The Atalanta was built in 1868 at Sikeň, in Sweden. She was owned by K°hler & Co in
Stavanger. She was rigged as a ship, and had a tonnage of 264 Norwegian Commercial lasts. Her master was Capt. B. A. Reinertsen.
In 1869 the Atalanta departed from Stavanger on May 18th, and arrived at Quebec on June 18th. She was sailing in ballast, and was carrying 204 steerage passengers and one cabin passenger. All was reported to be well when she arrived at Quebec. Master in 1869 was Capt. B.A. Reinertsen, she had a crew of 16. In 1871 the Atalanta departed from Stavanger on Apr. 25th, and arrived at Quebec on June 23th. She was sailing in ballast, and was carrying 10 cabin and 294 steerage passengers. When she arrived to the quarantine station at Grosse ╬le on June 19th, five were sick with smallpox. She was held in quarantine for four days before she was released and proceeded to Quebec. Also this year mastered by Capt. B.A. Reinertsen with a crew of 16.
From Susan Phillips Assmus we have received a terrific story
about the crossing in 1871. The story was told by her great uncle, Ole Larson Lee [Storeli] who was traveling with his wife Malinda Maria Johnsdtr Runestad. Ole was born in 1836 on the Storli farm in S°vde.
"We left Stavanger, Norway on April 25th 1871 with a sailing vessel owned by Petter Kyllet & Co, [K°hler & Co] mastered by Capt. Reinertson [B. A. Reinertsen] of Stavanger, heading for Quebec, Canada. The voyage lasted for 70 days, including the journey from Quebec to our final destination - Leland, La Salle County, Illinois, where we arrived on July 3rd 1871.
Well, now back to where the story about the voyage starts. As I said earlier, we
sailed from Stavanger on April 25th and everything went nice and smooth until April 30th. On that
date we were hit by a storm from south-east, and had very high seas. One of the waves that washed
over the deck, smashed the tank which represented the main water supply for the voyage. From now on
all the passengers got only half rations of water every day.
A few days after the storm was over, one
of the passengers were climbing in the rig on the big mast, and he fell down, hitting the hull of a
small boat before going into the sea. Fortunately he managed to grab on to a life-buoy that was
thrown to him, and stayed afloat until the crew could pick him up. We all thought he would be
more dead than alive after such a fall, but he was totally unhurt, strangely enough.
Now I have nothing to comment before we came near the Newfoundland banks, where the crew measured the depth to be 60 shot of chain. We had been sailing for 13 days from Stavanger now, and many of the
emigrants thought that this would be a remarkable quick crossing. Many wanted to have more of
the rations they had been obliged by Kyller & Co. [K°hler & Co] to bring with them for the voyage, and started eating as much as they could, thinking it was to bad if the food was to be thrown away when they arrived in Quebec. I brought to their attention that it could well take quite some time yet before the ship arrived in Quebec harbor.
Not long after we were hit by a hurricane from south-west which
lasted for two and a half days. Two and a half day days with very high seas, as always when it
is a hurricane,
and many of the emigrants were losing their courage. Now our place as emigrants was in the
hold, on the between deck. Everyone had a chest of food, a keg of milk and one of beer, all of
what was stored in the mid of the deck, held in place by ropes, all except for one keg of beer, which
a man from Rennes° near Stavanger, had placed by his head in the berth. As the ship rolled
heavily in the hard storm the keg fell out of the berth, the man grabbed it as it was falling,
and was thrown out of his berth riding on the keg of beer, colliding with the supplies in the
middle, making the ropes loosen, and everything started to roll from one side to the other on
the deck, and the man with it. On the second time the man crossed from one side of the ship to
the other, he let go of the keg and grabbed on to a berth, and the next time the ship rolled
over he managed to get hold of the keg again.
Now we were all curious to know if the man had been hurt, but it was nothing to
bother about, and we all had a really good laugh, despite of our situation.
The ship was in for a hard time in the storm, and was taken way off course, as she could not use
use too much sail. After this storm the wind was unfavorable and we had headwind, and due to this we
took 19 days to reach the point where we had been before the hurricane on May 8th. Now the
supplies were starting to get short, especially for those who had thought they had brought too
When we were close to the American coast, off Cape Breton, we had sailed in thick fog for 4
days, and I don't think the Captain was sure of the ships position. As I said, we were near Cape
Breton, and still we were covered by thick fog. Early in the morning, by break of day the man on
look-out yelled out "LAND STRAIGHT AHEAD" and the ship would have been smashed against the rock,
but fortunately the crew managed to brace the ship in the last moment so it went just clear, and
they had to save the rig from scraping along the side of the massive rock.
We came up to the St. Lawrence gulf, and the wind disappeared, and we drifted back to St. Paul,
and the ship almost stranded. The crew used oars row the ship, which is very uncommon on such a
big ship, fortunately we had some wind again and were able to proceed by sail unhurt.
Now the supplies of wood for cooking and heat was getting short, and we had to start burning
parts of the equipment aboard the ship, equipment that was dispensable.
At last we reached the quarantine place, and stayed there for a few days to clean up and to get
rid of lice. So we arrived to Quebec according to our contracts, but Capt. Reinertson sent our
train away, trying to persuade us to go by steamship to Chicago, several of the passengers were
persuaded, but I and my folks were not, and demanded that he should arrange for us to get
another train, which he did. We got a "Box car" which had been used for cattle, and in this way
we traveled to Detroit, Mich. where our luggage had been sent and was cleared by customs.
When this was over we were brought to an immigration house where we had a delicious meal, pork
legs, our first meal in the United States. When we had eaten we were taken to the railway, and
because they were out of box-cars we were given an old worn-out passenger car."