by Sarah Scott
Sarah's Grandfather, his sister and brother (right)
Coming to America
by Sarah Scott
My Great Great Grandfather's name was, John Thomas Green. He was born in England in 1866. He married Tamar Hannah Sowden in 1886 when she was 19 years old. No one really knows why they decided to leave England but together they left and sailed for America in 1888. They arrived in New York Harbor in March, during the Blizzard of 1888. The Blizzard of 1888 lasted from March 1 1~ to the 14~. It was reported to be one of the worst blizzards in history. The storm was so terrible and traveling was so difficult that everything just stopped. Their boat landed at a place called Castle Garden in New York. It was a place where immigrants landed before Ellis Island was opened in 1892. Almost eight and a half million people came into our country through the port at Castle Garden.
When they first came over to America, my great great grandparents lived on an island, but they later settled in Troy, New York. My great-great grandfather must have been some type of carpenter because he traveled all the way to Wilmington, Delaware to get a job working for a company called Jackson & Sharp. They made railroad cars and trolleys. He would go down to work for a week and come back to New York on weekends. He road on a train back and forth, but if he didn't have enough money for a ticket, he would ride underneath of the boxcars. He made the trip all the way down to Wilmington because Delaware had so many places for him to work. It was one of the most industrialized cities in the country after the Civil War. Land was hard to acquire back then, but after a while my great-great-grandfather was able to afford a piece of land in Claymont, Delaware. My great-great-grandmother ran a small grocery store. She also sold dry goods and things they used for sewing, which they called "notions". Even though they had to struggle to come to America, they made a good life for their family of five children.
My great grandfather, Herbert J. Green, was born in America in 1890. When he grew to be a young man he also worked building railroad cars like his father. Back then it was common for children to follow in the same trade as their father. My great-grandfather was then working on trains with his father and his Uncle William. They worked for the Jackson & Sharp Company and they also worked for a company called Pusey & Jones Company. These companies build ferryboats as well as railroad cars and trolleys.
Hoffecker, Carol B., Wilmington: A Pictorial History. Donning Company/Publishers, Norfolk, Virginia.
Compton's Encyclopedia of American History, McGraw-Hill, 1995
Encyclopedia Britannica CD 2000
A notebook found in an old wooden box. No one is sure exactly what it records.
Return to Families Return to Countries Return to Beginning