Do You Know a Stowaway?

+10 votes
116 views
Is there a stowaway in your ancestry?  Give him or her a brand new category:  [[Category: Stowaways]].  

I was looking for profiles with China connections when I came across a figure that I've added to WikiTree:  Born Lo Sun (Chinese "last names" come first) , he showed up at the age of 4 on a ship heading to the US from Shanghai.  The captain adopted him and he became Edward (his new name) Day (the captain's name) Cohota (the ship's name).  He became one of 47 Americans of Chinese Ancestry to fight in the US Civil War, and Congress recently fulfilled a promise that Abraham Lincoln had made to grant US citizenship to anyone who fought in the Civil War.  Interesting life.  And I'll bet some other stowaways had very interesting lives as well!  

For want of a better term, I put Stowaways under a top level category Unusual Experiences.  I hope any other categories created under Unusual Experiences will be equally unusual and relevant to genealogy -- not just "I saw a bear in my suburban backyard!"
WikiTree profile: Edward Cohota
in The Tree House by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (336k points)

3 Answers

+2 votes

I think I found a stowaway???? But story just message he couldn’t pay for passage and was taken in to court. They said he was 14 in story. I put link where I found story. I consider him stowaway on ship no passage and getting taken to court. I leave story for your review. Will have to find documentation though. 

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bergstesser-2

Billie 

by Billie Keaffaber G2G6 Mach 1 (10.3k points)
Probably a number of stowaways like him.  But maybe many didn't want to admit it!  Anyway, document it!
+2 votes
We have a family story of a great grandfather who was a stowaway.  He came to the US as a stowaway to make money to bring his family over.  His entry into the country is recorded on a later trip into the US.  I've never found any evidence to confirm the story and I doubt if any exists.
by Melissa Dyniec G2G3 (3.6k points)
+3 votes

I have an unsourced case of an attempted stowaway on my tree, family stories and documents would seem to support a failed attempt at stowing away though:

Alfred Lafayette Marshall

"Alfred was apprenticed or "bound out" at the age of 10 to an apothecary to learn the trade. Family correspondence and notes indicate that his life was hard, getting up before sunrise to sweep floors and working until after dark. He stayed in a garret room which was unheated in the winter and only had candles to provide light.

According to family information, Alfred first tried getting away from home at age 13 by stowing away on a ship bound for America. In 1868, at about the age of 16, and very likely under the assumed name of "Tom Hardy", he signed on to a ship to work his way to America. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean in June and July of 1868, landing at Port Jarvis, New York. He preceded the rest of the family's arrival in America by about 5 years.

He worked in New York for a time in a bakery before moving on to Michigan where he worked timber. Family records/papers place him in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan in 1869, Weeping Water, Nebraska in 1872, and Rockville, Sherman County, Nebraska on January 1, 1875. It is said that Alfred sent such glowing reports of America home to his family that they finally decided to join him. His sister, Lucy Marshall (who later married Moses Maw and moved to Hamilton County, Nebraska), is confirmed as still being in England on May 2, 1871. The remaining Marshall family (parents and all surviving siblings) crossed the Atlantic Ocean to to the United States in 1872. They came straight West, staying in Atchison, Kansas for a brief time before moving on North to settle in Cass County, Nebraska. Alfred had made an attempt to claim a Homestead not far from Weeping Water, however trouble with the local Indians, who finally stole all of his furniture, made him decide to move back to Weeping Water."

Alfred was always a bit of an adventurer, he also loved to write. If he hadn't been so intent on getting to America by any means necessary my family would probably never have left England.

by Sondra Marshall G2G6 Mach 2 (27.5k points)

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