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Unsung Irish : Annie Moore May 19, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in The Unsung Irish.

Annie Moore from west Cork, was the first emigrant to pass through the then newly constructed Ellis Island landing facility in New York in the year 1892. Annie, born in 1877, turned 15 the day she arrived and with her brothers Phillip and Anthony, travelled to meet with her parents who had already settled in Manhattan.

Having made the arduous 12 day journey from Cobh (then named Queenstown) in Co.Cork on a steamship called the SS Nevada, she became the first emigrant to be registered at the centre. She was presented with a $10 gold coin to mark the occasion. I can’t help wondering what she made of it all at such a young age.

Moore married and had some 11 children before dying at the early age of 46. The fact that the girl was the first emigrant through the gates of Ellis Island, which served as a monument to freedom for so many refugees and emigrants seeking a new life, ended up as her legacy. Two statues stand in her memory at the start and end points of her historic but oft repeated journey (Ellis Island and Cobh harbour) – a girl picked out among so many and remembered.

Her story is fictionalised for children by author Eithne Loughrey, who wrote a trilogy of books about her.

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1. laurie - May 19, 2007

interesting, Rambling. i saw the statue of her in cobh a few years ago.

there was a newspaper story a couple of years ago about her–apparently some couple in texas thought they were descended from her; common knowledge said that she had died in texas. but they did some geneaology and found that there were two different annie moores, and the one who moved to texas was a different one entirely.

i can’t remember all the significance about that, except i think there was a festival and some other big to-dos in texas, all based on the mistaken assumption that their annie moore was the first emigrant through ellis island…. funny.

anyway, nice post.

2. (un)relaxeddad - May 20, 2007

I do love these sketches of the unsung – how times have changed for the “poor immigrant”, though. You don’t see many statues of Mexicans…

3. Rambling Man - May 20, 2007

laurie – yeah i read about that one. she was originally from idaho apparently. it just so happened that annie was the first young girl to trip down the gangway – imagine what the books would say if it were a young boy from latvia or an old woman from germany …

unrelaxeddad – thanks. you don’t see many about mexicans but there was a story on CBS the other night (among the billion useless channels i receive) about a mexican neuro-surgeon who started work picking trash at a dump in miami and worked his way up and through college and is now this top brain surgeon … not many irish are brain surgeons !

4. pauliedesantos - August 30, 2007

lol – but there are quite a few (irish brain surgeons) in Dublin though!

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