Passenger Ships

1898 Shipwreck: Brodhead sister-in-law & husband lost

SS Mohegan, 1898 (Wikipedia-Public domain in US)

SS Mohegan, 1898 (Wikipedia-Public domain in US)

It was the year 1898. William McKinley, a Republican from Ohio, was President, his assassination at the hands of an anarchist still three years away. The Spanish-American War was in full swing. Hawaii was annexed as a US territory. The Wright Brothers had yet to fly, and the initial laying of the RMS Titanic‘s hull was eleven years in the future. And, of course, from the last post, we know that men’s suits were selling for $12 and a glass of soda cost a nickel.

By no means the largest maritime disaster to have taken place prior to 14 October 1898, nonetheless the tragic downing that day of the SS Mohegan off Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula near the village of Porthoustock, was a major event that found its way onto the headlines of the world’s newspapers, large and small. The loss was inarguably a huge blow to all the families on both sides of the Atlantic who so abruptly and unexpectedly lost their precious loved ones.

New York Times, 16 Oct 1898 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York Times, 16 Oct 1898 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Of the Mohegan’s 146 passengers (roughly two-thirds were crew), 106 souls were lost including Robert Packer Brodhead‘s sister-in-law Emilie Loveland Luke (age 32) and her husband Loren M. Luke (age 28) of Kingston, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania.

SS Mohegan wrecked on the Manacles, the Lizard coast of Cornwall (Wikipedia: Public domain in USA)

SS Mohegan wrecked on the Manacles, the Lizard coast of Cornwall (Wikipedia: Public domain in USA)

The ship had gone off course on the evening of 14 October—just a day after departing London. The night was clear but the  the currents and winds were strong. Just as the passengers were sitting down for their evening meal, the Mohegan smashed into a submerged reef called the Manacles (about a mile from shore), and sank so quickly that only 40 passengers—those who made it into the first lifeboats (mostly women) and those who survived the plunge into the rugged seas and the jagged rocks below—managed to escape. All the officers, including Captain Griffith, whose skills had always been highly regarded, drowned. Many people were severely injured on the rocks—some to the point that they succumbed from their injuries even after being rescued from the water.

Villagers on land had witnessed the Mohegan too close to shore before the accident and knew the vessel was in trouble. Some set off immediately in boats hoping to get there in time to assist with an evacuation, but the ship sank too quickly. Rescuers in a lifeboat found 14 exhausted and near-drowned crew members on the rocks. A tugboat picked up one survivor who’d been in the water over seven hours and was able to give an initial account of the accident.

Most of the dead passengers were affluent Americans who were returning home from time spent in Europe on business or pleasure. The Mohegan, owned by the Atlantic Transport Line, was part passenger liner and part animal carrier (it had 700 stalls for cattle); the accommodations on board for the human travelers were very opulent and comfortable.

Captain Griffith, lost with the Mohegan (Wikipedia: Public domain in USA)

Captain Griffith, lost with the Mohegan (Wikipedia: Public domain in USA)

The vessel, originally named the Cleopatra, was built for a leisurely Atlantic crossing not for speed. She was purchased by the Atlantic Transport Line to replace ships that had been commandeered by the US government for duty in the Spanish-American War. It had only undertaken one previous voyage (in July 1898), which was fraught with mechanical problems that grounded the vessel until she was felt to be sea worthy again—in time for the October 13th sailing. By then, she had been renamed the Mohegan and was manned by a crew who thought her bad luck.

Robert P. Brodhead, husband of Fanny V. Loveland; son of Andrew Jackson Brodhead & Ophelia Easton.

Robert P. Brodhead, husband of Fanny V. Loveland; son of Andrew Jackson Brodhead & Ophelia Easton.

Initially the Luke, Loveland, and Brodhead families of Kingston had severe doubts as to whether the couple had actually been on board. Robert Brodhead had received a letter from the couple several days before the accident saying they would be departing on October 13 on the steamer Victoria; but Robert then learned that for some reason the Victoria sailed early—on October 9—and that her sister ship, the Mohegan, sailed on the 13th. (The switch it seems may well have had to do with some of the Mohegan’s mechanical problems taking longer to solve than expected). The family in Kingston initially did not want to fear the worst and questioned the initial passenger list that showed the Lukes as having been on board the downed vessel. Sadly, within days, the families’ fears were realized when Loren Luke’s uncle received a telegram from Vicar Diggins of the St. Keverne church (St. Keverne is a village near Porthoustock) to which bodies had been taken for identification and, in some cases, burial. The telegram stated that Loren’s body had been identified and that there were still four women yet to be identified. It was presumed that one of them was Emilie, and eventually that identification was made.

Most of the dead were buried in a common grave in the St. Keverne churchyard. Most of the bodies of the wealthy Americans who'd been on board were embalmed before being transported to NYC (Wikipedia: Public domain in USA)

Most of the dead were buried in a common grave in the St. Keverne churchyard. Most of the bodies of the wealthy Americans who’d been on board were embalmed before being transported to NYC (Wikipedia: Public domain in USA)

Most, if not all, of the deceased Americans on board were embalmed by morticians sent down to Cornwall from London (the local area had not yet made it a practice to embalm the dead). Once embalmed, the bodies made the long journey back to the US on the SS Menonimee, a sister ship of the ill-fated Mohegan. Many of the others who were lost were laid to rest in a common grave in St. Keverne churchyard, where a memorial and stained glass window honor their memory.

For the Lovelands in particular this was yet another cruel twist of fate. Emilie Loveland Luke’s parents, William and Linda Loveland, had seven children in all; three had died as infants: firstborn Ellen Tiffany and the last two children (both boys)—William and John Walter. Another daughter, Mary Buckingham Loveland (wife of Rev. George N. Makely), died in June 1895, leaving just three children among the living: Fanny Vaughn Loveland Brodhead, Elizabeth Shepherd Brodhead, and Emilie. Earlier in 1898, in the month of March, Mr. Loveland (William) passed away. So with Emilie swept away by the Mohegan disaster, Mrs. Loveland was left with just two of her seven children.

Compounding all the grief felt by the family was surely an additional factor—and that is the reason Emilie and Luke had gone abroad that August in the first place. On July 31, they lost their first child, an infant son named simply ‘Loveland Luke,’ who was born on October 21, 1897. Emilie had taken the loss exceptionally hard, and sensing that a change of scenery may do her some good, Loren organized the trip abroad. They departed on the SS Victoria in mid-August for a two-month stay in Europe.

The Wilkes-Barre Times of November 7, 1898, mentioned that Robert P. Brodhead was in New York City making arrangements to bring the bodies of Loren and Emilie home to Kingston. Robert P. Brodhead, the eighth child of Andrew Jackson Brodhead and Ophelia Easton Brodhead, was one of my great grandfather Andrew Douglas Brodhead’s younger brothers. Robert married Kingston native Fanny Vaughn Loveland in 1889; the couple lived in Kingston where Robert developed a successful career as a contractor, eventually heading Brodhead Contracting Company. He’s the one who purchased Wheat Plains, the old family farm south of Milford that had temporarily gone out of the family’s possession. In November 1896, Fanny’s younger sister Emilie married Loren M. Luke, an 1893 Princeton graduate, Kingston attorney, and highly regarded member of the Luzerne County bar association.  In his spare time, he taught classes in English grammar at the YMCA, was secretary of the Princeton Alumni Association, and was involved with Sunday School. Loren had a home built on Wyoming Avenue for Emilie in advance of their November 1896 nuptials. The Brodheads and Lukes both lived in Kingston and the Loveland sisters remained very close, visiting each other frequently.

Loren Mill Luke, Emilie Loveland Luke, and their infant son Loveland Luke were buried on November 9, 1898, in the Forty Fort Cemetery, in Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania. A family gathering took place at Mrs. William Loveland’s home prior to the burial. (To view the graves of the Lukes, visit the Find a Grave website.)

Such devastating losses must have been impossible to bear at times. And the following spring of 1899, Robert and Fanny Brodhead endured another tragic loss—their first-born child, a son named Robert aged 10, died of diphtheria. Perhaps all that was more than Mrs. William Loveland could bear, as she died a year later in June of 1900.

Rumors abounded as to what caused the Mohegan to go off course. The official verdict was human error, but some thought the weather that day had somehow affected the ship’s instrumentation. And, some villagers claimed to have seen Captain Griffith rescued by a lifeboat and then disappearing into the hills, causing some to rumor that he purposely wrecked the ship due to financial woes (he was an American Transport Lines shareholder and could thus collect insurance monies). As it turned out, the ship was grossly underinsured.

Even a quarter of a century later, the event was mentioned in a “25 Years Ago” column in the Caledonia New York Advertiser (see clipping). Today, the SS Mohegan is one of the UK’s most famous wrecks for scuba diving.

Caledonia NY Advertiser, 25 October 1923 (www.fultonhistory.com)

“25 Years Ago” column, Caledonia NY Advertiser, 25 October 1923 (www.fultonhistory.com)

**************************************************************************

Princeton Verse, edited by Raymond Blaine Fosdick (Hausauer, Son & Jones Co., 1904), p. 59:

Lines on a Ring by Loren M. Luke, Class of 1893

Oh precious drop of crystal dew,
Set in a tiny band of gold,
Which doth within its little grasp
A blue-veined finger softly hold–
Thou failest if thy radiant rays
Are seeking—bold attempt ‘twould be!—
To show a fraction of the love
That beams from Edith’s eyes on me.

***************************************************************************

From The Quin-decennial Record of the Class of '93 of Princeton University, p. 73 (published 1908; available as Google eBook)

From The Quin-decennial Record of the Class of ’93 of Princeton University, p. 73 (published 1908; available as Google eBook)

Ithaca Times, 17 Oct 1898 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Ithaca Times, 17 Oct 1898 (www.fultonhistory.com)

IthacaTimes_2

Ithaca Times, 17 Oct 1898 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Ithaca Times, 17 Oct 1898 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Resources:

  • The Wreck of the Steamer Mohegan – a poem by Scottish poet William McGonagall
  • The Atlantic Transport Line – the SS Mohegan
  • St. Keverne Local History Society – The Mohegan Tapes
  • Wreck SiteSS Mohegan
  • Genealogy of the Loveland Family in the United States of America by John Bigelow Loveland and George Loveland (I. M. Keeler & Son, 1892) – Volume I – Google Books
  • Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula
  • “The Tragedy of the Sea. Mr. and Mrs. Loren M. Luke of Kingston, Believed to Be Lost,” Saturday, October 15, 1898, Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), p. 6
  • “Last Edition! 170 People Drowned at Sea. The Steamship Mohegan Went on the Rocks off the Lizard,” Saturday, October 15, 1898, Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), p. 6, 1
  • “Postscript. Four O’Clock. Mr. Luke’s Body Identified. Telegram Received This Morning – No Women Yet Identified,” Monday, October 17, 1898, Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), p. 6.
  • “Beautiful Tributes. To the Late Loren M. Luke from Members of the Bar, Saturday,” October 22, 1898, Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), p. 5.
    “The Mohegan Disaster. Interesting Illustrations Reprinted from the London Illustrated News,” Monday, November 7, 1898, Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), p. 7.
  • “Kingston,” November 7, 1898, Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), p. 7.
  • “A Double Funeral. The Remains of Mr. and Mrs. Loren M. Luke Interred in Forty Fort Cemetery,” Wednesday, November 9, 1898, Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), p. 6.
Categories: 1890s, Brodhead, Death, England, Forty Fort Luzerne Co PA, Loveland, Luke, Spanish American War, SS Mohegan, St. Keverne Cornwall | 2 Comments

World War I Album Photos — William Boles — Part II

As an update to my previous posts on William Boles’ World War I service, I am posting some more photos from his album. There are still 30-40 left to scan and post. I will try to get to that next week.

Meanwhile, for the previous posts, please follow these links:
World War I Itinerary
World War I Itinerary (cont’d.)
NJ WWI Service Medallion
World War I photos

Note: To the above “WWI Itinerary” post I have added two photos showing troops on deck a ship; I presume these were taken either heading over to Europe (on the SS Melita) or coming back (USS Orizaba). I have also added some more links to texts that corroborate the itinerary. I read in this document that a lack of equipment kept the men in William’s regiment from taking part in the American offensive. To view the below photos as a slideshow, click on the first photo and then use the arrows to move to the next photo.

Categories: Boles, S.S. Melita, World War I | Leave a comment

Edward Boles family photos, late 1800s, early 1900s

Edward Boles of Fingreah

Edward Boles of Fingreagh (1855-1940), probably around 1875-1880, taken in Dublin

My great grandfather Edward Boles was born on June 4, 1855, in Fingreagh Upper, Co. Leitrim, Ireland, to James Boles of Fingreagh and Jane Payne. The couple had seven children: Edward, Robert, James, Jane, Alexander, William and Benjamin. Edward died on October 26, 1940, in Dublin. His wife, my great grandmother, was Sarah Nixon. She was one of 14 children of William Nixon and Rachael Millar: Edward, James, William, Elizabeth, Rachael, Jane, Mary, Sarah, Kate, Mark, Benjamin, John, Thomas, and Robert. Supposedly there were two sets of twins. I’m not sure whether they all survived to adulthood, but supposedly, of those who did, Sarah was the only one (or one of the very few) who did not end up emigrating to the US. I have yet to figure out if that was really the case.

Edward (a farmer) and Sarah Boles had six children: John James, Jane Kathleen (“Jennie”), Mary Elizabeth (“May”), William Robert (my grandfather), and Edward Benjamin (“Ben”). Ben’s twin Beulah Sarah died young. My grandfather William R. Boles was 20 when he emigrated to the US (Oct 21, 1912, from Londonderry via the ship Columbia), and I suspect the one photo below was taken on the eve of his departure. It was his Uncle Robert Nixon (one of Sarah Nixon Boles’ brothers), living on Elm Street in Summit, NJ, with wife Blanche, who sponsored him when he initially came to the US.

In front of the Drumkeerin house "Clooneen": Edward Boles seated with wife Sarah holding his left shoulder. In rear: John, Jenny, Mary "May", and Ben. Possibly taken in 1912.

In front of the Co. Leitrim house in Cloneen: Edward Boles seated with wife Sarah holding his left shoulder. In rear: John, Jennie, May, and Ben. Possibly taken in 1912, before my grandfather’s emigration to the US. Edward was tall — over 6′, while Sarah was very petite — 4’11” or thereabouts.

William R. Boles, served in US army in WWI

William R. Boles, served in US army in WWI, while still a British subject.

James Boles and wife Sarah Nixon, probably late 1930s

Great grandparents, James Boles and wife Sarah Nixon, probably mid-1930s; Sarah died in Sept 1938, and Edward in Oct 1940.

Fingreagh Upper (B) and Drumkeeran (A)

Fingreagh Upper (B) and Drumkeerin (A)

Categories: Boles, Columbia, Drumkeeran, Co. Leitrim, Ireland, Nixon, World War I | 2 Comments

Thomas & Sarah Trewin Family of Woolwich, Co. Kent, England

I was excited to discover that the June 22, 1854, will of Thomas Trewin (the elder) is available online through the UK National Archives.

The document is very difficult to read but so far I have been able to make out the names of three sons—William, Thomas (my ancestor who immigrated to the US with wife Mary Anne Phillips and children in 1857), and John. The fact that a William was listed seems to confirm a previous post’s suspicions that the William Trewin born in Gosport, Hampshire, to a Thomas and Sarah Trewin and christened at the Wesleyan Church there, was indeed the William of this family. Previous research I did showed that Thomas and Sarah had four children who died as infants: two sons, John (the 1st) and Joseph, and two daughters, Mary and Sarah, and that all fits with the three brothers being the sole surviving heirs:

  • William Trewin  b. 23 Jan 1812, c. 23 Feb 1812, Wesleyan Church, Middle Street, Gosport, Hampshire, England
  • Thomas J. Trewin b. 12 Aug 1817, Woolwich, Kent, England, c. 7 Sep 1817,  Wesleyan Methodist Church, William St, Woolwich, Kent, England, d. 19 Sep 1875, Elizabeth, Union, NJ, bur. 22 Sep 1875, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ
  • John Trewin b. 17 Aug 1827, c. 14 Aug 1831, Wesleyan Methodist Church, William St, Woolwich, Kent, England

Section of an 1832 map* of London; see Woolwich & Plumstead on the right, well beyond what were then the borders of the city and surrounded by marshes and fields. You can see the Tower of London along the river (upper left corner).

Age-wise they would have been 42, 38, and 26 when the will was drawn up. The document was proved several years later on 12 November 1857. By then the “boys” would have been 45, 40, and 30.  Thomas would have left for Quebec City, Canada, on the ship Ion, with his family some four months prior to that, in July 1857 (they later relocated to Jersey City, NJ. See previous posts for details on the circumstances and journey). I have yet to see mention made in the will of Thomas Sr.’s wife Sarah. It seems likely she predeceased him.

In any case, I am going to try to transcribe the will for posting here. It mentions properties in Plumstead and Woolwich (neighboring areas) and a gift to the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Woolwich. It will take some head-scratching, but I will do my best to decipher it.

I would love to know what brought Thomas Sr. and Sarah from Gosport to Woolwich; I presume it was work-related–perhaps to work at the Royal Arsenal or to help build the Wesleyan Chapel in Woolwich. I’d also love to know what  happened to William and John, whether they remained in the Woolwich area, moved elsewhere, or also emigrated to North America.  Are there any descendants out there?

So there is plenty more to learn, but the will provides wonderful new evidence of their lives in Woolwich. Stay tuned…

SEE FOLLOW-UP POST: https://chipsofftheoldblock.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/thomas-trewin-will/

*Map is in the public domain and available for sharing for non-commercial purposes under Creative Commons.

Categories: Death, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Gosport, Hampshire, Jersey City, Hudson Co., Last Wills and Testaments, Quebec City, Quebec, The Ion, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | 4 Comments

John Phillips, father of Mary Anne Phillips

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this silhouette of John Phillips, father of Mary Anne Phillips who married Thomas Trewin and sailed with him and their three children on the ship Ion to Quebec City in 1857. The silhouette is quite small, just 3 x 4 inches or so. Someone has done a bit of embellishing with pencil. This copy of the silhouette was sent to me by Ruth Dean, a descendant of one of Mary Anne (Phillips) and Thomas Trewin’s children, Emma Trewin Ludey. Ruth has also sent along some great new (to me) photos from that family line, for which I am most grateful. I will post them soon.

With luck we will eventually find out more about the Phillips family. Did Mary Anne have any siblings, for example. We believe the Phillips lived in the Greenwich/Woolwich area which was once in the County of Kent but is now part of Greater London. Ruth discovered evidence of a John Phillips working as a tin plate worker on Wellington Street. Anyone out there with more information, we’d love to hear from you!

John Phillips silhouette from personal collection of Ruth K. Dean family. Used with permission.

John Phillips silhouette from personal collection of Ruth K. Dean family. Used with permission.

Categories: Greenwich, Ludey, Phillips, The Ion, Trewin, Woolwich | 2 Comments

William Boles’s World War I Itinerary – Part I

Photo belonging to Wm Boles of the ship either going over or coming back

Photo belonging to Wm Boles of the ship either going over or coming back

William R. Boles, age 25

I discovered a little notebook belonging to William Boles that contains brief details about his WWI whereabouts in service with the 29th Division, 112th Heavy Field Artillery. Thought I would transcribe it to share it here. I have done my best to decipher some of the French towns. The writing in brackets ([]) is mine:

Enlisted July 3, 1917

Left Montclair [NJ] July 25th for Sea Girt [NJ].
Left Sea Girt September 24th
Arrived Camp McClellan [Alabama] Sept. 28th
Left Camp McClellan June 20, 1918
Arrived Camp Mills [Long Island, NY], June 22
Left Camp Mills, June 28

SS Melita

Boarded the good ship Melita at 8 a.m. Friday morning, June 28, 1918 at Pier 2 at West 24th Street, NY [Note: the Melita was built as a passenger ship for the Hamburg-America Line, but ended up being purchased by Canadian Pacific. The ship entered service in January 1918 and was used for troop transport during WWI; to view some ship interiors, click here.]

Pulled away from Pier at 10 a.m. arriving at Liverpool, England, on July 10th. Train for So. Hampton where we arrived late that night, remaining until the following day.
Left S. Hampton, July 11 [via the swift steamer Prince George]
Arrived Le Havre, July 12
Left Le Havre, July 13
Arrived Portiers [Poitiers], July 15
Left Portiers, August 25
Arrived Vannes [Vienne], August 26
Left Vannes, Nov. 11
Arrived Trampot, Nov. 13
Left Trampot, December 6
Arrived Écot, Dec. 7
Left Écot, Dec. 7
Arr. Clefmont, Dec. 7
Left Clefmont, Dec. 9
Arr. Villars, Dec. 9
Left Villars, Dec. 10
Arrived Raincourt, Dec. 10
Remaining there for a sojourn of four months. Leaving on the 11th April 1919.
Arrived Oisseau Petit [Oisseau-le-Petit] on Apr. 13
Left Oisseau Petit [Oisseau-le-Petit] on May 6
Arrived H. Nazaire [St. Nazarine], May 7
Left H. Nazaire, May 11 [via the transport USS Orizaba]
Arriving at Newport News [Virginia] in God’s Country on May the 21st.
Leaving May 28
and [illegible] May 29 [A parade and official welcome took place in Atlantic City]
and returned to civil life on the fourth day of June in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and nineteen.

Photo belonging to Wm Boles of the ship either going over to Europe or coming back

For images of the actual notebook, see next post.
For more on the SS Melita, click here and here.
For more on the 112th Field Artillery Regiment, see pages 17 & 18 of this document. They corroborate the itinerary.
Additional resource on Google Books: 29th Infantry Division: A Short History of a Fighting Division by Joseph H. Ewing, pages 11-17.

Categories: Boles, S.S. Melita, World War I | Leave a comment

1833 Condolence Letter for Baby Joseph Trewin’s Parents

One of the last items I can share about the Trewins–at least for the time being–is the enclosed letter of condolence which was written for “Brother and Sister Trewin” on the sad occasion of their 20-month-old son Joseph’s passing on 9 April 1833. The letter, written by someone named J.J. Featherstone (perhaps their church pastor), is disintegrating, and today’s scan has finally preserved it once and for all, for it will surely not survive another 178 years!

Condolence Letter on the Occasion of Baby Joseph Trewin’s Passing, page 1

Now, who was this baby Joseph Trewin? He would have been born in 1831, which would make it unlikely that this was the son of Thomas J. Trewin (b. 1817) and his wife Mary Anne Phillips (b. 1820).  As you may recall from a previous post, this was the Trewin couple who departed England on the ship Ion in 1857 to relocate to Canada and later settle in NJ.  I can only assume at this point that Joseph was Thomas J. Trewin’s brother and that the letter was written to the two boys’ parents, Thomas and Sarah Trewin who in 1831 were living in England, probably still in the Woolwich area, and probably still parishoners of the same Wesleyan Methodist Church in which Thomas J. Trewin had been christened in 1817.

Condolence Letter on the Occasion of Baby Joseph Trewin’s Passing, page 2

This letter obviously meant a great deal to the family as it was passed down for many years. Was J.J. Featherstone someone of importance? Someone important in the Wesleyan Methodist Church? A writer of hymns? I’ve tried to find out more, but so far have come up empty-handed.

It is my hope to learn more about the Trewin family’s English roots, beginning with Thomas and Sarah Trewin and going as far back as possible, and, of course, to learn more about Mary Ann Phillips’ roots as well. We have other family lines traced back to 1500s/1600s and one or two even farther back than that. So I have my work cut out for me with the Trewins. On some genealogy sites, I’ve noticed quite a few Trewins in Cornwall, England. Perhaps there’s a link there, but I have yet to confirm that. If anyone out there reading this has information to share, please let me know!

Categories: The Ion, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | Leave a comment

On the Ship Ion

To continue last post’s topic of the emigration of Thomas J. Trewin and Mary Ann Phillips to Canada in 1857, a while back I came across The Ships List website when searching for information on the ship Ion. The site lists news from the Canadian News and American Intelligencer 1857. The entry for July 8, 1857, states:

“The ship Ion leaves Woolwich Arsenal jetty this day, having on board 187 emigrants (about 240 souls), bound for Quebec. On Saturday 17 single men will leave in the Hibernia, which will complete the shipment of the unemployed artisans connected with the Government works. These poor people have all been shipped under the superintendence of the shipping committee of the Wellington Emigration Fund.”

I was very intrigued by this information since I had no idea the Trewin family had emigrated to Canada because of impoverished circumstances. The web page contains news and information on many different ships (both commercial and passenger) making the crossing from Europe. Some passenger names are listed. These are mostly those who were located in cabins. As the Trewins are not listed, I can only surmise that they were in steerage. I also was curious to see what caused these artisans to be unemployed and what the role of the Wellington Emigration Fund was. I discovered that there was an armaments factory located in Woolwich which is located on the south side of the River Thames in southeast London (formerly in County of Kent). The arsenal expanded greatly during the Crimean War (1854-1856), but once the war ended, a substantial number of the workers there became unemployed. Evidently, the Wellington Fund Emigration Committee worked to resettle many of these unemployed artisans, together with their wives and children if married, in Canada.

Another entry from the Canadian News and American Intelligencer for June 10, 1857, which is located on the same web page, states:

“We are glad to learn that the Wellington Emigration Fund Committee are exercising the utmost vigilance, in conjunction with the Woolwich Committee, to ship off a number of the unemployed workmen from that locality to Canada with all speed. On Thursday next, the ship Midlothian will call at the Arsenal Jetty to take on board sixty adults. These will consist of the most extremely destitute cases, and sad, indeed, was their condition when mustered for inspection. The gentlemen forming the Woolwich Committee, however, have behaved most liberally towards the unfortunate people, all of whom appeared very thankful for the generosity exhibited towards them. Each emigrant will be supplied with a railway ticket franking them from Quebec (the port of debarcation) to Toronto. Next week, from 150 to 200 adults will be shipped in the Henry Cook, from Liverpool, and they will be speedily followed by about a similar number in the Ion, from London. By this means the severe distress at present existing in the neighbourhood of Woolwich will be partly alleviated…”

This explains how the Trewins ended up in Toronto for the two years before heading south to resettle in New Jersey. The July 22, 1857, entry of the Intelligencer informs as to how many individuals emigrated to that point under the umbrella of the Wellington Fund Emigration Committee’s efforts. From May 24 to July 17, 1857, the total number of “souls” was 1,097. Two hundred forty-eight of them had traveled on the Ion.

So this explains the circumstances under which the Trewins came to Canada. I don’t yet know what prompted them to leave Toronto and head south to New Jersey. More on the Trewins in the next post.

Categories: Crimean War, Quebec City, Quebec, The Ion, Toronto, Ontario, Trewin, Woolwich, Greater London | 5 Comments

Trewin Family of Woolwich, County of Kent

Not long ago, I discovered a little scrap of paper with a faded handwritten note in pencil tucked away with some old family papers: “Thomas and Mary Trewin and three children sailed from England to Quebec on the ship Ion on July 8, 1857.

The other side of the note provided a bit more information:”Were living in Woolwich, County of Kent at that time. Grandpa age 40, Grandma 38, Uncle Will 10 1/2″ I presumed that William referred to our great grandfather William Trewin.

Intrigued, I decided to dig around for some more information about this line of the family about which little was known.

One discovery was a biography about  William Trewin (1845-1916) which I came across in the Memorial Cyclopedia of New Jersey, Ed. Mary Depue Ogden, Vol. III, (Newark: Memorial History Company, 1917). It can be found at Internet Archives. From this bio I was able to learn not only that he had the amazing privilege of meeting Pres. Abraham Lincoln while serving for the Commissary Dept. during the Civil War, but also was able to confirm the details found in the handwritten note as to where in England he and his parents had come from and how and when they ended up in New Jersey.

As confirmed by the bio, William Trewin’s parents were Thomas J. Trewin and Mary Anne Phillips Trewin of Woolwich, England, which at the time of William’s birth (March 21, 1845) was located in the county of Kent. Today it is part of London. If the handwritten note is accurate, Thomas would have been born circa 1817 and Mary circa 1819. Thomas is described in the bio as “the builder and founder of one of the first Wesleyan Methodist chapels erected in London.” I tried to research that angle online, but have yet to find details connecting him to the construction of a Wesleyan Methodist chapel in London. The bio confirms that Thomas and Mary Anne Trewin moved their family to Canada in 1857. William would have been 12. They lived in Toronto and two years later resettled in New Jersey.

The names of William’s two other siblings I have from a genealogy passed down by family: Thomas and Emma. Emma married Francis C. Ludey. Together they had a daughter Mary Emma (Minnie). I do not have any information yet as to what happened to Thomas. Note: Of the two siblings, only Emma is mentioned in the bio as having survived William at the time of his death in 1916.

William was married first to Edith H. Fry, daughter of Judge Asa Fry of Jersey City. Together they had two sons, William Clarence Trewin and Albert Phillips Trewin. Some time after Edith passed away (1879), William married Miss Elizabeth Sargent, also of Jersey City. Together they had one daughter, Zillah.

More on the Trewins in the next post.

Categories: Jersey City, Hudson Co., Lincoln, President Abraham, Ludey, Quebec City, Quebec, Sargent, The Ion, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist, Woolwich, Greater London | Leave a comment

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