WWives and daughters, captains and stowaways, heroines and transported convicts… they all went to sea. Travel back in time on board the 1877 Iron Barque ELISSA and discover the secret world of women in the merchant marine. From tales of true courageousness to epic stories of mythical proportions, let Elissa volunteer Michael Wonio introduce you to them all through narrative and song.

Tours will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 and Saturday, July 14. Tickets include admission to the Texas Seaport Museum & Tall Ship ELISSA.


Named in 2005 by the Texas legislature as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, ELISSA is one of only three 19th-century iron square-riggers in the World that continues to sail. Built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland, the iron-hulled vessel boasts a 90-year commercial history during which she carried a variety of cargoes to ports around the world, including Galveston. A National Historic Landmark and a fully functional sailing vessel, ELISSA has achieved a special place in history by sailing in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

After being abandoned as a freighter in Piraeus Harbor, Greece, ELISSA was rescued in the 1970s by a group of preservationists who refused to let her and her rich history die. Following extensive restoration, she today is part of the museum’s permanent exhibit and one of Galveston Island’s most popular attractions. Measuring 205 feet in length with a height of 99 feet and nine inches at the main mast, she carries 19 sails that cover more than a quarter of an acre in surface area. When not sailing, ELISSA is open for daily tours at the Texas Seaport Museum, located at Pier 22, just off Harborside Drive in downtown Galveston.

5 Responses

  1. LaVerne Ondrias

    I am looking for information on the Barque Franziska that sailed from Bremen Germany to Galveston, Texas on December 6, 1849. Are there any pictures or drawings of this ship? What was the fare from Bremen to Galveston? How big was this ship and how long did it take to make the trip to Galveston? My great grandfather was on this ship. Thank you for your help.

    • Elbert whortonnton@gmail.com

      My wife’s great grandmother and several of her kids may well have traveled similarly.
      about 1848-1849 She was Maria Loessin from Lagenhagen (sp) in Germany on the Baltic Sea. They were Prussisn.

  2. Tracey Mayer

    I am looking for information on the local Merchant Mariners. Specifically any documents or oral histories from World War II and prior. It is for a college research paper.

    • Linda Flores

      Put your request in a letter to the editor of the Galveston paper.


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