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  • The Weather January 1867

The Weather January 1867

Transcribed by Teena from the Derry Journal, the Londonderry Standard,

2 Jan. 1867 – Weather

The weather still continues stormy. On Sunday night there was a perfect hurricane, accompanied with heavy rain and since that the storm has kept up almost unceasingly. There has been an occasional drift of snow and some hail showers. As yet we did not learn of any casualty occurring about this coast, but the weather gives rise to uneasy expectations.

9 Jan. 1867

The Late Storm. Loss of Life. Death from the Inclemency of the Weather.
On Thursday morning a man named M’DANIEL, who resided at Carrowreagh, Burt, was discovered dead on the roadway, near his own house. It is supposed that he succumbed to the intense cold experienced while coming from Derry.

A Man Lost in the Snow Drift
On Saturday night during the very heavy snow drift, a man named Thomas DEVINE, who resided a short distance from Claudy, (of Alla, Upper Cumber) was carried away out of the reach of a companion who was travelling on the road to that place along with him. He had been in Derry marketing and was walking on foot beside his companion, who had a cart, when the strong drift separated them. His body was found the next morning imbedded in the snow, with some groceries that he had purchased scattered round.

Death from Exposure
On Wednesday morning a shoemaker, named Edward M’DOWELL was discovered dead in the snow by the roadside, near his residence in the townland of Carrowreagh, near Burnfoot. On the previous day he had left his home, where he resided with his brother, for the purpose of buying some materials in Derry. He was seen leaving Derry quite sober in the evening and was not again heard of until a little boy going to school stumbled on his dead body, about half a mile from his own house. He was of weak constitution and it is supposed that he sat down to rest and succumbed to the severity of the night. An inquest was held before George H. MITCHELL Esq., coroner for the district, on the 4th instant, when after hearing the evidence of Dr. A. S. HAMILTON, the jury returned a verdict of ‘Death from fatigue and exposure.’ The deceased was forty-seven years of age, unmarried and very generally respected throughout the neighbourhood.

Three Persons Foundered in the Snow in the Neighbourhood of Strabane.

Saturday last three persons lost their lives by being overcome in the dreadful storm that prevailed. One, a young man named Henry DUGAN, employed as a car driver in the Abercorn Arms. He was returning from Holyhill and was overtaken by the storm. He had unyoked the horse, as is supposed, to ride home, but did not succeed in mounting and the animal left him in the snow. His dead body was found by a farmer on Sunday. The deceased, who was of temperate habits, leaves a wife, near confinement with her first child. A subscription, we learn, is about to be got up for the young widow. A labourer on the Holyhill farm, named John WILSON, succumbed to the severity of the night while returning from Strabane. Inquests have been held and verdicts in accordance with the facts returned. The third victim is a young lad named Edward LOUGHLIN, aged about thirteen, who was found dead on Monday morning. He left his parent’s residence, near Donemana on Saturday night, to do some business and not returning, a search was instituted, which resulted in the discovery of his corpse.

The Snow-Storm in Newtown Limavady
We learn that the storm of Saturday night was very severely felt in the district of Newtown Limavady. In some localities, the snow drifts were several feet in depth and parties having animals and goods to dispose of at the market could not convey them to town, except at very serious inconvenience.

Found Dead
On Monday, the dead body of a man named TAYLOR, a dealer in rags, was found at New Buildings, within three miles of Derry. The deceased was in this city on Saturday and was returning home when, it is supposed, he went off his way and was drowned in a dam, where his body was found. An inquest was held on the body and a verdict of drowning returned.

A Man Lost near Coleraine
On Saturday evening, a man named THOMPSON, residing near Articlave, was returning from Coleraine, when, it would appear, he was overcome by the severity of the storm and lost his life. His dead body was found next morning.

The Storm. The Derry Steamers
The cross-channel steamers have been behind time in arriving in this port. The ‘William M’Cormick’ from Liverpool, and the ‘Shamrock’, from Glasgow, were out in the gale during the whole of Saturday night, but we are glad to be in a position to state that they have arrived in safety at our quay.  The ‘Falcon’, however, is still missing.

Our Lisburn correspondent writes –

“The snow-drifts in my part of the country are eight to ten feet deep and on most roads it has been found impossible to drive a car or other vehicle. The engine and tender of the Banbridge line ran off the rails on the way between Hillsborough and Dromore.”

12 Jan. 1867

Lost in the Storm – Milford, Wednesday
It is reported here today that in the storm of Saturday night the driver of a bread cart between Dunfanaghy and Carrigart, named O’DONNELL, missed his road and perished. On inquiry, I find that the above melancholy tidings are confirmed. The horse was capsized in a snow-wreath on the road between Carrigart and Lackagh bridge and the poor driver perished in the vain attempt to find shelter.

16 Jan. 1867

The Effects of the Storm. The Wreck of the Falcon. Sixteen Passengers Said to be Saved from Ireland.

Our correspondent says

I have just (6 p.m., Friday) this moment seen a letter received this morning by Mr. PATRICK, boot and shoemaker, West Blackhall street, here, from Mr. W. A. KAIN shoemaker, Captain street,Coleraine, of date the 10th inst. (Coleraine post mark, also the 10th) Though the letter is about business, the first portion of it refers to the wreck of the s.s. Falcon and is as follows;

The Belfast boat was late yesterday morning for the mail train here, consequently I did not get your letter till night, all right. Happening to be at the railway station this morning, I saw a poor girl who was saved from the Falcon. She belongs to Glasgow. She told me she and her cousin, who is drowned, were coming on a visit to Portrush and that the Falcon came into collision with a foreign vessel before she went ashore at Fair Head, where she went down. The girl thinks there were 30 passengers on board,and that about 16 have been saved, so far as her scattered senses could tell. A sailor saved her by tying her, along with himself, to some floating timber. They were nearly frozen to death before they got to a house. This was the most I could get from her during the few minutes she stood on the platform waiting for the Portrush train, where she is gone to her friends. Everyone is very kind to her. There was a young man on board belonging to this place, who is supposed to be drowned; but the facts will soon be published.

‘”Our correspondent asks, is it not quite possible that in the confusion that seemed to prevail on board, that the captain may have mistaken Fair Head, on the Irish coast, for the Cantyre land and the boat with the three survivors, driven by a S.E. gale from Fair Head, would just be likely to make the point in Islay which it did make?”

(On receiving the above, we telegraphed over to Belfast, requesting our correspondent, if anything had been heard there of any of the passengers in the Falcon having reached the Irish coast alive, to let us know by telegraph. We have, however, received no reply. It appears very improbable that the girl, instead of returning home or writing to Glasgow, should proceed on her journey as if nothing had happened. In saying this, we have no desire to call in question the veracity of the writer of the letter, but we find it much easier to suppose that some hysterical girl, to gain herself attention and sympathy, on reading the report of the catastrophe had trumped up the story referred to, than that sixteen people would have been saved, as she speaks of, without our having heard something about in the five days that have since elapsed since the occurrence.’

Later Particulars
The Greenock correspondent of the Glasgow Journal says;

We understand that a young man named John CLEMING, aged 18, a native of Coleraine, was the name of another of the passengers who went on board the ill-fated steamer Falcon, making four of the five who are said to have taken tickets out at Greenock. CLEMING’S had been over here spending the New-Year with his brother-inlaw and was returning home to his father and mother, who have a small farm at Coleraine. This makes in all fourteen names of passengers, leaving two yet unaccounted for, to make up sixteen passengers said to have taken out tickets?

Full list of Crew 23 in All

We are favoured by Messrs. M’CONNEL & LAIRD, the shipping agents with a full and authentic list of the crew, which we here publish. The following list of the hands includes the names of the engineers and firemen, which were not formerly stated, because the surviving winchman, URIE, who was the only person then aware of them, was under medical treatment at his own house, still suffering from the effects of his exposure for twelve hours in a small boat on the ocean in the roughest weather
Master – R. H. HUDSON, saved
First Mate – J. M’EWAN, lost
Second Mate – H. O’DONNELL, saved
Quartermaster – George JOHNSON, lost
First engineer – Alexander LINDSAY, lost
Second engineer – Gilbert BARR, lost
Donkey fireman – Gavan Brown, lost
After winchman – Archibald JOHNSTON, lost.
Fore winchman – James URIE, saved
Firemen – Thom SLAVIN; Robert HOSIE; Daniel M’LACHLIN; and Neil M”KELLAR, all lost; James STEWART; Wm. PATTERSON (seaman, married with family resided Londonderry); John TURNER; John CUTHBERT; Neil DOHERTY (seaman, married, with family resided Londonderry); and Peter KELLY(seaman, married with family resided Portrush) ; all lost.
Cook – lsaiah JOHNSTON, lost.
Boy – Peter ROBINSON, lost
Stewardesses – Mrs M’LEAN (her sister was with her on the Falcon) and Mrs. MONTGOMERIE, lost

Campbelltown, Thursday
Superintendent MacKECHNIE was round the coast today, from the lighthouse at the Mull of Cantyre to Macrinish and made every inquiry concerning the wreck of the Falcon &c. Not a vestige of anything connected with the vessel has been discovered. This fact is to be accounted for by the circumstance that the wind is blowing off the land.

12 Jan. 1867
The foundering of the Steamship, The Falcon, Melancholy loss of life.

The fears entertained during the past week for the safety of the screw steamer ‘Falcon’ have been realised. The hopes held out to the friends of those on board the ill-fated vessel, that she had put into some place of refuge in the recent storm, have fallen to the ground and it now becomes our sad duty to confirm news which must necessarily bring sorrow – desolation, perhaps, to many houses. Having left Glasgow Saturday morning, she called at Greenock and steamed from that place the same afternoon, experiencing an unparalleled storm, the wind blowing a perfect hurricane, and loaded with blinding snow-drift, so thick as to render navigation as difficult  as in a dense fog. The captain, after a consultation with the officers, thought it advisable to get into the shelter of the Cantyre land and with this object in view, the steamer, going dead slow he headed her course shorewards. Unfortunately she got stem-head to the rocks, the ultimate result being the sinking of the vessel with passengers, it is supposed, to the number of between forty and fifty, and crew of twenty hands, all of whom, save the captain, second mate, and fireman, are believed to have perished. The casualty has thrown a gloom over the entire city and together with the inevitable evils that will follow, it has been creative of great uneasiness to many who are unable to learn for a certainty whether or not their friends were amongst the unfortunate persons that were lost on Sunday morning. The ‘Falcon’ plied regularly between this port and Glasgow for some years past and during that time, to say it mildly, she has met with singularly bad fortune. The present fatality freshens in our minds the fearful loss of life occasioned by her collision with the Garland in our own river, and later still, we hear an accident of a similar nature on the Clyde, happily unattended with loss of life and the last misfortune, the catastrophe of which we at present write, seals the fate of what one is almost forced to believe a doomed vessel. The latest accounts mention two cabin passengers among the drowned, one Mr. Walter M’FARLANE, Neptune Hotel, Londonderry and the other supposed to be Mr. James M’KINLAY, son of Mr. M’KINLAY a horse dealer of Glasgow. The untimely end of the former gentleman has caused much regret among a large circle of friends and acquaintances in Londonderry and the deepest sympathy is felt for his bereaved widow. Mr. M’FARLANE was returning from Glasgow, where he had been spending the New Year holidays with some relatives. We subjoin a compilation from the Glasgow journals

The fine screw-steamer ‘Falcon’, and the whole of her passengers and crew, with only three exceptions, went down off the Mull of Cantyre Sunday morning last, a little after two o’clock, in the midst of a hurricane of wind and snow, the cause of the appalling catastrophe. Those saved were the master of the vessel. Captain Richard Harvey HUDSON, Hugh O’DONNELL, second mate and one of the hands, named John URIE.

Having been detained at the Broomielaw last Friday by fog, her sailing for Londonderry was delayed for a day and consequently she did not leave Glasgow till a quarter past eight Saturday morning, sailing from Greenock the same afternoon. All went well till after passing the light the Mull of Cantyre, abreast of which she was at six o’clock, but before the vessel had made Rathlin, she encountered a severe hurricane of snow, which, becoming so thick, induced the master, Captain HUDSON, to seek the shelter of the Cantyre land. After beating about for several hours and while going dead slow, about two o’clock on Sunday morning the vessel’s stem struck rock, or the shore and stuck fast.  At once the captain ordered the engines to be reversed at full speed, in order, if possible, to get her off the rock, that he might run her into a small creek which he had just discovered at hand. The vessel, however, did not move and after having turned off steam, the engineer came on deck. Almost immediately afterwards a wave lifted the vessel off  and before the engines could be set on the wind drifted her off the land and she had so far settled down at the bows, where her injury had been received, that her screw was out of the water and of course useless. Seeing the state of matters, the vessel leaving the land and rapidly sinking, the captain gave orders to man the boats, which were sufficient to save all on board. This seems to have been done and it is supposed that all the boats were swamped, for the captain avers that he believes all on board perished but those who were saved along with himself in the Falcon’s lifeboat.

The account of the survivors’ escape is to the effect that the second mate and URIE were alone in the lifeboat, which seemed to have been staved in and was half full of water; and although a number of those in the vessel were urged to enter it, they declined, probably being ignorant of the buoyant character of a lifeboat, so that when the second mate called to the captain to take his chance with them, Mr. HUDSON jumped in, his vessel being then in a hopelessly sinking condition. The Falcon drifted about a mile from the land and then went down. In the lifeboat there were three oars at first, but soon after starting one of them was lost. However, owing to the hurricane and the extreme cold at the time, the men were unable to do anything to control the boat and she was allowed to drift before the wind. When daylight broke they were quite out of sight of land and had given themselves up for lost. After mid-day, however, hope revived within them as they approached the Island Islay, but were now in so benumbed a condition and the waves were still running so high, that it was extremely doubtful, even if they did make the Mull of Oa, Island of Islay, whether they would not be driven to pieces on the beach. Happily, unknown to the men in the boat, two strong and gallant young men of the name of CAMPBELL, residing on the Kildalton estate, who chanced to be looking out towards the sea, descried the boat and well knowing the dangers of the coast, at once, in the most heroic manner, determined to risk their lives in the attempt save them. Accordingly, they hurriedly launched a boat and with a strong pull were not long in reaching the life-boat. Seeing that the men on board were quite prostrated, in fact, unable to help themselves to the least extent, they fastened a line to the lifeboat and towed it into safe harbour. The captain and the others were instantly lifted out of the boat and kindly tended at a farm near, until they were so far recovered as to be removed to Port-Ellen, about six miles distance, where Mr. SCOTT factor to John RAMSAY Esq., Kildalton and others, did all that kindness and consideration could suggest for their comfort.

The place, as near as we can yet ascertain, where the vessel took the ground was between the headland of Cantyre and Macrahanish Bay, so that the distance the life boat must have drifted was thirty miles. The perils of such a passage in a hurricane snow, in an open boat, can be imagined, not told.

On board the Falcon there is known to have been a crew of twenty-three hands, including Captain HUDSON, but the number of the passengers cannot be so readily ascertained. The master says he believes there were between forty and fifty, only one of whom was a cabin passenger, Mr. M’FARLANE, an innkeeper at Derry; but it is to be hoped this number is an over estimate, as the owners of the vessel, Messrs. MacCONNELL and LAIRD, inform us that only eleven passengers went on board at Glasgow and five at Greenock, making only sixteen. They, however, mention that there were usually a few to go on board without having first paid their fare, so that the passengers may be set down as at least twenty, which, with the crew, makes a loss of no fewer than forty lives by this melancholy occurrence.

The following are the names of persons believed to have sailed as steerage passengers, but  the owners can furnish no full or authentic list.

John ARTHUR and Margaret ARTHUR, father and daughter
Mrs. USBERT and Daniel USBERT, mother and son
Mrs. Rebecca M. LAREN (or McLAREN ?)

Another steerage passenger was the mother-in-law of a policeman, named GORDON, in the Central District. She had been attending her daughter in Glasgow, during a severe illness and took her way home in the Falcon.

23 Jan. 1867

Ramelton Intelligence
King Winter rules us just now, with unusual rigour. The snow storm which set in with the new year, but which soon abated, has been followed by another of still greater severity. The snow is most abundant, the cold most intense, and all nature, stark and frigid, lies wrapped as it were in her winding sheet. In short, the present snow storm exceeds in severity any which has occurred for a great many years past. I was going to resort to “the memory of the oldest inhabitant,” but it must be as good as used up long since. In a small room, heated by a large fire, daily, I find that the mercury falls in the thermometer, during the night, to the freezing point. The Ramelton branch of Lough Swilly is almost completely frozen in; and the Fortstewart ferry boat is frequently unable to make her six o’clock, or eight o’clock passage in the morning, on account of the lough becoming frozen over, during the night; while at other times, the boatmen have often to break their way or work an intricate passage through the masses of ice. So deep is the snow in some parts that persons with horses and carts have, in many instances, been obliged to turn back on the road, unable to make the journey on which they had been proceeding, from the immense quantities of snow obstructing the way. The extraordinary severe weather will have a sad effect upon many. Small farmers who have to keep their cattle constantly house-fed are beginning to fear a scarcity of fodder, as last season’s grain crops were rather light. But most of all, must the poor feel the dire effect of such a winter; and I rejoice to find that arrangements have been made for the erection of a Poor Relief Fund for the benefit of those in, and around Ramelton, whose necessities require the exercise of public charity.

23 Jan. 1867 –  The Weather – Sufferings of the Poor

The Dublin Freeman of Monday, says;We have every reason to hope that the thaw will continue and that the thousands of the unemployed poor, now starving and in the most wretched state of misery in the cellars and garrets of the lanes and alleys of the city, be enabled to go to their ordinary avocations. Some notion will be formed of the dreadful sufferings of the poor when it is known that in the twenty-four hours preceding Saturday morning, forty-two deaths took place in the South Union Workhouse and that over thirty deaths in the house was reported this morning. These poor people were principally those who had been recently admitted and who had strength with the weather and their terrible privations, as long as they could endure them. The bounty of the public is most urgently demanded to tide the industrious and stricken poor over their present and deplorable necessities.”