1891 – Fifteen year old Annie Moore departs Queenstown (now Cobh, Co Cork), becoming the first Ellis Island immigrant.

Annie Moore stood in line with her two younger brothers, Philip and Anthony. They were waiting to board the SS Nevada, a ship that would take them from Ireland to New York.

Even though she was sad, she was also excited about seeing her parents again. They had gone to America two years earlier with her older brother. Her parents had jobs in New York. They did not like the big city, but they had an apartment and enough money for food and clothing. Life was better than it had been in Ireland, and they could go to the Catholic Church.

On 1st January 1892, the ship reached New York. The Statue of Liberty welcomed them as they sailed into the harbour. Annie was the first one off the ship. She was very surprised when an official gave her a $10 gold piece. She had never seen so much money, and did not know why he gave it to her. He explained that Ellis Island was new, and the $10 was a gift to the first person off the ship. Annie realized it was her 15th birthday!

And so it happened that Annie became the first immigrant to land on the newly-opened Ellis Island. Now, over 100 years later, a statue of Annie and her brothers stands on Ellis Island (which is now a museum). A similar statue can be found in Cobh, Co Cork, where they began their voyage. Since then, over 17 million people have entered the United States through Ellis Island.

Photo: Annie Moore and her brothers Philip and Anthony arriving at Ellis Island.

AnnieMoore

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