This question is similar to Rob Hoare's "Sources for Border Crossings between Toronto and Chicago in early 1890's?" but the circumstances are different. My question concerns immigration 20 years earlier from Norway via Quebec, and I have different and possibly conflicting information about how the travel from Quebec to the US may have happened.
My ancestors, call them Nels (1845-1931) and Lovise (1839-1913), emigrated from Norway in April 1871 aboard the Atalanta, departing Stavenger.
- Shortly before her death, Emma (Vig) Froiland (1885-1978), Nels and Lovise's youngest child, relayed the story of her parents' immigration saying they "went through [immigration] procedures at New York [and then] came to Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Depot." The last leg of their journey was across the state of Wisconsin. Emma commented, "their introduction to the land of milk and honey was a ride in the back of a manure wagon to a one room cabin in the woods." :-) [Note 1]
- The website Norway-Heritage has considerable information about this particular voyage, "Ship Atalanta, J. A. Køhler & Co." The site reports that in 1871, the ship "departed from Stavanger on Apr. 25th, and arrived at Quebec on June 23th … [having earlier] arrived to the quarantine station at Grosse Île on June 19th, five were sick with smallpox. She was held in quarantine for four days before she was released and proceeded to Quebec. [Ship was] mastered by Capt. B.A. Reinertsen ..."
- The "Ship Atalanta" web page provides the tradition of another 1871 passenger, Ole Larson Lee [Storeli] (destined for Leland, La Salle County, Illinois). Lee's report indicates the Atalanta arrived Quebec as planned, "but Capt. Reinertson sent our train away, trying to persuade us to go by steamship to Chicago, several of the passengers were persuaded, but I and my folks were not, and demanded that he should arrange for us to get another train, which he did. We got a "Box car" which had been used for cattle, and in this way we traveled to Detroit, Mich. where our luggage had been sent and was cleared by customs. … When this was over we were brought to an immigration house where we had a delicious meal … our first … in the United States. [Then] we were taken to the railway, and because they were out of box-cars we were given an old worn-out passenger car." This passenger reportedly arrived Leland, Illinois on 3 July 1871. [Note 2]
As above, I have an array of information about Nels and Lovise' immigration. I have separate passenger lists for Atalanta that contain their names (Stavenger departure and Quebec arrival). It's reasonable to me that the last leg of their journey may have been in the back of a manure wagon. It's the doughnut hole that I'm trying to sort out--how did they get to that wagon from Quebec.
- Did the Atalanta travel from Quebec to New York? (Seems doubtful to me, in part because it is not mentioned in the description about the 1871 voyage nor in Ole Larsen Lee's story.)
- Whether persuaded by the captain or as originally planned, did they take a steamship to Chicago?
- Did they take a train to Detroit, as Lee Larsen's party opted to do? Are there 1870s era records from this Detroit immigration house or customs office?
There may be other scenarios.
- Emma (Vig) Froiland (1885-1978), interview ... 12th and 13th March 1977; tape transcript supplied and annotated; correspondence to GJ dated 29 May 1997, subsequently transcribed.”
- Ole Larson Lee [Storeli] story of the Atalanta crossing in 1871; "Ship Atalanta, J. A. Køhler & Co.," Norway-Heritage; cites information shared by Ole's grand-niece, Susan Phillips Assmus.