, with total loss
The loss of the Hungarian, following so
soon upon that of the Indian, has thrown gloom over
the whole of British America, for although there could be no absolute
certainty on the subject, it was
feared that among her ill-fated passengers there were several well-know
colonists, whose families and friends were overwhelmed with anxiety for
their fate. Nothing had been seen of the ships' life-boats, of which
there were six very superior ones on board, and, excepting a few spars
and a portion of the mail bags, nothing had been washed ashore from the
wreck. Among the passengers, it was first reported in Montreal, were
the following:—Mr. Bramah, of the firm of A. Robertson and Co.,
and his young bride, a sister of Mr. Andrew Robertson; Mr. Baillie, of
the firm James Ballie and Co.; Mr. Neil Morrison, of the firm Morrison
and Impey; Mr. Roy, of the firm Roy and Dutort. There were some reasons
for fearing that Mr. Grant, the Secretary of the Grand Trunk Company,
would be among the passengers, but it was soon ascertained that he was
not. Mr. Blackwell too, the Managing Director of the Company, it was
first rumoured, had intended sailing in her. Mr. Marcus Talbot and
the Hon. Mr. Merritt, and others were also reported as on board, and
at New York is was even circulated that the number of persons on board
The Canadian Royal Mail steam ship Hungarian,
which left Liverpool on the 8th ult., was totally lost on the night of
on on Cape Ledge, the west side of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. Up to the
26th no communication with the wreck was possible owing to the weather.
The weather was very stormy at the time of the wreck and no assistance
could be rendered from the shore. At daybreak on the 20th one mast was
standing, with men on it, but soon after it went over. Pieces of wood-work,
with samll portions of the mail and the bodies of a man and a child,
have drifted ashore, but no fragments of the boats have been found. A
despatch from Ragged Island, dated the 24th ultimo, to the Postmaster-General,
says the supplementary mail bags for Canada and New York were picked
up in a safe but damaged state, and were awaiting orders. The latest
intelligence is dated Halifax, Feb.27, which says:—"The steam
Hungarian lies one mile from shore, in twelve feet of
water, visable at low water. The bay is covered with portions of the
ship and cargo,
a large amount of which will be saved."
The Hungarian was the newest steamer, except the Bohemian, at present
on the line, and she was considered in many respects the finest vessel
and had made some of the quickest passages. She had been running about
18 months, and her value is estimated at from £40,000 to £50,000.
Her crew numbered 80, and she took out on the 9th ult., from Queenstown,
about 15 cabin and 40 steerage passengers and a general cargo. The total
number of souls on board is, therefore estimated at from 130 to 140.
We append a list of the passengers (and part of the
|Mr. Wilson ; Mr. & Mrs. Balmer (Bramah ?); Rev. James
Stuart ; Mrs. Woods ; Mr. & Mrs. E. Evans ; Mr. Allan Cameron
; Mr. W. Crocker, Mrs. J.W. Crocker ; Mr. Leslie ; Mr. & Mrs.
Talbot ; Dr. & Mrs.
Samaniego ; Mr. Barry ; A.B. Corten (Gorton ?) ; Mrs. Wyatt ; Mr.
Boultonhouse (J. Boltonhouse, Sackville, NB)
; Mrs. Delaine and child ; Dr. Barratt. (Dr. C.B. Barrett)
|Steerage Passengers: from Liverpool
|Hugh M'Caffery, aged 26 ; Abraham Lagg, aged 23 ; William Vogle,
aged 36 ; John Richardson, aged 45 ; Henry Richardson, aged 20 ;
T. Allen, aged 24 ; Frederick Child, aged 33 ; Mrs. Child, aged 27
; Frederick Child, aged 2 ; Neil Morrison, aged 18 ; Richard Madden,
aged 89 ; Robert Martin, aged 24 ; Mr. E.D. Bartlett, aged 30 ; George
Shank (intermediate), aged 50.
|Received at Cork
|George M'Dermott ; John Daley ; John Delaney ; William Kerby ;
William Wright ; Michael Lucey [?] ; Martin Downes ; Francis Richardson
; Ellen Shehan ; Patrick M. Govern (intermediate)
|Thomas Jones, master, Everton ; Mr. Nash, of the General Post-office
; William Henry Hardie, aged 31, Leith, first mate ; John Ferguson,
27, Argyle, surgeon ; Thomas Robertson, 23, Edinburgh, purser ; Thomas
Shirley Green, 21, Staffordshire, assistant purser ; Charles Pentith
Macdonald, 42, Lairg, steward ; William Allen, 33, Glasgow, second
mate ; Richard Porter, 29 [?], York, third mate ; William Cain, 32,
Douglas, fourth mate; Robert Dick, 43, carpenter, Fifeshire (formerly
of the Jura) ; James Macmillen, 26, carpenter's mate, Ayrshire ;
Isaac Sildy, 40, boatswain ; James Bayley, 33, boatswain's mate,
|William Stewart, 27, Greenock, 1st engineer ; John M'Kean, 39,
Greenock, 2nd engineer ; Alexander Smith, 26, Glasgow, 3rd engineer
; John Clarke, 24, Ayr, 4th engineer ; Hugh M'Garr, 21, Ayrshire,
It is with deep regret that I have to announce the loss of another of
our Canadian steamers—the Hungarian having been
wrecked on her last passage out, of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, on the morning
20th inst. It is to be feared that not a soul of her unfortunate crew
or passengers has escaped to tell us the tale of her mishap. All that
is known is that at three o'clock in the morning a steamer's lights were
seen from the land, these shortly after became stationary, and that at
daylight a large steamer was seen on the rocks of Cape Ledges, about
half a mile from the land, with one mast and funnel standing, with people
clinging to the former and the sea making a clean breach over all. At
ten o'clock not a vestige had remained. The sea was running so high that
no boat could live in it, to be despatched to the assistance of the doomed
vessel. At low waterpart of the stern of the steamer is visable, and
part of the mails, very much damaged, have been recovered. Portions of
her cargo and two bodies have come ashore, that of a man and child. The
mystery of her fate is still obscured, and probably will remain so until
that day when the cruel sea will reveal its secrets. The anxiety felt
here as to the fate of the many believed to be on board in intense, and
cannot be relieved until we hear from England as to her passengers.
(from our own correspondent) Toronto, Feb. 27, 1860
Another of the Canadian Ocean Steam Ship line has been lost.
Although it has now a week since this most melancholy disaster occurred, the
information that has been received from the wreck is very meagre indeed.
It is briefly this:—On Sunday night, the 18th inst., she struck—as
is supposed from the information of a person who says he saw the steamer's
light during the night of the accident—upon a ledge of rocks
about two miles from Cape Sable, on the southern extremity of Nova
Scotia. Later in the morning he saw her on the Cape, when he thinks
he noticed some persons on board, and shortly afterwards she went down.
Two bodies have been since been washed ashore, and some mails for Canada.
The probability is that every soul on board has perished. The steamer
had six good boats on board, of which no tidings have yet been heard.
is it possible that the passengers have escaped by them ? If so, where
are they ? Your Lower Province correspondents may be able, before the
mail leaves for England, to throw some light on the matter. There is
reason to fear that Mr. Marcus Talbot, M.P.P. for Easy Middlesex, and
his bride, whom he married a few months since in London, were on board,
as well as a few other Canadians.
LOSS OF THE STEAM SHIP "HUNGARIAN"
The particulars of the mournful disaster, so far as we have been able
to gather from the lips of residents in the vicinity of the scene and
from the best available sources, are as follow. The ill-fated steam ship
is reported to have been seen by a coasting vessel, off Liverpool (NS),
about six p.m. on Sunday, apparently steering W.N.W., which unless she
were at a distance of at least 25 miles from the coast, must have been
nearly four points off her true course. At eight o'clock on the following
morning, a man named Barry Nickerson, residing in Cape Sable,
described, exactly in the direction of the reef known as the "Horse Race,"
what he took to be the lights of a steamer. These lights, when first
seen, were stationary, and remained immoveably in the same position,
as our informant thinks, for rather more than half an hour, when they
appeared to move very swiftly in a north-westerly direction, and in the
course of ten or fifteeen minutes became once more stationary. Mr.
Henry Nickerson, who resides on Fish Island, states that he first
saw the light in the position which the wreck now occupies, at four o'clock,
and, comprehending that some unknown vessel was in distress, aroused
his son and a neighbour, crossed in a fishing skiff the inlet which divides
the island from Cape Sable, and, in the hope of attracting attention
of the crew, exhibited a lighted lantern from the highest point of land
that could be found.
The lights of the unknown vessel continued to be visable until day-break,
when they disappeared, probably in consequence of the fall of the mast
to which they were attached. As day dawned, the hull of a large steam
ship was plainly discernable on the "Great Rip" (a dangerous ledge about
two miles S.W. of Cape Sable) ; the foremast gone, the mainmast, mizenmast,
and smoke-pipe only standing, and the sea making a constant breach over
the ship. The rigging of the mainmast had the appearance, according to
the statements of our informants, of being crowded with human beings,
to the number of between 50 and 60—a suppostition we see no reason
to discredit. About half an hour after sunrise, the mainmast was seen
to go over-board—the smoke-pipe disappeared soon afterwards—and
the mizenmast followed about 10 a.m. The spectacle is described by those
who witnessed it as one of terrific grandeur—the sea around white
with breakers, the doomed ship rolling heavily, as surge after surge
broke against her iron-sides, the spray dashing in volumes to the height
of her mast-head, and the billows pouring in ceaseless cataracts over
The violence of the sea during the morning and the early part of the
day was so great that no attempt could be made to approach the ship.
Not even a lifeboat, it is affirmed, could have been got with safety
through the line of breakers which environed the coast.
About nine o'clock a.m. the wreck began to break up, and the surface
of the deep was soon strewn with packages of light goods, the lading
of her upper decks. The ebb tide, aided by a strong westerly wind, carried
these articles, for the first few hours, in the direction of Baccaro,
and into the bays and inlets beyond. The flood tide, for the next few
hours, carried whatever was washed from the wreck in the opposite direction.
On Tuesday, the wind having moderated and the sea being comparatively
smooth, a great number of boats and several small vessels put off in
search of the drifting merchandise. Between four and five hundred boats,
it is computed, were for the first three or four days engaged in this
manner. The bales being generally of a size which precluded their being
taken into a boat, were broken open with a few blows of an axe, the contents
lifted on board, and the box allowed to go adrift. The quantity of goods
thus saved must have been immense ; but their wide dispersion will render
the task of collecting them for sale rather a formidable undertaking.
Several of the mail bags of the Hungarian were picked
up Tuesday, and one or two others on the following day. These were taken
charge of by the magistrates, and have ere now been forwarded to Halifax.
A boat of about 15 feet keel, with the oars lashed, drifted into Port
Latour (Port La Tour), bottom up. Other boats, shattered to pieces, have
been seen floating in the vicinity. The gunwale of one of them was picked
up by Capt. Cook, of the schooner Melrose, on Saturday.
One of the masts came ashore at Shag Harbour and another at Fish Island.
The latter spar has still attached in it a portion of the plate iron
by which it was connected with the decks. The only bodies yet found were
that of a man, supposed to have been one of the firemen of the ship,
which was found at Shag Harbour, and that of a female child about two
years old, which was washed ashore at Stoney Island. Inquests were held
on both these bodies, and both were decently interred. The report that
the body of the man had been discovered at Cat Point, near Baccaro, is
without foundation ; as is also, we hope, the statement that the corpse
of an infant, picked up at sea, was consigned again to the deep by the
owner of the boat, in his eagerness to secure the tempting prizes with
which the surface of the water at that time was covered.
The intelligence of the disaster was made public in Yarmouth about mid-afternoon
on Wednesday, and excited a profound and general sensation. Anxious to
lay before our readers and the public the fullest particulars that could
be gathered of a catastophe which is without a parallel in the annals
of steam navigation, we determined to proceed at once to the scene of
the wreck, and gather them from the lips of the immediate witnesses.
Accordingly, on Thursday morning, we took passage in the mail coach for
Barrington, where we arrived a little after nine the same evening. The
following morning we proceeded to the Passage, crossed over to Cape Island,
and reached the residence of Nehemiah Crowell, at Clark's Harbour,
a little before sun-down. Here we occupied the evening in listening to
the varied statements of the neighbours, as they successively dropped
in, and obtaining something like an accurate idea of the geography of
the neighbouring coast. With the aid of a glass, the wreck is distinctly
visable from the windows of Mr. Crowell's house. The evidence
of a wreck in the vicinity had begun to increase in frequency from the
time we set
foot on Cape Island. At the wharf where we landed, a box had just been
picked up, containing half a dozen Morocco wallets, and along the beach
children were searching, not unsuccessfully for cotton reels. Three miles
further on, we heard of a person who had found several pieces of goods
at a little distance from the shore ; and when we reached the southern
coast of the island, we encountered a group of schoolboys, with caps
fantastically surmounted with head-dresses evidently just plucked from
the waves. Now
and then, women, young and old, might be met carrying suspicious looking
bundles beneath their arms ; and here and there pieces of stuffs were
stretched out to dry in the sunshine. After a refreshing night's sleep,
we secured a passage with two young men who were just pushing off to
visit the wreck, which was nearly reached after a pull of three-quarters
of an hour, when the imminent prospect of an off-shore gale and the combining
effects of one or two stray seas into the bow of the boat, warned the
youthful adventurers to return, and the boat was accordingly put about.
Before returning to Clark's Harbour, however, we availed ourselves of
the landing of the boat at Fish Island, to examine with some interest,
the innumerable fragments of wreck which strewed the beach, and to gather
from the inhabitants such information in reference to the recent disaster
as was in their power to impart. Floating near the shore, we found a
copy of a newspaper called the "Irishman" and two
copies of the London Times, dated respectively the 7th and 8th inst.,
to Messrs. Jno. Clark and Son, Boston Courier, Boston, Mass.
Returning to the main island we were shown, at the residence of Mr. George
Swim, a large osier basket, found by himself and son a day or two before.
This basket, the capacity of which was about a bushel and a half, contained
the wardrobe of a woman, evidently in humble circumstances—the
most notable portion of which was a blue coburg dress and a new pair
of cloth boots. A white envelope found in the pocket of one of the dresses
is inscribed "Thomas Rice, Esq., Solicitor, Fermoy," and a
scrap of paper found in another pocket bears the following address—"Catherine
Mahoney, No. 8 Sturgis place, Boston,"—probably the address
of some friend of the unfortunate owner of the basket.
Retracing our steps along the southern coast of Cape Island, we heard
of one individual who had picked up a case containing a handsome carved
ivory crucifix and various ornaments for the interior of a Catholic Chapel.
At Barrington Passage
we were shown a hat-box, marked "J. Boltonhouse, Sackville, N.B." and a carpet
bag, containing sundry articles of apparel, a set of artificial teeth,
and a package of letters, adressed to Dr. C.B. Barrett.
At the "Head,"
we had the opportunity of examining the "crew list," from which it appears that
the crew numbered 72, exclusive of the captain, of whom 16 were seamen,
5 engineers, 20 firemen, and 12 waiters. The captain's name was Thomas
Jones, and the registered tonnage was 1,487.
The most prompt measures have been taken by the local authorities to
provide for the preservation and security of the property saved, and
agents have been appointed at different points along the coast, whose
duty it will be to assist them in the carrying out of their praiseworthy
endeavours. We learn also that with the view of furthering their exertations,
the Government has commissioned W.T. Townsend, Esq., to proceed
to the spot, and make such arrangements as may be deemed advisable, and
that that gentleman arrived at Barrington on Friday morning. The Government
schooner Daring was also despatched to the scene, where
she arrived on Saturday evening. Our townsman, E.W.B. Moody, Esq.,
who is Lloyd's agent for Yarmouth, proceeded toBarrington, at the desire
of the authorities there, on Thursday last, where he still remains.
Parties who recently
visited and boarded the wreck, describe her as lying with her bow on the reef
and her stern in deeper water. Very little of the bow is visable at high
water, and at low tide the depth of water alongside is about 12 feet.
The waist of the ship is almost wholly gone, the bow has canted to starboard
and the stern in the opposite direction, the upper deck is completely
gone, and the larboard side has the appearance of being crushed in upon
the starboard. The boiler is just visable above the surface of the water
at low tide ; and when the wreck was last seen, one of the anchors was
still fast to the bow. The heaviest portion of the ship's lading is thought
to be still in the lower hold or lying in the hollows of the ledge beneath.
How the disaster occurred will of course never be known, though there
seems little reason to doubt that it had its origin in that reckless
mania for accomplishing quick passages which has already led to the loss
of so many fine steam ships and so many valuable lives. Either to incredible
folly or incredible rashness the loss of the Hungarian may
be safely ascribed. By some it is supposed that the officers of the steamer
mistook Baccaro light for that on Seal Island—though how that could
be does not very clearly appear, the one being a revolving and the other
a flash light. By others it is supposed that the captain, under the impression
that the ship had got to the westward of the Cape, was shaping his course
for Portland ; but surely where such an amount of human life was at stake,
something better than guess-work ought to have been relied on. — Yarmouth
Tribune, Feb. 24.
note: quote from Ravenscrag The Allan Royal Mail
Line, by Thomas E. Appleton, page 91:—In fact the
critics were all wrong. As it turned out years later, the light on
Cape Sable Island may have
been out on that terrible night when the Hungarian was
lost with all on board. James Croil, in his book Steam Navigation published
in 1898, wrote that the lightkeeper was said to have confessed on his
deathbed that he had been sick and had failed in his duty.
note: There is evidence that no light existed in 1860
and that it was only constructed after the loss of the Hungarian.
Read the history of the light and the light-house keepers here . . http://www.nslps.com/lights/lighthouse_page_01.asp?ID=68
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