Joseph Gales: From Sheffield to North Carolina

‘England’s loss was the United States’ gain’, writes William Noblett, when the fiery eighteenth century radical Joseph Gales established a prosperous foothold in the New World.

On July 29th, 1795, the Charles and Henry - a sloop which had departed from Altona in Schleswig-Holstein on June 5th - tacked slowly across the upper reaches of the Delaware Bay and anchored a little above Wilmington. On board was a bookseller and printer from Sheffield, Joseph Gales. In the diary he had kept of the journey, Gales recorded his arrival: ‘About midday we came to anchor a little above Wilmington when, after dinner, Capt Slade and I took the boat and went on shore, and this was the first time I put foot upon American land’.

They purchased fresh provisions - ‘a quantity of new potatoes, apples, cake, bread & butter &c’ - returned to the ship and continued their journey up the Delaware River. The following day, the Charles and Henry landed in Philadelphia and the local physician passed all on board as fit. Gales and his family set about establishing themselves in their new homes with alacrity.

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