Jane Cawley Murphy recalls her late husband Paddy Murphy’s ancestors Bernard and Rose who survived the wreck of the Hannah and started new lives in Westport, Ontario.
Exterior shot of cemetery with close up of headstone, inscribed on which is written: “Bernard Murphy. 1847-1919. His Wife Ellen Bennett. 1857-1942. “Murphy” is inscribed on the base of the grave stone. A woman with short grey hair and a light green shirt and dark trousers is standing beside the grave with her right hand resting on the cross on top of it, facing the camera. She is holding a pair of glasses in her left hand. Other grave stones, green grass, and trees in leaf visible in background.
Hello. My name is Jane Cawley Murphy.
We are here in St Edward’s Cemetery in Westport, Ontario. And I am standing at the tombstone of my late husband’s great grandfather, Barney Murphy. Barney Murphy, along with his family – his mother, Bridget Mary McParland; his father, John Murphy, his sister Rose, his other sister Catherine, and a brother Patrick, and twin brothers – were fleeing the Famine in Ireland in 1849.
They boarded a ship called The Hannah, at Warrenpoint from north Armagh, and they set sail.
It was quite a story about the actual condition of the ship, as of all of the ships that came during the Famine. It was not what you would call a luxury liner.
However, they did arrive at the mouth of the St Lawrence.
Unfortunately, they hit an ice flow.
Fade in of colour painting of two masted sailing ship with bow stricken on ice berg, and numerous people visible having left ship standing nearby on ice.A lifeboat with one person in it can be seen in the left foreground moving away from the ship in rough seas. Two ice flows in left and right foreground, with stormy sky in background. Caption: “The Wreck of the Hannah” at bottom of screen.
The ship was sinking. They got off.
Shot returns to Jane Cawley Murphy
put his two sons on an ice flow, and they floated away, and he never saw them again.
Rose was so traumatized by this experience that she never spoke until she was three or four years old.
Barney was two years old, and he was plucked out of the water by a lady called Mrs Henry Grant, a McEwen woman. She had lost all her four children, and thought that Barney was hers. She plucked him out, and saved his life.
Now ten or twelve of these families all settled here on the mountain in Westport, Ontario. There are some descendants still living here.
Now this story we heard for the first time, my husband and I, the week of our wedding back in 1962, and we were very taken by it.
My husband had a burning desire to do research, to go to Ireland, to find out what was all this about. Fortunately, he was able to meet up with a cousin, John Arthur Donnelly, and a lot of the blanks were filled in then.
My husband Paddy wanted to pass this on to his children, and as a result they now know the story of their Irish ancestors on the Murphy side.
Final image of water, with onscreen Ireland Park Foundation logo. Celtic style music playing.