Anna “Annie” Moore (April 24, 1874 – December 6, 1924) was an Irish emigrant to the United States in 1892. She was the first immigrant to the United States to pass through federal immigrant inspection at the Ellis Island station in New York Harbor.
Just 14-years old and traveling with her two younger brothers, Anthony (11) and Phillip (7), Annie departed from County Cork, Ireland on December 20, 1891 aboard the S.S. Nevada, one of 148 steerage passengers. The trio would spend 12 days at sea (including Christmas Day), arriving in New York on Thursday evening, December 31. They were processed through Ellis Island the following morning, New Year’s Day and also Annie’s 15th birthday. She received a greeting from officials and a $10.00 gold piece. All three children were soon reunited with their parents who were already living in New York.
Her parents, Matthew and Julia Moore, had come to the United States in 1888 and were living at 32 Monroe Street in Manhattan. Annie married German immigrant Joseph Augustus Schayer, an employee at Manhattan’s Fulton Fish Market, with whom she had at least eleven children. She died of heart failure on December 6, 1924 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens. Her previously unmarked grave was identified in September 2006. On October 11, 2008, a dedication ceremony was held at Calvary which celebrated the unveiling of a marker for her grave, a Celtic Cross made of Irish Blue Limestone.
Today Annie is honored by two statues — one at her port of departure Cobh, Ireland, and the other at Ellis Island, her port of arrival. Her image will forever represent the millions who passed through Ellis Island in pursuit of the American dream. Ellis Island station, in operation until 1954, processed over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers. The main building was restored after 30 years of abandonment and opened as a museum on September 10, 1990.