October 15, 2005)
An "O'Hara letter" from San Francisco, April 18, 1906
The following thrilling letter, describing the sensations experienced
by a sufferer from the San Francisco earthquake, was received by
Mr Hugh O'Hara-Monan, of 32, Waverley Ave, Fairview, Dublin, from his
who was in the city at the time of the earthquake:
18th April 1906.
My dear Hugh
earthquake has occurred here,
followed by a disastrous fire, which is burning the whole town.
Thousands are killed. I narrowly escaped with my life from the
earthquake. I may not fare so well with the fire, which is something
terrible. Everything is so miserably dreadful that I cannot describe
it. It is fearful. It will take me quite a long time to survive the
shock. It is another Pompeii. I am sending you the papers.
building was wrecked; churches were
overthrown; & streets twisted into all kinds of shapes. The
people are starving, & no food is to be had until relief trains
come in. One has to sleep on sidewalks. And everything is so awful,
fearfully dreadful; the shock is still "Ringing in My Ears". Millions
of property has been destroyed. But you can read everything
for yourself in the papers, which I will mail to you as soon as
absolutely homeless now. The earthquake was felt all over the states.
All the surrounding towns are a total wreck. San Francisco is a town
about the size of Dublin. The population is almost 500,000, two-thirds
of which are a1ready homeless. I have lost everything in the fire: the
town is all in darkness and looks like a graveyard.
Everything is at a standstill, and the
people will soon starve if relief does not come soon.
earthquake started at 5 -15 o'clock in
the morning. I was tossed in the bed like a boat in a rough sea. The
shock lasted forty seconds. The fire is fierily raging all around me as
I write, and soon will demolish the place in which I am writing this
letter. I cannot say anything about the future and for the present I
must only allow myself to be governed by circumstances. Hoping you are
well. I remain
affectionate brother B.
P.S. - This letter
was written on a
empty sardine - box
The recipient of the San Francisco letter is Mr Hugh
Monan 32 Waverley Ave, Fairview ... Regarding the O'Hara connection -
my cousin Val told me there was some family disputes within the family
and they renounced the family name, even though in my Mother's family
address book my great grandfather signed his name O'Hara - Monan.