McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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Historian Edits Volume of Letters Written by Irish Immigrants

Instead of the usual voyage lasting seven weeks and four days, this crossing took a hellish 15 weeks.

Date: 5/12/2003
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: 513-556-1826
Instead of the usual voyage lasting seven weeks and four days, this crossing took a hellish 15 weeks. Irish-born John Smilie, aged 19, set sail for the American colonies from Belfast, Ireland, in 1762. The ship, the Sally, ran into “calm and contrary winds” and was captained by James Taylor, apparently a pirate who gave chase and fired guns at any other ship he encountered. Rations of bread and water diminished as the voyage dragged on. Eventually, there was no more bread, and water allotments were reduced to half a pint per day per person.

A new book edited by Professor Emeritus of History, Arnold Schrier, and three other scholars gives voice to Smilie's trials as well as the hopes, successes and disappointments of many other Irish immigrants. Read more on the UC web site.

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