Excerpts from the Memoirs of Greek Immigrants – Part 3 – Journey To America (7-27-2018)

Front Cover

In 2011,  John J. Zeazeas wrote a short book about  his “Uncle Jim” who emigrated from Greece to the US in 1903. The book can still be purchased for $1 here.    Excerpts are below, with additional links added based on my ongoing research.

On the last day of January of 1903, Uncle Jim left the steps of the family home with a small parcel of personal belongings and food. From the village, the boys walked to the Port of Patras, nearly a hundred miles to the north. Before the end of the first day, they had traveled beyond everything familiar to them.

They had heavy blankets and slept in the open. On the 8th day of foot travel, they arrived at Patras. At the shipping terminal, other young men were coming together from other villages to await the arrival of a steamer that would take them on the first stage of their journey to France, where they would board another ship to America. They were stacked into a dormitory to await transport for 10 days. During the day, they roamed the waterfront to pass time. By night, they talked with other boys and men from other villages – seeking out any information they could about America.

On February 19th, 1903 they boarded ship for Le Havre, France, arriving on or about March 1 st. A few days before the sailing date to America, they were required to submit to document examination and screening by agents of the steamship company. If they didn’t successfully complete the screening process, they were sent back – nothing any immigrant wanted to experience.

On March 14th Uncle Jim boarded ship for the voyage to New York. The ship landed at an Ellis Island moorage near the Statue of Liberty in New York City on March 23rd, 1903. He was
nearly 19 years of age. Aboard ship, they underwent medical examinations by U. S. Public Health officials. If they didn’t pass, they were not allowed ashore at Ellis Island and could be deported. Thereafter, he went by ferry to the Ellis Island Receiving Center, where he underwent more examinations and questioning. Immigration inspectors looked for inconsistencies in answers. But he knew this, passed the inspections and was issued a Landing Card.

[Read about another Greek immigrant’s journey to America in My Grandfather’s Trip from Agios Petros, Greece to NYC – 1906” by Spyro (2017)]


Part 1 – The Village Life

Part 2 – The American Dream