Loss of the emigrant ship JOHN, 1855

Southport Visiter

10th May 1855

Wreck of an emigrant ship nearly 200 lives lost.

The JOHN sailed from Plymouth on Sunday afternoon, with 210 emigrants for Quebec, and encountered a heavy gale from the N.E to the westward of the Eddystone and got closer in towards the land than the Captain was aware of, for in making for the Blackrock headland he ran the ship upon a dangerous reef of rocks called the "Manacles” a short distance from the coast, between Deanna and Chunkal’s point., the extreme east of Cornwall.

It occurred between 10 and 11pm on Friday, the wind blowing heavy all the time, and a tremendous sea lashing the coast. In a few minutes she was got off, but, the Captain noticed she was fast filling, evidently having stove in her bottom, and, as the only chance of saving life he ran her ashore, where she went down within 200yds of the coast.

The water was shallow, and the deck above water, but the tide which was two thirds flood was running in fast, and would soon cover her up to nearly her maintop.

A dreadful scene is described to have ensued as the tide rolled in upon them. A great number with the crew took to the rigging, but the bulk of the unfortunate passengers were swept off the wreck by the fearful seas that rolled over, and it is understood nearly 200 met with a watery grave.

Early on Saturday morning the coastguard men discovered the wreck from their look-out, and about 60 to 70 people clinging to the rigging. Procuring assistance they proceeded to the wreck, and with great effort succeeded in taking off the wreck the whole of the people, among them several females and Captain RAWLE and his crew. The ship is supposed an entire loss, she was a very old vessel, built in Chester in 1810.

Late particulars of the melancholy shipwreck

Tuesday evening, the AVON, Lieut RUNDLE, arrived at Plymouth with 5 passengers of the JOHN, in charge of Lieut CAREW. R.N, total saved now 93, drowned 194.

The coroner’s jury have returned a verdict of manslaughter against the Captain who is in custody at Bodmin.


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