Young died on May 24, 1874, in Ireland. But the man who had been haunted by his native potatoes in India, is said to haunt the hilly roads of Landour, on horseback, today.
The first potatoes, and apples, were introduced in the Himalayas, in the hill station of Mussoorie, in the 1820s. Captain Frederick Young, who was the founder of the Sirmoor Battalion (The Sirmoor Rifles), became the architect of the first potato and tea plantations in the Himalayas. Young came from Culdaff, in Ireland, and as such the memory of his beloved Irish potato cuisines must have haunted him badly enough to become a tuber pioneer in India. Young also built the St. Peter’s Church and the Sister’s Bazaar in Mussoorie.
Little did he know that advancing into the Doon Valley would lead him to found the twin hill stations of Mussoorie and Landour, which were set up initially as colonial sanitaria and military barracks. At Landour he built his own cottage, which named Mullingar, after an Irish township, in Westmeath. Today the house belongs to the author and historian, Ganesh Saili. About two hundred years ago, India’s first potato crops had grown at that very spot. Young died on May 24, 1874, in Ireland. But the man who had been haunted by his native potatoes in India, is said to haunt the hilly roads of Landour, on horseback, today. As Saili writes in his book, Mussoorie Medley: Tales of Yesteryear (2010): “Legend has it that on dark, moonless nights, a ghostly rider astride a white horse arrives at the old Mullingar lodge, ties his steed to the remnants of the old wrought iron railing, snaps to attention and…waits for the parade of Redcoats to begin.”