The full-rigged ship City of Mobile was built by Perrine & Stack at Greenpoint, Long Island, New York in 1854-55. Ordered and operated by Harbeck & Co. of New York, she was a very large carrier registered at 1,796 tons and measured 216 feet in length with a 42 foot beam. Designed with three full decks, she was one of the first ships to be fitted with double topsails instead of the usual enormous single topsails that were so difficult to handle and required a large crew. Although she loaded 9,000 quarters of wheat to England on her maiden voyage, she was officially classed as a packet ship and undoubtedly carried emigrants on her westward passages. First noted in Lloyd's Registers in the late 1860s, she was by then in British registry and was owned by W. Herron of Liverpool who traded her out of her home port to Belgium and other European destinations.