Lachine, QB (Off Shore) Steamer SHAMROCK Explosion, July 1842


It is our painful duty to announce a calamity unprecedented in extent in British North AMerica, which occurred on our waters on Sunday Inst.
The steamer Shamrock left the Canal Basin at Montreal on Friday evening, and the Locks at Lachine early on Saturday morning, having in tow three barges, two empty and one partially laden. She carried no cargo besides the luggage of passengers, whose number, we understand, amounted to 120 souls. About 11 o'clock, when the steamer had proceeded about five miles from Lachine, her boiler exploded, scattering death and destruction. So sudden were the effects, that in less than five minutes, 62 human beings were precipitated into eternity.
The passengers were English, Irish, Scotch emigrants, but principally English, and were distributed at the time of the accident, nearly as follows:
The English, in number about sixty-five, exclusively occupied the bow of the vessel.
The Irish and Scotch occupied the stern.
In the cabin were three English women, and two men.
Between decks, in the fore part of the vessel were a number of loiterers.
The explosion carried away the decks, and opened the sides, so that the vessel immediately went down. It is easy to conceive how inevitable because the destruction or irreparable injury of the majority of such a crowd of passengers huddled on board of a small canal boat. The loss fell principally upon the English who were in the bows; the three women and two men in the cabin perished, and all who were between decks, with the exception of three Irishmen.
The accident was distinctly visible from Lachine; at least a number of persons remarked a vast eruption of smoke, and in a few seconds the disappearance of the vessel. The steamer Dolphin was at the time about half a mile in the rear of the Shamrock, and on board her the explosion was heard; and its effects perceived. The Captain dropped two barges which he had in tow, and made all haste to carry succor. When the Dolphin reached the scene of the disaster, the sight was appalling; the unfortunate steamer had disappeared, and the surface of the water was covered with living and dead bodies, the living clinging to fragments of the wreck, and to the sides of two barges which remained unimpaired. By the exertions of the master and crew of the Dolphin, sixty persons of different ages and sexes were picked up. Of these about thirty are more or less injured, and about thirty, principally Irish, escaped unhurt.
It is now out of power to paint in all, their horror, the details of this disaster. Some instances are presented of heart-rending misery.
One old lady, named COUSINS, from Cleveland, Yorkshire, was found alive, floating on a feather bed, but her husband and seven children perished.
A man named COVERDALE, from Damby, Yorkshire, sank on Saturday night under amputation, leaving behind him a wife who, besides her husband, lost six children.
[N.Y. Herald}

The Experiment Norwalk Ohio 1842-07-27


Irish passengers on Shamrock

My Lawson ancestors emigrated from County Sligo Ireland c.1841. There were six Lawson brothers and one perished with the loss of a ship. My dad born 1908 spoke of an explosion and one of the brothers "was never heard from again ... and that's for sure". I have been in touch with other cousins who were descended for the other five brothers. They all relate the story of the loss of a ship in which one brother did not survive. The all settled in the Elmvale, Ontario area.

I was in Quebec in 2016 and learned of the loss of the Shamrock. My brother and I had been looking into other possibilities such as Carrick, but non seemed to fit. When I read about the explosion on board Shamrock it seemed full of possibilities that our Lawson ancestor died in that explosion.

I have not been able to locate a passenger list and may never know for sure. Any information would be appreciated.

Steamer Shamrock disaster, 1842

My Mowbray ancestors were on the Shamrock and luckily survived. Like Joseph and his wife Mary Breckon ~ they were also from North Yorkshire. Thomas Mowbray (my 3rd great grandfather) and his son had suffered the loss of his wife (and mother of William) two years before and left for Canada in 1842 from Middlesbrough to start afresh. Thomas had a brother ~ Robert Mowbray living in Lambton County. After the disaster of the Shamrock the two spent several weeks in hospital in Montreal and when it was safe to move them they were transferred to a hospital in Toronto for another month. Later that year they were reunited with Robert in the Lambton region and remained there.

2 Victims of this disaster

Joseph Breckon and his wife Mary (née Williamson) perished in this disaster. There is a headstone in the churchyard at Westerdale, North Yorkshire, England, (their home in 1841) which reads: "Erected in memory of Jane the wife of Joseph Breckon who died 19 Nov 1836 aged 37. Also the above Joseph Breckon aged 43 and Mary his second wife aged 45. They were lost 9 July 1842 by the explosion of the steam boat Shamrock in the river St Lawrance, North America."

Joseph was a joiner and cartwright. He had married Jane Wheldon on 26 May 1822 at Lastingham, North Yorkshire. After Jane's death in 1836, John married Mary less than a year later at Stokesley parish church.

I wonder what inspired them to leave a small dales village and venture abroad on such a long journey. What a terrible end.

Explosion of "Shamrock"

Joseph Breckon and his wife Mary (née Williamson) died in this explosion. There is a headstone in their memory in Westerdale churchyard, North Yorkshire, England:- "Erected in memory of Jane the wife of Joseph Breckon who died 19th November 1836 aged 37. Also the above Joseph Breckon aged 43 and Mary his second wife aged 45. They were lost 9th July 1842 by the explosion of the steamboat Shamrock in the river St Lawrance, North America."