07 May 2013

Life in the City - Discovering Wallace BEARDSELL (Part I)

Wallace BEARDSELL; who is he? 

Growing up I would hear short stories about him . . .He and his family emigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from England; he played rugby and was thought to be quite good; he lost a leg.  And that was really all the information I had on him, until fairly recently.  Journey with me now,  to discover my Great Grandfather, Wallace Arthur BEARDSELL and as I learn of his life in the city of Brotherly Love.

When Wallace left his home in Wooldale, Yorkshire, England to emigrate to the United States, he would have made his way to Liverpool, Merseyside, England - a journey, presumably on foot, of 2 - 4 days - he would have been met in Liverpool by a representative of the Steamship company who would then take him to one of their lodging houses. (1)   Wallace, 30, left the Port of Liverpool, England on Thursday, 30 March 1893; leaving behind his wife Elizabeth (ROWBOTTOM) and his two children, Jane and George.  For the next 12 days he was a passenger on the S/S Ohio, the American Line Iron Screw Steamer, built by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company.  On Tuesday, 11 April 1893, Wallace arrived at the Port of  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the S/S OHIO docked at the Washington Avenue piers and he and his fellow European immigrants disembarked.  Wallace eventually settled in the nearby waterfront Kensington neighborhood where jobs and affordable housing could be found. (2)

It is currently unknown what happened to Wallace from the time he left the Washington Avenue Immigration Station on that Tuesday, 11 April 1893 and when I next find him in 1895.  However, of one thing I am sure; his immediate concern upon arrival must have been securing a home and employment, both of these things would have been paramount for his survival, but also would have been necessary before he could send for his wife and children to join him.

Steam Ship (S/S) Ohio (3)
American Line Iron Screw Steamer

343 Feet Long ~ 43 Feet Broad ~ 34-1/2 Feet Deep ~ Brig Rigged with vertical two-crank Compound Engines with cylinders 57 and 90 inches in diameter ~ 4 Feet Stroke ~ Boiler Pressure 60 pounds to the square inch.

The American Line - Passenger lists and Emigrant ships from Norway-Heritage

Philadelphia Passenger Lists (screen clipping)
1800 - 1945 (4)
To see the full page, click the link below

Ancestry.com - Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945

 Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards (5)

View Images — FamilySearch.org


  1. Emigration to USA and Canada http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/archive/info-sheet.aspx?sheetId=20

  1. Washington Avenue Immigration Station http://www.philaplace.org/story/190/

  1. The American-Line Passenger Lists and Emigrant Ships from Norway Heritage http://www.norwayheritage.com/p_shiplist.asp?co=amlin
  2. Ancestry.com Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800 - 1945

  1. Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/DGS-004759384_09462?cc=1921483&wc=M93Y-S5Y:1505178787


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