Tag Archives: Alfred D. Snow

UPDATES: ‘Blood,’ ‘Snow’ and the Irish Proclamation

I want to update three blogs from earlier this year. Links are provided to the original post. It’s also a good time for me to say, “Thanks for reading!”

Thanks for repairing ‘Deed of Blood’

In May, I wrote about finding the missing passages of a 19th century political pamphlet, “A Deed of Blood,” which had been cut from the text of a copy I borrowed from the University of Notre Dame. I received a nice note from Therese C. Bauters, supervisor of Interlibrary Lending Services, at ND’s Hesburgh Library:

I received your return of “Deed of Blood” and thank you for your good will in sending us the missing pages (cut out).  Why anyone would ruin material is always beyond my understanding. The Notre Dame Libraries appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending the information to complete this title.  We will have it prepared and bound together.

Cover of the 1888 pamphlet.

Cover of the 1888 pamphlet.

More on ‘Alfred D. Snow’ crew list

In March, I wrote about the wreck of the ship “Alfred D. Snow” near the Wexford coast in 1888, based on my review of U.S. consulate in Ireland records at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. The Cork consulate’s documentation included a list of the 28 missing crew. Later reporting contains several discrepancies in the men’s names, including the lone Irishman aboard the ill-fated ship. I reached out to John Power, author of “A Maritime History of County Wexford.”

“The receiver of wrecks in Wexford at the time was William Coghlan and the Lloyds agent was Jasper Welsh. The two were very intelligent in collecting information because they visited every shipwreck around the Wexford coast [in those] days. They would have supplied the report to the local People newspaper.

Power sent me a clipping from the newspaper, published three weeks after the tragedy, with “the correct list of the crew,” including “Michl. O’Sullivan, a native of Ireland, aged 38.” The crew list in the consulate’s records, which is undated, shows the Irishman as “Thos Lloyd” (or Floyd) of “Ireland England.”


Crew list from 'Alfred D. Snow' at U.S. consulate office in Cork, 1888.

Crew list from ‘Alfred D. Snow’ at U.S. consulate office in Cork, 1888. The Irishman is the last name on the bottom image.

Irish American Partnership and ‘Proclamation Day’

In January, I heard former Irish President Mary Robinson speak at the fourth annual Nollaig na mBan breakfast in Washington, D.C.  The event is sponsored by The Irish American Partnership, which distributed copies of the 1916 Irish Proclamation to the guests. As part of the nation’s centennial commemoration, the Irish government and national school system encouraged students to “write a proclamation for a new generation.”

In its “1916 Commemoration Report,” released in April, the Partnership reports that $12,000 was raised at the breakfast for Ireland’s first presidential library, appropriately honoring the Republic’s first woman president–Robinson. It also reproduces two of the student proclamations, one from the Tarbert National School in North Kerry. This  is six miles from where my maternal grandmother lived until her emigration four years before the Easter Rising. The Tarbert students wrote, in part:

…we shall undertake the responsibility to keep our rivers, lakes and coastline unpolluted. … We wish to promote and preserve the Irish language throughout all the counties of Ireland. We treasure our history and culture, our myths and legends, our poets and musicians, our Irish dancing and Gaelic games.

Former Irish President Mary Robinson gave the keynote speech at the fourth annual Nollaig na mBan hosted by the Irish American Partnership. The event celebrates Irish and Irish-American female leaders and the positive impact they have worldwide.

Former Irish President Mary Robinson gave the keynote speech at the fourth annual Nollaig na mBan hosted by the Irish American Partnership. The event raised $12,000 for her presidential library.



Wreck of the ‘Alfred D. Snow’ near Wexford, 1888

Sometimes discovering a pearl that you are not looking for can be as exciting as finding the diamond you were searching out; regardless if others have touched it earlier.

I’ve been reviewing U.S. consulate in Ireland records for my ongoing research on the murder of John Foran and other “agrarian outrages” of the late 19th century Land War period. Both paper and microfilm records from consulate offices in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Belfast are stored at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

During a recent review, I read letters and other documents related to the 4 January 1888 wreck of the “Alfred D. Snow” in the Irish Channel near County Wexford. The three-masted wooden ship was sailing with a cargo of wheat to Liverpool, England, from San Francisco on the U.S. west coast. The grain originally came from Australia.

The ship had just turned northward in St. George’s Channel when it encountered a gale, ran aground and broke apart near the entrance of Wexford Harbor. Capt. William J. Willey and his crew of 28 men scrambled to their lifeboats but were drowned in the churning sea.

A registry of the dead sent to the consul office at Cork shows the crew were from Russia, Norway, Germany and one Irishman, Thomas Lloyd. The Waterford Harbour Tides and Tales Blog, which offers a fine account of the wreck (with images), identifies the Irishman as Michael O’Sullivan. Other crew were from New York, Delaware, Illinois and Maine, including Capt. Willey.

His body was shipped home to Thomaston, Maine, in a brandy-filled lead casket, while other bodies that eventually washed ashore were buried locally. The New Ross Poor Law Union contacted the consul office for reimbursement, including whiskey for those involved in washing and “coffining” the corpses. The U.S. State Department approved the expenditures, as reported by Bernadette Whelan in her excellent book, “American Government in Ireland, 1790-1913: A History of the U.S. Consular Service.”

Here’s another blog post about the wreck.

A traditional Irish folk air was written in 1890 to memorialize the “Alfred D. Snow.”  The song begins:

Of shipwrecks and disasters we’ve read and seen a deal
But now the coast of Wexford must tell a dreadful tale
On the 4th day of January the wind in a gale did blow
And four and twenty hands were lost of the Alfred D. Snow

From the port of San Francisco she sailed across the main
Bound for the port of Liverpool her cargo it was grain
On a happy day she sailed away to cross the stormy foam
There’s not a soul alive today to bring the tidings home

The Wexford Song Project blog has the full lyrics. According to the website, timber from the wreck was auctioned off for other uses, including the bar counter and shelving of the Strand Tavern in Duncannon.