1867 & the sad fate of Rose Rogers of Wallace’s Row.

Community Historian Brendan Matthews with a poignant story on the lonely death of Rose Rogers.

Back in the 19th century there was an extensive village of wretched mud cabin houses named Wallace’s Row, which was situated about one and a half miles outside of Drogheda on the Ballymakenny Road.

Griffiths Valuation of rateable property in the 1850`s shows that there was around 64 houses here and that the majority of the families living here were that of Hand-Loom Weavers. The wretched little homes were constructed in order to create a number of 40 shilling Freeholders at the beginning of the 19th century and the residents here played a key role in many of the Parliamentary Elections of that period.

The village got its name from a man named Thomas Wallace who actually contested one such election in the 1830`s.

On Friday January 18th 1867 an old woman named Rose Rogers was found dead from the want of food and warmth in one these mud cabins by some of her neighbours. Later that same day Rose Rogers was interred in the Cord Cemetery in what was termed at the time, 'in the poorest of wood coffins'. There was no Mass, no funeral service and no priest in attendance.

The County Coroner, Dr. Moore, then ordered the body to be exhumed for a proper post mortem and this was carried out on Monday January 21st with several witnesses in attendance from the Coroners Court. These witnesses later on told the inquest that, 'there was a red blush in Rose Rogers’s face when the lid of the coffin was raised such as they had never seen while she was alive' and that, 'she was warmer in the soil of the ground surrounding her flimsy coffin than she had been in her cold and damp house.'

The inquest heard from many of the old woman’s neighbours who stated that:

her house was in a terrible condition with holes and gaps everywhere and that the recent snow had fallen through her roof and that there was a few boards along the wall of the cabin with some pieces of straw which acted as her bed, but that the straw was so few that the pieces could be counted.

The Coroner was also told that there was no clothes in the house other than the ones Rose had on her, there was no coal, no wood and no food except for two small pieces of stale oaten bread. One neighbour stated that, 'there wasn’t enough straw in the cabin that would make a nest for a hen.' The court also heard that, from time to time, Mr Whitworth would provide the residents here with some coal.

A Doctor Ellis also gave evidence of carrying out a post mortem on the body and he said that, in his opinion death was due to the effects of cold and want and that on examination he found that there was no food whatsoever in the old woman’s stomach and that he had never in all of his life seen a corpse so placid in expression.

Neighbours who attended the Coroners Court included Anne Farrell, Catherine Byrne, Jemmy Duffy and Betsy Carragher.

Drogheda Museum
MillmountGovernor's House,

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