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The first immigrant to walk through Ellis Island was an Irish teenager

On January 1st 1892 Ellis Island opened and the nationality of the first immigrant through? Well, this would be a terrible Irish history report if it happened to be a German, Russian, or Spaniard wouldn’t it? Fifteen year old Irish teenager Annie Moore was the first immigrant to the United States to pass through the Ellis Island facility in New York Harbor.


Annie set off for America from here aboard the S.S. Nevada, on December 20th, 1891. Moore arrived from County Cork, Ireland aboard the steamship Nevada on January 1, 1892, her fifteenth birthday. As the first of the 700 immigrants to be processed at the newly opened facility, she was presented with an American $10 gold piece. Which at the time was quite a gift.

Moore was accompanied by her brothers Phillip and Anthony. Her parents, Matthew and Julia Moore, had come to the United States in 1888 and were living at 32 Monroe Street in Manhattan. She married German immigrant Joseph Augustus Schayer, an employee at Manhattan's Fulton Fish Market, with whom she had at least eleven children. She died of heart failure in 1923 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens. Her previously unmarked grave was identified in September 2006. On October 11, 2008, a dedication ceremony was held at Calvary which celebrated the unveiling of a marker for her grave, a Celtic Cross made of Irish Blue Limestone.


Moore is honored by bronze statues at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and in Cobh, the Irish seaport from which she sailed. This statue stands on the dock in Cobh. Co. Cork. As depicted by the statue she looks back towards the home she is leaving while her brothers look out to sea and, beyond the horizon, the New World, three thousand miles away. Imagine how excited and nervous she must have been when she and her brothers arrived in New York. In addition, the Irish American Cultural Institute presents an annual Annie Moore Award "to an individual who has made significant contributions to the Irish and/or Irish American community and legacy."


Thank you very much for reading, and Happy New Year to all Brothers and their families.

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