On March 24, 1889, the Danish steamship Danmark began its journey from Europe to America with hundreds of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian emigrants on board.
But the Danmark was discovered in distress in the mid-Atlantic by the British cargo ship Missouri on April 5. The Missouri first tried towing the Danmark, but when that proved impossible, the captain decided to throw all cargo overboard in order to make room for the 700+ passengers and crew on the slowly sinking Danmark.
In the early morning of April 7, rescued Danmark passenger Kristine Linne (an 18-year-old Danish woman traveling to America to meet her husband) gave birth to a baby girl aboard the Missouri. The baby was named Atlantic Missouri Linne.
The Missouri backtracked to the Azores, reaching São Miguel Island on April 10. Half of the Danmark survivors (primarily single men) were dropped off. The other half (primarily families) remained on the ship. Extra provisions were brought on board.
In the meanwhile, Americans kept their fingers crossed. Some quotes from the New York Times:
- April 13: “The Inman Line steamer City of Chester…arrived here today. She reports that April 8, in latitude 46 degrees north, longitude 37 degrees west, she passed the Danish steamer Danmark […] The Danmark had been abandoned by her crew. […] She was apparently sinking.
- April 14: “The mystery surrounding the disappearance of seven hundred or more persons on board the steamship Danmark, whose deserted hulk was seen in midocean on April 8, remains as deep as it was when the news of the disaster first reached this city.”
- April 16: “Many dreary hours were spent yesterday in waiting for news from the 700 people on the lost ship Danmark, but none came.”
- April 17: “No news of the missing Danmark passengers was brought by incoming vessels yesterday.”
- April 18: “Another day has passed without any news of the fate of the passengers and crew of the Thingvalla steamer Danmark.”
On April 22, the Missouri finally arrived in Philadelphia with 365 survivors from the Danmark. As you can imagine, this was front page news on April 23.
The New York Times reported that the newborn’s name was ‘Atlanta Missouri Linnie.’ The Missouri‘s captain was quoted as saying she was “born during a howling storm, which rocked the vessel and caused the sea to break over us.”
I’m not sure where little Atlantic Missouri ended up, but the majority of the emigrants were headed West to places like Minnesota and the Dakota Territory (which was split into North and South later the same year).
About a decade later, the Missouri was used as a hospital ship during the Spanish-American War.
- “The Missouri’s Men.” Evening Bulletin [Maysville, KY] 24 Apr. 1889: 1.
- The Rescue of the Passengers of the S/S Danmark – Norway Heritage
- Kinghorn, Jonathan. The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881–1931: A History with Details on All Ships. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012.
- Maritime Newspaper Articles, 1880s – Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild