Stowaways On Steamships
The Ship's Crew Search for Stowaways. The Illustrated London News, 6 July 1850. GGA Image ID # 14b6f0a3a7
Stowaways on British Ships (1895)
Under section two hundred and fifty-eight of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, it was provided that if a person secreted himself and went to sea in a ship without consent, he was liable to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds, or to imprisonment, without or with hard labor, for any period not exceeding four weeks.
An interesting read about a few of the more intriguing stowaways from the early 1900s. You'll chuckle about the exploits of some, be amazed at the exploits of others, and learn about the unfortunate stowaways who made poor choices.
A pretty eighteen-year-old Russian girl is a prisoner on Ellis Island today, charged with having come to this country a stowaway on the Russian Volunteer Company steamer Saratov. When detected, she was dressed as a man and was endeavoring to make her escape from the vessel, which is tied up at the bush docks, Brooklyn. The girl was caught through the vigilance of the immigration officials, who are carefully watching the steamers of the Volunteer Fleet and the East Asiatic Company's steamships since the discovery of plans to smuggle in here many persons who are barred from this country because of physical reasons.
Maria Cavallero, 15, of Messina, Italy, came to the United States to find her father and Ellis Island officials are helping her. If he cannot be found, she will be deported. The youngest girl stowaway ever brought to the Port of New York is now held in the detention room at the immigration station on Ellis Island. She is Maria Cavallero, a bright, dark-eyed girl of 15, who had lived all her life in Messina.
Stowaways furnish another class of aliens not a few of whom gain admission to this country in violation of the law. Despite the vigilance of ships' officers to prevent the concealment of stowaways on board vessels at foreign ports, a considerable number of aliens each year are able to employ this method of securing free passage to the United States.
Playing the unique role of society girl stowaway, Miss Josephine Well, daughter of Joseph Well, prominent in legal and political circles here, gave the smart set a distinct shock when she related her extraoridinary experience, following her arrival home from San Francisco.
Rose Host, Stowaway on a Steamship. The Ocean Ferry, November 1928. GGA Image ID # 1d99b08b1c
As motley of a crowd as one could well imagine revealed itself to a representative of THE NAUTICAL GAZETTE when he was admitted into the stowaway room at Ellis Island. There were about a hundred of them, some playing games, some reading, but the majority chatting in little groups. They were clad in a variety of garbs, and one wore a blanket over his shoulders.
There Is an interesting case being discussed in the street this week involving cotton underwriters. Cotton on board a steamer was set on fire by stowaways who had hidden themselves among the bales stowed in the bridge deck.
The bravery and cleverness showed by Miss Christiana Wilhelmina Ida Klingemann, 41 years, of Berlin, Germany, in digging herself in among 200 tons of gravel ballast down No. 7 hold aft on the White Star Liner Pittsburgh and remaining below for seven days and nights, was related yesterday to the reporters when the liner arrived at Pier 59, North River, from Bremen.
Miss Helena Desu, a Beautiful Romanian Stowaway Girl Whose Love fo Her Philadelphia Sweetheart, Professor J. St. Mark Longaker, Brought Her to America as a Stowaway on an Italian Liner and Sent Her Back Again.
When a good looking and well dressed young woman presented herself before the captain of the Manchuria a few hours after the ship had left New York on a recent voyage for California ports, and confessed she had neither ticket nor cash, it appeared that the limit had been reached in the art of stowing away.
High Seas Stowaways Trust
F. A. Wallis, Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island, believes he has unearthed what he calls a "High Seas Stowaways Trust.” According to the Commissioner, certain officers and seamen on numerous American and foreign ships entering American ports, make it a practice to take money for harboring stowaways and helping them to escape ashore in violation of the immigration laws.
There is apparently a fixed rate of $30 to $40 per stowaway. Prospective stowaways, in many cases men with criminal records, arrange with land agents acting for grafting ships' officers.
At the appointed time they are hidden deep down in holds, among cargo and on reaching America they are assisted ashore. More than a hundred unhappy victims of the "trust” are at present enjoying the hospitality of Ellis Island, awaiting deportation to Europe.
The odds against a stowaway “beating” the immigration laws are about ten to one, states the Commissioner, and that is why the High Seas Stowaways Trust is one of the worst “bunco” games in existence.
"Current Events: [Stowaways]," Nauticus: A Journal of Shipping, Insurance, Investments, and Engineering, New York: The Nauticus Co, Vol. XI, No. 141, 29 January 1921: 15