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The Bark Genesee


According to contemporary New York newspapers, the bark GENESEE, of Brunswick, Maine, Appel, master, from Antwerp bound for New York, went ashore at Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, at approximately 3 AM on Thursday, 20 November 1856 [the original reports incorrectly give the name of the vessel as TENNESSEE].  The approximately 200 passengers on board, and their baggage, were apparently brought safely to shore, and were brought up to New York on 23 November 1856, on board the schooner SUSAN ORLEAN, Bragg, master;  there had been two births among the passengers on the voyage, and one since going ashore.  Captain Bragg reported that the vessel lay head to the Northward on the bar, with six feet of water in her hold.  The GENESEE was got off the afternoon of 28 November, and was towed by the steamship ILLINOIS, Captain Boggs (from Aspinwall, 20 November 1856, for New York, with gold dust and passengers), from Long Branch as far as the Hook where she was taken in tow by the steamtug SATELLITE.  She was moored at the government stores, Atlantic Dock, where part of her cargo was discharged into lighters;  the remainder on board was much damaged [New York Herald, 25 November 1856, p. 8f;  30 November 1856, p. 8e].

The GENESEE was a 3-masted sailing bark, 673 tons, built in 1854 at Freeport, Maine, and registered at New York on 3 November 1855;  she is not to be confused with the ship GENESEE, 377 tons, built in 1841 at Freeport, and registered at New York on 24 September 1843, or with the ship GENESEE, 459 tons, built in 1841 at Bath, Maine, and registered at New York on 16 November 1844 [Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., List of American-flag Merchant Vessels that received Certificates of Enrollment or Registry at the Port of New York, 1789-1867 (Record Groups 41 and 36), National Archives Publication 68-10, Special Lists 22 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, 1968), p. 272].  William Armstrong Fairburn, _Merchant Sail_ (Center Lovell, Maine:  Fairburn Marine Educational Foundation, [1945-55]), makes no reference to her, and I know little of her history, beyond the fact that in 1855, J. Merryman, master, she made a passage from Hamburg to New York (the passenger manifest is abstracted in Germans to America, vol. 9, pp. 368-370).  The damages sustained by going ashore at Little Egg Harbor did not prove fatal to her career, and from 1857 until at least 1860 she was advertised among the vessels sailing for the Orleans Line of packets between New York and New Orleans [Carl C. Cutler, Queens of the Western Ocean;  The Story of America's Mail and Passenger Sailing Lines (Annapolis:  United States Naval Institute, c1961), pp. 522-523].

Michael Palmer