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What is history without a paradox? The two men who are credited with establishing the Irish colony in Casper were 'Rawlins John' Mahoney and 'Denver Tim' Mahoney. They lived, not in Casper, but in Rawlins and Denver; both, however, had interests near Casper. John Mahoney came first. He left Kilcrohane (from St. Crohane) on Dunmanus Bay in 1870, and settled in Patterson, NJ where he worked for the Baldwin Locomotive Works.
John sent money for the Atlantic passage to his cousin Tim Mahoney. The two lived in an Irish boardinghouse and worked for Baldwin until a depression, the Panic of 1873, forced them to look for other work. They tried New York's Tammany Hall, but wouldn't agree to the salary kickbacks required by that corrupt political group.
A large part of Casper's Irish population came from near John's and Tim's homes on beautiful, historic Sheepshead Peninsula between Bantry Bay and Dunmanus Bay. The area has been called The Holy Ground, Muintirvarra, and Land of the Wailing Women, the latter a tribute to all the sad farewells to those forced to flee Ireland for the freedom and prosperity of America and Australia.
In 1796 Wolfe Tone convinced the French to aid his Irish patriots against their common enemy, the British. Tone's French Fleet entered Bantry Bay. Lord Bantry (Bantry House, Bantry) gained a title by informing the British that the French were there. Today the White family retains the title. The popular English novelist, P. D. James, is the widow of Patrick Bantry White, almost certainly a member of the family. Contrary winds prevented a landing, and the French turned back.
In New York City John and Tim Mahoney had to make a turn as well. They chose the army. John was assigned to the Cavalry, and was sent to Fort Steele on the Platte River and Fort Laramie in Wyoming for the Indian Wars. Tim was sent to the Coast Artillery at Fort Monroe Virginia, but was soon sent to Fort Sill for the Indian Wars.
John's leg was shattered by an Indian bullet. He lay four days and nights in a sand pit until he was rescued. At Fort Laramie the doctors recommended amputation but John refused. Somehow he survived.
Tim and John were mustered out. John, in partnership with another soldier, started a sheep company near Rawlins, Wyoming. Tim began work as a night watchman for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in Denver. Tim married Margaret Mahoney, from Kileen near Kilcrohane, who had immigrated to Louisville, Kentucky.
On his way for a vacation in Ireland, John visited Tim in Denver. There he met Tim's sister, Hannah, who was to become his wife.
Tim continued to work for the D&RG RR in Denver, but recognized the success that John had made of the sheep business. He bought 4000 ewes from John, and started business near Casper Creek. He entrusted the sheep business to his brother Daniel and to his nephew Tim Daly ('Black Tim' or 'Smokey Daly'). Daniel returned to Ireland, and later moved to England. Smokey became a partner, but sold out later and moved to California.
Patrick Sullivan left Cork to escape the British who were searching for him because of his patriotic efforts in support of the Land League. He traveled to the ship hidden under a load of straw. Pat became mayor of Casper, and served in the State Legislature, the State Senate, and the U.S. Senate.
M. J. (Mickey) Burke had gone to school with Pat Sullivan. He left Bantry to work for Pat in 1901 as a sheepherder. In 1906 Mickey homesteaded 26 miles north of Casper. A partnership of Mickey, his brother Patrick, and Pat Sullivan thrived.
Eugene McCarthy, known as Sonny Boy from his habitual greeting, By George, how are you Sonny Boy, was a success in the sheep business.
Whole families arrived: Eight Tobin siblings and five Mahoney siblings, nieces and nephews of Rawlins John; Nine Ellis siblings.
Casper and Wyoming were served by many Irish priests.
Immigration continued as newcomers became able to sponsor family and friends. There are 675 listed in the tables, although some are surely duplicates.
One of Bantry's most famous sons, Chief Francis O'Neill, settled in Chicago rather than Casper. He was a flutist, and collector of Irish traditional music. He saved many tunes from oblivion, and is universally honored. Many pubs where Irish music is played are named for him.
He was born August 28, 1848, a grandson of O'Mahony Mor, in Tralibane townland near Bantry. He went to sea at age 17 in 1865 on a voyage to the Mediterranean, the Dardenelles, the Black Sea, and Odessa. In July of 1866 he sailed 5 weeks from Liverpool to New York City on the packet ship Emerald Isle. There he joined the crew of the Minnehaha which was bound for Japan. On the return trip, Minnehaha was shipwrecked on Bakers Island in mid-Pacific. He lived the life of Crusoe there until rescued by the brig, Zoe. Back in America he herded sheep, taught school in Missouri in 1869, and sailed on the Great Lakes. He joined the Chicago Police Force in July, 1873. Soon after, he was shot by a notorious gangster. The bullet lodged near his spine, and was never removed. He was Chief of Police from 1901 until his retirement in 1905.
Another collector of Irish music was Reverend Canon James Goodman (Church of Ireland, Anglican) of Abbeystrewery Church on Bridge St. in Skibbereen. Canon Goodman was Professor of Celtic Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, for 12 years. He played the uillean pipes. He was born in Dingle in 1828, and died Jan 18, 1896.
Other Irish Colonies
There were other Irish colonies in the west. Eugene, Oregon attracted immigrants from North Cork. People moved to Casper from Eugene, and from Casper to Eugene.
The mining camps of Montana attracted Irish immigrants, and some left Montana for Casper.
Marcus Daly from Cavan immigrated to New York City, California, Nevada, and Butte Montana. There he founded Anaconda Copper and became immensely successful and powerful. He was known as the Copper King. He recruited other Irish for the mines. At the time of an oil boom, perhaps during a slow period in the mines, he sent Irish to Casper. In 1900, the year of Marcus Daly's death, Butte was a city of 48,000. One in four was Irish or of Irish descent. Many of the Irish immigrants came from the copper mining area of Eyeries parish, Beara Peninsula, Cork.
O'Neill, Nebraska was founded by General John O'Neill. He had served several prison terms for his Fenian raids on Canada. His first raid against Fort Erie on the Niagara River had been successful for a time, but it, like all the others, ended in failure. He began to realize that the odds against the Fenians were insurmountable, and looked for some more peaceful way of helping Ireland and the Irish people. He decided to form an Irish colony in the west where land was plentiful and cheap.
After several years of searching, he chose land in Nebraska. He brought three groups of Irish immigrants from eastern mining camps. The first arrived May 12, 1874. After his death in 1878, the town was named in his honor.
John was born in 1834 in Drumgallon, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan. At the age of fourteen he emigrated to New Jersey. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1857, and served the Union in the Civil War. He was a member of Fenian Brotherhood. In 1866, as a Fenian colonel, he led troops across the Niagara River into Canada to occupy Fort Erie. There he defeated Booker and Dennis, winning the only success the Fenians achieved. He was arrested by troops from an American gunboat on the Niagara River, and charged with breaking the United States neutrality laws. In 1867, he was appointed President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In 1870 he quarreled with the Fenian senate and lost all Fenian support. Shortly after, he attempted a raid on Eccles Hill on the border of Vermont and Quebec, but was immediately defeated by the Canadians and arrested by a United States Marshall. His last raid was against Manitoba.
A Casperite with an O'Neill, Nebraska connection is Mike Sullivan, former US Ambassador to Ireland and former Governor of Wyoming. His great great grandparents were Denis Sullivan and Mary Goggin of Cahirkeem townland, Eyeries parish, Beara Peninsula, Cork. Denis worked in the Cahirkeem copper mines. (Sheepshead, too, had copper mines. Mine buildings, stacks, and shafts remain. The father of Casper immigrant, William Swanton, was an engineer at a copper mine at the end of Sheepshead.) James, son of Denis and Mary and Mike Sullivan's great grandfather, was baptized April 28, 1844. His sister Kate was the grandmother of John 'The Yank' Harrington, legendary accordian player of Butte, Montana who recorded his first CD at age 96 and was 98 around St. Patrick's Day of 2001. James immigrated first to the copper mines of Michigan's upper peninsula around 1864, and then with other Irish mining families to O'Neill. He married Johanna Dunne in Michigan February 13, 1866. Johanna was probably from the same township.
More information on O'Neill, Nebraska and General O'Neill can be found at the following web sites.
Irish immigration to Casper started with Rawlins John and Denver Tim. Their followers, listed here in Register's tables, number more than 500. When I undertook this project, I expected to collect 50 or 60 names at most. Had I realized how large the project would be, I may never have started.
Phillip J. McAuley, of the Casper Tribune, in a Mar 15, 1964 article The Irish: Their Roots are Deep in Wyoming provides a list of Casper Irish, and apologizes for any he might have missed.
Arundel, Barrett, Barry, Bohane, Burke, Costigan, Coughlin, Connelly, Cronin, Daly, Donovan, Driscoll, Ellis, Fitzpatrick, Gallagher, Gibney, Gaughran, Haggerty, Harrington, Hayes, Hennessey, Hurley, Kearney, Kelly, Kelliher, Kennedy, Lehane, Lawler, Mahoney, McCarthy, McDermott, Minihan, Mullins, Murphy, Noonan, O'Connell, O'Connor, O'Leary, O'Neill, O'Reilly, Riordan, Scully, Shea, Sullivan, Swanton, Sweeney, Twohig (spelled Tuohig in PJM's list), and Ward.
It has not escaped my notice that my names are the alpha and the omega of this list, but, alas, it's not a judgment and only an accident of the alphabet.
Some names from McAuley's list are not in Register's list. These are: Barrett, Gallagher, Gaughran, Haggerty, Hennessey, Kelly (Mrs. Hugh Meenan was a Kelly), Kennedy, Lawler, Mullins, and Noonan.
Here's a list from Joe Murphy in a Casper Tribune article from March 18, 1985. The article is titled Go West, Young Irishman, Go West
Mahoney, Sullivan, Burke, Tobin, Daly, Swanton, Ellis, Donovan, O'Connor, Sweeney, Shea, McCarthy, Minihan, Hurley, Hayes, Cronin, Coughlin, Doherty, Quealey, Spillane, Murphy.
(An aside: You would suspect that the distribution of Irish birthdays is flat, that as many are born August 13 as May 2. Not true says Joe: Six times as many are born March 17. I've pushed him for his source with no success, but I'm inclined to believe -- at least around the end of the nineteenth century. George M. Cohan, born July 3, made much of being born on the 4th. Also, I'm compelled to chide Joe for omitting Arundel and Ward.)
And there are names missing from both lists. See the tables.
And yet another list (unalphabetized), this speculative one culled from the witnesses to naturalization proceedings (Source 3000):
McDonald, Heagny, Patton, Cosgrove, Kimball, Butler, McGrath, Brice, Smith, Calburn, Shanley, Cunningham, Steed. These may or may not be Irish.
And there were nicknames! What would we have done without them? How do we discuss Jeremiah Sullivan if we don't further identify him as Black Jerry or Hungry Jerry or Pinto Jerry or Mulligan Jerry. If similar names were a problem in Casper, the problem must have been a hundredfold worse in Ireland.
Some nicknames came with the immigrants from Ireland, and had more to do with an immigrant's father than with the immigrant himself. Think of those who came from stud farms: Jerry 'The Boar' Sullivan, Tim 'The Bull' Daly.
In several cases a nickname followed and identified an entire family. Dan Sullivan's father had a saying, 'Holy smoke and the fire is gone out', so there were Dan Smoke, Steve Smoke, and Jim Smoke. Perhaps the name extended even to their sisters Molly and Nell. Brothers Tim and Jack Daly were both called 'Timsy' (a patronymic).
There were no buffalo farms in Ireland, so we must search for another explanation for Paddy 'The Buffalo' Daly: Simply put, he was a big man. And there was 'Big Jack' Daly. And Pat 'Big Foot' Fitzpatrick. And 'Long John' Mahoney, who, later when retirement gave him the opportunity to attend daily mass, was called 'The Saint' by Pete Tobin.
There was Jerry 'The Merino' Daly. Was there a merino ram on the family farm? Dennis Sullivan was called 'Denny the Donkey', but there's no hint as to jack or jenny
Particularly intriguing are Mike 'The Black Weather' Donley, 'Davey the Jap' Barry, and 'Rattling Con' Sullivan.
There was 'Johnnie Jump Up' Sullivan. At a recent Gaelic Storm concert, I learned that Johnnie Jump Up is used as a synonym for cider.
In the film, Michael Collins, Collins addressed his friend, Harry Boland, as 'you Dublin Jackeen'. Casper had Barnie 'The Dublin Jackeen' Malloy.
There were 'Diamond Dick' Barry, Con 'The Soldier' Daly, 'Fiddler Jack' McCarthy, Tim 'The Monk' Riordon (an ex-seminarian), Jeremiah 'Shurely' Donovan, '2 Bar' Dan Coughlin, Patrick 'Patsy Con' Cronin (a patronymic), and 'Black Tim' Daly.
Some were obvious: 'Red Dick' Tobin, Paddy 'The Cop' Sullivan,
And, of course, 'Rawlins John' and 'Denver Tim'.
One story, though not of an Irishman born, begs to be told. Jack McGrath was sent by a rancher to dig postholes. The rancher was distracted by other business, forgot about Jack, and when he finally remembered, 'Post Hole' Jack had dug a line of holes into the next ranch.
Eugene McCarthy was called 'Sonny Boy' because he called everyone else 'Sonny Boy'.
Some seem cruel: 'Lame Jack' Coughlin, Paddy 'One Hand' Sullivan.
And the complimentary: 'Honest Denny' Daly, 'Silent Mike' Arundel.
The ships that brought our parents and grandparents across the Atlantic had names as well. Some informants were able to provide the liners' names. Naturalization records in the Casper Court House provided more. Many ship names were found in Port of New York records on the Ellis Island web site. An interesting statistic would be the price of a ticket over the years, and a measure of what that amount meant to the emigrant. In famine times landlords sometimes bought the tickets to be rid of their tenants and to regain control of the land. Also, in famine times, the benevolent British government considered paying the fares, but soon realized that the matter was being taken care of in other ways: Landlords' subsidy, Help from relatives in America, and Death.
I have been able to gather a few passage fares. The cost for a famine era crossing on a coffin ship was 3.5 pounds. A newspaper ad for White Star's Titanic's return voyage (4-20-1912) offers steerage (third class) accommodations from New York to Southampton for $36.25. It tells us: All passengers berthed in closed rooms containing 2, 4, or 6 berths, a large number equipped with washstands, etc. ('etc' was in the ad, and I don't know what it includes.) It does not tell us or its customers that the ship was built to requirements, imposed by the US Immigration Service, that third class facilities be separated from the other classes. Isolation of the third class passengers made it difficult for them to get to the boat deck when the Titanic sank. Note the word 'closed' in the Titanic ad. Even in 1912 it was necessary to point out that the steerage of the day was not the steerage of famine times.
To put the Titanic third class fare in perspective, here are a few statistics. Harold Bride, Titanic's 2nd wireless operator, earned $20 per month. A shirt, made by a child earning $3.54 per week, cost $0.23.
Earlier, in 1860 Cunard steerage tickets cost 8 pounds 8 shillings. In the 1880s the price had dropped to 3 pounds 3 shillings. (A guinea was 21 shillings a pound plus a shilling. These numbers must indicate that Cunard was thinking in guineas.)
Around 1900, J. P. Morgan started a price war. The price for steerage passage dropped to 2 pounds. The price war won him control of White Star in 1902. By 1919 his International Mercantile Marine Company controlled American, Leyland, Atlantic Transport, Red Star, White Star, and White Star Dominion lines: 106 steamers in all.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) traveled second class to America on the Anchor Line's Devonia in 1879. His book, The Amateur Emigrant (a chapter heading: The Desert of Wyoming), describes that journey and his overland trip to the west coast. He slept in his second-class cabin (8 guineas, two more than steerage), but spent most of his time in steerage to gather material for his book. In fact, he slept on the floor of his cabin to be closer to the draft that came under his door.
Ludwig Bemelmans, who wrote and illustrated the charming Madeline books, traveled third class on the Normandie for the experience in 1935 (when conditions had greatly improved). He complained of a dining companion with dirty fingernails.
Shipping companies referred to steerage passenger as males and females, first class passengers as ladies and gentlemen. In the 1870s, many liners had only two toilets for every 100 steerage passengers. As the Titanic sank, seamen stood guard at locked gates that prevented steerage passengers from getting to the higher decks where there was a chance that they may have gained a place in the Titanic's sinfully inadequate supply of lifeboats. There were lifeboats enough for just over one half of those aboard.
Steerage passage ($50 in 1910) was low compared to first and second class, but was profitable for the shipping companies. Steerage fares accounted for one third of revenues and over half of profits.
In 1913 1,414,000 immigrants came to North America. By 1921, when Congress restricted immigration, 30 million people had crossed in steerage.
The one blessing of steerage passage in the days when our parents came is that the voyage was short, around a week. In famine times, ten weeks was the norm.
Several of Casper's Irish, including Margaret Arundel, my mother, crossed on White Star's second Celtic. When launched Celtic was arguably the largest ship constructed. When she began her maiden voyage to New York July 26, 1901, she accommodated 2,857 passengers: 347 first-class, 160 second-class, and 2350 steerage. In World War I, she served as a cruiser, with eight 6 inch guns, and as a troop ship. She was damaged by a mine, missed by a torpedo, and hit by a torpedo. She returned to the Liverpool-NYC route after the war. She survived collisions with Anaconda and the Coast Line's Hampshire Coast. In 1928 her career ended when she went aground on the Calf Rocks near Cobh. She was dismantled there in 1933.
Some immigrants came on the Majestic (White Star names end in ic). The Majestic was built in 1889, was 10,000 tons displacement, and had a maximum speed of 20 knots. An earlier ship, with a maximum of 19 knots, made the passage in 7.5 days. In the 1950s, the United States crossed in 4.5 days. In 1902 the Titanic's Captain Smith had command of the Majestic. He served on Celtic I, and captained Celtic II.
One Casper immigrant crossed on the second Mauretania (1939-1965) (named for Roman Morocco) in the 1950s. The first Mauretania (1907-1935), 30,000 ton displacement sister ship of Lusitania, had held the Blue Riband speed trophy for 22 years (1907 to 1929). Fares ranged from as much as 200 pounds for first class, to 10 pounds for second class, to 6 or 7 pounds for third class. Her 1907 configuration carried 560 first-class, 475 second-class, and 1300 steerage. In 1921 her furnaces were modified to burn oil rather than coal, and her passenger accommodations were changed to 589 first-class, 400 second-class, and 767 steerage. Some shipping companies began to use third-class to describe steerage travel; others added third-class between second-class and steerage.
Some crossed on Carmania. In September 1914, serving as an auxiliary cruiser, she sank the converted German liner, Cap Trafalgar, which had been launched only months earlier.
Many crossed on Campania. She was launched in 1892, was 600 feet long, and was the first Cunard liner to dispense completely with sail to rely on steam alone. She made the NYC to Queenstown passage in the record time of 5 days, 17 hours, 27 minutes. In 1915 she was converted to a seaplane carrier for the Royal Navy. She carried 14 seaplanes in her hold. A crane would lift the plane from the hold, wings would be deployed, and the plane would be lowered into the ocean. Later a flight deck was added so that planes could take off from the deck, but not land. Just before the end of WWI one of her anchor chains broke in the Firth of Forth in a gale. She collided with Revenge and sank. Metal was salvaged from the wreck into the 1960s.
Most came through New York City. Some came through Canada, some through Boston, and some through Biloxi, Mississippi or other southern ports.
The Irish who came to Casper crossed the Atlantic after the famine, and were spared the terrible experience of the coffin ships. The following paragraphs are from my web page www.members.core.com/~hward that deals mainly with Irish literature.
A starving Irish citizen who had 3.5 English pounds could buy passage to USA or Canada in the steerage of a sailing vessel. The voyage was of unpredictable duration, but ten weeks was not uncommon. It was impossible to stand to one's full height in steerage. A stall, six feet by six feet, was home to four adults for the entire voyage. This space contained two tiers of berths, and provided storage for clothing, possessions, and personal supplies of food and water. Privacy was nonexistent. When storms battered the ship, the emigrants were kept, in fact locked, below decks for days at a time, rolling about and buffeted by their luggage. Their space on deck on the good days was even more crowded than their space below. The shippers had to provide daily a nominal (false measures reduced the amount) pound of meal, often moldy, for each adult, lesser amounts for children.
Two days a week biscuits were substituted for meal. A problem with the meal was that it required cooking, cooking was done only on deck and was often impossible, cooking facilities were severely limited, and cooking required water which was supplied at the rate of one nominal (three quarts) gallon per adult per day for drinking, washing, and cooking. Those who brought salt fish for the voyage could not use it because there was insufficient water to both wash the salt from it and satisfy thirst. If the ship carried British mail, these minimal food allowances could be further reduced.
An old joke comes to mind: Our hardtack was infested, our ship's biscuits were buggy; we had to choose the lesser of two weevils.
There were two toilets for the 350 steerage passengers. These were jerry rigged at the bow or head (hence, the naval word for toilet) of the ship, placed so that they drained into the sea. In bad weather they were unreachable, in lesser storms the occupant would be drenched, and often these fixtures were destroyed by storms. The passenger who owned a chamber pot was fortunate.
I am being very careful in what I say next. Slave ships were carrying their cargo to America at the same time. Their occupants were horribly mistreated en route, and their lot did not improve when they reached shore. Slavery is cruel and indefensible. The point I want to make is that it was important to the slave trader that his cargo be delivered alive; there was no such burden on the master of the coffin ship. And again I say slavery is cruel and indefensible.
One ship, the Jeannie Johnston, had a good record. Its passengers survived; not one was lost on its many voyages. A replica of it has been built in County Kerry, Ireland. It will sail for America to visit coastal and Great Lakes cities as part of the 150th anniversary of the starvation years of 1845-1850. (It's overdue, but will arrive in 2003.)
In 1999 the Irish and US postal services issued stamps, identical in art work, commemorating the coffin ships: A most commendable thought ruined by the painting, a romantic and adventurous view of the exterior of a ship, the horrors hidden within.
Abbeystrowry Cemetery, not far from Skibbereen, is the site of a famine mass burial pit. Around 9000 coffinless remains lie there. An inscription reads:
A million a decade! Of human wrecks,
Corpses lying in fever sheds
Corpses huddling on foundering decks,
and shroudless dead on their rocky beds;
nerve and muscle, and heart and brain,
Lost to Ireland lost in vain.
Pause and you can almost hear
the sounds echo down the ages:
the creak of burial cart,
the rattle of the hinged coffin door,
the sigh of spade on earth.
Now and again, all day long.
Here in humiliation and sorrow,
not unmixed with indignation,
one is driven to exclaim:
Oh God! That bread should be so dear
and human flesh so cheap.
The song, Skibbereen is also inscribed there. One verse:
My son, I loved my native land
with energy and pride
til a blight came over all my crops.
My sheep and cattle died.
My rent and taxes were to pay;
I could not them redeem.
And that's the cruel reason why
I left old Skibbereen.
The graveyard, on the site of the ruins of a Cistercian abbey, lies along the Ilen River and below a densely wooded mountain. On the mountain is a great rock shelf that begs to be filled. An artist proposes to build a memorial statue there, an angel holding a perpetual flame.
For more information on the famine, see the excellent book, Paddy's Lament by Thomas Gallagher, published by Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich in 1982. Skibbereen's Heritage Center has a fine famine exhibit, and maintains a web site to which you can link from my Register web site, www.geocities.com/Anrai_McWard.
Mike Sullivan, a friend from Ahakista (We played as boys during my 1933 visit to Ireland), has described his trip across the Atlantic in 1947.
I came to America in June 1947 from Cobh on a fairly small boat, the Marine Falcon. It had been used as a troop ship. We slept in small bunks, very crowded. We were in groups of about 50 and the bunk beds were very close but fairly comfortable. They were 3 rows high. We were all in one class. The women were in groups also, but totally separated from the men.
Most of the passengers were English and European girls. Some were married to US soldiers and others were coming to get married. A few had babies.
One of the girls married the ship's doctor on the way over. The doctor's wedding made the local paper here. The boyfriend was waiting with a bunch of flowers only to find his girlfriend was already a bride. Not all was lost, he got his picture in the paper with the flowers. Her honeymoon was interrupted as the doctor did not have $2000 to put up a bond that was necessary for all foreigners. That is the last I know of him.
We only had about 60 Irish on board. We landed on 21 June - it took about 10 days.
The food was good and plentiful but some of it was
strange to me. It was served cafeteria style. I believe there were about 600
passengers and no entertainment was provided. A couple of the lads had fiddles
and other instruments. The weather was fair to poor. A lot of people were sick
in the first days. The last days we felt the air getting warmer. I do not
remember the length or number of decks. It was small.
Mike does remember paying $350 for a round trip by air in 1953. Marine Falcon was built by Henry J. Kaiser in 1945 for the armed services. She was 523 ft long, and had a 55 ft beam. Her speed was 17 knots. In August of 2002 I was at Milwaukee's Irish Fest, and stopped by the Pat Clancy (of Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem) scholarship booth. There, on a display wall, was Pat's ticket and receipt for his passage on Marine Falcon. He paid 29 pounds, 2 shillings, 6 pence for passage from Southampton plus 3 pounds, 3 pence for train fare to Toronto. He was in Room 64, Berth 29 (think bunk). He left Southampton May 15, 1947, about a month before Mike.
Soon after the end of WWII, the day of the ocean liner was over: Richard Tobin, who arrived in 1948, reported on his citizenship papers that he arrived on plane # NC45341. The romance of the sea was over.
Room and Board
Over the years there were rooming houses where the sheep herders stayed when they came to town:
On West Yellowstone rooming houses were run by ? Doran, ? Dalton, Peter Regan and his wife, and Fiddler Jack McCarthy. On the south side of W. 2nd just west of Center, William Cronin built the Home Hotel, and leased it. Many herders stayed there. Harringtons ran a boarding house on N. Center St.
It is time to talk of the sheep. Here and there in Notes, there is information on treks to the Big Horns, shearing, and wintering the sheep in Texas. Sheep made Casper, and we must give them their due.
We've seen at least one stampede in every western film, but seldom a sheep stampede. (There is one in Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd.) And we never see the stampede from the animal's viewpoint. There is a poem, however, that reminds us of the tragedy for both man and beast.
In the spring of 1937 when he was trailing sheep to the Big Horn Mountains, Joe Burke saw a poem written on the wall of an abandoned homestead shack at the head of Castle Creek. In November 1997 he wrote it down from memory. The poem describes a pile-up, a sort-of static stampede in which the sheep crowd together, too closely, for warmth or protection. It was written by Tim 'Nor' Daly about Tim 'The Bull' Daly. (7X is a brand.)
By Tim 'Nor' Daly
T'was on the banks of Castle Creek,
Sang the meadowlark serene.
A breeze was gently whispering
Through pine trees green and tall,
And the sun that morn in early spring
Was shining over all.
But a storm had come the night before
And the snow piled white and deep
Tim Daly stood in the wagon door
To hold the 7 X sheep.
He had good dogs on that terrible night
And he made them strain and strive,
And when the morning showed its light
He had piled up eighty-five.
And as he rode his old gray horse
His head it hung so low,
He paid no heed to the singing birds
Nor heard he the streamlets flow.
He seemed to doze in the saddle there
His eyes wore a haunted look
His shoulders drooped with a weary air
And his hands they trembled and shook.
Deep in his heart was a longing
For one or two shots of booze,
For he was riding to meet Con O'Connor
And give him the dreadful news.
But O'Connor took it calmly, saying:
Such things have happened before,
You did your best to save them,
A man can do no more.
You know you are our foreman,
A man of great renown,
There is no better camp jack,
Going into Casper town.
It is a serious loss to us,
Of course, I will allow,
But there is nothing left to do,
But to go and pelt them now.
On a lighter note, imagine the problem of separating two bands of sheep that have met and formed a single band. One herder, explaining how a mix-up had happened, used the Atlantic as metaphor. 'Sure,' he said, 'two ships can meet in a great col-eye-sion.' Who can blame him for the pronunciation? This extension of collide ought to be col-eye-sion. I'm working on that problem.
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