Patrick O'Rourke Gender:
A tall man, standing six feet and two inches, he looks like a man hard used. His once fair skin is tanned and weathered, from years at sea, with hands heavily callused. His chest and face are covered in oddly shaped and spaced scars, from his time in the United State's Navy, when he caught a blast of splinters. His hair is a dark auburn and while he carefully trims his mustache, the hair on his head tends to get a little wild and curly. Role:
Former sailor turned minerBackground:
Born in Killybegs, Ireland, 1842, Patrick immigrated with his family to Boston in 1850, to escape the an Gorta Mór or the Great Hunger, known to the rest of the world as the Irish Potato Famine. Work was hard to come by for the O'Rourkes, has it was with many other of their Irish Compatriots, leaving his family to live in poverty, crammed into a windowless apartment with two other families. At the age of fourteen, he was given five dollars, which his father had managed to scrap up and headed down to Nantucket, where he was signed aboard a Whaler as a cabin boy.
For the next five years, he would sail with the Yankee Whaling Fleet, until the outbreak of the Civil War. While he was respected in the Whaling fleet, as were many other minorities, Patrick still felt the old sting of the hate his family had encountered upon reaching the shores of America. Determined to help prove the worth of Irishmen to the United States, as his fellows enlisted in Army regiments, he signed with the United State's Navy. His enlistment would see him aboard the USS Cumberland
and ashore as part of a detachment of sailors and marines for the Battle of Hatteras Inlet Batteries. He was back aboard the USS Cumberland
soon after, where she was part of the blockade until March 8th, 1862, when Cumberland
was engaged by the ironclad, CSS Virginia
During the exchange of cannon fire, Patrick was struck down by flying splinters, from a Confederate cannonball striking the hull, which nearly killed him. He then nearly drowned when Cumberland
was rammed and sank.
After he recovered from his wounds, Patrick would be stationed aboard USS Kearsarge
, serving as a loader for one of her Dahlgren guns, as she hunted for the Confederate Raider, CSS Alabama
. He would be one of the seventeen men awarded the Metal of Honor, for marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by the divisional officer, during the Battle of Cherbourg, in 1864. He would continue to serve aboard Kearsarge
, until 1866, when she was decommissioned.
Returning to the Whaling fleet, Patrick would sail from New Bedford, aboard the Bark Roman
, bound for the Arctic whaling grounds off Alaska. Death would come for him twice more, while he sailed aboard the whaler. In 1868, he was nearly crushed to death and almost drowned, when the whale boat he was in, was smashed by the fluke of a bull sperm whale. Then in 1871, he nearly froze to death, during the Whaling Disaster of 1871, when thirty-three ships of the Arctic fleet where trapped in ice. Taking it as a sign from the Almighty, he chose not to go to sea again but headed inland, chasing gold and silver strikes, hoping to make his fortune and return to Boston.