THE MYSTERY OF MARY NELSON/ MARIA NILSDOTTER: A SWEDISH TREK TO AMERICA (Part IV)

Liverpool, England, postcard author’s personal collection.

TRANSATLANTIC JOURNEY

This blog is the fourth in a series about the life of Maria Nilsdotter (Mary Nelson) and her immigration to America in 1875. In the previous blog, Maria traveled from Skällarbyn, Sweden, to Liverpool, England, where she waited to board a transatlantic steamship bound for America.

My initial search for “Maria Nilsdotter” on a passenger list proved unsuccessful. After I expanded the search to include variations of the spelling of her name, I found a likely candidate.

Listed on the manifest for the S.S. Erin for June 1875, is “Marie Nelson”, age 21, occupation servant. [1] Am I 100% certain that this is “my” Maria Nilsdotter? No, but it is likely based on her departure from her village on May 24th, 1875, and research outlined in previous blog posts. If not, then Maria’s travel experiences would have been very similar to those I detail in this article.

Ship’s Manifest – S.S. Erin – Ancestry.com

Passenger list for S.S. Erin, June 14, 1875. Marie Nelson, age 21, female, servant, Sweden, Steerage – Ancestry. com

S.S. ERIN

Anxiety and anticipation filled the pit of Maria’s stomach as she waited on the landing dock to board the S.S. Erin. Alongside her, crowds of immigrants clutched their numerous bundles and stared at one another. They gazed in wonder at the massive steel vessel, longer than a city block, rows of portholes, a deckhouse, three masts, and a monster funnel. “They caught a glimpse of the white lifeboats hanging in davits, red- mouthed ventilators, and the brightest of brasswork.”[2] Soon the stewards directed them up the gangway and onboard the S.S. Erin. The journey commenced.

The S.S. Erin departed Liverpool Wednesday, June 2, 1875, early in the afternoon at high tide to clear the sandbars. The passengers had a final view of England before they headed out into the bay and then into the Irish Channel. The next morning, June 3rd, they stopped in Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, to pick up Irish passengers. After the final warning bell sounded, the ship edged away from the pier and set course along the Irish coast. Hopefully, they had smooth waters as they headed out into the Atlantic.

S.S. Erin, National Line – image courtesy of NorwayHeritage.com

The British passenger liner with a clipper stem, one funnel, and three masts, was built by Palmer Brothers & Company, in Jarrow-on-Tyne, for the National Line in 1864. Rebuilt twice, in 1872 and 1876, she would eventually accommodate 72 first-class passengers and 1,200 third-class (steerage) passengers. [3] Charles H. Andrews served as Master and Captain of the 3,956-ton ship.[4]

An advertisement for the National Line passenger steamships promoted the ships’ comfortable accommodations.[5]

FIRST CLASS: Unsurpassed accommodations for passengers. The Saloons and Staterooms are very spacious and cheerful, finely lighted and ventilated, and elegantly furnished. The Table will compare favorably with that of the best Hotels in England.

Ladies Boudoir – also Piano, Library, Smoking, and Bath Rooms, etc. A Surgeon, Stewards, and Stewardesses on every steamer. Medicine and attendance free.

STEERAGE: The Steerage is large, light and airy, and warmed by steam in winter. Married couples with their children are berthed by themselves, Single persons are placed in separate rooms.

Meals are served three times a day by the Ship’s stewards and consist of unlimited quantity of good and wholesome provisions put on board under inspection of the Company’s Purveyor. Plenty of fresh drinking water. The care of Surgeon and Stewards free.”

Museum of the City of New York. Database. MCNY Blog: New York Stories. https://blog.mcny.org/2016/06/28/transport-by-sea/: accessed June 2020.

“Steerage,” located near the ship’s steering equipment, consisted of one or more below-deck compartments both fore and aft. Contrary to the favorable description above, a typical steerage compartment was dark, hot, airless, and crowded.

“A typical steerage consisted of a compartment indistinguishable from any upper cargo hold, without portholes or any other effective ventilating mechanism, unpartitioned and six to eight feet high, crammed with two or more tiers of narrow metal bunks containing minimal mattresses. Men and women were separated, sometimes on separate decks, sometimes by nothing but a few blankets tossed over a line in the middle of the compartment. Toilet facilities were always inadequate; cleanup was almost non-existent; and the combined smells from the ship’s galleys and human exrement nauseating. The food was both monotonous and poorly prepared – if prepared at all – and freshwater was usually only available up on the deck. The chief kind of food provided, described by many immigrants, was barrel after barrel of herring, the cheapest food available…[6]

David M. Brownstone, Irene M Franck, and Douglass Brownstone. Island of Hope (New York, Fall River Press, 2000), p.121

Fortunately for Maria and her shipmates, the S.S. Erin had a reduced number of passengers on the voyage. The Saloon (First) Class numbered just fourteen. Their nationalities included: Candadians -2, English-2, Dutch -2, French -2, and Americans -4. Their occupations: ladies, gentlemen, clerk, draper, and a broker.[7]

Robert Louis Stevenson illustrated the distinction between passenger classes in a witty account, The Amateur Emigrant, Travel Memoir. Although Stevenson traveled second-class from Scotland to America in 1879, he frequently went below decks to steerage and interacted with the third-class passengers.

“In the steerage there are males and females; in the second cabin ladies and gentlemen. For some time after I came aboard I thought I was only a male; but in the course of the voyage of discovery between decks, I came on a brass plate, and learned that I was still a gentleman…

For all these advantages I paid but two guineas. Six guineas is the steerage fare; eight that by the second cabin; and when you remember that the steerage passenger must supply bedding and dishes, and in five cases out of ten, either bring some dainties with him, or privately pays the steward for extra rations, the difference in price becomes almost nominal. Air comparatively fit to breathe, food comparatively varied, and the satisfaction of being still privately a gentleman, may thus be had almost for the asking. Two of my fellow passengers in the second cabin had already made the passage by the cheaper fare, and declared it was an experiment not to be repeated.”[8]

Robert Louis Stevenson. The Amatuer Emigrant, Travel Memoir. Originally published 1895 (Middletown, DE 2020).

Steerage passengers on the S.S. Erin numbered 431, representing thirteen nationalities. They ranged in age from an infant to 59-years old, and nearly two-thirds were male.[9]

Irish – 177, German -94, English -73, Swedish -55, French – 14, Prussian -5, Austrian -3, Hungarian -3, Scottish -2, Greek-2, Dutch-1, Polish -1, and American -1

They came from various backgrounds, perhaps they hoped to ply their trades in America or seek new job opportunities. Many immigrants longed to purchase cheap land. Maria, probably hoped to find employment as a servant after she learned basic English.

Occupations of the steerage passengers: architect, boilermaker, butcher, blacksmith, brewer, confectioner, farm laborer, file cutter, gardener, grocer, lawyer, machine maker, miner, peddler, servant, shipbuilder, shoemaker, tailor, and waiter.

Amongst the 55 Swedes on board, there were several young women close in age to 21-year old Maria, with whom she could share her dreams and excitement and concerns. Travel brochures noted that passengers should be very cautious regarding their choice of acquaintances on board, especially on the part of women. Sailors had a reputation for taking advantage of female passengers.

The stormy North Atlantic took a toll on the well-being of most of the passengers. “They were land creatures, temporarily uprooted from the earth and passing through a wholly alien environment.”[10] Seasickness affected most of them. Even though they were miserable, they knew it would pass. A more significant concern was the possibility of contracting cholera or typhus. These were the killers.

A fear that loomed largest in the imagination of the passengers was a shipwreck. Captive in a moving vessel, they were at the mercy of the weather and the elements.

Foundering Ship– Harper’s Weekly, 1857. Courtesy of archive.org

Emigrant Swedish-English guidebooks addressed the fears that many passengers felt about the voyage. Published in 1881, the Utvandrarens Tolk, (The Emigrant’s Interpreter) provided phrases emigrants could practice during their trip.[11]

Swedish-English dictionaryLanguage Contact Across the North Atlantic, P Sture Ureland, Googlebooks.com
  • “All passengers must go down in the hold and the hatches be shut, there is an appearance of a storm.
  • I cannot go down; I feel very sick; I cannot stand on my legs.
  • Ah, what I suffer, I think I am dying.
  • Pshaw, it will pass.
  • This is a violent storm.
  • Look, the porpoises jump round the prow of the vessel.
  • Here we are lost. It is so sultry. Can we not get out?
  • Not before the sotrm has ceased. But in the meantime we are suffocated.
  • Pooh, there is no danger.
  • Now the storm is over. Now we shall let you out.”[12]

[The S.S. Erin disappeared in a shipwreck 14 years after Maria’s voyage. In December 1889, the S.S. Erin departed from New York to London with her 52 crew members, 525 cattle, and about 20 cattlemen. After passing Sable Island, off the coast of Novia Scotia, she went missing with the loss of all on board. The Board of Trade inquiry determined the ship foundered in a violent gale.][13]

Despite their concerns, most emigrants focused on what lay ahead. They could endure the trip with the knowledge it would lead to a new wide-open life in America. First-hand accounts by Swedish immigrants provided the best source to understand what Maria may have experienced during her journey. One book in particular, cited numerous and diverse stories, From the Promised Land, Swedes in America 1840-1914.

In 1890, Gustav Eriksson, a shoemaker from Dalarna, Sweden, traveled to America. He compiled a letter in diary form. We join him and his friend Gustaf L. in Liverpool as they board their ship the Majestic.[14]

“WEDNESDAY. When we came to the dock we had to stand in a shed from which the cargo was being winched up into the ship; they were busy loading when we came. After we had waited a while we were able to go onboard. We were shown to the foredeck, the womenfolk to the stern, we had our quarters two flights down. There all the Swedes were packed in, farther forward on the same level came the Finns. One flight down the English and Germans had their quarters…

When we went and walked around the deck to find our way around as best we could, a man came and said go forward. They herded us from forward aft, there we went from the one side to the other like a flock of sheep. We were really packed in there, I think we could well have been around 6,700…

THURSDAY. Last night we left Liverpool harbor and are now steaming at full speed for Ireland, where people will also be picked up. It is storming, but not so bad. There aren’t such big waves as on the North Sea, we have a headwind. You could feel this morning when I woke up that the ship was rolling and the waves striking hard against the sides.

On the North Sea we were only Scandanavians, here it is really cosmic, several nations are represented. The Englishmen are generally skinny and puny, and look as if they would fall to pieces if a real Swede gave them a box on the ear.

We lay here in Kingston until around one, then the anchor was raised and the journey over the Atlantic began. A stiff headwind was blowing so that when we came out a bit there were high seas. The ship rolled and shook, it began to feel uncomfortable. I got tired of this eternal rolling…Storms and waves don’t interest me any longer. I hate them. If only we were there. But it will go on for a long while, six whole days, so one just has to go and feel uncomfortable.” [For Maria, the trip lasted eleven long days.]

H. Arnold Barton, Editor. From the Promised Land, Swedes in America, 1840-1914 (University of Minnesota 1975), p 212-214.

It is relevant to note that Gustaf Eriksson traveled fifteen years after Maria’s journey when conditions for steerage passengers had slightly improved after the Passenger Act of 1882.[15]

Immigrants on an Atlantic Liner, c 1906. Image courtesy of Library of Congress

The British Pall Mall Gazette published an article written four years after Maria’s voyage. The journalist described conditions in steerage on a reverse journey from New York to Liverpool in 1879. He traveled aboard the Cunard Line, which advertised that they accommodated their third-class travelers better than any other transatlantic line.[16]

“Now I was in the steerage. Words are incapable of conveying anything like correct notion of the kind of den in which I stood among sixty fellow passengers. A glance around filled me with dismay and disgust…In the center of the floor was an open wooden grating, the entry, as I afterward discovered to the steward’s storeroom. This “ventilated” direct into the steerage. That salt and cured fish were among the items carried below was immediately apparent to at least one of our senses.

Opening the door of the compartment which I shared with eleven bed-fellow, I passed into the narrow and foul-smelling passage in front of the shelves. My companions were in their respective trays. They were quiet but not asleep. How they managed to compress themselves and their belongings into the space allotted to them I could not understand. Each shelf -six feet long by about eighteen inches width – was not alone bed and bed-chamber but wardrobe, cupboard, and luggage depository of its occupant. Each slept with his clothes on; indeed undressing was out of the question – there was not room enough for the operation…

In vain I tried to sleep. My elbows and knees went to sleep, but I remained awake. The wind was rising and the ship was rolling. Within an hour it was blowing harder; and then it abundantly appeared that my companions were not good sailors. Dreadful were the next two hours; but at length all was silent and I dozed off…”

Mealtimes offered a distraction from the monotony of the journey.

On board an emigrant ship – the breakfast bell immigrants on ship deck. c. 1884. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.

“Breakfast was quickly served. The tin pans filled with half-burned bread were plumped down upon the tables. The rank compound supposed to be butter again made its appearance. There stood the steward with what appeared to be a large fish-kettle in one hand a greasy kitchen ladle in the other, bawling out, “Who’s for stew?” We were all for stew…

Breakfast finished, the washing of pots and pans and platters commenced. A tub of lukewarm water was placed for the sailors’ convenience on the main deck. Here the steerage passengers were permitted to wash their eating utensils; and after every meal a string of these travellers ascended the gangway and rinsed and scoured the tin pans and pannikins until the shone again. Our pots and pannikens clean and bright, all sought refuge on deck. Four hours and a half of fresh sea-air blew off the nauseous atmosphere that clung to one like a mist in the steerage…

My experience aboard was not that of an isolated individual: all third-class travellers were treated precisely alike. And it should be remembered, too, that we made the voyage under the most favourable conditions: there were few steerage passengers, and the time of year was good…”

H. Phelps Whitmarsh, “The Steerage of To-Day A personal Experience.” The Century Magazine, Vol LV, No 4, Feb 1898, p528-543. Database: Hathitrust.org. Original from the University of California, Digitized by Google.

[An informative visual presentation of travel in steerage circa 1880 is available on youtube. Steerage and Third Class on Ocean Liners.]

Maria and her companions may have shared condolences over the food and dreadful conditions aboard ship.They likely discussed how long the voyage might last. Perhaps they shared bits of information about their occupations, what they hoped to find in the new world, and what they left behind in the old. Maybe they practiced English and used a guide book that provided translations and pronunciation.

Immigrant Handbook Vägledning Svenska utvandrare till Amerika. National Library of Sweden

Despite the horrible accommodations and unappetizing food, the sociability of Maria’s companions could have positively influenced her experiences. On the other hand, they may have negatively impacted her, as recounted by H. Phelps Whitmarsh who traveled in steerage from Liverpool to New York in 1898.[17]

“I suppose there are conditions more favorable to the rapid growth of acquaintance and friendship than those on shipboard. On the other hand, however, there is no place like it for wearing a friendship threadbare – for finding people out. Sea friendships, sea promises, and sea plans, I have noticed are uncertain things at best and never to be depended upon.”

H. Phelps Whitmarsh, “The Steerage of To-Day A personal Experience.” The Century Magazine, Vol LV, No 4, Feb 1898, p528-543. Database: Hathitrust.org. Original from the University of California, Digitized by Google.

ARRIVAL CASTLE GARDEN

Immigrants at the rail of a steamship, the early 1900s. Image courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

A buzz of excitement ran through steerage as the ship drew closer to America. The sailors would have informed the passengers that they weren’t far from shore. “The burning question of the steerage is, ‘Shall we get ashore to-night?”[18] In most cases, the steerage passengers had to wait an additional night on board the ship.

After eleven long days crossing the Atlantic, the S.S. Erin reached the shores of America. It docked at the Hudson or East River piers on Sunday, June 13, 1875. Using a tip from another genealogist, I searched New York newspapers for the ship’s arrival notice. Located in the Marine Intelligence section, was a list of all the steamships and schooners that docked each day. The newspaper notice included information if a ship had encountered storms, strong winds, or delays. Fortunately for the crew and passengers of the S. S.Erin, the voyage proceeded without mishaps.[19]

“Marine Intelligence.” The New York Times, 14 June 1875, online archives, Newspapers.com

“MARINE INTELLIGENCE – New York…Sunday, June 13th

Arrived: Steam-ship Erin, (Br.) Andrews, Liverpool June 2nd and Queenstown 3d, with mdse and passengers to F.W. J. Hurst.

Although the ship docked on June 13th, the Captain did not sign the manifest until June 14th, which likely indicates that Maria and the other immigrants did not go ashore the first day. They had to wait until the following morning.

Port of New York, S.S. Erin, 14 June 1875. Ancestry.com

The emigrants caught their first glimpse of America at the eastern edge of Manhattan Island. They clustered on the deck, anxious to get ashore and enjoy the liberty they had traveled so far to obtain. Their first impressions formed as they approached an imposing architectural structure called Castle Garden, which once served as a military fort, built on an artificial island. Castle Garden signified that they had arrived in America.[20]

Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library. (1880). Castle Garden Emigrant Station photographed from above Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/bc49ce70-7fea-0132-6f19-58d385a7bbd0

The New York Times reported in February 1874:

“Castle Garden is so well known in Europe that few emigrants can be induced to sail for any other destination. Their friends in this country write to those who are intending to emigrate to come to Castle Garden where they will be safe, and if out of money, they can remain until it is sent to them.”[21]

Dr. George J. Svejda, “Castle Garden as an Immigrant Deport 1850-1890” (U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1968). Database: nphistory.com

From August 3, 1855, to April 18, 1890, Castle Garden served as the official immigration center for the United States. More than eight million immigrants – almost all from Europe – passed through Castle Garden.[22]

IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES

Upon arrival, an immigration officer boarded the vessel. He ascertained the number of passengers, noted any deaths during the voyage, and if any passengers suffered from illnesses. Next, the Landing Agent and Inspector of Customs boarded the vessel.

The first and second class passengers remained in their cabins while agents checked their paperwork and did not undergo a physical examination. Soon after, they disembarked at the pier and continued on their journey.

Steerage passengers underwent a more thorough inspection. After the agents checked the luggage, it was transferred to the barges or tugs and transported to Castle Garden pier. Likewise, steerage passengers were transported by ferry or barge to Castle Garden.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (1884-06). Landing immigrants at Castle Garden. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-0f53-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Maria arrived during the peak immigration season (May-June). The center was a beehive of activity with as many as 3000 immigrants gathered in the processing center.[23] The weather that day was mild, 72° on June 13, and 66° on June 14, which would have made the long wait somewhat tolerable.[24] As she left the barge, Maria would have seen Castle Garden as it loomed in front of her surrounded by a large wooden wall. Over the large door to the entrance hung a sign, Castle Garden. Once she passed through the door, she would have seen the outbuildings, hospitals, and offices in the compound. [25]

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. (1861 – 1880). State Emigrant Landing Depot, Castle Garden, N.Y. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-2802-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

“The Castle Garden area covered about 125, 000 square feet. The main structure was built of brown-stone blocks, closely cemented and forming a wall six feet thick. The gun embrasures retained the original shape, and the old nail-studded gates which guarded its portals in olden times were at this time still preserved.”[26]

Dr. George J. Svejda, “Castle Garden as An Immigrant Depot, 1850-1890”. (U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1968). Database: nphistory.com

Inside Castle Garden, Maria, like all immigrants, had to undergo a medical and legal inspection. The interrogation included answering several questions that determined an immigrant’s “fitness” to remain in America. “The primary job of officials was to prevent individuals who were likely to become a public charge due to physical or mental disabilities from entering the United States and to admit those likely to be productive members of the industrial labor force.”[27] One of the questions that determined “fitness” was how much money an immigrant brought with them or would receive from a sponsor. The U.S. government did not desire immigrants who immediately became public charges. Swedish male immigrants, on average, brought more cash than females. “Average in-hand cash amounts for the women were 62 kronor and 25 dollars, while averages for the men were 266 kronor and 318 dollars.”[28]

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (1868-08-15). The Labor Exchange — interior views of the office at Castle Garden, New York. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-0f55-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

With the large volume of immigrants, medical checks were cursory, but any sign of contagion could lead to quarantining of the steerage passengers or the entire ship. Minor health issues were dealt with immediately at an onsite aid station. More severe conditions required the passengers to be sent to immigrant hospitals on Wards Island in the East River for free treatment.[29] If the passengers’ papers were in order, and they were in good health, the inspection process would last approximately three to five hours.

The Handbook for Immigrants to the United States described the procedures at Castle Garden.

“On landing, the passengers are examined by a medical officer to discover if any are sick. After examination, the immigrants are directed into the Rotunda, a circular space with separate compartments for English speaking and other nationalities.

Each immigrant receives a brass ticket with a letter and number on landing, a duplicate is placed on his piece of luggage after passing the health inspection. After the luggage is weighed and paid for, it is sent free of charge to the depot or railroad or dock by which they leave.

Immigrants then proceed to the registering department where the names, nationality, former place of residence, and the intended destination of the immigrants are taken down.

[Inside the main building, the immigrants could use bathing facilities, one for men and on the opposite side for women. Soap, water, and clean towels on rollers were provided free of charge.]

Passengers then directed to the agents for the Railroad companies where they can procure tickets to all parts of the United States and Canada without the risk of fraud or extortion to which they are subjected to outside the Depot.

Exchange brokers admitted into the Depot change foreign money for a small advance on the market rate.

When the proceeding operations are completed, the immigrants are assembled in the tile Rotunda and an officer of the Commission calls the names of those whose friends attend them in the waiting room at the entrance of the Depot, and to whom they are directed.

Names are also called out for those for whom letters or funds are waiting. Immigrants who desire to communicate with friends at a distance are referred to the Letter Writing Department.

If an immigrant desires to remain in the city for any period of time they are referred to boarding-house keepers to guard the immigrant against the abuses.

The cost of a meal in the building half-a-dollar. Ther is no place to sleep unless on the floor or a chair.”[31]

Dr. George J. Svejda, “Castle Garden as An Immigrant Depot, 1850-1890”. (U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1968). Database: nphistory.com

Most immigrants spent only a few hours inside Castle Garden. Some were met by family members who anxiously awaited their arrival. Others, like Maria, had to determine if they would spend the night in New York or continue on their journey by rail or ferry. If an immigrant chose to stay overnight, there were licensed boarding houses approved by Castle Garden Depot.[31]

For those immigrants who continued on their journey, steamboats would whisk them up the Hudson River to the railroad, steamship, or canal boats. Many immigrants had prepaid orders, which entitled them to a railroad ticket to their place of destination. Once they left the walls of Castle Garden, immigrants had to be cautious of thieves and swindlers who tried to fleece them. Due to language barriers, poverty, and fear, many immigrants were easy prey.[32]

Castle Garden Emigrant-Catchers June 14, 1882. Historical Society of Pennsylvania -Digital Library.

Maria survived the long voyage and arrived in America, but her trip wasn’t over yet. Another week of travel had to be endured. Her journey by immigrant train carried her more than 1000 miles across the United States to Clinton, Iowa.

(To be continued – Final chapter)

You, whoever you are!...
All you continentals of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, 
Indifferent of place!
All you on the numberless islands of the archipelagos of the sea!
All you of centuries hence when you listen to me!
All you each and everywhere whom I specify not, but include just the same!
Health to you! Good will to you all, from me and America sent!
Each of us is inevitable,
Each of us is limitless - each of us with his or her right upon
the earth,
Each of us allow'd the eternal purports of the earth,
Each of us here as divinely as any is here.
Walt Whitman[33]

© 2020 copyright -Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

 

Genealogy Sketch


Name: MARIA NILSDOTTER/MARY NELSON 1854-1931
Parents: NILS PERSSON 1824-1909 and
KARIN OLSDOTTER 1822-1896
Spouse: JOHN MATHEW NICHOLS 1857-1929
Children:Carrie Bertha Nichols 1881-1915, Charles Clinton Nichols 1883-1930, Frederick Mathew Nichols 1885-1957, Mabel Elvina Nichols Hyde 1888-1954, John Lee Nichols 1890-1967
Relationship to Kendra: [Great-Great-Grandmother]

  1. [Maria Nilsdotter/Mary Nelson 1854-1931]
  2. [Mabel Elvina Nichols Hyde 1888-1954]
  3. [John Frederick Hyde Jr 1911-1980]
  4. [Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn]
  5. Kendra

 



SOURCES

  1. New York, Passenger, and Crew Lists (Including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957; database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 11 Aug 2020), entry for Maria Nelson, age 21, Sweden, aboard S.S. Erin, Liverpool to New York, arriving 14 June 1875, p.6; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1; List number 496.
  2. H. Phelps Whitmarsh, “The Steerage of To-day A personal Experience.” The Century Magazine, Vol LV, Number 4, Feb 1898, p528-543. Database: Hathitrust.org, Original from the University of California, Digitized by Google, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.32106019606240?urlappend=%3Bseq=7 : (Accessed August 25, 2020).
  3. Norwayheritage.com Database. http://www.norwayheritage.com: (Accessed 14 July 2020).
  4. Ibid
  5. Museum of the City of New York. Database. MCNY Blog: New York Stories. http:blog.mcny.org : (Accessed June 2020).
  6. David M. Brownstone, Irene M Franck, and Douglass Brownstone. Island of Hope (New York, Fall River Press, 2000), p 126.
  7. New York, Passenger, and Crew Lists (Including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957; database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 11 Aug 2020), entry for Maria Nelson, age 21, Sweden, aboard S.S. Erin, Liverpool to New York, arriving 14 June 1875, p.6; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1; List number 496.
  8. Robert Louis Stevenson. The Amateur Emigrant, Travel Memoir 1895.
  9. New York, Passenger, and Crew Lists (Including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957; database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 11 Aug 2020), entry for Maria Nelson, age 21, Sweden, aboard S.S. Erin, Liverpool to New York, arriving 14 June 1875, p.6; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1; List number 496.
  10. David M. Brownstone, Irene M Franck, and Douglass Brownstone. Island of Hope (New York, Fall River Press, 2000), p 121.
  11. P. Sture Ureland, Ian Clarkson, ed., Lanugage Across the North Atlantic (Max Niemeyer verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Tübingen, 1996) 165; Digital Images, Google Books (http://www.Google.com/books: accessed 14 August 2020.).
  12. Ibid
  13. WRECK.site. Database. http://wrecksite.eu :2020
  14. H. Arnold Barton, Editor. From the Promised Land, Swedes in America 1840-1914 (University of Minnesota, 1975), p212-214.
  15. “Historic Documents-United States-Passenger Act of 1882.” Database: NorwayHeritage.com :(Accessed 24 August 2020).
  16. “In the Steerage of a Cunard Steamer,” Pall Mall Gazette, 14 August 1879. Database: British NewspapersArchive.co.uk: (Accessed 10 August 2020.
  17. H. Phelps Whitmarsh, “The Steerage of To-day A personal Experience.” The Century Magazine, Vol LV, Number 4, Feb 1898, p528-543. Database: Hathitrust.org, Original from the University of California, Digitized by Google, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.32106019606240?urlappend=%3Bseq=7 : (Accessed August 25, 2020).
  18. Ibid
  19. “Marine Intelligence.” the New York Times, 14 June 1875, online archives (http://www.newspapers.com/image/20388581/: accessed 15 May 2020), p 8, col 6.
  20. David M. Brownstone, Irene M Franck, and Douglass Brownstone. Island of Hope (New York, Fall River Press, 2000), p 121.
  21. Dr. George J. Svejda, “Castle Garden as an Immigrant Depot, 1850-1890.” (U.s. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1968). Database: nphistory.com (Accessed 24 August 2020).
  22. Brendan P. O’Malley, “Welcome to New York, Remembering Castle Garden, a Nineteenth-Century Immigrant Welfare State,” Laphams Quarterly. Database: laphamsquarterly.org : (Accessed 23 August 2020).
  23. Dr. George J. Svejda, “Castle Garden as an Immigrant Depot, 1850-1890.” (U.s. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1968). Database: nphistory.com (Accessed 24 August 2020).
  24. “The Weather in this City,” The New York Times, 14 June 1875, online archives (https://www.newspapers.com/imgae/20388581/:accessed 15 May 2020.
  25. Dr. George J. Svejda, “Castle Garden as an Immigrant Depot, 1850-1890.” (U.s. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1968). Database: nphistory.com (Accessed 24 August 2020).
  26. Ibid
  27. Joy K. Lintelman. “I go to America, Swedish Women and the Life of Mina Anderson.” (Minnesota Historical Society, 2009), p. 86.
  28. Ibid
  29. Brendan P. O’Malley, “Welcome to New York, Remembering Castle Garden, a Nineteenth-Century Immigrant Welfare State,” Lapham’s Quarterly. Database: laphamsquarterly.org : (Accessed 23 August 2020).
  30. Handbook for Immigrants to the United States (New York, Hurd, and Houghton, 1871), Digital Images. Archive.org (http://archive.org: accessed 24 August 2020.)
  31. Dr. George J. Svejda, “Castle Garden as an Immigrant Depot, 1850-1890.” (U.s. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1968). Database: nphistory.com (Accessed 24 August 2020).
  32. Jenny Ashcroft. “Before Ellis Island: Entering America Through Castle Garden 1850-1890. June 12, 2020. Database:Fishwrap The Official Blog of Newspaper.blog.newspapers.com (Accessed: 24 August 2020).
  33. Walt Whitman. “You Whoever You Are!” Database: Library of Congress (http://loc.gov/wiseguide/mar04/us.html) Accessed 12 June 2020.

 

About treeklimber

An interest in history and travel lends itself to a passion for genealogy. The more I research, the more I realize there is to discover. It is a never-ending puzzle.
This entry was posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to THE MYSTERY OF MARY NELSON/ MARIA NILSDOTTER: A SWEDISH TREK TO AMERICA (Part IV)

  1. Kurt Kenagy says:

    Maria was very courageous and adventuresome. Thank you for writing this story of people who wanted to come to America to start a new life.

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  2. Dara says:

    Impressive research, Kendra, thank you. And to think these journeys were even luxurious compared to some of the ‘coffin ships’ some people sailed on.

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    • treeklimber says:

      Thank you Dara for reading and commenting. Yes, I agree that the conditions were more atrocious in earlier years. I just read an article in the paper today about the extreme conditions refugees face in their emigration journey from Africa to Europe. It makes Maria’s journey sound like a picnic.

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  3. Hope for the better life on the horizon, would mitigate some of the awful circumstances, along the way and aboard ship, that you have detailed so well. Personally, I can’t imagine not being able to escape the nauseating smells. I was glad to read that one could find direction and purchase further rail and shipping within Castle Garden. It certainly softens the arrival of some of my ancestors, whose children sailed alone, then had to find their way to another state. This was fascinating throughout.

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    • treeklimber says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Marilee. Yes, like you, I would find the conditions aboard ship unbearable. Human nature is resilient and tenacious, and we might have fared better than we imagine. Conditions today for many refugees are deplorable, but the desire to survive outweighs the risks. I was surprised to learn about the emigrant trains, which Robert Louis Stevenson described so vividly in his memoirs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A tremendous amount of research to write her tale. I found it interesting how you included their occupations… I’ll have to search my ship manifests to compare theirs

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  5. Pingback: THE MYSTERY OF MARY NELSON/MARIA NILSDOTTER: A CHANGED IMMIGRANT (PART V) | trekthrutime

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