How nice to be suprised by people reading this blog (even if I haven’t given it much attention lately). One of the recent readers was Carson Taylor who graduated from Galesville High School but now lives in the state of Oregon. I thank him for the help making this post possible.
Referring to a book of emigration records from Biri, Norway, Carson located the 1875 emigration of our great-grandmother Maria Thorson’s brother, Torger Thorson (or Thoresen or Thoreson). If my minimal translating skills are close, Torger, a married husmann, left Biri the 15th of October on the ship Hero bound for Whitehall, Wisconsin. (In Norwegian, “39 ar, gift, husmann, [sonn av Thord Thorsen og Oline Olsdtr. Sigstadeiet], reiste med Hero 15/10 til Whitehall, Wis.”)
It was my good fortune to then locate on the Norway Heritage website documentation that indeed the Hero had departed Norway on 15 Oct 1875. Almost certainly Torger took the Hero from Christiania or Christiansand to Hull, England, before boarding another ship for America. Aunt Clara wrote that Torger’s family and his sister Maria joined him in America after he had worked for Peder Ekern a year.
Here’s an artist’s rendering of the Hero, thanks to the Norway Heritage site, plus more about it.
In the 1800s, Hull, England was important in the shipbuilding industry, and the Hero was constructed at C. & W. Earle’s Shipbuilding in 1866 and launched the same year for the Wilson line. She was iron construction powered both by sails and a 180 hp engine. Beginning in the mid-1870s, the Hero began a regular route between Christiania and Christiansand, Norway and Hull, England.
According to the Norway Heritage site: “On October 15, 1875, the S/S Hero could not make the call at Christiansand because of rough seas and a severe storm. Some passengers had embarked at Christiania for Christiansand, but had to follow the ship all the way to Hull.” We are left wondering how this may have affected Torger.
The same source indicates that Norwegians would have arrived at Hull for administrative purposes before going on to Liverpool to depart for North America aboard another vessel.
In the latter 19th and early 20th century, the Wilson line had 100 ships sailing to all parts of the world. The company was then purchased by another Hull-born entrepeneur, Sir John Ellerman, who was the richest man in Great Britain at the time. Today the east coast English city of Hull, Kingston upon Hull actually, numbers about a quarter million people and double that in the greater metropolitan area.