The steamer SS Illinois

2123 tons, length 266.5ft x beam 40.9ft, wooden hull, side paddle wheels, three masts. Accommodation for 500 passengers. Built by Smith & Dimon, New York in 1851 for the United States Mail SS Co. and entered the New York - Chagres service on 26th Aug.1851 and continued until early 1859. Sold to Cornelius Vanderbilt in Feb.1860 and used on the New York - Havre service. Chartered to the War Department 1861-1864. From Oct.1863 to Jun.1864 she sailed between New York and Aspinwall for Marshall O.Roberts and after the Civil War was used as a quarantine ship at Hoffman's Island, New York until 1900.

It was the SS Illinois that carried our 5th Greatgrandfather, Abraham Hatfield with his sister Ann and three of his young children back from California in 1856.They boarded in Aspinwall and disembarked in NYC. One of the children was Dad's greatgrandfather, Henry Hatfield, pictured below. Henry was only 6 at the time. Abraham bought Illinois River bottom land with the profits from the Gold Rush years, where he had supplied the miners rather than hunt gold himself. Daughter Joanne Hatfield was born in Cooksbar,California, so we beleive that this was their center of operations.

Henry Hatfield as a yhoung man circa 1872