St. Lawrence River Watershed, 1825 - 1867
Transportation and Settlement

November 10, 2008:

Dear Anne and Al:  

Wonder if you know whether any of the early ships from Ireland landed on the New York 
side of the St. Lawrence River rather than the Canada side. 

In some research regarding my French ancestors who sailed from LeHarve in 1866, it is said 
that they came down the St. Lawrence, landed in New York, and continued on to Illinois, USA.

When my gr grandfather Thomas Brazzle said he came to New York in 1838, maybe he was 
referring to a port in upper New York state, rather than New York City, which is what I 
have been researching - with no luck.  Is there any record of such ports on the US side?

Thanks,  Mary Jo

Map Source: Historical Atlas of Canada, published 1961 by Thomas Nelson and Sons, Toronto, page 46 St. Lawrence River Basin -- Canada and the U.S.A.
Hi Mary Jo, I don't have a precise answer for you, but I'd think via boat would be the easiest way for them to travel from Montreal. There were regular trips from Montreal up the St. Lawrence, and if these boats didn't stop on the NY side, there were certainly ferries between Ogdensburg NY and Prescott, ON for instance. (Prescott would have been just south of where your Brazils lived). Here's a website with some early news reports from St. Lawrence County, NY state: . ... Anne Burgess

Hi Anne and Mary Jo: I think that many of the early emigrants from the Wexford, Wicklow and Carlow area, in the early 1820's must have got off the boats on the American side. In a museum, I think it's in Prescott or Brockville, is a salvaged example of the type of boat used to transport early emigrants. It's about 12 feet wide and about 30 feet long, made of heavy plank construction and is completely open. I think these boats were used to move immigrants and goods from beyond the first set of rapids, east of Cornwall, to as far as Kingston. I know that there was a lot of activity at Ogdensburg, New York, USA, across from Prescott. I forget when the canal was completed east of Cornwall but I have an article somewhere about labour conditions, etc. on that canal -- Irish labourers, similar to the Rideau Canal workers. Professor Bruce Elliott found early Irish settlers in Northern New York State (notes from his Canadian Immigration prior to 1870 course) and on the islands opposite Kingston - (Howe Island or Wolfe Island?). Some of these people were in NY early on. I think that there was a lot of movement back and forth across the river. You didn't need a green card then. I think some of the Irish migrants may have used Ogdensburg, Cornwall, etc. as a point to access the Erie Canal to head to other parts of the northern USA. By 1866, the time of arrival of your ancestor, there was a well developed railway system. It's possible that he landed in Northern New York and travelled by train to Chicago which was booming by that time as a railway center and a meat packing center. Or maybe he travelled the whole way by steamer on the Great Lakes. ... Al
March 12, 2012: Bobbi Smith is researching the family of an ancestor, Magdalena Fisher Cober, in particular her movements from the port of Quebec up the St. Lawrence River to Brockville and later to Vaughan Ontario.
New June 23, 2015: The best book on the importance if the St. Lawrence system in the development of North America is Empire of the St. Lawrence, written by Donald Creighton in 1937 and re-printed in 1956. ... Al

E-mail Mary Jo, Anne Burgess and Al Lewis

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