Waxwings to Philadelphia


This page supports volunteer research from Celticknot, Carleo and Waxwing as set out in more detail elsewhere in this site. Much of the posts appear under the name of site-administrator but all of it is in fact a fully shared effort. The research is into the circumstances of all the emigrants who set off from the port of Derry in the Summer of 1832 for  Philadelphia. Their fates are broadly unknown, apart from the putative murders at Duffy’s Cut of the fifty seven labourers on board the four ships – the John Stamp, the Prudence, the Asia and the Ontario. The brief of the project however is much wider than the Duffys Cut labourers. It is a large scale exploration of more than 160 emigrants, something never attempted before, in the hope that this will shed light on the difficulties that family researchers encounter when looking for ancestors.

Newcomers to the site should please note that the posts are in the order of newest first. Therefore to follow the Waxwings project in chronological order they should scroll to the bottom of the page and work upwards. The choice of Waxwing(s) as a nom-de-plume is a reference to the distinctive markings of a bird that is rarely found in Ireland, more commonly to be found in North America. These birds, like the Irish emigrants from Derry in 1832, and despite their distinctive characteristics, continue to be hard to trace which is the major challenge of this project.


221 responses to “Waxwings to Philadelphia

  1. Eileen Breen

    February 25, 2014 at 2:17 am

    The most prominent bank the Society managed was the Bank of Pennsylvania. The funding for the American Revolution came through here. The major funding came from Holland. Interesting that E.I. duPont also used Holland to fund his land grab scheme with other investors when he first came to America.

    • Eileen Breen

      February 25, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      FFT: In addition to learning several languages many English gentlemen went to Venice as part of their education. Venice in the 1700s and 1800s was a place where the elite went on vacation. Their education was learning about the merchant trade. The wealthy Venetians, notably the Giovani faction near Paolo Serpi, used the merchant trade, their family fortunes, philosophies and political strategies to maintain maritime supremacy on the Adriatic and namely in England, France and the Netherlands.

      They decided England and Scotland were the new Venice and they started religious wars between Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans and Jesuits. The Venetians preferred the Protestant Church of England and they knew their partnership with the Anglicans would be in conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. They also had a anti-Spanish policy in an attempt to prevent the Spanish army from invading Venice.

      Although US Presidents Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were influenced by the Venetian Republic, they had never visited Venice. The presidents agreed with some of the Venetian philosophies of world dominance, commerce and how the Venetian’s separated church from state and had a two house system of government. They differed in how much power officials and government bodies had. John Adams criticized some of the policies inhe wrote. The US wanted a democracy for its government. The Venetian Republican government was a government in which the ruling power belongs to a few people unlike the US government limits the power of governmental officials and the governmental power belongs to many people. The US presidents were also impressed by the Age of Enlightenment and the word Liberty.

    • Eileen Breen

      March 16, 2014 at 11:36 am

      FFT: From the article that Mary found today it seems that the Watsons are still looking for John Burns at Duffy’s Cut because he was the oldest man at the Cut. So, John Burns and Catherine Burns, the charwoman they have buried and memorialized on the monument in Pennsylvania, are not the same? They are apparently still looking for him? In the article Watson used the name ‘William Burns’. Hahaha! So, Don if they find him you’ll have to go to another bone internment in Ardara! Can they scratch their names off the memorial in Pennsylvania?

  2. Eileen Breen

    February 20, 2014 at 8:11 am


    J.S. Archibald Ballantine lived in East Bradford, PA with his family. He was a farmer with an estate worth $600.00. His son Archibald was a stone mason and his brother David lived in Thorndale Iron Works, Caln Township, PA. The area was significant for the Friendly Society and the Columbia Railroad which ran through this town and which was completed in 1834.

    The Thorndale Iron Works,I think, is a town and a post office, later named Caln Township. There is a Furnace Company called Chester County Furnace Company (maybe for the railroad engines). David may have been an iron worker or laborer -the census didn’t say. He had a brother who was a mason and later a son of David’s was a stone mason.

    Thomas Leiper, also connected to Robert Taylor’s family, owned a quarry for his connection to the Columbia RR. He owned and built the first RR in US to bring stone from the quarry to sites (RR and buildings sites) all over the country. Archibald Ballantine Jr, a mason, may have worked for the Columbia RR or Thomas Leiper.

    The area had the oldest Quaker Meeting House and the Friendly Society also owned property near there. The Society ran the turnpike and coach service through the area up to Pittsburg. It was the first paved road in the county. There were several inns in the area and the American Revolution ran through this area. The Friendly Sons lit the fires for the men, funded the American Revolution and opened the Pennsylvania Bank to fund the Revolution. George Washington stayed in this area during the Revolution. Many Quaker meetings were held in the inns which catered to the emigration trade for housing, food and transportation services.

    There is a Taylor house near the route and the town was near Brandywine where his father and brother lived. The family was Methodist and there is a family tree on Ancestry that put up a memorial on the site: http://www.Find A The family is buried in Grove Methodist Cemetery. We also have another family, the Rea family, that was in Brandywine and they were farmers.

    There is a Grey (Gray) family that is placed by one of the censuses near the Ballantine’s farm. Their farm waqs worth $10,000. (I’m not sure if this is the same family but the farm is worth quite a bit of money compared to the Ballantine’s farm). The Grays were related through his wife to Robert Taylor. The Grays owned a railroad that connected to the Pennsylvania RR, the Columbia RR, that evolved into the Pennsylvania RR.

    The Friendly Society also owned land near the Columbia RR and the Turnpike. I think we should re-visit some of our John Stamp laborers to see if they were in Brandywine as farmers and the laborers maybe were in Thorndale Iron Works (Caln Township).

  3. Eileen Breen

    February 17, 2014 at 12:39 am


    In 1818 there were five Presbyterian ministers who were attributed to the migration from Coleraine to Boston, Massachusetts.

    “There was a relationship between New England and Ireland that was entirely intellectual and religious. There was no interest in establishing trade to stimulate colonization. So thoroughly a deliberate an undertaking, clearly conceived and organized, that an agent was set out to prepare the way. Ships were chartered for the voyage and holds were filled with household goods of the Bann Valley emigrants. Reverend William Homes’ son Captain Robert Homes played a considerable part.”

    During the same period Presbyterian ministers: Boyd, McGregor, McKeen and Gregg were leaders that encouraged emigration. They were from Counties Londonderry and Antrim.

    From the Bill MacAfee’s website on Coleraine in 1832: “many merchants used upstairs of properties as grain stores.” In 1832 and 1901, 65% of the residents of Coleraine were Presbyterian. There is a 1831 census for Coleraine that indicated those who lived in the town. The 1832 valuation: “not all those listed against the property lived there.”

    In Londonderry, the Friendly Brothers was established in 1763. “It was an illegal group but was tolerated.” This may have been the precursor to The Friendly Sons and it was illegal because of their secret oaths.

    Prior to 1718, Scotch-Irish migration was not influenced by the Quakers. During 1728-1729,mthe Ulster Quakers emigrated due to economic disturbances. The Hon. Richard Jackson raised rents on his estate near the Clothworker’s lands where the Quakers lived. The Jackson family opposed the political views of the Society and its power to grant lands in Coleraine.

    The Honorable Irish Society controlled lands in Londonderry and Coleraine and lands not granted to the twelve London Companies. They offered to aid churches and schools as part of their service, to protect settlers and defend the rights of their investors.

    From 1718-1850 265 quakers emigrated to Pennsylvania. 27 Quaker emigrants came from Armagh and Cavan. James Logan, a Quaker, was William Penn’s friend and the Secretary of Pennsylvania. He was cousin to Reverend William Tennent of Ireland who was one of the most influential leaders of the Presbyterian Church.

    • Eileen Breen

      February 17, 2014 at 2:01 am

      Prior to the Plantation, Londonderry was an ecclesiastical community and, after the Siege of Derry, Londonderry was seen as a key port. A ship that left the Derry port could travel to Philadelphia in less time than it took for a ship to leave an English port and make its way to the open ocean.

      Rev. William Tennent, his wife and five sons (who all were reverends in the Presbyterian Church)all emigrated to Pennsylvania. Later, two sons preached in Delaware. Two sons were born in Armaugh, and two were born in Coleraine.

      It seems there was a long history of ecclesiastical community that included ship captains and grain merchants (Grocers). Perhaps they intermarried and became closely associated with one another. The Quakers were the farmers in Coleraine and perhaps they grew various types of grain such as flax or others used for making alcohol or other products that were then exported by the merchants.

    • Eileen Breen

      February 25, 2014 at 2:10 am

      The Society:

      Many of the Friendly Sons were Presidents of banks or financial institutions including the Merchant’s Bank (Stock Exchange), Girard Bank, Farmers’ Bank and Mechanics’ Bank. Perhaps each one of these funded different types of immigrants and work schemes? It is also nteresting that these names match the types of immigrants on our manifests – laborers/farmers, farmers/ weavers and Mechanics.

  4. Don MacFarlane

    February 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I would like to be able to have something ready for when I meet Liz Rushen in April when she comes over to meet me in Ireland from Tasmania. If you check out the site you will see some of the main points from our research:

  5. Don MacFarlane

    February 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    The ‘Monuments Men’ is getting hammered by the film critics:

    ‘People will look back at this mess and say “This was not George Clooney’s Finest Hour”. Even with such an A-list posse of actors, how Clooney has messed up the film’s perspective! Clunky throughout’.

  6. Eileen Breen

    February 11, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    The merchants of Derry may have been influenced by the evangelical movement in Ireland. There was an Irish Evangelical Society (Quakers) in Ireland and there were several outposts in Donegal. From the book ‘Cracks in the Evangelical Empire: Consumerism and the Churches’, the author Lewis Solomon comments that ‘Evangelical Protestantism and capitalism were a marriage of convenience’ and that it encouraged ‘individualism, free choice and voluntarism’.

    Evangelical ministers promoted the Calvinistic work ethic and preached that it was one’s Christian duty to ‘hard work, trust, self-discipline and self-help as a way to wealth’. They used examples from the Bible: ‘Jesus had to chase money-changers from the temple. Merchants flocked to medieval cathedrals and in America peddlers gathered on the fringes of the revival meetings’.

    An American Preacher in the 1830s, Henry Ward Beecher, stated: ‘God intended the great to be great, and the little to be little’. Wealth and Christianity were ‘compatible and closely linked. Wealth came from God. Riches were used responsibly and for noble purposes’. Early advertisements were used to teach personal habits and gave information on prices and products.

    The author of the article, ‘The Gospel Of Wealth’, Lewis D. Solomon, states that ‘Protestants did not cause the new trend of consumerism and they did not control it. They did embrace it, nevertheless. The concept of steward helped take the rough edges off the crass consumer ethic. Evangelical Protestants may have not caused consumerism but they contributed to its rise. Revivalism encouraged choice and individualism opened people to conversion to the Christian faith, new products, brands and experiences. It used emotional, secular and non-rational approaches to advertise their products’.

    By the late 19th century they had a moral agenda discouraging slavery and use of alcohol as well as stores cashing in on the commercialism of the Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter.

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 12, 2014 at 7:54 am

      All of which is contrary to what Jesus preached when he said the likes of ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God’ and ‘Go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, then follow Me’.

  7. Don MacFarlane

    February 9, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I think Saint Paul was to blame for much of the persecution complex, having been such a persecutor of Christians himself prior to his Damascene conversion. From being a persecutor from outwith the Church he went to being a persecutor from within it. Was there something wrong with him??

    Me, I take most of the Bible (and always have done) with a very big pinch of salt. The bits that stand out for me as bizarre are:

    Genesis – the myth of the creation of the world and the origin of the human species.
    Leviticus – a whole lot of arcane laws that have no relevance to anything anymore unless to Jews.
    Song of Solomon – soft pornography.
    Job – a heap of misery.
    The rest of the Old Testament – a whole lot of books that most people can’t remember the names of, let alone their contents.

    Mathew, Mark, Luke and John – a whole lot of parables that most people do not attempt to live by or understand.
    The Epistles – mostly boring but with the odd good bit thrown in that sums up how people should live, notably Corinthians, Chapter 13.
    Revelations – the stuff of nightmares, dreamt up by someone on magic mushrooms, that keeps good people from taking Communion.

    The irony is that this is the book that people swear by in Court to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’!

  8. Eileen Breen

    February 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I think where I was led astray between the Lowland Scots versus those leaving Western Scotland and going to US was that the article I read stated that, as a result of the Highland Clearances, they went to Ulster or Canada first, then to America. I understood that the lowland Scots went to Ulster after being invited to invest in Ulster to fund the Plantation.

    There is an article by Maurice Bric, ‘Patterns Of Irish Emigration to America 1783-1800’. It states that several firms in Philadelphia participated in both shipping linen and emigrants.

    In the Friendly Sons minutes of their meetings several firms were mentioned: “Management of servants was central to the cash flow of the Ulster-American trade. Merchants and ship captains as well as their agents traded in people as they would in any commodity. As a result, the networks that linked the weavers, brokers and merchants of the linen industry were also used to promote emigration from Ulster. While on the other side of the Atlantic the central role of the middle colonies in both the importation and redistribution of servants and other Irish emigrants was assured.”

    • Eileen Breen

      February 8, 2014 at 1:17 am


      None of the articles I read says who owned the East Whiteland Horse Co. One article says that the East Whiteland Horse Co. owned Duffy’s Cut and other properties. The company was hired to maintain the quarantine.

      Thomas Leiper started the first horse-pulled railway and designed a canal near this railway. After his death in 1825, Leiper’s son Thomas Gray Leiper was also involved in the railroad business and he finalized his father’s dream to build the canal designed by his father. His father was a friend to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and well as holding offices in government. The Gray family was also involved in his father’s quarry and another railroad near this one.

      Property near Sugartown Rd, where Duffy lived, was a site of an American Revolution battle. Many members of the Friendly Sons who were merchants of Philadelphia not only started the Revolution, they built the national bank to fund it and kept the fires burning during the battle. It seems unlikely that the Friendly Sons would allow just anyone to buy land near the planned railroad. People who owned property near Duffy’s Cut had to sign documents that allowed the railroad to build fences along its route. If the Friendly Sons owned this property they would have been insured. They were involved in fire and assurance companies. So if it wasn’t the Leiper or the Gray family it may have been someone from the Friendly Sons who owned the property?

    • Eileen Breen

      February 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      I was looking at the deed to Duffy’s Cut.

      It looks like they had to wait for a few people to die so land could be resold. In 1745 Society land was in Willistown PA. People who owned land around Duffy’s Cut were the John Zook Family, farmers in East Whitland Township; in Goshen was the Malin family. In 1866 William Penn Evans owned land near the RR at West Chester Intersection. RN Morgan was a minister in 1829 at St Paul Episcopal Church in East Whiteland and Randall Morgan was minister at First St Paul. There was a patch of land belonging to The Society.

      1826, Oct 13: Christian Zook’s Will s proven. Mar 13, 1834, Executors of Christian Zook and Randal Malin discussed Christian Zook’s will on May 7,1861.

      Randal Malin’s will on Aug 26, 1861 was to be proved in Court. On Aug 30, 1861 Randal Malin’s will was recorded as including 71 acres, land and buildings and 36 acres in South Hill.
      On Mar 25,1862, Joseph A. Malin became Executor for Randal Malin on behalf of Rebecca T. Malin. Apr 10, 1862 (Baptist Church in Willistown PA). Mention was made on Mar 28, 1876 of Joseph Hawley to Ben Crouthers.

      One thought is – were the people living in East Whiteland qmembers of the East Whiteland Horse Company?

      • maccarleo

        February 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        The East Whiteland Horse Company was supposed to be an insurance company for horse owners, but it seems that all it actually was was a group of vigilantes who regularly shot horse thieves. The man who owned the land closest to the shantytown at Duffy’s Cut was named Pratt and he was a member of the East Whiteland Horse Company. A cholera outbreak would be more than sufficient reason for the vigilante group to swoop down on the camp and ‘rid’ themselves of the problem.

    • Eileen Breen

      February 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      The Pennsylvania and Columbia Railroad was built by the Canal Commissioners of the State and there were principal land stages along the Turnpike. The charge was six cents for every mile from Philadelphia to Pittsburg and $18.50 for the whole route, extra if you wanted to eat. Six people could ride in one horse-drawn wagon.

      There were twelve inns along the route and they were very prosperous. In 1762 there was a law that the tavern keeper could ‘sell to regular inmates and travellers in moderation’ but no business could be done on a Sunday. William Penn’s agents were also in the countryside doing their business.

      The Turnpike and nearby roads going past the inns were an old emigrant route to the West where people bought supplies and stayed in the inns. The Turnpike was close to the Pennsylvania and Columbia RR so the area businesses, including the inns, would have a lot to lose if people became sick.

      From Proceedings and Addresses Vol 21 Pennsylvania German Society: East Whiteland. p 72

  9. Don MacFarlane

    February 7, 2014 at 7:45 am

    You would think so! So it begs the question, what holds people back from doing exactly that?

    The answer I think is in the Bible where it warns that any false communicants (those who do not open their hearts fully to being saved but who nonetheless take Communion) can expect to suffer the everlasting fires of Hell!

    1 Corinthians 11:27-29
    ‘Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself’.

    That is why in Presbyterian-style churches a large part of the congregation do not go up for Communion, whereas in Catholic churches very few do not go up for Mass. I have been in both types of churches on many occasions, so I have seen this phenomenon first-hand.

    Go figure! I guess my Mum was hedging her bets!

  10. Eileen Breen

    February 7, 2014 at 12:41 am

    From the Constitution of the Friendly Sons, 17 Mar 1771:

    “The duty of the acting committee shall be to receive applications for assistance, to send two or more members to visit all vessels arriving in this port (Philadelphia) from Ireland with passengers, to make inquiry into the character and circumstances and for those who may in their judgement be entitled to relief, and to afford them such assistance as the nature of their respective cases may require and the funds of the Society will admit, and more effectively prevent and punish imposition and oppression of emigrants by owners, masters, or freighters of vessels, or by any other persons whatsoever, and to afford, immediate aid to those who may be affected by sickness. They shall be empowered to call for the advice of the counsellors and physicians in their respective professions”.

    Stats on The Friendly Sons:

    The earliest Irish society in Philadelphia was the Hibernian Fire Co., founded in 1751. Out of twenty six signers of it’s constitution, nine became Friendly Sons. Of the founding fathers of the Friendly Sons, seven were members of the Hibernian Fire Co. 1766; a small group of twelve came out of the Glouster Fox Hunting Club; three were from the Schuylkill Fishing Club and six were from the Irish Club that evolved into the Friendly Sons and later the Glorious Society and the Hibernian Society. Even though the members were mainly Presbyterian and Episcopalian they chose as its first president an RC. There were only three Catholics in the original Friendly Sons and a precursor to this club was a Protestant Club.

    The emigrants they assisted first came from the Western Highlands in Scotland. Many emigrated from Scotland to Ireland and then made the crossing to the middle states on the east coast of U.S. Pennsylvania was the most willing to accept them. ‘They were proper speaking.’ In the 1600s the two main issues in Ireland were to end Roman Catholicism and land was confiscated and redistributed to the English. By the 18th century the issues were oppression and emigration. Two waves of Scots left the Western Highlands in 1791 and in 1801. Landlords wanting to improve their land evicted crofters from their lands. Crofters were placed on ships to Canada and middle states of the US.

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 7, 2014 at 8:06 am

      This is real good stuff and puts a whole new light on things. Like I said before, Eileen, you are a natural-born historian and you should look further into academia.

      The only quibble I have with this piece is the West Highland angle which does not ring true for me.

      The majority of Highlanders and Islanders of Scotland of that period had a weak, if any, grasp of English and could not be considered as ‘proper-speaking’. By contrast, none of the Duffy’s Cut crew were of West Highland extraction and hence English would have been their mother tongue, despite what the Watsons say.

      Secondly, the Scots emigrants into Ireland during that period did not come from the Western Highlands of Scotland either. They came from the Lowlands. The Highland presence in Ulster now is a throw-back to over five hundred years ago.

  11. Don MacFarlane

    February 5, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Mormons could have as many wives as they wanted and could have umpteen children.

    Shakers had to be celibate and to swear to have no children.

    Which of these two groups stand to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

    • maccarleo

      February 6, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      I do not think that God is a believer in sectarianism. Whether or not you are allowed into heaven is an individual, case by case decision. If in the end, you have a ‘good heart’, no matter how many mistakes, wrong choices or wrong moves you made in your life, you will be allowed in heaven.

      • Don MacFarlane

        February 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm

        My mother was brought up in the Church of Scotland to believe that no-one entered the Kingdom of Heaven through any goodness they had in themselves as everyone was a sinner, corrupt and unworthy. The only way to Eternal Life was through Justification by Grace (acceptance of Jesus as one’s personal Saviour). In fact, it would appear that the Catholic Church broadly believes the same:

        For her, curiously and paradoxically, it meant that she never partook of Communion as she always believed she was unworthy. I guess that means that in her own mind if she was never good enough to take Communion she was never good enough to go to Heaven? A Catch-22 situation it would appear then? The reason being that the reason for Communion/Mass is to do with the directive “Do this in memory of Me” so failing to take Communion is a rejection.

        Catch One: If you think you have to be good-enough to take Communion you are not Justified by Grace.
        Catch Two: You can never be good-enough because that requires to be Justified by Grace.

  12. Eileen Breen

    February 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm


    James Corscaden was baptized in an Ecclesiastical church in Muff, Donegal. His mother was a Findlater and they were Presbyterian. His son was also married in a church designed by Halley as one of St Anne’s Act churches. Churches were aligned east to west and a special compass was used to place the church in the correct position. The duPonts were Presbyterian, so perhaps the members of the Establishment in Londonderry were of this faith.

    At this time other religions that were not Anglican were not allowed to practice their faith freely. The Quakers assisted them to emigrate to Pennsylvania where Gov. William Penn and other established several Quaker communities were. William Penn encouraged the Irish Presbyterian and later other faiths to come to Pennsylvania.

    The Quakers were the government in Philadelphia and they were called The Society after The Society Of Friends, the original name of the Quakers. New Castle DE,where the duPont family lived, was one of the Quaker colonies. Many of those who emigrated from Derry were Presbyterian and Scotch Irish. They were shop keepers, farmers and laborers who were subjected to discrimination by Protestant landlords who increased their rents and evicted them off their land. After a several poor harvests and a decline in the linen markets many were forced to emigrate. Pennsylvania offered them a place to emigrate where they could practice their faith freely.

    By 1846 there were only about three thousand Quakers in a population of eight million people. They were not in areas hardest hit by famine, however they formed a national network to give aid to the people in the Northwest of Ireland and other hard hit areas. Many of the Quakers were merchants and they felt an individual in distress should be helped if at all possible. Quakers were also ship owners, merchants and were involved in trades in Waterford.

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Splitting hairs here, I guess, but were Huguenots really Presbyterian?

      Scottish Calvinists (followers of John Calvin) were called Presbyterians.
      French Calvinists were called Huguenots.
      Therefore, according to that, Huguenots had no need to become Presbyterian. They were virtually the same thing already.

      Nonetheless, the suggestion may very well be true and supportable by evidence? Huguenots may well have been absorbed into American and Canadian Presbyterianism. It would need some research to say for sure.

      The links of Huguenotism with Freemasonry, at least in the duPont case, have already been covered in earlier posts.

      • Eileen Breen

        February 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm

        “Calvinists are the true heroes of England. They founded England, in spite of the corruption of the Stuarts. By exercise of duty, by the practice of justice, by obstinate toil, by vindication of right, by resistance to oppression, by conquest of liberty, by the repression of vice. They founded Scotland; they founded the United States; at this day they are, by their descendants, found in Australia and colonizing the world.” – French Atheist Hippolyte Taine 1828-1893

        “The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure and was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her son, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Huguenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster.” – George Bancroft

      • maccarleo

        February 3, 2014 at 5:15 am

        If we go from Don’s supposition that the Huguenots were absorbed into American and Canadian Presbyterian churches, it seems that a perusal of church directories or members’ lists, looking specifically for French surnames, should give us our answer as to whether or not any absorption was taking place.

      • Eileen Breen

        February 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm


        Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Anglican faiths were based on Calvinism. The first three believed in a mixed government of aristocracy and democracy. The first Irish government in Dublin was the first government in the world to have two houses. They also believed in the separation of powers and resistance to political absolutism. They promoted self rule and freedom of religion.

        This is where I’m puzzled. The Anglican Government asked the Scotch Presbyterians to help found the Plantation and generations later they were running the Government in Derry. It appears as if they were tolerated and some of them were financially well off. Then why did the Scotch Presbyterians feel the need for the big push to emigrate and for the Quakers to help them find jobs, housing in America? Was it only to colonize?

      • maccarleo

        February 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        There seems to have been an intense recruiting program by the American colonists for more immigrants which coincided with rack renting, drought and food shortages that were occurring in Ireland. The ‘Great Migration’ may have begun as a search for religious freedom, but does not seem to be true for the later immigrants. They may simply have felt that ‘it couldn’t be any worse’ in America than it was in Ireland at the time. There also appears to be a very narrow and limited ability for climbing the social ladder. In other words, you were only allowed to improve your standing to a point.

        What is puzzling is that the migration out of Ireland is nearly 100% Presbyterian during this time. Was the non-Presbyterian population unable to afford passage and did the Presbyterian Church provide passage for its members? Why didn’t other congregations do the same for their members?

      • Don MacFarlane

        February 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm

        Which is why I take umbrage over the Watsons’ claims in their book that the boys of Duffy’s Cut were illiterate and could speak no English – 60% of the emigrants on the four ships from Derry (mostly from Donegal and Tyrone) in the Summer of 1832 were Protestant. According to Eileen’s research, most of these were most likely financed by the likes of duPont, not their Church, and various other shipping agents.

  13. Eileen Breen

    February 1, 2014 at 2:45 am


    The Pennsylvania Canal in 1820 was a precursor to the Pennsylvania and Columbia Railroad, later named the Pennsylvania Railroad. The idea was conceived by Philadelphia Merchants (The Friendly Sons Of St Patrick), many who had Donegal roots. The idea was inspired by the emerging markets in Ohio County, North West Territories and Lands Of The Louisiana Purchase (E.I. duPont was the diplomat and businessman who negotiated the Louisiana Purchase for President Thomas Jefferson).

    The Pennsylvania Railroad was constructed at the expense of the PA state. An Act Of the General Assembly paved the way for the PRR to be constructed: “Act Relative To The Pennsylvania Canal…” The canal and the railroad were connected and the earliest railroad in PA was built by Thomas Leiper who d. 1825. His plans for the Canal were devised prior to his death but were implemented after his death.

    The Leiper Canal used flat bottom boats to haul cargo up the canal to serve his quarry near Chester County in Pennsylvania. Thomas Leiper’s daughter married Robert Taylor, agent. This family was also married into the Grey family who also had their own railroad line that connected to the later named PRR. The PRR was the most diversified and largest railroad line in the US.

    The Governor’s Mills: Globe, Schuylkill and Ellicott were also run by The Society. The Ellicott Mills had a fire in 1832 and a flood in the 1850s and was rebuilt. I haven’t been able to find records from the mills. There is a city called Ellicott City in PA where the earthenware mill was.

    I ran a few of the names in the 1840 census but I haven’t found anything yet. If the laborers work on Leiper’s railroad, Leiper’s Canal (privately funded) or another part of the Pennsylvania and Columbia Railroad they may have lived on site and would probably not end up in a census. President Andrew Jackson who favored Irish landowners and decentralized the national bank was the first US president to ride the rails.

    • Eileen Breen

      February 1, 2014 at 3:07 am

      The land for the PRR was taken by eminent Domaine and other legal maneuvers. John Chew (connected to the Leiper family) was a politician who negotiated with the Society on removing the Native Americans from their land. The Society tried to involve the Native Americans in the “Trades.”

      • Eileen Breen

        February 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm

        The Chew family were Quakers from Scotland and the top person in their family was a mason. They were on a ship that landed them at the first settlement in the US at Jamestown VA. Eight generations of this family were slave owners. In 1776 during the American Revolution one of the patriarchs was a Quaker but he decided to become a member of the Anglican church. This got him into trouble with the Americans and he was thrown into jail for eight months. A Battle of the American Revolution was fought on their property.

        The home was part of their family until the 1980s and the house had sixty five rooms. There is a letter from E.I. duPont to the Chew family concerning a debt over a ship owned by the Chew family. The Mexican government refused to pay duPont and Chew how much was owed to them and the letter from 1830 is in the Hagley Archives. I sent for the letter. The ship didn’t sell to Mexico or to Russia. Chew still tried to get Mexico to pay for the ship. So now we have two families out of the John Stamp tree that have deep connections to slavery.

  14. Vicki Munn

    January 11, 2014 at 1:45 am

    I only just came across this site tonight, but I feel somehow my family may have a tie to these discussions.

    Patrick Cresson Munn, his father James Sr. and brother James Jr. emigrated to Philadelphia from Londonderry sometime in the early to mid 1830s (Pat became a U.S. citizen in 1840). Pat married an Eleanor Mary Duffy in the early 1840s (her parents are unknown). Somehow they are related to the Derry Mayor, John Munn.

    In our family’s sparse oral history our Munns were called the “Oat Boat Munns” because they supposedly emigrated on a ship with a cargo of oats. Ships of John Munn were known to trade in oats. Our family were Catholics while John Munn was Church of Ireland so I have not resolved that one yet. Pat and his brother James were members of a Philly political club which supported Daniel O’Connor. Just thought I would put my info out there.

    • Don MacFarlane

      January 12, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      Munns were very sparse in Derry from the mid1800s onwards and were a mix of religions – Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic. The most likely from the 1901/1911 censuses to be connected lived in Shantallow:

      From the Griffiths Valuation of 1858, there were three heads of household by that name and they all lived in Templemore (the Cityside as it is known today):

      John Munn, Foyle Street
      John Munn, Queen Street
      David Munn, Great James Street

      • Eileen Breen

        January 25, 2014 at 3:41 pm

        Hi Pat

        I found a Patrick Cresson Munn in two family trees on Ancestry – don’t forget to check the Londonderry directories too. If John Munn was Mayor he may have been also the shipbuilder who along with eight other members of the establishment in Londonderry were also shipbuilders in 1800s.

        Patrick Cresson Munn was born in 1803 in Ireland and died in 23 Feb 1875 at 246 Dickerson St, Philadelphia PA. Another address was 832 Warton St, Philadelphia and 8125 5TH St, Ward 3 Philadelphia. They are buried in the Cathedral cemetery in Philadelphia. I haven’t found a ship manifest for him but I may have found one for his wife: Eleanor Mary Dewey (spelling?). I know you had thought Duffy but Dewey comes up a few times. They had four children: Daniel Joseph 1848-1915, James P. b 1848, John b 1858 in 1874 and Catherine.

        The Philadelphia City Directory lists the son James P. as working at Grossman and Munn. (Perhaps they owned a small grocery store.) The father Patrick Cresson Munn on his death was listed as a retired Grocer. This would fit neatly into our timeline as many of the men we look up are also in the grain, spirit distributors and general grocers business. The Grocers were one of the fifty trades that are represented in Londonderry at Guildhall. Originally there were twelve Trades at the time of the Plantation. Currently there are over two hundred trades represented.

        Do you know if you are related to the Corscadens, Findlaters, Bloods, Taylors, Watts or Youngs from Londonderry? These names were involved either as grocers, spirit distributors, merchants, ship builders and ship masters.

    • Eileen Breen

      January 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      I forgot to say: there was a Eleanor Dewey on the Provincialist, age 19, which left Londonderry for Philadelphia. Also there was a large distillery in Donegal that this group of shipbuilders and spirit dealers may have used. Patrick Ruddy, a writer to this page, had made us aware of this when we were looking at James Corscaden and his businesses. The grain was probably used as ballast. Maybe it was sold when they got to Philadelphia and was made into alcohol or paints.

      This small group of shipbuilders, grain merchants, spirit dealers and distributors, grocers and ship masters were very industrious, holding many jobs. They were all probably Masons involved in promoting imperialism, nationalism and colonization for the Crown. I also read that at the Delaware Port many of the ships threw the ballast overboard when they got to the port causing a huge problem polluting the water at the ports.

    • Eileen Breen

      January 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm


      The name Cresson also appears in McElroy’s Philadelphia City Directory for 1840. It’s on line for free as well as other city directories. Several lived near 6TH St. They were merchants and one was a railroad employee. Eleanor Dewey Munn lived near 6TH St on 5TH St. Maybe they were part of Patrick Cresson Munn’s family

    • Eileen Breen

      January 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      I think the entry for the Philadelphia City Directory for 1840 for James P. Munn son of Patrick Cresson Munn should have been: Cresson and Munn, not Grossman and Munn.

    • Eileen Breen

      January 25, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      John Munn b 1819-1869 was a chemist, had the titles Dr. and Esq and was a shipbuilder. His father was John Munn 1788-1867 who was a wholesaler grocer and John Munn 1747-1823. I wrote to someone in Queensland Australia who had John Munn 1819 in her tree for more information. He was probably a member of the House of Grocer’s, like James Corscaden.

    • Eileen Breen

      January 26, 2014 at 1:33 am

      Dr John Munn III, Esq, Mayor of Derry was a Ship Owner, Merchant and Flax Mill Owner. His father, John Munn, married twice, firstly Jane Haslett and secondly, Anne King. Her daughter Jane married Michael Lipsett. They had four sons and four daughters. Two sons (twins) emigrated to Australia.

      The information came from to me from Rod Kerr’s tree and letter to me. Anne King, wife of John Munn II, was related to Capt Browning, Commander of the ship Mount Joy, that brought supplies to the starving residents of Derry during the Siege of Derry. His Grandfather, John Munn I, married Jane Greer (formally McGregor). Her mother’s maiden name was Blackwood and they lived in Culbuie, Letterkenney, Donegal, Ireland.

    • Eileen Breen

      January 28, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Hi Pat

      They may have been involved in The Friendly Son Of St Patrick in Philadelphia. This was more than a social club. They were millionaires, many from Donegal, who did their business in Derry and all the Irish and British, Canadian, Baltimore and Philadelphia Ports.They were industrious: Bankers, Merchants (Grocers), Ship Builders, Masters, and Lumber manufacturers who traded commodities and people. Further, they were Liquor Distributors, General Grocers, Lawyers, Judges, Congressmen and Railroad Tycoons, just to name of few. Many held several of these occupations and held many offices in the ‘Friendly Sons’.

      They married into each other’s families in Derry and in Philadelphia PA to make business connections. They assisted many emigrant ships coming into the Port of Philadelphia (over 83 in the mid 1700s). Getting emigrants jobs in their various projects, they had invested in such enterprises as the railroad, canals, rock quarries,farms,flax mills,linen mills and lumber in the US and Canada, as well as a munitions factory in Delaware.

      Prior to leaving Derry, the Masters who also belonged to the ‘Friendly Sons’ or the Establishment would advertise the needs for certain types of labor needed for their businesses. The Master of the ship would meet with them in Derry and then at the Port in Philadelphia. He would get them to sign an indentured servant contract. The masters made a lot of money and earned certificates to buy property which was then was purchased over a long period of time and then rapidly sold for a profit.

      The Industrial Revolution in America, expansion to the Western US with or without slavery and the greed for cotton products in America as well as the need to manufacture it at a low cost and high profit was the catalyst for cheap Irish labor,slave labor and Indentured Servants (White Labor). It was the cause of The American Civil War.

      The Derry Merchants were well aware of emigrant laws and taxes as well as Passenger Acts and laws they needed to adhere to when assisting emigrants to their new destinations. Often they had to time to the transporting of the grains which were a seasonal commodity and which was used for ballast, making sure the rest of the boat was filled with emigrants destined to Philadelphia so they could be hired for one of their schemes.

      The Derry Merchants even tried to answer the ‘Irish Question’ of overcrowding in North West Ireland where the land and the people were poor. They knew they couldn’t just dump the emigrants in foreign lands so they had to make them more marketable by training them for jobs, offering housing and incentives. They arranged to bring over entire families to ensure workers would be happy and thus remain loyal to their companies. They assisted passengers to pay for their passage in return for 4-7 years labor plus other terms and conditions.

      The Merchants from Derry owned rock quarries, railroads and had linen mills in Derry and Belfast and Delaware MD and grain distilleries in Donegal used in producing alcohol and varnishes. Flax grown in the US was sent to Ireland to make coarse linen for slave clothing and then returned to the southern US. Some laborers were sent to clear forests on the American Frontier and others worked on the merchants’ lumber mills and cleared forests in Canada for their ship building scheme.

      The other part of your question – why would one RC family who emigrated to Philadelphia PA have sided with Daniel O’Connell, a RC Irish Leader, when the rest of the family was Church Of Ireland? The Catholic Relief Act was led by Daniel O’Connell for freedom of the Irish people. He wasn’t allowed to take a seat as MP until a year later. He then fought for The Great Reform Act of 1832 to fight for seats in Parliament for the Irish people. At the time only one seat in each district was given and that was to a Protestant MP. There should have been two seats in each district. This was a country where the majority of the people were RC. O’Connell later tried to Fight For Home Rule. Perhaps your relatives may have felt the need to go to Philadelphia and to the ‘Friendly Sons’ with their financial and networking skills to gain the support for Home Rule which was going to be a very tough fight. The rest of your family tree doesn’t look like they supported Home Rule.

      • Eileen Breen

        January 29, 2014 at 2:22 am

        Robert Taylor b 1802 I think is the son of Robert Taylor, Agent, was involved in three of William Penn and the Society’s mills: Schuylkill, Globe and Ellicott Mills in Delaware and Philadelphia. The first two mills were large linen mills that used flax to make cotton and the third was an earthenware mill. They also used rock from the area to make crushed stone for the railroad.

        These mills employed hundreds of men, woman and children. One mill employed over two hundred children for $1.37 per day. Perhaps this is where our emigrants from Derry Port ended up. People worked 13-14 hours per day. The footnote said the Society was kinder to the mill workers because they had to work only 13-14 hours per day whereas in the north they had to work longer hours.

        The Ellicotts became involved in Indian Affairs, moving Indians from their land and giving them education in jobs they felt they would be better suited for. One of the names that ended up in the information was John Chew, I think, a government official they met with regarding Indian Affairs. In ‘our’ tree the name John Chew married into this family (Taylors, Greys and Leipers). They were so well connected.

      • Eileen Breen

        January 31, 2014 at 11:10 pm

        Hi Vicki

        There is a good article on the Munn shipbuilding family in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol III (1851-1860). I found the article by typing in ‘John Munn shipbuilder’.

        John Munn Jr was a shipbuilder, ship owner an politician. He was born on 12 Mar 1788 in Irvine, Scotland and died in 1859. His mother was Mary Gemmel who died unmarried on 20 Mar 1859 in Quebec and he was the son of John Munn, reputedly a sailor, and not John Munn Sr’s son but a partner of John Munn Sr and Son.

        John Munn Sr was a shipbuilder at Quebec and no DOB given. He died in 1813-14 and at his death his mother said he ‘had no natural heir’. John Munn Sr and four members of his family emigrated to Lower Canada to become master shipbuilders. The brothers were Alexander, David, James and John Munn Sr. The author of the article felt John Munn JR was connected to this family in some way.

        John Munn Sr had three brothers, Alexander, David and James who as well as himself were all very successful as each had their own shipyards in Canada. The article lists the places and a few ships. John Munn Jr from 1821-1852 built thirty two fully rigged ships, forty five barques, sixteen brigs. Prior to this, they were smaller vessels of less than 425 tons. In 1839, the ship United Kingdom was one of the largest ships built at Quebec. Munn Jr was not into building the largest ships for a world record and stated, ‘such vessels exceeded the limits of the tree’. There is a lot more information in the article on their successes.

        I put up Patrick Cresson Munn’s tree on There are three photos of Patrick C. Munn and Eleanor Dewey’s son Daniel who was a bookbinder in Chicago. I wasn’t sure about the ship that Eleanor came on, the Provincialist, which arrived on 25 June 1844. She was aged 19 so perhaps if you have their wedding date you can see if the date from the ship coincides with this. That’s all the information from that entry.

        If you don’t want to pay for Ancestry there are several free shipping sites you can find, probably by finding shipping manifests for Philadelphia. If you want to give Don your email, I could try to send you what I found, and he can send me your email privately.

    • Vicki Munn

      January 31, 2014 at 4:23 am

      Wow..I am just processing all this great information on the Munns and Cressons. Some I knew from looking at Philly census info but much is new to me. I also have been to Old Cathedral Cemetery where the Munns are buried with some Collinses and a Quigley in a plot bought by Patrick C. Munn (I went to school in Philadelphia).

      I feel there is some tie between our family and John Munn the shipbuilder and John Munn the Mayor (different fellows though the Mayor did own ships…is there a list anywhere of what ships he owned)? Mayor John Munn may be a much younger brother of my Patrick’s father James (born 1764). But since Mayor John is born in 1788, it would be a stretch. That is why I am leaning towards thinking it is a cousin line, everyone somehow off Alexander McMunn who is said to be the grandfather of Mayor John. That Alexander McMunn is a grocer in Letterkenny and his grandson John is in this ship/grocery biz, and so was my Pat. Makes a neat package, doesn’t it?

      I need to explore the Cresson/Grossman and Munn info more. Daniel Joseph, my great-grandfather (son of Patrick), was involved in bookbinding and I always thought the Grossman and Munn had to do with book printing; but I need to see what I can find on that. My Munn family may not have been formally educated and they certainly were not wealthy (though at one point they owned ten buildings on a street in south Philly so they weren’t exactly dirt poor either). We have some things written in the 1860s and they were very well-spoken and seemingly intelligent fellows.

      Using the ISTG site, I looked for Eleanor Dewey on the Provincialist but I could not find her. Do you have the date of the crossing? It is interesting you call her ‘Dewey’. For years that is what our family thought her maiden name was, but on the death certificates of two of her sons she is called Eleanor Duffy. Somewhere I read that ‘Duffy’ is pronounced closer to ‘Dewey’ in Northern Ireland? Anybody know if this is true? If it is and that is how Ellen pronounced her name, she would not have known that it was written ‘Dewey’ on the manifest as I am not sure she was literate.

      So thank you very much for all of this. I am going to have to see what answers I can give to your various questions. Earlier this year I stood in the cemetery of St. Augustine’s on the Wall, by Mayor John Munn’s grave, and asked him to please help me. Apparently he is – via you!!!

  15. Don MacFarlane

    December 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    From Vic by email

    “There is much grist for a chapter in ‘The Sea is Wide’ and possibly a good book. If that is envisioned, you don’t want the chapter to preempt the book.  So maybe the chapter could tell the story of how the young men from NI landed in America and eventually moved to their destiny in Duffy’s Cut. One thought would be to leave the chapter readers to somewhat question the details.  That would then be an interesting story to amplify the American component of ‘The Sea is Wide’ and could focus on the cultural dimensions.  It could also take a different approach and tell the story of the ways to get the facts and the difficulty in the genealogical research.  I don’t like the latter as much as the former. The latter could be an article for publication.  

    I’m saying that the content of the chapter must be limited and will not do justice to the mass of material and the energy that you three have put into this.  BTW I applaud your view that the book needs stronger American component. I am intrigued by the potential book which at this point I would call ‘Another Look at Duffy’s Cut – and Beyond’.  This way you can provide a factual approach which I believe can make the readers question some of the Watson and Monge conclusions without frontally assaulting their work. In other words, leaving the reader to decide.  

    I think the book could describe the depth and breadth of movement in the 1830s and include Duffy’s Cut but possibly show the influence of these families on the Civil War.  Follow one of the families of a Duffy’s Cut victim. I believe (with prejudice) that the story of the medals of these people from Ulster has not been told in common terms. Others such as Senator Webb have written books from the patrician side.

    I recommend that ‘where do we want to  go with this’ and ‘what form should it take’ be decided, then that the top line story be laid out like a Hollywood storyboard”.

    • Mary Cornell

      December 17, 2012 at 6:32 am

      I agree in large part with Vic’s idea for the ‘The Sea is Wide’ chapter. It should be concerned with the men of Duffy’s Cut. There will have to be some generalizations to the problems researching these men, but they would have to be kept vague in order to not have to go into details as they would be better served in another forum, ie the book. My only disagreement is to the conclusion. I think it is important that we at least challenge the findings of the Watson research which, too, would lead to a readers interest in further investigation and reading on the subject. Here is the very simple outline as to how I have been trying to organize the chapter.

      Duffy’s Cut – The Beginning, the summer of 1832
      what was Duffy’s Cut
      who were the 57
      what is said to have happened
      how the Watson’s search came about

      Ireland- what led up to the summer of 1832
      what was happening in Ireland that led to the mass emigration
      penal laws
      Act of Union
      population explosion of the 1800’s
      religious intolerance
      Donegal weavers experience

      America- what the Irish found in America in 1832
      The Good-
      available farm land
      thriving linen/cotton industry
      greater religious freedom

      The Bad-
      squalid urban environment
      disease- cholera in Philadelphia

      The Ugly-

      Known facts about the summer of 1832
      Ships that came into port
      the men of the ships
      Philip Duffy
      disease comes to Malvern
      death comes to the ‘cut’

      What is not known
      who were these men
      could they all have come off the John Stamp
      what about the Ontario, Asia, and Prudence

      Our search
      what we did not find

      challenges to unverifiable ‘facts’ of the Watson’s research
      our conclusions

      I was also thinking that a very narrow timeline could be made up to better show what we are alluding to with our research.

      As with all works in progress, changes and modifications are made daily as the chapter seems to coalesce easier and easier in my mind. There are only a few missing pieces to the puzzle for our chapter. One of them being, as was mentioned, is how the men off the ships knew there would be work on the railroad. Or did they? Were there RR recruiters in NI? Newspaper ads placed in Irish papers? Another puzzlement- From our research, the large majority, if not all, of the passengers seem to be Presbyterian. The Watson’s claim that the men were all Irish Catholic. This would not fit in with the percentages of Irish Catholics coming in the summer of 1832. And more importantly, how did they know the religion? It certainly wasn’t listed on the ships’ manifests.

      With regard to the corollaries, they all seem to be in tune with everything we know and are finding out. Your triangulation method seems to have served well for narrowing down places of origin. I would have never thought of it as a mapping technique, but Google is just that. Nice catch, Don. We would simply have to figure out the correct wording in order to get the most accurate results. There is one thing that I did take note of in one of the corollaries and that is that a different surname does not necessarily rule out family members. There are in-laws, cousins and various assorted relatives who would not necessarily have the same surnames. It could be possible that there are ten family members traveling together with five or six surnames between them.

      Eileen, your Ancestry skills make you perfect for setting up a mapping system or guide for the Ancestry user.

      I have spent the last couple of days going through the ships who came into Philadelphia in 1829, I found that nearly all of the Irish emigrants sailed out of Liverpool. There are also more than a few who sailed into port from the Caribbean, These earlier manifests are very little help, though. They simply show citizenship as from Ireland with no mention of town or county. I did see several familiar names, among them Edward Diamond and Robert Leitch. And one odd thing , on the Ship Philadelphia there was a Bernard McIlheanny whose name had been scratched out, Could this be our Bernard, brother of Bridget?

      Kudos to all of us, the enormous amount of work and effort is just now making itself known in these pages.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

        Religious Breakdown

        Just to be sure that I was not making wrong assumptions, I looked over the passenger lists again and my eyeball asssessment of their religions leads me to the approximate conclusion that the percentages of RCs on board the ships were:

        John Stamp – 50%
        Prudence – 20%
        Asia – 25%
        Ontario – 30%

        I began to think there might have been an inbuilt bias because of the waxwing method of choosing distinctive names for the search but I don’t think that has made much of a difference. Quite apart from the obviously Planter surnames, assumptions underlying how First Names might assist designation of religions are as follows (and a number of those still hold true today):

        Protestant First Names (Male) – David, Charles, Samuel, Robert, George, Andrew, Matthew
        Protestant First Names (Female) – Rebecca, Eleanor, Charlotte, Susan, Mathilda

        Intetestingly for me, none of those names have ever been in vogue in the Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlands where I come from, not even amongst Protestants. In Scotland, the same names are used irrespetive of religion so in my mind the suspicion lurks that in Ulster the choice of first name was and is an extra mark of division.

        Wherever I found what appeared to be an RC surname I gave preference to the surname over the Protestant-sounding first name. This may have labelled the person wrongly as the person may have come from a ‘souper’ family. Not on the list but someone called George Dougherty, for example, would almost certainly be Protestant. Two Protestant markers have been put down – George as the royalist first name and Dougherty as a Protestant variation of Doherty.

        I cannot say what percentage of these emigrants were Presbyterian so I think it would be better to use the generic term, Protestant, unless extra information comes to light to point to the person being Presbyterian. Interestingly, in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs people are grouped as Protestant (meaning the Established Church known as the Church of Ireland), Dissenter (meaning Presbyterian or Other) and Catholic.

        Mary, I think your chapter is shaping up really well. I bought an ebook version of the Watson book but it has since disappeared into the ether and I don’t intend to replace it. From memory, much of the book had sweeping generalisations about the Irish which just perpetuated stereotypes. It would be really good if your chapter corrected most if not all of those. Amongst those, I find it ironic that the supposedly rough and illiterate (substitute ‘Catholic’) Irish labourers were mostly in fact Ulster-Scots who found themselves at the mercy of the ruthless Irish Duffy who did not fit stereotypes but who turned out to be even worse.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm


        Not suggesting that our commoner waxwings had blueblood but they may have had some far-out blueblood connections:

        Charles Birney – Birneys were married into the family of the Lords Forrester of Corstorphine in Edinburgh.
        James Baird – Bairds were landed gentry in Fife, Scotland
        Thomas Barr – Barrs were landed gentry from Glasgow
        James Barton – Thomas Barton came from Norfolk in England in 1610 with the army of the Earl of Essex and he was granted land in Drumminshin in County Fermanagh.
        Daniel Blackwell – Captain John Blackwell served in Cromwell’s army and became Governor of Pennsylvania in 1688.
        James Caldwell – Sir James Caldwell was Colonel of Foot, owned an estate in Fermanagh and was attainted by James II
        Joseph Cochrane – the Cochranes from Renfrewshire were Earls of Dundonald. The most famous of them was imprisoned for an attempt at assassination of Charles II.

        And so it goes on, more later.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

        Noel Crawford – a famous Lowland clan from Renfrewshire in Scotland.
        William Elliott – a clan from Roxburghshire on the Scottish Borders
        Mary Ellis – Ellis was a highbrow English family that married into the family of the famous Bishop of Derry, Frederick Augustus Hervey.
        John Ewing – Ewings were a Lowland Scottish clan from Dumbartonshire
        Ferguson, Fleming and Forbes – all Lowland Scottish clans.
        Hugh Foster – the Fosters were a very prominent political family from Louth, with the most famous being the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
        Sarah Fowler – Fowlers were a prominent family from the Midlands of England.
        Patrick Fullarton – a Scottish clan that was outlawed after the Jacobite rebellion. The most famous was Jean who was executed on Kennington Common.

        There can be more to follow but the gist is the same. The waxwings were mostly of the same name as and perhaps distantly related to a ragbag of Planters, some of them Williamite and others Jacobite by inclination, mostly from Lowland Scotland but with a smattering of English.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm

        Andrew Gregory – this is an old name from Galway and they married into the Earls of Clancarty
        Peter Griffin – this is an ancient English name associated with the Baron Braybrooke, of whom one died in the Tower of London.
        William Hastings – this name belongs to one of the oldest and most illustrious families in England, going back to the era of William the Conqueror.
        Hamilton Hemphill – the Hemphills of Tipperary originated in Midlothian outside Edinburgh and the most distinguished of them was Solicitor-General of Ireland.
        Henderson and Hay were ancient Highland clans from Scotland.
        Francis Hood – the Hoods were a distinguished English family with many of them serving with distinction in the Royal Navy, including an Admiral of the Fleet.
        Joseph Keys – Keys were an ancient English family who were recorded before the era of Queen Elizabeth I. The first recorded in Ireland was Sheriff of Derry.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 18, 2012 at 8:26 am

        More Blueblood Connections from Duffys Cut

        More Bluebloods from Duffys Cut

        Hugh Livingstone – the Livingstones were the Earls of Linlithgow in Scotland.
        Margaret Montgomery – a Scottish border clan and a famous member was Lord Advocate of Scotland.
        Thomas Southwell – an English family from Suffolk which moved as Planters in the 1600s and became High Sheriffs of County Clare.
        William Stringer – this family originated in Yorkshire in England.
        John Woods – this family came from Somerset in England.
        Elizabeth Wilkinson – this family came from Hertfordshire in England.

      • Vic Barnett

        December 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

        Mary, I agree that the chapter should challenge the Professor Watson conclusions. My only concern is that the syllogism to disprove the Watson conclusions may require too much space or alternatively, the syllogism to prove your case takes too much space. I am thinking that it may be possible for the chapter to challenge the W conclusions and leave a doubt. The depth of the argument would appear in the book.

        BTW, I have ordered the book and I am intrigued by the triangulation method that Eileen has addressed. I am putting together a model/approach since I believe the science of genealogy could be advanced from the art most use. When I was at the Army War College I wrote a paper on an early battle of the Gettysburg Campaign which no one knows about. My professor, Jay Luvaas, insisted that we NOT read the history books. Rather he wanted us to read the facts in the official record from both sides and try to reach our own conclusions. He suspected that historians often want to tell their story.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        I couldn’t agree more and my doctoral supervisor said something similar, along the lines of ‘go where the facts take you’. She didn’t tell me anything else useful, mind you, and we fell out at the finish-up!

      • Eileen Breen

        December 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm

        I would like to see less of the Watson’s and more research of ours. Ireland’s history from 1600s to the present and how what was happening in Ireland socially, emotionally and politically were the reasons for immigration to Pennsylvania that kept the Irish people coming for centuries. I think Duffy’s Cut should be a small part of it as it relates to ways in which people either paid or sold themselves to pay for their passage.

        The difficulty in doing the ancestry research should be presented not as a complaint but as a challenge. We are not the only researchers that struggle to find our families. We all have our pet people that we hope to find. As regards the Watsons, we could put in something about what questions we have about what happened to the men. Further, how the spelling of the names and the possible places where these names may have come from in Ireland may shed light on finding these families. We could also discuss our approach at the research but based on facts and less of a put-down, more about questions we have for further research. Just my opinion – the stuff about the names and the history seems more interesting than the Watsons.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm

        There may be a middle-way. Watson’s version of history is pseudo-history and it can be compared directly and contrasted with the contemporaneous and classical volume by William Hartpole Lecky which is on-line as a free ebook

        There is no need for us to bowdlerise the Irish history of that period when we have a much more reliable source. I believe it will shed a lot of light on the motivations of these emigrants. I believe also we have a lot of pieces of jigsaw than what we had before but there are still important pieces missing. I also believe there is definitely enough material to write a complete book without need for apology or for us to recast ourselves as the historians which we are not. What we are doing is giving a good example and providing new tools which can give so-called armchair historians new muscle. It is a case of ‘welcome to the twenty first century’. As for myself, I will make no pretence or make any attempt to tell the American side of the story, that is for yourselves to do.

        BTW I have found my Duffys Cut book again so I am about to start to pick holes in it.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

        A Sampling of ‘Ghosts of Duffys Cut’ Misrepresentations

        ‘In the Summer of 1832 fifty seven Irishmen were brought by Philip Duffy to Philadelphia’.

        ‘Within two months all of them had died from cholera’.

        ‘Their terrible fate was the reason for the year-long delay in the opening of the line’.

        ‘At that time the majority of Ireland’s people were Gaelic-speaking’.

        ‘Thousands of loyal Scottish Presbyterians were encouraged to settle in Ulster’.

        ‘Nor did the Ulster-Scots lose their hatred and fear of the native Gaelic population’.

        ‘What would Judge Pearce do if the gang at Duffy’s Cut became unruly or a danger?’

        ‘How did developments in Ireland affect the men at Duffy’s Cut – the poorer classes of Catholic?’

        ‘The Catholic majority in Ireland disliked the power of the Anglo-Irish and simply hated
        the Ulster-Scots’.

        ‘The arrival of large numbers of Catholic immigrants troubled Catholic America’.

        ‘They would often work for low wages, exacerbating the problem for skilled
        native-born labor’.

        ‘The men who died for Duffy were shanty-Irish – Gaelic speaking , poor and utterly clueless about money’.

        More to follow, starting from Chapter Five.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 18, 2012 at 6:34 am

        Ghosts of Duffys Cut Ctd One

        ‘ Put simply, the story is that by the end of August 1832, all 57 men had died from cholera’

        ‘ By contrasting what was supposed to happen with what did happen, the true scope of the disaster will become evident’

        ‘ An area of interest is the clear attempt in the November 7th article in the Village Record newspaper to cover up the real nature of the catastrophe’.

        ‘ Somewhere between September and November the story of the deaths of a large number of men had become public and the railroad tried to downplay the real nature of the disaster’

        ‘ Before 1829 Duffy had immigrated from Ireland and began working as a railroad contractor’

        ‘ The Herculean task will be prosecuted with a sturdy looking band of sons of Erin’

        ‘ The greatest depth to be excavated will be 25 feet, to continue below the surface for a further 20 feet’

        ” The 1830 census indicates that Duffy had living with him ten individuals who were ‘aliens, foreigners, non-naturalizez’ – undoubtedly the sturdy looking band of ‘Sons of Erin'”.

        ‘Duffy had a total of 20 men living with him in his house at the time’

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

        Ghosts of Duffys Cut Ctd Two

        ‘ The Sons of Erin of 1830 may likely have made up some of the workcrew of Duffys Cut’

        ‘ We have found no evidence that Mile 59 was given to anyone other than Duffy’

        ‘ Duffy was to get 50 cents per cubic yard for excavation of blast rock’

        ‘ The bridging of an 80 foot chasm was to be filled with earthen bank known as Duffy’s Fill’

        ‘ Five bridges only were to be built on the P&C Railroad, hence the need for the earthen fill at Duffy’s Cut. There was no provision made for any other railroad bridge in Chester County’.

        ‘ In Spring 1833 Mitchell wrote a letter detailing that Duffy was in “great difficulty and distress” as nearly half of his men had died of cholera the previous Fall’

        ‘ Duffy was losing money and was $3382 behind of his retained percentage. Not a penny of Duffy’s arrears was paid and the decision was filed away as No Action’.

        ‘ The general atmosphere was anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant’.

        ‘ The railroad contractors looked for monthly payments of their expenses to allow for completion of the work within a reasonable time’.

        ‘Sachse stated that in the early Summer of 1832 Duffy employed a large number of Irishmen who had but lately arrived on these shores’.

        ‘ A search for ships arriving in Philadelphia at this time revealed the John Stamp’.

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 18, 2012 at 7:36 am

        Ghosts of Duffys Cut Ctd Three

        ‘ Twenty one of the laborers from the John Stamp were in their twenties and 15 were in their teens’.

        ‘ A number of the men hired by Duffy likely came from this ship’.

        ‘ These men likely hired were such as George Doherty, John Ruddy, William Putetill, William Devine, James Deveney, Daniel McCahill, Bernie McGarty, David Patchill, Robert Skelton, Patrik McAnamy, Bernard McIlheaney, George Quigly, Samuel Forbes, John McGlone and John McClanon’.

        ‘The men at the Cut likely received fifty cents per day in wages’.

        ‘ There is no evidence the men brought cholera with them from Ireland’.

        ‘ In the PRR file, the disease that killed the men at Duffy’s Cut is variously described as cholera, yellow fever, plague.’

        ‘ It is probable that anti-Irish and anti-Catholic feeling was prevalent in the Malvern-Frazer area at the time’.

        ‘ That nearly half of Duffy’s men had died indicates a number as large as 60’.

        ‘ Whether the diminution in numbers was the accidental result of sloppy research is unknown’.

        ‘ Regardless of the variations in the newspaper accounts, the number of 57 became the accepted statistic thatbwas retainned in te PRR file’.

  16. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Medals of Honour to Irishmen
    Indian Campaigns

    Letter B

    Richard Barrett
    James Bell
    Edward Branagan
    James Brogan
    James Brophy
    James Brown
    Patrick Burke
    Richard Burke
    Edmond Butler
    Dennis Byrne

    And the list goes on. For those with surnames with the letter B alone the Irish were awarded a quarter of the medals. I’m not Irish and it makes even me proud! A similar story can be told for the Crimean War where a disproportionate number of Irishmen were awarded the Victoria Cross. Supposedly, according to the Watsons, immigrant Irish were looked down on by US citizens. Excuse me??

    Also note from the surnames that none of these gallant men were Scots-Irish.

  17. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    “The interesting thing is the Watsons have to account for all of the labourers of the Ontario and John Stamp to make up their quota of fifty seven. They can’t afford to lose any, either that or they have to filch numbers from elsewhere which destroys their argument that the Irish labourers all came off a boat or boats from Derry that Summer. There is no room for error in their numbers if they hold to that position and that does not square with ‘any number of possibilities’ once you start going down the list on Ancestry?

    Another thing, if you put Ireland as place of origin does that still churn out the same number of answers? I don’t believe for example that there were 538 John Creightons from Ireland in the US in 1850 with the same year of birth. We need to figure what is going on with Ancestry before we turn ourselves inside out?”

    The basic idea of the Waxwings Project was to have subjects from Ireland have names sufficiently distinctive to allow for ease of their identification when searched for with a standard search engine. has monopolised BMD and other registers in the US and therefore puts itself in the frame as the leading US search engine, unlike in UK and Australia where registers can be searched separately. The Waxwing strategy has now exposed this abysmal failure of Ancestry to carry out what should be a core task. This weakness will be further exposed and quantified by a simple search algorithm which will be designed.

    • Eileen Breen

      December 17, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      The BMD and other records that Ancestry uses as a basis for any standard research project also can be found in local libraries. I did better in fact at the local library than I did with international and state records on ancestry with a lot less digging. The state library is useful too. Ancestry tries to reach all corners of the globe but so far it’s not there yet. It’s only one tool in our shed!

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 20, 2012 at 9:27 am

        Hallelujah! I think I’ve figured out Ancestry at long last. Like you say, click on the map for PA, select Chester County and, Bob’s your uncle, take it from there. I am not getting nonsense numbers that way and at least it is looking good. I think that any other way is just overloading the Ancestry system which goes into overdrive and gets into a blind panic. I’ll test drive it tomorrow and now get on with my Christmas shopping!

  18. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    “In general it would be important to keep a record of the ‘Too Many Choices’, not the details of the choices, just the message. That way, we could compare how often that message occurs for the Duffys Cut folk, or more generally for all males. Then we would have a fair good indication if the Duffys Cut candidates never presented with ‘too many choices’ and were by inference untraceable, therefore possibly murdered as inferred by the Watsons. In other cases, meaning not John Stamp males but non-John Stamp females, we don’t need to expend effort on tracing all of these people, just the ones that we are interested in because they throw light on some aspect of the times they were living in.

    In this recent example, the subjects are of interest and are worth looking into further despite the ‘Too Many Choices’ scenario because Foster, McAleer, Ewings and Creighton were all Duffys Cut fodder. The reason I got prematurely excited over the ‘discovery’ that some of these people shared chests – premature because I then discovered that the John Stamp was the only ship that recorded shared baggage? – was because that discovery would allow me to be even surer how reliable was my triangulation method of locating parishes and townlands of origin. On the limited info I got, my triangulation method would indeed appear to be relatively sound.

    Going back to something Mary said, where did Duffy get all his 57 from, not just from the John Stamp. I should put an extra column into the Excel spreadsheet to signify Too Many Choices and colour code them. From what you have found already, Eileen, could you send me a list of the Too Many Choices you have found already, indicating preferably (not the headcount) just the number of pages that Ancestry threw up. If that is a chore, just the names will do. It occurs to me that if we address the ‘too many choices’ issue, we could through that method nail the Watsons pretty quickly.

    Just to recap where we are with all of this:

    a) I have just about completed tracing or at least narrowing down probable townlands of origin. I will insert these into the spreadsheet, colour code for degree of certainty and send you a refreshed copy.
    b) I have started putting comments into for all of the people in the trees for whom I have some extra details and that includes townland of origin.
    c) I have started trawling the internet by Google searching with keywords. Computer-literate armchair genealogists may have put stuff on-line already on waxwing names and this is proving to be quite productive already. I have not sifted though the material I have collated (posted on on the Country Folk page) yet as I am still gathering.
    d) Feel free to insert in the spreadsheet any info from the US side as per the column headings, or in any other columns you wish to insert.
    e) I intend to contact when we are ready the Philadelphia Donegal Association at

    I have a hunch that once all that is completed it will be a case of sitting back to see who takes the bait, just like the pond analogy, and the bait will have to be periodically refreshed. Like I said before, this is a formidable task and I have in my head a five-year timeframe. It should have gathered up enough steam by Fall 2014 to be of use to Eileen if at that point she wants to have discussions with BU about research”.


    The triangulation method has been applied by connecting three or more subjects. Hence, and with the use of Griffiths Evaluation, where subjects have formed groupings on board of three or more, sandwiched between families sharing the same names, their townlands of origin have been identified. One such example is the quadruplet of Barney Rice, James Baird, John McAleer and James Donaghey, all off the John Stamp. The only townland in Tyrone that has all four names is Cloghfin and this coincidence has to be set against the probably greater coincidence that four people who were neighbours would fortuitously find theselves beside each other amongst over a hundred passengers, crammmed between two families from somewhere else.

    Other techniques to gauge probability of coincidence will also be used for the spreadsheet.

  19. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    “Terrific job on the timelines, Eileen. And Vic’s suggestions on how to incorporate them into the spreadsheets was great. My personal preference has always been the linear timeline (left to right read), but I like the color-coding idea for various events in the time line. It makes it easy to see simultaneous or overlapping events that are happening.

    There was a footnote on the Aiken tree about Joseph Aiken. Apparently, he is the brother who left for the States first in 1829. After he had established himself, he sent for the family who then followed in 1832. I wonder if this is the reason why the family’s place of origin is out of place with the others on the ship. And are there others whose place of origin is also out of place with the other passengers? Would they also have had a ‘scout’ who went ahead of the others to set up camp, so to speak, before the others arrived? I think it would be easier to pick out families than it would be to pick out the lone passenger, then backtrack to see if the name appears in earlier ships.

    Commentary- Don, you have pinpointed the reason why I do not like Ancestry. It is the ‘locking up’ of records for financial gain. When I began my family research, most of the sites that are now on Ancestry were free to view on their individual sites. The owners of the sites are certainly within their rights to sell their information to Ancestry, but I see it as ‘selling out’ to the highest bidder. Public records, even those indexed and researched by others, should not be hidden in a private depository, to be accessed only by those who are willing to pay the ransom. Ancestry looks like they are trying to do the same in the UK, but there are still outside sites that you can go to in order to find the information. Maybe this is why you do not have that to- and- fro feeling as much. You may go to a site and at some point reach a destination where you can page through without the constant returning to the search page and plugging in yet another name to search. There is also the difference of what has been placed behind money doors. A good example of this is Ulster Ancestry site which is a $ site, but the readily available information on the freepages is free to all and is information that can be extremely helpful in a search. This information would be behind the $ door at Ancestry. Greed is an ugly truth”.


    Timelines could be a useful tool, not just for the purposes of presentation, but to suggest the possibility or otherwise of extant records. As has been pointed out in another post, the relevance of records such as Tithe Applotment, Flaxgrowers List, Petitioners for Union etc may become clearer if cross-checked against timelimes. This method and perspective may help to clarify some questions on the Irish side, even although the immediate spur for emigration is within a very narrow time-frame in the 1830s. There undoubtedly was social upheaval in Ireland for some time preceding and the method could also have relevance in the US where prospects of land ownership, wealth or freedom of expression had opened up. This has to be set against negative factors in the US which the emigrants had little warning or preparation for – cholera outbreak, indentured slavery, landgrabbing, racism, amongst others.

    Some specific questions requiring answers on the Irish side include: why are a substantial number of these names not on the 1796 Flaxgrower and Spinning Wheel Entitlement lists when the emigrants have classed themselves as weavers? Weaving was for the most part in these times a home-based industry for poor families so why did the generation before not apply for the benefits and allowances that were to be had in 1796? Another question is why were the majority of these names not listed as landowners when all it took to be listed was possession of one acre of land which was a very modest size of plot to support a family? Another question is, even allowing for bias stemming from the Waxwing methodology, why were the majority of these emigrants poor Irish Protestants and why is there an under-representation from Derry as opposed to Derry and Donegal. Also note that there are no Tithe Applotment lists for Derry, why not?

    • Eileen Breen

      December 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Can we use the triangulation method to tie in events or is it only used for places or people? Can we use it to connect events?

      I read that Scotch-Irish immigrants to America had money. They didn’t want to live in the Frontier but they may have done so to buy land which was their main goal. We need to figure out what was the goal of the laborer, what condition was he arriving in, what kinds of obstacles did he enconter, what wages did he earn. Would a whole family live with him at the job site (many came with families)?

      I saw a show on TV about how detectives solve a problem and they said there is always a series of 5-6 events that happen before an “accident.” From this, maybe the triangulation could connect not only people or places but events.

      Meantime, what was happening with Irish economy? Did someone advertise for jobs in Ireland and how did the men pay for the passage, did they sell their labor and at what cost? Who bought their labor? Did they live at Duffy’s house.

      The sentiment of the day seems to suggest that Irish were not favored among the elite Protestants who could afford to hire them. People also felt that the Irish were responsible for all of America’s social woes.

      Were the men hoping to save their money to send money home to send the next batch of relatives? With more family pooling their money they could afford a better place to live. The men were living in the woods in poor conditions. The laborers were paid the lowest wages because they did not have a trade. In skilled trades like weaving, shoemaking and millworking which was still tough work you didn’t have to be out in all the elements. The farmers did the best- at least they owned the land and they had a better standing in society.

      I’ll work on the info you put up on the TempDuffy page tonight as we need to be more specific when asking Ancestry to search. So now we have some placenames that should be helpful. BTW I wonder if there are any histories about people losing their sons after they had applied for a job and then went to to work in America?

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        Famously, the police go by the mantra ‘means, motives, opportunity’ which covers much of that ground. As Vic says, it’s a bit like working cold cases and I guess it’s the only chance we’ll get to act detective! From the cop programmes they show in the UK, they show the actors pretending to use mapping techniques, referring to ‘mood boards’ and continuously going over the same ground to try and spot the hidden clues and the misssing pieces of the jigsaw. Sound familiar?

        To answer the question, is it possible to use triangulation for events as well as places and people? I guess that is very much part of the triangle, with the events in this case being the ‘coincidence’ of people boarding on the same boat, or being present in the same place for a particular census. So I guess it is ‘coincidence’ that often but not necessarily drives the whole process of triangulation on, which of course is why the first question a policeman will ask after a crime is ” where were you on the night of …..etc etc”!

      • Don MacFarlane

        December 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm

        From Michigan State University

        ‘Before 1820, federal government land sales had to compete with those of the states, which had land of their own to sell, and with holders of military warrants, most of whom wanted only to convert their warrants into cash as quickly as possible. When these sources of cheaper land began to dry up, however, the minimal purchase price for federal land was reduced from $2.00 an acre, where it had been set in 1796, to $1.25 an acre. In other words, the threshold price for a farm was reduced from $1,280.00 (640 acres at $2.00 an acre) in 1796 to $100.00 (80 acres at $1.25 an acre) in 1820 and to $50.00 (40 acres at $1.25 an acre) in 1832, where it remained until 1862. For comparison, the wage for a farmhand in Ohio ranged from $5.00 to $15.00 a month and board, so after 1832 the minimal cost of a farm worked out at somewhere between three and ten months’ wages for a farmhand’.


        In the five year period before 1832 when the Waxwings arrived in the US, not only were much smaller parcels of land available for purchase but the buying power of the dollar had dramatically increased by about 40%, so making land cheaper than ever to buy.

      • Eileen Breen

        December 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, was on the side of the farmer. In the South only the wealthy could buy land because owning land meant you could participate in politics and in making laws. The elite didn’t want the Irish to be part of that. With the fifth-wave of immigration to PA, expansion into the Frontier became an option. Protestants wanted to own small farms, not to live on the Frontier. When poorer families helped their families to come over they could then pool their resources and buy land out of Philadelphia where the land was cheaper. The Presbyterian Church had a major role in the expansion to the West. The migration was affected by geography and the fact that Maryland was taken by King William and that there was a twelve year battle for the English colony of NY by the Queen of England. The South was taken over by wealthy Southerners who were slave owners and the Scotch-Irish didn’t want anything to do with slavery. In fact they helped to organize the Underground Rail Road. So expansion North of Maryland and South of Pennsylvania then eventually to the West being governed by people whose sole goal was to own land.

      • Vic Barnett

        December 18, 2012 at 10:45 am

        Eileen, I have a different perspective from some of your comments.

        “In the South only the wealthy could buy land because owning land meant you could participate in politics and making laws. The elite didn’t want the Irish to be part of that. With the fifth wave of immigration to PA, the expansion into the Frontier became a option. Protestants wanted to own small farms. They never wanted to live on the Frontier”

        My family lived in the South. They were pre-Revolutionary War emigrants who bought a farm in PA then parts of the family moved to VA, then to KY then everywhere. I would say there were many classes of the Ulster-Scot people, and we should be careful not to lump them into a conclusion that is too constrained. They lived in the mountains, fought reluctantly in the war and were excited to be given land in Kentucky, then Virginia. My GGG grandfather and his brother built a small fort called a station and owned much land south of Owensboro, KY. My GGG grandfather’s brother was a prominent lawyer in KY. This was certainly on the frontier. They had several relatives killed by Indians and later by Frank James. I am quite sure they didn’t think of themselves as Irish or Scotch-Irish at this point but as Americans. Possibly embarrassed to be a country “bumpkin”.

        They were very hard working, God-fearing, obsessive in their desire to get an education, loyal to their family first and wanted to make their own way. The waves of Irish and Scotch-Irish who came over had many dimensions that cannot be put into air-tight categories in my mind. I don’t find many rich Scotch-Irish in my research, but I think there was a spectrum from these folks to the later poorer families and workers who came over to America.

        Another factor which was prevalent in our family and others was the place in the family. If the father had a farm and had large families (as was often the case), the farm was handed down to the oldest son to prevent breaking up the land. This meant that the younger sons had to go out on their own and earn their spoils. My family also had a trait to help the oldest then the oldest had the responsibility to reach back to the next son and help him. Sadly the women were often overlooked and given no or little education past high school. I would characterize them as very family oriented, religious and hard working.

        In my mind, the Scotland experiment was a foundation of the work and religious ethic, and then the Ulster experience put them in an English framework where they learned to question power and restrictions from faraway. When they came to America, this was a once-in-a-life-time chance to do their own thing.

  20. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    “I have just finished looking at ships from the year before and after 1832 to see if I could detect any chains of migration within families. I have to start taking a closer look at what I have now but some things jump out of the pages at me. The quality of transcription of the names beggars disbelief at how shoddy it is. This in turn would become GIGO fodder for Ancestry – Garbage In/Garbage Out. Around 40% of the waxwing names reappear in subsequent or previous voyages the year before or after, notably five new Patchells – none of them are picked up by Ancestry as immigrants into the US.

    As a rule, I try to steer clear of politics but it should be noted that the majority of the waxwings forced to emigrate to survive were Protestants. Famine, oppression and persecution was never confined to one religion. There is a peculiar pattern of families of five children or so below teenage years accompanied by father and spinster sister – no mother in site. There is also a pattern of whole families emigrating in one fell swoop and across three generations often.

    There is a pattern of villages losing groups of young people in their late teens and early twenties of both sexes in bunches of 6-10 at a time, all different names, therefore presumably unrelated for the most part. One of these was Tory Island, a Gaelic speaking island (still) well off the coast of Donegal. One of the modern-day residents does paintings and I have posted one on the Townland page as a header. This Tory exodus was one of the few departures for PA from the wilder, more remote and truly Celtic parts of Donegal or anywhere else.


    Three townlands stand out amongst the rest as haemorrhaging their townsfolk – Letterkenny, Rossgeir outside Lifford and Camus outside Strabane. The suspicion arises that there was active local recruitment and that the composition of the passengers differed from boat to boat. Local papers viz Derry Journal and Strabane Morning News for the first six months of 1832 will be perused to gauge what local factors drove these young people to emigrate at that paricular point in time.

    There were not just groups of young people and there was another notable demographic – youngsters from 4 to 15 who travelled unaccompanied by parents or without a mother and who often the reduced family unit had in attendance a maiden aunt or middle-aged grandparents. This was a very odd time for a family which may have lost such an important family member to take on the additional upheaval of bing uprooted from their extended family. This requires explanation and perhaps a look at perinatal mortality rates may throw some light on what could be family tragedy.

    A check needs carried out on Ancestry as to whether it is able to pick up on chains of migration. Even when identical waxwing names are known to have travelled to the US the year before or after the index event, and even when the name of a possible relative is put into the box to narrow a search, this extra information does not appear to work as a filter.

    • Eileen Breen

      December 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm

      I tried to put in known associates in the filter. The names were not picked up in the filter but the occupation was. It helped to narrow down some choices.

  21. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    “I found move patterns in my research. I call them move patterns because they continued after the “emigration” move. They tended to be family, villages and churches on the first order, then trades and work related patterns. You definitely see this from the old country to America where they came in families, often around popular preachers like Craighill and settled in towns that they named after towns in the old country. But in America they moved again in families, not so much churches, because the farms, in my case couldn’t support the big families and they didn’t want to divide up the land. Why should they when there was land and a lot of it, just over the hill or just past the Ohio River. Just a theory and not proved, I think this continued until the communication patterns became active and mature. The people became more independent and self reliant. I am thinking Boone, railroads, rivers, wars and new territory deals. On my wife’s side we found that whole towns moved west to Iowa and Illinois at one time because of the offers of land for settlers/farmers in new state. In my mind this was a major motivator for the land locked and imperial driven family of Europe. I also think the Scotch component of most of these people…..adventuresome, risk taking, challenging, power weary, etc. is apparent. I am still sorting the Ulster component”.


    The ‘move patterns’ proposed by Vic could be the answer to why Ancestry appears to be so abysmal in its searches. The same name popping up in PA, OH and ILL for example might appear as ‘too many choices’ when in fact it is the same person. This might be tested through focussing first on family units, provided the ‘known relative’ box can work. Some scatter plot of likely destinations that could be ruled out could also be of assistance – ‘US Alone’ seems too big a filter. Given the difficulties of travel, an agreed range of let us say 200 miles might be as much as most of these impoverished emigrants could contemplate. This is bearing in mind that most of these young emigrants were more likely to be candidates for indentured labour rather than hitching rides on wagon trails.

  22. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    “I remember reading that women in Ireland were not as valued as the men. They were a burden on a large family because women didn’t have jobs or professions early on and their families would pay for the passage to America. Maybe this was similar with children. Maybe they sent them to America with an aunt who may have been coming for herself. Children, both boys and girls, as well as woman probably were indentured. They had to stay on the ship until someone agreed to negotiate a contract for their labor. The longer they remained on the ship without a contract the more likely they would be indentured. The Master would pay for their passage and negotiate a contract for their labor. Woman cost $70.00, Children were $60.00 and men were $80.00 depending on skill level. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the indentured system continued to 1829. In other parts of Pennsylvania it may have lasted much longer. In the mid 1800s a family member who came first assisted their relatives to come over, slowly dissolving the free labor system for immigrants. For the African slaves the free labor system would be a part of the South much longer”.


    The suggestion of indenturing would certainly fit for the young unskilled emigrants but would not be as likely a scenario for a large family. A head of family would not commit his entire household to a life of indentured labour, slavery and poverty, which would be no improvement whatever on conditions back home. Nonetheless, the trap of indentured labour needs looked at and ruled out if necessary. Any evidence of such practice being directed at Irish emigrants, as opposed to black slaves in the South, would amount to little better than people-trafficking.

    The suspicion is there that indentured labour as well as illiteracy has been blown out of proportion and some of the US censuses do record whether the person could read and write. Certainly, the mis-spelling of surnames that appears to be rife in the ships’ manifests seems to point at very basic illiteracy if the fault lay with the emigrant and basic ignorance if the fault lay with the ship’s bursar. Why did more people not, as Eliza McGhee did, correct a mispelling of their name. A closer scrutiny of the pattern of mis- spellings might shed more light on this matter, with the whole point being to elucidate whether a) these emigrants were, as being implied, like ‘sheep being thrown to the wolves’ or b) more like people in charge of their own destiny.

  23. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I have only just noticed but I think that Mary made some reference to this before, some of these people (on the John Stamp only unfortunately) are bracketed together by their baggage which points to who travelled together. Family units, obviously, but also as follows:

    Hugh Foster/Robert Livingstone
    John McAdam/Barney Rice
    Rosannah McQuillen/Adam Diamond
    Ewings/Robert Skilton
    William McCormick/Richard Kane
    George Quigley/Michael Farren


    Triangulation, as indicated earlier, is a well-established method and an improvement on simple intersection, to rule out or at least narrow down alternative possibilities. Taking the example of the shared baggage, it is unlikely that complete strangers will have their posssessions in the same chest, therefore whenever there is any such coincidence, that is a measure of likelihood that the subjects are not strangers. Unfortunately, the ship John Stamp was the only one of the four to record shared baggage. Nonetheless four or five pairings of people who were non-family, judging by their surnames, have been identified this way.

  24. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/09 at 7:49 pm | In reply to Mary Cornell.

    “I have looked at Rootsweb before and I don’t particularly care for it. People’s trees are confusing like the Aikins tree that’s on it.

    I think when we look at social timelines in US and Ireland, theae could tarck Political Parties, People Of Influence, Legislation that assisted or discouraged Irish, Heads Of Churches who imposed laws against Irish RCs and Irish Protestants, waves of Immigration in 1700-1800s, Political Parties in Ireland and US, Occupations, Historic Events, Transportation, Geography, Public Opinion, Fraternal Organizations who supported the Irish.

    I was also thinking about the mapping thing. It could be interesting to test out a few different types of genealogy mapping software: Ancestry, Family Tree Maker and others. Then look at someone’s experience in Irish history and genealogy with 0-3 years experience, 3- 5 years and 5 plus years. Then try to find samples of people from our ships: either a single person, a family and/or some of our missing people and see if they come up with any results”.


    This corollary is Eileen’s baby and the idea is to see if mapping programmes can facilitate the copying of information from family trees such as photos. There may be such programmes already available [more likely not] and emailing contacts found on Ancestry or elsewhere might through this type of method help better to find records. Any prototype software could be critiqued for its pitfalls and functionality.

    The general idea behind this suggestion is that mapping could be applied at an individual or personal level, not just at a societal or demographic level. This is an interesting concept which could have some commercial application and it is, if at all, probably some distance in time away.

  25. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    ” The study of Irish history first takes genealogy to al level beyond just looking at sites and books on the subject. Most family historians just seem to talk about how they did a specific person amd found particular records they searched but they all used the same basic approaches. Between databases on sites like and a good local library or regional library, most people can find the right databases to start a search.

    The problem lies with little or no information to go on. With just a name, birth year and country of origin it is extremely difficult to find people. There is a site on-line that helps to find cold cases and where you can volunteer to help while developing genealogy skills. Certification would be the icing on the cake and to understand the history would be ideal. Software like works best when more data is put in as there is math behind it”.


    Tha maths being referred to is probably along the lines of Boolean algebra and there are definite lines of opinion with regards to which has some ardent fans and others who absolutely hate it and its rusty old engine. The jury is out for the time being! Most dedicated family historians spend twenty or more years going round in circles and the purpose of the Waxwing project is to find innovative new ways of streamlining the discovery process. The Watson team at Duffy’s Cut claim to have found some way of identifying previously untraced and supposedly murdered people from two hundred years ago with little or no basic clues about them. Their confidence is such that they have placed their names on a memorial but they have not yet disclosed their methodology.

  26. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/10 at 7:08 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    “Perish the thought but is this where the Watsons as historians have advantage over us? Bill Watson is a History professor who gives nothing away when asked politely but obliquely. He chooses to shed no light on how he knows that the Duffy’s Cut crew were murdered en-masse or died of cholera. Has he got some historical tricks up his sleeve that amateurs are just starting to tumble to?

    The idea for the book, ‘The Sea is Wide’, was that historians and family historians could come together within the covers of a book and show two sides of a coin. Historians paint with a broad brush. Unless they are biographers, they write about individual people to illustrate the period of history they cover. Family historians rarely but if at all write about history and then only in a very cursory way as a backcloth to the family tree being researched. Even programmess such as ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ give the nod and little else to history. Certainly, the family researcher touches base with historians in these programmes but the key and starting point every single time seems to be the snippets of information held within the family that allows the programme to ‘Pass Go’.

    You suggest that an in-depth knowledge of the history of the lifetime of the waxwings will find the historical records that could locate them? Or one could become in effect a historian of the period and be no further forward? I guess if you decide to contact BU these are questions you will have to address head on. If you do a SMARTER exercise right now it might help to answer them.

    For now, my impressions for what they are worth are that the US BDM records are too dispersed and are too full of holes. The whole caboodle has been taken over lock, stock and barrel for the purposes of financial gain by who have made a complete hotch-potch of them. By comparison, if I decided to locate emigrants to Australia, provided they were not convicts as their records were thrown into Sydney Harbour, I would find it a very simple exercise.

    In short, I will do an analysis or exposure of the inadequacies of the Ancestry system. It claims to be the repository of BDM details of all immigrants to the US. I will carry out that exercise once I have finished dredging what I can out of the Irish sources. This is why I prepared the Excel spreadsheet.

    Between the spreadsheet and the vignettes there should be no need for the ‘back-and-forwards’ that Mary mentions. It certainly works for me but I have not started on the US sheet so it would not be of benefit to Mary or yourself yet. In the meantime, I believe you can download a template from Ancestry that cuts out the to-ing and fro-ing?

    I place a greater belief in Google than I do in Ancestry which is why I am drilling down to find as many keywords for Google searches for people ‘out there’. My Derry site has never been successful in getting these people in any numbers to post their queries and that is a nut I have still to crack. Loads of searches, certainly – over 24,000 this year, but hardly anyone leaves a message. If these things could be joined up we might get somewhere.

    In brief, I think we need to keep in mind the size and the difficulty of this project which has almost 200 subjects being traced. I doubt whether any such kind of genealogical exercise has been carried out before. The beauty of it is that the snags and pitfalls that we come across with the large numbers of people can be identified and recorded and be valuable information for any family researcher looking for just a handful of people.


    The mapping engine that has earlier been referred to may already be staring us in the face – Google. Its raison d’etre is to map and there is no-one better at it, certainly not Ancestry. There are up-and-coming Pretenders such as Facebook which may yet find a place in genealogy, as already discovered by Lindel Buckley who is Donegal’s most famous genealogist despite being in New Zealand.

  27. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    “Sticking to one ship at a time, I looked at clusters of people, with these clusters being defined and demarcated by family units alongside them. Assuming that it was an anxiety-provoking time, quite apart from the natural sociability of the Irish, I looked at lone passengers and who they may have hung out with, even if they had just met them. More likely I assumed that clusters would have known each other from their own townlands as well. So, for example, if you had a cluster of three young males, bounded on each side by family units, I assumed that they were in each other’s company. This turned out to be the case more often than not and with this method I garnered sixty odd names that I was able to locate and I am still not finished. This was done simply with Griffiths Valuation by a triangulation method. If I found three passengers with waxwing names that had only one parish in common, out of perhaps six possibles, I assumed they came from that parish. It is not fool-proof I know but it is a fairly good bet”.


    Emigrants rarely if ever, unless they were from an important family whose papers are now housed in PRONI, gave any thought to the possibility that future generations might want to keep their memories alive or track them down. Hence, and it at times seems almost perversely, they left as few even basic clues that would assist with a search. Matters were made worse by shipping agents who carelessly recorded details or left them out. Many of the emigrants had their places of origin listed simply as Ireland, or as county of origin. Rarely were details of townland or parish recorded or, if so, more often than not they were mis-spelt. For example, Prossgear turns out to be Rossgeir and Ballyhall continues to be elusive. Even had they been recorded, that finer detail is of no use in Ancestry which does not record those details either and Google or Facebook will in time provebto be the better alternatives.

  28. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/10 at 4:29 pm

    “When I worked on timelines before, I tried to put myself in the environment which impacted the people I was researching. I did this because I wanted to “feel” what they were experiencing and why they might have made certain decisions. This has macro (historical) and micro (day-to-day conditions) dimensions. I am hope you guys select the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s. The great migration was in the 1700s but the periods before shaped the migration and the post-period continued the movement.

    I would love to get my hands on the model Mary says her brother uses. I like to use models in my consulting to make sure I think completely through problems. I would use an Xcel spreadsheet with several pages at this point but there may be a better way to do it digitally”.


    Excel may be as good a way as any. It is widely used as a business tool for planning and market analysis and the same principles apply. It is perfectly able to do most statistical tests that would be relevant to social surveys and the trick is of course to code – to convert from text to numbers and not necessarily just digital. Excel will be used as part of the Waxwing research. Details in the US prior to dates of departure of these emigrants from Ireland will be difficult to collate but one should try. For example, if it is known that the Philadelphia mills were actively recruiting and what the weekly rate of pay was, this could have relevance to assessing the probability that an emigrant was indentured or could gather enough savings to go further afield in the US. Like was said, it is about the relationship of the macro to the micro.

  29. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/10 at 4:33 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    “Other Ships to PA from Derry circa 1827-37

    Asia 1828
    Vernon 1832
    Adam Lodge 1834
    Ann 1834
    Dorothy 1834
    Edmond 1834
    Ellergill 1834
    Garland 1834
    Jessie 1834 (Belfast)
    Kinkella 1834
    Macedonia 1834
    Phoenix 1834
    Courage 1836
    Emmanuel 1836

    Derry to Wilmington

    Lady of the Lake 1831
    Leander 1831
    Inez 1831
    Cupid 1833
    Mary Cummings 1833
    Cruikston Castle 1833
    Lady of the Lake 1833

    PA held its own as a port during the early 1830s, peaked in 1834, then it all fizzled out when other destinations replaced it viz NYC and Boston. Prior to 1832 and concurrently, Wilmington NC was very popular (it is 500 miles from PA) but it fizzled out as well. What was that all about? NYC was worse hit with cholera than PA so it wasn’t that which put people off. In other words there was a stampede into PA and then that became a wide berth.

    Summary of Voyages Derry to US

    1803 to 1812 – PA 10; NYC 15; Baltimore 3.
    1813 to 1822 – NYC 1.
    1823 to 1832 – PA 5; NYC 2; Wilmington 3
    1833 to 1842 – PA 12; Wilmington 6
    1843 to 1852 – PA 3; NYC 4

    The peak year of sailings to PA was 1834 when they doubled compared to year before and after. Thereafter sailings from NI (Derry and Belfast) fizzled out. 3-4 sailings per year was the average apart from 1834, the boom year. Tnere were no sailings to PA in 1833 for a year after the cholera outbreak. Any relatives seeking to join up with Ulster emigrants would have had to sail to Wilmington and perhaps not bothered to trail back to PA”.


    This is an area that Vic might assist with. There were no sailings to PA for a period of ten years up to 1822, for the previous ten years NY was a preferred destination until that stopped, then there was a period of twenty years when Delaware/NC was a preferred destination. How did these switches in preferred destination match up to movements in the immigrant population as it could have a great deal of relevance to chain migration. During the period when Wilmington was a port of call, many of the earlier emigrants may have disembarked there, to be later joined by many of our waxwings. If so, this could cause a lot of confusion in Ancestry searches. By my reckoning, searches should include the triangular area contained within lines running from Charleston to Chicago to Boston.

    • Eileen Breen

      December 17, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Ulster Immigrants To Pennsylvania I think had entries for 1833. for some reason they did not have entries for 1832. They list names and ships. I found it on ancestry. Ancestry ship records are not complete. When I did my family history the Heritage site had ships that ancestry didn’t.

  30. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    “I have been having some success pinpointing the original locations of our waxwings (60 in total) and that is still just my first stab at it. I have put up the details alongside the names with the vignettes. They are not yet entered into the database. I have arrived at these by a rough-and-ready eyeball test but I may well apply a more sophisticated test later on – something in the nature of logistic regression but that is for later. My main effort at present is to get the maximum amount of info about the waxwings before they have left the nest. When I am ready I will ask if the extra details can be put onto Ancestry or grit my teeth and try to do it myself!

    The location details that are given in most cases are three in number – townland (60+%), parish (80+%) and county (90+%) – where the numbers in brackets refer to my level of confidence that I am correct. I have quite a bit more to do on it but I am taking a break now as I have been at it for hours (not complaining as I have been in the zone). The Aikens are bugging me and not being able to locate Ballyhall yet where a mysterious McQuigg also comes from”.


    Where there are several possibilities for a surname within the same or adjoining parishes, this might be a good thing. A reasonable assumption can be made that even if the wrong choice is made for Townland of Origin, the various choices are likely to have a cousin-relationship. This could open up the possibilities for contact with a present-day living relative and a mapping exercise could be useful in that regard.

    • Eileen Breen

      December 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

      What if we put a map of Derry, Tyrone and Donegal and where our names are prevalent and where cousins might be. Also in PA we get a lot of choices in the names from surrounding towns. A map of PA not just Philadelphia. I don’t think our farmers stayed in Philadelphia. I think they are in Pittsburg, Ohio, Illinois, N. Carolina, S. Carolina and Virginia. Weavers and single woman may have stayed in Philadelphia staying close to the mills.

      For the laborers, we need to see where the rail roads were. The first railroad was not in Pennsylvania. The Delaware and Hudson Canal Co; the S. Carolina Canal and Railroad Co (a line from Charleston to Hamburg, GA); the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad ; the Camden and Amboy Railroad ; the Germantown, Norristown Railroad ; the Pontchartrain Railway in Louisiana – were all in business at the same time as Columbia and Pennsylvania. By the mid 1800s over a thousand miles of track were laid in eleven states. In 1869, the Union Pacific Railroad’s “119 and Union Pacific’s “Jupiter” made a head to head contact in the first trans-continental track to the West located in Promontory, Utah. Perhaps a map of where some of our names are seen in other communities. Although we are not getting an exact match we might see some trends in names? Maybe the children with no parents might have been located there?

  31. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    “We are dealing with some pretty cagey fish. Our problem seems to be that we catch those who are masquerading as our waxwings. We have two choices. We can keep fishing in the same spot (meaning location, not source) and wait for them to pass by (least likely, but not impossible) or we can constantly change spots (least desirable, we get lost in the possibilities). If we could find a definitive way to keep or eliminate our possibilities, I think the pond would become much smaller. I don’t see any easy way on that idea so I guess we will be constantly catching and releasing. So far, I have gone through the constantly updated waxwings at least a dozen times and do not have any definitives. Do we at some point remove a name from our waxwings and place it in the lost column”?


    Each of the researchers now has an Excel spreadsheet. For those who are willing to participate, each should take ownership of a section of the spreadsheet and complete their waxwing details fully or as far as possible. Before starting this exercise, some decision should be made on what data is being captured. A definitive list does not need to be finalised, just an agreement on what data not to capture, more stuff can be added later.

  32. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    “The fishpond seemed to me to be a very good analogy for the Waxwing project. That is why I put it up as a poser. Within the numeration, one has to account for the effects of depletion (Mary’s pond) = internal migration from PA to TX and elsewhere, attrition = death, growth = birth, responder bias (taking the bait)= Ulster-Scot waxwings (or pike versus trout to stick with fish) are easier caught; masking (trap-shyness) = indentured labourers are not captured by censuses; method of capture (net or line)= different methods such as Griffiths / Flaxgrowers versus / Tithe Holders pick up or fail to pick up same names; sampling errors (using the wrong bait)=; vectors (fish disease, cholera, murder)= independent events interfere with natural process; confounding (fishing in the shade versus bright sunlight)= looking only in Philly or West Chester and placing too much reliance on particular directories eg McElroy of unknown reliability.

    I could beat the analogy to death but you get the gist. Capture-recapture seems to be what the exercise is all about. If the fish is caught once, put back, then never seen again, does that mean it has died, it has got crafty or it has escaped the pond”?


    The project is an exercise in abductive reasoning more than the more customary deductive or inductive reasoning. It is one of exploring possibilities rather than seeking to be definite and another term for it might be ’empirical’, or ‘proof of the pudding’. There is no need to cover all the bases of possibility or to be too prescriptive or inclusive but there is still a need to be aware of bias or false assumptions such as has riddled the Watson approach. They object to any conclusion or supposition about Duffy’s Cut other than that all 57 were murdered and came off the John Stamp!

  33. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    “A PhD has no course content as it is not a taught degree course and you have a completely free hand with regards to what you do with your time subject to two restrictions – you must comply with whatever the supervisor wants of you to enable timely progress reports, and you must meet the target deadlines for completing the different components of the thesis or dissertation as you call it. Therefore, there is nothing in the curriculum other than what you choose to put into it, subject to the appropriate SMARTER guidance of the supervisor. SMARTER is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-sensitive, Evaluative, Reviewable.

    I forgot to mention my research involved a form of statistical mapping called SEM or Structural Equation Modelling, otherwise known as covariance structure analysis, using a computer programme called AMOS, but there are other ones such as EQS (which is fine) and LISREL (which I didn’t like). You don’t need statistics to use them although in my case I did use quite a lot. Sounds to me like the forensic mapping would use something along similar lines”.


    The Waxwing Project is not a PhD project but it could become one for any researcher who is interested. Any one who is interested should declare their hand now rather than run the risk of the concept being plagiarised.

  34. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    The criteria which have to be satisfied to be awarded the research degree that is the PhD or equivalent are a) the work is your own b) it is original c) it adds to what is already known about the chosen area d) it adds new knowledge to the subject area ie it is not merely ‘more of the same’ e) it demonstrates knowledge and application of scientific principles of investigation f) it is presented and written up in a coherent style with good command of language.

  35. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Application to Vote Donegal 1829

    Arrell/Arroll (Harold)
    Boale (Boal)
    Deyermott (Diermott)


    As an extra ploy to keep plebeians from voting, the eligibility criteria were raised so that only the better-off could vote. A cross-comparison for these Waxwing names from the above electoral roll, Tithe Applotments, Flaxgrowers and Griffiths could test the usefulness of these proxy censuses in identifying householders in general as well as the better-off ones.

  36. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/05 at 8:28 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    “I have figured that if recruiters were based in either or both market towns, Strabane (Tyrone) and/or Letterkenny (Donegal):

    10 mile radius would have covered 50% of the waxwings
    15 mile radius covered 75% of the waxwings
    20 mile radius covered 100% of the waxwings

    I can cover 20 miles comfortably in 2 hours on a bike. I reckon the same time for someone in a carriage or on horseback way back then.

    I am going to have a fresh look at the Derry emigrants as our present lot have very little representation from there. It will not increase the overall numbers as I will ditch some of our present ones to make way”.


    A mapping exercise could test whether the drive to emigrate was push rather than pull in effect. Did emigrants leave owing to necessity or in reaction to hard-sell? If emigrants were so illiterate that they could not spell their names, they would not be reading newspapers; if they lived in more remote parts they would not be visited by emigration agents.

    • Eileen Breen

      December 18, 2012 at 12:47 am

      Were people in Derry financially more stable than those in the countryside? Perhaps their motive not to move from Derry in comparison to those who were on the farms was an economic one. Were there less jobs or opportunities for those in Donegal, Tyrone and Antrim than in a city like Derry?

      There was an article on Google about push/pull effects in Ulster on Scotch-Irish and Immigration to Pennsylvania – ‘Push/Pull:Peopling of Pennsylvania’ by Johnston Area Heritage Association.

      ‘Something pushes migrants away from their original homes and something pulls them towards a new home. The Push is deciding when to leave. If everything is going well at home then people will not leave their homes. Changes in situational circumstances such as finances, ability in feeding their families, religious freedom, war and security influence a migrant’s decision to immigrate. The ‘pull’ is deciding where to go and what affects them. The external factors include the finding of a democracy, being able to cast a vote in an election, knowing someone who resides where one wishes to move or a combination of many factors.

      In a letter written by an immigrant who wrote to his family about his reasons to immigrate to Pennsylvania, he stated ” I hear that William Penn is trying something new with his colony Penn. He’s letting people worship as they please. They get to vote in an assembly who makes the laws. They also need carpenters like me and are willing to pay a high price. I’d like to get in on that experiment!” – John, England 1860

      Pennsylvania had experienced both a Push and Pull effect from immigration and emigration throughout their history. In the late 1700s during the American Revolutionary War, emigration to Pennsylvania slowed. Scotch-Irish in Philadelphia in the 1800s pushed out of the city and went to the West. In 1830-1870 over a half million people immigrated to Pennsylvania. The 1890s saw the largest wave of immigration. By the end of WWI quota laws were established to restrict the flow of immigrants to the US. By 1965 laws were passed by Congress allowing all nationalities to come to the US. Since the 1970s a downward economic spiral saw a push of Pennsylvania residents out of Pennsylvania.

  37. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/06 at 2:41 am | In reply to Don MacFarlane.

    “It is puzzling why George Kerr and his brother Henry sailed on the ship Jamestown from Liverpool to NY 20 on March 1848. On the ship manifest it says George was aged 20 and a farmer from Ireland. Nothing on the manifest says anything about being indentured. I tried to look for advertizements from ship captains to sell indentured servents, either in NY or PA. There is a newspaper called the Gazetter in Virginia that is supposed to have had a lot of these ads in the 1700s. It is unclear why the Kerr brothers went to NY then PA. I also tried to look for any contracts for indentured servants in East Bradford, PA. There is a book on-line for free about Indentured servants in Pennsylvania, ‘Redemptioners To Philadelphia’.

    It is interesting to note that there was a period in England when they indentured convicts and the poor. It became such a problem in Maryland when runaway indentured convicts took off in the surrounding cities. Maryland was the top spot for indentured convicts from England. There were numerous advertizements for the return of the convicts. In the late 1700s in Philadelphia the cost of a female indentured servant fresh off the boat was $70.00, men $80.00 and boys $60.00.

    Indentured Service was where “one party agrees to serve another for a period of years in exchange for an initial payment or money”. Indentured Servant were seen as property and they were subjected to various constraints by their masters. Masters were not supposed to have total control over them but they controlled the length of service, conditions and the type of work to be done. They could increase the length of service at will.

    A proprietor received fifty acres for each servant or laborer he recruited to Pennsylvania. The proprietor had an ‘acquaintanceship’ with the ‘Masters’. Contracts were oral, based on their customs in their home country. Later on the contracts were written and became less about customs. Initially, Indentured Servants in PA cleared forests and were skilled laborers. Labor became expensive as America expanded into the West and America then depended on a mixed labor system of slaves and Indentured servants.

    In England in 1707 at the time of the Act Of Union with Scotland, Indentured Servants came from Great Britain. By the mid-to-late 18th century Indentured Servants from Northern Ireland and Germany filled the need for cheap labor. In 1720 the Redemptionist System replaced the older structure of labor and was the greatest source of free labor in Pennsylvania well into the 18th century.

    Ships carrying servants had to furnish within 24 hours a Justice Of The Peace with a list of all those being imported, including their crimes. If they were found fit to enter the country, the J.P. wound grant the merchant or captain a ‘Certificate Of Permission’. Without this, an Indentured Servant would be freed from any obligations despite having made a contract with a master. By 1789 there were laws forbidding the transportation of convicts and ‘undesirables’.

    Ships’ captains would place ads in newspapers for Servants and Redemptioners from Londonderry and listed men, woman and boys and their occupations. Terms could be appled for to the ships captain, giving the name of the ship and the Port of Philadelphia. Immigrants funding their passages to America’s colonies disrupted the free labor system. Europeans were enjoying a higher income for their labor and as a result prices for passage began to decline. Recent immigrants were funding their family to come to live with them through a system called ‘remittances’.

    In Great Britain those wishing to fund their passage to America did so by entering a contract with a merchant. Individuals sold their ‘labor’ to the ‘master’ of the ship. The ‘Master’ had to sell his labor to a ‘Buyer’ in America to pay for the passage. The laborer would have to pay for any extra expenses, bring their own food or buy it on board. If a family member died during the voyage, the family would have to pay his share of the passage. There are many accounts where a ship’s captain would be responsible for locking up and handing out the food and water. In one case a ship was lost at sea for four months, someone broke into the food cabinet and the whole ship was ‘punished’ for it and the captain refused to feed the passengers. In many cases whole ships of passengers starved to death.

    Before a servant left Europe he had to go to court to show that he agreed to the agreement freely if he was over the age of 21 years of age and he would be ‘bonded’. In PA if a servant was under 21 years he was registered as an ‘apprentice’ which meant that some type of education was expected to take place but it was not mandatory. Children often worked in the fields instead.

    Unscrupulous masters manipulated the system and hired laborers without a written contract. The laborer could not then go to court to dispute the length or terms of a contract. Contracts for male children ended when aged 21 or 22 and for girls at age 18. For adults the contract was based upon their productivity, and if they had a trade, upon their gender and level of education. At the end of the contract the master was required to bring the servant back to court within three months of the end of their contract. The Indentured Servant had to pay a for their freedom and any provisions that the master provided to the servant. The servant’s contract would be lengthened to pay for their freedom and provisions. If a indentured servant was a criminal he could work off his sentence and absolve his crimes.


    All of this material provides good insight and suggests data that could be gathered in the spreadsheet. 1848 however is probably too wide a window to be looking at as regards this particular project, a two year window on either side of 1832 is probably sufficient. According to this source, there should be court records for all those in indentured service as this was often a necesssary prerequisite to be released. Is this available through Ancetry?

  38. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    “Wages for a farmer in Ohio were $8.00 per month, while a farmer in Illinois made $12.00 per month. In mid-Atlantic States a worker would cost his employer $90.00 per year for health care, wages etc. while a slave would cost his employer $15.00 per year for the same expenses.

    I was thinking with the little snippets of info we have we could write an article about the trends for jobs, immigration to certain areas, wages, states where they immigrated to, prevalence of churches and prevalence of names in certain areas as well as neighborhoods where the Irish lived in Philadelphia. The map you put up with the neighborhood is great.

    The Kensington neighborhood is where all the mills, factories and jobs were. It was also a neighborhood where the Irish were. I saw an article that this neighborhood had the lowest amount of cholera in Philadelphia, the Northern Liberties neighborhood had the most. I didn’t get to check out this neighbohood yet. It would be interesting to compare these neighborhoods with the percentage of Irish in a neighborhood versus that of Cholera in each neighborhood.

    On the Ancestry homepage for each tree there is a database where we can plug in the last name and the state and we could see which states have certain last names. For ex: we are seeing a lot of Presbyterian, Rrotestant, Methodist and Episcopal records in PA, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania. Also a lot of these folks emigrated from UK to Southern states before ending up in PA, OH, Ill, MO, TX.

    I saw an article a few years ago in an Ancestry magazine (back issues are on Ancestry) on how recruiters actively advertised for workers for steel mills etc. Mary Balentine was on the Israel in 1837 and on the ship manifest the passengers were grouped by occupation: mechanics, laborers, farmers and children. It looked like maybe they might have been recruited. I also saw a database on-line for all the mills in Philadelphia, maybe by looking at these we might find something”?


    Eileen who, is the most expert on Ancestry, could write up an Idioyt’s Guide for those less adept than herself in its use. Likewise, she could provide a list of the useful on-line resources she has come across.

    • Eileen Breen

      December 18, 2012 at 1:09 am

      Basically I use the pull-down menus and start there. If you touch on the map on the bottom of the home page you can find records for the state you are looking for. BMD, census, origins of a name, history of the country, state and city. City directories and Ancestry family trees are my favorite.

      Personal histories and diaries I like too although sometimes they are harder to find. Use a local library and also sites that have regional information are helpful, like New England Ancestors, Genealogical Societies, Family Search, LDS, Roots Web (also sponsored by Ancestry). I search out the free ones because the European sites can be costly.

      Collaborate with others, make your trees public, share information and write to others as they can provide some good clues.

      Looking at ship manifests for corrections that people make on names often leads to a family tree that might provide clues.

      Irish history libraries also have ancestry classes and a librarian willing to help. I also go to bookstores. When I don’t know a word about a period of history, I look it up: there are lots of search engines available. I like to know the background of the people, especially when I can’t find a record on the social history to provide a framework for the research.

      Making timelines for the period or each person is helpful.

      There may be a need to look up several sources as some choices may not be accurate and often armchair genealogists like to share their information. I also like that Ancestry has a genealogy magazine and there are four other genealogy magazines at any local bookstore. Ancestry has back issues on-line for free. The magazines helps people with their methodology, highlights the historical period and also how to identify photographs of a certain period – photographs are one of my favorite things to look at.

  39. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/04 at 10:43 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    Names that have appeared in a different form were:

    Aiken (Eakin)
    Allison (Alleson)
    Barber (Barbour)
    Boal (Bole)
    Carlin (Carlan)
    Cook (Cooke)
    Davis (Davies)
    Deery (Dearey)
    Devany (Devaney)
    Diermott (Dermott)
    Doak (Doack or Doach)
    Donaghy (Donaghey)
    Fergy (Fergie or Fargg)
    Fullerton (Fullarton)
    Gibbons (Gibbens)
    Gilfillen (Gilfillan or Gilfilland)
    Greer (Grier)
    Griffen (Griffin)
    Harold (Harrold or Harrell or Arol)
    Kernahan (Kernaghan)
    Lecky (Leckey)
    Livingstone (Levingston)
    Leitch (Leech)
    Lemon (Leamon or Loman)
    McCrory (McRory)
    McGettigan (McGittigan)
    McGhee (McGee)
    McIlhenny (McIlheaney)
    McKenny (McKinny)
    McKendrick (McRondneck)
    McSwine (McLaven)
    McMenamin (McMenamen)
    McPhilemy (McPhelimy)
    Nelson (Nielson)
    Nicholl (Nickle)
    Patchell (Patchill or Putetill)
    Riddell (Riddle)
    Ritchie (Richey)
    Scallan (Scallin)
    Shields (Sheil)
    Skilton (incorrect)
    Sproule (Sproul)
    Stirling (Sterling)
    Weir (Wier)
    Wylie (Wiley)


    Searches should keep possible variants in mind plus be aware that original errors in transcription are likely to have never been corrected. Who is to say in each case which is right and which is wrong as conventions have changed as well as there being transcription errors. Names that would appear to us to be mispelt have appeared in that form or even more bowdlerised in the original Planter documents.

  40. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Submitted on 2012/12/02 at 2:38 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    “Thanks for that. There may be an element of waiting-game to be considered with Ancestry and as long as the names are on it that is as much as one can do for now.

    Putting a different kind of shape on the data other than just to have it on the spreadsheet and to have it in a text-based format might bring an extra benefit. We can wait and see. As far as I know, Google and other search-engines don’t pick up on spreadsheets. They are all geared to picking up keywords from text. Hopefully,for example, someone who punches in keywords such as ‘William Elliott AND Inishowen AND Donegal’ might be directed by Google to this site”.


    For more scholarly searches, which may be few in number as academia tends to steer clear of genealogy, these can be accessed through Google Scholar which filters out commercial or trivial search-finds. Rootsweb and Genforum results are commonplace and are unlikely to be productive although perhaps worth an occasional look.

  41. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    “I’m not familiar with the Lyons site but I do have business owners highlighted in the spreadsheet in the Slaters column. I count 23 of those names and from the right localities had businesses, though more than likely not the waxwing families, otherwise why emigrate?

    My reason for looking at businesses was to figure who could, if only by association perhaps with more successful relatives, have managed to make a living other than from hard toil or from the land. Also, who could have managed to put enough funds aside ahead of the voyage to give a cushion or slushfund once at their destination. Likewise, the same kind of reasoning would apply to identifying landowners with the same surnames.

    On the other hand, the Flaxowner Lists would identify the poorer people who needed subsidies to purchase their flax, spinning wheels or looms. Someone on the landowner list should not be on the Flaxowner List by that reckoning. I think I have found the Flaxowner Lists to be particularly useful, albeit it is 1796 and therefore refers possibly to parents rather than the waxwings themselves. As far as I understand Griffiths, that list may not necessarily cover sub-tenants, and the Flaxowner lists can pick up on that blind spot. Almost all of the waxwing surnames are on the Flaxowner lists”.

  42. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/29 at 11:54 pm | In reply to Londonderry.

    I’m wondering what the Aikins did for four years in PA before they made the move for Ohio. Where they just accumulating capital, getting orientated and figuring what to do next, having found that PA did not meet their expectations and needs? BTW the distance from Philly to mid-Ohio is about the the same as the length of Ireland? Not tnat insurmountable, except I guess there were no proper roads and by then the railroad was only about half built.


    The University of Michigan has thrown more light on this matter and has shown that a penniless farm labourer acould gather enough together from his wages in three months to pay for 40 acres of land in Ohio.

  43. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/29 at 9:55 pm | In reply to Londonderry.

    “I think what we are looking at in the summer of 1832 is the second phase of a recruiting effort in Ulster. The first phase was a lone male going to the States for work. After he is settled, the rest of the family joins him. If he is not in Philadelphia, they would travel out of Philadelphia to some unknown place. The family may have had to save for the trip or waited for money to be sent before they could leave. This may explain why the travels seem so haphazard to our eye. The third phase may be word of mouth that caused others to emigrate. We may also have to consider that the recruiting effort spread a wider net than we originally thought”.


    This should be easy to track through checking ship manifests for two year windows before and after 1832.

  44. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Yes, I smell a rat too. My gut tells me, and I may well be wrong, that there are connections between the different ships. It needs to be put to the test, otherwise it is just as much a speculation as that of the Watsons. The different composition of the ships – some had family groups, some didn’t, some had siblings on board, some didn’t, some waxwing names pop up in different ships etc.- makes me wonder did some of the families of labourers follow on behind. It is no more than a suspicion that eg. some advance recruiting went on and some parishes were targeted. Once I have finished the spreadsheet and perhaps done some basic statistics the picture may become clearer.

  45. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    “I’m ready to move on to the Prudence. I’m not finding anymore with the John Stamp except I’m skeptical about who the Watsons identified. Many of them were not just lone laborers. They traveled with the family. So why no one put an ad in the paper to look for them unless they too are buried with them. Not all their companions were laborers. In the case of the Burns family-mother, father and the child were all at Duffy’s Cut. So maybe there were multiple tents for each family not just the one cabin that was found”.

  46. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    PA Districts

    Vine – Mulberry N&S, Arch, Market, Chestnut, Walnut, Spruce, Cedar, Locust
    Northern Liberties
    Street – Delaware (Upper and Lower), Pine, Mulberry, New Market, High, Sassafras
    Spring Garden

    * Irish Ghettos

    Of course, with at least a good half of our waxwing emigrants being Scotch-Irish (Ulster-Scots) and not of ‘native Irish’ stock, would they have been well-advised to keep away from Irish ghettos or would they have had much choice? ‘Out of the frying pan into the fire’ springs to mind!

    If going further inland, the main destinations for Uster-Scots in PA were Lancaster, Delaware and Susquehanna counties.

  47. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Planters Unplanted

    I would say they are the same McClays, even if not within a generation or two, as the name is so unusual, much like the Patchells and Snodgrasses – back to the waxwing theme again. The Snodgrasses for example we not Johnny-come-latelys, they were among the first Scottish planters in Donegal as they appeared in the 1630 Muster Rolls.

    Other waxwings from that Muster Rolls were: Lecky, Buchanan, Campbell, Gilillan, Cooke, McCauley, McKenny, McConnell, Cochrane, Aiken, Greer, Crawford, Leman, Noble, Woods, Ballantine (Archy actually!), Allison, Ewing, Barber, Johnston, Reid, Nelson, Ellis, Griffen, McClay, McAleer, Edgar, Davis, Henderson, Keys, McNutt, Leitch, Foster, Barr, Hunter, Griffith, Peoples, Russell, Stevenson, McIlwaine, Speer, McAdam, Caldwell, Creighton, Elliott, Magee, McIlwaine, Ritchie, Long, Sproule, Livingstone, Wylie, Nicholl and Hood.

    In other words, at least half of our folks were Planters?

  48. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    ‘In 1833 fifty per cent of employees in cotton mills were children’

    ‘Women walked barefoot to the meeting house to save their shoes, putting them on only when entering’

    ‘Wages (in kind) for slaves were half that for free labor but on adding out-of-pocket expenses the difference later became six-fold’

    ‘Beginning with the panic of 1837, in New York alone twenty thousand workers had been discharged by their employers’.

  49. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Chains of Emigration

    There has always been the idea about that emigrants sent a portion of what they earned back to help less their more hard-pressed and less well-off relatives back in Ireland. But why? Square that up against the favour the emigrant has done by agreeing simply to be part of the ‘safety-valve’ of emigration, taking pressure off the family of one less mouth to feed. Why then the extra obligation of financial relief for those left behind when the younger ones can take the same emigration route as well? If that obligation was there, it seems enormously selfish of the stay-behinds who sit tight and wait for the hand-outs to keep them above the subsistence line.

    Which brings me to the second point. What was the income-differential between the US and Ireland at that time. It might perhaps take a year’s savings to travel to the US but much less than that to travel back again? Or it might not take anything like that long. The average wage for a handloom weaver in England was five-to-seven shillings a week and you can be sure someone Irish was at the bottom end of that scale or worse. The weekly wage in 1830 for a millworker in the US was €5 and that was equivalent then to £1h

    Therefore a weaver could expect from that to earn about three times as much by emigrating to the US. Likewise a non-farm labourer could expect to earn twice as much as a farm labourer if prepared to rough it and have poor rations. Hence the attraction of the railroad.

    The cost of a Transatlantic passage had dropped the year before (1831) to a quarter of what it had been to one pound ten shillings, in other words six weeks’ wages if in Ireland, or two weeks’s wages if in the US. What then was to hinder any but the most poor to make the return passage? A different story of course for women who earned a third as much as men and needed board and lodgings as they could not be expected to live rough.

    The third point is that the McClays are not listed as having even an acre of land in Ireland, so in fact it looks like they were dirt-poor but they were able to make their way back.

    BTW. I mean to post a nice map of the districts of Philadelphia as an aid to discover where were the poorer and more outlying parts that were still or soon to be part of the city – the equivalent of zipcodes today. That may help to refine any searches.

  50. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Burns: Both Catherine and John both are on the memorial.
    Diven: Elizabeth, John and William are all on the memorial.
    Doherty: Samuel and Michael travelled together but only Samuel is on the memorial. McIllheaney: Bernard and Biddy travelled together but only Bernard is on the memorial.

  51. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    He’s Skelton on the headstone. Skilton was in a family tree on ancestry. I don’t think we had any other successes with the name except for a few possibilities. You thought the name Skilton might not be a name found in Ireland? It’s interesting Mary found names in McElroy and the occupations were different. Would this rule them out or not? Also they could have changed careers depending on the availability of jobs. McElroy is later (1837/1843). If we found the city directory to match the name, new occupation or if we saw a change in occupation we might have something. A lot of times the father passed his occupation to his son. The son would work as an apprentice and you can see the job change in the son but usually in the same field of work.

  52. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    So far, I have about fifty possibles from McElroy that match for name and possible occupation, listed on the spreadsheet. I had spotted Eliza Magee (McGhee) but I hadn’t put her in yet as I was doubtful about her. I like that the first name fits but I thought that if she was so fussy to have an h put into her name on the manifest, would she have tolerated such a complete mispelling in McElroy? Also, I had noticed that McElroy seem to go for uniformity of spelling, almost as if they had a protocol that they kept to. Rarely, you would find a name that was the same as a whole host of others but was spelt differently. Is it likely that Eliza would insist on McGhee in Derry but Magee in Philadelphia? Likewise, I didn’t have Peter Campbell as a waxwing as the name is quite commonplace. I will put them both into the spreadsheet anyway.

    Eileen’s suggestion that we widen the search reminds me of what my PhD supervisor, Dorota Iwaniec from Krakow in Poland, used to reiterate. It was with her almost a mantra, but she was preaching to the converted. ‘Follow the data’. I am a believer in that approach. Any other approach is counter-scientific, will not bring new knowledge, and is just rehashing what is already known. Of course such a searchlight approach has to be grounded in existing knowledge or it has no established basis or credibility. The two approaches have to meet in the middle.

    Of course, in our case the data is mostly corrupted as it is badly recorded through sloppy and bad transcription. The errors perpetuate in subsequent records such as Ancestry and this is where our project can be of value for unwary family researchers who have to find these things out the hard way. I thought the Irish scenario was bad with all the BDM and census records being lost in the 1922 fire. This is worse. At least with the Irish situation you know where you stand.

    I have some ideas already on the back of the data so far but I will leave those for a later post. This is where an intuitive approach to data would come in, although my radar is malfunctioning at the moment, and Mary calls these ‘aha moments’. If germs of ideas can consolidate and hang together to form a bigger idea which can be tested in a formal way, better still. Statistics might be useful, perhaps not, and that is one of the reasons for a spreadsheet to see if any patterns will emerge.

    I think the next stage would be to take those fifty names from the two McElroy directories (1837/43) and see if they come up on the Federal Census for 1841. I can’t think of any earthly reason why they wouldn’t. Plus, out of those, focus on waxwings that appear on the Duffy headstone – James Devaney, William Devine, George Doherty (Dougherty), Robert Skilton – and challenge the Watsons over why they think they were murdered.

  53. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I think we would be better drilling down with what we have instead of spreading the net. You have put a lot of work into the family trees and you have had a few bites, yes, but I am sure ‘making haste slowly’ will bring rewards. It had crossed my mind that the Lazaretto Station might keep records but strangely I don’t think they did. Philly decided against using it as a quarantine station for cholera but there would have been other killer epidemics at the time such as measles, influenza, typhus and smallpox. So why no records? BTW, did Duffy have to go to Lazaretto or did emigrants disembark at the port? Or did just the ships that were known to carry diseased passengers stop off there? In other words, was it just left to the initiative and judgment of the ships’ captains? Or did the ships all carry a surgeon? Seems unlikely but the Australian ships did all carry medical support. It seems to have been all very much more laid-back than at Grosse Isle.

  54. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Factors such as Poverty, opportunities for education, raising the literacy rate and equal access to education and resources at the elementary and high school level so one can be at the appropriate grade level. Encouraging people to further their education at a college level or higher education. Further, childcare, support of family and the financial support of government loans to help pay for an education or to start a business allow one to support himself and his family. In turn, it places the family in a financially stable environment and builds one’s self esteem. These elements were not available in the 1800′s to early 1900′s in America. As costs for education keep rising, the opportunities for education and keeping people out of poverty will continue to be a challenge in the 21st century.

  55. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Let’s eliminate higher education for the purpose of this argument. When I look at the chart, I see the bottom three levels as actually one level with three different phases. Movement within the level can be fairly swift. I think it is entirely possible for the ambitious with a lot of hard work and a little luck, even just being in the right place at the right time, to be in managerial positions in five years, remembering that there are also different phases of the management level.

  56. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Getting ready to delve into the McElroy directories, but I wanted to comment on one of your statements, Don. Eliminating names because the job level seems to be above the skill level they had when they arrived, bothered me. The statement strikes me as being a little ‘elitist.’ If we are talking about occupations of doctors, lawyers etc., I agree with their elimination. I would also agree if we are talking about opportunity and education that was not available to them in Ireland.

    These men were labourers and farmers in Ireland out of necessity and lack of opportunity, not from lack of intelligence. Are you saying five years was not enough time to improve their station in life? Are you saying that in five years they could not have educated themselves or gained experience to improve their lives? I thought the main motive of immigrating to America was for the opportunities that were not available in Ireland. The ambitious ones would have been able to move up the economic ladder and some could have done it fairly quickly. If we use this criteria, Philip Duffy would have been eliminated because of his financial success.

  57. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    To be honest, I began using Ancestry simply as a guide to find the names in other places. With the more common names, it refuses to use the filters I give it, so it spits out hundreds of names. On the other side of the spectrum, other names will only show one or two possibilities, none that matches the information I had input. The choices you have given happen to be the names that I have been unable to find any information on in Ancestry.

    For census research, I prefer to use Heritage Quest. The only bad side is that the 1830, 1840 and 1850 Censuses are not indexed, but this is where I use Ancestry to give me specifics where to browse or if I can find a name in a later census, I can backtrack. The reason why I like Heritage Quest is that even though it is exact match only, you can search last name only, first name only or no name at all. The advanced search lets you narrow down the possibilities to a manageable amount. This is how I was able to find a few of the mis-indexed or misspelled names.

    One caution with family trees. There are a few researchers who may not have been as thorough as they should have been in following their trees back or there are wrong assumptions made on their findings. I know from first-hand experience with my husband’s family tree that once one wrong connection is made, it is continued through the following branches. Because I knew the family connections, I was immediately aware of the mistakes that were made and why they were made, but what of those who are not aware of a family history. So, right now half of my husband’s family are on several trees where they have no relationship to anyone on the tree. Just cautioning that one wrong turn on a tree makes subsequent entries wrong.

    I get the feeling there is a bit of subterfuge going on with the Watsons in the correspondence with you, Don. As for their research, any halfway-competent genealogist would have found the Bernard McGarrity mistake in the first go-round. Their ‘research’ seems to be superficial, at best. Harsh, I suppose, but I would expect better from academia. The men of the ‘Cut’ deserve better.

  58. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/22 at 8:31 am | In reply to Mary Cornell.
    The first page of the spreadsheet is complete and shows the gaps that need to be filled before we can make any real further headway. In reading the sheet, be aware that columns ‘Variability’ and ‘Barony’ should be read alongside each other. If the Variability Score is high viz. 3 or 4, the name of the Barony is only a guide and should not be relied upon. If the Variability Score is 1 or 2 and the County/Total ratio on Sheet Two is high (80% or more), the chances of the location being correct are extremely high.

    The most disappointing thing is the inability, as far as I understand the case to be, of to supply what should be relatively straightforward information – marital and parental status. Certainly, in Australia, that would be readily to hand and no more than an afternoon’s work to find out. If I could be sure we are not missing a trick, I would confront the Watsons again to check what magical methods they used to locate the men on the headstones. So far all I have got from them is hot air, vague warnings (Bill) and dissimulation (Frank). My suspicious mind tells me the brothers have got a lot of mileage out of this, with Bill being the driver, and Frank trailing on behind. There has been loads of publicity, a project to attract students to a small University, and not inconsiderable funding. Having said all of that, I don’t really blame them. It is all a worthy and honourable cause and I would probably do the same if I were put in that situation.

    Before I go back to the Watsons, I need all three of you to take six names and in see if anyone can arrive at something more sensible than I come up with. Let’s say – Archy (Archibald) Ballantine, Hamilton Hemphill, Timothy McBrearty, Arthur McQuade, James Snodgrass, William Stringer. Or you can, if you prefer, try your hand on the names on the headstone – a harder task, I suspect, as half of the names probably never existed, and the Watsons didn’t find them – James Devaney (or alternatives), Samuel Forbes, Daniel McCahill, John Ruddy, John McGlone, the Patchells (Putetill), George Quigley, Robert Skelton, William Devine, George Doherty, Bernard McGarrity, John McClanon, Patrick McAnamy. Or you can try your hand on six names from the John Stamp that did not appear on the headstone – William Diven, Patrick Fullerton, John Creighton, William Mahon, Brian McGourley (McGurley), William Barber (Barbour). Be aware that any errors in transcriptions that appear from the ships’ manifests have been carried over into Ancestry and that is a major flaw in their system.

    I don’t quite understand why basic BMD info should be so unfathomable to find out in the US. Is it that there were only the three portals of entry to the US and if you did not get married before you left PA, you disappeared into thin air? As a tester, I put six rarer male names from the ship Asia into the Marriage and Divorce search, listing date of birth, 1832, that they lived and married in PA (just to check but not knowing obviously). In each and every case it offered me thousands of possibilities. In the case of William Cook, for example, it offered me 21 thousand matches, 3600 in London, 400 or so in each of the following states – MA, MO, ILL, TN. OH, IND etc etc. Patent nonsense and it was the same for all of the names I tried. For the time being at least, I have given up on Ancestry searches as all I get is false directions I am not interested In pursuing. Obviously, as Eileen has discovered, the Family Trees bear fruit and that is worth persevering with. Meanwhile, I will stick to what I am good at – Google searching. Anything that is attached to an http:// should show up if I can find the right keywords.

    The point about incarceration for little or no reason in a mental institution in those days is well made. A common reason of course was of pregnancy outside of wedlock in a young single woman without a man to support her. These unfortunates spent all or most of their natural days in asylums, or at least until they were beyond child-bearing age. Their cases were a disgrace on the medical profession and nothing less than institutionalised cruelty. I once came upon ancient records of commitment in the bowels of an asylum and the parchment which was the application for detention said at the top ‘To be Completed by Friends of Idiots’. So it did not even require a male relative to do the dirty deed. In Roseannah’s case, I agree, there is no evidence of the husband wanting to know her anymore, he just abandoned her. Perhaps he had met another woman and he had not even wanted her to join him in the US as she had followed on later.

  59. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/21 at 9:06 am | In reply to Don MacFarlane.
    1846 Donegal Trade Directory

    Some of our names appear on this:

    Aiken from Lifford and Castlefinn
    Barr from Buncrana
    Barton from Pettigoe
    Boal from Letterkenny
    Brasland (Brisland) from Ballybofey
    Brigham from Donegal Town
    Carolan (Carlin) from Ballyshannon
    Carlin from Moville
    Cochrane from Ballybofey
    Cook from Rathmelton
    Edgar from Buncrana
    Elliott from Letterkenny etc
    Ewing from Donegal Town
    Gibbons from Ballyshannon
    Grier from Rathmelton
    McBrearty from Killybegs
    McDonagh from Ballyshannon
    McElhiney from Raphoe and Letterkenny
    McGettigan from Letterkenny
    McHugh from Pettigoe
    McIlwaine from Rathmelton
    McMenamin from Ballyshannon
    McQuade from Ballyshannon
    Nelson from Castlefin and Lifford
    Peoples from Letterkenny
    Roddy (Ruddy) from Buncrana
    Ryan from Pertigoe
    Shiels from Rathmelton
    Sproule from Ballybofey

    What I take out of this list at a minimum is that at least a good half of the waxwing names from Donegal, even if not directly related, are shared with kinsmen who were active in commerce and who were not down at heel or desperate for work. Secondly, these names appear mostly to be from the more affluent places in Donegal (not surprising as businesses will gravitate to where the money is) and not greatly affected by the Famines later. These four main places were Letterkenny/Rathmelton, Lifford/Castlefin, Ballybofey, Ballyshannon. It all reminds me of Brian Friel’s poignant play and film ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’. Why did these boys not get off at Letterkenny and look for work instead of heading for the grass is greener and Derry Port?

  60. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/17 at 7:32 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.
    I do agree with Eileen that we have not thoroughly researched yet, but we do need to set some sort of framework for the chapter for further research as Don said.

    General framework for consideration-

    I. Conditions in Ireland which led to emigration.

    II. Emigrants and what they found in Philadelphia, cholera, discrimination, et al.
    A. emphasis on John Stamp passengers
    B. Asia, Prudence and Ontario

    III Philip Duffy and the “Cut”

    IV Brickwalls, inconclusive evidence, further research, and conclusion

    Our main focus for “The Sea is Wide’ needs to be a very narrowed down focus on “Duffy’s Cut,” the more detailed information we have been finding fits in more with the larger book idea.

  61. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Reply from me to Martin Dowling

    Thanks for the quick reply and that input. BTW I found your book a very enjoyable read which has stuck with me, not something I can say about most things I read. I understand you have left this field of study behind you so I shall trouble you no more over it. I will however keep digging to try to figure out why valuations pre-Famine varied so widely, even allowing for the points you made.

    Ballintra – £900 for three thousand acres to Arthur Foster; £800 for nine thousand acres to James Hamilton.
    Lifford- £1250 for three thousand acres to Eliza Harvey; £500 for thirteen thousand acres to J Humphries.

    Omagh – £1500 for four thousand acres to Alexander McCausland; £3300 for sixteen thousand acres to Sir William McMahon.
    Moy – £7000 for six thousand acres to the Earl of Charlemont; £6500 for sixteen thousand acres to Sir William Verner.

  62. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    From Martin Dowling

    It has been many years since I paid attention to these issues, or to the evidence of land values in Ulster,but the following factors are probably relevant.  One is that there was a century-long trend in agricultural and cottage-industry prices which put pressure on tenants of less than five acres of land, even though the pre-famine decades saw an explosion of this type of farming household in the west.  Improving landlords like  George Hill imagined after the famine that small farms might be sustainable if rationally laid out, but they were wrong.  By the end of the century it was apparent that only farms of much greater size than was typical in the west were sustainable enterprises.  Another factor is that as the decades passed, and particularly after the land legislation of the 1870s and 1880s took effect, the power of landlords to exacerbate this scenario by raising real rents and threatening tenures was greatly reduced.  Neither exploiters nor philanthropists, they became increasingly irrelevant to the economic decisions made by farmers.  Finally, the productivity of land (as grazing and as arable) was highly variable. Large areas of Donegal  remained pretty much worthless as potential sources of rental income from market-oriented farmers.  Again, I would say that variation in land values in the 1880s might not be as strongly linked to the variation in landlord management practices as it was to proximity to ports and urban markets, land quality, etc.

  63. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    words, what were the the vital clues that cinched them. Can these types of clue or link be replicated for other cases and if not why not? Were they just fortuitous? What have the brick walls or blind alleys been so far for cases that have peetered out? In other words, what does an interim progress report look like. This is maybe something Vic can assist us with, be a project manager in other words, as he has the right background, past and present, and he has a very methodical frame of mind. Certainly much more than my will-of-the-wisp approach to things.

  64. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for sourcing the intriguing book of TC Foster which can be downloaded free and a short extract from it sets the tone:

    ‘except in Northern Ireland, the middle-class man is termed a middleman – a perfectly useless drone, aping the manners and habits of the class above him, living on a profit-rent which he neither uses skill nor exertion to enable his wretched under-tenants to realize. His superior knowledgs never directs them . He is of no use to society’.

    ‘the upper classes on the other hand almost entirely neglect their duties. These well-disposed but mere nominal owners of their estates are in apprehension of their lives and leave to agents the duties of their positions, and so the door for neglect and abuse is left open’.

    The gist of the rest of Foster’s book is that 80% of Irish peasantry, which formed the bulk of the population, lived off a piece of sub-letted land of between 1-15 acres, insufficient to support an exponentially increasing extended family. They had no money and any outside occupation that the 20% had was seasonal. Emigration to North America or England was the safety-valve and this source of cheap labour created hardship for home-grown labourers who became jobless.

  65. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Foster took considerable pains to detail conditions in this area prior to Lord Hill’s purchase of his estate, using extracts from a memorial drawn up in 1837 by the resident schoolmaster, one Patrick McKye, who sought to impress upon the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland the stark poverty of its people. McKye brought to his task the experience of a well-travelled man of his times.

    In his memorial he stated: “the parishioners of this parish of West Tullaghabegley, in the barony of Kilmacrennan and county of Donegal, are in the most needy, hungry, and naked condition of any people that ever came within the precincts of my knowledge, although I have travelled a part of nine counties in Ireland, also a part of England and Scotland, together with a part of British America. I have likewise perambulated 2,253 miles through some of the United States, and never witnessed the tenth part of such hunger, hardship, and nakedness.”

    McKye cited statistics in support of his case. Using the census of 1831 he gave the population as 9,049, with “but one cart and one plough, 20 shovels, 32 rakes, 2 feather beds, and 8 chaff beds. None of their married or unmarried women can afford more than one shift, and some cannot afford any; more than one-half of both men and women cannot afford shoes to their feet, nor can many of them afford a second bed, but whole families of sons and daughters of mature age indiscriminately lie together with their parents.

    They have no means of harrowing their land but with meadow rakes. Their farms are so small that from four to ten farms can be harrowed in a day with one rake. Their beds are straw, green and dried rushes, or mountain bent; their bedclothes are either coarse sheets, or no sheets, and ragged filthy blankets; and, worse than all I have mentioned, there is a general prospect of starvation.”

    These were the conditions before the famine. The article goes on to further state that the only obstacle for his lordship in improving the land was the continued presence of the aboriginal Irish on the land.

  66. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/16 at 8:51 am | In reply to Mary Cornell.
    The thing I am not clear about, and it appears not to be recorded anywhere, is what was the levy of rent passed down to the tenants who were on less than an acre of land. It was not until 1870 that the Land Act came in to try to protect the rights of tenants and it is said to have failed miserably. Landlords resorted to all sorts of jiggery-pokery to frustrate its proper implementation. The upshot, as far as I can see, is that it took a Land Court to look into what rents were being passed down to tenants who could be evicted for non-payment of even unreasonable rents. The onus then fell upon tenants to foot the cost of a court appearance. They were already living hand-to-mouth so they could not challenge the eviction and if they tried to stay put a posse of local constabulary forced them out. End of story.

    Why have I gone off half-cock and started looking at landlords? This is to drill down and to get a grasp of what relationships were like between tenants and landlords, and to equate this with the pressure to emigrate. I can’t figure out yet why, for example, the likes of Lord George Hill (landowner for John Ruddy I think) had by far the lowest valuation of his land. Was this because the land was so poor, hence the tenants upon his land might be the hardest pressed to exist? Also, what kind of landlord was Hill anyway? There are very mixed accounts and I already have found quite a bit of material on him. Once I have figured out George Hill I will look at the other landlords who came from the parts of the country that our waxwings came from and see if I can spot a trend.

  67. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/16 at 5:17 am | In reply to Don MacFarlane.
    I gauge the approximate size of an acre in one of two ways. Either by the size of an American football field which is approx. 1.5 acres or by the size of a basketball court which is 1/12th of an acre. So American. So I decided I had better look into the acre dimensions used in Ireland since American standard measurements are different from European standard measurements. I am glad I did. Rods and perches?!!

    English acre is considered the statute.
    Irish acre=1.62 of the statute.
    Cunningham acre (used in East Ulster)= 1.3 of the statute.

    So how were the rents and taxes computed by England? The larger number for the English acre or the smaller number for the Irish acre? English owners could own much greater acreage in Ireland and pay less tax than land owned in England depending on which was used. The larger landowners seem to be in the Mitt Romney tax bracket.

  68. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/15 at 8:56 am | In reply to Don MacFarlane.
    Major Landowners in Derry

    Samuel Alexander – 5k (Limavady) £4k*
    John Beresford – 10k (Derry City) £4k
    George Brown – 5k (Claudy) £2k
    Sir Henry Bruce – 20k (Downhill) £11.5k
    Lady Garvagh – 8k (Garvagh) £4k
    Sir F Heygate – 5.5k (Bellarena) £2.5k
    Thomas Richardson – 18k (Coleraine) £8k
    James Stevenson – 8.5k (Tobermore) £1k **

    There are noticeably fewer private major landowners in County Derry owing to the bigger slices of land being owned by the Worshipful Companies of London, hence the County and City being renamed as Londonderry.

    1380 owners of above one acre. Total acreage 511 thousand acres. Rent £311k.
    798 owners of less than one acre. Total acreage 228 acres. Rent £53k.

    The Worshipful Companies were:

    Drapers Company – 27k acres (Moneymore and Draperstown) £15k
    Fishmongers Company – 21k acres (Ballykelly and Banagher) £9k
    Grocers Company – 11.5k acres (Faughanvale) £6.5k
    Ironmongers Company – 12.5k acres (Aghadowey) £8k
    Mercers Company – 21k acres (Kilrea) £12k
    Salters Company – 19.5k acres (Magherafelt) £17k **
    Skinners Company – 34.5k acres (Dungiven) £10k **

    Landowners marked * have charged too much or too little rent when compared to the norm.

    From that it appears that the City of London owned almost a third of County Derry.
    The situation in Derry was even worse than in the other counties for poorer people. They paid five hundred times as much for their bit of land compared to rich people.


    1380 owners of land of more than one acre owned 511k acres and paid £311k in rent.
    798 owners of less than one acre owned 228 acres and paid £53k in rent.

  69. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I have completed entering the data into the spreadsheet on landowning in Ireland for the three counties we are looking at. An eyeball test will throw up some immediate impressions and a bit more drilling down should reveal more. Any household on at least an acre of land was recorded in this land census of 1876. Granted it is a generation later and the Great Famine had intervened but the following surnames of emigrants on our ships had little or no land but claimed to be farmers:


    I would take from this that they were posing as Farmers whereas they were labourers or farmhands, hence potential rail – fodder.

    The following who claimed to be farmers shared a surname with major landowners:


    I would take from this that they were poor relations or young turks on the make, possibly sent off with money in their pockets, who looked the part and should have landed on their feet. If they then fell upon hard times they had a better chance of hoofing it back to Ireland.

  70. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Landowners in Donegal

    A goodly number of the Donegal emigrants had the same surname as the landowners of the county. Mind you, it didn’t take much to be on the list – only an acre of land – so anyone not on the list was probably scraping by.


  71. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Are we to believe the ratio and percentages of those emigrating from Ireland, taking into account money as being the major factor for the lack of Irish Catholic emigrants during this time period? That is to say, that the lack of native Irish emigration is due in large part to the lack of money. The majority of passengers on these early 19th century ships would be non-Catholic and if the percentages hold true, then over 130 passengers on the John Stamp would be non-Catholic, whether they were Presbyterian, Church of Ireland or some other. That would leave roughly twenty passengers eligible to be at ‘The Cut’.

    According to all the articles we have read on the men at ‘The Cut’, the workers were Irish Catholic. So two conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, those that were Catholic were recruited in Ireland and made up the rest of the passengers on the John Stamp, entirely filling Duffy’s crew. Possible. Or secondly, Catholic workers were also hired from the other three ships. If this is true, did Duffy pay for their passage? I suppose the main question is, would there have been enough Catholic labourers onboard for Duffy to fill a crew solely from the John Stamp unless he had prior recruiting knowledge? Confusing, I know.

    Now from that, we can also do a secondary search based on religion. Our first assumption has to be that the ‘Cut’ workers were Irish Catholic. This can be proved or disproved through the search. If we begin eliminating all of the non-Catholics from the list, we should come up with the same work crew that the Watsons did. Right? If we do not, then either the crew was not entirely Catholic or the names are wrong.

  72. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    From an article, Irish Immigration In America:

    Between 1820-1920, 4.25 million Irish immigrants came to the US. Ireland’s population density was the highest in Europe. Ireland’s dominant industry was agriculture. In Ireland, one could expect to earn sixpence per day including a meal and eightpence per day without a meal. A peasant’s diet might include potatoes, a small amount of milk and rarely they had fish. The English aristocracy owned the land, controlled the high rents and taxes and the courts. Education was not accessible to those in poverty.

    During the years 1816-1818, six to twelve thousand and in 1827 Irish immigrants numbered sixteen thousand. The rate increased to sixty five thousand in 1831. By 1842 over ninety two thousand immigrants reached the US. Contractors whose aim was cheap labor employed three thousand Irish workers for the Erie Canal Project in 1818. In 1826 contractors hired five thousand Irish laborers for four canal projects.

    The canals were the first major transportation routes in the US. Many employers sent money to Ireland to pay for the passage of the Irish immigrants who would work as cheap labor building America’s internal improvement projects. Almost all Irishmen had to begin in the US as unskilled laborers and many got no further.

    The Irish were encouraged to have at least five dollars in their pocket when they immigrated. Often the money was spent on the voyage and they arrived penniless and destitute. The Irish Immigrant Aid Society in NY encouraged the Irish to stay out of the major urban areas and settle in the west. Newspapers and those sympathetic to the Irish emphasized that the Irish should stay away from canal and railroad construction projects secondary to prejudice of the Irish, poor wages, violence and lack of safety measures and unsafe working conditions. They also encouraged the Irish workers to form a protective association which acted like a trade union. The pick-and-shovel workers on the Chesapeake And Ohio RR earned thirty cents per day with board and lodging and a jigger-full of whiskey.

    Irish societies such as the Hibernians and athletic clubs were closely connected to the Catholic Church and the Catholic hierarchy. The railroads encouraged the Irish to migrate to the west. Workers on the canals and railroads settled down as farmers along the routes they helped develop. By 1860, eighty seven thousand Irish inhabited Illinois. Ten years later there would be thirty two thousand more immigrants in Illinois.

    The Boston Transcript in 1855 stated: “ten families from Newburyport were bound for Illinois. Each family had between $300-$1500 per family with the intention to buy land. The Wabash And Erie Canal Company offered immigrant laborer farmers 40, 80 and 160 acres in partial payment for work on the canal. The Illinois Central Railroad paid their workers in scrip in exchange for farmland. Between 1833-1853 three-quarters of the Irish employed on public lands in Illinois took up homesteads.

    While the railroads and canal companies encouraged migration of the Irish, workplaces and those that sold property in the cities feared that the Irish would take jobs from those already living in the US. They did not want the Irish to buy land or to be hired in their the mills, railroads, canals and businesses. Signs were placed in shop windows “Irish, No Need Apply.” Hiring the Irish worker was considered as a way to justify the means. To have cheap labor at the expense of the Irish laborer who would work in dangerous conditions thus spared their slave labor and labor costs. The Irish laborers were expendable.

  73. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/12 at 12:53 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.
    All classes of people, irrepective of religion, felt the pinch of having to pay tithes to the Church of Ireland. Much of this was paid as goods in kind, rather than currency, and the tax was levied at some crops more than others. The upshot, as discussed earlier in relation to Cork and Bishop Whately, was insurgency and murder whenever tithes were due to be collected. The tithe applotment books would give a definite idea as to how wealth was distributed – who owned more land hence had to pay more tax, but generally CofI were better off than Dissenters (Presbyterians) who were better off than Catholics. I’ll try to hunt down more detail on this query as it could be very relevant.

  74. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/10 at 4:38 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.
    Muster Rolls

    These list the names of the Planters by County whose job it was to fight off any rebellious native Irish:

    Of our list of names, those who would have come from Planter stock include:


    In other words, these names comprise at least a third of the larger list extracted for the Excel spreadsheet from the ships’ manifests and belonged to folks whose job it was to Plant and displace the native Irish.

  75. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    What jumps out at me is how few of the waxwing names that comprise the spreadsheet (chosen at random, I may add, not on the basis of their assumed religion) found their way out of Ulster to go to different parts of Ireland but they travelled en-masse to the US. What was that all about?

  76. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    The first sheet of the DuffyTemp Excel spreadsheet is now complete as a template that can be used for any further research. All the names have been graded 0-4 for likelihood of success in finding them based upon their surnames. The grading is for most of the names probably stricter than it needs to be as it is based on whole-Ulster prevalence of these names and that does not take account that many of these names have their county of origin clearly indicated on the ships’ manifests. It also does not take account of the owner of a surname having a distinctive forename, nor does it take account of possible transcription errors.

    Nor does it take account of clusters of names. Therefore the grading is not set in stone. For example the following names have been graded 4 because they are numerous but there is a good likelihood they are all related, at least at second or third cousin level – Arthur, Griffin, Meaney, McAleer, McHugh, McNutt, McQuillen, McShane, Sproule. We have one such example already in the Aiken family who scattered across the North East of the US. The paper I posted on migration patterns of Ulster Presbyterians in the US makes the same point in more detail.

    What that seems to point to for me is not to be too discouraged if for example lots of McNutts pop up in the US in the 1830s, scattered between PA, OH and NY. That is to be expected but I would not deviate beyond a year on either side of the birthdate of the index person. But if the McNutts did not have in their midst one person whose birthyear is within a year of what it says on the manifest and who has Ireland as his place of origin, that search is not worth persevering with. A simple way of conducting a search would be an algorithm, so that in the case of the above example,’Do not pass Go’.

  77. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/07 at 8:43 pm | In reply to Don MacFarlane.
    Short Shortlist

    The names that are least common and stand the best chance of no duplication in Ancestry should be –

    Culbertson (John Stamp – labourer)
    Dermott – may be transcription error
    Gilfillen – labourer
    Leitch – labourer
    McAnaney – may be transcription error
    McGettigan – John Stamp
    McQuigg – though this may be a transcription error for McClurg.

    Of course, few of those are said to be Duffy’s Cut crew or labourers but they serve as a baseline.

  78. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I think the filter can be helpful yet unhelpful at the same time. I agree that using the filter for place name will be less useful if we can’t correctly spell the place and person’s name. The Irish records I find difficult because they don’t put a street address and you can’t see the street or home in relation to others on the street. It would be helpful to find a map of Ireland from 1830s. What about the Ordinance Book of Derry or the north west communities where these passengers may have come from? We need the old names of places. The census in Ireland probably won’t help as the date 1832 is early for record keeping. Few records exist before 186. I think without the personal histories we’re going to have to depend on Ancestry family

  79. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Question. All of these names, and thanks for this effort, are uncommon in Ireland, being for the most past Ulster-Scots and confined to Ulster. As you say, and nonetheless, too many possibles are shown in the Ancestry search but was origin in Ireland set as an essential criterion? Unless I am going about it wrongly, I seem to find that when I do an it ignores that filter and lots of possible names are thrown up that disregard the filter. Which of course makes the whole exercise meaningless.

    If the filter is working, which I say it is not (?), then that suggests all of the results thrown up by Ancestry are valid and reflect a chain of migration. So they should all be recorded (shock/horror), regardless of number, and put on the tree. Or, failing that, as the task is too large, a representative or even random sample could be put on the tree. Footnotes could refer to the ones that are not put on the tree?

    To take stock of where things are at, I have done a little bit of statistical wizardry (!) – not actually, it’s kitchen sink stuff. I have made a table of the likelihood of negative, contradictory or confusing results per surname, sticking to the surnames that we have concentrated on. That takes in the list that Eileen has worked on (as shown in her last post) plus the ones that I put up in my last post as the ones that I would focus on. I have highlighted those in bold on the Excel table, put in an adjacent column for Variability, so ignore the rest for now till we see where we are at. A score of 0 means no trace of the name in Ulster for starters; 1 means a waxwing; thereafter lower score means better chance of success and 4 means a needle in a haystack.

    We need to know meantime about the Ancestry filter. Is it a joke or does it actually work? If at the end of it all, we have a result that shows all or most of the surnames said by the Watsons to have been buried at the Cut are all showing up in Ancestry, or more likely that names whether allegedly from the Cut or not cannot usually be retrieved, it’s OK Corral time?

  80. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Daughters were low in the hierarchy in the family so they had little hesitation in immigrating and the family saved money for her passage. In Ireland in the 1830s there were little economic or social opportunities for woman and immigration was considered in Ireland to be a ‘Journey With Optimism’. They could achieve status in America that they couldn’t at home. In Ireland there was a ‘female exodus’ to America in the mid-nineteenth century. The Irish immigrants during this time comprised 50% woman. Single Irish women were called “unprovided-for girls’ because marriage opportunities for women were on the decline in Ireland.

    In America in the first half of the nineteenth century women were domestics, nurses, teachers and nuns even though the Catholic Church preached that women should be in the home and bear children. Many woman put off having children although many couples had as many children as possible despite the economic pressures. Irish men were discriminated against in the workplace and they often abandoned their spouses and children. This led to domestic violence and alcohol abuse in the home. Woman handled the finances in the family and they often bore the brunt of the family’s responsibilities for child rearing and financial obligations. The Irish were the poorest of the immigrant groups in America in the nineteenth century. Often these families lived in the slums and tenements in the cities like NYC, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

    On another subject: Irish in the South:

    ‘Native tolerance was also very important factor in Irish integration into Southern society… Upper class southerners did not object to the Irish because Irish immigration never threatened to overwhelm their cities or states… The Irish were willing to take on potentially high-mortality occupations, thus sparing valuable slave property. Some employers objected not only to the cost of Irish labor but also to the rowdiness of their foreign-born employees. Nevertheless, they recognized the importance of the Irish worker to the production of slavery… the Catholicism practiced by the Irish immigrants was of little concern to the southern natives’.

  81. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I was also thinking Philadelphia was a gateway to move elsewhere. It didn’t take long for people to spread westward. I read that many people just squatted on the land, not bothering to get a deed, rent or try to own the land. They just settled there, making their own mark. That’s why I thought these people were planters choosing their own destiny. In the US. The Campbells and Shaws wanted to own land, participate in their faith, government and the judicial system and to pursue an education. It seemed on the ship Ontario there were many names on the manifest that were also in the article you put up the other day. In the article it also showed that some people first settled in one area, then moved to a new area on the frontier, risking their lives perhaps for better land.

  82. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I have finished the front sheet of the Excel spreadsheet which may serve as a ready reference rather than to have to keep trawling every time something needs checked. The following sheets are for additional information that comes to light and I will start hitting Ancestry again over the next few days.

    At a glance, some things jump out, one being that few of the John Stamp labourers had travellers of the same name in that ship or the other three ships that travelled to Philly that Summer. The four exceptions I have found so far are Craig, Elliott, Hunter and McKinney. Any relatives amongst the similar-named travellers were in a prime position to look out for or to enquire after their labourer relatives if they had disappeared.

  83. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    So far I haven’t see anyone under their occupation listed as a domestic. I think this word was used later in 1880s. Many of the women listed their occupation only as spinster. Either they were working in the mills, in private homes or did not have a job lined up before they left Ireland. Only a few were traveling with children that were not their own. Most traveled alone. They may have been recruited to work in the two thousand mills in Philadelphia.

  84. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Aha moment- the Watsons do not have a list of the crew from any source, rr or otherwise. If they did, all of the names would be listed on the plaque and they would have had no need for genealogical research. The only unknowns would be the number of buried bodies.

  85. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/03 at 9:09 am | In reply to Don MacFarlane.

    Could we confine any more detailed work to a restricted sample of waxwings and see how they measure up. This does not exclude any random but useful information that has been or will be thrown up from the kiteflying exercise? Likewise, any folks that capture the imagination, such as the Aiken family can be in the mix. Note that asterisks refer to members of family units travelling, therefore they can be cross-indexed. I have prepared a very rudimentary spreadsheet called TempDuffy which can be accessed from the top of this page just under the United Irishment picture. There are three sheets to accommodate all the items and I have left Sheet Three mostly unheaded for your input of things I may have left out.

    Putative Duffy’s Cut Crew
    John Ruddy (1814)- 1 entry
    David Patchill – 0 entry
    Robert Skelton (1812) – 1 entry
    George Quigley (1810) – 1 entry
    James Cully – 0 entries, one for 1834.

    Reserve List: John Long, Samuel McKinney, William Mahon, John Hunter, William Hastings, James Cully, Brian McGourley, William Elliott, John McGlone, Robert Ewing, John Craig, Patrick McAneaney, Robert McConnell, William Diven*

    John Stamp Weavers
    John Doak (1813)- 3 entries, one for 1834, one for 1835 (later arrivals).
    Barney (Bernard) Rice – 0 entry
    Adam Diamond – 1 entry
    John Ewing (1816) – 3 entries, two for later arrivals (1834 and 1837).

    Reserve List: John Potter, James Fullerton, Robert Livingstone, James Risk*.

    John Stamp Females
    Eliza McGhee – 0 entries until put in John Stamp. An ‘Oh,oh’ momentfor Ancestry, obviously.
    Amelia Doak – 1 entry
    Nancy McGonigle – 1 entry
    Rosannah McQuillen* – 0 entry.
    Letitia Risk – 0 entry
    Biddy (Bridget) McIlheaney – 1 entry
    Catherine Allison – 1 entry

    Reserve List: Fanny Mahon, Mary Crawford*, Sally Loman, Molly Scallin, ElHizabeth Wilkinson, Letitia Risk, Peggy McKendrick, Eleanor McGettigan, Jane Kernaghan, Elizabeth McPhilemy, Eliza Patrick, Hannah Maguire*, Rachel Barr*

    Males from other Ships
    Robert Arthur (1811)- 2 entries on Ancestry.
    Edward Blackwell (A)- 1 entry.
    John Culbertson (A)- 1 entry, but John given as Jno.
    Edward Edgar (1808) – 1 entry
    Andrew Fergie (1812) – 1 entry but misnamed as Andrew Fargg.
    Arthur McQuade (A) – 1 entry, but Arthur given as A?th?
    James Snodgrass (A)- 1 entry for 1836
    William Speer (1802)- 1 entry
    Thomas Southwell (1811) – 1 entry
    Leitch brothers (P) – 5 entries
    Anthony McDonagh (1810) – 1 entry
    David Peoples (1807) – 1 entry
    Stewart Davis (1810) – 1 entry
    John Gilfillan (1807)- 1 entry but given as Gilfillen.

    Reserve List: Johnston Stevenson, Thomas Owens, John Woods, James Lecky, Samuel Hay, Andrew Deery, Robert Kernaghan, Charles Bredin, William McPhilemy*, Francis Davis, Samuel Kyle, Andrew Leitch*

  86. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Submitted on 2012/11/03 at 8:04 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    Obviously, you are working on a different plane in Ancestry compared to me. I am just plodding along with the very much more restricted remit of names I suggested we concentrate on (thirty in number, or at most seventy, not seven hundred – due to their greater distinctiveness. That is not to say they should be set in stone but, as you say, a name could be set aside but recorded as such if it is spent, and other names that meet the criteria could be added – such as McClay and Donaghey which are sufficiently distinctive.

    To put it bluntly, we shouldn’t be looking at any of the following names due to their prolixity or over-abundance: Doherty, Bell, Campbell, Johnston, Smith, O’Neill, Anderson, Kelly, Reilly, Brown, Thompson, Gallagher, Knox, Watson, Baird, Bradley, Moore. Having said that, a ditinctive first name or a family cluster could render any of these names useful despite how common the surname happens to be. In brief, I would view it as a matter of quota sampling. If we stick to the number of thirty that we have and see how much detail can be got for that name. Once it is spent, archive it and replace it with some other name off a reserve list which seems to have more potential, perhaps as the result of some new information that has randomly come to light.

    When push comes to shove, the primary aim is still to find the men of Duffy’s Cut, or to prove within reason that the Watsons are correct in their major assumption that they are Disappeared. A secondary aim is to illustrate just how difficult it is to trace ancestors from the early 1800s, even with the aid of and even with such a specific lead, which is not available to most family researchers, of the name of a ship and the precise date of arrival in the US. Compare that with trying to trace in Ireland where most of the records have been burnt.

    As far as where to place the discussion, I prefer that to be on the website rather than by email. If there is something sensitive in a communication that can be by email first of course. Otherwise, we don’t really know what could be of interest to a general readership and I will feed back to you if there is a following for FTT rather than the other pages. Also, anything that is on-line (but not so with an email of course) can be picked up on by Google as a keyword. For example, only yesterday, Google directed to this site a searcher who used the keywords ‘Allison and Eakin’. Alternatively, we can use the Duffy’s Cut page on or open up a separate page on this website and transfer the material there.

    I will get an Excel spreadsheet organised to organise the data if it gets to be voluminous.

  87. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    FFT: Once all of the profiles are in, create Timelines for each name or clue. I wasn’t sure where to put our clues. Do we want them on each person’s profile page or just when we are most certain – for example, John Ruddy. Do we want to put up alternative death or birth dates or put our facts under a miscellaneous category or a custom category. That way we can research the facts at a later time?


    Ethnic Background, country of birth.
    Alternate place of birth or spelling of names
    Time lines
    Birth, marriage, death, children
    Local Histories
    Census Data
    Military Records
    Black sheep
    Brick walls
    Questions we have
    Emails and personal contacts with families
    Genealogy Fiction: Myths from the book
    Genealogy Facts: from the book

  88. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I think the control should still be the Watson’s list or the John Stamp passengers, then we continue to methodically eliminate or keep names on the list. As long as one name is found elsewhere it cannot be discounted from any source, for example John Ruddy in Allegheny. The criteria used by the Watsons must be assumed to be faulty, or if the same criteria can be shown for any other passenger on any ship, it will also hold that the criteria is faulty.

    We are probably going to find many dopplegangers out there, as Eileen has already found, and there will most likely be something that will remove it from the list We are looking for the name that cannot be discounted. I suppose right now it is all about plodding through the masses.

    The difficulty with Ancestry is the transcription errors in spelling, thereafter the errors in what is indexed in the system. Even though it will pull up variations, some of the errors are so completely incorrect that they are not included in a variation. What I find strange is that I found John Ruddy in Familysearch and Ancestry is its parent site. Eileen should have been able to find it the first time she ran the name through. Does this mean that the Ancestry indexes are not consistent throughout each site? The name John Ruddy should be showing up in multiple areas of Ancestry and it is not.

  89. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Ruddy was a very common name on the Western seaboard of Ireland, mostly around Mayo but probably with a bit of drift, in this case northwards to Donegal. So it doesn’t surprise me that there could have been more than one John Ruddy leaving Ireland.

    What I was getting at, at least as far as I understand the way Ancestry works which has its multiple sources as you say, is if I punch in John Ruddy and I have also punched in Passenger Lists, it will throw up all the John Ruddys it can find in its system, not only for the years I have chosen. If I have not specified Passenger Lists, it will throw up results for all sources, not just Immigration.

    Hence, a negative result implies just that, and that is what I meant by fault-line. Ancestry may not be as 100% reliable as one might be inclined to think. Or it may be 100% reliable and absence from its databank may mean disappearance. The Watsons may have jumped to some big conclusions by being so certain about these ‘deaths’, on the basis of the above asumption, or on the basis of some other archival evidence which they have not disclosed and which is not in Ancestry. Either way, the Watsons may have already discovered all the other John Ruddys and discounted them all for the same reasons that you have done?

    This goes back to the ‘absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence’ point I was making, otherwise known in statistical circles as Type 1 Error. The example we have here is the other type, a Type 2 Error, which is the opposite, ‘presence of evidence does not mean evidence of presence’. And this is where the confounding element had to be considered, which you have done, by showing a characteristic in the doppleganger that the original John Ruddy did not have – a child born in Ireland. A neat illustration and warning that there will likely be other cases that will pose a similar problem.

    Having gone ‘all round the houses’ with this explanation, I am more confused in my own head than ever. Why are all John Ruddys, including the one with the child in Ireland, not showing in the Passenger Lists? Except that maybe they are? Perhaps the other John Ruddys you found do not satisfy the search criteria of a) being born in 1814 and b) arriving in the US in 1832? Also, if you punch in the doppleganger, will he come up as having arrived on the John Stamp?

    BTW, I find it quite unnecessary and irritating about Ancestry, even though I know it is trying to be helpful, that even when you specify criteria it ignores them and throws up all the names, even those that clearly do not match. By the way, having sorted out Rossgeir in the other case, I tried to make sense of Ballyhall which is known to be a place in Kilkenny and Tipperary, too far away for this boat I would think. There is an elusive Ballyhall in County Down which I have not been able to locate but I am aware from another source of a family called Strain, nothing to do with this study, from a Ballyhall in County Down which must be a pinpoint on the map. I thought I knew County Down inside out and I have never heard of it.

  90. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I think there is a bit of divergence, not to mention conflict, of interest with regards to what direction the research could take and what findings the research could throw up. The search could a) be very specific and have a narrow, controlled focus, just as that which I originally conceived – labourers versus weavers, so as to prove or disprove the Watson murder hypothesis. Or b) it could trawl a bit wider, just as you have been doing, with the excitement and wonder that comes when each fresh discovery – of which there have been a number already as you know – takes one in a different direction.

    The implications are different, depending which route one takes. I would say, on balance, consider the research to be in an exploratory phase and don’t tie your hands just yet. An eighteen-month time-frame seems about right, so there is time enough. That’s assuming you are content to devote the FTT during that time to this exercise alone.

  91. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Ships to Philadelphia 1832

    Not only in 1832, but for most of the first half of the century, it looks like ninety or more per cent of the ships for PA from Northern Ireland, maybe even Ireland, left from Derry. For most of our passengers that doesn’t matter if their places of origin appear in the manifests and are legible. If not, there may be no prima facie reason to expect that they came from the North West of Ulster. They could have come from Antrim or beyond.

    The other side of that coin is that, if Derry was the only port of departure for PA for Ulster and beyond, why are our emigrants overwhelmingly from three counties in the North West only?

  92. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    FFT: If the men were shot using muskets, it must have been a slow process to load the weapon 57-60 X! If 1 musket shoots only 1 musket ball at a time then one would have to reload again and again. Perhaps there were more than one shooter. Wouldn’t this give the men time to run? Unless the men had poor nutritional stores to begin with as you stated from enduring The Famine then sailing to America, then having the misfortune of contracting Cholera. They would of had to be in the Cold Stage of Cholera in order to not have run away. If the men were in a starvation state when they came to America how did they find the strength to work 12 hour days digging out the path for the rail road through the most extreme terrain of Duffy’s Cut.

  93. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    If the Donegal Flax growers were in line with England’s greed to build a linen industry in England and take it away from Ireland why did they purchase flax from Donegal? Was it because of the cheap labor? Why didn’t the Donegal growers see this? Did they sell their votes for Act of Union in hopes England would buy flax from them, thus keeping part of the linen trade in Ireland. From the article Ireland was getting fed up with England edging Ireland out of the linen industry, placing regulations on the weavers and forcing them to modernize.

    The John Stamp had more single laborers whereas the Prudence had more family groups with laborers and weavers and one gentleman.

  94. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I wanted to emphasize that the College of Physicians and the Board of Health in Philadelphia in 1832 did not have a true understanding of the disease. They didn’t believe that it was a contagion. They dismissed that Cholera could be in the water. Not knowing how or why people got the disease they inflicted their fear upon the general populace that immigrants, the poor, ill, and unmoral people brought w/ them Cholera and were likely to spread the disease. There was already a fear among Americans that immigrants were taking the best jobs now they also had to worry about disease that they brought with them. The rail road owners saw a loss of profit if the rail road was not completed and acted on misconceptions and concerns of the medical community and the fears of the general public that immigrants were most likely to contact and spread the disease. This may have been the catalyst of why the laborers died not of disease but from a more sinister demise.

  95. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Absolutely, the weavers were dirt poor, just like the labourers. I believe they called themselves weavers because they grew up in families that were given bounty looms in 1796. Linen-weaving was still a cottage industry and it supplemented the family income. They would go wherever the money took them. Irish weavers were very resistant to modernisation and they would have nothing to do with power looms, so they would likely have been out of their depth in the Lancashire mills. They were so anti-power looms (they took away jobs) that their resistance brought down the Murland factories in Castlewellan in County Down, at the expense of a thousand jobs.

  96. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    From Peter and James Murname

    “The peasant weaver in Ireland might be his own bleacher. He could weave two or three webs during the winter months and he and his family would bleach it themselves. The process took 6 months to complete – April to September – that part of the season when labor was most required on the farm. It required continuous attention and was primitive and disgusting. The cloth was given at least twelve boilings in a witch’s brew of cow’s urine, solutions of cow dung, buttermilk, potash, bran, salt and other ingredients depending on the weaver’s whim. Between each boiling, the contaminated bleaching solution was rinsed out in the nearest dam or stream. The cloth was then spread on grass to dry, after which it was again watered and dried. The boiling process was then repeated. At the end of all the boilings, the cloth was beetled by hammering on a flat stone with a wooden mallet or beetle. Only a minority of weavers bleached their own linen as the cloth was generally sold in the unbleached condition and it was left to the purchaser to arrange bleaching”.

  97. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837

    ‘There is an extensive mill for spinning linen-yarn, erected in 1829, and the first for fine yarns ever established in Ireland; it is worked by steam and water power, and lighted with gas made on the premises; another is in course of erection on a very large scale, to be propelled by a water wheel 50 feet in diameter and 10 feet on the face. In these several establishments more than 500 persons are constantly employed. The manufacture of linen is also extensively carried on by Mr. J. Murland and Mr. Steel, the former employing 450 and the latter 300 persons. There are also some large corn-mills, and mills for dressing flax. The market is on Monday, and is amply supplied with provisions and pedlery, and large quantities of brown linen and linen-yarn are brought for sale every market day. Fairs are held on the first of February, May, June, and September, the 13th of November, and the Tuesday before Christmas’

    This excerpt seems to suggest that Denis O’Hearn’s thesis is little better than a political diatribe and that the Northern Irish economy and condition of country folk was in fact in pretty good shape.

  98. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    According to Denis O’Hearn who wrote the chapter ‘Ireland in the Atlantic Economy’, “By 1838, there were forty spinning mills in Ireland but even as factory spinning became routine mechanisation of linen weaving lagged behind. Power looms were used in Scotland as early as 1810 but were barely known in Ireland until after 1850″.

    The gist of his chapter goes on to say that weavers were little better than labourers as their wages were so poor and chronic poverty was the norm amongst them, whether in the country or in the town. Likewise, flax was bought dirt cheap. Most ordinary Irish people were basically used as slave labour – mainly because the population explosion meant workers could be paid peanuts. England would not allow fair trade out of Ireland either, so as to feed their Industrial Revolution so lauded in the recent Olympics Opening Ceremony – have they learnt nothing! England had a virtually total monopoly over Irish goods and Ireland had become an economic colony rather than a ‘virtual’ colony. Even after the Act of Union nothing had changed nothing for the better and, in other words, the Irish had been hoodwinked.

    It looks like by 1832, thirty years after the Union, realisation was beginning to sink in that nothing had changed for the better despite all the hard graft. Countryfolk, Protestant and Catholic, started to emigrate in droves, even before the calamity of the cholera epidemic and the even greater calamity of the Famines.

  99. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Having a quick scan at the Donegal Flaxgrowers List, it seems to be the same sorry story. Very few of the flaxgrowers ergo weavers came from the more western and backward parts of Donegal (about ten per cent). Therefore this notion that the Watsons purvey in their book of semi-illiterate, part-civilised, monoglot Irishmen appears to be simply not true. I think a much more accurate picture needs to be painted of who these young men were and what life and times was like before they left for America. Also, I have read that the cholera epidemic which claimed 50,000 lives in Ireland hit those shores in June 1832. The question arises whether these men left in a blind panic while the going was good. I think that unlikely as one would expect the better-off populace to be represented on these ships, plus much more in the way of family units. In short, the statistics of the two lists, Union Petition and Flaxgrowers, appear to hide a story that has perhaps not been told. Our young men just happen to be a microcosm of a much bigger picture.

  100. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Looking at this a bit deeper, I think I may have come to a rather sad realisation. Almost all of the signatories in Donegal to the Petition for the Act of Union with Britain were from the flaxgrowing, more Protestant, parts of Donegal. Clearly these Donegal men didn’t give a damn about the opinions of their Catholic, more impoverished, fellow Donegal men from the hinterlands. Either that or they sought their opinions and none of the Donegal men of native Irish stock could or would sign. The story thickens!

  101. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    The Civil Parishes of Donegal are formed into Parishes called Inishowen, Raphoe, Kilmacrennan, Tirhugh, Banagh and Boylagh. The surnames can be banded according to Barony, to overcome where they appear to be too dispersed to allow for easy identification. Also, those people from Boylagh were more likely to be monoglot Gaelic speakers, therefore their names are more likely to be got wrong and also their communities are likely to be more closed, even to this day. Everyone knew every one else, probably still do. Also, they were hit hard by the famine. A story in their local paper, if there were any emigrants from there, could produce results.

    As well as possibly being monoglot Gaelic speakers or basic and poor speakers of English, they would have found the Derry and Tyrone people to be very different and strange. Also, invariably they would have been Catholic and would have encountered the greatest degree of prejudice in the US for what they were – poor, dirty, often shoeless, non-English-speaking Catholic Irishmen.

    Any emigrants from those parishes (where John Ruddy came from) would be worth prioritising – Tullaghobegley, Templecrone, Innishkeel, Lettermacaward. Likewise, other parishes along the west coast could be included – Clonca, Clonmany, Clondavaddog, Mevagh,Clondahorky,Raymunterdoney, Glencolumbkille.

    On the other hand, Donegal men from the Laggan in the Raphoe and East Kilmacrenan Baronies, the more fertile areas closest to Letterkenny, would be English-speaking, often Protestant, better educated and weavers rather than labourers. Those parishes would be – Convoy, Conwal, Aghanunshin, Aughnish, Leck, Clonleigh, Taughboyne, All Saints, Moville, Fahan, Stranorlar.

  102. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Reply from Frank Watson

    My brother forwarded your latest email to me.  This is certainly a creative way to approach the search for these men and it compliments what we have been doing here.  We are still hoping for the DNA match on the first man whom we believe may be John Ruddy, the 18 year old with the rare genetic dental anomaly, and we have put out feelers in Donegal and elsewhere for any information on Ruddy family members who may still have this anomaly.  The rarity of certain names can certainly help (pardon the pun).
    That was the difficulty with tracing Philip Duffy — I’ll be doing the piece on Duffy for our forthcoming book.  Duffy’s sons all died off with no offspring, and at least one of his daughters died a spinster, after taking care of her younger brothers! (those are the twin brothers Francis and Edward).  We had no one living to trace back to Duffy — but we are hoping a relative through the female line might pop up. 
    If you wouldn’t mind, could you CC me on any updates? I’d appreciate that as I am still working side-angles in the search on this end.  Thanks!  Wishing you continued best wishes in your research. 

  103. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I admit that I am guilty of ‘bashing’ the Watsons, but the sweeping generalizations and conclusions by the Watsons bothered my sense of historical accuracy. What appears to be historical guessing is now considered historical fact by many. Historians are not immune from questioning and doubt. Part of the scientific method, if I remember correctly, is to take apart what is presented and try to disprove its accuracy. If the same conclusion is reached, then so much the better. Don’s editing skill has done well to limit my appearance of bashing and he has been more than gracious in his approach toward the Watsons. If we are going to take on this task, I think that it must be all or nothing. The article is more than satisfactory. I do not see any disrespect shown to the Watsons and valid questions were raised concerning the findings. Hopefully, it will draw further interest from others.

  104. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I have re-read the ‘Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut’ book, just in case I missed something, but I cannot see anything about suspected murder in it. That theory must have come later. I agree particularly with your point about the generalisation (which I find to be extraordinary and unnecessary), that the Watsons appear to have made, that there was mass slaughter. Nonetheless, it appears to me that there may be a partial truth hidden in there somwhere, perhaps along the lines – one or several men may have been shot by the vigilantes as an example; the vigilantes maintained a cordon at a safe distance till the scare was over; the remaining mem (which would have been about 50%, perhaps non O-type) buried the dead and got out, never to be seen nor heard fom again. Who would have believed them anyway, no more than the story is totally believable today.

  105. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I think we need to be careful with disputing everything the Watsons and their team has uncovered. There was a lot of time spent in libraries looking into records, for historical and statistics on the cholera as well as some interesting personal diaries from inhabitants of Philadelphia. The lack of records does not prove anything but does raise suspicions. The Watson team found records that do exist but there are no remnants of these records in Philadelphia or neighboring towns in regards to the men at Duffy’s Cut.

    Also the bullet holes in the skulls also raises a few flags. I think our article shouldn’t bash the Watson team but look at where there may be possible transcription errors on immigration records. Also there are few records from 1830-1860 in Ireland. If there are records there’s little information on them. As time went on better record with more details about an ancestor were recorded. In 1830s medicine was at its infancy and the physicians were learning about disease and prevention just like we are today. I don’t think we need to discount everything in this book.

    The article should focus in a positive way that the names may not be correct, secondary to transcription errors, lack of information not found on immigration or personal histories and a suspicion that some records may have been destroyed by fire or by someone attempting to hide what happened in Duffy’s Cut. But what we have are health statistics on Cholera, how it may have travelled from place to place, prevention of the disease, how physicians based their knowledge of the disease at the time how to treat the disease. We also have personal histories of the thoughts and fears of the people at the time. Remember when HIV first started appearing around the world. People panicked and prejudice was rampant towards those afflicted with the disease just like in Duffy’s Cut. I think trying to find the true names of the men of this sad story is a noble deed but let’s not burn our bridges before we cross them.

  106. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    No the article didn’t say. I’m thinking that woman elderly and children are more likely to experience the effects of fluid loss from the body. Infants have a higher fluid ratio in their bodies and are high risk for dehydration when Cholera causes the intestines to release a large volume and frequent loss of fluids and the elderly have less protein and fat stores as well as many elder patients don’t eat a balanced diet so their overall health may be poor putting them further at risk to survive this infection. They also may taken in less fluids than a healthy adult and may have less fluids in their body before the Cholera. Elders are more prone to dehydration especially during illness. The cholera affects the bowel so that the intestines can’t hold onto the fluid. Dehydration is rapid and deadly in 60% of the cases. Often you can see pieces of the intestines in the milky white stool. The more you read about it- it’s a terrible disease that can be prevented. This still occurs in third world countries secondary to poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water. There were over 10,000 cases in Haiti in 2012 after the earthquake. The men at Duffy’s Cut were healthy. In the Watson’s book they stated that the amount of Cholera bacteria in the water was in the millions.

  107. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Following on and thinking this through.

    Are the names on the headstone correct?
    What methods are available to track down identities?
    How to circumvent the pitfalls encountered by the Watson team that led to possibly erroneous conclusions of foul play?
    Glaring alternative scenario – young man, appalled by what he has seen of conditions at Malvern, quits the team and moves elsewhere in PA; after a further period of time and having earned some money takes the boat back to Ireland; ergo, no death records in US/none either in Ireland as burnt in 1922 or earlier/ no ship manifests in Ireland of re-entry as no such records were kept; hence, not murdered, just returned.
    Appeal for more information from readers.
    Invitation for more volunteers to become involved to work up a better account.
    Contact details.

  108. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Submitted on 2012/10/20 at 3:23 am | In reply to celticknot226.

    A good start.

    To give an idea of scale, your piece is about 250 words which is about a quarter there for a thousand-word item. Using your paragraphs as Introduction, the piece might go on to discuss Aims and Objectives as follows:

    ‘ The ‘Ghosts Of Duffy’s Cut’ is an appellage attached to men who set sail from Derry on the barque John Stamp, and possibly the ships Ontario, Prudence and Asia, on a two-month voyage in 1832 for a vision of what life could be like in America. The arrival of these young Northern Irish laborers in Pennsylvania coincided with the peak of the second cholera pandemic that Summer. The Pennsylvania and Columbia Rail Road administration reported in a secret file kept for 170 years, bestowed to the Watson family then dusted down, that the entire squad of fifty seven died from the cholera at the stretch of railway along Mile 59 in Malvern, Chester PA, called Duffy’s Cut.

    The Duffy’s Cut Project is led by the Watson brothers and a forensic team, on the foot of their exhumation of the remains of four men and one woman, has given a more sinister scenario of what may have happened. They say that these young men were possibly murdered by the P&C Rail Road out of fear that the cholera outbreak would spread. This extreme but perhaps at least partially true explanation is yet to be confirmed but in the meantime we hope to accomplish what the rail road did not – to correctly identify those young men by name and restore their memories to their families back in Ireland. This task is formidable and is working backwards from the usual direction of genealogical research that seeks to find ancestors of living relatives. Here, the task is to find living relatives from the scanty or nonexistent records of the disappeared.

    To simplify the task and to score some early and initial success, the plan is to concentrate on waxwings rather than house sparrows, meaning to focus on the more distinctive names from 1832, irrespective of which boat the young Irish labourers came off. These rarer specimens, according to Griffiths, are William Devine, Robert Ewing, David Patchell (5), Samuel Forbes, James Devaney (4), Hugh Foster, John Doak (3) and Adam Diamond from the John Stamp; Robert Arthur, James Barton, Edward Blackwell (1), James Bryan, Joseph Cochrane, Edward Edgar, Andrew Fergie (3), John Fowler, Henry McFadden, Arthur McQuade, William Menagh, James Vance, James Snodgrass (5), Thomas Southwell, Peter Darmond and William Stringer from the Asia;David Peoples, Stewart Davis, William Cole (3),John Gilfilland (1)and Richard Weir from the Prudence; and James Sproule, Francis Hood, Tim McBrearty, James McHenry, Connell Harold (4),Daniel Nee (3),John McQuigg and John Aiken from the Ontario.

    It cannot be certain as yet that the number of men who were killed was actually fifty seven and this number seems to have been plucked from thin air. Neither can it be certain that the fifty seven men said to have been killed at Duffy’s Cut came solely off of the John Stamp. They could hace come off the Ontario, the Asia or the Prudence instead. All carried a large number of young, strong-abled men from Tyrone, Donegal and Derry. Why then are names from Duffy’s Cut engraved with such certainty on a memorial tombstone in West Chester?

    An undetermined number of bodies remain untouched under the railroad lines and until those are exhumed there cannot be a definitive number or a definitive cause of death. The nine bodies that have been examined are said to show blunt-force trauma to the head and show large gaping holes. There were musket balls found in the graves, but no matching holes found in the skulls so cause of death can be no more than speculative. inferred,

    If that small sample draws a blank, the likelihood increases that the Watsons’ theory of confirmed foul play has holes. In other words, if a parallel sample of young men known not to have been at Duffy’ Cut cannot be traced from existing records, then there is no reason to suppose that absence of Duffy’s Cut men from the records means that they were murdered. The ‘evidence of absence’ protocol used by the Watsons did not help in the identification of John Ruddy. Identification was done instead through discovery of a dental anomaly. The protocol used by the Watsons will, if independently and rigidly adhered to, locate two possible John Ruddys in the 1850 census. Both lived in Pennsylvania and both fitted available information on the John Ruddy who disembarked from the John Stamp in June of 1832. Neither was found buried under scree in Duffy’s Cut.

    The reason for this challenge to the Watsons’ hypothesis, done in good faith and in the spirit of rigorous academic inquiry with all due deference to them for bringing the story into the public arena, is to eliminate the inference that absence of evidence means evidence of absence. This is not to say that the Watson hypothesis cannot yet become a theory, one based upon a more solid platform of evidence.

    The numbers in brackets after certain names refer to the numbers of families with that surname recorded in Ulster in the 1901 and 1911 Irish Censuses.

  109. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Of the ten mills operating on the canal in 1828, five large cotton mills would employ half of Manayunk’s 875 residents. They included Richards, Rush and Company, with 3,000 spindles and 60 powerlooms; Mr. Rising with 2,000 spindles; Mr. Morris with more than 3,000 spindles, Mr. McDowell with 2,000 spindles and; Borie, Laguerenne and Kempton with 4,000 spindles, employing 200 hands and producing twenty yards of cotton per week. When Mr. Borie boasted in 1832 that he had the largest cotton factory in Pennsylvania, Joseph Ripka, having acquired Captain Tower’s and Mr. Brooke’s millseats, had equal if not more to claim. With 7,176 spindles, 224 powerlooms, and 300 hands, his Silesia Manufactory, consisting of four mill buildings, was one of the largest textile enterprises in America. The mill town of Manayunk had emerged from what had been a pastoral meadowland only a few years earlier.

    “A flourishing and populous village has risen up suddenly and where we but lately paused to survey the simple beauties of the landscape… the eye is arrested by the less romantic operations of a manufacturing community, and the ear filled with the noise of ten thousand spindles.”

    The growing textile production in this new mill town along the Schuylkill attracted families of immigrants from the English, Irish, and German textile regions. Already familiar with mechanized textile mills and the accompanying working conditions, this workforce could literally step from the boat to the mill. The Manayunk textile mill owners actively sought the pool of immigrant labor because it offered another commodity they especially desired, that of the unskilled hands found in the women and children. As a bonus to the owners, older boys and men experienced with the mechanics of the spinners, carders, and mules, were available for the choosing. Families crossed the Atlantic specifically for work in Manayunk and its members, often as young as age seven, entered the mill. The new mill town also drew a population of experienced workers from various American textile mills.

  110. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Glad you are feeling better, but talk about not keeping a good man down. Must be the fastest recovery ever. Don’t be surprised when the wife takes your ipad away.

    I agree that we are dealing with much darker themes. Should this be a separate book? with ties to the original. These new stories that we are doing do not seem to fit in with any of the original chapters. That would give us a little more time to research or maybe even find a few more stories that fit this darker theme.

    Eileen has some brilliant observations on some of the ‘facts’ that we have. With no gums present how did they know there was gum disease? Tents are a likely probability, a bunkhouse type building wouldn’t be feasible for the railroad, as the men would need to be mobile for each stretch of railroad being laid. Have we decided whether or not we need to look into the married men who could have also been working on the ‘Cut.’

    I have also been wondering why Philadelphia was the chosen port for these particular immigrants in the summer of 1832. New York was the more preferred port.

  111. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Submitted on 2012/10/14 at 3:25 pm
    FFT: If the men lived in the shack in Malvern in the woods- how did all 57 men live in a one-room building? They had to have either lived in a rooming house somewhere. Did they all work on the same day and sleep under tents? Also I read that John Ruddy had gum disease but no cavities because he was poor, couldn’t afford sugar and only ate potatoes! How pray tell did they find this out when after 170 years there are only bones? From a most basic science class you learn that starch converts to sugar in the mouth. So if a potato is a starch then this basic sugar was most likely present in his mouth. The dentist said he probably didn’t brush his teeth daily secondary to the gum disease. I can also see that maybe gums would be present if the bodies were preserved in a bog or constantly cold area. In PA there is extreme heat and cold as well as the four seasons and all types of weather. I just don’t see it. As Mary said maybe I watched too many CSI shows! In the Survey Ordinace for County Londonderry food was not of the best quality in 1830s but grains and lower-quality meat was available. Also who says John Ruddy was so poor? Do we have any proof of his family. Was he better or worse off than others from Donegal. If Donegal was where they had the Clearances was he part of this? In the National Museum in Ireland they showed how people made their living. There were means to make a living as a laborer from building homes, crafts, clearing land. What if we looked at John Ruddy and what his life might have been like in Donegal as part of

  112. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Submitted on 2012/10/13 at 1:47 am
    Bibliography: suggestions from Watson’s Book: American Republican Newspaper, American Rail Road Journal, Philadelphia Gazette, Daily Advertiser, Gazetter State Of PA. Facts from The Ghosts Of Duffy’s Cut:

    In the Fall 1827 The survey team on the Duffy’s Cut project were hit with a fever of unknown origin that put them out of work for weeks.

    Sept 16, 1828 The citizens of PA were happy that the RR was going through PA and were very pleased w/ the P&C RR.

    1832 The death of 57 in Duffy’s Cut in Aug 1832 delayed completion of the rail road. The Malvern section was completed in Sept 1832.

    1833 Bad weather, problems w/ contractor and labor shortages hindered the mile 59 project.

    The locomotives were fueled by wood and water and pulled by a fresh team of horses every 12 miles along the route.

    By the time the railroad completed a line from the Atlantic ocean to Ohio it cost 12 million dollars.

    The cost of a ticket from Philadelphia to NY cost $4.50. The cost of a steamship fare was $2.50 for the same distance.

    The cost to build the rail road was one third the cost of building a canal. The military readily used the rail road lines during war time.

  113. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I found the first 88 pages on Google books as Don said. In the first chapter it says that the main goal of the Philadelphia and Columbia railroad was to establish a rail line from Philadelphia to NY. This led me thinking why didn’t Duffy recruit the Irish from NYC? Certainly it would have been cheaper? Or once an immigrant was established in the US did they demand higher wages? Did the NY Irish have more of an education that would make them wise to a scheme like Duffy’s? Were the Irish from Derry more destitute and would they take any wages and servitude to get here more appealing, thus costing Duffy less money. Perhaps the men were used as ballast on the ship (like the Irish on the Coffin Ships) so the money to pay for their passage was minimal?

  114. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I guess we need to prove the men didn’t have children or a wife. Often the husband came first to earn money for the rest of the family to come. The ship manifests don’t give much information and the Derry census which would have shown head of household doesn’t give any clues to their family life. The US census would have told a better story as to their personal information. Death records or obits also but we’re not finding them. I was wondering about Mr Boyle who is the relative of Mr Ruddy. Does he know anything about the men and if families are still present in Ireland. I was thinking that Duffy wanted men with no ties to home because the work was dangerous and that way he didn’t draw attention when someone was injured or died. “For every mile of track an Irishman is buried” according to the Watsons. So we still have work to be done. I think we should put up issues we are working on somewhere (perhaps in one place) so we can try to find answers.

    I noticed in the Gettysburg newspaper The Sentinel there were frequent articles about Ireland (May-Aug 1832) that seemed demeaning to me. It seemed like the political humor we learned about when we looked at England’s smear campaign against the Irish. So did the feelings Americans have toward the Irish and immigrants fuel their need for cheap, expendable labor. In some of the articles it also spoke about slavery in US and selling slaves. There was also an article in the Belfast Newsletter that spoke about Colonial slavery and it’s implications, punishment for slaves first stating not to use corporal punishment then stating how many times a whip could be used. Slavery was still be used in the south for at least 20 years after Duffy’s Cut and Indentured servitude was also in fashion.

  115. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Oy Vey! It looks like you have a full time job again! I’m going to get the book. I can’t let you have all the fun! I’m curious in the book did they show the “secret rail road file” they talk about in the videos? I think its strange that so many of these names don’t seem to fit the last names in the 1831 Derry census. I didn’t expect to find the men of the John Stamp in the census but I expected to see the last name to see if perhaps their families lived in County Derry.

  116. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Submitted on 2012/10/12 at 7:54 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.
    The frustrating thing is not finding petitions for naturalization for even one of these emigrants. The Watsons have not offered up any details as to how their team of genealogists came up with confirmation of the 57 dead. One must assume that this conclusion was based upon absence of evidence of their continued existence in US after 1832. What is this based on?

    I have almost completed a very basic database on all young male passengers on the ships John Stamp, Asia, Prudence and Ontario – the only ships that left from Ireland to Philadelphia in Summer 1832 as far as we know. The hope is that one can find a clear contrast with the names that supposedly ended up in Duffy’s Cut with those that did not. One lot should show up as continuing to live in the US, the other lot shouldn’t. Without that control group, I think any ‘evidence of absence’ should be considered weak, especially as any evidence (very sparse so far) is confusing and ‘hit and miss’.

    To improve the strength of any evidence that comes to light it should meet the usual criteria for sensitivity and specificity, meaning that the evidence is there to be found (sensitivity) and is specific to that individual, meaning it could not relate to someone else other than the person of interest. Hence, the best strategy would be to focus on names that are distinctive and that are not ‘ten-a-penny’. This means ruling out such names as – Doherty, Bradley, Smith, Johnston, Campbell, Gallagher, McLaughlin, Scott, Walsh, Wilson, Kelly, Thompson, Moore. Beyond that, it would be hard to rule out anyone as it is not all clear who, other than John Ruddy, went to work for Duffy.

    The other consideration is to exclude, at least provisionally, anyone who does not fit the very limited profile that one has already. For example, Skelton could be a misprint for Shelton but either way the name is of no use as there were no Skeltons in Donegal (only in Tyrone) and there were no Sheltons in Ulster. I have a bit of work to do yet to narrow down a list to one that minimises false trails. There has been enough of that already and a really good thing that could come out of a chapter is to demonstrate the difference between a trustworthy trail and a false one when tracing ancestors. The unique thing about this project is the comparison between subjects who left no descendants (because they were killed) and those who possibly did leave descendants. Either way, both lots could very well have families, even if not descendants, living today.

    The other interesting thing is to discover the big holes in US records. We are all fully aware of the problem of Irish censuses from the various acts of senseless destruction of records, with the last of these being the fire of 1922, but to find a comparable problem with US records comes as something of a surprise.

  117. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Submitted on 2012/10/12 at 5:52 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.
    I found microfilm copies of the passenger lists on They are a little clearer than those on Ancestry, with the only deciphering problem being the handwriting. It is located in Philadelphia passenger lists, Jan-Dec 1832. The Asia begins with image 315, the John Stamp begins with 332 and the Prudence begins with 396. Went through the John Stamp, and there appears to be a lot of errors. Example- as to our list with (32) William Husting; it definitely appears to be Hasting or Hastings. As to those attributed to being part of the ‘Cut’- It does look like (119)Skelton, but if you look further down to 128 that name appears to be Robert Shelton. I have the list from the ISTG and I do not have a Bernard McGarrity on mine, on my copy it is Runand McIlheaney, but looking at the actual list it is Bernard McIlheaney.

    BTW Philip Duffy is buried in Saint Anne’s Catholic Parish Cemetery in Philadelphia, but it seems his whereabouts in the cemetery is unknown. Ironic that the workers are unknown in a known grave and that Duffy is known, but his grave is lost.

  118. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Mystery of Mysteries

    How can the Watsons speculate with such certainty (a contradiction in terms) that there are 57 bodies buried in Duffy’s Cut when archival methods to trace them are so incomplete? All of the Irish censuses from 1821 to 1901 were destroyed, bar a few. The most intact census was County Derry which was for heads of household only, which most of these boys were not, and they did not come from there anyhow. Likewise, the US records are not much better as Petitions for Naturalization did not seem to be obligatory or necessary for a continued stay? Those that did apply underwent umpteen court appearances – hardly conducive to applications for citizenship. In fact it is all very reminiscent of driving license requirements in Ireland up till recently. You could wear a Learner’s plate for life without the need to undergo a driving test.

  119. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/11 at 4:26 pm | In reply to Don MacFarlane.

    Duffy may simply have known when ships were coming into port from Ireland, but there could be the possibility that recruiting was done in NI during the winter months. The recruiters in NI would then send word to Duffy when a ship would be coming with laborers. I do not know how slow overseas correspondence was, a couple of months, which would be enough time for Duffy to plan for more workers. The line had been in production for awhile before the section in Malvern.

    Looking at all of the ships coming into port during the summer of 1832, was Duffy only targeting the Irish ships? There seems to be plenty of workers coming from Liverpool and other foreign countries who would also be looking for work.

    I am glad to see that the Transcribers Guild is interested in making sure things are correct. Patty MacFarlane…hmmm.

  120. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/11 at 8:24 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    Correspondence with Senior Officers of Transcribers Guild

    Hi Patty

    Thanks for the excellent work that the transcribers are doing which I find to be invaluable. I can appreciate the difficulty of deciphering what often appears to be illegible.  Thank Harry on my behalf for taking the interest to pursue this particular query just that bit further.

    I am carrying out some amateur but nonetheless rigorous research, assisted by two volunteers from the US, and largely looking at the passenger lists to Philadelphia in the Summer of 1832 from Londonderry viz barques – John Stamp, Asia, Prudence and Ontario. The episode culminated, according to the Watsons with a lot of publicity, in the mass murder of 57 young Irish lads in Malvern PA. Like Harry, I mean to be very tenacious and get to the bottom of it. To do that, I need to have the surnames of these lads completely accurate. Names that I suspect are wrong are the following:

    John Stamp – John McClanon, John McGlone, Bernard McGarrity, William Putetill, Robert Skelton, Patrick McAnamy, Samuel McKinney. The names I am most dubious about are Putetill, McGarrity and Skelton. All the rest of the names that have been decribed seem fine.

    Asia – Peter Diarmid, James Hestine, James McAnurecht, George Rich, Hugh Taughing. The rest of the names are fine but a number of the placenames look very dubious and  that is to be expected and acknowledged by yourselves with asterisks etc.

    Prudence – no problems

    Ontario – Daniel Nee, Peter Neilson, John Pooglen, J McGaghery, J Grelis.

    There are a number of minor errors scattered throughout but nothing worth mentioning. Conventions for naming may have changed and the emigrants may have spelt their names differently to how they are spelt today.  More to the point (a pun) I have a theory that if quills were being used in the original entries (seems likely as no biros or fountain pens then) the upstrokes would have been fainter than downstrokes so names would be harder to make out when copied.

    Thanks again for your interest

    Don MacFarlane (MD., PhD)

    PS Excuse the vanity of the titles in brackets, not normally my custom and that is
    to indicate I am not just a dilettante; newly retired with time on my hands, yes.

    On Thu, 11 Oct 2012 01:57:55 -0400 (EDT) wrote:

    Hi Pam and Don,
    I am checking the scan of the John Stamp and find several errors that I will begin to correct, adding the appropriate transcribers notes.  An updated surname list will be sent.

    Don, while all volunteers are instructed to transcribe what was written, or in some cases how they see what was written, there is always the issue of what was written by the scribe and how accurate it was or was not.  Often, a scribe wrote down what he heard and given that, Barbour may, indeed, be Barbar or Barber, and there are others where this may be the case and those occasions need to be noted.

    When I have completed a complete review, I will let you know.  While the reviewed list may not completely agree with the Watson’s list, I believe most of the names from their list will be included and those that are not will be noted.

    Patty Prather MacFarlane
    Founder, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild

    From: pkoverman
    To: Ships07
    Sent: Mon, Oct 8, 2012 3:32 am
    Subject: Fwd: ISTG-STAFF Digest, Vol 7, Issue 117


    In my opinion only, I think this issue could bear a second set of eyes and more communication with Mr MacFarlane.  To me there’s a potential question of typing accuracy, visually reading the names on the manifest accurately and/or offering alternative spellings.  I get the feeling that once it was discovered that the year had been misquoted and Harry got a compliment on the accuracy of his transcription(s), the conversation stopped. It seems that the typing alternatives should at least be addressed in notes to the transcription and in the surnames files.

    Thanks for listening!


    From: Donald Macfarlane
    To: Harry Green. Sent: Friday, October 5, 2012 8:38 AM
    Subject: Morning

    This is just a quick query to check whether the Passenger List you have posted for the John Stamp 1837 to Philadelphia from Derry is entirely accurate. The Watsons, who research the Duffy’s Cut episode, seem to disagree?

    Some examples they have quoted are:

    Brian McGourley (no one whatsoever with this name on the John Stamp list)

    Samuel McKenny (there is no McKenny on the John Stamp ship list and the assumption that the John Stamp spelling of McKiney is wrong is mistaken.

    William Barbour is incorrect and the name Barber which is on the ship list is a popular Irish surname?

    James Devenney is incorrect and is not a misspelling from Devaney which is in the ship list?

    Patrick McCanning (this surname spelling is from the transcription copy and is not on the original ship list).???

  121. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:36 am

    This list shows how few ships left for Philadelphia. How then was Duffy ‘in the know’ as he had no reason presumably to expect a sudden influx in Summer 1832 which just happened to coincide with Mile 59 of the railway. How convenient, or did he orchestrate it all?

    On the other hand, I may have just hit upon a skewed sample as another paper seems to show that Philadelphia was a favourite destination port from Derry

    Hard to square those two, the Irish Times says one thing, the Derry Port report says the opposite. Either way, Duffy as it turned out was lucky to get the numbers to pick from that he did.

  122. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

    i have been wondering about Philip Duffy… and maybe I have been watching too much ID television, too many secrets and plots going on, at least in my mind. Duffy died a wealthy man in 1871. Was it possible for an Irish contractor who worked on the railroad to make as much money as Duffy did? He was worth $40,000 in 1870; a lot of money for a poor immigrant from Ireland. Could the railroad have paid hush money or made sure that Duffy always won the contract for rail work as payment for his silence on what happened in Malvern and possibly other sites? FFT

    I have been looking for anything on the Pennsylvania Railroad, but have been unable to find anything in the PA archives, PA Railroad archives or PA railroad museums. If it was a cover up in Malvern, it was buried deep.

  123. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:34 am

    The ship Asia docked in Philadelphia five days before the John Stamp, no doubt met by Philip Duffy. Over 50% of passengers were young labourer males under or around the age of 30. This was even more than the percentage of young male labourer passengers on the John Stamp. The net search might therefore have to be broadened. It is clear that John Ruddy came off the John Stamp but not at all what greater number came off that ship to work for Duffy. Likewise the ship Prudence docked in Philadelphia a mere four weeks after the John Stamp. Altogether, about 150 young male labourers from Ireland came off those three ships in Philadelphia over the course of five weeks, that being the pool that Duffy coud draw from.

  124. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for the newspaper articles, Eileen. They were very informative as they effectively speak to the state of mind that the populations must have been in what with so many deaths from cholera. I was particularly interested in the article on no deaths in the Alms House. Does this allude to there being deaths in the cities?

    This next article I found was while looking into the weavers, here and in Ireland. It gives more insight into what was happening in Ireland in the early 1800s and why Seamus’s mother would send her eleven year old son with the others to America. Notice that there does seem to be a lot of letters back and forth between family members. Those in Ireland would surely be expecting to hear from their sons working on the Cut. It must have been unbearable waiting and waiting to hear from them.

    Genealogically speaking, what we do now is start eliminating people from the list. I suppose that would entail searching for each person in the census. In America, I would be looking for people in the 1840 census. What I would be looking for is for matching ages. If naturalization records have ages listed, it would help to narrow down the field. In Ireland, it would mean not finding people in the later censuses. This would mean that they have either died or left for America. It is not scientific, but it starts to pare down the names. I did notice that Bill McAfee has the entire Co Derry 1831 Census on line. It might help to locate those with the less common names from Derry. On a cursory glance, the name Sherwood (John Stamp) only appears once in the 1831 census, in Templemore. And then see if those names are in later censuses.

  125. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:31 am

    The Germans were also weavers and the Irish may have followed them to the Lancaster, Ephrata , Germantown area. The Amish were also into textile skills. I sent to your emails June to Sept 1832 The Adams sentinel, Gettysburg, PA. Brief articles on the Cholera pandemic. I think by 20 years of age they could have been weavers. Boys left school by sixth grade to help earn money for the family and the average lifespan was about fortu years of age. Also the factories would be near canals that were a source of water power for the linen and textile mills. There are many mills along the east coast of PA and the north-eastern states.

    It wouldn’t hurt to look at each ship and put it through the same criteria: Where they lived in Ireland, which ship they were on, who did they travel with, occupation, see if we can find them in neighboring communities. My mom has a PA map. I can see if I can come up with a few town names, did they appear in subsequent censuses, did they return home, were they in receipt of medical care, church memberships, marriages, deaths. Just to name a few inquiries we could do. Then Don could put their names to the test back in Ireland. Perhaps we could each take a ship and passenger list? Mary and Don, do you have another focus to suggest?

  126. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/07 at 1:51 pm | In reply to Don MacFarlane.

    The same thought occurred to me until I realised (I think) that the benefits from the Flaxgrowers Lists only lasted until shortly before these weavers left on the John Stamp for the US. The practise of home-weaving was petering out with the advent of industrial looms in places such as Belfast, not even Lisburn so much any more, that could do the job much more efficiently. That left country folk in the lurch. I have checked the 1796 Lists for counties Derry, Tyrone and Donegal and most of the family names of the US-bound ‘weavers’ appear there. What puzzles me now are the cases of siblings within the same family where the younger sib is classed as a weaver and the older sib is classed as a labourer – the Ewings from Donegal being a case in point.

  127. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    My hypothesis will be that there is no difference between being a labourer and a weaver. That should show in the records if the Duffy’s Cut account is genuine. A good few of the boys, even within the same family, were described as weavers with older sibs being labourers. It may all add up to the same thing – Duffy would take one look at a puny 16 year old, weaver or not, and say “you’re no use to me” and sibs would have been separated. I suspect it was a case of a distraught Irish mum back home, losing her two sons (one 18 and the other 16) to the US with her parting words to wee puny Seamus being “remember, you’re a weaver, not a labourer yet like Paddy there, till you build a bit of muscle”.

  128. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/07 at 5:54 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    I don’t think there is any direct connection between the Patchells of Ballyshannon in Donegal (William and David’s clan) who appear to have been the poor and distant cousins and the Tamlaght Finlagan Patchells (the good Colonel’s lot) from Derry who were significant landowners in a different part of the country. However, with the rarity of the name, I do believe they were connected and French Huguenots. Why both lots split off from the bulk of the Huguenots who had a commune in Lisburn in County Antrim, and who were the backbone of the weaving industry, is a

  129. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/07 at 5:29 am | In reply to Mary Cornell.

    You could well be right, and the same thought has occurred to myself, that reasons and intentions for immigration might differ for unattached young men from those of family units travelling together. Family units might be expected to become US citizens – all young under 25 years of age became citizens automatically if a senior, presumably male, member had applied for naturalization. Likewise, young unattached males might not necessarily see the American venture as a one-way trip and more a case of ‘needs must when the Devil drives’. However, Australian convicts from Ireland, albeit they left under different circumstances, rarely took the return trip home once their sentence had expired – did the same apply for US immigrants during the same period of the early 1800s?

    In Scotland, the terms Farmer, Cottier and Agricultural Labourer were interchangeable, with Labourer being the poorest and at the bottom of the heap with no claim on even a handkerchief of land. I suspect it was the same in Ireland and the jobs they did were essentially the same so Mary is right there. The other point tnat might be worth looking at is to do with the collapse of the linen/cotton industry in Ireland due to the actions of the British Government which deliberately destroyed the Irish economy prior to the Famines. To facilitate the cotton mills in Lancashire, the tarriff barriers were removed and cheap raw products flooded in from the US so causing the collapse of a very successful Irish economy at the time and creating the ‘perfect storm’ conditions that forced emigration. Mind you, I don’t think some of these boys would have been rated much as weavers, not yet even being 20, unless they had started very young and even so. Squeeze the peasants by allowing them only the worst of scrubland to work and remove the chance of alternative employment by buying cheaper woven products from elsewhere – much like Eileen’s points made in a recent post about Asiatic imports to the US which is history repeating itself. The US is the new Ireland!

    PS If some of these boys stuck with weaving, where were the factories in PA, would that have been Philadelphia

  130. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/07 at 5:17 am

    Yes, I remember reading this article which I had already come across and thinking how little mention there is, only the merest passing reference, of the possibility of foul play. The article was written in 2009 and it is since then that the project has had lift-off, on the back of the murder story. It all reminds me, as I said before, of the definition of a statistician as ‘someone who can jump directly from a set of unwarranted assumptions to a premature conclusion’. That of course is a cheap shot as statisticians are trained to do the opposite. I think if the Duffy’s Cut chapter for the book took a much more professional approach it would be doing a great service, not only to these unfortunate young men, but to amateur family historians by pointing out pitfalls. This is why I think yourself and Mary would make a great team by bouncing ideas, and dismissing them as necessary, off each other. I hope to analyse the data from all three ships, Asia, Prudence and John Stamp – all might become clear later but how does one get to view th record, the information on sncestry is very scant. It just confirms an application was made, nothing else.

  131. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/07 at 3:00 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    I disagree with you on one point Eileen. I don’t think we can rule out the Asia based on the occupation being listed as Farmer. We can probably eliminate those listed as weavers but farming was the occupation that these men did in Ireland. If we think about it, farming in Northern Ireland could not have been much different to cutting land for the railroad in the US. Same type of back-breaking labor. How many farm jobs would have been available for them when they arrived? I am of the mind to think that they would have taken the immediately available job offered to them by Duffy on the dock, if only to make money until they found a job in the area of farming.

    I don’t know if this is logical, but if you are looking for naturalization patterns, I wouldn’t think in terms of percentages, but think in terms of family. I think that those who came over together as families or met husbands already in the country (Barr family comes to mind), would apply for citizenship. I also think that the ones who were able to find fairly suitable employment would also apply for citizenship fairly soon.

  132. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I read your letters to Dr Watson I think the discrepancies with the names and why you think they may be incorrect based on your research of family names could be an interesting point for the article on Duffy’s Cut. What about making a map or spreadsheet of the names and where they came from for the article? Maybe this article could be done from the Ireland perspective. What was happening in the country and the need to immigrate. Did men from certain areas have occupations that defined what families they came from. Often a trade was passed from father to sons. Were they masons, farmers, laborers or another trade? In my tree the father worked on the railroad and you could see the sons in various ranks of the profession as you looked at the Irish census.

    I’m not sure the men on the Asia made it to Duffy’s Cut. Most of them were weavers, farmers and other trade occupations. They were not listed as laborers. Also many families traveled together. Duffy wanted young, strong single men with no attachments and not much “baggage.” The men stayed in Duffy’s shack so they never stayed in Philadelphia, thus never making it on any census, immigration or naturalization paperwork. They probably never had a bank account. Men owed their lives to the company store. They would be charged high prices by the rail road store for supplies so they probably couldn’t save any money.

    Professor Watson said alcohol was highly available. It probably kept the men content to stay there under harsh conditions and low pay. They were stuck. The other two ships seem more likely. I tried to look up records in the PA.Gov website but couldn’t get onto it and I also tried through ancestry. I also looked for railroad histories but only found the one I quoted yesterday. I was wondering if there is a railroad museum in PA for the Pennsylvania or Columbia railroads. There are a lot of railroad enthusiasts who know everything about the railroads. I have a friend that builds model railroads with much enthusiasm so maybe that’s a source.

    I was also thinking if there were Board of Health records or a Sanitary Commission like they had in the American Civil War. What about the Sisters Of Charity who tried to care for the men. Are you sure of the Col Putetill connection? When I looked up the tree on ancestry the dates and names didn’t seem quite right. The dates seemed later than our William and David and I didn’t see these two names together as brothers.

  133. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Submitted on 2012/10/06 at 6:21 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    Thank you Eileen! for seeing what I have been attempting to put forth as a possibility. Something that the Watsons somehow can’t grasp. The positive identification of John Ruddy does point toward passengers of the John Stamp being on the crew at the Cut, but there could also be men from both the Asia and the Prudence at the Cut. Prudence seems to be a more likely choice, but jumping to that conclusion can also lead us down the wrong path; ie. The crew that worked on the Cut could have come from any or all of the three ships. This also begs the question, how do we know that there were only 57 on the crew? Is there also a possibility of more? These men simply left, alive and well.

    Nothing like putting the pressure on, Don If anything, we can set things right for these ‘expendable’

  134. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Some Possible Errors in John Stamp Transcriptions

    After the first page, the print got rather blurred and indecipherable in parts but from the first page alone it appears that’s attempts at transcription are sometimes wide off the mark.

    9 Robert Livingstone (not Leverington)
    10 William Patchill (not Patchell)
    11 Eliza McGeehan (not McGee)
    12 Samuel Bell
    13 William Boylan (not Boyll)
    16 Samuel McKinney (not McReney)
    17 Margaret Sherwood (not Duellman)
    32 Wiliam Hastings (not Husting)
    55 Barney Rice (not Barry)
    62 Charles Mullen (not Smullen)

    Mainly what I take out of this is that the names on the commemorative headstone in West Chester are a concoction of the possible, the mispelt and the non-existent! I am pretty nigh certain that there never was a William Putetill (that should be Patchill and a probable relative of David, both being from outside Ballyshannon); no McGarrity (possibly McGeraghty) or McIlhenney from Donegal; plus some dubious others as well. It remains to be seen if the Watsons will agree that there are big gaping holes in this story yet. We may be relying on Mary for a more balanced acccount of this yet? I will look out for the programme on the 8th.

  135. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I was thinking about Mary’s question “how do we know the men were from the John Stamp”? The laborer John Ruddy had the dental anomaly. it was attributed to the family in Donegal by a forensic dentist. 15 men from the John Stamp are buried in PA. There were 57 altogether. So what about the Prudence that Mary suggested. Could the others came from this ship? It was the only other ship coming from Londonderry. The men were from Derry and Donegal The other men listed on the John Stamp were weavers. their skills were fine, not like a laborers hands. They may have ended up in a mill in Philadelphia that produced wool, tapestry or Alpaca woollen products.

  136. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/24 at 12:02 am | In reply to Don MacFarlane.

    I looked up names on the memorial and I tried to find their naturalization records in NY and PA with no success. I did notice the names that were listed on but they were from about 80-100 years later.

    The petitions for naturalization are from 1790-1970 on ancestry and the Declaration of Intent was made when the immigrant first arrived. Sometimes they made a Naturalization Oath at this time or during the second step in the process. The Declaration Of Intent was exempt for some people. The second step was made after a 5 year residency period and during that time a Petition For Naturalization was made. The Oath might be made then and there were no set standards to this naturalization process until 1906. Perhaps that’s why were not seeing any records from 1832.

    A pipe they found was from Derry and the other was from Glasgow. Were any of the men from Glasgow?

  137. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I am puzzled by the fact that Naturalization wasn’t necessary – were there benefits to be had from Naturalization which were separate from a removal of any threat of deportation? Why did people bother to apply at all?

    I haven’t got really deep into checking the identity of the people that pop up in the Philadelphia records but I think the odds are reasonably good with the less common names that there would,for example, not be more than two of each of these names coming from Ireland to PA in 1832 – James Baird, William Barbour, James Cully, Samuel Forbes, James Devanney, John Long and Samuel McKenny. I have not subscribed yet to to check if their ages match. All these names came as labourers on the John Stamp and only Forbes and Devanney are on the memorial. Prof Watson has not indicated to me how he arrived at the conclusion that 47 of the crew came off the ship nor why only certain names are on the plaque.

  138. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

    John Ruddy’s identification is most likely correct. No argument on that point. What I am pointing to is a ‘what if’…..hypothetically, what if only 30 (random number) of the men were from the John Stamp, where would the other 27 be from. Don’s latest findings has more worms coming out of the can. Were the men you are finding from the John Stamp in the Naturalization records even at the Cut?

    The United States in the 19th century had open borders. No passports, work visas or green cards required. Once you were in the country, you had little to fear of being sent back. This was pretty much the case into the 20th century. Deportation was used only in the case of ‘undesirables’, usually felons. It did help the immigrants if there was already someone here, but they had little to fear when it came to being sent back.

  139. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

    The Plot Thickens

    Although I have only dipped into the lists, most of the names so far of the young male manual workers off the ship Asia are popping up in the Naturalization records for Philadelphia. Turning to the ship John Stamp, most of the young males that did not turn up in Chester County records are also turning up in Philadelphia!

    My gut feeling is that there are nothing like the numbers of bodies buried under the railroad that have been quoted, perhaps more like the numbers that one would expect from a cholera outbreak. The majority of the workgang managed to make a break for it and headed straight for Philadelphia, perhaps to hide in and close enough to a port that they could escape if tracked down in the event that they had to be silenced.

  140. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/23 at 12:51 pm | In reply to Don MacFarlane.

    I think with the increasing numbers of immigrants coming to this country, it would have been beneficial to have a family member in the US. The person would then send money home for the next group to come. Often the woman were the unskilled laborers and the men had the skills. This was seen in Australia when they were burdened with thousands of unskilled workers who needed support and childcare and education was not available. Later on you had to have a place to stay and at least $5.00 in your pocket in order to get into the US.

    Were there additional boats that brought unsuspecting immigrants after this event, did they use the same shipping lines and did shipping companies or agents they ever have to explain in court what happened to these immigrants. Also I was wondering if there were any medical records of treatment for the men. They may have been given Epsom Salts, brandy or Opium or maybe even quack medicine since no one knew how to treat the disease.

    The Patchells in Chester County were Presbyterian and they belonged to St John The Evangelist Church but I didn’t find David or William. I did read that men would only come for six weeks to work so perhaps the Patchells that were in the US supported the men for their brief time there.

  141. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/23 at 8:41 am | In reply to Eileen Breen.
    Philadelphia Naturalization Records

    I have had a cursory look at these through and my impression is that there are names off the ship Asia that could fit which would make the John Stamp the more likely contender for the Duffy’s Cut crew to have come off. That coupled with the odd dental anatomical anomaly seems to have pinned things down. One would hope so, otherwise who knows what body the Ruddys of Donegal have buried? I also seem to notice that the applicants for naturalization seem to be almost overwhelmingly male? Did that mean that if you had one naturalized close male relative in the US and you were already in the country you got to stay?

  142. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

    The reason why I question the assertion of the laborers all coming from the John Stamp is because on 18th of June 1832, the ‘Asia’ arrived in Philadelphia from Londonderry. There were a large number of families, but there were also many young men who listed their occupation as farmer. Farming was their occupation in Northern Ireland. It is possible that they were not farmers after they arrived. It is not logical to think that these men would immediately go out, buy land, and start farming. They may have been able to get work on a farm, but how much work was available in the area at the time?

  143. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Prof Watson’s Position

    ” We believe that forty seven of the men came from the ship, and ten from Duffy’s crew from the West Chester line were living with him at a rented home a mile south of the site. We believe that most if not all of the “laborers” on the ship John Stamp came to the work site.  But the names we decided should go onto the monument were determined by standard genealogical protocols, and represent men who absolutely vanished from the record after arrival”.

    “That the John Stamp was indeed the ship comes from the railroad file account that said the men had just arrived in America prior to theirAugust deaths, and between Jan-Oct 1832, this is the only ship ito Philadelphia coming directly from Ireland with a large number of manual laborers. From what we know of standard P & C practices, they would have been picked up at the docks by the contractor or his agentand transported out to the work site–hence with a late June arrival”.

    ” We are looking at a six to eight week timeframe until they were dead. We excavated seven graves. Of the fifteen names of the “vanished;” only one could be identified due to hisage (an 18 year old, determined by the fusing of the cranium), and we
    conjectured it was John Ruddy from Donegal. When that his the Irish press, we instantly got replies from interested parties due to the factthat the remains had a very rare (1 in many thousands) dental anomaly that is still apparent in the Ruddy family in Donegal today”.

    “We realise there are many transcription errors in contemporary 1832 records of this type in America-the same as later at Ellis Island circa 1900″.

  144. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/22 at 6:06 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    Is this a reasonable assumption?

    Chester County Naturalizations 1798-

    It is immediately apparent from a quick scan of Naturalization petitions in Chester County PA that about half of the petitioners were of Irish nationality. As Malvern (where Duffy’s Cut is to this day) is in Chester County, a reasonable assumption can be made that at least a certain percentage of the survivors of the trauma would apply for US nationality within Chester County or head straight back to Ireland or GB. Therefore total absence of the John Stamp names from Naturalization Records might point to no survivors.

    Patrick McAnany 1808
    George Patchell 1820
    Edward Patchell 1824

  145. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

    21 Aug 1832 Belfast Newsletter. There were several articles on how to cure Cholera. On a ship that left Ireland to New Brunswick they tried brandy and Opium “which was consumed readily”! When this did not work they gave all affected Epsom Salts. There were no more deaths as a result! If the cure didn’t kill you the disease did. There was an article the local medical college was having a class in hygiene! This was to be the newest rage in medicine! There were also some herbal medicines said to cure cholera. that were advertized and that were not available by pharmacies or druggists! Another article spoke about two physicians going to Belfast to check out the Cholera epidemic not allowing people to sell used clothing which could spread the disease.

  146. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

    The Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut

    This 2006 book by Prof Watson and colleagues, ‘The Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut’, makes nary a mention of murder. All the deaths are put down to cholera and the only foul play inferred is to do with the cover-up. The allegation of murder appeared around 2009. Interestingly, the book refers to cholera hospitals that were set up at intervals along the railway line by Superintendent Mitchell. This fact brings all sorts of implications with it – why murder this particular workforce if cholera was known to be rife; why the sudden hysteria from the local populace as the appearance of cholera was something that was dreaded but nothing new; why the conflicting stories about the heroic blacksmith versus the angelic Sisters of Charity; who were the mysterious vigilantes and at whose bidding did they perpetrate foul deeds? Also, Prof Monge’s spin on the episode is largely at variance with the book – no cholera in the region, more likely yellow fever. Perhaps I missed something but I don’t remember reading or hearing anything about musket balls or holes in the skull that could definitively be said to be from muskets? All I remember Prof Monge making a vague reference to was possible metallic residue in the area of the skull fractures.

  147. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I did get the feeling that Dr, Watson blew off your question on the identities of the remains. It seemed the identity of these men is not important to Dr. Watson. As for any kind of research to their identities, a cursory one would have been in-depth compared to what they did. Absence from the census does not mean a death has occurred. As both you and Eileen can attest to, it usually means that we are not looking in the right place.

    Are there records from the railroad company that show the names because, after looking at the passenger list on, there were over one hundred people who sailed out of Derry in Aug. 1832 on the Barque John Stamp. There is also a notation that there is a discrepancy with the dates. It is listed as sailing in Aug 1832 but the Captain signed April 1832. Looking at the other passenger names, these men may have come over with other relatives.

    Explain ‘so-minded’. Seriously, writing a chapter on this should be a collaborative effort from all of us! There is so much of the story that is missing and putting all of our heads together maybe we can write a chapter that would be some sort of quiet tribute to these men. I agree that these men deserve more than what they were given in this life and who were tossed away like yesterday’s rubbish. Whether there are 57 or 10, they deserve better.

    Your comments on different kinds of burials made me think, Eileen, about Irish burial customs. Would it be possible to tell if they were buried according to Irish custom? It would have been the case if the other Irish workers had buried them, no matter what country they were in when they died. If there isn’t any indication of any Irish custom, they probably weren’t buried by an Irishman.

  148. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/19 at 2:50 pm | In reply to Eileen Breen.

    I sent an email to Prof Watson about my queries on the authenticity of the names and of the census searches. He didn’t take the hump and he said he would pass the message onto his colleagues. I am not going to let him off that easily however and I will keep digging in the figurative sense. If there is a chapter to be written, it could be along critique and revisionist lines similar to the Lulan story.

    Feel free to chip in with Mary if she decides to delve into this more and to write a piece on it. I think you could make a good team – my impression is that Mary has a very analytical mind and you have a very lively intellectual curiosity and a great capacity for lateral thinking. Obviously that combination, normally to be considered an asset, was something strangely that Winnie could not cope with (!). If you do decide to delve more, I have opened a page on The Duffy Cut on my other website and feel free to go to town with the story on that page as well or instead.

    If a proper story and valid account could be resurrected it could be circulated through the local papers in Tyrone, Donegal and Derry. Despite not being religious, I am spiritual and I have this feeling that these people should be respected, their stories told correctly and their memories put to rest.

    Talking about lateral thinking, I had a fleeting thought that the mysterious Putchetill name might be Patchell and a relative. Strange that they both start with P, have the TCH in the middle and end with L? Also, I have come across a Michael Higgins who has a website on the 69thPA Regiment who also thinks the names Putetill and Patchell are the same!

    Finally, a John Patchell (24), farmer from Ballyshannon, left from Derry a year later on the Cruikstoun Castle bound for Delaware – possibly to look for or join a relative?

  149. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Yes, these are very definitely good suggestions that would fit – especially McNamee and McKenna (or McKinney), names that are prevalent in North-West Ulster. Skelton does exist but at a different location to that recorded; Putethill is anybody’s guess.

    What bothers me is that the identification process has been rather slapdash. The equipment is suggestive of bodies under the rails (that’s fine) but as I understand it there is no way of knowing how many or how few? There is a big assumption that nearly fifty bodies are unaccounted for but what is to say that most of these boys didn’t just head back to Ireland with two month’s wages, having had enough?

    More seriously, the tracing that has gone on has been extremely cursory and that is being kind. As any enthusiastic amateur can tell, it can take many years’ search to trace even one Irish ancestor, never mind fifty, with so little clues. And serious cutting of corners where a person has been presumed dead just because their name does not turn up on later censuses, even though their name has been wrongly transcribed. How can McCanamy and McLanon, for example, turn up on a headstone when these names are clearly in error?

    Mary, if you are so-minded (shock/horror) why don’t you write this saga up as a chapter and I will stick it in my book when it is published (as it will, never fear)? I am putting it on hold till I get chapters in on ‘The Hairy Man’ and ‘The Bussorah Merchant’ so there is time.

  150. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Another Possible Scenario

    The bodies that have been found outside of the rails were the original nine who died, whether it was from cholera, yellow fever or gross negligence. The ones who were placed under the rails were the ones who were killed by the railroad in order to silence them. Would a group of fit but young and inexperienced young men, who were probably not armed, stand by to be killed? I think the answer to that is yes. Whether by surprise or sheer numbers, along with weapons, they would have easily been overwhelmed.

    For the unknown names – McCanamy could be McNamee and its derivatives; McCanning could be Mckenna or McKinney. A bit of a stretch, but how about Scanlon for Skelton. Their Irish accents would have been very strong. The one that is a mystery is Putetill. I am of the mind to think that it is a spelling mistake, but also a transcription error, based on the flourish type of letters used in the handwriting back then. It is very difficult to distinguish F, P, and T. So how about Tuthill or Tuttle for Putetill? Is a scan of the log of the John Stamp available?

  151. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Unlikely as contact with a source of infection takes at most five days, and usually as little as a few hours, before it manifests itself in a disease. Once it takes a grip, cholera takes about twelve hours to kill. Hence, the John Stamp would have been known as a cholera ship long before it reached PA.

    Interesting aside, the simply washing of hands after toilet prevents the disease but as many women (normally considered more scrupulous in these matters) were struck down as men.

  152. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Cholera Outbreaks

    If the plan from Duffy’s Cut was to nip any cholera outbreak in PIttsburg PA in the bud it clearly didn’t work:

    A call went out to Pittsburg citizens ” In another day, if a little more attention is paid to the cleansing of our filthy alleys and lanes the disease will have lost its epidemic form. A heavy thunderstorm has helped to clear the atmosphere and if it is followed up by another we will be content”.

    Clearly there was no proper understanding yet from the health authorities as to the cause of the disease which was being blamed on an atmospheric miasma rather than a need for personal cleanliness. A further health message went on to say ” We notice that few families are called upon to lament more than one of their number. This affords strong proof of the non-contagious character of the distemper and will banish the foolish prejudice that leads to the sufferer dying from want of attention”.

    Typically, death occurred within a few hours of the appearance of first symptoms. Over the course of a fortnight there were over 420 deaths.

  153. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:05 am

    There is more work to do on it yet, firstly to get the names right. Then there might be a hope of habilitating the deceased with their families, much as with the Ruddys? A number of the people on the monument are definitely incorrectly named due probably to the distinctive Ulster accent that transposes e with a and g with c.

    Hence, McLanon=McGlennon; McAnamy=McConomy; Devenney=Devanney; McGarrity=McGeraghty. I will acquaint Prof Watson with these anomalies and he can decide what to do about it. What puzzles me is why these names are on the monument at all. If they did not show up on later censuses, therefore presuming them to be dead, there is little surprise there if the name was wrongly understood. The good thing is, now they have been clearly identified, these names are very distinctive and their places of origin can be pinpointed.

  154. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Verdict on Duffy’s Cut

    According to legal convention it is customary to apply a different and more onerous standard of proof to a criminal case than to a civil case. The evidence supplied so far as to the allegation of murder falls far short of that required for a murder charge and it might not even be adequate in a civil court. The standard in a criminal court for a ‘proven’ verdict is ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ and that in a civil court is ‘more likely than not’.

    Evidence to date:

    The best proof, and as supplied by William Watson, is that it was indeed the John Stamp that transported these labourers. The case of John Ruddy seems to establish that fact beyond all reasonable doubt.

    For the Defence

    The likelihood is, because of the unusual occurrence of so many single young male labourers on the voyage, that these men were indentured and their identities and places of origin were known to agents even before departure. Hence, the rail company was responsible for their welfare and were grossly negligent, placing inexperienced and unfit men in a hazardous work situation that endangered their lives.

    In the event of a cover up, yellow fever rather than cholera would have been a more plausible concocted cause of death in PA. There is no physical evidence to support a verdict of murder but a verdict of homicide would probably stick, if only one due to negligence or a reckless disregard for safety. There were no bullets found, in these days there were only soft musket balls available. The Prosecution is asking a jury to believe that a gang of ‘fit’ young men meekly lined up waiting to be shot.

    For the Prosecution

    Some of the names on the memorial do not belong there as they are in error. Fifteen names were placed there because they did not appear on subsequent censuses – no surprise in the cases of Putetill, Skelton, McCanamy and McLanon as these names do not exist and they are transcript errors. Doherty, Devine and Quigley should probably not be on the memorial either as these names are commonplace and it is unlikely they would not have appeared on subsequent censuses. Likewise, a concerted genealogical effort might be more likely than further excavation to turn up the other missing names.

  155. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:03 am

    This was in 2009. Since then the conclusion has been that the majority were murdered after finding the majority of the bodies under the rails and the fact that bullets were found in several locations of the graves. It also shows the misinterpretations that can happen when looking into the past. How wrong are we when it comes to everything we have concluded based on bones?

    I did find it odd that she maintained her neutral stance on the deaths after presenting the fact of the deaths being sealed within the company records and continued to be hidden after the lines were sold. A red flag for a conspiracy of silence. It would not have been as important years later to keep a secret of an ‘accident’. An “oh, well, these things happen,” would have been the standard company response expected in that situation. Murder is a crime with no time limit on arrest and punishment.

    What I see are boys who were burdened with heavy, back-breaking work from early on and did this work even though they were not in the total sense of being physically fit. It is that contradiction of being physically fit and ‘not’ that is bothersome. It goes back to that notion that was presented earlier that these boys were doing work that even the slave holders would not allow their slaves to do. It was a job designed to literally work them to death with a fresh batch waiting to replace them when that happened.

  156. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/17 at 9:40 am | In reply to Mary Cornell.

    Duffy’s Cut Navvies were not murdered at all?

    Probably because of her instinctual academic circumspection, the first half of Dr Monge’s talk is peppered with facts that have no direct bearing on the Duffy’s Cut episode, but cherry-picking from what she has presented:

    Alternative Scenario
    These unfortunates from Ireland, inexperienced in heavy-duty landshifting work in difficult terrain that involved explosives, were caught in a landslide from a blast on a remote hillside. The secrecy had no sinister motive and, while wrong and disrespectful to bereaved families, was a commercial decision but not a cover up for a crime.

    Corollaries of the above:
    The skull fractures were caused to those men closest to the explosion by jagged rock fragments.
    The hyperostosis (excessive growth) in their long bones did not occur in PA – they were not there long enough and a few months’ excessive exercise would not cause this.

    The cribra orbitalia stigmata in the skulls may have been caused by anaemia from chronic malnourishment, but not necessarily and not of famine proportions, in Ireland. Scurvy from Vitamin C deficiency was prevalent in Ireland and was another possible cause for some of Dr Monge’s findings – excessive bony growth at points of muscle insertion in long bones, cribra orbitalia and enlargement of sphenoid and other sinuses. Scurvy can cause this condition even in the absence of anaemia. Any anaemia was due to over-reliance on a restricted and vitamin-deficient diet, not due to iron-deficiency, or possibly from roundworms or tapeworms. The findings would need to be compared with mass graves from the famine back in Ireland to say anything more definitive.,295465,en.pdf

  157. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/17 at 4:27 pm

    From correspondence received from Professor William Watson

    Q Was this particular work crew entirely fresh or was it a mix of old and new hands?

    A We believe that 47 of the men came from the ship, and 10 from Duffy’s crew from the West Chester line who were living with him at a rented home a mile south of the site.

    Q From the John Stamp manifest of passengers, might all or most of the young and unattached male labourers have ended up with Duffy, not just the ones listed on the commemorative plaque?

    A We believe that most of – if not all of – the “laborers” on the ship came to the work site.  But the names we decided should go onto the monument were determined by standard genealogical protocols, and represent men who absolutely vanished from the record after arrival.  

    That the John Stamp was indeed the ship comes from the railroad file account that said the men had just arrived in America prior to their August deaths, and between Jan-Oct 1832. This is the only ship into Philadelphia coming directly from Ireland with a large number of manual laborers. From what we know of standard P & C practices, they would have been picked up at the docks by the contractor or his agent and transported out to the work site–hence with a late June arrival,we are looking at a six to eight week timeframe until they were dead.

    Q How is it known that the ones listed were definitely with Duffy as their bodies are still unearthed? Could genealogical work trace the origins or at least establish that certain names do not turn up in US censuses later?

    A We excavated seven graves; there are fifteen names of the “vanished;” only one could be identified due to his age (an eighteen year old, determined by the fusing of the cranium), and we conjectured it was John Ruddy (18) from Donegal. When that hit the Irish press, we instantly got replies from interested parties due to the fact that the remains had a very rare (one in many thousands) dental anomaly that is still apparent in the Ruddy family in Donegal today.

    Q Some of the names don’t seem to fit with their supposed places of origin eg from the census of the period there were no Skeltons recorded in Donegal. Also, some of the names would appear to be mispelt and do not correspond to known Irish names eg  McClanon, McGarrity, Putetill, McAnamy, McCanning.

    A There are many transcription errors in contemporary 1832 records of this type in America-the same as later at Ellis Island circa 1900.

  158. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 10:49 am


    I believe that the Molly Maguires were a little later, after the Civil War. The men at Duffy’s Cut would have been subjected to brutal retaliation and murder by the railroad barons had they even thought of forming a union, no matter the year. No different than the way they actually died. My son is 15, 5’11” and 210 pounds, but he is still my baby; the same age as William Elliot from Donegal, one of the 57. As a mother, I cannot imagine what William’s mother went through after sending him across the Atlantic on a promise of a better life then to never hear from him again.

    When I was looking up the years for the Molly Maguires, I was surprised to learn that they were thought to be a continuance of the Ribbonmen from Ireland. The Ribbon Society being a secret society of Catholic farmers who fought against the Protestants in the same way as the IRA does, through vigilanteism. In the States, they were greatly outnumbered and outgunned with no hope of winning.

  159. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 10:47 am

    America Cholera Epidemic 1832 and Sisters of Charity, Duffy’s Cut

  160. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Submitted on 2012/09/15 at 7:31 am | In reply to Don MacFarlane.

    Bound for Duffy’s Cut

    From Passenger List of the John Stamp 1832


    Michael Doherty (22)
    William Doherty (18)
    Richard Kane (24)
    John McClanon (24)
    Robert McConnell (18)*
    William McCormick (18)*
    John McGlashan (24)
    John McGlone (25)*
    William Smith (21)


    John Creighton (23)*
    William Devine (21)
    James Doherty (26)
    George Doherty (28)
    William Elliott (15)*
    Robert Ewing (18)*
    John Ruddy (18)*
    Patrick Fullerton (20)*
    William Houston(20)*
    Daniel McCahill (25)*
    Bernard McGarrity (20)*
    Brian McGourley (20) – McGolrick *
    Raymond McElhinney (23)*
    David Patchell (20)*
    John Putetill (20)
    John Ruddy (18)*
    George Quigley (22)
    Robert Skelton (20)*
    William Ward (17)


    James Baird (18)*
    William Barbour (18)*
    James Cully (27)*
    Samuel Forbes (23)*
    Matthew Johnston (24)
    James Devenney (26)*
    Samuel Johnston (18)
    John Long (19)*
    Patrick McAnamy (20)
    Patrick McCanning (30)
    Samuel McKenny (18)*

    * All names with asterisks could be researched with relative ease to locate living relatives. The other names are too common or are mispelt.

    A quick check of Griffiths would appear to show that a good few of the Donegal boys (which is what they were, little more than callow youths) came from around Donaghmore (Raphoe); the Tyrone youths came from around Ardstraw.

    What this seems to point to is that these boys – the passenger list of the John Stamp is very peculiar in consisting mainly of young single males – came from a narrow triangle of territory from Ardstraw (County Tyrone) to Killygordon (County Donegal) to Derry.

    There is no more than 12-15 miles distance between points and it all smacks of a recruiting exercise that started in Ireland with a local agent. This was no coincidence, Duffy was waiting for them to come off the boat and they never stood a chance from the moment they set foot on board in Derry. Many of them would have known each other, classed themselves as labourers, so would likely have stuck together like lambs to the slaughter and were put at ease by the voice from home, Duffy. Would make you weep!

    Mind you, things were not much better in Ireland in 1832. Cholera had swept the country and 50,000 deaths were caused by the epidemic with ports in Ulster being the first to be hit. The passengers did not bring the condition on board ship as it is rapidly advancing and there were no deaths reported on the voyage, nor would Duffy have hired anyone that was less than fully fit.

    Final thought, did anyone trouble to identify the deceased and to notify their families (probably not) and all this to satisfy the greed of Philadelphia merchants?

    • Vic Barnett

      December 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Don, one question I have always had…..was their some pattern in possibly changing names in the move from Scotland to Ulster. For example are the McCays and the Cays the same family? Are the McHughs the Hughs the same. Are the O’Connells the same as the Connells? I am thinking there was some allegiance to Scotland if it was retained …..if not it might get dropped. There could have also been convention in transcription. Wondering.

  161. Don MacFarlane

    December 15, 2012 at 10:41 am


    Murder at Duffy’s Cut

    I caught a segment on one of the Discovery Channel programs the other night on the murders at Duffy’s Cut. It is the story of the immigrant Irish RR workers who came to cut land for the Pennsylvania RR in 1837. It is reported that 9 of the workers died from cholera, but there were 57 Irish workers on the line who were never heard from again. What happened to the others? The article discusses what may have happened after they began investigating what is called Duffy’s Cut, a one mile stretch of land that the workers had been clearing. They began to find human bones including skulls in the area of the ‘cut.’ The forensics began to tell the tale of murder as they excavated skull after skull with fractures and gunshot wounds to the head.

    The article was written in 2010 and since then the investigators have come to the conclusion that the original 9 did most likely die of cholera. And driven by fear, a mob killed the remaining men so they would not infect the rest of the town with cholera. It was subsequently hushed up by the railroad company. They feared they would not be able to recruit any more workers from Ireland if these murders were to come to light. So the majority of the bodies were buried under the tracks and to this day they cannot be exhumed for fear of harming the integrity of the still used rail lines. (The last part of the article deals with a bunch a paranormal hooey)

    These ‘expendable’ Irish were from Derry and went forgotten for over a hundred and fifty years before someone started to wonder what happened to them. I am wondering, did their families back in Derry wonder, too? There does not seem to be any inquiries into missing family members. Did the RR company answer all inquiries with a standard ‘whereabouts unknown’? An interesting sidenote. They were able to trace, through DNA, the identity of one of the workers. He was a 19 year old named Tommy H? from Donegal. A sad tale of deceit and coverup of the deaths of those thought to be unimportant in the world.

  162. Mary

    December 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

    This 2009 lecture by Janet Monge, curator and anthropologist at the Pennsylvania Museum, is on the first three bodies excavated from Duffy’s Cut. I found it to be extemely fascinating when she begins discussing the forensic pathology of the bones which is about 30 minutes into the lecture. The owners of the bones are said to be ‘massively muscled’ and at the same time, ‘sick’, due to a life time of poor health. At one point she is relating that the findings on one of the skulls indicate evidence of acute anemia which, according to Dr. Monge, was not a problem seen in the Irish. My inclination is to disagree on this point. Don, you are more knowledgeable on this subject than I am, wouldn’t there have been anemia in the poorer Irish?

    She finds that there seems to be evidence of blunt force trauma on the skulls. Her conclusion is that, even though it is impossible to detect evidence of cholera in bone material, she believes it is possible but highly unlikely that they had cholera, but that they died from blows to the head. Her lecture is extremely informative.


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