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Gross Ile: The rededication of the Celtic Cross memorial to those who died in the Great Hunger

The ghosts of Grosse Ile

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Gross Ile: The rededication of the Celtic Cross memorial to those who died in the Great Hunger

Toronto’s Ireland Park now serves as a memorial site for the Famine Irish. The park features Rowan Gillespie’s “The Arrival” sculptures, a response to his “Departure” figures that stand on the Liffey quayside in Dublin and depict Irish men, women and children waiting to leave Ireland on ships. The Ireland Park figures are just west of Reese’s Wharf where the immigrants landed and south of where the fever sheds were built.

The park also includes a limestone memorial engraved with the names of those Irish immigrants who died in Toronto in 1847. Of the 1,100 victims, 675 names have been recovered so far.

 

While the number of deaths at sea and burials at Grosse Île are vast, and the young ages of many of the victims are heartbreaking, the presence of marriage and baptism records make tangible the sense of hope that immigrants felt upon their arrival in North America.

Ellen Keane was the first person to die in quarantine on Grosse Île in the summer of 1847. She was four years and three months old. She was brought ashore on May 15 from the ship The Syria and died the same day. Within the week 16 others followed Ellen in death: Nancy Riley, 24; Thomas Coner, 40; Edward Ryley, 30; Ellen Murtilly, 50; Ellen Murtilly, 46; John Colville, 84; James Managin, 55; Patrick Fagan, 13; Patrick Jordan, 8; Mary Mark, 2; Eliza Whalen, 3: Ann Hooper, 10; Thers. Hooper, 5; Thomas Bennet, 4; John Whalen, 4; and Brid. Monaghan, 3.
Between 1832 and 1937, Grosse Île’s term of operation, the official register lists 7,480 burials on the island. In 1847 alone, 5,424 burials took place, the majority for Irish immigrants. The following is a list of some of those who died in 1847 and were buried in mass graves on the island.

Burials at Grosse-Île: 1847

Name    Age    Date of Death    County of Origin

Allen, David    57    9/16/1847    Sligo
Anderson, John    4 mos.    9/6/1847    Fermanagh
Anderson, Frances    20    9/1/1847    Fermanagh
Anderson, James    5      6/16/1847   
Ansley, Ann    76    6/6/1847    Armagh
Armstrong, Ann    4    5/29/1847    Fermanagh
Armstrong, John    1    5/23/1847    Cavan
Austin, Hamilton        5/27/1847    Antrim
Bailey, Eliza    3    6/6/1847    Tyrone
Baker, Mary        7/1/1847
Barnes, Jane    30    6/12/1847    Armagh
Barron, John    5    6/6/1847    Armagh
Barron, Robert    7    6/14/1847    Armagh
Benson, John    45    5/26/1847    Kilkenny
Blakely, William    5 mos.     6/5/1847    Fermanagh
Blank, William    24    6/28/1847    Tyrone
Bradshaw, Margaret     25    6/13/1847    Antrim
Brady, Joseph    40    8/23/1847    Monaghan
Brierly, Edward    45    7/5/1847    Cavan
Bryan, Judith    6    5/14/1847    Tipperary
Byrne, Thomas    26    5/26/1847    Mayo
Campbell, James    3    6/5/1847    Fermanagh
Clark, Mary    22    9/24/1847    Wicklow
Clarke, James    35    9/2/1847    Wicklow
Cootes, Margaret    33    8/24/1847    Cavan
Corbit, Lucinda    18    9/22/1847    Tyrone
Corrigan, Irvine    5    6/18/1847    Fermanagh
Corrigan, James    22    6/8/1847    Fermanagh
Davis, John    50    5/31/1847       
Delanay, Henry    15    9/5/1847    Wicklow
Dodson, William    19    7/5/1847    Cavan
Douglas, Thomas    7    6/7/1847    Tipperary
Drumm, John James     6    6/16/1847    Castle Knokles
Earl, Edward    30    9/15/1847    Wexford
Elliot, Andrew    50    6/6/1847    Donegal
Fannen, Margaret    11 mos.     5/20/1847    Dublin
Farley, Francis    8 mos.    6/2/1847    Monaghan
Farren, Eliza    19    5/22/1847    Donegal
Finlay, Margaret    18    8/23/1847    Monaghan
Gallaway, Margaret     2 year     6/1/1847    Antrim
Gault, Margaret    11    6/2/1847    Monaghan
Gilmour, John    34    8/20/1847    Armagh
Hawthom, John    54    6/2/1847    Armagh
Hayes, William    41    8/30/1847    Tipperary
Henry, James    2    5/29/1847    Monaghan
Hill, Francis     20    9/2/1847    Cavan
Hungerford, Francis     13 mos.    5/20/1847    Cork
Jameson, Eliza Ann     12    6/30/1847    Armagh
Kane, Ellen    4    5/15/1847    Mayo
Kennedy, Margaret     3    5/28/1847    Fermanagh
Kerr, Marianne    42    8/20/1847    Cavan
Kerr, Samuel    50    6/4/1847    Down
Lee, Ann    22    9/10/1847    Cavan
Lindsay, Ann    20    8/18/1847    Sligo
Macpherson, Ellen    1    5/21/1847    Armagh
McCall, John    15    9/2/1847    Monaghan
McComb, William    7 mos.     5/29/1847    Down   
McMullen, Rosanna     9    9/4/1847    Louth   
O’Hare, Sarah    48    9/14/1847    Tyrone   
O’Reilly, Edward    30    5/18/1847    Fermanagh
Orr, Dorothy    11    9/16/1847    Tyrone
Patterson, Thomas    15    8/29/1847    Cavan
Prestage, Elle    2    5/30/1847    Wicklow
Purcell, Alexander     2    5/21/1847    Dublin   
Reid, Elisa    5    6/7/1847    Roscommon
Reynolds, Margaret     6    6/2/1847    Antrim
Rice, Elizabeth    55    6/7/1847    Antrim
Robbs, Eliza    12    6/15/1847    Tyrone
Scott, George    31    9/9/1847    Cavan
Scott, Robert    28    7/5/1847    Cavan
Skews, John    1    6/1/1847    Cork
Soolivan, Margaret     30    5/15/1847    Tipperary
Sweedy, Robert    34    9/1/1847    Down
Tremble, Joseph    25    9/10/1847    Tyrone
Walker, James    5    5/31/1847    Armagh
Wilson, Mary    54    6/4/1847    Armagh
Wright, Margaret    5    6/3/1847    Cavan

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