End of Line

End of Line

Palliser later travelled to the Caribbean and the Confederate States during the Civil war on what was described as a “confidential and semi-official” mission.  He also accompanied his brother Frederick on an exploration of the Arctic Ocean in 1869.  Back home he looked after his widowed sister Grace Fairholme and her daughters as also, according to Julian Walton in his “Walton’s Waterford of Thursday 17th of April 2008, “the wife and children of his brother Frederick who had eloped with a ballet dancer”
He was a great lover of the music of Bach and walks in the mountains.  On the 18th of August 1887 he returned from a walk in his beloved Comeragh Mountains and sat down to read  Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy’s “Fifteen Decisive battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloo” (21)  and died of a heart attack.
Comeragh House was badly damaged and most of Palliser’s papers destroyed in a fire deliberately started by the IRA during the Civil War in 1923.  The infamous Pieter Menten [1899-1987] who had been a member of the SS during the war purchased Comeragh House in 1964.  Following his trial and imprisonment for war crimes a significant debate took place in the Dail on the 14th of February 1979, and Menten was excluded from Ireland as an “undesirable.”  The house was sold on after Menten’s death.

(21) Creasy, Sir Edward Shepherd, [1812-1878]. Fifteen Decisive battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloo.  1851


John Palliser played an essential part in the opening up of the “Indian” Territories of Western Canada and in mapping a route to the Pacific through the country.  His exploration of the Mountains of Alberta and British Columbia bears interesting parallels with the experiences of the Skrine family, the father and mother of Molly Keane, who ranched there over forty years later. (22) 
The issue by the Canadian Government of postage stamps in 1998 commemorating the exploration of their country, including that by Palliser, is eloquent testimony to his critical role.  The placement of a plaque on his grave, on behalf of State authorities of Alberta, by Mr Wray Galloway of Annestown grand-nephew of the Explorer provides further evidence of the esteem in which he is held.  That his existence is unknown, or largely ignored, in his own country will hopefully be partially rectified by this piece.

(22) Carter, Sarah; Evans, S.M. and Yeo, Bill.  Cowboys, ranchers and the cattle business: Cross border perspectives on ranching history.  Canada: University of Calgary Press, 2000

Add | Edit |Direct Edit