Name of Ship: S. S. Helvetia Port of Embarkation: Liverpool, England Date of Embarkation: October 12, 1865 (Source: Harmen Jan te Selle, Letters from America, Letter 2, November 26, 1865) Port of Arrival: New York City, New York, USA Date of Arrival: October 30, 1865 Page 1 of the ship’s manifest for the voyage embarking… Read more »
Years in Service: 1864-1894 Funnels: 1 Masts: 3 Builder: Palmer’s Shipbuilding and Iron Company Ltd., Newcastle, England Tonnage: 3,325 tons gross Note: In 1877 the ship was lengthened to 419 feet (as seen in the picture) with new tonnage of 4,588 tons gross Dimensions: 371 feet x 41 feet (lengthened to 419 feet in 1877)… Read more »
Jan Hendrik and Harmen Jan te Selle October 1865 S.S. Helvetia Two te Selle brothers, Jan Hendrik (1838-1921) and Harmen Jan (1844-1919), along with Jan Hendrik’s wife Hannah Berendina Onnink (1841-1929), emigrated from Winterswijk, Netherlands to Gibbsville, Wisconsin, USA, in October 1865. Harmen Jan te Selle describes their journey in interesting detail his Letter 2… Read more »
Who were those early te Selle emigrants from the Netherlands to the United States in the mid-1800s? Why did them leave their homeland for an uncertain future in America? How did they make the perilous ocean crossings? Where did they settle? Now many descendants of those early immigrants are returning to visit Winterswijk, Netherlands and learn more about their family roots.
This is the first letter from Harmen Jan and Jan Hendrik te Selle since their arrival in the United States in October 1865. They are staying with their Uncle Gerrit Bloemers and Aunt Janna te Selle Bloemers in Wisconsin. This letter contains a fascinating detailed account of the journey from Hull (England) to Liverpool via train, and then on to New York via ship. After 17 days at sea, they finally arrived in New York harbor on October 29. They spent the night aboard ship, and were taken to Castle Garden Immigration Center the next day. From New York they headed toward Gibbsville, Wisconsin, by way of Buffalo and Detroit. This letter is a wonderful record of a difficult, but ultimately rewarding, journey.