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Friday, January 1, 2016
A Forgotten Local Hero
Wednesday, August 12th last (2015), was one of
those pleasant warm days of summer, as I walked by the local library, when I
noticed two ladies reading the tourist information panel on the footpath
nearby. I approached and asked if they needed any assistance, whereupon a most
interesting story unfolded of a local hero and two sad deaths from the early
The ladies in question, Kate Hunt and her daughter, Alison,
were over here from the U.K., researching the background to the demise of Kate’s
grand-father in Portlaw, almost one hundred years previously.
Kate Hunt with Basil, estate guide at Curraghmore.
Kate Hunt's daughter, Alison, at Curraghmore House.
The grandfather, James Bone, a native of the U.K., born in 1868, said Kate, who was butler/house steward at Curraghmore House since 1891, died
some days after attempting to save local boy, George Clarke, from drowning in
the ‘Salmon Pond’. Presumably this means the ‘Salmon Leap’ on the Clódagh River,
but a later report says the accident happened on the lake! Young George had
been skating on the ice. Yes, rivers do freeze over, like the nearby Suir at
Fiddown Bridge did one night about three years ago! Regrettably, George Clarke
passed away during the incident, but James Bone, who already had a heavy cold, developed a serious bout of Pneumonia
from exposure to the chilly waters of the river, and died a few days later.
An item in the Munster Express of January 6th 1917,
supplied by Kate, is shown hereunder:
More than likely, Jim Bone’s bravery was never publicly
acknowledged. Nowadays, he would be awarded a bravery medal and much would be
made of the incident in the newspapers, radio and TV. It’s still not too late,
for someone out there to delve more deeply into the affair and do something
about this local hero, who had worked at Curraghmore for almost twenty-six
Kate Hunt was fortunate in acquiring info on her grand-father’s death in the Irish
Civil Registration Index, which was
originally recorded at Carrick-on-Suir. See copy hereunder:
However, Kate was unable to locate the grave of James Bone.
If he was buried at Clonagam cemetery, where she was shown by Basil, the estate guide, she was unable to check out all the headstones due to the volume of undergrowth.
Having no further details on the man or his family, she would appreciate
receiving any information that some of you viewers out there may have. A
photograph of the young James and his siblings is hereunder:
Bone's wife and children, left to right: Frank (Kate Hunt’s father, born 1907), Helen (Kate’s aunt, born
1910) and Jim (James Bone's eldest son, born 1905). All of the
firstborn sons in the family appear to have been called James!
Kate supplied me with an excellent photo from 1905, showing
the entire Curraghmore House staff, nineteen in total, posing at the front of
the building. This consisted of seven
gentlemen and twelve ladies all dressed in their very best, posing for the photographer,
possibly Poole of Waterford. Three ladies were all in black plus nine more, all
in white. One of the gentleman was dressed all in white and wore a chef’s hat. Regrettably,
I’m unable publish such photo here for copyright reasons.
An extract from Clódagh Anson’s ‘Book’, supplied also by
Kate Hunt, states:
“Now Bone was an
institution more than a butler”, and they took him on holidays to Italy and
Egypt. She also describes boys coming home from school, taking a short-cut over
‘thelake’, the ice breaking, one falling in, others rushing for help,
and “Bone, who had a severecold in his head, never hesitated for a
moment, but rushed straight out and plunged in.”
She continues, remarking on the ‘crushing blow’ Bone’s death was to all, even to herself and her
sister, Susan, who had their own houses then, and still further nice remarks
about the brave Jim Bone.
Clódagh Anson was the daughter
of John Henry de la Poer Beresford, 5th Marquess of Waterford, and
his wife, Lady Blanche Elizabeth Adelaide Somerset. In 1901, she married Hon.
Claud Anson, son of the 2nd Earl of Lichfield, Thomas George Anson,
and Lady Harriett Georgina Louisa Hamilton. She passed away on 17h April 1957, at the age
of 77, and was the author of a number of books. I'm glad to say I have a copy of 'Book'!
I am grateful to Kate Hunt for this great story, and appreciate
very much receiving the photographs, etc., mentioned. Hopefully, some further
useful information will emerge in the near future.
The 'Munster Express' item and the Civil Registration item were both kindly supplied to Kate by Ms. Sharon Meade of Waterford Council; the former being found at Waterford Library.
- oooOooo -
Further info on the Bone family, supplied by Kate Hunt:
- our James Bone's father was the natural son of James Bone and Susan Dean of
Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland. He was born in 1843, raised by his mother
and her parents (in their 80's!) and by 1861 was appreniced as a gardener at
Kilwinning in Ayrshire.
he was a gardener at Aldridge, Staffordshire and has a wife and 2
children including our James.
1877 his wife died and he had 3 more children.
he had re-married and had one more child. By this time he was head
gardener at Ashdown Park in Berkshire. Our James was 13 and still at
By 1891 -
he was head gadener at Latimer in Buckinghamshire and our James has disappeared
from the census (we assume that he was in service somewhere).
and 1911 censos shows him as gardener at Tredegar Pak Gardens in Newport
Monmouthshire. So he didn't do badly for a fatherless boy from Scotland!