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Death stalked amongst the 1,500 Spanish and Portuguese immigrants aboard the British steamship, Osteric, which arrived yesterday after a long voyage from Spain and Portugal. There were 48 deaths recorded among the children on the voyage. Measles was the cause, to enter on the Ship’s Log. In all instances, the bodies were consigned to the sea for burial, but the Quarantine Officer detected evidence of scarlet fever and the Territorial Board of Health, which looked at the mother of the child who died just about when the steamer was to enter the harbor, announced last evening, that the child had died from scarlet fever. All immigrants were ordered and sent to the Quarantine Island. The vessel arrived shortly after 9:00 yesterday morning and went to the channel wharf. There were 1,452 immigrants on the vessel when it came alongside the wharf. 1,494 were aboard when the vessel left the Continent of Europe behind and started across the Atlantic.

58 (sic) children died, and 14 little ones were born at sea. There were ailing babies, seasick immigrants, and distress among the vast majority of the travelers, for they were not used to the cramped quarters of the big vessel and unaccustomed to the food served. They appeared to be a fine lot of people, said Sec. Of the Territory, Mott-Smith to the Immigration Doctor, Victor Clark. There were many disagreements between the Spanish and Portuguese immigrants; so much so that they had to be separated. The women seemed to be always on the acts of disagreements. They went as far as hair pulling.

The Portuguese embarked from the agricultural districts of Lisbon while the Spaniards were from the district of Seville and from the mountain districts. The Portuguese were embarked from Lisbon; the Spanish embarked from Gibraltar. The S.S. Orteric took in 305 immigrants from Oporto and another 260 from Lisbon. There were 960 Spaniards embarked who were sent into the ship. The exact time of arrival was 9 o’clock a.m. April 13, 1911.

Excerpts taken from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser. State of Hawaii Library on microfilm, State of Hawaii Archives.

Thank you to Sandy Sakai for this contribution.
© 2003 Melody Lassalle

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