Ferrymen

19th Century Commute: Ward’s Island Transportation

by Erin E. McGreevy, Glucksman Ireland House, New York University

(c) 2017 Erin E. McGreevy.  All rights reserved.

 

            The original mode of transportation to and from Ward’s Island was the Staten Island Ferry, which was employed by the Ward’s Island Board.[1] However, when the proprietors of the Staten Island Ferry refused to carry patients any longer, a new transportation plan was needed.

The Board arranged transport with the owner of another steamboat, with a monthly cost of $1,111.00 per month. The coach or ferryman was directly employed by the Board.[2] In the sample of Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank accounts, two account holders were listed with ship occupations. Philip Thomas of Donegal has an occupation listed as “On Ferry Boat”. William Millner of Warwickshire, England is listed as a “Boatman”.

Employees of Ward’s Island, such as health officers, were granted tickets for the ferry boat between Ward’s Island and the city. These were distributed and used without regulation, which created an enormous expense that averaged $1,200.00 over the course of one year and this troubled the Commissioners.[3]

In the spring of 1848, this expenditure was examined and reassessed, saving $1,100.00 annually. Later that year, a proposition was submitted to the Alms House Commissioners of New York for joint use of a steamboat for transport for both institutions, which would allow the cost to be divided equally between them adding to addition cost savings. [4]

 

The Homeopathic Hospital on Ward’s Island

 

[1]. United States of America, Commissioners of Emigration of the State of New York, Office of the Commissioners of Emigration, Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Education of the State of New York (New York: John F. Trow, 1861), pg. 47.

[2]. Office of the Commissioners of Emigration, Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Education of the State of New York, pg. 47.

[3]. Office of the Commissioners of Emigration, Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Education of the State of New York, pg. 46.

[4]. Office of the Commissioners of Emigration, Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Education of the State of New York, pg. 47.