The Ganges brothers, Tendaji, Larry and Kelly, traveled to Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania in August in what history buffs hope was the first of many pilgrimages to an early American quarantine station there. The red-brick lazaretto, as it was called, was built in 1800 as a way to screen ships on the Delaware River for infectious diseases. As such, it gave immigrants their first contact with the new world. In the case of the Ganges family, the lazaretto was the final act of a close call.
Two slave ships docked at the Delaware County station in 1800 after the U.S. Navy captured them off Cuba. The 134 Africans aboard went ashore "without the least clothing," as the Pennsylvania Gazette described them. They were indentured to area residents to learn trades, and given the name of the Navy warship that escorted them to freedom: the USS Ganges.
"We found where we hit shore," said Tendaji Ganges, 57, of Flint, Mich. "It is a human story. It's not just our family's story. That's what is important about it."
You can read more about this story in the Philadelphia Inquirer web site at http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/pennsylvania/16314251.htm