1858 The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart

 

 

 

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It is now one hundred and fifty years since the tragedy of the Mary Stoddart. With this in mind, the following is an article written on the fiftieth anniversary. The bravery of the men and the memory of those who lost their lives are commemorated in the Kelly Memorial in Roden Place, Dundalk.

 


 

THE WRECK OF THE MARY STODDART

Tempests Annual 1908

 

In Dundalk Bay, April, 1858. In attempting to rescue the crew, Captain James Joseph Kelly and others were drowned.

 

IT is now just fifty years since the greatest storm known in Dundalk or indeed in these seas in living memory. It raged with unabated violence for five days, and in those days of tempest, cold and rain, sixty or seventy men of this district showed what heroism is, and long may the people of the town be proud of it. To many of the younger generation, the monument in Roden Place is only one of the many things built by "the men of old times", but the procession headed by the O'Mahony Band on the Sunday in April last, which listened reverently to the funeral march under the shadow of the monument, may have stirred their curiosity in some small way. To keep green the memory, not only of those who lost their lives in the attempt to save the shipwrecked crew, but of those who also risked and might have lost them, we record here in this Jubilee Annual, the jubilee of heroic deeds.

 

Tuesday, April 6th, 1858, saw the good steamer Enterprise win her way in a great gale from Liverpool to Dundalk Bay. The look-out cried "ship in distress!" Capt. Johnson, true to the traditions of the sea, brought his vessel near the barque, - the Mary Stoddart of Scarborough from whose masthead the signals were flying. Six hours he stood by her, till, seeing her anchored in apparent safety he put into port. The gale still blew next morning. Word had gone round the town of a ship in peril. The Independence, sister packet to the Enterprise, with her Captain Henry Byrne, on the bridge, accompanied by his colleague Captain Johnson and the following Directors of the Company:- Messrs. Peter Russell, E.H. Macardle, P.J. Carroll, Bernard Finegan and others, found the barque still safely anchored. The wind was a south-west one. Capt. Johnson in a small boat braved the waves to reach the ship, and was taken on board by her master, Capt. Every Hill. An apprentice of 20 years of age heard them consulting, and records the fact that in his opinion if Capt. Johnson's advice had been taken, the ship would have been saved and nine men's lives with it. However that may be, Capt. Johnson decided to stay on board, and signalled to the Independence to stand by for the present. The latter steamed in the teeth of the gale towards Liverpool for five and a half hours and returned to find the Mary Stoddart had broken loose and dragged her anchor to a point nearly opposite Blackrock, where she had grounded, with her decks two or three feet below the level of high tide. The crew had to take to the rigging, and a bitter night they spent, drenched, numb and helpless, with the food giving out and water all gone. The apprentices, not inured to the ordinary hardships of the sea, suffered most. John Baptiste (the black cook) and Capt. Hill were specially kind to them, and tied them for safety to the masts. The morning of Thursday, the third day, broke on a raging sea, a helpless boat, a piercing gale, and a group of cramped frozen men and boys in the rigging. When the tide ebbed, Capt. Johnson made an awning of sail-cloth in the stern to afford some shelter from the dashing seas.

 

On land, all were agog to rescue Capt. Johnson and his comrades. Mr. Peter Russell, Mr. John Connick - then the Agent of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Society - and our public men - all honour to them - organised relief. A boat - rash bravery, but there were lives at stake - put out from the Soldier's Point, manned by Patrick Finnegan (a pilot), Patrick Callan, and John and Patrick Lamb. In vain; the wind would not tolerate their open boat and drove it back.

 

Mr. John Connick, seeing that the best way would be to try from the south, drove to Blackrock, and there with the help of George Elphinstone was able to man two yawls and set out, himself and Elphinstone in charge of one and gallant James Crosbey in charge of the other. The two crews of six men worked with a will, and the cold was bitter. Mr. Connick was bailing with a can and a bucket incessantly.

 

They won their way to within half a mile of the wreck, but the tide carried them past it. Three hours of the hardest labour and they regained shore. Again George Elphinstone took his yawl out, bearing so as to let the tide carry him to the barque, but just at the critical time the tide began to turn. After him came Capt. Kelly, of the Pride of Erin, who had come out from Dundalk to try to save the Captain of the rival Steam Packet Company. He fared no better, and had to put back; and still the storm continued.

 

At eight o'clock that evening the local directors of the Dundalk and Midland Steam-Packet Company resolved to send out the Independence, and two lifeboats in tow of the steam tug at the earliest moment that the bar could be crossed. Mr. Peter Russell drove to Blackrock to bring in Elphinstone and Crosbey to act as pilots to the Dundalk boats. The call was for volunteers, and Capt. Kelly carne forward with John Lamb, Thomas McArdle, Patrick Callan, Gerald or "Garrett" Hughes, James Murphy, and Patrick Crosbey. By his side was Capt. Hinds, of the Venture, with Thomas Hamill, Patrick McArdle, Owen Finegan, George Elphinstone, Patrick Lamb, James Moran, and Michael McArdle. They arranged to start at four o'clock in the morning of the next day (Friday).

 

As the day dawned again on the stranded wreck there were fewer cold hands clasping the rigging, and two pairs of even these were lifeless. The negro was no longer there to help the frozen boys. He had fallen from the rigging, and one apprentice had been washed overboard. Hunger and Cold sat in the rigging with their fellow torturer -Thirst. Can we imagine, as we sit by our fires, these men, who probably had warmed themselves by their own hearths not long before, who had now been nearly three nights and three days drenched and frozen, starved and parched, within sight of land on three sides of them? And still no help was to come for another day, no hope but the tantalising visions of open boats almost within jumping distance of men too weak to try the leap.

 

On land at four o'clock Captains Byrne and Williams of the Steam-packets and Capt. Gaussen of the Coastguards met at the Soldiers' Point. Theirs to decide if the bar could be crossed, - if the Independence should go out, or an open boat. We may be sure they considered carefully and anxiously, and that it was with heavy hearts that they agreed that no steamer could cross the bar. "To the Tug then!" was the cry, but the willing hands of engineers and stokers could not make the Tug respond; her engines were out of order. Had she been ready, there had been no aching hearts in Dundalk that night.

 

Capt. Kelly and Capt. Hinds now called up their crews. The former took the ordinary boat of his ship, The Pride of Erin, as it was more easily rowed, putting the corks and air bags of his lifeboat into it, and rowed down to the Point. Capt. Hinds husbanded his men's strength by walking them to the same place and towing the boat from the land. At Soldiers' Point Capt. Kelly replaced an oar which had broken on the way down, and both boats rowed to the Lighthouse. The waves were so terrific as they crossed the "West Bank" that Michael McArdle was pitched right out of Capt. Hinds' boat, and James Moran was only just saved. In rescuing McArdle, an oar was lost. At the Lighthouse a consultation took place with the light-houseman, as to the best time to make the attempt, but no watch was to be had, and the clock in the Lighthouse had stopped. "In God's name let us go on," cried Capt. Kelly, and the boats made their way, buffeted and beaten, to the lee of the Mary Stoddart. The two boats were close together as near to the vessel as possible, but the crew and Capt. Johnson were too exhausted to jump into them. A huge wave rounding the barque's stern nearly sank both the boats, and they were compelled to draw off. The gale was too high for a shout to be heard. A great wave broke down upon Capt. Hinds, whose crew seeing it coming, rowed might and main against it, and it passed, filling the boat which, but for the air chambers, would have sunk. It rushed on the open boat behind. Capt. Kelly's crew did their best, but the boat slid stern first with the wave and in the trough turned right over, sending all into the sea. In a minute all were holding on to the keel. Meanwhile the lifeboat was in almost as bad a state, bailing for dear life. Along came another wave and righted Capt. Kelly's boat, and the crew clambered into her as well as her practically water-logged condition would let them. All but Capt. Kelly. He had come out in a long heavy overcoat and heavy sea boots up above his knees, and, powerful man though he was, they bore him down. Ten yards off he was seen to throw up his hands, and the last words the horror-struck survivors thought they heard on the wind were "Lord have mercy on me! Look out for yourselves, boys," as he disappeared. The Enterprise's lifeboat was too far off to afford any help, and the brave and capable Captain perished before the eyes of his crew, who drifted oarless and helpless with the gunwales level with the water.

 

As soon as Capt. Hinds saw their plight, with great danger and difficulty he got to them, and one by one the men in an almost dying condition were got out; how it was done heaven alone knows, for the plunging boat stove in her own bows against the stern of the lifeboat. All were got out but one - James Murphy, who had already followed his Captain at the call of duty. Gerald Hughes was conscious, but dying, while James Crosbey had such a "death-hold" on the seat of the smashed boat that it was only with the greatest exertions that his unconscious hands were relaxed. The ill-fated boat was taken in tow, and the doubly loaded lifeboat lacking one oar began its mournful and painful return. Gerald Hughes succumbed before Blackrock was reached, and Crosbey died in Mrs. Cockshots house ashore. Although only twenty-five, he and George Elphinstone had already two years before rescued the crew of two English ships wrecked in the bay. When the boats reached shore the men were all so exhausted and helpless that many of them stood "staring wildly like men in a fit, and when they tried to speak, no one could understand their mutterings." Cars were at hand and all were driven in to Dundalk and carefully tended.

 

At ten o'clock the same morning the lifeboat of the Enterprise was taken out from Blackrock by Mr. Lewis, the mate of the Earl of Erne, with Mr. Gilmore, mate of The Pride of Erin, some of the crew of the Independence, and some Blackrock fishermen. After making a mile in an hour's hard pulling, they had to return.

 

Still another attempt was made, this time from the opposite shore. At one o'clock in the day a boat carrying Owen Rice, James O'Neill, Michael Rice, Michael Rice, jun., Patrick and John Rice, Patrick Byrne, and Charles O'Neill, was launched from Tipping's Quay opposite Soldiers' Point. In spite of repeated breakings of the thole-pins, they rowed, holding the oars on the gunwales with their hands, first to the lighthouse where they were advised to put back, and then to the wreck, but to no purpose. The wrecked were too weak to swim, and no boat could live alongside the barque, no voice could carry in the gale. After being nearly drowned this boat's crew had also to return.

 

Still the unfortunates on the wreck clung on. Capt. Johnson, feeling the knees of two men behind him in the rigging pressing in his back the whole night and turning to speak to them, found them both dead.

 

By five o'clock in the evening the wind had abated somewhat, but the sea still was raging, when Robert Shankey, the chief officer of the Coastguard at Gyles' Quay, whose son, Mr. Robert Shankey of Mountain View is still happily with us, launched a boat from that place, with Patk. Barry (coastguard), Thos. Gallagher, John Connor, Owen Hanlon (fishermen) as a crew. They reached the Mary Stoddart and took off Capt. Johnston and six of the crew, Capt. Hill and the other three men heroically refusing to risk the lives of the rest by overloading the boat. The lives of rescued and rescuers were many times in jeopardy on the way home, from the waves racing down behind them. Capt. Johnson was so numbed and exhausted that he lay comatose at the bottom of the boat. At eight o'clock on that Friday evening the seven men were landed, amid universal thanksgiving, at the Soldiers' Point.

 

The wind and sea were too strong against them for Robert Shankey's boat to think of rowing back to the wreck, so they actually walked round by road and set out in the early hours of the Saturday morning in another boat, with Owen Gallagher and Owen Connor, replacing Barry and Hanlon who were worn out. They safely reached the vessel, took off Capt. Hill and the remaining men and landed them at George's Quay, Dundalk, shortly afterwards.

 

Such is the grand and honourable story of the Wreck of the Mary Stoddart and the rescue of her crew, of the heroism of crew after crew of Louth men, and of the glorious deaths of Captain James Joseph Kelly and his three fellow-rescuers. Well may we honour the memory of all, and hope that should another such test of manhood unhappily occur, the men of the present generation would take their places in the boats, if need be, as those of fifty years ago.

 

The rescued consisted of Every Hill (captain), Arch. Hogg (mate), John Davis (2nd mate), George Banner (carpenter). Charles Strong, George McDonnell, and James Birch (seamen), John Marks, Richard Wray, and P.J. Walshe (14 years old), apprentices. Those who perished were John Baptiste (black seaman), John Coll (cook), Thomas Ashwood (steward), Wm. Morris (mate), and Percival Mann (apprentice); of these the only man now surviving as far as we can trace is the "Richard Wray, apprentice", who after seventy years of the sea is living in a Seaman's Home in Scarborough. We give a verbatim report of an interview with him and a portrait.

 

Of the rescuers, there are now living in Dundalk Patrick McArdle (still as pilot, whose portrait we give and whose name should be inscribed on the Monument in Roden Place), and Patrick Byrne, now a retired Captain, of Barrack Street. Owen Finegan and one other, we believe, are alive in America, but all the rest are gone where their bravery will be rewarded.

 

Capt. Kelly's body was not recovered till two months later, when it was washed ashore. The remains were taken on his ship, The Pride of Erin, from Soldiers' Point to the Steam-packet Quay, from whence it was followed one evening to Seatown graveyard by the largest gathering of mourners of all classes and from all parts which was ever known in Dundalk. He left an aged mother to mourn his loss.

 

It will be understood that such an episode was not allowed to pass without some permanent memorial both to Capt. Kelly, not only respected as a captain, popular and beloved as a man, but known wherever men go down to the sea in ships by his able writings on the duties of a ship's officers. but also to his gallant helpers one of whom left a wife and many small children to struggle through life alone. How well these have carried on their fatherís name may be seen by the fact that one of them, Mr. Arthur Hughes is now our capable and genial Harbour Master. Not alone in sea-craft was Capt. Kelly versed, but he was an astronomer and mathematician of no mean order, and showed his many sided culture in the study of poetry, history and science. Only a few years before, with four men, he had launched a boat in a mid-channel hurricane from his steamer, The Dundalk and rescued the captain and four men from a disabled brig.

 

Committees were formed and funds raised for the relief of those bereaved and the raising of some memorial. The sum of £700 was, according to a local paper, subscribed, £40 being given by the soldiers then quartered in the barracks. Of this sum £325 was given among the nearest relatives of the drowned and £160 divided among the 63 men who had been out in the various boats. This left about £200, with which some proposed to erect a watch-tower on Dairy Hill (Red Barns). There was considerable heart-burning at the time over the rivalries of the two Steam-packet Companies, and unfortunately this seems to have raised dissensions in the matter; it was not till 1879, twenty years later, that the present handsome monument was erected in Roden Place. The matter was brought up at this time by Mr. Henry Kelly of Tullydrum. There was then found to be £300 collected and £114 more promised. The work cost £400. It was designed by Mr. Robert McArdle, and built by Mr. Pettigrew of Navan. The inscription reads reads: -

 

 

KELLY

 

IN MEMORY OF CAPTAIN

JAMES JOSEPH KELLY, GERALD HUGHES,

JAMES CROSBEY, AND JAMES MURPHY,

who lost their lives in a noble and

humane effort to rescue the

crew of the barque Mary Stoddart,

wrecked in Dundalk Bay,

on the 9th of April, 1858.

Erected by Voluntary Subscription 1879

In commemoration also of the gallant

services of Volunteers of the rescuing

party, John Lamb, Patrick Callan and

Thomas Mc Ardle, who after a heroic

struggle to succour their ill-fated

comrades, reached shore in a state of exhaustion.

 

In conclusion, surely this story of the voluntary repeated, but useless efforts of Dundalk men in rowing boats to rescue the shipwrecked sailors of a strange barque should make it incumbent, nay, absolutely binding on the town of Dundalk, to support liberally the Lifeboat Association, of which Mr. C. S. Whitworth, of Blackrock, is local Secretary. The Association has built and keeps up, not only the two large und seaworthy modern lifeboats at Blackrock and Gyles' Quay, upon which strangers and our own men depend for their lives, but many other boats in ports where some Dundalk vessel may find them some day the salvation of its crew. It is a voluntarily supported Society, and if a port like Dundalk does not do its share, we may well hang our heads.

 

At the Dundalk Show of 1908 Rev. E. Clarke went to great trouble collecting a number of interesting mementos of Capt. Kelly and the Mary Stoddart. These comprised model of Captain Kelly's ship, "The Dundalk" and his telescope, kindly lent by Mr. Redmond Magrath: his watch, by Mrs. Young, Dundalk; hat-brush, Miss A. J. Hughes, Dublin Street Dundalk; hat-box, Mr. T. Hughes, Castle Road, Dundalk; ship's bell, Mr. John McGee, Philipstown, Dundalk; barometer, Mr. Thos. Connick, jun., Seatown Place, Dundalk; deck-light, Mr. John Carroll, sen., Blackrock, Dundalk; panel from cabin, Mr. James MacGuigan, Blackrock, Dundalk, &c.

 

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Captain James Kelly Gravestone:

 

"I.H.S. Erected by Mrs. Anne Kelly to the memory of her beloved son Captain Joseph Kelly, who in his effort to save the crew of a ship wrecked in Dundalk Bay was drowned on the 9th April, 1858, aged 36 years.

Also those brave boatmen Gerald Hughes, James Murphy and James Crosby who perished with him.

Requiescant in Pace"

 

("Seatown Graveyard" in Tempest's Annual 1967. Photograph by Anthony O'Hagan 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

THE LATE FEARFUL CALAMITY

Court House, Dundalk

April 10, 1858

AT A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE DUNDALK HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS held this day,

 

S. Jackson Turner, Esq.,

Chairman of the Board, presiding.

It was unanimously resolved, that a SUBSCRIPTION be at once set on foot for the purpose of Relieving the Widows and Children of the poor men who on yesterday perished whilst endeavouring to rescue the Crew of the Barque Mary Stoddart, and of rewarding then other brave fellows who so nobly exerted themselves to Save the Lives of those on Board.

 

That an expression of our deeply felt sympathy with Mrs. Kelly in her sad bereavement on the loss of her son, Captain Kelly, be most respectfully tendered to her; and that we record our high estimate of his noble conduct and that of the gallant man, James Murphy, Garrett Hughes, and James Crosbey, who, with him, lost their lives, in their efforts to rescue the crew of the barque Mary Stoddart, by the erection of a Monument In their memory; and that on the same Monument the names of all the gallant men who risked their lives be also inscribed.

 

That the Members of this Board form a Committee for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions.

 

That a sum of £325 be contributed from the Funds of this Board for the purpose of providing for the families of the deceased, and of rewarding the exertions of the Boatmen engaged.

 

S. JACKSON TURNER. Chairman.

T.J. POOLER, Secretary.

 

The following subscriptions have been handed in:-

 

 
Title Name Surname Amount Address
- - A Friend 6d -
- - a Friend 2/6 -
- John Arthur £2 -
- Henry Backhouse £2 -
- Henry Backhouse £5 -
Rev. Mr. - Bannon, P.P. £1 -
- Daniel Beatty £1 -
Mr. & Mrs. - Bellingham £2 Dunany
- Thomas Bergin £1 -
- John Black £3 -
- R.O. Blackader £2 -
- Richard Bolton £1 Castlering
- John Bourne 5/- -
- Charles Bowyer 10/- Liverpool
- Michael Brennan £2 Kilsarin
- S. Brown £2 -
- Thomas Browne £1 -
- Michael Byrne 2/6 -
- Matthew Byrne 2/6 -
- Richard Byrne £1 Rossmakea
- Patrick James Byrne £10 -
- P. Byrne 2/6 -
- John Cahill £2 Liverpool
Dr. - Callan £1.10s -
- Thomas Callan £1 Tullygee
- S. Callan 2/6 -
Rev. Thomas Callan, P.P. £1 -
Mr. - Campbell 5/- -
- Edward Caraher £1 -
- John E. Caraher £2 -
- - Carney 5/- -
- Nicholas Carolan £1 -
- Thomas Carolan £5 -
- Michael Carrig £1 -
The Misses - Carroll £3 Francis Street
- Patrick J. Carroll £1 -
- Joseph Cartan £3 -
- Michael Casey £1 -
- J. Cassedy 2/6 -
Lord - Clermont £30 -
- Charles Cobbe £2 Newbridge House
- John G. Coddington £2 -
- Peter Coleman £1 -
Miss - Coleman £1 -
- Neal T. Coleman £5 Churchpark
- Bernard Coleman £2 Ballybarrack
Mrs. - Collins 10/- -
- Michael Comyn £2 -
- J. Connolly 2/6 -
Rev. Mr. - Corrigan, P.P. £1 -
- Launcelot Coulter £1 -
Mr - Cowan £1 Railway
Captain - Cox £1 -
- John Cox 2/6 -
Mr. - Davies £1 Drogheda
- Patrick Denvir £1 -
Mrs. - Devin 2/6 -
- Owen Devlin £2 -
- Michael Diamond 5/- -
- Joseph Dickie £1 -
The Most Rev. Dr. - Dixon £1 -
- James Donnelly 2/6 -
- Patrick Dowdall £1 -
- John Charles Duffy £10 -
- James Dullaghan £1 Mayne
- - Dundalk and Midland Steampacket Company £25 -
Rev. P. Dunn, O.S.D. £1 -
- - Earl of Roden £20 -
Mr. - Edmondson £1 Bank of Ireland
Mr. - Farrell 2/6 -
Rev. Mr. - Fenton, O.S.D. £1 -
Miss - Flanigan £1 -
- Frederick John Foster £5 Ballymascanlon
- Chichester Fostercue, M.P. £10 -
- T. Fullerton £1 -
Mrs. - Gallaher 5/- -
- Edward Gibson £1 Carrickmacross
Mrs. - Giffney £1 -
- James Gillichan £5 -
- Frederick Gilmer 10/- -
Rev. Mr. - Gossan £1 -
- John Gowan 1/- -
- S. Hagan 1/- -
- P. Hagarty £2 -
- J. Hamilton 5/- -
- - Harbour Commissioners £25 -
Mr. - Harden £1 -
Rev. Mr. - Harman, C.C. £1 -
- J. Hawkesby 5/- -
Captain - Hill £2 Barque Mary Stoddart
- Robert W. Hill 5/- -
Mr. - Hogan 5/- -
- S. Jackson Turner £5 -
Hon. A.G.F. Jocelyn £5 -
- Graham Johnston £5 -
Mr. - Joice 10/- -
Rev. John Kearney, P.P. £1 -
- J. Keenan 1/- -
- Thomas Kegan £2 -
- Michael Kelly £5 -
- George Kelso £1 -
- Charles Kendall 3/- -
- J. Kenello 2/6 -
- Charles Kenney £1 Rocksavage
- John Kieran £2 Channonrock
Very Rev. Dean
 
Kieran £5 -
Rev. P. Kieran £2 -
- John Knowles £3 -
Miss - Larkin 2/6 -
Mr. - Lawless £1 Earl Street
Very Rev. Mr. - Lennan, P.P. £1 -
Rev. Mr. - Loy, P.P. £1 -
- Richard Macan £5 Drumcashel
Rev. Henry Macardle, C.C. £1 -
Sir John Macneill £5 -
- George Magee 5/- -
Miss - Magenis £1 -
- Owen Magenis £1 -
Rev. Mr. - Maginn, C.C. £1 -
- - Malcom Brown and Co £10 -
- William Marks 5/- -
- John Marmion 5/- -
Rev. John Marmion, P.P. £2 -
- Joseph Martin 5/- -
- N. Martin & Co. £1 Belfast
- Wm. Mathews 2/6 -
- Thomas Mathews 2/6 -
- Stafford Mauritz 10/- -
- Edward H. McArdle £2 -
- John McArdle 10/- -
Miss - McCampbel 2/- -
- Mathew McCann 10/- -
- Thomas McClure, J.P. £2 Belfast
Mr. - McCourt 1/- -
- Francis McCullagh 5/- -
- Wm. McCulloch £1 -
Rev. Mr. - McGinity £2 -
- R. McGrath 2/6 -
- Alexander McLean £1 Clermont
- D. McLoney 2/6 -
- P. McMahon 6d -
- Charles McMahon £5 -
- Wm. McNally £2 -
Messrs. - McShane £1.10s -
- James Meehan £1 -
Rev. Mt. - Mooney 10/- -
- Peter Morgan 10/- -
- St. Clair K. Mulholland £10 Eglantine
- Matthew Murphy 5/- -
- Thomas Murphy 5/- -
- James Murphy £3 -
- John Murray £1 -
Mr. - Murtha £1 -
- Owen Neary £1 Channonrock
- John Neville £3 -
- Pat. Nugent 2/- -
- John M. Nugent £1 -
- J. O'Hagan 2/6 -
- M. O'Hanlon 2/6 -
Mrs. T. O'Hara £3 -
- Turner Oliver £1 -
- Charles O'Rourke 2/6 -
- Brian O'Rourke 5/- -
- R. & B. Patteson £2.2s -
- John Price 5/- -
Admiral - Purcell £3 -
- Joseph Pyke & Son £2 Preston
Mrs. - Reid £2 -
- Peter Rice 5/- -
Mr. - Richardson £1 Prospect
- Wm. Robson £2 -
- Arthur Rogers £1 -
- Owen Rogers 2/6 -
- Pat Rooney 2/- -
- Peter Russell £10 -
- Archibald Russell 5/- -
Doctor - Scott £1 -
- John Semple 10/- -
- James Shekleton £10 -
- Stephen Sibthorp 10/- -
- M.M. Small £1 -
Mr. - Smallman 10/- -
- P. Smith 2/6 -
Mrs. - Smith 5/- -
Mrs. - Smith 10/- -
Rev. Mr. - Stobart £1 -
Mrs. - Stratton £3 -
- Myles Taaffe £2 -
Rev. Mr. - Tally, C.C. £1 -
Mr. - Tarleton £1 -
- Acheson Thompson £5 Annaverna
Very Rev. Mr. - Tierney, P.P. £1 -
- John Townley £3 -
- John Turner £1 Institution
- R. Verdon £2 -
- Edward Warran £1 Ballymascanlon
- Alexander Waters 10/- -
Rev. George Weir, C.C. £2 -
- Samuel Whan 10/- -
- Thomas Williamson £1 -
- W.C. Wilson 10/- -
- Francis Wright £2 -
- I. Wykeham Dickenson Esq. £5 Carpenham
- P. Wynne £10 -

 

 

Subscriptions will be received at the Offices of the Bank of Ireland, National, and Belfast Bank, in Dundalk; also at the Branch Offices of the Bank of Ireland, Provincial Bank, and Belfast Bank, in Newry and at the Office of The Newry Telegraph.

 

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INTERVIEW WITH A SCARBOROUGH SURVIVOR

 

Kindly communicated by Mr. J. Fowler of the Scarborough Evening News.

 

Mr. Richard Wray, the only survivor in Scarborough of the Mary Stoddart's crew has been for about a year an inmate of the Merchant Seamen's Hospital at Scarborough. This Institution is a refuge for aged mariners, and Mr. Wray, being well-known in the town as a hard working and sober man, and having attained the age of 71 years, was considered a deserving tenant of one of the numerous dwellings it contains when a vacancy occurred recently.

 

There were three Scarborough persons aboard the Mary Stoddart at the time of the wreck, Mr. Wray states. These were, the Captain, Richard Lancaster, and himself. Lancaster was an apprentice and was drowned in attempting to reach the fore top, which was considered to be a safer place than the mizen, where both Wray and Lancaster were for some time. Wray safely negotiated the distance between the two points, one of the older members of the crew (J. Bird) helping him aloft, but Lancaster was washed overboard in the attempt. He had been impressed with the idea that they would not see Scarborough again and had told Wray his thoughts as they clung to each other through the night. Wray, who had sailed in two other vessels belonging to the same firm, joined the Mary Stoddart at London, and she left Deptford for Malta with Government stores among other things. After discharging at Malta they took in a cargo for home at Alexandria. It consisted of cotton and horse beans. The captain's wife had gone out with the ship, but left for home at Alexandria. Wray thinks the Mary Stoddart might have been saved had sail been taken in in time when the gale sprang up, but this was delayed and eventually distress signals had to be hoisted. These were responded to by Capt. Johnson in a big steamer. Wray understood Capt. Johnson jumped from off his own vessel and was dragged aboard the Mary Stoddart, where he assumed the duties of pilot, and had his suggestions been carried out the Mary Stoddart might even then have been saved. However, although the steamer - by Capt. Johnson's orders - stood by, the barque broke her anchor chains - Capt. Johnson selecting a sandy place to run her ashore. Wray was standing close to Captain Johnson when Captain Kelly with others came off from the shore in a small boat and heard the conversation between the Captains, who were great friends. Another small boat also approached, but neither could come alongside. One of the boats capsized, the remaining one rescuing several people struggling in the water, but Captain Kelly was drowned. Wray has a vivid recollection of the sufferings involved while the crew were in the rigging. Four of the crew actually died from exposure and were thrown overboard, Wray assisting in this melancholy duty. Some of the dead men's clothes were left in the fore tops, and Wray had Percival Mann's trousers (which were warmer than his own) on when he returned to Scarborough. Only during one day was it possible to get fresh water, and their only food was a few horse beans. At the time the rescue boat was approaching the men were trying to make a canvas tent. One of the men ventured down and found a tin of beef when the survivors were about famished and was about to open it when the boat was seen coming, and they were so delighted to be succoured that they forgot their hunger and left the meat. All the men were not taken off that night, however; the boat which had been seen and which saved them, returning the following morning to take off the rest. The captain remained to the last. He had been especially thoughtful for the boys, and when Wray left the barque in the rescuing boat he (the apprentice) shed tears to see the only one left from his native town still on the wreck. The black member of the crew showed much tenderness for one of the boys and took pains for his safety. The man of colour was called John the Baptist. Wray saw the Captain a few years ago, and he died at a comparatively recent date, and was buried in St. Mary's churchyard, Scarborough. Some of his relatives are living at Scarborough now. Wray himself took to fishing after a few years in the merchant service and has followed that calling until recently. Last summer he plied a pleasure coble from Scarborough beach and during the Channel Fleet's visit took passengers off to a warship. The old man has eight sons living. Some are masters of fishing vessels and five of them "clubbed up" to purchase his pleasure coble. He describes the gale the Mary Stoddart was wrecked in as the worst he was ever in. He is a claimant for an old age pension, and as he has had no poor relief and his application is otherwise sound no doubt he will soon be in the enjoyment of it. He still retains his indentures with the firm that owned the Mary Stoddart.

 

Dec., 1908.

 


 

NOTE: The articles THE WRECK OF THE MARY STODDART and INTERVIEW WITH A SCARBOROUGH SURVIVOR, as well as the photographs of the people involved, are taken from Tempestís Jubilee Annual 1909, Dundealgan Press, Dundalk. The background image on this page is of a model of the Mary Stoddart, taken from the same source. THE LATE FEARFUL CALAMITY is taken from The Dundalk Democrat. My thanks to Anthony O'Hagan for providing me with a copy of the Democrat article and for the photograph of the Kelly gravestone. Memorial Inscriptions for Seatown graveyard, where Captain Kelly is buried, can be found in Tempest's Annual 1967. The subscription list is presented here is surname alphabetical order for ease of searching. The original was in "amount" order. The picture of Soldier's Point is from a postcard. Also seen in this picture, in the background, is Tipping's wood and the Cooley Mountains. The picture of Roden Place, showing the Kelly Memorial, is from an early 20th century postcard.

 


 

NOTE: For a fuller account see 'The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart in Dundalk Bay, 1858' by Charley McCarthy in County Louth Archaeological & Historical Society Journal, volume XXVI part 4 (2008)

See also: Karl Brady (Compiled by), Shipwreck Inventory of Ireland: Louth, Meath, Dublin and Wicklow, DOE Dublin 2008

 

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