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c1850-60 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF ONE YOUNG WOMAN'S TRIALS AND TRAVAILS DURING THE IRISH POTATO FAMINE AND TALES OF STORMS, SHIPWRECKS, CASTAWAYS AND BEAR MEAT DURING AN EVENT FILLED EMIGRATION TO NORTH AMERICA
Mullinmore Cty Mayo Ireland Elmsley Ontario Lanark - On offer is an extraordinary handwritten manuscript relic of the Irish potato famine and the subsequent massive emigration of Irish people to North America being a first hand journal account [pp 1-8 then 13-16] of a young woman's terrible times in Ireland and her fantastic tale of coming to North America circa 1847. It begins "in long years ago when I was married and was the mother of two little boys I lived in an old log shanty. I saw what I think was vision, I was no believer in ghosts, my mother told me she never seen one, myself and two children was left four or five days without food." The girl was born in Mullinmore County Mayo Connaught & Cristand [sic] in Knox Church. When she left Ireland a priest gave her half a crown to buy a dress, and told her she is going to a hard country and would one day be a 'cannuck' being the nickname for Canadians. They crossed the ocean in a ship named the "Robert & Isabella" a government ship [one internet search shows a like named ship leaving for Quebec in 1847 and arriving with another 16 ships with over 3500 in steerage from Ireland], it was painted black. There was a tremendous storm and the Captain said they drifted several thousand miles off course 'to some island, I think called Greenwich'. They came upon the snow covered island with two castaways - Craftin Gidden and Edward Wills - on it. They were wearing furs, they brought bear meat onto the ship, and drove a lot of "white bears" to the ship as a shepherd would. Their ship was wrecked and they were stranded for three years. "There was a shark, one of those sea monsters that followed the ships for dead bodies, but he got none from us. I remember seeing the lighthouse." She writes of relatives aboard that go to America and like herself to Canada. This one of a kind diary is a history of an era but also a look into the soul of a people. She writes: "As we left the shores of our native land there was not a dry eye on board as the poor but good harted irish stud hand in and deck may god forgive there opresser, I don't think there is any people on earth can bid goodbye and say god speed as they can sing an affectionate song." Of the Irish she continues: "There as welcome for the brawny sons of tile the yankey liked him because he could dig the canal, the Canadian like him because he could chop down the forest." She writes of ending in Canada and research suggests she settles in Elmsley Ontario in Lanark County near Perth and Smith's Falls. Given the number of clues provided by the woman her identity may yet be revealed by someone able to do the in-depth research.This is truly a unique personal retelling of one woman's incredible story and perspective of an unparalleled, tangential moment in human history. Overall VG. 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall
      [Bookseller: M Benjamin Katz FineBooksRareManuscripts]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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