|Beginning the Trip|
|The Ocean Voyage|
|The Final Leg|
Saturday May 3, 1856
Ship Fairfield, Hathaway, Havre March 20, with mdse and 301 passengers to G. Bulkley. Had 3 births and 4 deaths.  Experienced heavy weather, lost spars, sails and bulwarks, and shipped a heavy sea, which injured 3 men badly.  April 17, lat. 42 50, lon. 41 50, saw ship Boomerang of Liverpool abandoned; could not board her, the sea being so rough.  She had lost her fore and mainmast by the deck, the mizzenmast standing, rudder gone, had cotton in the poop; her decks were dry and the hatches on.  Had apparently little or no water in her.
From the entry, we know that our ancestors spend 43 days crossing from Le Havre and the trip
was apparently as rough one.  It was certainly a happy day when they finally reached New
The Final Leg
Upon arrival, the Fairfield would drop anchor off Staten Island where it waited in quarantine for at least a day while doctors checked on the health of passengers.  After passing quarantine, the Fairfield would proceed to lower Manhattan and dock at Castle Garden, the immigration center for New York City.  Castle Garden was opened in August 1855 as a reception center for the growing number of immigrants to the U.S.  Previously, ships docked at company wharfs along the Hudson and passengers disembarked without formal processing.  Thus Castle Garden was a welcome change; the new arrivals were processed by government officials and various immigrant organizations were allowed to assist passengers in locating accommodations, transportation and other needs.  Castle Island continued to serve immigrants until 1890.  In 1892, Ellis Island opened as the main entry way to America, a position it held until 1954.
Certainly, our ancestors must have welcomed the chance to stand on solid ground after weeks aboard a crowded sailing ship.  Were they met by one or more of their sons? It seems plausible.  I can imagine John, or Peter traveling to New York City to meet the Fairfield.  They would arrange for temporary lodging while the family rested from their trip; they would surely need some time before they could continue their journey.  And they would arrange transportation for the remainder of the journey.
The final stages of Peter and Anna Maria's journey would take them up the Hudson River by steam boat to Albany, where they would transfer to train for the trip to Western New York.  In 1856 a steamer took less than a day to travel from New York to Albany and the train ride would take another day to reach a convenient station near their destination.  The growing system of tracks which soon became the New York Central Railroad passed through Batavia, and that town would seem the likely destination.  The final miles by cart or wagon would take our ancestors to Sheldon, in Wyoming county, New York.  They had arrived in their new home.
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