Publishing the Past Pt.3


Ellis Island was the entry point for many of our ancestors who emigrated to America to begin a new life in the New World.  The came from different countries with different languages and different cultures.  I thought this would be a good theme for this stamp art that I worked on this afternoon. I am sure news from their relatives back in the Old World was very exciting to receive. I am including another story from my father in law’s collection telling of a day trip on a steamboat up the Hudson River with his Aunt Mary.

  Aunt Mary Takes Me to Newburg, New York

I think I was twelve years old when a big offer came to me. My Aunt Mary, who was a single lady and might have been forty or so, asked me to accompany her on a one day excursion to New York. What a thing to look forward to. I had traveled a hundred or one hundred and fifty miles from home only two or three times. Aunt Mary usually gave us Christmas presents every year even though my parents didn’t every year. But, this was special!!

On Friday evening, Father took me to her house at 357 E. Ross Street, in Lancaster. I went to bed early, but could not sleep. At five or six AM, Aunt Mary called me to get up, so I quickly dressed. We walked in the semi-darkness about ten blocks to the railroad station.

Soon we were on the train called the Twentieth Century Limited and we rode to New York. We arrived at New York Central Station, a place built of marble that could easily have been a cathedral.

We took the bus to the docks and got on a river boat. I believe it may have been a sternwheeler. Its name was the Peter Stuyvesant. (He was a famous Dutchman in NYC.)

It was a bright sunny day in the middle of the summer, but a chilly west wind blew across the Hudson Valley, as we started up the river. There were three or four hundred people on board, and because it was uncomfortably cold on the shady west side, everyone sat on the starboard side to eat their lunch and watch the big city pass by.

This was an immense weight on one side and this four decker vessel listed greatly. One had to walk up hill to cross over to the port side. The scenery beyond the city was beautiful as we traveled northward two or two and half hours and docked at Newburgh.

Aunt Mary boat

We walked around a bit and then went to a pharmacy where Aunt Mary bought me a banana split, something I never saw before! It was a great treat.

       Soon we again boarded the river cruiser heading back down the Hudson to New York City.  I walked all over it. I even went to the place where you could watch the engines working.

Around supper time we were back in New York City. We found a restaurant and Aunt Mary ordered a mutton supper for me. We walked to Central Station and waited for our train.

We rode through the dark night arriving in Lancaster around 11 PM. Aunt Mary decided we could walk home in the dark. Part way home she began to run because she thought someone was following us, but I could not see anyone behind us. We walked the rest of the way at a normal pace and nothing else frightened us.

I will never forget that trip and I appreciate Aunt Mary for taking me.


Stamp Art of Ellis Island: Dwight L. Roth

Photo found on


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