The S.S. Erin

The "Erin" was a 3,325 gross ton ship, 370.4 feet in length and with a beam of 41.1 feet.  She had a clipper stem, one funnel, with three masts (rigged for sail), of iron construction, with a single screw and a speed of 10 knots.  Built by Palmer Bros & Co, Jarrow-on-Tyne, for the National Line, she was launched on June 18, 1864.  The Erin sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage to Cobh ("Queenstown", the port for County Cork, Ireland) and New York on February 8,1864, apparently landing at Pier No. 47 North River.  According to an April 22, 1866 ad in the New York Times, the Erin was under the command of a man named "Cutting."  (See:  In 1865, the Erin is said to have carried the survivors of the burnt out Inman Liner "Glasgow" to New York.  A picture of the Erin appears on page 94 of "Ships of our Ancestors" from the Peabody Museum of Salem.  While I do not have a copy of that picture, the Erin was very similar to the S.S. England, shown here.

The National Line (National Steam Navigation Company) was founded in Liverpool in 1863.  The first intention of this line was to sail Liverpool to the US south.  However, due to the civil war, routes were set up to New York.  Steerage class passage was $40 from Liverpool.

According to promotions of the time, the Steerage was said to be large, light and airy, and warmed by Steam in winter.  Married couples and families were berthed together; single persons placed in separate rooms.  Meals were served regularly three times a day by the ship's stewards, and consisted of an unlimited quantity of good and wholesome provisions, put on board under the inspection of the company's purveyor.  There was said to be plenty of fresh drinking water and the care of a surgeon and stewards was free.  The crossing took about two weeks.

During the same spring of 1866 in which my ancestors sailed on the Erin, the S.S. England was bound for New York via Queenstown, Ireland from Liverpool, England with 1202 passengers (numbers vary).  Hundreds died from an outbreak of cholera.  The ship was quarantined off McNab's Island near Halifax, Nova Scotia before arriving at New York, where it remained in quarantine.

The last voyage of the Erin, the New York to London sailing of December 31, 1889, with 72 aboard, was lost at sea.

An original photograph of the Erin is among the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, East India House, Salem, MA 01970, ( from whom you can purchase a high-quality reproduction.  You can also purchase a high quality copy of a photograph of the ERIN from the Historic Photographs Section, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF, (, copy negative 58/1607 (5) C 1886.

Back to the Robson family page.