Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Leaving Of Liverpool

 Packet Ship America

    I have finally found the ship that brought my 3rd great-grandmother to America!  I've been searching a long time for this, a lack of online records and ever-changing surnames conspiring to keep the ship and arrival date of Grandma Mary Hore unknown.  Sometimes the name was Hore, some days Hora, and at other times O'Hore or O'Hora.  Today I decided to give Ancestry another try.  I typed in "Mary Hore" since that appeared to be the earliest form of the name, along with birth date 1795 +/- 10.  Five hits came up.  The first three appeared to be for the same person who arrived in 1828, much too early to be Grandma Mary who arrived around the time of the famine.  Another was an 1871 arrival, too late to be her since she appeared in the 1855 New York census.

   The remaining hit was the one. Mary Hore, who was born in Ireland in 1802, sailed into New York Harbor on board the packet ship "America" on the 13th day of August in 1852.  I scoured the ship's manifest, but I couldn't discern anyone who seemed to be traveling with her.  I hope some family member at least accompanied her to the port in Dublin, forty five miles away from her home in Ricketstown, County Carlow, and put her on the boat to Liverpool.  By 1852, many of her children were already in the United States; John had left four years earlier with his wife and infant daughter, and James (my great-great-grandfather) a few years after that.  Mary's other children Michael, Edward and Mary Jr. had also left Ireland and were awaiting her arrival in Auburn, New York.  Mary's son Patrick/Peter would make the trip after her.  In fact, only Mary's oldest daughter Winifred remained in Ireland with her husband Thomas Lawlor.  How heartbreaking it must have been to leave Winifred and the three grandchildren who had been born before Mary's departure.

      The first page of the manifest had some interesting details, like the fact the ship sailed direct from Liverpool, (some stopped first in the Cork seaport of Queenstown), the name of the ship's Master or Captain, (Joseph J. Lawrence), and the date of arrival in New York.

First Page of America's Manifest

     After finding this record, I did an internet search for the packet ship she arrived on, but couldn't find much.  The ship America was part of the Black Star Line.  A more general search revealed that American packets like this one were much preferred over  British ships, especially if one was Irish.  Conditions and food were better, as they were regulated by law, as was the number of passengers allowed.  There was also less bigotry aimed at Irish Catholics on the American ships.  I like to think Grandma had a fairly easy crossing.  There was only a single death recorded on this voyage, that of one month old Mary Robinson on July 30th.  Try as I might, I couldn't find the date the ship left Liverpool though the average crossing was four to five weeks at that time.  I'm sure it's recorded in the Liverpool Mercury, which in 1852 was still a weekly newspaper.  In fact after an advanced search of the "British Newspaper Archive" site I believe it's recorded in the July 16th edition on page 7 which would put it right on schedule, but here at Ellie's Ancestors headquarters we are averse to paying $15 to read a news article so that will have to wait.  The New York Times Archives site is a good place to look for ships arriving in and leaving New York.  Here you can subscribe for unlimited views, but non-subscribers can view ten free articles per month.

     During my search, I did find Captain Lawrence's obituary.  As a young man his parents were bent on sending him to Yale when he upped and went to sea.  After years of sailing the packet ships for the Kingsland brothers, he graduated to steam ships.  He retired in 1868 at the age of 48, "with a fortune" and married Sarah Gillette Pond.  Their marriage was tragically short, Sarah died eight years later leaving the Captain with three young daughters.  He suffered a heart attack three weeks before Christmas of 1893, dying immediately.

     This reminds me once again to re-check sites periodically to see what may have been added since my last visit.


  1. Maybe she went to Liverpool especially to connect with this ship, rather than picking up a 'British' one in Cork. She must have paid extra for it. Her family probably sent back the money to make her journey more comfortable. It's great you found the record.

  2. They all seem to have sailed from Liverpool in this family, while my Power family from Waterford left from Cork. I bet you're right about Grandma's family sending the fare.