Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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January 5th
Ellis Island
The first week of January 1892 saw the opening of a new U.S. immigration station on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. A 15-year-old lass from Ireland named Annie Moore entered the United States and history when she passed through its doors, becoming the first immigrant to be processed there. Over the next 62 years, 12 million more would follow, making Ellis Island the most famous entry point in America.

Ferryboats full of eager immigrants who had just crossed the Atlantic on sailing vessels or steamships docked at Ellis Island. There passengers disembarked to be screened by doctors and immigration officers. If they were in good health and their papers in order, they were allowed into the United States. Over the years, 98 percent of all those examined at Ellis Island were admitted into the country. More than 40 percent of all U.S. citizens can trace their ancestry through those immigrants.

Ellis Island closed as an immigration station in 1954. In 1990 it reopened as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Ferries that take visitors to the Statue of Liberty make stops at the museum.

Ellis Island was named for Samuel Ellis, a colonist who owned the island in the late eighteenth century. Today the name reminds us that America has been a beacon of hope for the world – as Abraham Lincoln called it, “the last best hope of earth” – and that the United States has taken in more people seeking new lives than any other nation in history.

American History Parade
1781
A British force led by Benedict Arnold burns Richmond, Virginia.

1914
Henry Ford, head of the Ford Motor Company, introduces a wage of five dollars a day in his automotive factories.

1925
Nellie T. Ross becomes the first woman governor when she succeeds her late husband as governor of Wyoming.

1933
Construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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