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Eyewitness by Marianna O'Gallagher


Monograph published by Carraig Books and available in French under the title Les témoins parlent – Grosse Île 1847 at the same Publishing House. This book describes the year 1847 at the quarantine station of Grosse Île. That year, forced by the famine caused by a virus attacking potatoes, Irishmen, mainly small farmers fled their country and emigrated to America and particularly to Canada. Sick and poor, most immigrants were victims of typhus. Many died either at sea, or waiting to go ashore at Grosse Île or in the hospitals of the island.

The authors, Marianna O’Gallagher and Rose Masson Dompierre based their book on serious and extensive research. They included numerous original documents : letters of missionaries holding a post at Grosse Île in 1847, correspondence between religious and civil authorities, newspaper articles, Catholic and Anglican registers of Grosse Île, the list of passenger ships coming to Quebec, reports of the Executive Council of Lower Canada, of Dr. Douglas, superintendent of the quarantine station of Grosse Île and of Mr Buchanan, Chief immigration officer of Quebec.

Based on authentic references, the conditions prevalent in 1847 regarding the reception of the immigrants and the ensuing results are well described.

Grosse Isle, 1847



Quebec history


Carraig Books

Sainte-Foy, QC