Surname: O'Connor, Kelly, Barrett
Per Edward Laxton's wonderful book, The Famine Ships, 1996, the west of Ireland has beautiful
stretches of coastline where the sea mists and loughs, rivers and streams and reliable rainfall endow the
surrounding countryside with a beautiful green cloak. Sligo's majestic sweep of its broad bay is dominated
by Benbulben, by the dramatic rise of this angular, flat-topped mountain. This is Yeats country, where
William Butler Yeats, born in 1865, found inspiration for so much of his poetry and where he chose to be
buried in the churchyard at Drumcliffe.
The port of Sligo was the embarkation point for many of the "coffin" ships and for the poorest passengers,
usually the victims of landlord emigration. The port had a long tradition of sending her ships to all corners
of the world, and Peter O'Connor, a leading Sligo merchant, ordered a 276-ton barque, "Industry," to be
built in 1839 to carry a regular cargo of Canadian timber through the shallow channel in the bay and up the
river to his saw mills. In 1845, the owner proudly proclaimed that she had journeyed from Sligo to
Quebec, under Captain Thomas Barrett, her regular master, in 29 days. It is not known whether she was
carrying passengers on that trip, but 18 months later she carried 184 Famine emigrants from Sligo to New
York, leaving December 26, 1846, under the command of Captain Michael Kelly. Although the late
crossing was unusual at the time, dangerous winter voyages would become commonplace during the
Famine years. During the crossing, "Industry" ran into a succession of storms which allowed little progress.
Over three long winter months the ship floundered at sea; food and water ran low even with strict rationing
and two seamen and 15 passengers died from malnutrition. "Industry" arrived in America on April 11,
1847, after 106 days at sea.
"Industry" to Quebec and " Linden" to New York - 1850
Notice to Passengers appeared in Irish newspaper, August, 1850:
"INDUSTRY" FOR QUEBEC -
Those who have engaged passage per the barque "Industry" for Quebec are required to come on
Tuesday, the 20th inst. to pay the balance of their passage and put their luggage &c, &v, on board. There
are a few berths not yet engaged. Persons who intend to go to the Canadas this season, should not lose
this favourable opportunity, and being the only direct one they will have this season.
THE BARQUE "LINDEN: FOR NEW YORK -
Will be taking her passengers &c, &c, on board on Saturday, the 24th instant. This favourite ship is well
known in the passenger trade between this port and New York.
Those persons who wish for a direct passage, free from the inconvenience and expense of going to more
distant ports, will do well to make timely application for passage by those fine vessels - the rates of
passages are moderate.
Apply to P. O'CONNOR, Merchant
Sligo, 16th August, 1850
Involuntary transportation of paupers and
felons from Ireland to the USA - Sligo, 1730s - 1740s
Surname: Bruen, Harcan, Farrell, Fanly, Fitzgerald, Mullican, Conolly, Gallway, Gallagher, Gawny,
Reilly, Mackey, Johnins, Connelly, Bourke, Higgins, Coser, Cogher, Gilmartin, Jordan, Cugly, Cosly,
Cullen, Sodon, Sharcot, Kenny, Hussey, McHugh, Fitzmorris, Forragher, Costelloe, McGlinn, O'Hara,
Trawly, Connolly, Kegan, Hughs, Higgins, Bram, Gawny, Duke, Galway, Percival, Mullican, McMoroy,
During the 17th and 18th centuries over 60,000 men, women and children were involuntarily transported
from the British Isles to the American colonies. The vast majority of these people were felons and paupers
but there were a number of political and religous dissidents such as the Cromwellian transportees of the
1650s. The English courts were far more likely to order the transportation of prisoners than were the
Scottish or Irish Courts, banishing about 50,000 prisoners to the colonies to work as indentured servants.
The Scottish authorities ordered fewer than 3,000 prisoners to be transported and the Irish courts
In 1719, an act was introduced into the Irish House of Commons for "the better and more effectual
apprehending and transporting of felons and others," and given Royal assent on March 8, 1725.
The kidnapping and shipment of children to America and their sale as indentured servants began to cause
concern, however, and in January, 1743, the Irish Government established a committee to examine the
whole system of transportation in detail.
Information presented to the committee contains valuable data pertaining to 2,000 Irish men and women
transported to the American colonies duriig the mid-eighteenth century. As a result of this committee's
investigations, further legislation was introduced in the Irish House of Commons in January, 1752,
tightening up the rules governing the transportation of prisoners.
Information specifically regarding Co. Sligo:
One document lists prisoners scheduled to be transported. You may find the names slightly misspelled.
The county given was "Sligoe."
On other documents:
- 1. Henry Bruen.
- 2. Rosanne Harcan
- 3. John Farrell (also known as Fanly and Fitzgerald).
- 4. Bridget Harcan.
- 5. John Mullican
- 6. James Conolly
- 7. John Gallway (also known as Gallagher)
- 8. John Gawny
- 9. John Reilly
- 10. John Mackey (also known as Johnins)
- 11. Michael Connelly
- 12. William Bourke
- 13. Dennis Higgins
- 14. Daniel Coser (also known as Cogher)
- 15. Dennis Gilmartin
- 16. Patrick Jordan
- 17. Loughlin Cugly
- 18. Patrick Cosly
Lent assizes, 1736: 66 pounds presented and paid to James Sodon, Esq. for transporting John Cullen,
James Sharcot, John Kenny, John Hussey, Neil McHugh, James Fitzmorris, Thomas Forragher, Patrick
Forragher, Bridget Costelloe and Catherine McGlinn.
Summer assizes, 1740: 18 pounds presented to be paid Charles O'Hara, Esq. for transporting John
Farrell, (otherwise Trawly and Fitzgerald), Michael Connolly and Thady Kegan.
Lent assizes, 1739: 24 pounds presented to be paid Blashford Hughs, Esq. for transporting Dennis
Higgins, Bridget Harcan, Henry Bram and Joan Gawny.
Summer assizes, 1741: 6 pounds to be paid Christopher Duke, sub-sheriff, for transporting John Galway.
Summer assizes, 1742: The sum of 36 pounds to be paid to John Percival, Esq. for transporting Daniel
Mullican, Teigue McMoroy, Patrick Jordan, William Bourke, Dennis Kilmartin and John Mealy (otherwise
Note, if I discover any information regarding what ports in the USA they arrived in I will post an
addendum. I just thought this was interesting information. I did notice that most Irish individuals appeared
to fit into the "pauper" category more than "felons."