Brig Saint John

The Shipwreck of the Brig Saint John


On September 5, 1849, The brig St. John sailed from Galway Harbor headed for Boston. The ship was laden with 109 refugees of the holocaust known as the “Great Famine” who were determined to seek a better life in America. The trip was uneventful untill they met a violent storm on October 6 as they approached Boston Harbor in an attempt to ride out the storm
Its anchors failed to hold. On the morning of October 7, the ship crashed against the shallow “Grampus Ledge” off the coast of Cohasset. The crew abandoned ship and left behind 109 passengers to fight for their lives in the raging sea. Of the one hundred nine, only ten were able to survive by clinging to debris left by the disintegrated ship. Ninety-nine immigrants perished in this disaster.
Forty-five bodies that washed ashore over the next several days were never identified. They were buried in a mass grave in the Cohasset Central Cemetery.
In 1914 the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Auxiliary (now known as the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians) of Massachusetts, erected a twenty foot Celtic Cross as a memorial to those unidentified victims. Over 15,000 Brother and Sister Hibernians attended the dedication ceremony.
We thank you for joining us in remembering these ancestral victims.


Click here to see a list of passengers and crew on the Brig St. John.