April 11, 1849 (Wednesday)

Beautiful day.  Visited the steamship Columbus and ship Tuscarora.  They are both fine vessels, having excellent cabin appointments: the Tuscarora, particularly is a splendid ship.  Passed the evening assisting to fit up a portion of the house.

The steamship Columbus, billed as a “Superior Packet” and captained by J. B. Peck, made a regularly scheduled voyage between Philadelphia, Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.  It was leaving the next day at 3 p. m. A state room to Savannah could be had for $20 or for $18 if the passenger disembarked at Charleston.  A steerage ticket cost $10.

The Tuscarora, built the previous year by famed Philadelphia ship builders Vaughan and Lynn and owned by H. & A. Cope, also of Philadelphia, was a packet ship with a regular route between Liverpool and The City of Brotherly Love.  Thomas Cope had been running ships between Liverpool and Philadelphia since at least 1807.  His son, Henry, continued the trade for virtually the remainder of the 19th century.  The Tuscarora weighed in at 1445 tons and cost about $110,000 to build (perhaps $670 million today, relative to GDP).  It had most recently arrived from Liverpool on March 21 with several hundred Irish and English immigrants.  In its 25-year life, the Tuscarora brought many thousands of immigrants from the British Isles and Europe.  Doubtless, millions of Americans living today can trace their ancestry to someone arriving on this ship.  On January 9, 1873, the Tuscarora, with a cargo of cotton from Mobile, Alabama and a crew of twenty-five foundered in heavy seas and sank off the coast of Portugal.  Only ten crew survived.

Philadelphia Packet Ship Tuscarora, Walnut St. Wharf June 1848

by David Kennedy Johnson. Historical Society of Pennsylvania


Bradlee, Francis B. C. “The Dreadnought of Newburyport and Some Account of the Old         Transatlantic Packet Ships.” Essex Institute Historical Collections 56 (1, 1920), 1-24.

“Ill Fated.” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 15, 1873, page 3.

“Philadelphia Packet Ship Tuscarora.” Historical Society of Pennsylvania.           http://shop.hsp.org/catalog/high-quality-prints/david-kennedy-watercolors/philadelphia-packet-ship-tuscarora

“Steamship Columbus for Charleston, S C.” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 11, 1849, page 3.

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