Mrs Nagle abandoned 1845





Susan Nagle was born a few days out of Syney, NSW, and with her parents, two sisters and brother, Aunt and Uncle and their two
children, lived at Nagles Cove during the 1840s. Later in her life she became a prolific writer (and in fact encouraged the famous Canadian writer Robert Service to write). I am indebted to the wife of a direct descendant of Susan, Phyllis Roberts, for the following story (Copyright Phyllis Roberts) penned by Susan.
      The following true incident occurred on the coast of New Zealand 
about the year 1845. The wife of Capt. J. Nagle, having spent several 
months in Auckland owing to illness, was on her way back to the 
Barrier Island. Capt. Nagle was at the time in command of the Victoria 
taking troops to the seat of the Maori War and could not accompany her 
so it was arranged that she should go back on board of the Deborah, a 
barque belonging to her husband commanded by a Capt. Wilson. On the 
2nd day out the vessel sprung a leak and the captain gave orders to 
beach her. Before doing so however, he told Mrs. Nagle that it would 
be necessary for her to go on shore and said as the repairs would 
probably take most of the day he would order the steward to put some 
things in the boat for her luncheon. By degrees the tide went out and 
the ship was left high and dry on the sand. Mrs. Nagle amused herself 
by collecting sea shells or other curiosities or reading. About 4 p.m. 
she noticed that the men had finished their work, but the tide was 
still out, and it was almost 6 o'clock before the water was high 
enough to float the ship. Perceiving this Mrs. Nagle collected her 
things together in expectation of the boat coming for her.
      With the incoming tide the wind rose, and the evening became 
uncomfortably cold. After the ship floated, one by one the sails were 
hoisted and the anchor weighed and to her horror she saw the vessel 
sailing away.  Almost beside herself she ran to the edge of the water 
calling with all her might but in vain. She was left on a lonely coast 
possibly in the vicinity of Maoris who were hostile to the Whites. Her 
feeling can better be imagined than described as the fact dawned on 
her that she had been purposely left in this lonely place. 
Replenishing the fire that had been made in the afternoon, and 
wrapping her cloak around her, she sat beside it during those lonely 
hours. She thought of her four children on the Barrier Island and of 
her husband, and her prayers went up to her Father in Heaven that he 
would not let her perish. She had with her a small pocket Testament, 
on the fly leaf of which, by the light of the fire, she wrote an 
account of the way she had been treated, with some parting words to 
her husband and children and a prayer to the Almighty to have them in 
His keeping, in hopes that if she were to die, if this little book 
were found it would throw light upon her fate.
      The night wore on and she felt cold and stiff and she had given 
up all hope of seeing the ship again when suddenly with a lull of the 
wind she heard a sound that made her start up and listen. Again "thud, 
thud, thud": surely that is the dip of oars! Just then a shrill 
"Co-o-oe?" came over the water, and was quickly answered by the lone 
watcher, realizing as she did that help was coming to her. A few 
minutes later, guided by her voice as well as by the fire, a boat 
grounded on the beach, and the first officer of the Barque jumped on 
shore. In a few words he explained to Mrs. Nagle that during the 
afternoon, while the men were repairing the leak and the captain had 
been indulging in "drink" to which he was much addicted, and on the 
tide riding and their being able to put to sea, he had absolutely 
refused to send a boat for his employer's wife. At length tired of the 
expostulations of his officers he had drawn a revolver and threatened 
to shoot the first man who dared to disobey his orders and lower a 
boat. Thinking he had settled the matter he turned and staggered into 
the cabin. The first officer had then appealed to the men and asked if 
this was to be allowed. The men replied, "No, they would mutiny 
first." The officer then gave orders to lower a boat and that should 
the captain try to prevent them they must put him in irons. The sound 
of lowering the boat brought the captain again on deck with his pistol 
pointed at the men, but before he could use it, it was struck out of 
his hand by a man concealed near the cabin door. Then the men rushed 
at him and in less time than it takes to tell they had put hand cuffs 
on him and taken him below.
      After that all went well and in a few days they reached their 
destination. On the return of the ship to Auckland the affair was at 
once reported to the authorities and the captain given over in charge 
of the police on the charge of deserting a lady for whom he was paid 
to take to the Barrier Island. The officers and crew were commended 
for the action they had taken. Because all had ended well however it 
was considered punishment enough for Capt. ____ to lose command of 
his ship and to have his license taken from him for two years, the 
first officer receiving the command which he by drunkenness had 
Copyright Phyllis Roberts.