With High Hopes
Some immigrants arrived on our shores with little more than the clothes on their backs
Now that the clock had been pushed ahead into daylight-saving time, Cliff and I had a longer time to play outdoors in the evening.
Today, Mum had made several loaves of bread and put them to cool by the pantry window. The aroma that drifted out into the yard plus all our activity and fresh spring air made us very hungry for our bedtime lunch.
I poured lots of molasses on the thick well buttered slices of bread
and ate and ate. I hated the crusts and didn't eat them.
Gramp was visiting and the discussions revolved around the planting of the yearly crops.
As he walked by the kitchen table on his departure, he took one look at my plate, piled high with bread crusts and said, "Many an Irish emigrant child would have chased a crow a mile to get one of those bread crusts."
As I was reading 'Some other place than here' - St. Andrews and the Irish Emigrant by Ronald Rees, I thought of his words.
Between 1815 and 1860 some ten to twelve thousand Irish emigrants landed in St. Andrews. The most distressed arrived during the Famine years, 1846-1849, when they were quarantined on a small three-acre island, Hospital Island, in Passamaquoddy Bay.
Some came with clothes on their back and pennies to jingle in their pockets, others carried only the dreaded disease, some had a hope in their heart for the future while others considered St. Andrews to be a stepping stone to Maine and the New England States.
One group took a round about way. In 1827, about two thousand folk were tempted to leave Ireland by the offer of free passage, the promise of fifty acres of land, financial aid and food allowance from Brazil. On arrival they were very disappointed with the conditions and after appealing to the British authorities, seven vessels sailed from Rio de Janeiro in July of 1828. One vessel, the 'Highlander' brought more than two hundred passengers to Saint John and thirty-two of the contingent made their way to St. Andrews.
Isolation and quarantine of the carriers seemed to be the only way to contain diseases such as cholera. This meant building isolation hospitals outside the main ports of entry, and offshore islands were the choice. On approaching a port, vessels with sick crew or passengers were required by maritime law to fly either the yellow fever flag or the vessel's ensign with the union down.
Of all the emigrants who landed at St. Andrews during the Famine years probably the most lamentable were those who came on the brig 'Susan' from Cork in 1849. The care of the St. Andrews-bound emigrants fell to the emigrant officer, the town's physicians and the resident staff of Hospital Island. Townspeople kept their distance.
At the time of the Famine there were three established physicians in the town, one of them being, Samuel Tilley Gove, a native New Brunswicker from Gagetown.
In the 1840s, John Wilson and a number of other merchants and businessmen from St. Andrews struck on the idea of making the town the winter port of Canada by building a 260-mile long railway to Quebec City and the St. Lawrence River. Charles Fitzwilliam, one of the foreign investors in the railway, owned an estate of 85,000 acres in Ireland and he felt the building of the railway would serve as a source of employment for many of his tenants. At New Ross in late April of 1848, 133 men, 122 women and 128 children boarded the 'Star' for St. Andrews. When the ship arrived, 63 of the passengers were ill. It appears the Rail Road Company had made few if any preparations for their arrival. Although Fitzwilliam had sent enough money to the company to pay the workers for a twelve-week period, the Railroad was anxious to be rid of the two hundred emigrants. In the shanties along the railway, great hardships were being endured due to illness and lack of wearing apparel.
At their wits' end, sixty-two of them petitioned the lieutenant governor, at the end of March 1849, for grants of fifty acres along the Oak Bay / Woodstock road and periodic advances of money - to be repaid in installments - sufficient to sustain them for a year. Those signing the petition were of the surnames: Bulger, Mcdonald, Oneill, Farrel, Byrne, Carroll, Tyrrel, Coyle, Walsh, Kiervan, Hues, Mooney, Lawler, Githings, Coffrey, Doyle, Kavanaugh, Carr, Moles, McCann, Casey, Owens, Kelley, Douns, Dempsey, Conron, Maher, Gean, White, Cummins, Mulhall and Ballans.
On November 2, 1853, the 'Jeanie Johnston', bound for Quebec but forced to turn south by headwinds in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, sailed unannounced into St. Andrews harbour. Several passengers chose to stay in the town and accepted jobs grading the new railway line. They too were not pleased with the working conditions or the accommodations provided. Many of them took the ferry across the St. Croix River to Robbinston, Maine and then walked to Bangor.
'Some other place than here' - St. Andrews and the Irish Emigrant by Ronald Rees is a chronicle of the conditions of quarantine, of the movement of the emigrants into Maine, and of their treatment by the Rail Road Company.
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Sharpe - Flewelling: Sarah Sharpe was born in1818 and died in Michigan in1892. She was married to Nehemiah Flewelling probably in 1834. Nehemiah was born in 1804 in Westfield Parish, Kings County, New Brunswick to Thomas Flewelling (who was born in1782 in Oak Point, New Brunswick.) and Mary. Nehemiah and Sarah had their second child in Scotch Queensbury, York County and their youngest child was born in Fredericton in 1864. By 1870, they were on the Michigan census. Was Sarah Sharpe born in Kings County? If you have any information on the above families, I would like to hear from you.
-Christina Kreidler, 5026 State Rd. Fort Gratiot, Michigan, 48059, U.S.A. E-mail to email@example.com.
Wilmot: I am trying to sort out the Loyalist Wilmot family as I am doubly connected to them. Esther Clarke Wright's book lists Captain Lemuel Wilmot of the Loyal American Regiment and Malcolm Wilmot of Skinner's 3rd New Jersey Volunteers with the rank of Ensign. I would be interested in corresponding with anyone who has information on the Wilmot family or is a Wilmot descendant.
-Loison (Jones) Helmer. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at email@example.com. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.