Williams & Guion Black Star Line

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The Black Star Line was the name used by American sailing packets owned by the New York firm of Williams and Guion from 1848 to 1866.[1] The line owned 18 ships on the Liverpool-Queenstown-New York route.[1] The line was shut down in 1863 because of the success of newer, faster liners and the danger of transatlantic travel during the American Civil War.[2]


Williams and Guion was formed by John Stanton Williams and Stephen Barker Guion (1820–1885) in 1848.[1][3]

Guion moved to Liverpool in 1852 and acted as the line's agent. Williams remained in New York City.[1] In 1853 Guion's older brother, William Howe Guion joined the New York City office.[1]

In 1866, Stephen Guion became a British citizen. There he established the Guion Line of British steamships.[2] Williams and Guion owned 52% of the steamship line and acted as the New York agent for the company.[4] In 1876, John Williams died and the firm was restructured in 1883.[1]

In January 1884, William Guion resigned from the firm and his 36-year-old nephew, William Howe Guion, Jr. was made partner and the company was now called Guion and Company.[1][3][5]

The firm had to be liquidated in 1886 when both Stephen Guion and William Guion, Jr. died within weeks of each other.[1] The Guion Line was then reorganized as a public stock corporation.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Stephen Barker Guion". New York Times. December 20, 1885. 
  2. ^ a b c Gibbs, Charles Robert Vernon (1957). Passenger Liners of the Western Ocean: A Record of Atlantic Steam and Motor Passenger Vessels from 1838 to the Present Day. John De Graff. 
  3. ^ a b "Failure Of W.H. Guion". New York Times. January 20, 1884. Retrieved 2011-12-16. Mr. William H. Guion, who has been, since the death of Mr. John S. Williams in 1876, at the head of the firm of Williams Guion, agents of the Guion line of European steamers in this City, yesterday made an assignment without preferences to Avery T. Brown, a lawyer at No. 63 Wall-street. ... 
  4. ^ New York Times (August 2, 1873). Williams and Guion, A Thoroughly English Line. 
  5. ^ New York Times (January 21, 1884). William H. Guion, Ruined by loans to friends.