logoManx Emigration 1826-1830


A paper presented at BSPS Conference Dublin 6-8 Sep 1999 by F.Coakley 




That the Manx have long moved away from constraints at home is well attested. To quote from Spenser Walpole Land of Home Rule 1

The Manx Legislature had, indeed, placed special difficulties on the emigration of the Manx people. One of the earliest laws in the Statute Book had directed that no one born and resident in the Island should leave it without the Governor's license and had branded disobedience to the law as felony. In 1655 the law was strengthened, "and it was ordered that whosoever shall transport any men or women servants out of the Isle without special license first had and procured from the Governor . . . shall forfeit and be proceeded against in the strictest and severest manner that by law shall or may be instituted for every tyme offendinge." But even this Act was not found stringent enough. The Governor's pass was too easily procurable; and the Legislature in 1715 had to confess that " the servants of this Island, both men and women, as soon as they attain the age of sixteen or seventeen years, and fit to serve in the country, do, under the notion of necessity or other pretence, obtain license, and serve their whole lives in other countrys . . . whereby this island is no better than a nursery for other places, and the useful servants going off, and but a few left, besides such depraved, useless, or inactive people' who are rather a burden than any real service to the Island, upon which will inevitably ensue the utter decay, not only of husbandry and tillage, but also of all kinds of trade."

Very little detailed study has been done on most aspects of Manx emigration. Moore in his History of the Isle of Man2 gave a little of the economic background; Craine3 gives a readable account of 17th emigration to the West Indies (but unsupported by documentation) and Kinvig4 in 1954 reported on Manx Settlement in the USA giving an excellent, though brief, survey of the 19th mass migration. An overview of these strands is given by R.Forster5 in which he splits emigration into a number of phases - that covered here is the economic migration to North America (especially to Ohio,USA) from 1826 onwards, later, though smaller, migrations were to Australia, New Zealand and Canada from the mid 1850's onwards.

Economic/Political Background

Mann's key geographical position in the middle of the Irish Sea would always guarantee that it would be controlled by its larger neighbours. After some three centuries of Norse rule during which 'Man and the Isles' paid homage to Norway it was ceded to the Scots in 1266 after the Battle of Largs6. During the next century or so it was controlled by the Scots but with increasing English interference and disputed ownership before it fell into the English camp. In 1405 Henry II gave the Kingdom of Man to Sir John Stanley whose descendants ran it rather as a Lancashire colony until 1735 after which it passed to the Scottish Atholl family. It should be noted however that although the Earls of Derby abjured the title King preferring 'Lord of Man', the Island was independent of the English Crown. By the end of the 17th century Mann had begun to be a base for the 'running trade' in which goods which would bear a high English (Irish or Scots) duty were imported, legally, into the Island with a very low duty. These goods were then run, at night, to the nearby coasts thus evading customs duties. The amount lost to the English Treasury became so great that they forced the sale, for £65,000, of the Regalities back to the English crown - this was the revestment of 1765 which over the next few years put an end to the running trade which had become immensely profitable for some merchant families (eg. the Moores and Quayles) as well as giving the Athol Lord an easy income. It had, it was claimed, 'sapped moral strength' with the result that Island had sunk into a drunken stupor (that at least was the view of the Methodist preachers)- certainly capital investment had gone into mercantile pursuits until after 1765 when the rich local merchant classes tended to re-invest in their land (the non-Manx merchants having left the Island - a few in a great hurry thinking that they were to be imprisoned). Political control then passed to London undoing the limited amount of local control wrested from the first Athol Lord of Man from 1736 - all monies raised on the Island went back to the British Treasury who had to approve every item of capital spending - certainly harbour facilities, of great importance for the Manx who generally combined the roles of seasonal fishermen for herring with small scale farming, were allowed to deteriorate. Lack of duties, a cheaper cost of living but more importantly the passing of a law that did not allow seizure for debts contracted out of the Island saw the Island become the notorious haunt of debtors and easy money. The fourth Duke of Athol, believing his parents had been induced to sell the regalities much too cheaply, forced the British Government to hold a number of inquiries. The Island authorities strenuously opposed his attempts which in 1792 led to the visit of 5 commissioners who produced a very valuable report on the then economic state of the Island. The report backed the Duke's contention that the original purchase price was too low but pointed out that most of the revenues were due to smuggling activities. As a sop to the Duke the British Government offered him the post of Captain-General and Governor. Initially he was welcomed, possibly in the belief that he would rest satisfied and not push his claims any further. However he continued to push his claims and quickly lost any popularity with the native Manx. as Train7 (a fellow Scot writing in the 1830's) puts it " the maintenance of his private rights, by the exercise of his power as governor, in appointing to all the different departments, to which either his patronage or: influence could extend, persons connected with or depending on his family, generally to the exclusion of the natives, furnished a theme of jealousy and indignation for the islanders at large" or as the Manx had it "Murrays, Murrays everywhere".

There quickly arose a divide between most of the Manx, led, it must be admitted, by a self-elected and increasingly conservative House of Keys, who opposed the 'grasping Murrays' and the non-Manx immigrants who appreciated the Duke's attempt to modernise the Island. His good connection with London saw more investment come to the Island (e.g. the building of a much needed new pier at Douglas in 1795). The Napoleonic wars saw large numbers of Manx join the British Navy (many unwillingly via the press gang) and the increased prices obtained for agricultural produce encouraged many immigrant farmers from England and Scotland who showed that Manx farms could be considerably more productive. The end of the Napoleonic wars saw wages in decline as more men became available from the services. The British Government unconsciously added to the misery by founding modern fishing stations in Ireland and the West Coast of Scotland8 - these competed all too successfully with the Manx to give decreasing yields from the Herring fishery though the decline in the industry is dated from 1823 - it was not until later in the century that the Manx injected more capital into their fishing fleet and recovered back a major industry until over-fishing destroyed it. The 'greed' of the Duke of Atholl and his young nephew the Bishop in raising rents and especially the latter's insensitive attempt to extract £6,000 pa from the tithes (including an attempted tithe on potatoes) in the 1820's added to the misery. These provoked riots9 at the end of 1825 and the departure of both Bishop and Duke by 1828. It is possible that the increase in population had pushed the cultivation of unsuitable land - the old quarterland boundaries were almost entirely below 600' but McCulloch in 1815 noted what he thought was unsuitable high ground was being cultivated - certainly the enclosure acts of the 1860's destroyed the basis of many small upland farms and led to yet more emigration.


Although the Athols who inherited the Lordship of Man in 1736 had got off to a good start in the appointment of Bishop Hildesley who oversaw the translation of the Bible into Manx, subsequent Bishops were of much lower calibre and the church sank in esteem. Hildesley's successor Richmond, 1773-80, was much disliked by his clergy and under him church discipline rapidly failed; he was also strong in opposition to the rapidly growing Methodists. Bishop Mason who followed him was also strongly opposed but died suddenly after a short three years in office. The next 29 years were under Bishop Crigan, supposedly appointed as a stopgap whilst the Duchess of Athol waited for her son, Lord George Murray, to reach the canonical age for appointment as Bishop (yet more Murray nepotism) - after a brief period as Archdeacon of Man, Murray was given St Davids but died in 1803. Crigan's health suddenly improved on the Island and although a pleasant and well liked person he made no impact and the church drifted - his task was certainly not eased by the constant strife between his patron the Duke of Athol and the House of Keys.

The first Methodist preacher arrived in 1758 but decided there was little probability of doing any considerable good while the whole island was a nest of smugglers. It was left to John Crook, sent by Liverpool Methodists in 1775, to have any real effect. His second visit in 1776 provoked some decided opposition, especially from Bishop Richmond who issued, in Moore's words an intolerant and violent pastoral letter to the clergy demanding that they expel any Methodists from their parish. However several of the clergy, and the Governor were more friendly towards him. In 1778 the Island was entered as a separate circuit. Within 8 years it had reached some 2,000 members - assuming that membership was restricted (as it should be) to those over 14 then around 1 in 10 of the adult population was a member. By 1798 the reported membership was over 4,500 which if true meant that 1 in 5 adults.were members - however after this peak, possibly caused by panic over invasion scares etc the numbers dropped back to just under 3000 in 1815 before the north reported a gradual decline. As a comparison the London circuit (the largest) had 2,950 members at Wesley's death in 1791.

Pressures to emigrate

Hence as the 1820's started small farmers were economically pressed on two sides - increased tithes and rents together with lower earnings from the fishing (though this appears to have become significant post 1823); the Manx also felt alienated from the governance of the Island as the Murray's inserted placemen into every possible position and all capital spending required them to go begging to London to spend what they saw as their surplus customs revenue. The rapid raise of Methodism had, if not removed, then at least given an alternative to any spiritual leadership from an increasingly ignored Bishop but who, together with his Archdeacon, was a member of the legislative council and controlled the staffing of the parochial schools. The language was also under pressure - four centuries of English rule had not wiped out Manx though by the start of the 19th century many 'go-ahead' and more anglicized Manx were eschewing the language for English, though Rev Hugh Stowell writing in 1809, in support of a proposed SPCK reprint of the Manx Bible said that two thirds of the population read, speak and understand Manx much better than English and that third of the population spoke only Manx... William Kinnish, who himself emigrated in 1848, published in Manx in 1844 as part of Mona's Isle and other poems, but written earlier, "Dobberan Chengey ny Mayrey Ellan Vannin." or "The Lament of the Mother Tongue" - (the quote is W H. Gill's poetic translation of 1913):

"But now up every hill and glen,
On Cardle Vooar, in Tholt-e-will,
Come companies of Englishmen,
Their multitudes increasing still.

"From Jurby southward to the Sound,
Mad as the beasts the croghan stings,
The Manxmen a strange taste have found
For English words and English things.

"As never their forefathers used,
Who loved their land and cherished me,
And in their wisdom still refused
The stranger’s gold and flattery.

"Ah! would that those who yet remain
Of loyal heart and loyal speech
Would rise upon the Saxon strain,
And drive them seaward from the beach

Start of Emigration to Ohio

Kinvig quotes 1821/2 as the earliest precise date with William Corkill (+ family) of Ramsey emigrating, via Liverpool, to Steubenville on the River Ohio where an uncle already had land. Moore, writing in 1900, dates the start of the mass emigration from 1825 - an article10 written in 1913 by a second-generation Manx emigrant, Wm Kerruish, of Cleveland confirms this stating that it was due to reports by a Dr Harrison, a soldier/adventurer and brother to the Rev J.E. Harrison of Jurby, who visited the southern side of Lake Eire in 1812 and on his return to the Island passed on glowing reports. These reports coupled with the declining economic situation persuaded many, especially from the Northern parishes to emigrate - " In 1825 and 1826 a few families came, and in 1827 a hundred and upwards came ".

On February 15th 1827, prior to the mass migration of that year, the arch conservative Manx Sun could write

We have of late received such intelligence from the United States, respecting the success of such of our countrymen as have emigrated thither, that we feel much disposed to give the subject a consideration which we little thought at first it should have deserved. It appeared to us possible, as it did to several of our friends, that it was but a doubtful speculation for persons to sell small properties in this country, and take their departure for a better soil and a better climate. In this little island it would seem at the first view, that great conveniences were found, that it abounded in more of the accommodations of a desirable residence than merely a freedom from taxation. These accommodations, however, are experienced mostly by those who could purchase their comforts elsewhere, and have nothing whatever to do with those classes of men who are of a lower grade, and whose fortune in any country will ever depend on their own corporal exertions, whether of agricultural labour or mechanical employ.

It was indeed the sellers of these small properties that formed the backbone of the first wave of emigrants.

The 1820's thus saw a significant migration from the Northern parishes and the establishment of significant Manx speaking communities in Ohio - exact figures are not available as early American censuses did not ask about nationality, however Cleveland city censuses for 1846 and 1848 give 95 and 148 Manx-born (most Manx settled just outside of Cleveland in Newburgh and Warrensville) - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History11 has "eventually there were over 3000 Manx and their descendants, bound by their own Gaelic language, which they used almost exclusively with each other, and in their religious services" .It was the use of Manx that gave them a reputation for 'clannishness' and allowed Kinvig, writing in 1954, to speak of an 'unmixed descent to the present day, when the sixth generation has been reached'.

Emigration continued, though possibly on a lesser scale, during the 1830's - the Primitive Methodists in their report to Conference in July 1837 reported "we have lost this year thirty eight members [out of 750] by removals to England, America and elsewhere.". From then on the Manx Press carried regular reports of groups, generally from the Northern parishes, migrating to join relatives in Ohio. There was also a brief flurry of Mormon inspired emigration in the early 1840's but that is a different story.

As mentioned earlier Wesleyan Methodism had established strong roots amongst these small farmers of the North (e.g. Thomas Kelly was a trustee of Sandygate chapel and two Local Preachers were among the early emigrants) and, although there was no legal obstruction on the Island, it would appear that the freedom to practise, but more likely the possibility to educate their children, without having to support an established church played a significant part in the decision of these early settlers. All the early letters back emphasise the religious aspects and one of the first acts of the Corletts was to establish a school on their farm. There would appear to have been discussion of emigration prior to 1826 when William Tear and family emigrated to Ohio - fortunately we have an account by him and his son12, as well as several of his letters back home that were printed in the newspapers.

William Tear was 40 when he emigrated with wife, six children and his widower father, on the manifest of the Amelia he is described as 'fisherman' though he combined this with farming, as did most Manx small farmers. Possibly he thought that his familiarity with the sea might be an advantage on the voyage - in accounts of other voyages mention is often made of the Manx emigrants being specially requested to help run the ship. He was accompanied by the slightly younger family of his wife's first cousin (also described as 'fisherman') and their three (possibly four as babes-in-arms did not appear to be counted on this manifest). This leads to one important point as to how one classifies this extended family group - obviously within a small parish (Ballaugh had a population of 1,467 and Jurby 1,108 in 1821) many emigrants would be related to each other which may or not have affected their decision to emigrate - the later large group emigrations of 1827 included many related families. However one month later William was joined by his bother Patrick and two families of his wife's sisters (a total of 13) - apparently some family dispute delayed their sailing together. Although on the manifest two families were identified as from the Isle of Man (generally a rare occurrence - most Manx being classified as 'English') Patrick Tear was marked as 'Irish' - one suspects his broad Manx accent for 'Island' was easily misheard. In many of the later manifests it is only the characteristic Manx names (generally misspelled) that identifies them as Manx - however the Manx tendency to 'recycle' first names means that identification of emigrants travelling alone is very difficult and even married couples cannot be immediately identified.

The letters that William Tear sent back to the Island seem to have had a significant impact- his son, Thomas, records12:

After father got here, [he] wrote back describing the state of things here and wrote repeatedly. It was father's letters, that I always heard spoken of as stirring the people up there so much. It seems there was almost a panic the next year, by a middle class going to America. It was supposed here to have been largely from the fact, that a man could get, a bushel of wheat for a day's work, In the harvest. While there, he could get about a peck of potatoes (for an English sixpence and board). People, It was said would come from far and near to hear father's letters read. Once a company had gathered, a man took the letter and got up on top of a sod hedge, and read it for the crowd.

The middle class were the small farmers (i.e. around 30-50 acres), in particular those from Ballaugh in the north west where generally profitable farms had been created from the late 17th century by the drainage of the Curragh (or bog).

These letters arrived on the Island in January 1827 - that year saw a large number of emigrants leave at the end of May. Possibly three months was enough for some to decide to emigrate and make the necessary preparations but for small farmers who needed to sell farms and obtain cash (specie was in short supply on the Island) I doubt would be sufficient. Such doubts are fuelled by the mention of letters from the Island requesting information be sent back. What William Tear and his relatives did was to establish the route and also the final destination. Re the choice of Cleveland Thomas Tear recalls

A man from Ohio came along inquiring of the passengers, if any of them wanted to buy land. This man was Ellakim Field, the builder of the old Concord Furnace. He was on his way to New York to contract pig Iron, also engage a man (who was the late Jonathon Stickney).to run his furnace he had just built. My father took his address, and afterwards bought the land on which I now live. He led us to come to this place.

Thomas also records that they paid 50% over the going rate!

The choice of route was also fortuitous - William had gone to Liverpool intending to catch a boat to New Orleans and then make their way up the Missouri - however whilst waiting for the boat in Liverpool they learnt that the Ohio canal had opened and they could travel more conveniently via New York. This information was quickly relied back (presumably even before they left Liverpool otherwise his brother would not have chosen the same route). Other key information was what to bring (tools, seeds etc), where to change money and most importantly some indication of the costs so that others could determine what to pay - certainly by the early 1840's unscrupulous Yankees (and their Liverpool equivalents) were fleecing ignorant immigrants from the moment they set foot in Liverpool.

Several description of the journey to this 'promised land' exist - e.g. those by Thomas Tear and W Corlett but the best known is that supposedly given by Thomas Kelly13 who, with his family and others, emigrated in July 1827 a little after the three larger parties forming the main subject of this paper.. 'Supposedly' as I am confident, as are many others, that much of it is a mid 20th century fabrication, by a descendant, based on a very skimpy manuscript account and note of costs. The' Diary' surfaced in 1937 and was published to significant acclaim in the IoM Examiner - sufficiently so for it to be reprinted in booklet form and again in 196514; a typescript copy of a much shorter account also arrived at the Manx Museum [MM MS 5200 C] but the original manuscript can no longer be located in the USA.. However certain features (and the absence of any information that is not readily available in guide books) convince me that whilst the typescript account is very likely genuine the 'diary' is mostly invention in which certain key dates have even been tampered with. The first of these is the date of leaving the Island - July 5th (old Mid summer day) is Tynwald day when it was customary to read out any new Laws from Tynwald Hill and later to celebrate with a fair. The 'account' has Thomas Kelly leaving before this day (I believe in order to catch a sailing packet that ran only on alternate days) but the diary makes a large play of his attendance at Tynwald (which by the 1930's was seen as a major component of Manx nationhood) - however in 1827 I believe he would be sufficiently alienated from the Athol (and English) dominated government to ignore the event - his Methodist principles would also go against attendance at a drunken fair. The emotions put into his mouth re the Island in this 'diary' are at strong variance with those expressed in one of his letters reprinted in the Manx press [Manx Sun 18 March 1828].

" The works of the Lord go on here as well as on the Island. There is a great revival of religion in the Township of Concord, they have preachers almost every night, and sometimes to the number of 10 and 12 experience religion at a time: the flying angel spreads the gospel every where and well we may call it glad tidings of great joy. You that is covetous and want to hoard up money and grind the face of the poor, or sell them for a pair of shoes, do not come here, there is no room here for such people.


The best ladies in the village come to our house and their silk gowns and veils on and they will sit and talk for hours; dress yourself as you have a mind to and there is no "hallos to the gown noa ec e vogh shid" in this place"

(i.e. social classes mixed as opposed to the Island).

The introduction by the editor of the arch conservative Manx Sun is also worth quoting

" We willingly insert this letter, as it contains much needed local information, and written in a style that is likely to take with the writer's friends. He recommends his friend when he writes to employ a good scholar to write for him as the letter would run the gauntlet of the American village, –and this privilege he appears to have taken himself. The language is very American, particularly the word fetch for bring; and the scribe writes better than he composes. Some facts too, slip out, the climate is to be guarded against; for in a few months he had lost his child–his friend Cannell,–and his father was dying in this garden of Eden. The truth is, intermitting fevers prevail every spring and autumn over the whole of America,–and yet more, near the rivers"

- very little encouragement was given to emigration except in the mid 1830s onwards when Canada was ineffectually promoted.

Other diaries and letters from the period paint a vivid picture of the hardships endured; however they all felt that prospects were better there than back at home in the Island - the letters of William Corlett and his son Thomas15, extend over a period of around 45 years and describe the increasing prosperity of the area.

In the first he says:

I do prefer this country for my own part, and if I should be in the old country now I would soon come out. I would be very glad if some of my relations would be here, but I don't encourage any person to come. Let every person make their own mind up about that.

The actual emigration

The Cleaveland Herald of Friday 3 Aug 1827 has "Emigrants - There arrived here in the steam-boats Superior and Niagra, on Sunday and in the schooner Young Lion, on Tuesday about 200 immigrants from the Isle of Man." [Forster would appear to misquote, as the remainder of the item deals with Swiss immigrants and not the Manx]. These are almost certainly from the three ships Chili, Curler and Ocean all of which arrived in New York in early July and whose combined numbers were around 200.

The Chili (or Chile) 36, the Curler had some 31, and the Ocean 12916. For all three ships there is indication that the Manx emigrants had reached some chartering agreement

The Chili was supposedly chartered by the Corletts of Orrisdale (north part of Kirk Michael and on boundary with Ballaugh, and, interestingly, immediately adjacent to Bishopscourt the Bishop's residence!). One of their grandchildren writes17:

Accordingly, Captain John Quayle, the father of the late Thomas Quayle and grandfather of George L. Quayle, of this City [Cleveland], was delegated to go to Liverpool to charter a boat.

This John Quayle was also a farmer having left the Royal Navy. The grandson's story goes on to relate how " When the 'Chile', an American sailing ship with three masts, appeared off the coast of Kirk Michael, the people were disappointed to see so small a boat selected to carry them across the Atlantic, with whose various moods they were only too familiar. She was a new ship, built and owned in New York; she had taken on a cargo at New Orleans for Liverpool and this was to be her first voyage home. " He continues by implying that the Manx joined off the coast and on finding provisions too low for their tastes " ...proceeded to Liverpool for extra provisions, such as sea-biscuit, etc., then held their course towards the setting sun west by south, for five long weeks"

The chartering is almost certainly true as the ship is advertised for such in the Liverpool Mercury in March. However its departure from Liverpool for New York is noted on 30 May, arriving New York 7 July 1827. The west coast of the Island has only one small harbour at Peel which would not have been adequate - thus the boarding taking place on the Island is very unlikely (and I could find no evidence for it in the Manx Press). It also had on board some 25 non-Manx (mostly Yorkshire weavers) - it is possible that the Manx took the better accommodation but were also canny enough to see all accommodation used.

The Curler was also advertised for charter about the same time (interestingly the agent was Duncan Gibb an up and coming Liverpool merchant who some 11 years later was to buy Grove House in Ramsey and whose granddaughters left it to the Manx nation as a museum). It arrived in New York on 7th July, however I could not find its departure for New York noted in the Liverpool Mercury. It is possible that it went instead to Belfast for loading - Forster5 states, without quoting a source, that in 1827, 52 Manx had left Peel to travel via Belfast to New York - it is possible that these were on the Curler and that on its voyage to Belfast it could indeed have appeared of the coast of Kirk Michael (the confusion of two boats some 80 years later is understandable - as W Corlett states "But my father was only seventeen at the time and was eighty-four when I became interested in this subject; impressions, therefore, had doubtless long since become dim").

The Barque Ocean also is unusual - it used a handwritten manifest for the passengers rather than the pre-printed ones seen on all others I have examined. This I think indicates that the Liverpool-New York run with passengers was not usual for it. As stated it had some 130 Manx on board - heading the passenger list is John Sayle, 67, preacher; he was a leading Wesleyan Local Preacher, in the 1813 Plan he is shown as 4th in seniority in the Ramsey Circuit which means that he became a Local Preacher sometime in the period 1790-92. He was asked, in 1799, to assist in the production of a new edition of the Manx translation of Watt's and Wesley's Hymns - the 'Lioar dy Hymnyn as Arraneyn Spyrrydoil' that was published in Douglas in 1799 by T Whittam - thus he was considered an educated speaker of Manx. Unfortunately the manifest splits up family groups but it would seem that the party contained some 21/22 families - most with heads in the mid 30's but also including some widowed parents. There were a number of younger males (generally 20-25) who may be related to the families but the relative paucity of Manx names makes identification very error prone. There were also apparently a smaller number of isolated females but again I think these were related (eg younger sisters-in-law).

John Sayle was not the only Local Preacher - along with the Corletts (who was remembered as strongly Espicopalian by his grandson) was Patrick Cannell, aged 72, who was with his son's family. He too was a Wesleyan Local Preacher - also something of a rebel as in 1800 LP minute book he is censured for not agreeing to preach where he was planned .

No Methodist class lists exist pre 1835 and the Ramsey circuit records do not seem to have survived as well as those for the Southern circuit so it is now very difficult to determine the number of Methodists among these three groups - certainly once they arrived in Ohio the Manx were remembered as strong supporters of the chapel.

It may well be pure coincidence that three ships, all unusual in some respect in their arrangements, arrived at New York within six days of each other and that the three parties would appear to have arrived together in Ohio. As most would appear to be drawn from families in the Ballaugh area (many of those resident in Douglas would appear to have had relatives in Ballaugh or nearby), they would know each other.

Though the involvement of the local chapels cannot be proved I believe that it was probably via these with the regular circulation of Local Preachers that co-ordination was obtained..

The initial emigration would thus appear to have been more a matter of alienated small farmers seeking a freer environment, especially one free of the social and educational constraints of the Island. However once established the Ohio 'colony' provided a safety valve for the non-landholding classes who were economically squeezed during the 1830's and 40's. The following brief quotes from the Manx press during the 'emigration season of early spring for the following years indicate the numbers - in 1835 "17 parishioners of Ballaugh", in 1837 "Several families from Kirk Michael and Ballaugh" and the following week "some 100 individuals, chiefly from the parish of Ballaugh, arrived in Douglas on their way to the United States". In 1840" Five carts laden with emigrants luggage arrived in Douglas this day from the North of the Island. The owners intend going to America", in 1841 "On Friday last about 69 persons from the north part of the Island took their passage", in 1842 "We understand that no fewer than 190 emigrants chiefly from Jurby and Ballaugh are about leaving this Island for the United States. A vessel from Liverpool has been chartered for the express purpose of taking them out and was expected at Ramsey either today or tomorrow." -[ however I could find no more mention of the vessel. so they probably went to Liverpool]

The emigration, especially from the North, continued through the 40's and 50's. In 1851 the Mona's Relief Society was established in Cleveland by Manx to help immigrant Manx who had fallen on bad times. It is only post WW2 with the internal migrations within the USA that the strong links between Cleveland and the home country have weakened.


I must thank Tim Davis for obtaining the various manifests and for pointing me at several of the Cleveland references.


JMM = Journal of Manx Museum (now ceased publication)
Manx Soc = publication of Manx Society issued serially from 1863
Proc IoMNHAS = Proceedings of IoM Natural History and Antiquarian Society (now issued every 2 years with 4 numbers/volumes)

(most of the out of copyright material, including transcribed manifests, letters etc can be found on my website "http://www.manxnotebook.com/famhist/genealgy/")

1: S. Walpole The Land of Home Rule London: Green & Co 1893

2: A.W. Moore A History of the Isle of Man London: T Fisher Unwin 1900 (also reprinted 1977 and subsequently)

3: D. Craine Manannan's Isle Douglas:Manx Museum and National Trust 1955 - chap IV 'Early Manx Settlers in America' (taken from an earlier paper in Proc IoMNHAS).

4: R.H.Kinvig Manx Settlement in the U.S.A. Proc. IoMNHAS vol V No 4 pp436/455 1955

5 R.Forster Aspects of Manx Emigration: 1750-1850 Proc. IoM NHAS vol X pp23/32 March 1991

6 P.A. Munch Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys Manx Soc vol XXII 1866 - note 52 pp207/32 .

7 J Train Historical and Statistical Account of the Isle Of Man Douglas : M.A.Quiggin 1844

8 W.C. Smith A Short History of the Irish Sea Herring Fisheries during the 18th and 19th centuries Liverpool: Univ Press (Port Erin Biological Station special pub #1) 1923

9 Lady Sarah Murray A Memorial of the Isle of Man London:Rivington 1825

10 W.S. Kerruish Reminiscences of Manx Pioneers Mannin #5 p275

11 D. van Tassel + J. Grabowski The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (2nd Ed) Indiana University Press (ISBN 0-253-33056-4) 1996 pp129/130 (under British Emigration)

12 Included in Manx, Isle of Man, History of Manx People who came to America compiled by Mildred Steed Published by The Lake County Genealogical Society, 1991[though mostly a reprint of material gathered in the 1950's

13 Thomas Kelly and Famaly's Journal. Being the Diary of one Thomas Kelly of Jurby, who settled in the States in 1827. Reprinted from the I.M. Examiner, 1935 (see comment re authenticity)

14 M. West (ed) + M Douglas Thomas Kelly and Famaly's Journal in the Year 1827 Douglas Times Press 1965

15 W.R.Serjeant (ed) Letters from America, 1831-1876 Part I: William Corlett of Orrisdale and Ohio Journal of Manx Museum VI #78 pp137/139 1962
Letters from America, 1831-1876 Part 2: Thomas Corlett of Ohio J.MM VI #79 pp179/184 1963

16 Manifests: Chili (sometimes referred to as the Chile) #420; Curler #424, Ocean #447 all on National Archives microfilm 237 roll 9

17 W.T. Corlett The People of Orrisdale and Others (Privately printed) 1918 - Manx Museum G88 C8/1

T. Colman Passage to America London: Hutchinson 1972 - gives an excellent description of the emigration route (ships, agents ports etc) for the mass migration period from 1846-1855.

C. Erickson Leaving England. Essays on British Emigration in the Nineteenth Century Ithaca/London Cornell University Press (ISBN 0-8014-2820-3) 1994 has used the same manifest archive to investigate English emigration.

 [Genealogy Index]


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001