Pears Connections

Peter Waters

Peter Waters was born in Derrynoose (Derynuse then), Keady, Co. Armagh in 1814. I'm guessing that he came from a rural background. He was one of the 70% in Armagh that was illeterate at that time, enlisting by just putting his mark x and if he was from a rural background then the percentage of illiteracy was very much higher than the average of 70%.  

In 1831 he enlisted with the  63rd Foot at Cootehill Co. Cavan on 31st May;  Corporal Patrick O'Hara witnessed his enlistment also by putting his mark. Peter Waters received a bounty of three pounds for joining up. The 63rd Foot was also known as the 'Bloodsuckers' and also as 'The West Suffolk Regiment' until 1881. Over the previous 70 years or so the 63rd Foot saw action in the Seven Years' War in the Caribbean, The American War of Independence at Bunkers Hill and the French Revolutionary War and in the West Indies during the Napoleonic Wars. 

Private - 63rd Foot - 1830ishPrivate - 63rd Foot He passed his medical with flying colours and was confirmed to be in excellent  health. He was 5ft 7 1/2" with red hair (on discharge, the colour of his hair was stated as sandy), grey eyes and of  fair complexion. He was received in Chatham, the 63rd Foot's depot, on 31st December 1831. He left England 12th March 1832 bound for Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. The 63rd provided escorts and guards for convicts being sent to Australia. From Sydney, a detachment went on to Hobart (in Van Diemen's Land in those days). When in Australia the main purpose of the regiment was to protect the settlers from the Aborigines who found their land occupied and their travelling life styles curtailed. The regiment left Hobart late December 1833 aboard 'Lord Lyndoch' or 'Isabella' bound for Madras and landed in Madras 4th March 1834.. 
  • “GOVERNMENT HOUSE, TOWN ADJUTANT’S OFFICE, 23rd December 1833 Garrison Order
  • “The colonel commanding having completed his half-yearly inspection of the 63rd Regiment, has great pleasure in expressing his entire approbation of the state in which he found it, both in quarters and in the field. This fine corps, in the highest order, well-disciplined and most effective, embarks today for Madras, and the colonel commanding, in taking leave, cannot refrain from bearing testimony by the officer in command, to the able and cordial support and assistance rendered to him on all occasions by a well qualified and respectable body of officers, to which His Excellency attributes that high spirit and moral character in the non-commissioned officers and soldiers which distinguish these troops, and which constitute the true strength of a British regiment, reflecting back upon the Crown the lustre originally derived from it.
    The colonel commanding avails himself of this opportunity of expressing also the obligation he feels for the support he has invariably received from Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Logan in the discharge of the very onerous duties which have devolved upon him since his arrival, as a member of the Executive Council and of other multifarious services unconnected with military detail, in which he has every exercised an earnest desire to support the local government, and to promote the best interest of the community.
    By Command, A. McKay, Town Adjutant.”

    He appears to have been a good boy as he  picked up 4 distinguishing marks with good conduct pay. This was important both for a slight increase in pay but also for his pension. Early in 1837 some regiments were ordered to have sham fights. The 63rd, under Colonel Logan, captured St  Thomas Mount the commander-in-chief's station and took the CIC and staff as prisoners. The CIC was Lieutenant General Peregrine Maitland K.C.B. who described the action as treacherous. In October 1837 the regiment marched to Arnee some 90 miles from Madras. Along the way cholera broke out and many men were lost. In 1838 cholera broke out again and 13 of the finest men were lost.
    In March 1838 the regiment left Arnee for Poonamalee , the Queens Depot, on the 11th March, and arrived there on the 17th without a single casualty, after a fatiguing march over bad roads and swampy country. One account of this occassion states "It is worthy to remark that though the regiment marched into quarters on St Patrick's Day, and more than one half were Irishmen, it was not found necessary to confine more than one man for drunkeness, and that man was an Englishman."
    At the end of 1838 the regiment was posted to Burma. Three companies of the 63rd Foot left Madras for Moulmien (Burma) aboard the ship 'Resolution'. The next day the headquarters sailed on the 'Bombay'. In September 1842, much to everyone's surprise and without notice 84th Foot arrived as relief direct from England. Relief was normally provided by a regiment from Poonamallee.
    Within a week of being relieved  they left for Madras aboard 4 ships. Nearing Madras fierce storms raged. One ship was holed and others had to seek shelter in other nearby ports. On return to Madras they were presented with new colours. In celebration officers were given a pint of wine; men were given a quart of beer!
    On 2th December 1839 Peter Waters was promoted to Corporal and on 1st October 1842 he was promoted to Sergeant.
    In 1843 there was a severe outbreak of cholera again, each day affecting 20 men. In 44 days they lost 2 officers, 1 lady, 89 non-commissioned officers and men, 7 women and 5 children and 400 camp followers. Peter Waters survived all this and married Mary Ann ?????.  in about 1843.  Daughter Mary Ann was born on 25th May 1844 in Bellary [C00879-2;530011].  In December 1846 orders were received for the regiment to return to England. In 3 days of volunteering  321 men (with loss of rank) decided to remain in India and joined the 25th, 51st, 84th and 94th Regiments. Peter Waters was one of those that opted to remain in India, reverted to the rank of Private and joined the 94th Regiment of Foot stationed in Cannanore. Incidentally, Ireland, the land of his birth, was to suffer  'The Great Hunger' which began around the middle of 1845 and continued up to 1851 and ended in the deaths of an estimated one million Irish (or one out of every nine inhabitants). Around a million Irish also left Ireland during that time.
    In 1853, aged 39, he was discharged with disability due to Chronic Rheumatism[WO 23/150]. His examination papers state that his disability was not aggravated by vice or misconduct and that he opted to live in Cannanore. In all he had served 21 years 99 days with 2 years in New South Wales, the rest in India and Burma. He died ion 28th July 1862 in Madras [B00202-1; 521852] aged 48.

    Mary Ann (daughter, aged 18) married Robert Hartford aged 37 on 29th May 1862 in Madras. At some time before 1872 she was widowed and married Clement Rabel (our ancestor) on  11 Apr 1872  in Bellary[M00107-3 521860].


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