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extracted from "Report of the Select Committee to Examine into Frauds Upon Emigrants, 1847, by Thomas Smith, New York (State) Assembly, Legislature, Published 1847 by C. Van Benthuysen, public printer" | back to Fares index

Fare frauds upon emigrant passengers arriving at New York State, 1847

Find "Hints to Emigrants to the North American Provinces ca. 1847-1849" HERE, which tells of the cautions issued to new emigrants, including the need to avoid those persons who crowd on board ships and steam-boats, offering their services to get passages. &c. Although emigrants arriving via New York had been subject to frauds to a limited extent, for many years, because of the increase in emigration during the "famine years," there was a huge increase in such practise, prompting an investigation by committee.

" As soon as a ship loaded with these emigrants reaches our shores, it is boarded by a class of men called runners, either in the employment of boarding house keepers or forwarding establishments, soliciting custom for their employers. In order the more successfully to enable the later to gain the confidence of the emigrant, they usually employ those who can speak the same language with the emigrant. If they cannot succeed in any other way in getting possession and control over the object of their prey, they proceed to take charge of their luggage, and take it to some boarding house for safe keeping, and generally under the assurance that they will charge nothing for carriage hire or storage. In this way, they are induced to go to some emigrant boarding house, of which there are a great many in the city, and then too often under a pretence that they will charge but a small sum for meals or board, the keepers of these houses induce these people to stay a few days, and when they come to leave usually charge them three or four times as much as they agreed or expected to pay, and exorbitant prices for storing their luggage, and in case of their inability to pay, their luggage is detained as security."

..... Some runners worked on commission for each passenger they brought in, others were allowed to charge "all they can get over a certain sum ... " ..... and in many cases ignorant foreigners are duped by their own countrymen ..... Germans preying upon the German — the Irish upon the Irish — the English upon the English &c.

" Amongst the numerous frauds practised by these runners and forwarding houses, there is perhaps none greater that that which exists in the sale of passage tickets.
The emigrant is shown a neatly printed ticket, with a picture of a steamboat, railroad cars, and canal packet with three horses attached to it, and is given to understand that such a ticket will take him to a given place beyond Albany in a specified manner, and for a price to be agreed upon, and after disposing of the ticket for an exorbitant price, the emigrant is furnished with a steamboat ticket to take him to Albany, where he is to present his passage ticket to some person or company upon which it is drawn, where it is often either protested, or objections taken to the mode of conveyance, and the passenger, instead of going upon the railroad or packet boat, as agreed upon, is thrust into the steerage or hold of a line boat, where he is often known to complain—when the only evidence he can furnish of the fraud committed upon him is to exhibit his ticket with a picture of three horses, when the line boats are only drawn by two."

This table shows an example of some of the additional profits made at the expense of the emigrants:-
    Cost by
Steamboat
by
Railroad
  by
Lake
Total Profit
Price from New York to Buffalo $6.00 $0.50 $4.00     $4.50 $1.50
Price from New York to Cleveland 9.00 0.50 4.00   $1.00 5.50 3.50
Price from New York to Detroit 9.25 0.50 4.00   1.00 5.50 3.75
Price from New York to Chicago 12.00 0.50 4.00   2.00 6.50 5.50
Price from New York to Cincinnati 12.50 0.50 4.00 & Canal 3.50 8.00 4.50
Price from New York to Pittsburgh 10.50 0.50 4.00 " 3.00 7.50 3.00
Price from New York to St. Louis 14.50 0.50 4.00 " 5.00 9.50 5.00
Price from New York to Louisville 13.50 0.50 4.00 " 4.50 9.00 4.50
               
. . . below find tables showing correct 1847 fares to various US and Canadian destinations, shown in both dollars & cents and shillings and pence.

from New York to:
Chicago via Buffalo | Pittsburgh, St. Louis & Galena | Portsmouth & Cincinnati | LaFayette, Ind. | Cincinnati via Toledo Canal | via Buffalo, Erie & Beaver | Canada via Oswego | Montreal via Troy | Canada via Rochester

Chicago via Buffalo
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Albany and Troy, 150 1   00 4    02
Utica, 260 1   50 6    03
Syracuse, 321 2   25 9   03
Rochester, 419 2   50 10   04
Lockport, 483 2   75 11   06
Buffalo, 514 3   00 12   06
Erie, 604 4   50 18   06
Cleveland, 704 5   50 22   09
Huron and Sandusky 734 5   75 24  00
Toledo, 814 6   00 24  10
Monroe, 810 6   00 24  10
Detroit and Sandwich, 850 6   00 24  10
Mackinaw, 1145 9  00 37  03
Milwaukie, 1445 9  50 39  04
Racine, 1465 9  50 39  04
Southport, 1477 9  50 39  04
Chicago, 1525 9  50 34  09

Pittsburgh, St. Louis & Galena
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Philadelphia, 90 2   25 9    04
Columbia, 172 4   00 16   08
Harrisburgh, 210 4   50 18   07
Hollidaysburg, 344 7   50 31   03
Johnstown, 380 8   50 35   05
Pittsburgh, 482 9   00 37   02
Stubenville, 550 10   00 41   08
Wheeling, 570 10   00 41   08
Marietta, 650 11   00 45   06
Portsmouth, 830 11   50 47   07
Cincinnati, 914 12   00 49   08
Louisville, 1078 13   00 53   09
Paduca, 1379 13   50 55   10
St. Louis, 1606 14   00 57   10
Alton, 1633 15   00 62   06
Quincy, 1753 15   50 64   07
Nauvoo, 1787 15   75 65   07
Galena, 1988 16   00 66   08

Portsmouth & Cincinnati
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Cleveland, 704 5   50 22   09
Akron, 742 6   00 24   10
Clinton, 756 6   00 24   10
Massillon, 769 6   10 25   03
Zoar, 787 6   36 26   04
Rosco, 839 6   88 28   06
Dresden, 855 7   00 29   02
Newark, 880 7   26 30   00
Zanesville, 880 7   26 30   00
Hebron, 889 7   35 30   05
Waterloo, 913 7   62 31   09
Lancaster, 918 7   62 31   09
Columbus, 936 7   82 32   04
Circleville, 937 7   82 32   04
Chilicothe, 962 8   08 33   04
Portsmouth, 1013 8   50 35   02
Cincinnati, 1124 10   00 41   04

LaFayette, Ind.
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Toledo, 814 6   00 24   10
Maumee, 823 6   00 24   10
Waterville, 830 6   50 27   00
Otsego, 835 6   50 27   00
Providence, 840 7   50 27   00
Napoleon, 854 6   75 28   02
Florida, 862 6   75 28   02
Independence, 868 6   75 28   02
Defiance, 872 6   86 28   06
Junction, 881 7   00 29   02
Antwerp, 892 7   25 30   03
State Line, 898 7   25 30   03
Fort Wayne, 908 7   56 31   04
Huntington, 943 7   88 32   10
Largo, 955 8   00 33   04
Logansport, 996 8   73 36   02
Lockport, 1010 9   00 37   06
Delphi, 1018 9   25 38   06
Lafayette, 1036 9   38 38   09

Cincinnati via Toledo Canal
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Toledo, 814 6   00 24   10
Maumee, 823 6   00 24   10
Waterville, 830 6   50 27   00
Providence, 840 6   50 27   00
Napoleon, 854 6   75 28   02
Independence, 868 6   75 28   02
St. Mary's, 929 7   64 31   10
Berlin, 943 7   75 32   03
Lockport, 960 7   75 32   03
Piqua, 966 8   19 33   10
Troy, 975 8   25 34   05
Tippecanoe, 982 8   28 35   00
Dayton, 996 8   55 25   04
Alexanderville, 1004 8   75 36   06
Franklin, 1014 9   00 37   03
Hamilton, 1036 9   12 37   09
Cincinnati, 1060 9   50 39   04

via Buffalo, Erie & Beaver
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Erie, 604 4   50 18   06
Beaver, 739 6   50 27   00
Pittsburgh, 769 7   00 29   02
Portsmouth, 1066 8   00 33   04
Cincinnati, 1174 8   50 35   02
Louisville, 1308 9   50 39   04
St. Louis, 1836 11   00 45   06
Alton, 1858 11   50 47   07
Illinois River, 1874 11   75 48   10
Hannibal, 1963 12   00 49   08
Quincy, 1983 12   25 50   09
Warsaw, 2000 12   50 51   10
Nauvoo, 2017 12   50 51   10
Ft. Madison, 2032 13   00 53   09
Burlington, 2057 13   25 54   10
Iowa River, 2087 13   50 55   10
Galena, 2218 15   00 62   06
Peoria, 2023 13   50 55   10
Peru, 2079 14   00 57   10

Canada via Oswego
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Oswego, 359 2   75 11   06
Wellington,

490

to

550

4   50 18   07
Coburg [Cobourg] and Port Hope, 4   50 18   07
Bondhead and Darlington, 4   75 19   08
Whitby and Toronto, 4   75 19   08
Hamilton and Niagara, 5  00 20   09
Queenstown and Lewiston, 5  00 20   09

Montreal via Troy
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Troy, 157 1   00 4    02
Whitehall, 222 2  00 8   04
Burlington, 295 4  50 18   06
Plattsburgh, 312 4  50 18   06
St. Johns, 350 4  50 18   06
Montreal, 375 5  00 20   09

Canada via Rochester
From New York to Distance
in miles
FARE
American currency
FARE
English currency
  $   cts. s.   d.
Rochester, 419 2   50 10   04
Coburg [Cobourg] and Port Hope, 482 4  50 18   07
Bondhead, 494 4  50 18   07
Bondhead and Darlington, 507 4   75 19   08
Whitby and Toronto, 519 4   75 19   08
Hamilton and Niagara, 548 5  00 20   09
Queenstown and Lewiston, 555 5  00 20   09

from New York to:
Chicago via Buffalo | Pittsburgh, St. Louis & Galena | Portsmouth & Cincinnati | LaFayette, Ind. | Cincinnati via Toledo Canal | via Buffalo, Erie & Beaver | Canada via Oswego | Montreal via Troy | Canada via Rochester


Opening / Closing Dates of the Ports / Canals in Canada and the Hudson River, Erie Canal and Lake Erie


Report of the Select Committee to Examine into Frauds Upon Emigrants, 1847 (off-site link)
The full published report which examines the frauds being perpetrated upon emigrants and others by "runners" and river and canal boat operators. The emigrants were destined from New York to the US Western States and Territories, as well as Upper and Lower Canada, via the Hudson River to Albany, thence via Railroad or the Erie Canal. The report includes many affidavits and statements from emigrants, agents &c.

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