"Johann Henrich Silvius,"
as he was listed on the passenger list for the ship Queen Elizabeth, arrived after
9 September 1738 at Philadelphia, 106 men qualifying 16 September. He was
listed as age 25.
The ship, Queen Elizabeth, operated by or for the major shipping firm
of Hope, left Rotterdam, Holland, on June 22, 1738, and headed for the English port
of Deal, England, for the customs clearance required by the Navigation Acts. The ship's
captain was Alexander Hope. The ship apparently spent three to five weeks at sea due to a
violent storm before reaching Deal, a trip that could take as little as eight days and in
some cases two. From Deal, the trip to Philadelphia was generally about eight to twelve
In this year of 1738, it was said that of more than 15 ships to have arrived in
Philadelphia, about 2,000 people died enroute of illness. Henry was very
lucky to have made it to America alive. But if he didn't arrive healthy, he would
have had to have remained on the ship, and the ship would have had to anchor a mile down
from the city on the Delaware River, quarantined. But did he have any money left
over after the long trip down the Rhine and through the many ports of inspection before
reaching Rotterdam? If he didn't, he would have had to sign a contract with
the captain of the Queen Elizabeth to pay his fare within a certain amount of
time after arrival. If, when he arrived in Philadelphia he had
no funds to pay the fare (either by his own money or money from a relative already in
America), he would have had to wait until his debt was paid by a local merchant--he would
then be an indentured servant for three to six years or more.
It is a family story passed down from generations past that Henry worked for a family
in Germantown as an indentured servant.
Click here to see the Queen Elizabeth's passenger list
thanks to the GenHome
web site--an interesting site with other interesting and useful information.
Click here to see a copy of Johann Henrich's
signature. For a couple of drawings of ships of the time
period, click here. And,
click here for further information about leaving
the Palatine in 1738. A portion of Gottlieb Mittelberger's diary of his 1750 and 1754
voyages to America and back to Germany again.
If you find you are descended from one of the Silvius immigrants, the SilviusWave
e-mail list, SILVIUS-L, is available.
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Contact me if you have any questions, comments or problems on this site: Marie