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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This ship foundered and was wrecked on Vatersay, Western Isles on 28th Sept 1853.
350 men women and children were lost in the wreck. She was an immigrant ship outward bound with what had to be the poorest family's at that time as they are alleged to be clearance family's.
Can anyone help or suggest where more detailed information about the vessel and its intended destination could be found?
Also if there is a general search site i can locate other wrecks on the Outer Isles, that would be helpful.
many thanks.

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349 Posts

Here's is the first report in The Times of Annie Jane's demise:

The Times
Sat, 08 Oct 1853
We regret to announce one of the most terrible catas-
trophes that has come under our notice for some
time,- the total loss of the ship Annie Jane, Mason
commander, belonging to Liverpool, which was driven
ashore on the iron-bound coast of Barra Island, during the
recent gales, on the night of Wednesday, the 28th ult.,
when no fewer than 348 passengers - men, women, and
children - met with a watery grave. Intelligence of the
disaster was first received at Lloyd's through a communica-
tion from the editor of the Shipping Gazette, who placed it at
the disposal of Captain Halstead, the secretary. The ad-
vices which had been forwarded from their agent at
Tobermory, and, subsequently, the report of the loss, were
confirmed by a telegraphic message from Liverpool. The
accounts, although somewhat brief, place the loss, it is
feared, almost beyond a doubt. The Annie Jane was a
large vessel, and sailed from Liverpool, for Quebec and Mon-
teal, on the 9th of last month, with some 450 emigrants,
most of them Irish families. It is presumed that she had
made some progress across the Atlantic, when she en-
countered the late fearful south-westerly gales, which dis-
abled her and rendered her unmanageable, and in that
hopeless condition she was driven back and dashed on the
terrible coast of Barra, one of the Hebrides. With a
point called Vatersay, where the wreck occurred, the
island is six miles in length and two and a-half broad,
and lies some five miles south-west of the next island,
Uist. The inhabitants are mostly employed in the cod-fish-
ing. There is a lighthouse on the head, which is the
highest in the united kingdom, being 680 feet above the
level of the sea. Such is the terrible character of the coast,
however, that there is little chance of a vessel being rescued
when once it is entangled among the reefs. Several of the
survivors contrived to get a passage from the island over to
Tobermory, a small seaport in the Isle of Mull, and from
them the authorities learned that 348 passengers were
drowned, and 102, with Mr. Bell, the chief officer, and 12 of
the crew, saved. A message states that the master,
Mr. Mason, was also preserved. The names of the passengers
who have arrived at Tobermory are John Kingston, county
of Cork; George, brother to the former; Timothy Dineur,
county of Cork; James Edmiston, county of Antrim;
Alexander M'Cormick, county of Armagh; Martha Tevau-
ning, county of Cork, and some French Canadians. The
crew are James Boyd, James Marshall, Charles Carroll,
of Bay Chaleur, Thomas Gemmel, Joseph Miller, Antonio
Ligett, Charles Burdon, James Wood, and Charles Bur-


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There is a subsequent report in The Times with more details on the loss. It's a little long to transcribe and post here - let me know if you'd like me to send you a copy. Here is another report with a list of the survivors.

The Times
Fri, 14 Oct 1853
The following is a list of the persons saved from the ship
Annie Jane, passengers and ship's company included:-

SAVED FROM the 1ST CABIN (8 persons)
Captain Mason
Francis Goold, surgeon
Lammert Van Buren
Jane Francois Cornu
Marc Ami
John Morgan
Wm. Anfield, steward
James Tailor, 2d steward

Cath. Stanley
Bridget Sullivan
William Kelly
Mary Kelly
Amelia Kelly
Thomas McCarthy
John O'Brien
Julia McCarthy and child
Mary Sheridan
James Grogan
John Kingston
Mary Clifford
John Clifford
Alex. Walker
Thomas Kavanagh
James Kelly
Martha Marrah
Mary J. Getty
Cath. Burt
Mary J. Crothens
Jane Farrell
Thomas Hawkins
Edward Donnelly
Rosina Nohen
Frederick Nohen
Patrick Kelly
Ellen Kelly
Timothy Donovan
Patrick Donnell
George Kingston
Patrick Shea
Alex. Allen
Matthew Toomey
George Lennox
Timothy Rogers
John Rogers
James Rogers
John Brooks
Abraham Brooks
Charles Smith
Donnell Frazer
William Frazer
John Parry
David Caullen
Corney Mahony
John Townsley
James Admonson
William Reynolds
Robert Walter
Edward Shanehan
Alexander McCormic
Walter Fannier
Matthew Hayes
John Macnamara
Agnes Mattison
William Shack
Rachel Barry
Margaret McCauley
Martin Donough.

CREW (33 sailors)
Tom Markham, 2d mate
William Lewis
William Moore
Tom Mason
Charles Lea
Tom Tillister
William Lancaster
Tom Nalcrow
Richard Stephens
Charles Burnock
James Sword
Christopher Kelly
Francis Welch
James Wood
Matthew Irwin
James Marshall
John Hutchinson
John Jackson
Charles Garret
James Allen
Edward Roberts
Charles Brown
Anthony Lizzard
Theordore Sherrett
Odu Simiez
Tom Berniez
Joe Dean
Joseph Miller
Archy Jameson
Edward Duray
Tom Gilbraith
James Boyd.

Total 102

In my quick searching, I didn't see a list of casualties but there may be one there somewhere (sadly, a rather long list if they managed to compile one).


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According to articles and letters in The Times, less than 4 weeks before she was wrecked, the Annie Jane, heading for Montreal, had to put back to Liverpool after losing her mizenmast and other spars. About 100 emigrants left the ship when she reached Liverpool (no doubt unsettled by the experience).

She refitted, took on six extra able seamen, and then set out for Montreal once again. On the 15th of Sept, in a gale, she lost her mainmast. The ship hove to, trying to reach her destination but, after losing all her upper spars, she became unmanageable. On Wed the 28th, she came in sight of Barra lighthouse and the Captain and crew struggled hard to get to windward of the island. As evening approached, it was clear that the island could not be weathered, so they headed the ship for a flat sandy beach. She struck about 12 midnight, was crushed by the huge breakers and broke up in 10 minutes.

I've temporarily saved some articles here:

The Annie Jane was a fine new Quebec-built ship of 1,294 tons, launched in May 1853. At the time of her loss, she was carrying 1,110 tons of cargo. It was her first and last voyage.


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Maybe Samdar. Although, as they say, you can't believe everything you read in the papers so the reports in The Times may not be completely accurate. I wonder how the ship might have fared if the Captain was not persuaded by that other captain, a passenger, to continue on when the main mast broke and they had headed back to Liverpool once again?


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What a tale this is.
The Annie Jane memorial on Vatersay is in danger from erosion and weathering.
I hope to draw attention to this memorial by telling the story again.
In the course of doing this I have discovered that, because they didnt have anywhere else to put them, 3 chinese stoker/firemen, who were killed by an exploding torpedo in the "Idomeneus", were put into the Annie Jane graves in 1917. The vessel was beached on Vatersay for temporary repairs and refloated.

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What a tale this is.
The Annie Jane memorial on Vatersay is in danger from erosion and weathering.
I hope to draw attention to this memorial by telling the story again.
In the course of doing this I have discovered that, because they didnt have anywhere else to put them, 3 chinese stoker/firemen, who were killed by an exploding torpedo in the "Idomeneus", were put into the Annie Jane graves in 1917. The vessel was beached on Vatersay for temporary repairs and refloated.
A message has been posted on Canmore about the erosion to the dunes and danger of remains being exposed.

I understood that two Chinese seamen were buried there, the other is said to be buried at Cille Bhrianain but little is known of the exact burial locations.


Date of Death:
Mercantile Marine

S.S. "Idomeneus."
Grave Reference:
Spec. Memorial.
Additional Information:
Alternative Commemoration - buried in Vatersay (Carragarie Point) Burial Ground.

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96 Posts
Report here on the loss

Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 14 March 1854


Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 27 June 1854

I get the impression that there was some uncertainty of the number of passengers. The newspaper reports talk of 400 to 500 passengers in steerage and the loss of about 300 human beings. It suggests that there might not be a full list of those lost.

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Something about the ANNIE JANE on STV tomorrow (available on Freesat outside Scotland)

HISTORY DO***ENTARY: The People's History Show
On: STV (03)
Date: Tuesday 1st November 2016 (starting in 2 days)
Time: 19:30 to 20:00 (30 minutes long)

Sarah Mack and Ashley Cowie have more tales from Scotland's past, including the stories of the Gorbals Vampire, Drumchapel Amateurs football club, the Battle of the Somme and the shipwreck of the Annie Jane.
(New, Stereo, Followed by Stv News Headlines, Widescreen, Subtitles)
Excerpt taken from DigiGuide - the world's best TV guide available from

Copyright © GipsyMedia Limited.
I went up to photograph the memorial because there are also a couple of Chinese seamen from the S.S. "Idomeneus." in WWI buried somewhere around there - the exact location is not known.


Another Chinese seaman from the vessel is also buried on Vatersay but again the exact location is not known.


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Hello everybody

I have decided to bring this post up to date as its gone full circle.
The original list of those who survived in the Times bears no resemblance to reality. Captain Mason struggled with the strong accents and the fact a lot of the emigrants could not write even their own names. Thanks to the original poster as the declaration that she was writing a book always spurred me on, though if I was to be honest I had no intention of writing anything when I first started researching.

The crew agreement is reproduced in the book along with the discharge do***ent, I think only two of the sailors could write their own names

Thanks to all ships nostalgia members who helped with some of the technical questions I posted on this site. There is an acknowledgement in the book which reflects that.

Some information had been held back till publication. I am putting the direct links on this post. If you could all have a look at it, as the crew details are there now and every scrap of information about the casualties and the survivors. As for the steerage passengers, I am still looking. If you know someone older who does not bother with the internet then take the list to them. The website will be updated with any new information.
The majority on the ‘Annie Jane’ were Irish followed by Scottish then English. The lists are now alphabetical except the families have been kept in the same order as in the original list; they seem to run from the oldest (head of the family) to the youngest.
The demographic is quite fascinating the average age for the seamen was 23, but given you started at sea in your early teens that would have been an experienced crew. The average age of the passengers found so far was 24; much lower than you would have thought. We have all the crew who drowned now except for one; an unnamed apprentice. Name, age, origin, register number for all deceased crew members. No list ever existed as the names of the dead crew were not given or requested by the press at the time. The unnamed apprentice was a last-minute replacement for one of the other apprentices, who did a runner after the first voyage. Same again. we now have: name, age, origin, register number for all crew members except one. Fascinating mix: French Canadian, Irish, English, Scottish and one American.

Steerage survivors All but nine of the survivor’s origins have been found. Thanks to a discovery by a researcher in Canada we were able to break the passengers up into family groups or if anyone was on a single ticket. The list now reflects that. Makes a lot more sense now. We now know who every one of the first class passengers were. Everyone but the mysterious John Morgan, to many hits on any search; surname to common. Was in Liverpool for the inquiry so may have been from there.

Main site is There is a contact page to get in touch with me with any new information.

Thanks for your patience and some special thanks again to all ship-nostalgia members.
Next stage of this odyssey is to find the grave site which has been lost. Vatersay is suffering from coastal erosion and an explosion of rabbits; we need to find and protect the grave site. Hoping with the raised profile through the publication of the book to get some sort of committee formed.

Ps: As for the Chinese sailors, The Isle of Vatersay was settled in the early 1900’s by people from Mingulay. They would have established their own grave site by that time. I don’t think the sailors would have been interred along the coast line or in the Annie Jane grave site. Probably they would have been interred in the cemetery which is still in use today.

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The book arrived last week, just thumbed through it so far but with being from Bolton I was interested in the story about the Rev Peter William Browne.

He and his wife were both born in Ireland, him about 1813. He died in 1861, married in 1855 and had at least five legitimate children. There is a marriage recorded of a Rev Peter Brown to a Mary Clifford in Bray in 1834 but don't know if it was him.

I have been through four or five of the newspaper reports on the affiliation case, they are all similar but have different amounts of detail. The Northern Whig seems the most comprehensive account. I went over the transcriptions on the BNA tidying them up.

There is a history of the Parish online on Lancashire OPC, he was Minister from 1846 until his death in 1861. He is buried in Carmel Cemetery, Dublin. No mention of his activities in the history.

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Thanks for your interest Martin

Funny you should be intrigued by this story, I was as well. To be honest I had a few fights to keep it in the book but I thought it said so much about the period and how the law was on the side of any one with a title; whether that be Mr or Reverend. The story of the emigrants on the Annie Jane was of working people being treated like dirt, with very few exceptions. This was another example, someone who got pregnant with a brief forceful encounter with a much older man, then is paid to disappear to the other side of the world with his child. Tricked into putting her mark on a statement absolving him of all responsibility, which she thought was a receipt.
Nowadays we would see her as the victim, but then it was very much the respectable clergyman who was seen as victimised.

Thanks for the information about him that is very interesting, explains what he was doing in Dublin, I did wonder about that? I did not have time to research him as I was more concerned with researching the passengers who were aboard, trying to find the origins of them all.

Regards Allan
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