The great move to America.

As I’ve intimated before, the family of Cornelius Robert Schaller ended up moving to the United States. A scrawled note by one of his granddaughters (perhaps my grandmother) records the family memory that they came over in 1876 or 1878, but this appears to be wrong, for we find the family as a whole in Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1870 U.S. census:

So we see Cornelius Robert (père), age 39, born in England, a white male, U.S. citizen, listed as a Land Agent. Then comes Ellen, his wife, age 37; daughter Ellen, age 17; C.P. (Cassandra Paulina), age 14; Isabella (for Cebella, but proof that the “C” was soft), age 12; Alice (evidently Florence May), age 6; and on the next page, Cornelius Robert (fils), age 2. I will note the disjunction that now, in the U.S. census, it was required to report race. We’ll see an ugly reflection of anti-miscegenation law in a Nebraska marriage license in a later post.

Why is Cebella now Isabella, and Florence Alice? I think the likeliest answer is that the census taker took the information from Schaller orally, and his accent got in the way of Nebraskan ears hearing correctly. Shame on the census taker for not double-checking: but 66% correct was good enough for government work in those days, I guess.

There was still some back and forth later. In the 28 August 1872 passenger list of the good ship China, Cornelius Robert, age 41 (“Agent,” U.S. citizen) and Ellen, age 19 (“Lady,” U.S. citizen) are found arriving in New York City, evidently having traveled back to Old Blighty for a spell, perhaps to finalize some loose ends.

Passenger list extract, The China, arrived 28 August 1872 Ellis Island. ancestry dot com.

Cornelius Robert returned to England at least once more on a business trip, for we find him at the age of 60 in the 1891 U.K. census as a boarder way up in the north of England in Rochdale, in the township of Castleton. He’s listed as born in America (so, a U.S. citizen), and his profession is given as “Commissioner for the U.S. State of Nebraska, America.” Rochdale (short ‘o’, by the way) was an industrial revolution hot spot very prominent for its dark satanic mills, suited for a commissioner looking for business for Nebraska.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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