Excerpt from a New York Times article about the first Ellis Island immigrant
From the New York Times, January 2, 1892; Page 2
headline: LANDED ON ELLIS ISLAND
New Immigration Buildings Opened Yesterday
A rosy-cheeked Irish girl the first registered -- room enough for all arrivals -- only railroad people find fault.
There were three big steamships in the harbor waiting to land their passengers, and there was much anxiety among the new-comers to be the first landed at the new station. The honor was reserved for a little rosy-cheeked Irish girl. She was Annie Moore, fifteen years of age, lately a resident of County Cork, and yesterday one of the 148 steerage passengers landed from the Guion steamship Nevada. Her name is now distinguished by being the first registered in the book of the new landing bureau.
The steamship that brought Annie Moore arrived late Thursday night [Dec. 31, 1891]. Early yesterday morning the passengers of that vessel were placed on board the immigrant transfer boat John E. Moore. The craft was gayly decorated with bunting and ranged alongside the wharf on Ellis Island amid a clang of bells and din of shrieking whistles.
As soon as the gangplank was run ashore, Annie tripped across it and was hurried into the big building that almost covers the entire island. By a prearranged plan she was escorted to a registry deck which was temporarily occupied by Mr. Charles M. Hendley, the former private secretary of Secretary Windom. He asked as a special favor the privilege of registering the first immigrant, and Col. Weber granted the request.
When the little voyager had been registered Col. Weber presented her with a ten-dollar gold piece and made a short address of congratulation and welcome. It was the first United States coin she had ever seen and the largest sum of money she had ever possessed. She says she will never part with it, but will always keep it as a pleasant memento of the occasion. She was accompanied by her two younger brothers. The trio came to join their parents, who live at 32 Monroe Street, this city.