18910114 See an image of the original letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/yhef-p745

White Star Shipping Line Letterhead: R.M.S.”GERMANIC”

Letterhead of the White Star Line RMS Germanic, with ship's flag (red pennant, white star) and a monogram (made up of the letters WSL) - as well as the name of the ship

Wed.    14th Jan    1891


My dear Mother

You will have had particulars of the great leave-taking at the Northern Counties Railway, when Geo Y. & Mr Wise turned up, & Emma felt so melancholy that she made puns.[1]

We ran down to Larne in ¾ of an hour; meanwhile the wind had risen & the boat danced about in a lively fashion, but she was fast & crossed in little over two hours. I had a comfortable carriage all to myself, & foot-warmers, as far as Wigan where I had to change. I slept very well – had just one wink from Carlisle to Preston, thanks probably to a sausage roll fearlessly eaten at former place, – before that I had tried the plumcake (just to see if it would keep!) & found it excellent.

Owing to delay at Stranraer it was 4.30 when I arrived at Liverpool. There is fortunately a fine hotel at the terminus. I turned in & slept soundly till 9. Had breakfast of am hand heggs & a cup of kawfee, & strolled down to take ticket at White Star Co’s office. After that I called on young Boxwell, fellow-passenger from Pernambuco by the “Magdalena” & had a chat with him.[2]

I then drove down to the Germanic which was lying in the Alexandra dock, about 5 miles from Hotel, & once safe on board with all luggage I wired you.[3]

There are abt. 100 passengers on board; no other Belfast people than Weir & young Russell.[4] I am in a cabin amid ships with a Canadian, a decent fellow, but I think I shall get a cabin to myself after leaving Queenstown.[5]

We left the dock punctually at noon, & we have had a fine clear afternoon for our run down channel, & very little sea.

My address by next White Star boat, Tuesday next, or, via Queenstown, Wednesday morning, is c/o J.D. Smyth, after that Barranquilla, Colombia S.A. c/o Messrs. Aepli, Eberbach & Co. until further advice.[6]

Tell Julie to keep at the Spanish, & to write me in Spanish, he can do a little at a letter every evening or so, & when he does not know how to say anything to jot it down in English.[7]

Lights being put out – 11 o’clock.              Best love





In pencil


Friday 9 a.m.

Beautiful morning bright & clear, the tender with mails not due till one o’clock.

If we have only weather like this all way across.




A picture of ca. 1890 of the SS Germanic
The RMS Germanic ca. 1890-1900

  1. The Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway (SL&NCR) was a privately-owned railway in counties Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo in north-west Ireland. It consisted of one main line, with no branch lines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sligo,_Leitrim_and_Northern_Counties_Railway. "Geo Y" is George Young Kinnaird (see Index to People). "Mr Wise" is unidentified. "Emma" is his sister Emma Loewenthal.
  2. I think this is one of 2 nephews of John Harvey Boxwell (b~1845), who lives in Pernambuco; either John Harvey Boxwell Jr (b~1868) or Willam E.G. Boxwell (b~1870), both of which were "Cotton and Sugar Merchants". See Index to People
  3. S.S. Germanic, White Star Line, was built 1874 in Belfast by Harland & Wolff. It was launched 15 July 1874. 20th May 1875 was its maiden voyage (Liverpool-Queenstown-New York). This voyage of JMcC recorded as arriving New York on the 23rd January 1891. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Germanic_(1874) and http://www.norwayheritage.com/p_ship.asp?sh=germc
  4. Unidentified
  5. Queenstown = Cobh, Co. Cork. He had to travel from Belfast to Stranraer to Liverpool to catch the ocean liner to New York via Co. Cork!
  6. See Index to People. Aepli, Eberbach & Co, in Barranquilla, Colombia, were "Importers and Exporters and General Merchants" (from Colombia, a Handbook published by International Bureau of American Republics 1892). From an article on “Hanseatic Barranquilla“ - "The tobacco boom that Colombia had, more specifically Carmen de Bolívar, starting in the 1850s, prompted the arrival of German commercial houses and shipping agencies to Barranquilla. In addition, at the same time, there was a reduction in shipping rates for some European companies, which meant a boost to trade and migration from Germany. In the last decades of the last century, the German firms with the highest economic activity in Barranquilla were, among others, those of J. Helm, O. Berne, Hoenisberg & Wessels, Müller & Siefken, Hollman & Merkel, Aepli & Eberbach and Gieseken & Held." See also “The German Barranquilla Colony” by Enrique Yidi Daccarett: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1794-88862013000100014
  7. Julie is his younger brother Julius (see Index to People)


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John McCaldin Loewenthal: Letters Home from a Victorian Commercial Traveller, 1889 - 1895 Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Fink, Robert Boyd, Sarah Watkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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