14106 | Pistol

About 1845, 19th century
10 x 21.5 cm
Gift of D.M. Manks
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

By 1847, as the cost of maintaining poorhouses, orphanages and other charitable institutions continued to escalate, Irish immigrants became targets of local outrage. Riots in Saint John, Fredericton and Woodstock on July 12, 1847 resulted in loss of life and created a barrier to peaceful coexistence.

Exactly two years later, Saint John's Catholic community and the local Orange Order engaged in a final confrontation. As parading Orangemen made their way through the Irish ghetto of York Point, Saint John, taunts and hurled rocks led to an exchange of gunfire that killed at least a dozen people.

Leaders on both sides were apprehended and brought to trial. On August 15, 1849, a Catholic holy day, an overtly biased jury vindicated the indicted Orangemen but sentenced two Irish Catholics to terms of six and twelve months respectively in the Provincial Penitentiary.

It is said that Squire Manks used this pistol during the York Point riot.

Source : Out of Ireland [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    Catholics constructed a green arch across the path of the 1849 parade, forcing the Orangemen to dip their banners, an act recognized as an international sign of defeat.

  • Where

    A native of Belfast, Ireland, Manks was the Worshipful Master of a local Orange Lodge.

  • When

    Ironically, Manks died nursing poor Irish Catholics at York Point during the cholera epidemic of 1854.

  • Who

    Squire Manks drew the attention of New Brunswick's Catholic Irish in March of 1844 when he was charged with the murder of an Irish Catholic.