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The Rescue of Six Fenians - New Bedford, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Metro2
N 41° 38.085 W 070° 55.679
19T E 339415 N 4611019
Quick Description: The Catalpa, a ship from New Bedford, played a role in rescuing six Irishmen, known as Fenians, from being sent to British prisons in Australia in 1876.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 2/21/2014 8:19:39 PM
Waymark Code: WMK6Y7
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
Views: 3

Long Description:
This small monument is located in front of the Register of Deeds Building in New Bedford. The metal plaque set in a boulder reads:

"1876 - 1976
TO COMMEMORATE THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF
THE RESCUE OF SIX FENIANS
ROBERT CRANSTON
THOMAS DARRAGH
MICHAEL HARRINGTON
THOMAS HASSETT
MARTIN HOGAN
JAMES WILSON

BY THE BARK CATALPA OF NEW BEDFORD FROM THE COLONY
OF AUSTRALIA TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

CAPTAIN GEORGE S. ANTHONY
JOHN J. BRESLIN, CHIEF OF RESCUE PARTY
JOHN T. RICHARDSON, SHIPS AGENT
JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY, RESCUE ORGANIZER

THIS MARKER PLACED BY THE FRIENDLY SONS OF SAINT PATRICK"

Wikipedia (visit link) adds:

"From 1865 to 1867, British authorities rounded up supporters of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish independence movement, and transported sixty-two of them to the penal colony of Western Australia. Among them was John Boyle O'Reilly, later to become the editor of the Boston newspaper The Pilot. They were sent on the convict ship Hougoumont and landed at Fremantle, in January 1868, after which they were moved to the Convict Establishment (now Fremantle Prison).
In 1869, O'Reilly escaped on the whaling ship Gazelle with assistance of the local Catholic priest, Father Patrick McCabe, and settled in Boston. Soon after his arrival, O'Reilly found work with The Pilot newspaper and eventually became editor. In 1871, another Fenian, John Devoy, was granted amnesty in England, among others, on condition that he settle outside Ireland, and he sailed to New York City. He also became a newspaperman, for the New York Herald. He joined the Clan na Gael, an organization that supported armed insurrection in Ireland.
In 1869, pardons had been issued to many of the imprisoned Fenians. Another round of pardons were issued in 1871, after which only a small group of militant Fenians remained in Western Australia's penal system. In 1873, Devoy received a smuggled letter from imprisoned Fenian James Wilson, who was among those the British had not released. He asked them to aid the escape of the remaining Fenian prisoners. Devoy discussed the matter with O'Reilly and Thomas McCarthy Fennell, and Fennell suggested that a ship be purchased, laden with a legitimate cargo, and sailed to Western Australia, where it would not be expected to arouse suspicion. The Fenian prisoners would then be rescued by stealth rather than force of arms. Devoy approached the 1874 convention of the Clan na Gael and got the Clan to agree to fund a rescue of the men. He then approached whaling agent John T. Richardson, who told them to contact his son-in-law, whaling captain George Smith Anthony, who agreed to help.
James Reynolds, a member of the Clan and on the committee to rescue the prisoners, bought under his name for the Clan a three-masted whaling bark Catalpa for $5,200, and George Anthony recruited twenty-two sailors. On 29 April 1875, Catalpa sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts. At first, most of the crew was unaware of their real mission. Anthony noticed too late that the ship's marine chronometer was broken, so he had to rely on his own skills for navigation. First they sailed to Faial Island in Azores, where they off-loaded 210 barrels of sperm whale oil. Unfortunately, much of the crew deserted the ship, and they had to leave three sick men behind. Anthony recruited replacement crew members and set sail for Western Australia.
At the same time, two Fenian agents, John Breslin and Tom Desmond, had arrived in Western Australia in September. Breslin masqueraded as an American businessman "James Collins", with suitable letter of introduction, and got acquainted with Sir William Cleaver Robinson, Governor of Western Australia. Robinson took Breslin on a tour of the Convict Establishment (now Fremantle Prison). Desmond took a job as a wheelwright and recruited five local Irishmen who were to cut the telegraph lines connecting Australia on the day of escape.
Catalpa fell behind the intended schedule due to a serious storm, in which she lost her foremast. She dropped anchor off Bunbury on 27 March 1876. Anthony and Breslin met. The pair began to prepare for the rescue."
Website with background information about this Waymark: [Web Link]

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Metro2 visited The Rescue of Six Fenians  -  New Bedford, MA 7/10/2010 Metro2 visited it