The passengers of the Phoenix consisted almost exclusively of Dutch emigrants. Most of them came from Afgescheiden (seceder) backgrounds, following in the footsteps of Van Raalte. They came mostly from the eastern part of the Netherlands.
Albertus van Raalte and Antonie Brummelkamp promoted emigration to the United States. Originally, they promoted Wisconsin as their ultimate goal.
Together with a large group of followers, Albertus van Raalte had left for the United States in 1846. After reaching North-America he talked to several people there and decided to build a colony in Michigan, instead of Wisconsin.
For many Seceders in Gelderland and Overijssel, Wisconsin remained their target however. Minister Antonie Brummelkamp, who had helped found their own churches, had named Milwaukee in Wisconsin as their destination and they trusted him. Also, some early emigrants from Winterswijk and Aalten had already settled in Wisconsin so that may have influenced the group as well.
In August 1847, a large group of Seceders left their homes in the Achterhoek and Overijssel to go to the United States. From there on they sailed to New York, and then on to Albany and Buffelo, In Buffalo they boarded the vessel Phoenix.
Stories about some of the passengers on the Phoenix can be found elsewhere on this website: