Professor Mark McGowan on the search for Patrick Cox
Interior shot. Bearded man with greying hair, dark blue windbreaker and trousers, speaking to camera in a one story wooden building with a sloping roof, with rows of wooden beds and windows visible behind him.
Mark McGowan from Department of History at the University of Toronto. I am here at Grosse Île and I am inside one of the lazarettos that was built in 1847 to house the very ill Famine migrants, mostly from Ireland.
It was here that one of the young men who had been a tenant on Denis Mahon’s estate in Strokestown – a young lad by the name of Patrick Cox – was found to be infected on board ship, and was taken here for his recovery.
One of the reasons why we know this was because his mother and siblings – the widow Cox – moved into the Canadian interior. In the summer of 1847 she placed an advertisement
Advertisement with “Information Wanted. Of Patrick Cox, late of Strokestown…” flashes up on screen. Caption “Hamilton Gazette, September 27, 1847” at bottom of screen.
in a local Hamilton newspaper wanting to know if anyone had any information with regard to her son Patrick, who had been left here under the care of Dr Douglas at Grosse Île.
Now it is very difficult to determine whether or not she and her son Patrick were ever united because there were two Widow Coxes that set sail with the 274 families from Strokestown in County Roscommon.
There is a Patrick Cox who is listed here at Grosse Île as having been deceased, but no age is given. We knew that this Patrick Cox was a teenager.
But in the 1851 census for Hamilton we do find Mrs Cox, and we do find a teenage son Patrick. So we may also assume that the young Patrick Cox who lay in one of the buildings very much like this did recover and was sent by Canadian emigration authorities inland and rejoined his mother and siblings thousands of kilometres away in Hamilton, Canada West.
Final image of water with onscreen Ireland Park Foundation logo. Celtic style music playing.