The Dowding’s London

Posted on: January 11th, 2007

Between 1800 and 1840 London became a melting pot, full of people from all over the world, people of all races and religions. In 1800 London was the biggest city in the world. London was not a factory town, employment was primarily crafts and trades. As cheap labor immigrated to the city, wages decreased. Unions were becoming more common, and artisans were generally concerned over the trend towards mecahnization and factories. Also, more and more women were working. As unions grew more popular and unionized work more expensive, women could easily provide services at cheaper rates. Women were especially useful in the profession of sewing…so skilled, expensive tailors were being replaced in the 1830s by cheap female labor.

George Dowding was a tailor. The family emigrated from London in 1831…so perhaps this changing demand for tailors had an influence on their decision to leave. The center of tailoring in London is Savile Row and the surrounding streets. See my map of London for placement of Savile Row. It is not too far from St. Martin-in-the-Fields, whre Susanna was baptized in 1829. Whatever the conditions under which the family left London, they certainly do not appear to have arrived in New York with influence or cash. Read The Dowdings in New York below.

Bibliography for “The Dowdings London”:

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey – History of 19th Century London with links for further reading.

A Web of English History – Site regarding the plight of the working man in early 19th c. London.

The HastingsPress – History of seamstresses. – Article on Savile Row with links to tailoring. – History of Savile Row

Children of George Henry Dowding and Maria Guppy

Posted on: January 11th, 2007

George Henry Dowding

b. abt 1790 London, ENGLAND

d. Mar 1873 Danbury, Ottawa Co., OH

m. 1817 Southwark Christchurch, London, ENGLAND

Ann Maria Guppy

b. abt 1790 ENGLAND

d. bef 1870 possibly New York or Ohio


Mary Ann (1820 – ) m. William Little

Sarah m. Thomas Luber

Maria Susanna (19 Jul 1823 or 1824 – 11 Aug 1897) m. John Dietrich Bredbeck

Jane m. John Nelson

Susan (1829 – )


Camma Marie

The Ship Cambria

Posted on: January 11th, 2007

I tried to look up the Ship Cambria online and found that there were many ships with that name. I was not able to find out anymore about the specific vessel on which the Dowdings arrived. However, I did learn that the term “ship” may have referred to the type of rigging on the boat. The first steamships could not cross the Atlantic without supplemental wind power until the 1850s. So it is likely that the Ship Cambria on which the Dowdings arrived in 1832 was a masted ship that used wind power for at least a part of its trip across the Atlantic.

It wasn’t until after steamships completely replaced sailing ships in the 1850s (and the Irish potato famine at the same time) that immigration to the United States reached its peak, although the numbers were rising in the early 1800s. Poor families especially, often left their homes in England hoping to find land and work across the ocean and make better lives for themselves and their children.

For passengers like the Dowdings, arriving in greater and greater numbers at the beginning of the 19th century conditions were not ideal. Ships were built for cargo rather than passengers so most traveled in steerage. There was no formal port of arrival for immigrants arriving in New York and no system for greeting them. They were often inspected by a doctor and then set free in their new country, where they were swindled and preyed upon before they had figured out where to sleep that night. The death rate was 1% among immigrants, most often the young and the old.

The immigrant population in New York went from 9% in 1830 to 46% in 1850. The Dowdings arrived at the beginning of a huge wave of immigrants which peaked, as I said before, after the events of the 1850s. Conditions for new arrivals began to change during the 1830s and 1840s as the United States began to set up agencies to provide legitimate housing for new immigrants and to protect them. This finally resulted in the creation of Castle Garden in New York in 1855, followed by Ellis Island in 1892.

Bibliography for “Immigration to New York”: Encyclopedia – Article regarding Immigration

Lou Alfano’s FortuneCity Web site – Reference to ship rigging.

Lloyd’s Register – Emigration information from the UK.

Old Immigration – html version of a pdf document

Transition from Sail to Steam – html version of a pdf document