Monday, 16 March 2015

The Search for Andrew

As detailed in my post about my Quinnin/McQueen family, I struggled quite a bit with tracing James, the brother of my 2x Great Grandfather, Martin. However he was not the only troublesome Irishman in the family. My 3x Great Grandfather was a man named Patrick Andrew Queenan/Quinnin and for a while he also went missing. He often liked to drop the Patrick and simply be Andrew, like his father before him. 

In the late 1840s and early 1850s, the Queenan family were living in the Wall Knoll area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. They later escaped to the coal fields and became drainers in the pits around Murton, Northumberland. Patrick Andrew's wife Bridget died there in 1867 of bronchitis and he is stated to be a farm labourer. Not long after this, his son James began to use the surname McQueen. 

Throughout this time, Patrick Andrew remained close to his elder son Martin and acted as a sponsor on a couple of his grandchildren's baptisms. Together with Martin, his daughter-in-law Barbara Coyle and his grandchildren, Patrick Andrew moved to Bedlington Station where he resumed his work as a coal miner. From Bedlington Station, the family group went to New Hartley where they can be found on the census returns. 

The last mention I had found of Patrick Andrew, was on the baptism of his granddaughter Martha in September 1879 at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic church, Annitsford, Northumberland where he acted as her sponsor. But thereafter, Patrick Andrew Quinnin could not be found. However then I found James McQueen and his family, and their lives in numerous public houses in the Sunderland area. I had much luck with finding newspaper articles on James and his family, and one day was amazed to find the following;
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A FATAL FALL - Early this morning, a man named Andrew McQueen, 67 years of age, who lived with his son, Mr James McQueen, landlord of the Waverley Hotel, High-street, died from injuries received by his falling in the cellar on Wednesday morning. The deceased never recovered consciousness, dying, as stated, at five o'clock this morning.
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- From the Sunderland Daily Echo, printed Friday, 1 April 1887

So I had finally found Andrew, although I was saddened to hear of the sad circumstances in which he died. 

I went on to find a further article, printed on the next day following an inquest into poor Andrew's death. The article detailed that Andrew had went down in the cellar of the Waverley Hotel, in order to open the coal hatch so that a labourer could put some coals down. Andrew must have stood on the beer slide in attempt to open the coal hatch when he suffered a severe fall, causing "a contused and slightly lacerated wound on the back of [his] head." He got up and returned to the bar, with noticeable blood on his shirt. A Dr. John Horan suspected that the injury had caused partial concussion of the brain. Andrew soon fell into unconsciousness, and later died from the concussion, followed by effusion of the brain.  

The awfully ironic thing was that Andrew could have actually opened the coal hatch from the bar, and there was no need for him to go down to the cellar to do so. 


The day after the inquest, Andrew McQueen was laid to rest in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery. There was an article printed describing the funeral saying there was quite a large cortege consisting of a hearse, five coaches, two private carriages and a band of about 50 instrumentalists. He was described as "Bro. Andrew McQueen" a member of the Order of Buffaloes (R.A.O.B.).

So I had eventually discovered what happened to Patrick Andrew Quinnin / Andrew McQueen and although the circumstances of his death were sad, I am pleased to have found him in the end.