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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last American Slave Ship

The Wanderer was first designed as a luxury racing yacht and was considered as one of the most extravagant vessels of the New York Yacht Club. The schooner Wanderer arrived in New York on June 26, 1858 where it was purchased by William Corrie and outfitted for a slave voyage to Africa. According to the South Carolina Customs Records, the vessel first sailed to Charleston, South Carolina,leaving there on July 4th to sail for Trinidad. In November of the same year 407 Africans arrived on Jekyll Island and were put on a wagon train for the State of Alabama. (US Department of Justice, Microfilm T969, Letters sent by the Attorney General 1851-1871). Two letters were found in this packet relating to the Wanderer and William Corrie. The attorney general directed that the case be moved to Savannah. One June 1, 1861, the vessel was seized in Key West, Florida by the US Navy. After that, the Union army used the schooner for a gunboat during the War Between the States. There are a number of references regarding this vessel at the National Archives. Another source of information is the book The Wanderer: The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails by Erik Calonius.

Jeannette Holland Austin, author of over 100 genealogy books
Georgia Pioneers

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