Monday, September 13, 2010

Clement and Ruth: Transatlantic Immigrants to Washtenaw County

Dusty D wrote a story today for this coming Thursday's Courier about Clement and Ruth Loveder. They emigrated from England in 1821, settling just southeast of Ypsilanti in 1826. To get here, they spent seven weeks on the sailing ship the Henry Clay.

Unlike later packet ships carrying immigrants, the Henry Clay did not provide food. So here's what they took in their baggage, to survive nearly seven weeks on a sailing ship in steerage:

Clement and Ruth had brought their own provisions for the nearly two-month journey. Packed in their baggage were 54 pounds of hams and 27 pounds of cheese, two mainstay foods that probably wouldn’t spoil too badly. In addition they had oatmeal, some hard biscuit, and 2 loaves of bread. Also in their luggage were 2 creamy white globes a little smaller than basketballs. These were two pig’s bladders filled with lard. They had potatoes, sugar, raisins, currents, salt and pepper, a little butter, candles, and tea.

They had spent the modern-day equivalent of a bit under $400 in food for the journey. The biggest expense had been the hams, costing the equivalent of around $150 today. The most expensive item by weight, however, was the tea. Clement and Ruth had bought a pound and a half of the imported luxury for 12 shillings, equivalent to $67 today. It would be eked out sparingly during the voyage.

Read the rest of the story this Thursday! Image swiped from this excellent Smithsonian online exhibit, "On the Water," on American maritime history.

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