An Irish Immigrant’s Tale


Linda Corupe

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Using an unpublished journal currently held in private hands, this presentation will follow the life of Christopher Julian and his family of Queen’s County, Ireland from 1834 to 1837. In his capacity as a magistrate, Julian faced public outcry for the sentences he had passed on those committing “Whiteboy” offences. When the persecutions became so violent as to include the burning of his home and office, and the beating to death of his horse, he felt that the family had no choice but to leave. Boarding the Tarbolton of Newry, bound for Canada, Julian hoped that his fortunes would begin to turn. However, the 9 week voyage was almost immediately hampered by a week of storms. Once underway, he relates the story of life on board ship, including the death of four passengers, the scarcity of water and provisions, finding the wreck of a ship floating empty and aimlessly, and seeing the bowsprit of the ship wedged into the fissure of a rock at Cape Breton. At Grosse Isle, both Julian’s wife and one of his daughters were quarantined by cholera, while the rest of the family was sent to Montreal to await the outcome. Only his daughter survived and was able to rejoin the family. The story in the journal continues on until August of 1837, detailing Julian’s unsuccessful attempts to get a grant of free land and the tearful leave taking of his children, whom he left with friends. Secondary research enhances and carries on the story of this interesting family.