Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Partridge Island, N.B.
The Celtic Cross Memorial
Partridge Island is a Canadian island located in the Bay of Fundy off the coast of Saint John, New Brunswick within the city's Inner Harbour.
The island is a provincial historic site and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1974. It lies on the west side of the mouth of the Saint John River
Partridge Island was first established as a quarantine station and pest house in 1785 by the Saint John Royal Charter, which also set aside the island for use as a navigational aids station and a military post. Its first use as a Quarantine Station was not until 1816. A hospital was constructed on the island in 1830.
It received its largest influx of immigrants in the 1840's during the Great Famine, known as the "Irish Potato Famine", when a shortage of potatoes occurred because of potato blight striking Ireland's staple crop, causing millions to starve to death or otherwise emigrate, mainly to North America. During the famine, some 30,000 immigrants were processed by the island's visiting and resident physicians, with 1196 dying at Partridge Island and the adjacent city of Saint John during the Typhus epidemic of 1847. During the 1890's there were over 78,000 immigrants a year being examined or treated on the island.
A memorial to the Irish immigrants of the mid-1840's was set up on the island in the 1890's but by World War One it had deteriorated. In 1926 the Saint John City Cornet Band approached Saint John contractor George McArthur who agreed to lead a campaign to build a suitable monument. The Celtic Cross memorial to the Irish dead of 1847 was dedicated in 1927.
This was restored and rededicated in 1985. In the early and mid-1980's the Saint John Jewish Community, the Loyal Orange Lodge, the Partridge Island Research Project, and the Partridge Island & Harbour Heritage Inc., a company that was registered in 1988 and dissolved in 2004 erected memorials to the Protestant, Catholic and Jewish immigrants buried in one of the six island graveyards, as well as a monument to all of the Irish dead from 1830 to the 1920's.
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