Nightmare Crossing Brings Young Couple to Land of Opportunity

Family wonders if ancestor’s depression was brought about by predisposition or her difficult time finding her way to America.

| Good Old Days

An arduous journey to the land of opportunity leads family to question whether their ancestor was born with a congenital predisposition to depression, or did she have a great deal to be depressed about? My grandmother, however, never spoke of regrets, only of that nightmare of an Atlantic crossing.

Kate Margaret was born in 1847 in Wyke Regis, county of Dorsetshire, England, the second in a family of 11 children. They were socially prominent people; her father owned a grocery business and bakery. As Kate grew up, she helped out in the business as book-keeper and clerk. She was vivacious and fun loving. Through the years the tale has been told that she raced a horse against a train. She was adventuresome, too, which may have led to her later problems.

On a nearby farm, a young man was growing up who soon found more and more excuses to go to either the store or the bakery. His and Kate's friendship developed into love, and, in 1873, the young couple was married in the great old Episcopal church in Wyke Regis.

The young groom was adventuresome, too, and very soon the two told their families that they had decided to set sail for America. If Kate could have foreseen the nearly three weeks of dreadful seasickness during which she almost died, she may have reconsidered the decision that changed their lives forever.

She lived to arrive in pre-Ellis Island, New York. From there they took a train to Buffalo, where they boarded a ship that was supposed to carry them on The Great Lakes to Duluth, Minnesota.

A little black cloud seemed to hover over them, because the ship broke down. A second ship also broke down. All the time she was on the water, the young bride had the queasiness in her stomach reminiscent of the ocean voyage.

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