Isle of Man Family History Society Journal Vol 10 No 2 May 1988


Australian Records

1851 saw the beginning of the gold rush era in Australia with important discoveries in both New South Wales and Victoria. Thousands flocked to the diggings - not only miners, but also storekeepers, publicans and the like. Even a brief inspection of some of the headstones in the cemetery at Ballarat in Victoria (one of the major strikes), reveals places of origin that include 16 English counties, 12 Irish counties, the Isle of Man and many places in Scotland and Wales.

It is worth bearing this in mind if someone in your family tree apparently "disappears" in the latter half of the 19th century. You may find them in Australia. The first source you should check is the STRAYS INDEX. If overseas origins are given in Australian records, the reference may have been sent to the Strays exchange programme, either via the Federation of Family History Societies or direct, to the Family History Society in the county concerned. This is an ongoing project, so you need to check each new addition to the microfiche publications of the FFHS Strays.


STRAYS found in Australian records:

COLLISTER Robert, of Malew, IOM, d.18 Oct 1886 aged 60 (MI, Castlemaine/Vic/Aus)

CORKILL William, b. (?Ulican or Uligan)/IOM, d. 13 Feb. 1915 aged 92 (MI, Ballarat/Vic/Aus)

HIGGINS Thomas, late of Peel/IOM, bur. Beechworth/Vic/Aus, 26 Nov 1861 aged 46 (MI, Beechworth/Vic/Aus)

KELLY Isabella, (d. 20 May 1895 aged 65) and her husband William Kelly (d. 1 Mar 1886 aged 61), both of IOM (MI, Ballarat/Vic/Aus)

PRESTON John, of Castletown/IOM, d. 22 June 1892 aged 69 (MI, Ballarat/Vic/Aus)

SCARFF John, b. IOM, d. 2 Apr 1885 aged 48 (MI, Walhalla/Vic/Aus)


Descendants William Quirk m. 1792 Kk Rushen

Mrs. Nora Williams, writes:

Since I last wrote to the journal I have found out a little more about the QUIRK family and wonder if published it may bring some more response from readers.

My THOMAS QUIRK was the son of WILLIAM QUIRK who married CATH CANNELL at Kirk Rushen in 1792. They had several children besides Thomas. He married MARY JOHNSON in Warrington, Lancashire in 1840. in 1841 they had their first child ANN and living with them at the time was a JAMES QUAY aged 25 and ISABELLA QUAY 65 they were probably born in the I.O.M.

Thomas moved to Liverpool sometime during the next few years where I found the family in a later census. I enclose the Family Tree to date.




The Cowleys of Ardwhallen -

Braddan, Isle of Man


My mother has been researching our family history for about fifteen years now and she has had considerable success with our Manx ancestry, going back to 1721 with the birth of Patrick Cowley of Coldin, who was my mother's great, great, great, grandfather. Patrick's parents are as yet unknown to us, but hopefully further research will reveal who they were. Patrick married Margaret Brew on the 9th December, 1747 at Kirk Braddan. They had two children, William born 1757 and Margaret whose birth date we have been unable to establish. Patrick was obviously of some means as according to land records between 1759 and 1797 he was able to purchase four different Intacks, including the one called Baldalbrew as shown in the Liber Assed of 1796. it is possible that Patrick's wife Margaret may have owned this land as it is she who willed the land to their children, William and Margaret. it is also possible that Margaret may have been married before as we have been unable to link her grandson Thomas Radcliffe, also a benefactor in her Will, to the Cowley family. At the present time we do not know where Patrick and Margaret are buried.

Patrick's son William bought Ardwhallen into the Cowley family in 1832. He married Jane Teare of Jurby on the 8th June, 1799, and they had five children,Thomas being the eldest son and my mother's great, grandfather. William's Will is a mine of information and even though Thomas was left the bulk of the land, William's selling of some of the land to his youngest son Daniel and his making Daniel the executor of his estate caused friction between the two brothers, so much so that they went to court over it. According to the 1841 Census there were five houses on Ardwhallen and by the 1851 Census Thomas and his family were living at No. 47 and Daniel and his family were in No. 50.

Thomas married Barbara Colquitt of Malew on the 24th November, 1827. There were six children and one from Barbara's previous marriage to William Cowle. It was Thomas and Barbara's eldest son Thomas who emigrated to Australia in 1854. We are very fortunate to have a photograph of Thomas and Barbara Cowley taken in Douglas, probably in the 1850's. We also have eight of the letters from Barbara to her son Thomas over a period of seventeen years, and it was these letters that first introduced us to our Manx Heritage. Thomas left home when he was twenty, heading for the gold fields of Victoria. Travelling to Liverpool he embarked on the SS Constance under the command of Captain William Christian. The Constance left Liverpool on 30th August, 1854 arriving in Melbourne on the 13th December, 1854. There were 311 passengers on board, including one stowaway. One baby was born at sea and one baby died.

Thomas Cowley - son of Thomas Cowley Born 1834, died 1904 Emigrated to Australia in 1851 and Louisa Wells Cowley - Daughter of Frederick Wells of London born 1848, died 1928

Thomas Cowley - Son of William Cowley Born 1802, died 1874 and Barbara Colquitt Cowley - daughter of Stanley Colquitt Born 1799, died 1881

The first letter from Barbara was written in 1856 and the last in February,1872. The letters are very interesting for their information about day today life on the Isle of Man during the second half of the 19th Century. Many relatives, neighbours and friends are mentioned and the rather stoic attitude of the rural people comes through. For us however, the most moving and poignant parts of the letters come from the slow realisation and obvious heartbreak that Thomas and Barbara felt when their son did not come home. This was particularly so with Thomas as he was the eldest boy and initially it was probably thought he would go to Australia to make his fortune at the gold fields and then return home to continue running the farm.

Thomas did not return home and neither did he make his fortune. From the time he arrived in Australia to the time of his marriage to Louisa Wells,at the age of 37, very little is known. it is assumed most of the time was spent in and around the goldmining areas of Ballarat and Castlemaine, which is where he met and married Louisa. They had nine children, William Stanley Cowley being my grandfather. One of my great aunts was given the family name, Barbara Colquitt, and this name has continued through to my mother and my sister. With the family name comes a necklace of solid gold and mother of pearl, the gold coming from the gold mines at Kalgoolie in Western Australia. Correspondence we have between Thomas and Louisa suggests that they had some difficult times, work was difficult to come by and they had to move to be near what was available. Thomas was dead by the time my mother was born but she has very strong and distinct memories of Louisa, her grandmother. Her dignity and kind-heartedness are well remembered, and also a strength of character of the kind that, although they were related only by marriage; comes through in Barbara Cowley's letters to her son. Thomas and Louisa are buried with their eight year old daughter Grace who died of blood-poisoning, in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

Since commencing our family research my mother has discovered long-lost relatives and some that she was not aware of; she has also made many new friends. Having visited the Island for a brief time in 1972, she hopes that some time in the not to distant future she may visit again to renew acquaintances and personally thank the people who have helped her in her research. in particular the Isle of Man Historical Society Staff who over the years have contributed greatly to the project. She would also like to thank old friends and long-time correspondents Tom Cowell Snr. and Tom Cowell Jnr. of Ervy Veen, Baldwin. Although not members of the Historical Society, they have contributed articles to the Journal.

Dawn Hartney
William Stanley Cowley -Son of Thomas Cowley Born 1886, died 1947 Victoria, Australia Second from the left back row

Barbara Colquitt Cowley on the right at back, wearing the gold and mother of pearl necklace.

Barbara Colquitt Cowley -daughter of William Stanley Cowley Born 1917 Melbourne, Australia



In the name of God, Amen, I Margaret Cowley of Cregenarroo otherwise called Lagnemucly in the Parish of Braddan,being of sound mind and memory and understanding and calling to mind the uncertainty of this life, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament as follows.

First I commit my soul to Almighty God and my body to a Christian burial
Secondly, I leave, devise and bequeath to my affectionate son William Cowley, Ardwhallen with the Intack thereof, he paying and discharging the expenses of my funeral ......
Thirdly, I leave, devise and bequeath unto my loving daughter Margaret Cowley all my part of the said Cregenarroo with all the houses, goods, chattels rights, credits and effects "hereunto belonging
Fourthly, I leave and bequeath unto my grandson Thomas Radcliffe six pounds and my part of the said Crehenaroo for the term of six years provided he will stay with his Aunt Margaret Cowley to till and work the same and to all claimer or claimers, six pence legacy . And lastly, I nominate, ordain and appoints my said daughter Margaret whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament, in witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name this 23rd day of December 1800.

Margaret Cowley

Witnesses Robert Kelly
Present Thomas Corkill


In the name of God Amen. the Twenty Seventh day of May. One Thousand Eight Hundred and One. I Patrick Cowley of Laug-ny-muckly or Cregg-y-naroo in the Parish of Kirk Braddan, being very sick and weak In body. but of perfect mind and memory. thanks be given unto God. therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die. do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament. That is to say principally and first of all. I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it, and for my body I recommend it to the earth to be buried in a Christian-like and decent manner at the direction of my executor, not doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive again by the mighty power of God, and as touching such wordly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give and bequeath and dispose of the land In the following manner and form.

First I give and bequeath six-pencce each to every person claiming and demand in this very last Will and Testament.

Secondly I give to the witnesses of this my last Will and Testament Two shillings and sixpence British, each of them (each day) they the said witnesses will have any trouble concerning this my last Will and Testament, to be paid to them my executor

Lastly I give to my beloved daughter Margaret Cowley whom I likewise constitute and make her my only and sole executor of this my last Will and Testament of all my goods movable and immovable of what nature soever. by her freely to be possessed and enjoyed. and I do hereby disallow. invoke and terminate all and every former Testaments, Wills and Legacies, Bequests and executors by me in anywise before this time named, willed and bequeathed. ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and mark to my name the day and year above written.

Patrick Cowley my X


Signed, Published Pronounced and Declared by the said Patrick Cowley as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us the subscribers, viz:

John Kelly
Robert Kelly

At a Chapter court Holden at Douglas. November 9th 1803, the executor is sworn in court in form of law and hath given pledges for the payment of obligations namely the witnesses of the will.


John Crellin



In the name of God Amen I Barbara Cowley widow of the late Thomas Cowley at Ardwhallan being weak in body, but of sound mind memory and understanding and considering the uncertainty of this transitory life, do appoint and ordain this for my
last Will and Testament in manner and form following.
First, I commit my Soul to God and my body to a decent burial.
2nd. I leave and bequeath unto my son John Cowley the sum of Fifteen Pounds.
3rd. 1 leave and bequeath unto my son Robert Cowley the sum of Seven Pounds.
4th. I leave and bequeath unto Margaret Creer, wife of Thomas Creer, mason the sum of Ten Pounds.
5th. I leave and bequeath unto Catherine Quine, wife of John Quine the sum of Forty Pounds.
6th. I leave and bequeath unto Catherine Quine, daughter of John Quine the sum of Ten Pounds.
7th. I leave and bequeath unto Maria, daughter of Stanley Cowley the sum of Five Pounds.
8th. I leave and bequeath unto my daughter Catherine, wife of John Quine, my bed and bedding and chest of draws, and all my warming apparel, and my gold ring.
9th. I leave and bequeath unto any persons or person claiming in this my last Will the sum of sixpence Sterling, and lastly I nominate, constitute and appoint my son Stanley Cowley my whole and sole Executor and Residuary Legatee of all the rest of my goods and chattles and elects moveable and unmoveable being what kind, name or nature soever as witness my name this the nineteenth day of July, one thousand eight hundred and eighty, 19th July 1880.

Barbara Cowley

Witness by, Robert Maddrel
Mathiaa Cain


Last Will and Testament of William Cowley (1757-1831)

In the name of God Amen, I William Cowley of the Parish of Braddan being of sound mind and disposing memory do ordain and appoint this to be my last will and testament as follows. First, I commit my soul to God who gave it and my body to a Christian burial.I leave and bequeath unto my son Thomas three cows namely Browney, Heiley and Koine bane, half a dozen sheep, the old cart and the plough and harrow for his and his brother Daniel equally between them, and to my son Thomas the two brown mares and a spinning wheel to his wife and half of the crop as well, corn and potatoes to Thomas the aforesaid, not including the crop that grows in that part of Awhallyn that I have sold to Daniel my son and he and Thomas his brother are to give unto my daughter Margarett two bales of dried oats and half a bale of barley and Danie lis to give her half the crop of potatoes that grows in the field of the aforesaid Awhallyn and the corn that now remains as well threshed and unthreshed to be equally between my son Thomas,my son Daniel and my daughter Margarett. I leave and bequeath unto my son William the sum of twenty pounds British and two sheep to Margarett my grand-daughter the daughter of Thomas my son and one sheep to John Cowley the son of William my son.I leave and bequeath to my daughter Margarett, late wife of Edward Corkhill, all the principals and interest of two bonds and security from Edward Corkhill to William Killey, the one for forty pounds British and the one for sixty pounds British secured upon a part of Awhallyn called the Park and another piece of land belonging to Ulican called the Lianfey which was assigned to me by the aforesaid William Killey and one hundred pounds British to the said Margarett of the money that I have in Ballawillyn, and the two cows the one that she has and Browney Koine Hoar, the tablecloth and the side-saddle and two chairs. I leave and bequeath to my grand-daughter Jane one sheep the daughter of Thomas my son. Daniel my son is to give to Margarett my daughter the house that she now lives in for one year after my decease free and also he and his brother Thomas are to keep one cow for one year for here free after my decease, and Thomas and Daniel my sons are to pay unto Margarett Cowley their aunt the sum of three pounds British, that is one pound ten shillings each yearly during her natural lifetime, and lastly I nominate and appoint my son Daniel whole and sole Executor and residuary Legates of all the rest of my goods and effects movable and immovable be they of what name and nature soever as witness my subscription this the twenty seventh day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty one, May 27th 1831.

William Cowley his x
William Caine
Mathias Clague .......


Witness present

At a Consistory Court Holden at K.K. Michael, 23rd Feb 1832



This is the Last Will and Testament of me Thomas Cowley late of Ardwhallan in the Parish of Braddan, but now of number "Fourteen" Backs Road, in the Town of Douglas. Farmer.

I do hereby invoke all Wills and Testamenary writings by me at any time heretofore made. I do declare this only to be my Last Will and Testament.

I give and divise all my lands and premises situate in the Parish of Braddan called Ardwhallan and Colden at present in the occupation of my son John Cowley with the houses and buildings thereon and all other of my Real Estate of every nature and quality and wheresoever situate together with all and every the appertenances thereinto respectively belonging or appertaining unto my wife Barbara Cowley for the term of her natural life without impeachment of waste and from and after the death of my said wife I give and devise the same unto my son Stanley Cowley his heirs and assigns absolutely and forever subject nevertheless to and charged with the payment by him or them upon the death of my said wife of the following sums of money, namely the sum of one pound to my son Thomas Cowley, now residing in Foreign parts, the sum of Ten pounds to my son John Cowley, the sum of Ten Pounds to my son Robert Cowley, the sum of Twenty pounds to my daughter Margret Creer wife of Thomas Creer of Spring Valley in the Parish of Bradden, Mason, the sum of Twenty pounds to my daughter Catherine Quine wife of John Quine of the Parish of Marown, Farmer, and the sum of Ten Pounds to my daughter Jane Craine wife of Robert Craine of Cleveland in the United States of America I give and bequeath all my Personal Estate of every kind and description and wheresoever the same my be unto my wife Barbara Cowley for her own absolute use and benefit.
I nominate, constitute and appoint my said wife Barbara Cowley executrix of this my Will.
In Witness whereof I the said Thomas Cowley have hereto subscribed my name this the eleventh day of December one thousand eight hundred and seventy four, 1874.

Signed, published and declared by the said Testator Thomas Cowley and for his Last Will and Testament the same having been first read over to him in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other hereto subscribe our names as witnesses.

Claude Cowell
Walter Quine Taylor

Thomas Cowley x his mark



[continued in next issue]


The never-ending threads of genealogical research

Who is Oscar?

The story of my great-aunt, Esther Shimmin/Killey/Faragher

Esther Augusta Shimmin was born at Doarlish Ard, near Foxdale, in 1838, the third child of John Shimmin, a miner. in 1860 she married James Killey at Patrick and produced five children, all daughters, at regular intervals between 1861 and 1868. in 1868 over a period of several weeks, her husband showed clear signs of what would, nowadays, be diagnosed as some form of mental illness, which, in all probability, could be treated and cured. However, medical science 120 years ago was not what it is today, and his somewhat strange behaviour was attributed to the strain of supporting a family by having to work day after day either in the mines or on the fishing boats or on his small farm of some ten acres.

Then, at the beginning of April, 1868, there occured a terrible tragedy which is still well-remembered by the descendants of the families who have lived for many years in the Doarlish Ard-Kerrowdhoo area just off the backroad leading from Ballanass to the Rushen mines. James Killey, who had been to collect his wages from the mines office at Glen Rushen, came home to his tiny farm which was situated about two hundred yards up the hill from Ballagill Farm. Clearly, as he had made his way across country over the rough tracks from Glen Rushen to Doarlish Ard, his mental breakdown had reached crisis point, for, on reaching home, he went utterly berserk and, despite the frantic efforts and pleas of his terrified wife, he seized four of his little daughters - aged one, three, five and seven years - and threw them, one by one, down the shaft of the farm well, which was about 24 feet deep and which opened out into a chamber, several feet wider than the shaft, at the bottom.

He then tried to seize hold of his wife and baby, the latter just three months old. Sadly, he was able to tear the child away from its mother and little Selina Emily joined her sisters down the well-shaft. However, his wife Esther, according to local legend, broke free from his grasp when the strings of her apron came undone and ran screaming across a couple of field to where her brother Archibald, who lived with them and worked in the mines and helped manage the little farm, was carrying out some essential task such as tending the small flock of sheep. My grandfather Archibald, then aged 19 and eleven years younger than his sister, ran as fast as possible across the intervening fields and must have reached the well in a very short period of time. There, it was soon very clear that Killey had brought his terrible actions to a close by throwing himself down the shaft to join his five small daughters.

What happened next is reported in great detail in the "Manx Sun" of 4th April, 1868, for the writer of a full-page article describes his long and tortuous journey from Peel to Doarlish Ard, via Ballacraine, in order to attend the inquest held at the scene of the tragedy "up a precipitous mountain slope". Clearly, he had always carried his duties as a reporter in the civilised environment of the big city of Peel and had never before ventured so far into the wildst However, once the reader has got used to the rambling Victorian prose, full and religious references and sentimental poetry, the story that unfolds becomes more and more fascinating.

On reaching the well, my grandfather aided at some point by a young man of similar age, a neighbour called Philip Corkhill, had gone down the shaft using the rope which pulled up the full buckets of water and, one by one had brought his nieces to the top. Even for a fit young man of 19 this must have involved a superhuman effort, especially as, on almost reaching the top of the shaft with one of the little girls, he was unable to lift her clear of the rim and she dropped the twenty or more feet into the water again. Eventually, however, all five were lifted out - Killey's body was recovered about an hour later, as it had become wedged under the roof of the chamber - and efforts were made to revive them. Sadly, only two of the girls survived, those aged two and five, but even that partial successmay be regarded as little short of a miracle, all the more so as one of the two survivors was the child whom my grandfather had to rescue a second time after dropping her down the shaft himself!

One intriguing fact which is recorded in the report of the inquest: reference is made to "a passing stranger" who helped with the efforts made to try to revive the children by "rolling them over a barrel", presumably a form of artificial respiration. I have spent a long time pondering over this reference: Who was this strangers Where was he going? Had he learnt this method of artificial respiration because he was off a fishing boat? Why (presumably) was no effort made to produce him at the inquest as a witness? (It would be difficult to imagine a modern-day inquest where this man's evidence would not be paramount).

The funeral of James Killey and his three daughters was held at Patrick on the 5th of April, where they were buried in an unmarked double grave.According to press reports about four thousand people attended the burial, most of them there, presumably, out of morbid curiosity. However, perhaps this curiosity is understandable, as I have found no record of a comparable tragedy either before 1868 or, thank goodness, since that date.

But what of the bereaved wife and mother, Esther? Great sympathy was extended to her at the inquest, where she stood up in front of the coroner and jury (who, incidentally, decided that Killey was insane, thus obviating a verdict of murder which would have prevented him from being buried with the children) and gave her account of the horrific events, while the dead members of her family were laid out in the next room. The census of 1871 shows her as still farming Doarlish Ard, with her brother and two remaining daughters, now aged five and eight. After that, however, she disappeared from subsequent census returns for Patrick and I had heard no mention within the family of what had become of her.

But the point of this article is really to show that the tenacious genealogist will always find some line to follow, and it is my hope to encourage those who may be just beginning the fascinating hobby. My wife and I exhausted all known sources but could find no record of her death nor of any re-marriage in Patrick. Therefore we had to look further afield, hoping that Esther had not left the Island to disappear without trace, as has happened with so many female members of the family. At last, after working through several parishes, we found her in Marown in the 1881 census. She had remarried and it had been in Patrick - I mention this as an example of how one must always check and recheck records very carefully, as it is only too easy to miss an entry - and now she was married to a Thomas Faragher, with one of her surviving daughters (the other has disappeared without trace) and three sons, of which Thomas was the father. it is interesting to note that, after producing all girls in her first marriage, she has now got three young sons. Or rather - and this is where genealogy never fails to start you off on another track - she has in fact got four sons, as the census return shows also that, living with them at Ballaharry, is John O. Kennaugh, aged 9, "son of wife"!

After researching the records of country families in the Island in the 19th century you usually find that most families had a black sheep, in the form of an illegitimate child. We had found ours, we thought, as it soon transpired that my athletic grandfather Archibald, had produced his first son two years before he subsequently married my grandmother! Was this another minor scandal? Indeed it was, for when we went back to the Patrick records it was there quite clearly a baptism in 1871 for John Oscar, illegitimate son of Esther Shimmin, spinster. However, no father is recorded nor is he mentioned in the Church Presentment of October 1871 where the act of fornication is cited.So, why Oscar? And why Kennaugh? it may be significant that a family called Kennaugh lived at Kerroodhoo, a short walk from Doarlish Ard, at the time of the 1871 census, and John was used in every generation of the family,but Oscar is a mystery which will give us yet another line of enquiry to follow, albeit at this stage with little hope of success.

The research referred to above has taken place over a period of about three years, and we were able to bring Esther's direct story to an end when the remaining pieces fell into place after we found her burial record and then her grave in Marown churchyard. But it does not have to end there, if you really get bitten by the bug! When Thomas Faragher married Esther he was a widower, so we took a look at his first wife Eliza Patty. Then she turned out to have been Eliza Caine at the time of her marriage to Thomas, so she herself had been married before, and so it goes on, with one line of enquiry leading to another, and another ........

A final thought on Oscar - Oscar Wilde was in his virile twenties around 1871! is there any record of his having visited the Island about then? When records fizzle out, you can always resort to fanciful speculation!




Many of our members have enjoyed reading the article about the Manx Pioneers who sailed to America in the 1827, this article was compiled by Mrs. Robert Cowin, of Ohio who devotes much time in researching these items for her column "Know your Ancestors".

The following article is about the Manx emigrants who left the Isle of Man in the year 1646 bound for Barbados and the hardships they endured.

Indentured Manx Settled Barbados

David Craine, in a series of historical essays entitled 'Manannan's Isle'published by the Manx Museum and National Trust, includes one in which he details the early Manx settlers in the Barbados and St. Christopher, a way station from which many were to emigrate to America.

Craine tells of a day in October, 1646, when the Bristol ship Fortune, appeared in Douglas Bay, and the Captain sought out Governor Greenhalgh in Castletown to obtain permission to advertise for Manxmen to go to those West Indies Isles. Emigrants were promised free food and ship accommodation until their arrival in the West Indies. in return they had to sign a contract engaging themselves to serve for a period in the plantations, four years for men, five or six years for youths or boys. Their employers were to provide them with meat, drink and lodgings during the indenture, and ten pounds sterling or its value in commodities when they had earned their freedom. Little did they know of the poor conditions they would serve as bond-men, and thirtysix Manx men and boys made the fateful decision to sign the agreement.Those sailing on the Fortune were from all parts of the Isle of Man, as evidenced by their names: Teare, Caley, Moore, More, Quayle (2), Christian (3), Skelly, Hutchin, Cottier,Carran, Kennish, Gale, Fayle, Clague, Nores (2), Lace, Crowe and Woods.One was William Standish, no doubt a kinsman of Miles Standish who had landed in New England twenty six years before. None will ever know how many of the indenture Manxmen outlived the Atlantic passage and the cruelties of the plantations, and only one, Robert Quayle, who was also on the original sailing list, was found twenty years later to have returned to the Isle of Man. The overseers were sadistic bullies who gave severe beatings to sick, slow or complaining workers. If a labourer became so working under the tropic sun, and the owners saw him of no further value, he was turned off the plantation, to die by the wayside, where his body would be left to rot. The food the indentured Manx received consisted of "Loblolly",crushed Indian corn worked into a paste with water and served cold , or mashed potatoes. They were given no bread, and water was their only drink. Their beds were boards, unprovided with coverings.

It is small wonder that those who survived the tortures of their bonded service, flooded to New England and the Carolinas when they had earned their freedom. They again had the opportunity of regaining their dignity as Manxmen!

But the official list of the Fortune was not a complete tally of the Manxmen in the West Indies. One, later well-known as Captain Skillicorn, was taken captive by a Bristol ship - kidnapping was an alternate way of acquiring bondsmen for the West Indies after recruitments dwindled as stories of miserable conditions there reached the Isle of Man - while sitting on the rock below Ballarragh. in a letter to the IOM in 1650, two other names are also found, Phillip Kermeen of Kirk Lonan and John Radcliffe of Kirk Andreas. in addition to those wretched slaves, there were still other Manxmen who went to Barbados as free-men, among them: Robert Corlett of Ballakeoig, Ballaugh; Charles Stephenson, brother of Captain Richard Stephenson of Balladoole; and Anne Cannon of Kirk Onchan. All three died in Barbados.

There was communication between the Manxmen of Barbados and their Homeland until 1765, at which time the Lordship of Man was surrendered to the British Crown, and Manx ships were forbidden to engage in foreign commerce. (A right they were not to regain until 1853).

North American Manx, whose family origins have eluded them until now, might consider the possibility of descent from these earlier settlers in the Islands off the coast of America.

Source: Bulletin of the North American Manx Association, Vol. 56, No. 4
June 1984

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