Riots, Disasters + Tragedies

In this section, find excerpts and links to The Gleaner's Special Series: Pieces Of The Past authored by Dr. Rebecca Tortello in 2003.  Where applicable, updated information can be found throughout the site.


Roads And Resistance: The Toll Gate Riots Of 1859

Some toll gates were placed at strategic locations on roads leading to Savanna-la-Mar. This meant, however, that many people had to pay tolls each time they went to collect water. In February 1859, the people could take no more. They rioted. For three nights protestors tore down the toll gates. During the next few months the riots spread… (READ MORE)


Riots Here: Send Help At Once  

At midnight on April 5, 1902 after walking home from a leisurely dinner with Dr. Bill Farquharson, the District Medical Officer, Police Inspector Herbert Thomas received this urgent telegram from Sergeant-Major Phillips in Montego Bay. Inspector Thomas took the missive seriously and … (READ MORE)


Hurricane Of 1780   

The morning of October 3, 1780, dawned crisp and clear – a typical Jamaican day. In the southwestern part there was a slight wind and a few intermittent showers, but all in all things were calm and looking to remain so. By midday, all that changed. Here is how..(READ MORE)


Bog Walk Tube

The early morning of June 24, 1904 dawned clear and crisp. In Spanish Town, St. Catherine, and other are as outside of Kingston, men and women were lined up waiting to catch their tram to work as usual. They waited until they realised it was not coming. The lucky ones caught rides in wagonettes and buggies; the unlucky set out on foot.  No one was quite sure what hadhappened…(READ MORE)


Disaster – The Earthquake Of 1907  

Monday, January 14, 1907, 3:30 p.m. It was a regular day ­ sunny and hot ­ with a cloudless sky and what was said to be a faint breeze. At 3:32 p.m. the city of Kingston was busy enough ­ all was alive and well. Suddenly there came the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, followed by the sound of a train roaring in a tunnel and the violent shaking of the earth so that… (READ MORE)


Tragedy At Kendal – 1957   

On Sunday, September 1, 1957, hundreds of members of the Holy Name Society of St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church boarded a train at the Kingston Railway Station for an all day excursion to Montego Bay under the guidance of their pastor, the Reverend Father Charles Earle.  Also on board were close to 100 known criminals, hooligans and pickpockets. In all the number of passengers totalled 1600 – an interesting feat given that…(READ MORE)