1861 January 1 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – The weather during the past week has exhibited all the extremes which have characterised the present remarkable season. We had intense frost for some days by which the little sea was frozen, and sliding and skating were enjoyed with great zest. Then came a severe land drift, by which the road between Kirkwall and Stromness was rendered almost impassable. And finally, on Saturday, there came a complete thaw with a tempest of wind from the south, which, having continues during Sunday and yesterday has caused the snow to vanish, except where it is deeply drifted. Yesterday the wind continued strong, but the day was generally fair, and the atmosphere much more dry than it has been for some time except during the frost. During the storm many working men have been standing idle about the streets, the whole soil having been so completely sealed up that work was impossible. As labour is very far behind a period of dry, mild weather would be very desirable.
THE VOLUNTEERS. – On Christmas-day the Volunteers in full uniform marshalled on the Broad Street at half-past two o’clock, by order of Captain Heddle. As the shops had been closed, and as it was generally understood that the gallant corps were to fire their carbines for the first time, the attendant crowd was greater than usual. After having formed the Volunteers were served with cartridges. They then, under the command of the Captain, marched through the town, along the Ayre, and out for some distance on the new Stromness road. They then halted, and fired three rounds with blank cartridge. Many of the men knew well how to handle a gun previously, and the majority of the corps fired with wonderful precision. A small number missed fire at first, but a very little practice will suffice to rectify any deficiencies in this respect.
NEW REGULATION IN REGISTERING BIRTHS. – On and after 1st January, 1861, all parties attending at the office of the registrars for the purpose of registering births will, in addition to the other necessary information, be obliged to give the place and date of their marriage, else the birth will not be registered. They will therefore require to be provided with proper evidence of these. The chief object of this regulation is to prevent, if possible, the registering of illegitimate children as legitimate.
1861 January 5 The Orcadian
NEW YEAR’S DAY IN KIRKWALL. – Tuesday last, the 1st January, 1861, passed off in great quietness. There was no mischief done, and very little noise during the early morning. One remarkable characteristic of the day – and one probably quite new in Kirkwall – was, that a union prayer meeting was held in the U.P. Session-house, at eight o’clock in the morning, and three or four private prayer meetings, in different districts of the town, in the evening. There was scarcely any appearance of drunkenness and no rioting during the day. Of course, there was the usual game of foot-ball played on the Broad Street, at one o’clock; but even immemorial custom looked this year as if it were soon to yield to a better and more rational state of things. There was by no means the usual number engaged in it, nor the usual assemblage of spectators. The contest was conducted languidly on both sides, and most seemed to feel that they were occupied in an amusement which is not sanctioned by the enlightened feeling of the age. Enough has now been done to testify our respect to the past; and, on the whole, we think some more seemly, humane, and manly amusement might be substituted in the place of what has become little better than an exercise of brute force. Might not our Volunteer Corps, who appear so able and willing to lead the way, suggest some physical exercise more appropriate of the day and the place. In the early part of the fifteenth century, during the captivity of James I., a law was passed against foot-ball, and a severe penalty inflicted upon every transgressor – the reason assigned being that it took off the attention of the people from the practice of the bow and arrow. We are going back, not to the exercise of archery exactly, but to their modern substitutes; and accomplishment in these latter every sensible person would deem infinitely more desirable and important than skill in kicking the shins of his neighbour. The ball, we need scarcely add, went down the street.
FATAL BOAT ACCIDENT – LOSS OF FOUR MEN. – On Wednesday last a boat with three men left the small island of Weir [Wyre] to go to the neighbouring island of Rousay, with some oats which they wished to have ground into meal. The distance they had to cross was not great – there being only a narrow channel between the two islands. On their return to Weir, and when not above a gunshot from the beach, one of the men, it is believed, attempted to climb the mast, in order to free the “traveller” which had got entangled, and his weight being too great for the boat, it was suddenly capsized, and all on board, we grieve to relate, have been drowned. The day was quite calm; the sea perfectly smooth; and no danger of course was feared, until the attention of the people on shore was attracted, by the cries of the sufferers, to the boat, which was, when first seen, observed to be in a sinking condition, and, a little after, was discovered bottom up. A boat was immediately, on the accident being observed, put off, in order, if possible, the rescue the men in the water, but on coming up to the spot they found out the melancholy fact that all had sunk to rise no more. Their names are, John and Alexander Sabiston, brothers; Hugh Craigie, their cousin; and James Baikie, son of Mr James Baikie, Tob, St Andrews, who, we believe, was about to be married to a sister of the Sabistons. Craigie had joined the boat at Rousay. On Wednesday evening and during the course of Thursday search was made for the bodies, when that of James Baikie was found, and is retained till the determination of his father is known as to interment. He had but recently arrived from America on a visit to his friends, and the distressing news of the accident was sent to the Rev. Mr Stewart, St Andrews, yesterday, for the purpose of communicating the sad event to the bereaved parents.
1861 January 8 Orkney Herald
NEW YEAR’S DAY. – The new year was ushered in with unusual quietness. The day was fine, and was universally observed as a holiday. The ball was thrown up at the cross, precisely at one o’clock, but only a small number took part in the scuffle, and all was over in an hour. As has been the case for many years, the “down-the-gates” had the victory. In the morning there was a prayer meeting conducted by young men of different denominations; and in the evening again there were meetings of a similar kind. It is the general testimony that never was a new year’s day observed so quietly, and indeed the sobriety and good conduct in Kirkwall was quite remarkable.
1861 January 22 Orkney Herald
AGRICULTURAL AFFAIRS. – The weather during the past week has been up till Saturday evening exceedingly fine and mild for the season. The sky has generally worn a gloomy leaden canopy, but it was fair, while both atmosphere and soil have been the better for the change. Ploughing has proceeded briskly, and this appearance of life has been a set-off to cheer the dull grey colour of the pastures. On Saturday evening rain returned, and continued with blustering winds during the greater part of Sunday. Yesterday the wind continued westerly, but very little rain fell, and the air was quite mild for the month of January. We cannot expect winter to pass away without another visit of biting boreas; but in the meantime we may rejoice in the interval of vernal mildness.
1861 January 26 The Orcadian
REVIVAL MEETINGS IN ORKNEY. – On Thursday evening last, being the evening of the weekly congregational prayer meeting in the [Kirkwall] U.P. church, the audience nearly filled the house to hear the Rev. Messrs Paul of Sanday, and Ingram of Eday, who were to address the meeting on revival subjects. Mr Paul opened the meeting and delivered the first address, which he founded upon Luke XViii and 37, “And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by,” and gave a number of interesting facts connected with the movement in Sanday.
Mr Ingram then addressed the meeting, and following up on Mr Paul’s statement, gave an account of the rise and progress of the work in Eday, a good deal of solemnity was evidently felt by the audience, among whom, there was, in many instances, undoubted evidence of deep feeling. This was certainly not lessened by the fact that a young servant maid in the centre gallery, rose up, during Mr Ingram’s address, and lifting up her hands cried loudly, “Victory! Victory! Hosanna! Hosanna!” Large numbers were at this time deeply impressed. The young woman was carried outside and the services were proceeded with. At the conclusion of Mr Ingram’s address, Dr Paterson addressed the meeting for a few minutes. There was no further interruption, and Mr Ingram concluded the services of the evening with devotional exercises and the benediction.
Many tears flowed during the meeting, and much feeling has been since shown by individuals who were present.
On Sabbath last Mr Armour, from Sanday, the Apostle of Religious Revivals in Orkney, again addressed an overflowing meeting in the Free Church, at six o’clock p.m., with his wonted energy and earnestness. He returned to Stromness on Monday, where he delivered a second address in the evening. He then proceeded to Rousay, and held several meetings; – and here, also, a great work has evidently been begun. One of the meetings in the Free Church, at six o’clock, on Thursday evening, continued – after Mr Rose, the minister of the congregation, and Mr Armour had left, which they did about two o’clock a.m. – till nine o’clock on Friday morning. Mr Armour returned to Kirkwall on Friday, and addressed a full house, in the Free Church, at eight o’clock in the evening, when he narrated the state of matters in Rousay; and, from his statement, it appears that, if we except the effects in his own congregation in Sanday, there is no place in Orkney in which stronger manifestations of a religious awakening have been exhibited than in Rousay – not so much a work of conviction, as that of joy and rejoicing in the faith of the gospel. Mr A. had two friends with him, who engaged in prayer. Mr Sinclair gave a few very suitable and appropriate advices at the close, and Mr Armour concluded with prayer, praise, and the benediction. Two persons were assisted out of the meeting – a man and a woman – but they made no other disturbance.
REPORTS ON SCHOOLS. – The ‘Northern Ensign’ publishes the Government Inspectors’ Reports on the Schools of the Northern Counties for last year…..
Rousay. – This school is situated in a district once populous [Quandale], but upwards of six years ago turned into a sheep farm. A fair attendance, consequently, cannot be had even in winter. Some of those interested in the school are anxious for its removal to a more populous part of the island, but hitherto nothing definite has been done. The master seems fitted for his work; and it is to be regretted that the removal is not at once effected.
Sourin. – At this season numbers small, and instruction very elementary, but faithfully imparted. The school-room, itself small, is made more confined by a bad arrangement of desks. By being placed along the wall or in parallel rows, greater space would be secured. The residence is in a very bad state, and is injuring the teacher’s health. It is much to be regretted that greater encouragement is not given to a very deserving man by those in the district whose interest it is, and who have it in their power to do so.
1861 February 2 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. – The past week has been one of signal blessing, and will be long remembered by the inhabitants of this Island. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit has been similar to what has taken place in Sanday and other Islands. The first visible manifestation of this great awakening power occurred in the Free Church on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and continued to spread over the various districts of the parish. Some from Egilshay and Wire shared in the blessing during the evenings that followed. Not a few were moved to deep convictions of sin and to pray for mercy in their own and their neighbour’s houses, and were led to find Christ. There was no restraint put upon the moving of the Divine agent, during the evenings when the mourning and bitterness of soul became very deep and all but universal. He was allowed to do His mighty work on the guilty consciences of sinners and with the happiest results. Indeed everything seems so far as man can judge, to have gone forward in the most pleasing manner. The people of God have been refreshed and revered and a large increase made to the true Church of the living God…..
1861 February 9 The Orcadian
SUDDEN DEATH. – On the morning of the 28th January, Mr James Mainland, farmer, Skaill, Egilshay, died suddenly whilst on his way to attend a union prayer meeting in the U.P. church, Rousay. Deceased left his house in his usual state of health, crossed to Rousay, but had not proceeded many yards from the boat when he dropped down and expired almost instantaneously.
[James was the son of Alexander and Marjory Mainland, born in 1777, was married to Isobel Bews, and was the father of seven children born between 1823 and 1837. He was in his 84th year when he died.]
1861 February 12 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER AND PUBLIC HEALTH. – During a part of the past week the weather was boisterous, with a very low barometer; but latterly it has been fine, mild, and spring-like, generally with a tendency to frost, and with occasional showers of snow. The wind has gone round from south, by way of west and north, till yesterday it was north-east, with a high barometer, and a cold, grey, cloudy sky. The frost has not been severe, and ploughing proceeds without interruption. The health of the burgh has been much affected by the changeable weather. Many have been complaining of colds, sore throats, rheumatism and similar complaints, and many deaths have occurred. On Sabbath it was remarked that there were no fewer than five corpses in the town.
1861 February 19 Orkney Herald
THE COLPORTEUR.- In pursuance of his useful mission, Mr John Leonard, colporteur, has recently visited the islands of Rousay, Wyre, and Egilsay, also the mainland districts of Rendall, Scapa, &c. His reception everywhere continues exceedingly gratifying. In Rousay he received much kindness from the ministers, Messrs Gardner, McLellan, and Rose; also from Mrs Trail of Woodwick, and Mr Learmonth. From Mrs Trail he received a donation to help the gratuitous distribution of tracts. Mr Smith, of Rendall, also showed much interest in the good work; and Mr Leonard mentions Mrs Johnston, Lingro, as much interested in the colportage movement. Mr Leonard proposes next to visit the island of Eday, where we are sure a cordial reception awaits him. He has recently received a supply of the literature most in request at present, including Richard Weaver’s Seven Addresses, with a biographical sketch, “The Sinner’s Friend,” and “A Warning Cry from Niagara,” by the Rev. Newman Hall.
1861 February 23 The Orcadian
The trade of Kirkwall for three days was almost at a standstill in consequence of the stormy state of the weather. A gale continued to blow from Monday afternoon till Thursday. No North Isles packets could face the storm, and not even the Shapinsay packet ventured out on one of the days. Besides the Prussian schooner which went on shore on Beaman Sand in Deersound – reported in another paragraph – we have not heard of any casualty to shipping on our island coast during the gale.
SCHOONER ON SHORE. – The Prussian schooner, “Richard,” of Stralsund, Captain Teipoke, from Sunderland, came into Deersound on Wednesday morning, as it was blowing from the south-east. On making her appearance a pilot went on board and brought her up to the anchor ground, but the chains giving way, she drove on shore on a sandy bottom at Ness, near the Hall of Tankerness. It appears that the vessel left Sunderland for the Baltic, coal laden, on the 13th December, and had to put into Norway, being in a damaged state. It left Norway on the 10th of February, and has since experienced heavy gales from S.E. and S.S.E. Its decks were swept, the long binnacle was carried off, as also the boats, &c. The carpenter had likewise been swept overboard, and the crew were in a state of utter exhaustion from having had to work incessantly at the pumps.
1861 March 2 The Orcadian
AGRICULTURAL OPERATION. – The weather is now all that the farmer could wish; dry, clear, and sunny. The whole of this week has been fine, and indeed been more like May than February. Immense tracts of waste land have come under the plough, lea land is nearly all ploughed over, but stubble ground is yet in many cases too wet to admit of being turned up. Everything seems to betoken an early spring; and the present beautiful weather is being taken advantage of by our hardy farmers. A few more days of the present weather will greatly accelerate operations.
ROUSAY. A correspondent writes:- The good work of God is prospering wonderfully. The interest in divine things remains unabated. There are about forty applicants for membership in the Free Church at the April communion, all of whom seem to have come to Jesus. There have been no excesses, though one individual has been strongly affected.
1861 March 9 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER. – The weather has been very stormy during the past week, and alternate winds and rain have, during nearly the whole week, prevailed. The steamer from Shetland arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and did not leave till Thursday morning. It was pretty calm when she left, but she could not have been more than half way to Aberdeen before the storm came on again with considerable violence, and it is believed that she has experienced a rough passage. She had on board a complete cargo of cattle, and many had to be left behind. The usual south mail on Thursday morning did not reach till the evening of that day, shortly after eight o’clock. The gallant little steamer “Royal Mail,” having crossed to Scrabster in the morning, returned in the evening, notwithstanding a complete storm of wind and a heavy sea, in a spirited style, which certainly did Capt. Lyon great credit.
1861 March 12 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – The past week has been stormy, wind, rain, hail, and sleet, with lightning at nights, being its predominant features. On Thursday the forenoon was fine, but a storm was obviously gathering in the south-west, and in the afternoon and evening it burst forth with remarkable fury. The wind was very strong, and the rainfall was one of the heaviest we have had this season. Since that time there has been almost incessant wind, with showers of hail and sleet; and yesterday morning the earth was covered with a thin coating of snow. During the whole of yesterday we had frequent showers of hail and sleet.
1861 March 19 Orkney Herald
A Stromness correspondent informs us that a great rivalry exists at present among the bakers there as to who will sell the 4lb loaf cheapest, and that after one party commenced selling it at 8d, another “ticketed” it at 7½d, while a third, not to be done, offered the same, as Mr Cheap John would say, “at the low charge of 7d.”
QUACKS. – We understand that a number of itinerant medicine-vendors are at present exercising their vocation in Orkney. It is to be hoped that they may not find sufficient patronage to encourage them to make a long stay in our islands.
1861 March 23 The Orcadian
FATAL BOAT ACCIDENT – THREE LIVES LOST. – On Sabbath morning last, three young men, William Allan, John Tulloch, and David Mouat, residing in Shapinsay, resolved to go over to Eday, for the purpose of attending church there, their own in Shapinsay being vacant, and also with the view of bringing with them on their return, the mother of John Tulloch, who had a daughter in a dying state in Kirkwall whom she wanted to visit. When the boat left the bay of Viantro, the wind, which was S.S.E., was moderate, but it soon increased to a gale. The people in Shapinsay being anxious for their safety, continued to watch the boat’s progress until they lost sight of her in a heavy shower of sleet, with which the wind blew with great violence. This was the last which was seen of the ill-fated boat; but there can be no doubt of her loss, and no hopes can be entertained of the safety of any of the crew, as since then, some oars, bottom boards, and a tiller, answering to the description of the furnishings of the boat have been picked up about the shore of one of the Green Holms. It is surmised that the party had attempted to land there when the storm overtook them, but seemingly only to perish in the attempt. The whole three young men were highly-respected, and leave a large circle of friends to lament their untimely end. The young man Mouat was the principal support of an aged father, and two sick brothers, one of whom is in a dying state.
1861 April 2 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – During the past week the weather has continued somewhat unsettled, some days having been fine and others cloudy and moist. Sunday and yesterday were of the leaden-hued, miserable sort that often visit us in the spring, when the north-easterly winds blight and shut up the early flowers, and bring their train of colds and sore throats to afflict the human race. Up to this date the weather has been very mild, and vegetation is far advanced. Grass is beautifully green, cow-slips are in flower, and altogether it looks like the month of May. The weather has been somewhat too moist for agricultural operations, and sowing of oats has hardly yet begun. Should the north-east wind continue it may have the effect of quickening evaporation, and allowing the sowing operations to proceed; and should vegetation not be seriously checked there will be an early abundance of pasture.
1861 April 6 The Orcadian
THE CENSUS. – The day for the numbering of the people is at hand. By this time, we doubt not, every family has had served upon it the suspicious-looking document, which Is to be returned with all the facts Inserted in it as to that particular family’s numerical condition, from the mass and proper classification of which the state of the nation is to be accurately computed and ascertained. In outward appearance it bears no small resemblance to an ordinary income-tax schedule, but the queries it puts are of a totally different kind. From the character of the house and the number of the rooms occupied, a deduction might, it is true, be drawn relative to the importance of the family to which it belongs, but the return will contain no other piece of information – if we except that under the head “rank or profession” – which can convey the slightest hint as to whether it is rich or poor, whether it is respected or despised, whether it is a part or supporter of this denomination or of that. The paper asks merely for the name and surname of every individual member present in the house on the night of the 7th, for relationship and age, for sex and condition, for occupation and place of birth. Two other columns are also added requiring the number of deaf-and-dumb persons, wherever any such may exist, and the number of children actually in attendance at school during the previous week. This is the whole extent of the information sought, and from this it is believed the state of the kingdom for all legitimate practical purposes will be ascertained. No doubt, there are many who will consider that the return goes sufficiently far in the inquisitorial direction and not the less so that it is modestly stated on the back of the schedule that the refusal to supply full information, or the attempt to misstate facts as to age or otherwise, will be visited with a penalty of five pounds and a public exposure. Hard though this may appear, yet nothing less than what is here asked could be considered enough for the purposes in view, – these purposes being elsewhere stated to be – “to show the exact numbers, ages, and condition of the people, their arrangement by families in different ranks, professions and trades, their distribution over the country in villages, towns, and cities. and their increase and progress during the last ten years.” Considering how important correct information on these points is for the use of the statesman and the government of the country, every intelligent and right-minded person would – apart altogether from the legal threats – at once perceive the duty which lies upon him of contributing in his own case and of assisting in the ease of others to secure a mass of statistics on which full reliance can be placed as regards all the matters sought. Unfortunately the figures of former years, especially in the matter of ages, have, when properly tested, been found to be not wholly correct, and until sufficiently winnowed and digested have been discarded as useless, and are as yet at best looked upon only as approximations to the truth. We hope to see this grievance now removed, and for that purpose we cannot too much insist upon everyone returning to the best of his knowledge and belief accurate information on every point. These returns are to be made use of only for general abstracts, – even the enumerators are forbidden to disclose the contents of any particular schedule, – and, such being the case, no fear can be more irrational than that an improper application will he made of any fact stated, and no fault more stupid than that of wilfully offering false or imperfect information on any point what-ever. Indeed, the enumerators are instructed to direct attention to anything they may suspect to be wrongly put down, and to report in every case where the whole information is not at once given. Everybody will thus perceive that truth and honesty in this business, as in every other, is after all the best policy…..
1861 April 9 Orkney Herald
THE CYCLOPS. – On Tuesday, the 26th March, the Rousay packet, “Cyclops,” made the passage from Kirkwall to Rousay in an hour. This is one of the quickest passages on record between these ports.
MUIR-BURNING. – We would remind our readers that the season for burning heath or grass on the moors closes tomorrow; and after this date anyone lighting such fires, as well as anyone who allows them to be lighted on his grounds, will be liable to a fine of £2. This notice seems very necessary when we consider the numerous convictions last year; and it is to be hoped that this year parties will be on their guard. We know that our learned Sheriff inflicts such fines with great reluctance, but he has no alternative when parties are convicted.
ROUSAY – THE REVIVALS. – During several months now the revival movement has been progressing in this island, and all the three ministers have been earnestly engaged in conducting it. As in other places a great change for the better is observable in the island, prayer meetings are greatly multiplied, the attention of hearers on Sabbath is much more earnest, and the membership of the churches has largely increased. On Tuesday the 26th March, the island was visited by the Rev. Dr Paterson, accompanied by the Rev. John Thomson, who addressed meetings on that and the following day. Because of the uncertainty of the weather no intimation of the meetings had been given, but notwithstanding the short notice they were all well attended. It was agreed that a is meeting should be held on the Tuesday evening at Wasbister, for which place Messrs McLellan and Thomson set out, simply intimating the meeting as they went along. Notwithstanding the brief intimation the school was quite filled. Mr Thomson preached, and during the whole services there was the most earnest attention. At this meeting it was intimated that the congregation would assemble in the church at 12 o’clock on the following day, when Dr Paterson would be present as a deputy front the Presbytery. At the appointed hour the church was packed, even the lobby being filled. Dr Paterson preached, his subject being the revival at Antioch. After sermon Mr McLellan took the chair, and having engaged in devotional exercises, explained the circumstances under which Dr Paterson appeared among the people as a deputy from the Presbytery. As there was a considerable proportion of young people present, Mr Thomson delivered an address especially adapted to them, on “the importance of immediately giving their hearts to Jesus.” Dr Paterson then addressed the congregation in a very seasonable and appropriate manner, and during the whole services the most earnest and sustained attention was manifested by the congregation. The services occupied about four hours and a half, and at the close it was intimated that a service would be held in the island of Egilshay the same evening. Messrs McLellan and Thomson accordingly went across, and a meeting was held in the school-room, when about 150 persons were present. Mr McLellan conducted the devotional exorcism, and Mr Thomson preached, and here, as on former occasions, the deepest attention was manifest.
1861 April 13 The Orcadian
THE CENSUS. – All the enumerators were occupied during the greater part of Monday in collecting the schedules. In general they met with very little difficulty in the performance of their task. Here and there, a character or two appeared (females of course) who had scruples about revealing their ages, and one enumerator at least had to call more than once in order to extort from a certain one of them the recondite secret, having, after all, to content himself with a bare approximation…..
1861 April 16 Orkney Herald
SALE OF A VESSEL. – On Friday last the brigantine “Richard” of Stralsund, 147 tons burden, which was recently stranded at Tankerness, and has lain for some time in the harbour of Kirkwall, was put up for sale by auction by Mr James S. Hewitson, auctioneer. The first offer was 3s 10d! From this sum it rose by slow degrees till the vessel was sold to John Mitchell Esq., Town-Clerk, for £193. The cargo of the vessel, amounting, it is understood, to upwards of 240 tons of Wallsend gas coals, was afterwards sold by auction to Mr Mitchell for £95.
1861 April 23 Orkney Herald
PUBLIC HEALTH. – For five or six weeks now there has been a very great amount of sickness in Kirkwall and its neighbourhood. Scarlatina has been very prevalent, first in a mild form, and confined to children, but latterly it has included those of more mature years, and has in two or three cases proved fatal. There have also been cases of rheumatic fever and other complaints; and our medical men say there has not been so much sickness at one time for many years. In some eases whole families are prostrated at once.
SHAPINSAY – HAWKERS. – We have been visited during the week by a large number of salesmen, going about in the shape of packmen, and pretending to sell damaged goods, saved, as they assert, from the wreck a vessel sunk in the river Mersey. We understand, however, they give different accounts of the circumstances in connection with it, and we should like to know something authoritative about it. We suspect the whole affair is a fabrication.
1861 May 4 The Orcadian
PRESENTATION. – At the conclusion of the district prayer meeting at Wasbister, Rousay, on the evening of the 23rd ult., the inhabitants of the district deputed the Rev. John McLellan, U.P. minister, to present Mr William Linklater, Free Church schoolmaster with the handsome sum of £5 5s., the whole of which was raised in the district, with the exception of one subscription from a friend, in token of their respect to him and appreciation of his services as a teacher of the youth both in the work-day and Sabbath school; but especially for his services at and since the time of the great religious awakening in this district.
1861 May 11 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER, &C. – Winter, with his piercing cold north winds and snowy showers, has again, in the month of May, fairly set in upon us. If we choose to sip our May dew in the mornings, when the whole face or the ground lies white with snow, we shall have plenty. As a natural consequence of the severity of the present series of cold weather, many are complaining of sore throats, coughs, colds, and such like. There would be a complete stagnation in every sort of vegetation but for the snow moisture – a very cold one. The oat braird is appearing, and potatoes are in sight in the gardens, the growth of which, however, has been checked by the severity of the weather. There are indications upon the weather glass of an agreeable change being at hand, which is anxiously looked for.
1861 May 14 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – Nature, animate and inanimate, is still groaning under an infliction of north-east winds which have at times during the week been piercingly cold. On Tuesday and Wednesday there were heavy showers of hail and snow; and on the latter day, the 8th of May, boys were enjoying the delectable game of snow-balling in the streets of Kirkwall. On the morning of Thursday the 9th the islands were covered with a coating of snow, which continued most of the forenoon. Afterwards the wind shifted round more towards the east, and the air was slightly milder, but it is still very cold for the season. In consequence of the blighting winds, vegetation has made little progress, and the fields look disagreeably brown and parched. Happily there is no scarcity of pasture, the grass having made sufficient progress before the cold weather set in to afford nourishment to the livestock. The fresh green leaves in the gardens have a crumpled “half-embrowned” appearance that tells of the withering influence of the nor’-easter; the opened blossoms appear conscious that they have come too early, and the embryo fruit appears too sickly to survive any lengthened continuance of the same ungenial weather. “Human nature” at the same time is afflicted with colds, coughs, toothaches, rheumatism’s, and no doubt, in some cases ill-temper, which are the natural result of north-east winds.
1861 May 25 The Orcadian
SURGICAL OPERATION. – A young man named James Hercus, from the island of Rousay, had his leg amputated lately in Balfour Hospital, for incurable disease of the knee joint, under which he was rapidly sinking. He is now restored to perfect health, and is able to resume his duties as a teacher. It may be well to mention that he is anxious to do something for his own support, and that of his mother who is a poor widow. As he is believed to be a good scholar and willing to work, it is hoped that he will be assisted in getting a situation as a teacher by those connected with the island of Rousay, who may have it in their power to aid him.
[James’ mother Jean Reid was the daughter of celebrated Rousay centenarian George Reid and Barbara Logie. She was born in 1813, married John Harcus, and lived at Garson, Westside, where they raised a family of four children, one of whom, James, was born there in August 1840. The census of 1861 tells of widowed Jean living at Blowhigh with sons John, a 22-year-old tailor, the aforementioned James, then a 20-year-old teacher, and daughter Henrietta, who was a 16-year-old domestic servant. The Westside/Quandale school at that time had 45-year-old Sinclair McKay as its parochial schoolmaster, and it is there that James would have assisted in teaching the considerable number of children that lived in the district in those days. Jean passed away on Christmas Day 1862.]
1861 May 28 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER AND CROPS. – Since Friday last we have been favoured with very fine summer weather; bright warm sunshine alternating with refreshing showers, and accompanied with a mild, balmy atmosphere, and a southerly wind. On Saturday there was a very heavy thunder-shower shortly after mid-day; and both on that and the following day the clouds looked “thundery,” and the air felt cold and oppressive, as if over-charged with electricity. Yesterday the wind continued south-westerly, the sky partly obscured by “raking” clouds, but with a good proportion of sunshine. Grass, oats, and potatoes are now looking exceedingly well, but we regret to learn the grub is in some districts doing injury to the oats. A large amount of guano continues to be imported, and may he expected to continue for some weeks to be used in the sowing of turnips.
1861 June 1 The Orcadian
Samuel Drever, of Neuks, Westray, enrolled as a Coast Guard volunteer, reported as missed from H.M.S. “Edinburgh” some months ago, and believed to have been drowned, arrived at Kirkwall last week, per “Pandora,” to the surprise of his friends.
1861 June 4 Orkney Herald
THE OAT CROP AND THE GRUB. – From various parts of the mainland, as well as from some of the islands, we hear accounts that the oat crop is suffering very seriously from the ravages of grub. The continued cold weather has doubtless contributed to this by rendering the growth somewhat slow; but now that we have had abundance of rain and moderate heat, we may hope for a speedy improvement. The prevalence of grub is doubtless increased by the absence of rooks, which in wooded parts of the country destroy large numbers of these vermin. It is to be wished a colony of these black auxiliaries to the farmer would emigrate from the south, and take up their abode in Orkney; or that Mr Harper Twelvetrees would devise some “powder” that would kill this pestiferous insect which so seriously threatens the crops of our islands. The ravages of this insect are most virulent on heavy soil; but it is extending more or less over the whole county. On some farms around Kirkwall it has done much damage; in Deerness, Tankerness, and Rendall, some fields oats have been ploughed down and sown with bere; and in the islands of Shapinshay, Rousay, and Eday, the destruction is said to be greater than has ever been known before.
1861 June 8 Orkney Herald
BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS. – The Registrar General’s quarterly return of births, deaths, and marriages for the quarter ending 31st March, has just been published. The “Registrar’s Notes”…..are as follows…..Rousay and Egilsay. – In this return there is only one birth, being the smallest number in any quarter since the Registration Act came into operation. The marriages are one less than the corresponding quarter of 1860. The deaths however, exceed any of the preceding quarters; the first four recorded were those of four men drowned by the upsetting of a boat. There has also been a greater mortality than usual among the aged – the average age of the last nine deaths registered being 80.3, and their united ages 723.
MY ISLAND HOME
How beautiful thou art to me,
My peaceful quiet home,
And dearly do I love thee still,
And will where’er I roam.
Well as I love the greenwood shade,
The stately forest tree,
The rocky beach and dashing waves,
Home still more charms to me.
I love to wander ‘mong the fields,
When all things ’round me smile,
Or stray beside the wave-washed shore,
My own loved native Isle.
E’en when in solitude I sit,
I cannot lonesome be,
The waves in many voices speak,
And keep me company.
I love to watch the billows heave,
To hear their hollow moan,
No spot on earth is half so sweet,
As my dear island home.
1861 June 18 Orkney Herald
THE CLOCK OF ST MAGNUS. – This worthy monitor of time, which has been under the charge of Mr William Hourston for the last eight years, was taken down and thoroughly cleaned and put in repair by him and his assistants on Wednesday last, and we doubt not it required a considerable amount of “elbow-grease” before the dirt which must have accumulated during that period was wiped off. She was set agoing again the same afternoon, to the delight of all within hearing of the now sharp stroke of her hammer. Mr Hourston informs us that this clock is exactly one hundred years old, having been made by Hugh Gordon, Aberdeen, in 1761.
THE WEATHER. – During the last week we have been favoured with exceedingly fine summer weather. On Thursday the thermometer in the shade stood about 76 deg.; one stood as high as 82 deg., but this was obviously incorrect. Friday was hardly so hot though still very warm; and the following days were cooler owing to a thick fog on Saturday followed by north-easterly winds. Still the heat continues moderate, and the weather exceedingly fine; while the crops are progressing with great rapidity. The days being now near the longest, we have actually no night, only a short period each night of very fine twilight, at the darkest period of which the smallest type can be read with a little effort. To those who visit Orkney for pleasure the present is the best season, when the islands are newly clad in their fresh, green garb of summer, and when those from England or the south of Scotland would experience the new sensation of having “no night.”
1861 June 29 The Orcadian
STROMNESS – THE HUDSON’S BAY SHIPS. – These vessels have now got their complement of tradesmen and labourers. Nearly thirty of these are Orcadians, and chiefly from the parishes of Birsay and Stromness. In addition to a number from Shetland and the north of Scotland, there are twenty-six all the way from Edinburgh. The two ships will each take about sixty to the Forts, and the third small vessel is to take seven to the little station at Whale River, on the east side of the bay. We earnestly hope that those from this quarter, will make their influence felt for good on the society of the far north.
1861 July 27 The Orcadian
STROMNESS, – 25th JULY. THE WEATHER. – This day has been wet throughout, and the fields have got a thorough sapping, for during the whole forenoon it rained beggar wives and pike staves.
1861 July 30 Orkney Herald
STEAM ENGINE. – In noticing last week the completion of a steam engine by our ingenious townsman Mr [Robert] Flett, blacksmith, we intimated that a desire existed among a great many to see it in operation. In order, therefore, to gratify this desire, and award all who chose an opportunity of seeing it, Mr Flett had the steam up in good time on Thursday last, and kept the engine going from 12 to 4 o’clock, during which time large crowds flocked to witness this object of interest; and all seemed to admire the excellent workmanship and the easy manner in which it seemed to do its work, and congratulated the maker, who was ever ready to give any explanation to the curious, on the successful completion of the first steam engine ever wholly made in Orkney, certainly a great feat. We may mention that we have seen many somewhat similar engines in other districts, but this one, which has been made out and out by a blacksmith, is, in our opinion, a very superior one.
1861 August 3 The Orcadian
THE CENSUS. – The Registrar-General has lost no time in putting us in possession of the results of the late census…..The population of Scotland…..is shown to be 3,061,251…..an increase of 172,509 [since the census of 1851]…..The population of Orkney is this year set down at 32,416 (14,921 males and 17,495 females)…..[an increase of 961 since 1851].
[The population of Rousay in 1861 was 876; Egilsay 205; and Wyre 73. 281 folk lived in Wasbister; 333 in Sourin; 36 in the Brinian; 127 in Frotoft; and 99 in Westness and Quandale].
1861 August 10 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. 7th August 1861. – The remains of Mrs Traill of Woodwick were interred on Monday 5th inst., in the burial ground, Westside church-yard, side by side with her late husband. As a lady, from her mildness of disposition, gentleness of manners, and liveliness in conversation she was highly esteemed by the circle of friends in which she moved. The inhabitants of Rousay feel by her death that they have lost a friend, as a Christian she fed the heavy, clothed the naked, relieved the needy, and in a thousand ways assisted them, so that they now mourn over her early death, as for one of their own household.
[Henrietta Moodie Heddle, also known as Harriet, was the daughter of Robert Heddle of Melsetter and Henrietta Moodie. Born on December 18th 1824, she was just 36 years of age at the time of her death. She was the second wife of William Traill of Woodwick, the ceremony taking place in February 1843, and they raised a family of six children. The memorial inscription in St Mary’s kirkyard reads thus:
‘In memory of William Traill of Woodwick born Jan. 31st 1797, died May 19th 1858. “Father I will that they also whom Thou hast given me be with me where I am.” And Harriet [Sarle] Traill his wife born May 19th 1796, died March 2nd 1841. Also of Henrietta Moodie Traill his second wife born 18th Dec. 1824, died 27th July 1861.’]
1861 August 13 Orkney Herald
WHALES. – From the late infrequency of the visits of these ‘bottle-nosed’ wanderers from the polar regions, it might perhaps have been inferred that they had ‘bottled’ up the recollection of the sad fate of such of their race as had previously visited our shores, and had finally ‘turned tail’ upon us, if they had not indeed resolved to abide henceforth within the comparatively safe precincts of their own icy homes. Not so, however; for on the morning of Wednesday last, the 7th inst., the inhabitants of Sourin, in the island of Rousay, observed another large arrival moving about in the anchorage of Holm [the Bay of Ham], and not more than 300 yards from shore. Crowds of men, women and children were forthwith collected, while several boats put oft to intercept the retreat of the whales seaward. The huge animals allowed themselves to be quietly driven towards the shore by the men in the boats, and in a short time they were stranded, the boats still keeping close together to prevent their escape. Immediately the men with sharp instruments rushed on them, and in a short space the whole of them, to the number of nearly sixty, were captured. Some of the fish measured about 18 feet long and 16 feet in circumference. On Friday the whole were sold, and realised the handsome sum of nearly £240, the principal purchasers being Mr Craigie, Holland [Hullion], Rousay, and Mr Malcolm Green, Kirkwall, in company with some others. In the comparative failure of the herring fishing, we congratulate our Rousay friends on this ‘windfall” – we should rather say ‘ocean gift.’
1861 August 27 Orkney Herald
MR FLETT’S STEAM-ENGINE. – On Saturday last Mr [Robert] Flett’s steam-engine was again going during the greater part of the day, and was inspected by numerous visitors. The perfect construction and easy movement of the engine were much admired by those who could take and intelligent view of it, and those who were ignorant of such matters looked with amazement on the first specimen they had seen of the mighty power that now propels such an enormous deal of machinery throughout the world. The sight of such an engine, entirely made in Orkney, suggests the question, why should not our farmers and others take advantage of the power possessed by their ingenious countryman, and have their thrashing-machines driven by steam. Mr Flett’s engine is warranted for 3½ horse-power, but it is capable of considerably more. If such an engine were erected to drive a threshing-machine, the steam could be got up and the engine kept working during five hours with a barrel and a half of coals, and would be a vast saving of horse-power. In a country like this, where water-power is with difficulty obtained, we must be indebted either to wind, or horse, or steam for driving threshing mills, and there is little doubt the last is the best. Now that we have a man among ourselves who can erect steam-mills, we have little doubt they will soon spring up on all hands.
1861 September 7 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER AND CROPS. – Up till Thursday last, the rains have been almost continuous, and considerable damage has been done to the crops. The oats an laid on some farms, and not expected to recover or to ripen. The potato blight has appeared very generally, and the turnip on some farms is almost a failure. On Wednesday evening an agreeable change was indicated, and Thursday was all that could be desired. Cutting has been commenced on several farms. There is an abundant crop on the ground, and should fine weather continue, harvest operations will be general all over the country during the ensuing fortnight. A good deal of rain fell on Friday, by which the hopes of a settled improvement in the weather, from a fine day on Thursday, were again discouraging.
1861 September 10 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – EVANGELISTIC LABOURS. – A short time ago this island, in common with some others of the north isles, was favoured with a visit from the Rev. David Thomas, of Mauchline, who has been visiting Orkney as a deputy from the Synod of the United Presbyterian Church. Mr Thomas arrived from Kirkwall in company with the Rev. John McLellan on Tuesday, the 13th August, but Wednesday was so stormy that nothing could be attempted. On Thursday Mr Thomas preached in Wasbister, on the duty of prayer, to a very attentive audience, and on Friday in the island of Egilsay to a very numerous audience, including all the inhabitants of the island with hardly any exception. In the island of Weir Mr Thomas preached on Saturday evening, on the pardon of sin, and here also the audience was very large and exceedingly attentive. The Sabbath was remarkably stormy, which had the effect of diminishing the attendance, but the evening being fine, Mr Thomas preached at Frotoft school which was completely crowded, though the intimation of the services had only been circulated immediately before the hour of meeting. On Monday service was again held in the church, when there was a good attendance from all parts of the island, and Mr Thomas preached on the unity of the Church. Mr McLellan requested the elders to remain after the service, when a conference was held, and advices were tendered suited to the circumstances of the people after a time of revival. Mr Thomas also expressed his great satisfaction with the state of the congregation, and with the interest and attention they had manifested during his visit.
Letters to the Editor
THE WHALES IN ROUSAY.
Sir, – Sanitary precautions being at all times necessary, I think attention ought to be paid to the following, and insertion in your paper will, I doubt not, have the desired effect. – The purchasers of the whales, which were driven ashore in Sourin, have studiously omitted removing the carcases, thereby allowing them to become nearly putrid. I do not know who is responsible for the public health, or indeed if there be any one, but I think it is plainly the duty of the authorities to see, or enforce their removal. The effluvia arising is, as you may imagine, very noxious, and spreads through the isle, and if they are not removed serious consequences may arise. I think the ‘local authorities, id est’ in Kirkwall, ought to have power to interfere, and that it is their duty at least to warn the purchasers to remove the nuisance, ere it become the source of malaria. – I am, &c., – A Constant Reader.
1861 October 5 The Orcadian
THE MAILS. – Our readers will observe that an alteration has taken place in the sailing of the mail packet between Stromness and Scrabster. Instead of a mail every day, as we have had for the last half year, we are to have for the next six months to come only one every alternate day. The gig leaves Kirkwall with the bags at 8 o’clock in the morning instead of 8 o’clock in the evening as during the summer, and arrives from Stromness late at night. We could wish that we were favoured with a daily mail as heretofore, but as this is not to be, we must patiently submit.
1861 October 8 Orkney Herald
KIRKWALL – THE HEALTH OF THE BURGH. – We are glad to notice a great improvement in the health of the town. The number of fever cases has been very much reduced, indeed we have heard of no new cases now for several days. Previous to that time it had become much milder in type, and there have been hardly any deaths for the last fortnight. We shall be glad if this scourge, which has fallen so heavily on the children, be now taking its departure.
1861 October 15 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – During the earlier part of the past week the weather was exceedingly fine, and looked most promising for securing the remainder of the grain crops. During Thursday night, however, signs of a change were visible, towards morning the wind rose to a gale which kept on increasing in violence during most of the forenoon. Between ten and eleven o’clock we had one of the most remarkable rain-falls that we have witnessed for a long time. It fell almost in sheets, and in the course of an hour all level lauds were flooded, while streams usually small overflowed their banks and spread over the levels on each side. Red and rapid torrents swept down the streets of Kirkwall, and little lakes collected in the flat parts of the town, and some of the houses were partially flooded. The streets which had any incline were greatly the better for the spate, as they were washed beautifully clean, and we only wish a similar deluge would come once a week or so. Since that time the weather has been rather unsettled. It is satisfactory that the bulk of the crop is now secured, though still on the higher farms there is some grain in the fields.
1861 November 2 The Orcadian
THE EAGLE. – About dinnertime on the 25th ult., a golden eagle was seen to have alighted on the farm of Hall of Rendall [where the ‘doocot’ is located] and seized a duck. The noble bird, with its claws upon its prey, looked composedly around, until it observed some of the servants making towards it, when it shifted its position a few yards, but on being still closely pursued it took flight, carrying its prey along with it to a neighbouring holm, where it feasted sweetly on the poor duck, picking its bones unmolested.
LARGE DRAUGHTS OF COD. – Our hardy fishermen have had during the past week their labours abundantly rewarded by “sweeping” large draughts of small cod in our [Kirkwall] bay. On Wednesday last, the catch amounted to upwards of three boats full, and the public were liberally supplied at very low prices.
1861 November 5 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – During the past week we have had the first symptoms of winter. A week ago we had some beautiful displays of Aurora, followed by comparatively quiet, fine, but rather chill days, as if there were frost in the air. About the middle of the week the barometer, which had been very high, began to fall, and continued falling for several days. Thursday was very fine, and continued so all night, but about daybreak on Friday the wind went round to the north-east, and began to blow strongly with showers of sleet and hail. It continued to blow very strongly all Friday, which was considered by many the severest storm we have had for a long time. On Saturday it continued, slightly abated, and on Sunday morning there was a sprinkling of snow on the ground. In the course of Sunday it became milder, and has now a tendency again to moist weather. The cold must have injured the pastures which had hitherto continued very green; but it will have done good in checking the buds on fruit-trees, which were getting too far advanced.
SOUTH RONALDSHAY – AURORA BOREALIS. – The most remarkable appearance of this wondrous celestial phenomenon we ever remember witnessing even in Orkney, burst almost suddenly into vision on the evening of Saturday week about eight o’clock. The day it will be remembered was one of the finest possible; the sky at sunset as cloudless, and placid, and beautifully tinted as one observes on an Italian landscape. The aurora of Saturday evening was not so noticeable for its magnitude as for its intense luminosity, and the rich brilliancy of its crimson and violet hues, while the variety and rapidity of its meteoric coruscations – shooting right up to the zenith, and then backwards and forwards behind invisible curtains like a troop of fairies holding high carnival in the palace of Queen Mab – afforded a sight far surpassing the grandest pyrotechnic display at Vauxhall. In a few minutes the whole settled down into the cloud of light that so often in our northern horizon reposes like a kindly lamp by our sleeping couch. “The Heavens declare the glory of the Lord, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.”
1861 November 9 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. – The Sacrament of Our Lord’s Supper was observed here last Sabbath in the U.P. Church. The Rev. J. McLellan was ably assisted by the Rev. Mr McGowan, Sandwick.
PRESENTATION. – On Monday, at the conclusion of the services in connection with the above admission, the U.P. congregation, through Mr McGowan, presented their minister, Mr McLellan, with a purse containing twenty-three pounds sterling, as a token of their esteem for him as their pastor. The purse was wrought by one of the young ladies of the congregation.
1861 November 19 Orkney Herald
SNOW STORM. – During the past week we have been visited with a snow-storm of uncommon severity considering the early period of the season. On Friday morning the frost was very keen, and during the whole day there were frequent driving showers of snow and hail, with a strong gusty wind from the north. Friday night also was exceedingly frosty, and frequent showers during the night completely whitened the hard, frozen ground. This keen frost, with high piercing winds, has been exceedingly trying, especially to old people, and colds have become somewhat prevalent.
1861 December 7 The Orcadian
KIRKWALL. – Large quantities of sillocks continue to be taken in our bay. Cart loads are being carried away to the different parishes around, and the town’s folks are getting them at very low prices – the oil they produce being at more value than all they are charged for the fish. Many are enriching their manure pits, with the view of converting the fish into bread. Our fishermen are realising a handsome return from the sale of the sillocks at from 6d to 1s a basket.
1861 December 21 The Orcadian
On receipt of the sad intelligence in Kirkwall of the death of the Prince Consort [Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert ], the bells of St Magnus tolled forth mournfully, the numerous vessels in the harbour hoisted their flags half-mast high, and the news was everywhere received with marks of sympathy and regret.
1861 December 24 Orkney Herald
THE PUBLIC HEALTH. – We are glad to be able to state that fever which has so long lingered in our town gives signs now of a speedy departure. There have been no new cases for at least a fortnight, and no deaths from fever for about the same period, and only two deaths from this disease have occurred during a good few weeks. It is remarkable that when the malady seemed to have gone it has once and again broken out a-fresh, but the last outbreak was much milder than any of the former though still two deaths occurred. But though at the present time it may be said the town is clear of fever, there have been many deaths of late from other causes, quite unconnected with the sanitary condition of the town. It is worthy of remark, also, that of the deaths occurring in Kirkwall, not a few are persons who have come in from the country to be in the hospital, or to stay with friends and be near medical advice. It would be easy to specify more than one who, during the last few weeks, have thus contributed to swell the amount of mortality in the town.
1861 December 28 The Orcadian
ROUSAY – 25th Dec. – The Sacrament of Our Lord’s Supper was dispensed to the Free Church Congregation on Sabbath the 15th inst. The Rev. N. P. Rose (minister of the congregation) was on the occasion ably assisted by the Rev. J. Ritchie, Free Church minister, Stromness, who preached on Thursday, Saturday, Sabbath evening, and Monday with great acceptance.
1862 January 4 The Orcadian
NEW YEAR’S DAY. – The first day of the New Year was welcomed in on this occasion within the bounds of our ancient burgh in much the same way as so many of his predecessors. Before the anticipated hour of 12 p.m. had arrived, numbers might be seen walking about the streets, prepared to extend the right hand of friendship and welcome to all their acquaintances; but, we are glad to add, few or no cases of drunkenness were to be seen, and although there was mirth, there was little of it the effect of that beverage which but too frequently ends in sorrow. Throughout the day all shops were shut, and all business was suspended, and the streets were in consequence crowded by the passers up and down – most of them of that class who were glad of a single day’s relaxation from toil…..
NEW YEAR’S BOX. – We would take this opportunity of commending that class of officials, the letter carriers, to the sympathies of the public, whose servants they are, and whom they serve in all weathers, by day and by night, their small salaries should be supplemented at this season by a liberal New Year’s gift.
1862 January 7 Orkney Herald
THE BALL. – At one o’clock precisely the ball was thrown up at the Cross; but the playing was confined to some two dozen of the lower and rougher sort. And indeed we wonder how any respectable man could take part in that absurd looking medley of pushing, and kicking, and knocking one another’s heads, with an occasional bloody nose, and frequent falls in the gutter, which goes by the name of playing at foot ball. A few did take part in it of whom better things might have been expected, but the number is rapidly diminishing. After a contest of about twenty minutes the ball went “down the gate,” as it has invariably done now for years.
Besides those now noticed [the Band of Hope march around the town, the Volunteers assembly, and the ba’] there was no other public attraction. There was, however, an obvious tendency among the crowd to pair off, and have a pleasant, chatty parading of the streets while daylight lasted. The fineness of the evening tempted many to linger on the streets, but gradually they got indoors, some to social dinner and tea parties, and many to be “happy at their ain firesides.” A few, it is feared, did “taste the barley bree,” with the natural consequence of being “unwell” next day, a species of happiness difficult to understand. However, in general the day was as well spent as a holiday could well be in the depth of winter, and the visible lapses from virtue’s path were exceedingly few.
1862 January 21 Orkney Herald
THE PUBLIC HEALTH. – We are glad to announce that fever has now finally left our burgh, and the health of the town is better than it has been during the last twelve months. We trust, however, this will not prevent sanitary improvements, for our object should now be to promote a continuance of the present healthy condition.
THE WEATHER. – The past week has been with little interruption one continued gale from the south-east, accompanied during a great part of the time by drenching rains. All sorts of traffic has been deranged by the rough weather. It was possible enough to move about in Kirkwall, for the streets are generally sheltered from the south-east, but our visitors from the country have been few, and our ocean traffic has been almost suspended. We had no south mail after Tuesday till Friday night, and even then it came with a kind of pleasant surprise, as few ventured to cherish strong hopes of its arrival. The steamer “Queen” came south from Zetland on Wednesday, and left for Aberdeen the same afternoon, but the storm increased, and it was thought she would have taken refuge somewhere, but nothing has been heard of her. Up till this time (Monday mid-day), she has not arrived from the south; and no definite expectation can be indulged as to her speedy appearance, as it is not known how or where she got south. On Saturday a paddle-steamer, understood to have been the “Hamburg,” passed out through Holm Sound. It is believed that on her passage south from Thurso she had taken this route to avoid the Pentland Firth. The wind has now somewhat subsided, but the weather is getting colder, and indeed has quite a wintry feeling.
1862 January 28 Orkney Herald
THE “QUEEN.” – Although the sea continued rather rough towards the end of last week the “Queen” steamer arrived in our bay early in the forenoon of Saturday and left again for Lerwick shortly after three o’clock. As the weather has now somewhat moderated, it is thought she will be able to reach this in time to leave for Aberdeen and Granton early tomorrow (Tuesday).
LOSS OF A LEITH VESSEL AND 15 LIVES IN THE PENTLAND FIRTH. – On the morning of Thursday last, the 23rd inst., the brig “Columbus” of Leith, Captain Davidson, 334 tons register, bound for the West Indies, was totally wrecked in the Pentland Firth, when, melancholy to relate, all onboard perished except one man named David Hardie. From the survivor it has been ascertained that about half-past five in the morning, the weather being very thick, and the wind strong from the south-east, the vessel drove on the Lother Rock, off the south-west point of South Ronaldshay, about a mile from Burwick, and immediately parted in two. The hinder part instantly sank, but the fore part remained on the rock, and the one man clung to it who was afterwards rescued. The vessel was loaded with coals and a general cargo, and had a crew of thirteen men with two passengers; but the survivor, who was on his first voyage with the vessel, cannot give the names of any of the lost. The cargo is entirely lost. While the man was clinging to the rock a boat with ten or twelve men belonging to South Ronaldshay put off and rescued him at great risk to their own lives. Great praise is due to the men, and we should think their services deserve some mark of recognition from the Board of Trade…..
THREE MEN DROWNED AT SANDAY. – With our minds still full of the fearful sacrifice of life which has so lately taken place by land and sea, – the two hundred and twenty men and lads who had gasped their last breath in their gigantic tomb in the New Hartley [Northumberland] coal mine, and the fourteen whom the Pentland Firth had swallowed in her insatiable maw, – we are again startled by another sad event – one which we feel the more when the wail of the widow and the cry of the orphan is heard at our own door. On Thursday night, the 16th inst., the crews of the sloop ‘ Brothers” of Sanday, consisting of James Garrioch, master, William Flett, and James Mill, went off in their small boat intending to board their vessel, then riding at anchor in Kettletoft Bay, for the purpose of securing her from the effects of the raging gale. It seems they never reached her, as the boat soon drove on shore, and it was but too conclusive that she had upset and the poor men met a watery grave in sight of their own dwellings. As yet we have not learned full particulars, the weather having prevented the arrival of the packet, and the only information received is through F. H. Mackenzie, Esq., Stove, who ferried his passage to Kirkwall by Eday and Shapinsay. The least tribute we can pay to the memory of these three individuals who have so suddenly lost their lives is that they were upright, honest, steady, hardworking men. Garrioch and Flett have been long known here, and we believe, without any disparagement to others, were held out and look to as examples to men in their station and calling. Garrioch and Mill were both married, and leave widows and orphans. We regret to learn that none of the three men were members of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, a sad lesson to our seafaring population, the forlorn widow and helpless children being thus deprived of any pecuniary assistance from its helping hand.
1862 February 1 The Orcadian
For the Honourable Hudson’s Bay Company’s territories,
several stout, active, young men as labourers, and a few
boat builders and blacksmiths. The usual certificates will
be required, and early applications will be necessary.
Apply to Edward Clouston,
Agent for the Company, Stromness.
1862 February 4 Orkney Herald
KIRKWALL – MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. – Misfortunes, as saith the poet, “When they do come, come not in single files, but in battalions,” and the truth of this has in a great degree been exemplified by the many accidents we have had to record in this quarter during the last fortnight. On the evening of Wednesday last, a few minutes after six o’clock, an alarm was given that someone had fallen over into our harbour. Lights were immediately got, and plenty of willing assistance, when the person was picked up and taken into Mr Rae’s public house. It proved to be Alexander Logie, better known for many years as “Sandy Logie, the Rousay boatman.” Medical assistance was immediately in attendance, and every human exertion was used for upwards of three hours; but there never was the slightest appearance of returning animation. How he fell over is merely a matter of surmise, as no one heard the splash; but it seems he was dead before being taken out of the water. Although he could not have been very Iong overboard, and as at the time of the tide the water could not have been much more than five feet deep, it is likely he has struck the ground and been stunned by the fall, and so rendered unable to call for help. His body was sent to Rousay the following day in order to be interred there. Sandy was an honest, obliging person, and he leaves a widow and a large family to mourn his untimely end. Dr Duguid, Dr Rendall, and Dr Flett, were the medical gentlemen present to render assistance.
[Alexander Logie lived at Quoygrinnie on the Westside. At the time of his death he was married to Barbara Murray, his second wife, with whom he had five children, born between 1839 and 1850. His first wife was Isabel Harrold, and they had six children, born between 1819 and 1832].
1862 February 8 The Orcadian
LABOURERS FOR NORTH AMERICA. – We learn from the circular issued by the Hudson’s Bay Company, that 60 or 70 additional labourers are wanted to go out to their establishments in North America – able-bodied men under thirty years of age, of good character, and properly recommended. The term for which the Company engages servants is five years, and the rate of wages, exclusive of board, maintenance, and lodging, is £22 per annum. The rations consist of the best food that can be obtained at the different stations – such as flour, Scotch barley, oatmeal, potatoes, beef, fish, &c. A few boat builders and blacksmiths are also required and parties in Orkney intending to go out should apply without delay to Mr Clouston, the very excellent and efficient agent for the company at Stromness.
1862 February 18 Orkney Herald
THE HEALTH OF THE TOWN. – As we hear some of our shopkeepers complaining of the dullness of trade, and attributing it to the belief entertained by country people that fever is still prevalent amongst us, we are happy to inform such that no disease of any kind is raging at present in town. The only complaints we hear of are colds, which are very common in every quarter at this season of the year, and are brought on, no doubt, by the changeableness of the weather.
1862 February 25 Orkney Herald
RENDALL. – Fodder is scarce with us and turnip more so, and in consequence many of the farmers have been obliged to dispose of all their spare stock. Winter ploughing is well advanced, more especially on the high-lying and drier lands. The weather at present is so favourable and spring-like, and the ground in such condition, that were we not well aware that heavy rains and snowstorms, as well as blighting frosts and blasting east winds are probably – almost of a certainty – to be expected at no distant day, we would be beginning to sow or at least making active preparation for an early seed-time. Similarly strong inducements have presented themselves in former years, when invariably the farmer had to repent giving way to the temptation and to regret that he had not patience to wait for “the good time coming.”
1862 March 4 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY. – The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was dispensed here in the United Presbyterian Church on Sabbath the 23rd ult., when the Rev. Mr McLellan was assisted by the Rev. Mr Thomson of Stronsay. Though somewhat stormy, the weather was not, on the whole, unfavourable, and the members residing in the islands of Wyre and Egilshay were able to be present at all the services, so that the attendance on all the days was numerous. On Monday, after sermon by Mr Thomson, Mr McLellan announced to the congregation the amount contributed by them during the year for the Home and Foreign Missions of the Church, when it appeared that they had raised £17 4s 5d. Mr McLellan also reported that 45 young people connected with the congregation had collected from 280 contributors the sum of £6 15s 10d, as a new year’s offering to the Mission of Old Calabar [now Nigeria]. He then, in the course of an interesting address, congratulated the congregation on the steady and continued progress manifested in all their operations. They had raised more for mission this year than on any previous one, and he trusted they would go on increasing. He also expressed his high gratification at the interest the young had manifested on the present occasion in the Calabar Mission. He was sure parents were bestowing a great benefit upon their children when they trained them to do all in their power for the extension of the gospel. He then called upon Mr Thomson to address the meeting, when he, in a very lucid and impressive manner directed the attention of young to the origin and progress of the Calabar Mission, and expressed the hope that through the instrumentality of the juvenile efforts throughout the Church, and their earnest prayers accompanying this new year’s offering, the Gospel will soon penetrate from Old Calabar into the darkest part of the interior, and the prophecy be fulfilled. “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out their hands unto God.” The attention manifested by the audience showed the deep interest which was felt in the entire proceedings. After prayer and praise the blessing was pronounced by Mr Thomson, when the meeting separated.
1862 March 11 Orkney Herald
STROMNESS. – The weather has assumed all the appearance of winter this week. On Saturday we had all the indications of snow, and on Sunday morning the ground was white and continues so. The fall has been greater than any one at this time of the season would be likely to anticipate. On Wednesday it commenced about 10 a.m. and continued until 9 p.m., pouring out the dry, frosty, fleecy snow that eddies round corners, plasters up windows, gables, and walls, levels inequalities and decorates the cliffs and banks of the sea-shore, and drapes the naked trees in white, presenting such a scene as the artist loves to sketch. Such weather has quite put a stop to out-door trades, as well as to business and tilling the land, which was being briskly pushed forward by those who had not got through with it. Still, if the snow lies a few days longer it will do good to the laud, for the earth will generate heat under it and receive nutriment from it which it would not with rain wasting and bleaching it. To-day (Friday) there has been a partial thaw, but a north-east wind is not to be depended upon.
1862 March 29 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER. – During the week the weather has been cold, but seasonable, and farmers are either busily employed in getting the land ready for sowing, or in the more advanced districts, proceeding with the sowing of the spring crops. The frost and biting winds that have prevailed have been very unfavourable to the progress of vegetation. In many cases the buds and flowers which the genial weather of last month had called rather prematurely into existence, have been nipped by the biting blasts of the past week.
1862 April 8 Orkney Herald
MUIR BURNING. – We think it proper to remind such of our agricultural friends as have heath lands to bring into cultivation that the law prohibiting heath or muir burning comes into force on the 11th inst., and continues so until the 1st of November.
1862 April 15 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – We have had very variable weather this week. Tuesday and Wednesday were warm, pleasant days, and we hoped that summer was at hand; but Thursday and Friday were intensely cold, with strong, frosty north wind, snow showers, and a wintery-looking sky. To-night (Friday), the ground is white with snow, having little appearance of spring; but we trust this is the last of the “borrowing days” of March, and that the old saying will yet prove true, ”The coarser the borrowing days, the finer the summer.”
PHOTOGRAPHY. – It will be seen from our advertising columns that those who may wish to obtain likenesses either of themselves or their friends have at present a superior chance of doing so. Mr De Maus is a complete master of his art, as will at once become evident to all who have a chance of observing the beauty and truthfulness of the likenesses taken by him, and so highly are his photographs appreciated in the south, that he has been induced to take premises in Edinburgh, where he will remain after his departure from Kirkwall in ten or twelve days.
[James De Maus operated at ‘Mrs Fea’s, Victoria Street’, and claimed to take portraits ‘in any weather, from 1 shilling and upwards.’]
1862 April 19 The Orcadian
ROUSAY – ACCIDENT. – On Friday the 4th inst., James Pearson, farmer, Hulterburn [Kirkgate], was driving a cart, partially loaded, on the road that leads from Wasbister to Sourin. Having reached that part known as the Blossom, the horse started forward a few steps, the hooks of the harness getting entangled with his dress; and before he could extricate himself, cart and horse came over upon him, from which he has received some bruises and internal injuries of a serious nature.
Mr [William] Seatter, farmer, Saviskaill, on the morning of the 14th inst., shot a swan, measuring from tip to tip of the wings 6 feet 11 inches, and from the point of the bill to the end of the tail 4 feet 6 inches. There was 1½ lbs. of fat taken out of its inside.
1862 May 17 The Orcadian
FAIR ISLE. – As we formerly noticed, a somewhat extensive emigration of the inhabitants of this island took place upon Tuesday last. 137 male and female emigrants arrived in Kirkwall bay by the smack “No Joke,” on Monday last, and embarked on board the steamship “Prince Consort” on Tuesday morning for Granton [Firth of Forth], en route for New Brunswick. The emigrants were all apparently in good health, but otherwise rather emaciated, and very ill clad. They were of all ages, and formed nearly half of the entire population of Fair Isle. They go out at the expense of the government, and on landing each adult will receive 10s., and each child, 5s.
[The reason for the emigration was, according to the Orkney Herald, “owing to the light crop and bad fishing, the people of the Fair Isle were almost in a state of absolute starvation.”]
1862 May 20 Orkney Herald
STROMNESS – AN ANNOYANCE. – That lad “Josey” is becoming quite an annoyance about our street, calling after and insulting respectable persons who may be passing, without so much as looking at him. Nor is this all. He is a stout fellow, and quite able to work. He earns more than most labouring men in this town, and knows how to take care of it. His father boasts of having a tidy account in the bank, and of preparing to buy a farm. Yet “Josey” is receiving out of the poor-rates. This must be looked into, as no-one likes at the same time to support a strong, lazy fellow, and bear all the insolence he chooses to serve him with.
1862 June 3 Orkney Herald
CAUTION TO PARENTS AND TEACHERS. – The Magistrates have properly issued a notice calling the attention of parents and guardians to the danger of allowing juveniles to play with gunpowder. On the Queen’s Birthday one boy had his finger blown off, and another had his face severely scorched. It is to be hoped that the Magisterial notice will put an end to the dangerous practice.
1862 June 7 The Orcadian
ROUSAY – EMIGRATION TO NEW ZEALAND. – The tide of emigration seems to be flowing at a considerable rate on our Island. No fewer than seven individuals have left our shores this week, bound for the distant colony of New Zealand. The greatest sympathy was felt for them by friends and acquaintances. Being all members of the Free Church congregation, and one of them, Mr Thomas Marwick, an esteemed elder, Mr Rose, in the course of the forenoon sermon, on Sabbath last, made suitable reference to the circumstances of their proposed departure, and, at the close of the services, intimated that a special prayer meeting would be held in the evening, for the purpose of commending them to the care of God – that He might preserve them amid the dangers of the voyage, and bring them safely to the land of their adoption. Accordingly, at the hour appointed, 5 p.m., a very large number of people assembled, the area of the church being nearly full. There were evident signs of deep emotion filling every bosom. Mr Rose presided, and then ensuing proceedings were begun by singing, with subdued feelings, the beautiful and appropriate verses of the 2nd paraphrase. Suitable portions of scripture were read and several of the office-bearers engaged in prayer. Towards the close, their beloved pastor, who was himself deeply moved, delivered an address in his own earnest and touching style. After making some remarks on the endearing ties which bound them together, and the pain and sorrow which they felt in the prospect of these being severed, he impressed upon them, with great solemnity, the duties and responsibilities which would attach to their new position in the distant land of their adoption. He said that it gave him the greatest comfort to think that they had all given evidence during the past year of following the Lord. This made him more willing to part with them, because it promised much for the future welfare of the cause of truth, wherever God might cast their lot. He expressed the earnest hope that, by the blessing of God, they might be long spared to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, in their new homes and settlements. The pathos and emotion of the rev. speaker towards the close became quite overpowering, and most of the audience were in tears as he gave expression to the word of the apostle “Finally bid them farewell.” Be of good comfort, live in peace, and may the God of peace abide ever with you. We understand that next morning there was a great concourse of people, friends and neighbours, who accompanied them to the shore, and gave vent to their sympathy and affection in weeping aloud. The scene altogether was moving beyond description.
[Thomas Marwick, born in 1796, married Ann Gibson, Broland, in 1820, and they lived at Woo. Between 1821 and 1845 they raised a family of ten children, the four oldest of whom emigrated to New Zealand in the 1850s. Following the death of his wife in 1861 Thomas and the rest of his children were those who are the subject of the above report.]
1862 June 14 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. GRUB. – This year the farmer’s loss by grub is unprecedentedly great, whole fields being almost entirely waste. Dry or wet ground – what was in turnips or lay last year – all have suffered more or less, and, although the farmers are attempting to recover as much as possible by sowing bere or turnips in such fields as are almost altogether waste, notwithstanding the very genial weather for the strengthening of the braird, yet we can hardly expect an average crop.
STORM. – On the evening of the 4th instant, at 8 p.m., a heavy storm of wind passed over our island, which caused considerable apprehension for the safety of several small boats then at the fishing, and one or two seen at a distance, on their return from Kirkwall. Fortunately, the violence of the storm soon passed over, and all the boats arrived in safety.
LECTURE. – On Thursday the 3rd instant, at half-past six p.m., we were favoured with a lecture from Mr Beattie, one of the agents of the Scottish Temperance League. Mr B. chose for his subject Isaiah ix., 18, first clause. The lecture was listened to with marked attention throughout, and the anecdotes of real life, which Mr B. related in his own touching style, kept up the interest to the very last. We wish him all success.
1862 June 21 The Orcadian
STROMNESS. – The fine new schooner, “Mary Gold,” found its way into its future element at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening last week, from the building yard of John Stanger, Esq. The launch was accomplished delightfully, in the presence of a large number of witnesses, from Stromness arid the neighbourhood, in spite of the weather, which was rather stormy. The young lady. whose name the vessel bears, assisted by her father, applied the bottle used in such cases, and the vessel made a gradual adieu to her late premises and slid nobly into the water, on obtaining which she presented her broadside to the cheering multitude, who thronged the beach and who pronounced her appearance on the wave as surpassing that while on land. The “Mary Gold” is registered 80 tons, is the property of Mr Stanger. Andrew Gold, Esq., and other shareholders in Kirkwall, who were present on this auspicious occasion.
1862 June 24 Orkney Herald
STROMNESS. – The weather this week has been extremely cold, especially for midsummer. The wind, during the first part was easterly, but on Wednesday evening a swell set in on the western shores, indicating that a westerly breeze was stirring up the billowy main, and soon we had a strong breeze from that quarter; and to-day (Friday) the “Royal Mail” had a rough passage across the Firth. This extremely cold unseasonable weather is keeping the grain crops very backward, and many of the farmers are filled with boding fears that the harvest will be very light and late; others, more hopeful, are comforting themselves with the old proverb –
“A misty May and a leaky June
Is the promise of harvest soon,”
which we sincerely hope will be verified. We trust that as the day shortens, the weather will get more settled and fine.
1862 June 28 The Orcadian
IMPORTANT SALE OF HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE
There will be sold, by public auction, at the Manor House of Westness,
Rousay, on Wednesday, the 2nd July.
A quantity of excellent household furniture, comprising dining-room tables
and chairs, drawing-room table and chairs, several very handsome book-
cases, a piano, sofa, opera and four-post bedsteads and a quantity of
first-rate bedding, pillows and mattresses, iron bedsteads, several first-
rate chests of drawers, dressing-glasses and tables, wardrobes, carpets,
rugs, bed and table linen of the best quality, blankets, crockery, and
kitchen utensils, besides a variety of other articles. Also, a number of
geraniums, roses, myrtles, and other plants in pots.
A large boat will leave Kirkwall on the morning of the day of sale;
and a boat will ply between Aikerness and Rousay for the
convenience of intending purchasers.
For further particulars apply to J.C. Scarth;
or to James S. Hewison, Auctioneer.
Kirkwall, 10th June, 1862.
1862 July 5 The Orcadian
HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE. – The sale of the household furniture at the Manor House of Westness, Rousay, commenced on Wednesday last. There was a large attendance from Kirkwall and the neighbouring islands. The furniture brought fair prices.
1862 July 26 The Orcadian
DEATHS. – At Faraclett, island of Rousay, on the 10th July, Mr William Louttit, farmer, aged 91. Mr Louttit was well known. He was a farmer in Rousay for upwards of 50 years, and his temperate and industrious habits, and kindness, won for him the esteem and approbation of all.
[Born at Scapa, St Ola, in 1771, William was married to Isabella Craigie. They had five daughters: Isabella, born in 1798; Marion, in 1799; Jean, in 1802; twins Janet and Margaret, in 1803; and a son William, who was born in 1805.]
1862 July 29 Orkney Herald
H.M.S.LIZARD. – This fine gun-boat commanded by Lieutenant Spratt, and employed for the protection of the Coast Fisheries, cast anchor in Scapa Bay on the afternoon of Thursday last. She has fifty men on board, including officers. A number of the tars came into Kirkwall in the course of the evening, but they did not indulge in the rollicking humours characteristic of Jack on shore.
1862 August 12 Orkney Herald
ARRIVALS. – The “Prince Consort” arrived in the Bay at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday. Among the arrivals we observed Dr John Rae, the celebrated Arctic voyager, Mr and Mrs Cowan from London – who, we understand, are on a visit to Mr Baikie of Tankerness, and a considerable number of Orcadians from the south on furlough. A number of booth-men, Cheap Johns, and characters of a more suspicious description, also came on shore, who, doubtless, expect to make a harvest during the present week. About 180 passengers in all landed from the steamer.
KIRKWALL FAIR. – The ancient Fair of Kirkwall, like the famous Fairs of Frankfurt and Leipzig, may now be considered rapidly on the decline; but country-people, who cling to old habits like ivy to old ruins, still come into the town at this season in great crowds. The Fair commences to-day, and yesterday, sweetie-sellers and “show-folk” were busily engaged in erecting their booths and tents at Sunnybank. Yesterday seemed to augur pretty favourable weather.
1862 August 16 The Orcadian
KIRKWALL LAMMAS FAIR. – The bustle and activity consequent during the period of this time-honoured institution set in upon us with full vigour on Tuesday last, and our streets presented a very animated appearance, particularly on the two market-days – the period to which the great Lammas Fair of bygone years has dwindled down. On Saturday it is supposed that about 200 visitors were landed from the steamer “Prince Consort,” comprising tourists, commercial travellers, numerous cattle-dealers, showmen, Cheap-Johns, Christopher Taggarts, Moses Jacobs, quack-doctors, and all the itinerant trumperies usually attendant on the market. Boat after boat, too, in quick succession, crowded with passengers and livestock from the north and south isles, arrived on Monday and Tuesday, and landed their living freights, and almost the whole, at least the youthful portion of the inhabitants, male and female, of Kirkwall, Stromness, and the other parishes, honoured the fair with their presence, dressed in their best and gayest attire, so that, at all events, the appearance of the market was fully up to late years.
Notwithstanding all this paraphernalia, the dull state of trade and the low prices of cattle and horses had a very depressing effect; and, although there was a very excellent show of fine animals, and numerous dealers, very few transactions took place, and consisted mainly in some two-year-old cattle and cows, which were purchased singly at low prices, and a number of fine horses, which sold extremely cheap. There being very few lots of cattle disposed of worth noticing, we give no list of prices; but, in order to afford an idea of the extremely low prices given for horses, a number of which changed hands, we quote the following: – The best purchase in this description of stock was that made by Mr Davidson from Edinburgh, who bought a fine draught-trained five-year-old from Mr Ranken, for £29; Mr Black bought a horse for about £6 10s, which, three years ago, would have brought £20; Mr J. Cogle sold a mare to Mr Dick for £10; Mr Anderson, Harray, bought a good young horse at about £6, &c. The Rev. Mr Smith of Firth and Stenness purchased a lot of two-year old cattle from Mr [William] Seator, [Saviskaill] Rousay; Mr Watson bought about 70 head in all, and the numerous other dealers present bought a few cattle each, which were shipped per steamier “Hamburg” upon Thursday.
The refreshment booths at the market seemed to be well frequented, and Mr Pittendrigh deserves thanks for the very excellent way he provided substantial hot and cold dinners at a very moderate price. While Mr Ross’s show was the principal attraction for sightseers, and was well patronised – the principal in which were feats of the “female Blondin” on the tight-rope, which were really neatly and gracefully executed, Christopher Taggart rather astonished our more rustic friends by the selling of pound notes for 19s, half-crowns for 2s 3d, and sixpences for 3d, and the profusion with which he seemed to throw away money; but his ready wit was easily seen through, and made an old lady exclaim who was unluckily taken in and done for – “Pity me; there’s mony a trade for a penny.”
The entire business of the fair passed off, quietly; and we are glad to state that there were fewer cases of intemperance observable than on former occasions, and consequently less instances of unruly conduct on the public thoroughfares. Our streets have now assumed their wonted appearance, and, after the usual gala-day upon Saturday first among the younger portion of the community, the business of the great Lammas Fair for 1862 will be numbered with its predecessors.
1862 August 30 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER AND CROPS. – In consequence of the late improvement in the weather – dry sunshine the crops are making rapid progress. The potato promises to be all that is desirable in quantity and quality, and no disease. The turnip is also good. In the west mainlined, Birsay and Sandwick, cutting has commenced. A field was ready for the sickle in Rousay on Thursday; but harvesting will not be general for perhaps a fortnight yet. The promise is most abundant all over the kingdom, and there are good prospects abroad.
VOLUNTEER INSPECTION. – The 1st Orkney Artillery Volunteers underwent their second official inspection by Colonel McLean on Friday (yesterday). The day being very favourable a fair muster took place on Broad Street at 4 o’clock p.m., under the command of Lieutenants Bain and Gold, and attended by their drill instructor, Sergeant Jennings, all handsomely attired in full regimentale. Altogether the sight they presented was one most imposing and grand, and such as so fill the breasts of the numerous spectators with feelings of the warmest pride and pleasure. All the vessels in the harbour were gaily decorated with flags in honour of the occasion. A great number of military evolutions were gone through in capital style by the corps, and the firing, both from the rifles and big guns, was performed with a steadiness and precision worthy of the occasion. At the close the corps were drawn up in two lines, when the gallant Colonel addressed them in terms of warm approval and satisfaction. The conclusion was received with repeated cheers by the corps. There were a large number of visitors, who were highly satisfied with the proceedings, and the band led the way homeward, playing martial airs.
THANKSGIVING EXTRAORDINARY. – When our Volunteers were proceeding to drill, upon Wednesday evening, a country woman, not accustomed to the waggery of some of our citizens, told some of her friends, with the most simple faithfulness, that the Volunteers ‘was ga’en out to fire the guns in rejoicin’ and thankfulness for the bonny weather we had got.’!
[The 1st Orkney Artillery Volunteers were formed in 1860 as a response to a French invasion threat. They served as a Coast Artillery unit and continued in existence until the dissolution of Coast Artillery in the UK in 1956.]
1862 September 2 Orkney Herald
TOURISTS IN ORKNEY. – The fine weather which has lately been wafted to us over the smoothed waters, has brought along with it a considerable number of tourists to the Islands, who will now see Orkney under better auspices than they would have done in the summer months. The mysterious Maeshowe was visited by several gentlemen last week. They were decidedly of opinion that it was a sepulchral monument – a memorial mound of heroes, originally reared by whom, no man will probably ever be able to discover. In vain they invoked the Spirit of Lodbrokar and her heroic sons, nor could they, like O’Conohan, bear away much treasure from the howe. The Jerusalem travellers seem to have converted the sepulchral tumulus, which had been previously desecrated, into a house of call and record-chamber. More remarkable than the runes, is the distinctness with which the cross and the dragon are carved. What strange mysterious memories brood within the dark walls and around the runic pillars of that primeval mound! Mr Farrer, M.P., whose researches among Orcadian antiquities have been so successfully conducted, arrived again from the south on Saturday last, and we will probably ere long hear of further discoveries being made…..
[James Farrer was a highly respected archaeologist, and a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. His excavations included a partial excavation of brochs in Orkney from 1853, and the opening of Maeshowe in July 1861]
THE COMET. – During some nights at the beginning of last week, when the heavens were beautifully clear, the new comet was seen to advantage, and showed a much larger nucleus and a longer tail than it appears to have presented in the south, from the astronomical notices in the papers. Through a good field-glass, the nucleus seemed as large as the moon in its midway course, and the tail spread out long and wide. The tremulous motion of the nucleus was distinctly visible, and the tail also appeared to waver like the aurora. At present the comet is near the Pole Star, and it is moving towards Scorpio, where astronomers expect it to disappear towards the end of September. It will be visible to the naked eye until the middle of the month now commenced. Meanwhile, should the weather continue clear, this strange visitant will attract many wondering, and probably some superstitious, eyes….
[This was Comet Swift-Tuttle, discovered in 1862 independently by American astronomers Lewis A. Swift and Horace Parnell Tuttle.]
1862 September 9 Orkney Herald
BEAUTIFUL SUNSET. – On Sabbath evening one of the finest sunsets of the season was witnessed. The splendid vision only lasted a quarter of an hour; but it was a picture of Cloud-land which, in the words of Shelley “lingers, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.” From the horizon upwards, there were alternate slips of yellow, orange, deep green, pale green, dark blue, and blue of the most ethereal shade, while a great flock of filmy clouds, spreading abroad almost to the zenith, was steeped in roseate hues.
A fresh influx of tourists and strangers visited places of interest on the mainland of Orkney last week. Among them was a party of Germans. Maeshowe and the Stenness Circle were visited by Sir John and Lady Sinclair.
1862 September 16 Orkney Herald
“BENJIE’S” IMPRESSIONS IN ORKNEY. – The “Benjie of the ‘Daily Review’ has written a series of very readable papers on the Orkneys, showing that he has used well both eyes and ears during a fortnight’s trip. We can only find room for the following lively sketch of rural life in Orkney: –
“The houses are very snug. Every house has a but and a ben, and many have a sleeping apartment between. The ‘ben’ is almost panelled with wood, or papered, and has a grate and a chimney. In the kitchen, the fire is still very commonly in the middle of the earthen floor. But peat-reek is a qualifier and a relish rather than anything else, to the oft times humid atmosphere of the Orkneys, and an excellent curer of the fish commonly hung from the rafters. Then they have a wind-board contrivance for the hole in the roof, which can be shifted from within as the wind shifts, and performs the functions of a chimney very creditably. Not a few who can quite well afford a regular chimney prefer the present system, which has the great recommendation that a large family – and large families are the rule in Orkney – can get much more cosily round the fire – in a circle – than if the chimney were in the gable. The construction of the roofs is unique. They are neither thatched, tiled, nor slated, but long heather is twisted into ropes, in which condition it is called ‘simmons,’ and fastened in bands, two or three inches apart from the roof tree to the eaves. A thick bed of straw is then spread upon this support, and is bound down with another row ‘simmons,’ fastened to the roof-tree at one end, while the other is attached to loose stones, which sometimes are uplifted by the force of the frequent heavy gales, and the rigging destroyed. The roof must be renewed or at least recovered, every year, and ‘simmons’ thus becomes a very important domestic article. It is said that sometime in the last century when the Moderate ministers were monarchs of all they surveyed, it was customary to levy fines in balls of ‘simmons;’ and a story is told of a minister who used to fine his parishioners in two balls of simmons for a certain scandalous offence, but, finding that the offence was disappearing under the severity of the fine, he announced a reduction of the tariff to one ball of simmons, frankly stating as his reason that he saw no other way of getting a new roof for the church. The most objectionable feature about the interior of the houses is the extraordinary and almost impartiality for box-beds. The system appears to have arisen partly out of necessity, the construction of the houses being such that the kitchen bed is generally placed opposite the door, and requires protection from draught. A wooden roof may have been found necessary to avoid the discomfort of sooty and oily particles which drop from the rafters and interior stratum of ‘simmons,’ after they have been pretty well tarred with the peat reek. But the boxes have very generally lids or doors as well, and ‘paterfamilias’ shuts himself in with the goodwife, to breathe in twenty or thirty cubic feet of air till morning. At the end of almost every byre or barn there is a kiln, solidly built, and towering above the level of the roof, so as to give a somewhat imposing architectural effect to even the meanest buildings. This provision is rendered necessary by the want of a kiln at most of the meal mills in the country. The chief discomforts of the Orcadian situation, so far as the rural population is concerned, is the difficulty, and often impossibility, of obtaining timely medical assistance. In some of the smaller islands, weeks may elapse before it is possible to get medical or surgical aid, however urgent the case. And even on the mainland, there are three large contiguous parishes – St Andrews, Holm, and Deerness – in which there is not a single medical man. There is not even a regular midwife. Of the inhabitants of these parishes it maybe said –
‘Nae howdie gets a social nicht
Or plack frae them;’
not because there is not abundance of work for several howdies, but because the howdie cannot be got, and the less hardy matrons must go to Kirkwall to do their lying-in. But notwithstanding – perhaps because of – this absence of the faculty, the dwellers in these parishes and in the small isles are more remarkable for health and longevity than the more favoured districts.”
1862 September 20 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER. – We are now enjoying a series of good weather, strong sunshine, with occasional breezes, suitable for the season, and the crops are making rapid progress towards maturity. The greater part of the farming population will be in the field after next week. There are reports of the potato disease from some quarters. If the weather continues fine, the harvest will be a full average return for man and beast.
HEALTH OF THE TOWN. – Our readers will be glad to learn that the health of the town of Kirkwall was never in a more satisfactory state. For a month past, we believe, there has not been a single death within the whole bounds of the parish, a state of matters contrasting strongly with that of the corresponding month of last year, when there were altogether about 20 for the same period.
1862 September 23 Orkney Herald
DR [JOHN] RAE, of Arctic exploration fame, who recently joined the Orkney Volunteer corps, accompanied by [his nephew] J. Rae, Esq. of Gorseness, left town last week for the competitions at Inverness. Dr Rae is a capital shot. He intends, we believe, to take part in the competitions at Wimbledon next year.
Any Person found TRESPASSING on the
GROUND OF BANKS, FROTOFT, ROUSAY,
after this date, will be prosecuted as law directs.
1862 October 7 Orkney Herald
FINDING OF CURIOUS CARVED STONES IN ROUSAY. – the workmen engaged upon the road near to the west side of the Kirk in Rousay came recently upon two curious carved stones, which looked as if they had originally formed part of an old baronial residence. One of the stones seemed to be piece of a lintel, and the other was apparently a small pillar. There is a wall twelve feet thick in the immediate vicinity of the spot where the stones were found. Further discoveries may throw light on the matter.
1862 October 14 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER last week was a mixture of “grave and gay, of lively and severe;” but harvest operations went on briskly notwithstanding. Sunday was tempestuous throughout, with a high wind and much rain. Yesterday, again, was remarkably warm and beautiful for this season of the year.
1862 October 18 The Orcadian
AN EXCITING WHALE HUNT. – Upon Wednesday last a very large number of whales appeared in Scapa Bay, pursued by upwards of 40 boats, manned with stout rowers, from the South Isles. The cry of “Whales at Scapa,” was immediately raised in town, and soon the road to old Scapa (the scene of many a whale hunt and capture) was densely crowded by numbers carrying lances, harpoons, &c., eager for the fray. Brawny sons of Crispin quickly threw down their awls, knights of the thimble their needles, for weapons of a more deadly character, and indeed every grade of society at once joined in the chase, making in all between 60 and 70 boats, with, however, we regret to say, small success. It is conjectured that there were at least 300 of these huge monsters blowing, and floundering, and playing themselves in the deep – for indeed across the whole bay the water was thrown up into the air in complete foam, having the appearance as if each whale was crowned with a snow-white plume. The chase was nobly kept up till the whole drove almost touched the ground; but the unfavourable state of the tide – the water being too deep to enable the whales to be fairly stranded and dispatched – gave the golden chance of escape to the frightened monsters, just when they were all but within the grasp. And beautifully did they take the “right and left turn.” Separating in their terror into two divisions, they passed quite under the boats – one division taking the east, and the other the west side of the bay – with a furious and maddening rush which made the deep blue sea sparkle in the rays of the sun, and so the terrified monsters completely escaped from their deadliest foe, which was really vexatious, though grand to witness. One small whale, however, of 6 feet long, missed the flock and tumbled about quite bewildered close to the shore, when a ready lance from an eager hand on the beach, Mr George Macgregor, manager at Orquil, quickly dispatched the unfortunate, and with some assistance drew it to the land. The whales having thus escaped, concluded the sport, and the multitude of boats and men made for their homes. The whales are still seen playing about in the bay.
1862 October 25 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER. – Since our last e have had such a week of rough weather as is seldom surpassed even in those northern latitudes. Storms of westerly and north-westerly winds, accompanied with torrents of rain and sleet has prevailed alternately during the whole week, and upon Saturday last we experienced a severe thunderstorm. There is still a large proportion of our crops exposed, and some uncut. Very little could have been done during the week till Thursday when the weather moderated considerably. The “Prince Consort” arrived on Saturday, and proceeded to Lerwick, but was unable to return till Wednesday, and sailed for the south at 7 a.m. on Thursday morning, carrying a number of passengers, cattle, and goods. The Royal Mail steamer has been equally unfortunate, not being able to make the passage from Friday till Thursday. The latest papers in Orkney from the south were those of Friday, which arrived per steamer Prince Consort last Saturday, till yesterday morning, when there was a very large arrival of mails. Up to yesterday evening, as we go to press, there has been no communication with the North Isles, save Shapinsay, and a mail from Rousay.
1862 October 28 Orkney Herald
STROMNESS – THE WEATHER this week has been of the worst description, indeed perfect gales of wind, accompanied with hail and sleet showers. It has blown from almost all the points of the compass, but principally from south-west and west. On Wednesday the ‘Royal Mail’ essayed to make a passage (the first since Friday previous), but had to return, and it was well that she did so in time, for after a morning of stormy south-east wind, with torrents of rain, about 10 a.m. the rain ceased, the sun shone forth, and the wind fell to a gentle breeze; but the sunshine and calm were but for an hour, the wind chopped round to the west and blew a furious gale, and the ‘Royal Mail’ had just got back when the might of the storm burst upon us. The farmers complain that Wednesday did more harm to the grain yet in the fields than all the stormy, rainy week before. The glass is lower than, we believe, it has been for three years previous. The Aurora has been bright, and flaming over the sky on several nights; and during the first of the week lightning and thunder were frequent; but we hope, now that the wind is holding to the north, we shall have more moderate, steady weather.
LONGEVITY. – In the island of Rousay, a man named John Kirkness died recently at the extreme age of 102 years.
[John Kirkness, born 1760, lived at Pliverha’, later Quoyostray. On July 29th 1814 he married Barbara Craigie, daughter of George Craigie and Janet Brand. They had five children, all born before the move to Quoyostray.]
TERRIFIC THUNDERSTORM – MIRACULOUS ESCAPES. On the morning of Sunday week fearful thunderstorm, short in duration, but terrible in its effects, burst over portion of the island of Rousay. At 6.30 the inmates of the U. P. Manse were startled by a fearful peal, followed by a stunning crash, which seemed to make the whole house collapse. Mr McLellan, the respected minister, describes it as terrific, and says that it seemed as if the walls were being torn up by the foundation. There were nine persons within the house, including Mr and Mrs McLellan, their family, strangers, and servants, and when the morning light showed the scene of devastation, it appeared almost miraculous how any them had escaped a sudden and terrible death. Some the escapes were certainly hairbreadth. From information supplied by the Rev. Mr McLellan, and Mr Hankey – an English gentleman resident the manse – we are able to give the particulars of the catastrophe. The lightning had apparently first of all struck the western gable the house, and then passed down the vents, carrying grates and everything before it, and sweeping through the house with destructive speed. No fewer than seventy-two panes of glass were broken. Every room was entered, and damage done in all. The greatest scene of havoc was in Mr McLellan’s study. A false chimney built on the wall was torn down. The grate and mantel-piece were lying in the middle of the room. The flouring was torn up, the carpet was blown into strips, and forced under the flooring. The castors had been stripped from a writing table, and the chair in which the clergyman usually sat was lying shivered into pieces. Scarcely less was the havoc committed in Mr McLellan’s bed-room. Plaster and lime were scattered over the bed; a wardrobe was torn down; and various articles were scattered about in all directions. The parlour and a small bed-room in which Miss McLellan slept were considerably blackened. In the parlour the mantel piece, cornice, and wood-work were charred, the sideboard was damaged, and glass, crockery, and pictures were broken and seriously damaged. The lightning had struck a hole through the parlour wall, and then swept up stairs to the apartments above. The wails along the staircase were much injured, and a barometer was knocked down and broken. In the room above McLellan’s bed-room, the grate and mantel-piece had been blown into the centre of the floor. The grate was split through the middle, and the paper on the walls was torn and damaged. The door of the bed-room where the gentleman already referred to slept, was blown down. The curtain of his bed was torn into shreds, the bed-clothes were tossed about, the sheet on which he lay and the mattress were slightly scorched, and the whiskers on the left side of his face were singed. This was the most miraculous escape of all. In adjoining outhouse a cow was killed. The sulphurous smell that succeeded the crash almost stifled the inmates of the manse. The house with its broken windows and battered furniture presents a sad aspect of desolation, and the family have been obliged to disperse to more comfortable quarters in the neighbourhood. The people have shewn great kindness to the family. It is a somewhat remarkable circumstance that the U. P. Church of Rousay was struck by lightning two years ago.
1862 November 8 The Orcadian
[From the Shapinsay correspondent…..] Mr Hogarth’s beautiful gem of a yacht the “Snowfleck” lies at present in our bay; also, a smack which we understand is to winter here at anchor. An antique large-looking lubber of a schooner, is discharging coals in the harbour. By-the-by, you will observe that Mr Hogarth’s yacht’s name is spelt “Snowfleck” not “Snowflake.” It was spelt in the latter way in your contemporary lately. A “Snowflake” would be apt to melt in our waters. The yacht tales its name from a small bird] that may be seen around our shores in large flocks in the winter time, sometimes sporting ever head in the middle of a heavy fall of snow.
1862 November 11 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER last week was very changeable. One or two days were mild and fine, with brilliant moonlight at night; but towards the close of the week the wind was very boisterous. On Sunday morning there was a slight fall of snow, which still lingers on the hill-tops. The hills of Rendall and Rousay, which seem to have received the largest share of the fleecy covering, imparted a wintry aspect to the sky-line. On Sunday and early yesterday morning the cold was piercingly intense.
1862 November 25 Orkney Herald
THERE HAS been a fine strong bracing frost for the last two days. The country roads were sheathed in a coating of ice in the mornings. Sunday night was remarkably clear and beautiful. Frosty weather at this season is certainly better both for health and spirits than dull, foggy days.
ACCOUNTS from the various islands go to show that the harvest in Orkney this season has been above the average – indeed the very best for a series of years. The fall of the year has been “crowned with goodness.” On the part of agriculturists and the general public the thankfulness is now all the greater from the previous uncertainty which was caused by the lateness of the harvest, and the fear that the storms of early winter might destroy the crops. When farmers do not make any complaint, it is almost equal to a song of rejoicing.
1862 November 29 The Orcadian
The weather during the week has been very cold, but fine, bracing, and frosty. The Aurora-borealis illuminated the heavens on several evenings, and the scene produced was beautiful and clear.
1862 December 9 Orkney Herald
THERE was a total eclipse of the moon on Saturday morning last. From the absence of clouds at the time, the phenomenon was finely seen here. The disc of the moon reddened as the shadow stole over it, and a thin rim was all that remained when the eclipse was complete.
A PHOTOGRAPHER from Aberdeen has erected a wooden “saloon” on the plot of ground adjoining the ruins of the old Castle in Broad Street for the purpose of “taking people off.” He would probably have found his business a more remunerative one here in the summer months. However, we daresay, that many will patronise the photographer in order that they may “see theirsel’s as ithers see them.”
1862 December 16 Orkney Herald
STREAMERS played over the whole heavens on Sunday night, emitting for a time a light mild and diffused like that of the moon shining through wreaths of vapour.
1862 December 20 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER. – We have good winter weather on the whole. On Sabbath night we were visited by the aurora borealis, which emitted a good light. Westerly winds have prevailed, with intervals of sun and showers during the week. On Thursday a heavy gale sprung up from the westward with showers of rain and sleet. – On Friday morning it blew almost a hurricane, the boatmen about the harbour having enough to do to save their vessels. The Stromness packet “Gleaner” is ashore on the Holm; and some of the windows of Dr Baikie’s fine new house, in course of being finished, situate in the centre of Butquoy Park, were blown in on the night of Thursday, or morning of Friday. No abatement of the gale when we go to press.
1862 December 27 Orkney Herald
THE STORM AND ITS EFFECTS
LOSS OF SIX LIVES
The hurricane of the 18th, 19th, and 20th has wrought sad devastation among the Orkneys, and the continuance of the storm still keeps us without any intelligence from Sanday and North Ronaldshay up to the hour of going to press. In Westray the gale blew with fearful and unprecedented violence. The schooner ‘Julia’ of Dundee, Capt. Jas. Seatter, with a cargo of wood and coals, was riding as anchor in Pierowall Bay, and on the morning of the 19th she began to drive. A crew of brave volunteers went on board to render assistance and laid out a third anchor, snugging her as much as possible; but as she still drove out, they had at last, at considerable risk, to abandon her to her fate; and when morning broke she was not to be seen. Intelligence we have received from Eday stated that she was seen and recognised from that island on Saturday, having drifted as far south as Veness, when the tide again took her up betwixt Sanday Eday, when she was seen to founder. She was the property of Messrs W. & S. Strong of Dundee, and is, we believe, partly insured. – The packet ‘Lloyds,’ which sails between Kirkwall and Westray, also drove from her anchorage in the Bar of Tuquoy, and went on shore, knocking her bottom out. About 30 small boats lying on the beaches and hauled up in winter quarters were carried away and completely destroyed. – In Eday fourteen small boas were completely smashed. – From Stronsay we have the following account: – On Friday morning a schooner was discovered on shore in Linga-sound, and it soon was found that there was no one on board of her. As the day brightened up, every eye was strained towards Lingaholm, when, assisted by fancy, through the thick sea drift, figures, supposed to be human, were descried; but it was impossible to assist them in any way. On the following morning a skiff, having been dragged by horses from the station was, during a temporary lull, launched; and on reaching the island four men were discovered having nothing on them but their trowsers and shirts. They were so exhausted that they had to be carried on board the boat, having been then for twenty-four hours exposed without food or shelter. What was worse, it was found that not one word of English could they speak, but necessity, the mother of invention, came to their aid, when it was found that the vessel was the Nostra Senora dil Carmen, Capt. Manuel de Naibituba, of and for Balboa, from Bergen, with fish and oil. She had been overtaken by the gale off the Butt of Lewis, and obliged to run before the wind and sea. She came in through Westray Firth, and brought up under lee of Egilshay, but the anchors would not hold, and she drifted across the firth. The crew being strangers, when nearing the rocks, thinking the only chance for their lives was taking to the boat, launched her, and almost stripping themselves, abandoned the schooner. When approaching the surf, the boat upset, and four of the poor fellows met a watery grave, the master and the other three reaching the Holm in an exhausted state. The vessel has become a total wreck. – On the 21st the brig ‘Freundschaft,’ Capt. Schroeder, of and from Memel, for Londonderry, put into Kirkwall roads, having experienced the hurricane off Cape Wrath, when she had her decks swept, carrying away bulwarks and rails, and sweeping overboard two hands, who were Iost. – In Longhope the barque ‘Clarence of Glasgow,’ Captain Gawley, from Newcastle for Waterford with coals, dragged her anchors, and fouling the schooner ‘Fortuna’ of Kirkwall, Capt. Yorston, they both met on shore. The latter luckily went on soft ground, and is expected to be got off after lighting, with trifling damage. The ‘Clarence’ struck on rocks, and will likely suffer more severely. In South Ronaldshay a number of small boats were also destroyed.
We trust this will prove the full account of our local disasters. Scrabster suffered very severely, and the ‘Prince Consort,’ Captain Parrott, had, we learn, a narrow escape. We have also reports of the loss of a Dundee vessel at Tongue, with all hands; but the detention of the mails keeps us uninformed of what has happened elsewhere, and we look with great anxiety for their arrival.
The holidays in December have now set in, but the extreme severity of the weather is seriously interrupting the usual friendly visitings and greetings, which take place at this season. On Thursday morning last, we understand, that a number of young people went to the country. All the shops in town belonging to the dissenters being shut, their young men were set at liberty to enjoy themselves as they best might, and the morning being rather favourable for a winter morning, some of them doubtless were induced to attempt a visit to country friends; and we are only sorry that the afternoon of the day turned out so exceedingly rough that he or she was the happier who had no country friends to go to.
On Friday morning, last week, a report was in circulation in town that the packet “Gleaner,” Capt. Lyons, of Stromness, had been driven on shore on the Holm outside the harbour, which unfounded report, we regret to say, found its way into our columns. We are happy to give publicity to the following facts: – The “Gleaner” arrived at anchor ground in Cairston harbour on Thursday, after a 25 hours run from Leith, but on account of the storm, did not get her anchors till Sabbath morning, and was discharging a full cargo on Monday, all safe.
1862 December 30 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER DURING THE LAST WEEK. – The proverbial saying that after a storm comes a calm was not realised last week. The weather, in fact, was compounded of the worst and wildest elements. We had snow and rain, hail and sleet, frost and thaw, thunder and lightning, and, on one day especially, violent gusts of wind, which occasionally almost equalled in fury the tempest of the previous week. Throughout Thursday night the lightning flashed incessantly, and the night being intensely dark, the flashes were of vivid and startling brightness. In rooms well-lighted with gas, the blue fire could be seen flaming past the windows. Several of the hail-showers were so fierce that they realised the words of the poet, when he speaks of the storm-cloud “wielding the flail of the lashing hail.” Our meteorologists must have a sorry account to give of December in their next monthly returns.