William Rice and Bridget Connolly look out at Lake Erie and are remembering the lives they are leaving behind. The crowded, filthy conditions of The Acre in Lowell, Massachusetts. The hard and long hours they put in working for employers. The tensions between the Irish clans and the tensions between the Irish and Yankees. They wanted to look forward to a new life in different surroundings and to do this meant being courageous to move to unfamiliar territory.
The steamship in Buffalo, NY they boarded will take 4 days to reach the final destination. Fares around 1844 were Cabin $20.00, steerage $15.00 and horses $10.00. The ship traveled first to Cleveland then made its way to Detroit. From there the ship sailed over the Detroit River to Lake St Clair. Then traveled up the St Clair River which connects to Lake Huron. It proceeded through the Straits of Mackinac and on to Lake Michigan. They passed large expanses of woods with a few clearances where farms and log cabins could be seen. There were also islands some of which were inhabited. On occasion they would see a community of Native Americans along the banks. On the fourth day, they walked down the gangplank at the pier in Milwaukee. Twenty miles north of Milwaukee is the town of Cedarburg. It has German and Irish immigrants and is where William and Bridget decide to settle. On October 1, 1844, William purchased 69.32 acres on the edge of Ozaukee County for $86.65. With the highly populated town of Lowell a memory, William and Bridget were full of hope and anxious to get settled before winter came because by summer they would be welcoming a child to the family in the wilderness of the Wisconsin Territory.
J. B. Mansfield, ed., History of the Great Lakes. Volume I, Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1899
Public Domain Wikimedia maps Great Lakes accessed 2 May 2016.
Johan Gasmann, From New York to Wisconsin 1844, Translated and edited by Carlton C Qualey, Volume V page 30. Norwegian American Historical Association. naha.stolof .edu accessed 2 May 2016.
William Rice (Ozaukee County, Wisconsin) homestead patent no. 12630: Land Patent Search, digital images, General Land Office Records. glorecords.blm .gov accessed 2 May 2016.
Real Estate transactions of William Rice Homestead. Information from current owner research, obtained from Ozaukee County Historical Society.
Plat map of Cedarburg 1873 obtained from Ozaukee County Historical Society.