The Arizona was built in 1879 and had some fame attached to it as a passenger had murdered the first captain, it set the Atlantic West to East speed crossing record, and it survived a head-on collision with an iceberg all in its first year of service.
|The bow of the Arizona after collision with an iceberg.|
Amazingly no one was injured or lost at sea.
And fortunately repaired before the Vaughans embarked.
|Unveiling of the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World (1886) by Edward Moran|
And I found a photo of Castle Garden, where the Vaughans passed through U.S. Immigration, that would be shortly after the completion of the Statue of Liberty.
So were the Vaughns part of the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free?"
They were among the working poor. As Mormon converts in England they would have lost what little status in society they might have had and possibly had conflict with extended family and neighbors. They would have likely been less favored for job opportunities and may have been subject to harassment or even persecution based on the negative press coverage and sensationalized fiction of most things Mormon or LDS in those days.
They came in Church-organized companies even that late in the 19th Century. The official Church reports of Thomas's voyage listing the passengers include "about 200 Russian Jews." Those people were clearly fleeing the persecution of Czarist pogroms (think Fiddler on the Roof).