The Scotts

by Morag T Fyfe

Readers may recall the loss of the car ferry Estonia during a storm in the Baltic in 1994 and the capsizing of the Herald of Free Enterprise off Zeebrugge in 1987 while those with particularly long memories may recall the loss of the Princess Victoria in the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland in 1953. Just over 100 years before the loss of the Princess Victoria the SS Orion ran on to rocks off Port Patrick and sank with a substantial loss of life.

At 1.35am on Tuesday 18 June 1850, on a fine calm night, the Orion struck the Outer Ward Rock off Port Patrick resulting in a large gash in her hull which caused her to sink within fifteen minutes. It is not known exactly how many passengers were onboard as recording the number of passengers travelling was not compulsory at that date but it estimated to have been between about one hundred and sixty and one hundred and eighty in total.

James Scott, his wife Lillias Ure and their only child Marion, and a widowed sister in law, Janet Ure, Mrs William Smith, had arrived in Liverpool by the Cunard steamer RMS Europa from New York a day or two previously and were continuing their journey to Glasgow. The two sisters had married their respective husbands in a double wedding on 12 April 1831 and seem to have spent most of their married lives in Canada as their husbands were both merchants based in Montreal. All four were lost in the disaster and a stone in compartment Omega commemorates them:

In memory / of / JAMES SCOTT / Merchant, Montreal, aged 55. / LILLIAS URE, his wife aged 46. / And MARION, their only child, aged 7. / Also of JANET URE, aged 40, sister of Mrs SCOTT, and relict of / WILLIAM SMITH, Merchant, Montreal, / who all perished in the wreck / of the steam ship Orion, / off Port Patrick, / 18th June 1850, / and are here interred / except the child MARION / whose body was not found.

James Scott and family monument

James Scott and family monument

According to newspaper reports James Scott’s body was found quickly and sent to Glasgow. Janet Smith, his sister in law’s body was found by a diver in the wreck at the foot of a companion stair and brought to Glasgow on Friday 21st on the ss Admiral. Both James and Janet were buried in the Necropolis on Tuesday 25th June one week after the tragedy. On Friday 9th August a female body, presumed to be that of Lillias Ure, was washed ashore at Ballywater near Dondghadee, Ireland and her funeral took place on 12 August. By this time fifty five bodies had been found. The same newspaper report that tells of the discovery of Lilias’s body also reported that a silver tea and coffee service belonging to the Scotts had been recovered. The inscription on the coffee pot said ‘Presented to Mr and Mrs Scott on their leaving Canada, by a few sincere friends’.

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