Immigration of the Jones Family from Wales to Salt Lake City Utah
William Taylor Jones, his wife Lucy Lewis, and their five children emigrated from Swansea Glamorgan, Wales via London England in January 1852. Their group was the first that was paid for by Emigrating Fund Company of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so there was a lot of anticipation in Salt Lake City for their arrival. They were sent by the Church’s Agent in Liverpool, Franklin D. Richards, and sailed on the ship Ellen Maria. They left Liverpool on February 10, 1852 and arrived at New Orleans on April 5, 1852. Their journey was pleasant, and they were in high spirits traveling together with all of the 367 Saints on board, including 264 adults, 89 children under 14 years of age & 14 infants They were organized in 50s and 10s under elected leadership, and held regular church meetings. It is reported that all of the passengers sang a church hymn as the ship left harbor in Liverpool.
Once they arrived in New Orleans they continued by river steamer to St. Louis, Missouri where they became part of the Abraham O Smoot overland oxen pulled wagon company. They then traveled another week on another steamer up the Mississippi to Kansas City, Missouri, where they began their overland part of the journey. Almost all of Company walked most of 1,200 mile journey to Salt Lake City. They encountered Cholera, and begging Indians, and many hardships on the overland portion of the trip. They arrived on Sept. 3, 1852 in Salt Lake City with 31 wagons, and were greeted with much fanfare, including a brass band, and a nine round cannon salute. Thousands of men, women, and children gathered to welcome them and a speech was given by Brigham Young.
"THE ELLEN MARIA cleared on the seventh, but owing to
adverse winds did not put to sea until the tenth, of February. Her entire
complement was made up of the Saints' company, and consisted of three hundred
and sixty-nine souls, one of which was born during the detention; both mother
and child were remarkably comfortable at the date of departure. . . .
. . . With this company we are called upon to part with Elders J. D. Ross, Glaud Rodger, Haden W. Church, J. W. Johnson, Henry Evans, and Lewis Robbins -- all presidents of conferences from this important field. . . ."
MS, 14:5 (March 1, 1852), p.72
"By letter from Elder Isaac C. Haight, we learn that the Ellen Maria arrived at New Orleans on the 7th of April, after a very pleasant and prosperous voyage. There were three births, four marriages, and one death, (Sister Rolph, aged 89 years, of diarrhea,) during the voyage. Captain Whitmore is spoken of as a very kindhearted and considerate man."
MS, 14:13 (May 22, 1852), p.202
"FIFTY-SEVENTH COMPANY. -- Ellen Maria, 369 souls. The ship Ellen Maria which the year previous had brought a company of Saints safely across the Atlantic, was again chartered by the presidency at Liverpool to bring another company to New Orleans; and on the seventh of February, 1852, she cleared, but owing to adverse winds, did not put to sea until the tenth of February. Her entire complement was made up of Saints, numbering three hundred and sixty-nine souls; one of which was born during the detention. (Both mother and child were remarkably comfortable at the date of departure.) Among those who sailed with this company were a number of prominent Americans and native elders who had performed efficient missionary work in the British Isles, such as James D. Ross, Gland Rodger, Haden W. Church, J. W. Johnson, Henry Evans and Louis Robbins; these brethren had all acted as presidents of the conferences.
Elder Isaac C. Haight, an American elder, was an appointed president of the company, which included one hundred and eighty-two P. [Perpetual] E. [Emigration] Fund emigrants.
After a very pleasant and prosperous voyage, the Ellen Maria arrived at New Orleans on the seventh of April. There were three births, four marriages and one death during the voyage. The person who died was a Sister Rolph, aged eighty nine years.
Captain Whitmore, as a very kind and considerate man, treated the emigrants with all due respect and consideration.
From New Orleans the journey was continued by a river steamer to St. Louis, Missouri, where the company was met by Abraham O. Smoot, who acted as agent for the P. E. Fund Company, and who purchased supplies for the Saints who emigrated to Utah through the agency of that company, to make the overland journey with.
After co-operating with Elder Smoot in this connection according to instructions, Elder Issac C. Haight, who had led the company to St. Louis, returned to England, and
Elder Smoot conducted the emigrants to Council Bluffs, and subsequently lead the first British company of P. E. Fund emigrants across the plains, consisting of those who had crossed the Atlantic in both the Kennebec and Ellen Maria."
Cont., 13:9 (July 1892), pp.414-15
"Tues. 10. [Feb. 1852] . . . The ship Ellen Maria sailed from Liverpool, England, with 369 Saints, under the direction of Isaac C. Haight. It arrived in New Orleans April 6th."
We had experienced our first ride on a steamboat, coming from Glasgow to Liverpool, and had a very rough journey for 24 hours, and Cecelia and I were very sick, but Margaret proved to be a good sailor.
After arriving at Liverpool, we tarried there for a few days, waiting for the good ship- Ellen Maria, the ship on which we emigrated, to get loaded, there being a large company of Saints, so we had to time to look around the city and to go to the shops to buy, and hear them talk English, which was quite amusing to us, as we had never been out of Scotland until then. We also had time to reflect back to the time of bidding an affectionate farewell to our loved ones and many neighbors, among whom we had been raised in the town of Edinburgh, on the coast of the beautiful Firth of Fouth, where our hearts were much endeared to the many hills and dates, where we three girls with our brother, Alexander, had roamed with our many comrades in the neighborhood, 47 India Place.
It was February 10, 1852, we sailed from Liverpool, and the Saints all sang Hymn #No. 235, Page 241 of the Latter-day Saint Hymn Book-"Yes My Native Land, I Love THEE,"
All thy scenes, I love them well; [p.8]
Friends, connections, happy country,
Can I bid you farewell?
Can I leave thee,
Far in the distant lands to dwell?
Home thy joys are passing lovely,
Joy no stranger heart can tell;
Happy home 'tis sure I love thee.
Can I, can I say farewell?
Can I leave thee,
Far in the distant lands to dwell?
Holy scenes of joy and gladness
Every fond emotion swell;
Can I banish heartfelt sadness
While I bid my home farewell?
Can I leave thee,
Far in the distant lands to dwell?
Yes, I hasten from you gladly,
From the scenes I love so well,
Far away, ye billows, bear me,
Lovely, native lands, farewell.
Pleased I leave thee,
Far in distant lands to dwell.
In the deserts let me labor,
On the mountains let me tell
How he died, the blessed Savior,
To redeem a world from hell.
Let me hasten,
Far in distant lands to dwell.
Bear me on, thou restless ocean,
Let the winds the canvas swell;
Heaves my heart with warm emotion,
While I go far hence to dwell.
Glad I bid thee,
Native land, farewell, farewell.
The first few days of our sailing along the Irish coast was very rough and stormy, and Cecelia and I were again very sick, but Margaret proved again to be a good sailor and able to help us a little.
When we got out in the open sea, we had lovely voyage excepting by being delayed by some contrary winds and [p.9] dead calms, causing the vessel to scarcely move. We were nine or 10 weeks at sea and reached New Orleans, April 6, 1852. We then took a steamboat up the Mississippi River to St. Louis , where many of the weak-hearted Saints apostatized. After tarrying there a few days, we boarded another steamer and went up the Missouri River to Kansas City, where we landed.
We were assigned, with others, to two log cabins, or rooms where we were to sleep, and to do our cooking at a fire-place, taking our turn with the bake kettle. We made our beds on the floor at night. It was here we learned to wait to be patient and take our turn, as there were so many of us to use that oven. We were a pretty good set of people and did not quarrel. President A. O. Smoot, was our captain. [p.10]
. . . Our company arrived in the Valley September 3, 1852, and were met by Ballos Brass Band, at Echo Canyon. We were the first company of Saints to have been brought by the Perpetual Emigration Fund, which had been organized by President Brigham Young. We received great honors. . . . [p.14]
BIB: Brower, Hannah Thompson. Autobiography (Ms
10204), pp. 8-10, 14. (CHL)
In the sixth year of my life my parents, who were Presbyterians, heard the gospel of Jesus Christ preached, by an Elder John Ander; and they were baptized by him in 1848, and in April 1850, my father got the spirit of the gathering and left his native land to come to Zion, to prepare a place for my mother and me to come too. He left us in Scotland. He sent for us in 1852. On Feb. 10th, 1852, we left our native land in the good ship Ellen Maria, with 369 other Saints. Our captain, was Isaac C. Haight, with George B. Walace as assistance. We landed in New Orleans on the 6th of April after being eight weeks on the sea in a sailing vessel. We had a severe storm of three days and we steerage passengers were fastened down under the hatches and not one allowed on deck until it was over. My 10th birthday was spent on the sea. After arriving at New Orleans we took a steamboat and sailed up the Mississippi River and a week later landed at St. Louis where we changed steamers and went up the Missouri River to Kansas City which took a week. Here were remained until the captain bought our tents and wagons. . . . [p.1]
A. O. Smoot was our captain and Christopher Langton his assistant . . .
. . .We arrived in Salt Lake City, the 3rd of Sept. 1852, with 31 wagons. . . . [p.2]
BIB: Sant, Margaret. Autobiography [LDS Church Archives, Ms 8237, reel 4, item #97, pp. 1- 2; Acc. #33439] (CHL)
Liverpool, Feb. 10th 1852
Passenger ship Ellen Maria, Captain Amhurst Whitmore, with 367 passengers on board including 264 adults, 89 children under 14 years of age & 14 infants. Elder Isaac C. Haight, president of company, Elders L. [Lewis] Robbins and J.[Joseph] W. Johnson, counselors, Henry E. Pugh, clerk. Left Victoria Dock, Liverpool, Feb. 10th, towed out into the river & came to anchor for the night. The company was organized in the following order, viz: steerage: Elder George Hill to 2nd, Elder John Leishman 3rd, Elder Robert Watson 4th, Priest William. Hudson 5th, Elder John Dunn 6th, Priest Edward Davies [Davis] 7th, Elder Edward Milnes 8th and Elder Eliezer Edwards 9th. 2nd cabin: Elder Claud Rodger 1st, Elder Isaac Brockebank [Brockbank], 2nd. Prayers to be attended morning & evening.
Wednesday 11th. At past 10 o'clock a. morning, the ship was tacked and towed by steam tug, which left us about 4 o'clock p.m. when the sails were spread before a gentle breeze which wafted us smoothly along for a short time when the wind freshened, the sea became rough which caused much sickness among the passengers during the night.
Thursday, 12th. Wind blowing strong from southwest which drove us back past the Isle of Man; seasickness still among the passengers. About 2 o'clock p.m., Jonathan Young & Sarah Farr were married by Elder Lewis Robbins.
Friday, 13th. Wind changed to northeast, sea calm & passengers began to recover from sickness. Provisions served out to the passengers. Peace and charity prevailing throughout the ship. The Saints enjoying much of the spirit manifest in their united love & good feeling one towards another.
Saturday, 14th. Favorable winds & weather during the greater part of the week & on Saturday 14th a marriage took place on board between Edward Simon and Jane Beddoe from Wales who were married by Elder Eliezer Edwards.
On Sunday 15th. [p. 1] three meetings were held on board, one in the 2nd cabin & two in the steerage, when the sacrament was administered and & good feeling manifested.
On Monday night, 16th. at 11 o'clock p.m. Sister Mary McLauchlan [McLaughlan], wife of Mark McLauchlan [McLaughlan], was safely delivered of a fine female child. The remaining part of the week good breezes and calm sea, the passengers in good health & spirits. Elder Henry Brown met with a slight accident by falling from the steerage stairs & dislocating his shoulder, but it was immediately adjusted by the Captain Whitmore & he is now favorably recovering.
Sunday, 22nd. Fine weather, wind blowing a gentle breeze northeast, good health generally prevailing among the passengers, those who have been ill gradually recovering. Captain Whitmore has been unremitting in his attention to the passengers in promoting their comfort & happiness. There was a meeting held on the top deck in the afternoon. The meeting was addressed by Elder J.[Joseph] W. Johnson, who was followed in his remarks by President I. [Isaac] C. Haight, much to the edification & instruction of the passengers. The sacrament was administered & a good spirit prevailed. After the sacrament was over Brother McLauchlan's [McLaughlan's] child, who was born on board, was blessed by Elder J. [James] D. Ross and named Eliza Anne Haight, the meeting was dismissed by Elder I. [Isaac] C. Haight & the Saints returned to their respective berths, feeling much gratified.
Monday, 23rd. Fine weather, wind blowing northeast the ship going at the rate of 9 knots per hour, the passengers enjoying good health & buoyant spirits with but very few exceptions.
Wednesday, 25th. Fine weather and wind favorable, good health and spirits generally prevailing among the passengers.
Thursday, 26th. Fresh wind & sea rather rough; some of the passengers feeling rather sickly from the effects thereof. [p. 2]
Friday, 27th. Wind and weather much the same as yesterday and passengers generally in good health.
Saturday 28th. Wind & weather more favorable than yesterday and sea calmer. The passengers busily engaged in cleaning & for the morrow [UNCLEAR]; good health and spirits generally prevailing.
Sunday, 29th. Fine weather, wind west, southwest. The generality of the passengers enjoying good health and spirits. Held a meeting on the top deck in the afternoon when Elder J.D. Ross delivered a very interesting and instructive discourse. The sacrament was administered and the meeting was dismissed by Elder H. [Haden] W. Church. The daughter of Brother Thomas Child who was born Feb. 8th while the vessel lay in the Victoria Dock, Liverpool, was blessed by Elder Glaud [Claud] Rodger and named Ellen Maria.
Monday, March 1st. Fine weather, the wind west, southwest, good health and spirits generally prevailing among the passengers.
Tuesday, 2nd. Sea rather rough, but fine weather and wind favorable. A vessel in view, the first seen for more than a week. This afternoon a lecture was delivered by Elder Horner on the subject of his leaving the Baptists and going a Latter-day Saint. The passengers generally in good health & spirits.
Wednesday, 3rd. Wind favorably northeast, fine weather, sea still rather rough, good health generally prevailing among the passengers.
Thursday, 4th. Fine weather, wind northeast. This afternoon was very interesting. A lecture was delivered by Elder Lewis Robbins on the life and death and the character of Joseph Smith; the passengers enjoying good health.
Friday, 5th. East wind, fine weather; provisions were served out to the passengers and all seeming to [be] doing well.
Saturday, 6th. Wind favorable & very fine weather. Some of the passengers very ill, the captain showing great attention and kindness to them. The weather very warm [so] that several took their beds upon deck & slept there all night.
Sunday, 7th. Weather rather squally; had a meeting on the top deck when [p .3] Elder H. W. Church addressed the passengers & after the sacrament was administered & [meeting] was dismissed.
Monday, 8. Fine weather and wind favorable; the passengers generally enjoying good health and spirits. [p. 4]
BIB: [Diary] IN Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company. General Files
(1849-1898) bx. 1, fd. 4. British
Mission historical records and minutes. [LDS Church Archives, LR 1140 2, April
6, 1852, pp. 1-4; Acc. #2396] (CHL)
Overland portion of Journey was in the Abraham O Smoot Company
1 June 1852,
3 September 1852
Number In Company
About 250 individuals and 33 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from Kansas City, Missouri.
7 November 1836
26 February 1922
20 December 1838
28 December 1912
11 June 1834
22 Aug. 1860
28 April 1812
9 October 1880
6 August 1841
18 December 1864
22 March 1809
9 February 1877
But as no one is certain of anything till they receive it, I thought I would ask the Lord for a sign. It was this -- I told the Lord if I was to go on the Ellen Maria for him to put me aboard of the ship that night, and if I was not aboard it would be a sign I was not to go -- and I troubled the Lord considerable on this matter.
I am on the Ship
Now I kept all these prayers and anxieties to myself. Well the Lord condescended to hear the prayer of a poor uneducated boy and that same night I was aboard of a sailing vessel looked to be such a one as I sailed on. She was in the harbor. The deck, bulwarks, blocks and rigging were as plain as if I had actually been on her, so now I had faith that I was going, but still kept it to myself. I now bought me a new suit of clothes to be ready when the time come. We were to leave on the 31st of January 1852. I collected all my debts I could and what I could not I left my mother to collect. At last the day came for the sale of the brethren's household goods and at the same time I sold what remained of my pack. All was sold at auction on the morning of the 31st of January 1852. I bid adieu to my mother and family, says I am going to Liverpool, it may be I will go to Salt Lake. If I don't I will soon return. We embarked at Glasgow the same day at 4 p.m. and landed at Liverpool next morning at 4 a.m., being on sea only 12 hours. We had a rough passage most all the passengers were sick. I was up all night carrying hot coffee to the sick. I have crossed the Irish Channel 10 times and the Atlantic Ocean 3 times, and in all my adventures I have never had one moment of seasickness. I remained in Liverpool till the 10th day before I knew I was to come. Shadden and Mark McGlachelin would not render me any assistance. I went up to 15 Wilton St. and talked to F. [Franklin] D. Richards on the subject. I told him the plain truth and my situation and how I had failed to obtain the help promised.
February 8, 1889 [THE DATE HE BEGAN WRITING HIS REMINISCENCES]
He says if you can raise 3 pounds - $15.00 - I will send you through to Salt Lake. I had a little over one pound, but to raise two more might bother me, but I had faith it would come, so down I goes to the ship for all the passengers had secured their berths. I had none for I was last of all, as one born out of due season.
The eye of God was upon Me
But though I might be looked upon as lonely and unworthy the notice of the puffed up and proud there was one's eye resting upon me. His help always comes in at the 11th hour. The strong and powerful do not need any help, but the poor and weak. I had thrown myself entirely upon his care and he was watching over me. My passage on the Ellen Maria was just as certain as if I had been the possessor of a million of money. I went direct from the office down to the dock where the ship lay well rigged and manned and ready for sea. All was bustle. The barrels were being filled with water from the hydrants by means of hose. Provisions were being lowered as fast as hands and machinery could do it. I walked the bridge aboard the ship, and ere long I was standing beside Brother James and Sister Isabella Smith. Says I to them, we been up to the office and seen Brother Richards, and what does he say. He told me if I could raise 3 pounds he would send me clear to Salt Lake with this company. I have one pound and a few shillings. Brother Smith says to his wife we will let Brother Wilson have it. She replied - yes, and give me two sovereigns and I at the same time passed her the few shillings, I had not reserving [p.36] one penny to myself thanking them kindly for their generosity. I put the three sovereigns in my pocket, feeling more grateful to God and my benefactors than men of the world who are possessed with millions. After receiving it I was not long before I was again at No. 15 Wilton St. and handed the money to President Richards. He manifested great pleasure at the success I had and presently made out my shipping papers, after which I passed the doctor all right. I walked aboard the ship feeling as great as if I had fallen heir to a large fortune.
February 8, 1889
All I had was on my back
I was now aboard the ship without bed or bedding, neither cups, knife, or spoon, and all my earthly sustenance was on my back. But one thing I could depend upon and that was the ship's allowance. Sister Smith says to me - you will help us in our cooking. Certainly I said, I shall do all I can to assist you, for I should certainly have been very ungrateful if I had not a done it. There were several families now on the vessel. I had prior to this time made their acquaintance. They had formerly lived in Johnstone Branch in the Glasgow Conference. There names were - Leishman and Watson. The first named had a large family of boys and through the kindness of Mrs. Leishman I was made welcome to sleep with them. At this time she was not in the church, but after she came to the valley she joined the church and died in the faith. Her husband died lately at the age of 84 years.
Messed with Brother Smith and his wife
I drew my rations with Brother and Sister Smith and I messed with them. Now as relates as to what became of these 3 families from Dalry Branch, Smith, Shadden [Shedden], and McGlachelin [McLaughlin], I shall accurately set it down in its proper place. This was the 10th of February 1852 about 3 p.m. Having made all necessary arrangements my mind was at rest. I sat down and wrote home to mother and family. As relates to what success I had and that by the time they should receive this letter, I should be many miles on my way away to the far west. It was about one year before I received any word from home. We set sail next day, having on board some 350 Latter-day Saints. All Saints from Europe who were emigrated by the Perpetual Emigration Fund and was supposed to be entitled to assistance first both as to their faithfulness and in poor circumstances. Isaac C. Haight had charge of the company, and brought us to the frontiers and handed us over to the care of Brother A. O. Smoot. He was sent from the Valley by President Young to fetch this company of Saints home.
Funeral at Sea
Brother Haight after he delivered us to the care of Bishop Smoot, he again
returned to England coming home next year in charge of the 15 pound company. We
had a prosperous passage. Only one death of an old lady. She was sewed up in a
sheet, a large piece of coal tied to her feet. She was lowered by sliding of a
smooth plank feet first. The ship was hauled too. While the lowering of her
body was being done, we watched her closely till she sank many fathoms down out
of sight in the deep blue sea, and if anything is sad and impressive and that
is calculated to leave an impression upon the mind, it is a funeral at sea. She
had one son aboard. He seemed almost as old as she was and at that 1852 I
should guess him to be nearly 70 years of age. He cried like a child. When we
went out to sea three days a stowaway made his appearance on deck. He hid among
the coal. He was as black as any niger.
He was poorly clad and worse treated all the way. He was a lackey to all the
sailors and if he did not move at the moment when ordered he was helped with a
kick from the toe of a heavy boot. But he was not entirely annihilated. He got
to New Orleans, when he left the ship. We held meetings on Sundays and enjoyed
ourselves first rate. At night all lights had to be out by 9 o'clock. We kept a
guard up all night to keep the sailors from coming downstairs for some of the
girls would associate with them if not under strict surveillance. Our ship was
ballast with railroad rails. In one storm it was thought she might capsize or
go down, fearing the rails would shift to one side so as to unbalance her. One
day we got in a trough of the sea. She rocked sometimes from side to side till
she nearly lay on her broadside, her masts nearly touching the waves. When in
these troughs numerous flying fish would fly out of one wave across the trough
and light on the next wave. We were 6 weeks without seeing land. The first we
seen was the Island of Sandemingo [PROBABLY, San
Domingo]. We passed near to Jamaica, but the weather was hazy as we did not see
it. We touched near to the coast of Cuba. We could see the houses on the beach.
We came through what is termed the hole in the wall never hearing the narrow
passage fully explained, I had supposed it was a very dangerous place for a
ship to pass through, and us greenhorns would remark seriously - there was a
great danger of being wrecked going through the hole in the wall - when at the
same time it was a great wide passage many miles in extent. We crossed the
Tropic of Cancer near Cuba, the sun being vertical at noon we had no shadow it
was very warm and it so affected my eyes that to the present day it affects me
more or less. We landed at the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of
Mexico on the 12th of April, after a long but prosperous passage of 8 weeks and
3 days. Our vessel drew 19 feet of water, consequently we stuck on the bar for
3 days before we could engage any tug steamer to haul us off. This sandbar
extends clear across the river at its mouth, and vessels of large draught
always sticks on it, so vessel when once fast, must either be hauled off or
wait on a spring tide. It was all two steam tugs could do to haul our ship off
and all sailing vessels must be tugged up to New Orleans, a distance from here
of 120 miles. One tug takes up two vessels, one lashed to each side. This is
the largest known river in North America and is over 3,00
0 miles long. It is very circuitous, turbid and deep, its current generally is sluggish and some places a mile wide and it has many whirlpools and in some of them it seems as if a small boat would be sucked in.
February 9, 1889
Slavery on the Mississippi
This river passes through several of the slave states. In those days wood was used for fuel for the steamboats and it was niggers who entirely done the loading of the wood and they worked constant and earnestly, often singing as they marched in single file over the plank to deliver their heavy loads of wood from their shoulders -- being the first men I ever beheld in slavery, who had no liberty, but just to do as they were told or have a raw hide applied to their almost bare backs, my heart felt to commiserate these awful conditions, but really when I come to look back at the pit from whence myself was dug with million more as myself in the same condition, I do not see much difference between black slavery and white slavery. One is compelled to work or be chastised - the other [p.38] must work for what he can get or starve or do the next best thing, or steal and go to prison.
We reached New Orleans I think on the second day from the mouth of the river. I am not aware than any sailing vessels navigate this river any further. We lay here 3 days waiting to be transferred to a steamship. While waiting, I had a good chance to go round and take in the sights, but being destitute of money I had to be satisfied with what I could see. As a general rule the city is tidy and clean, but the streets are narrow and paved, and it contains a great number of eating houses, hotels, and saloons and vast quantities of baled cotton ready for shipping. In being transferred from our ship to the steamboat St. Paul, Brother John Shadden [Shedden] fell off the plank between the two boats, but was fortunately picked up just as he was a short distance from the paddle.
The steamboats on the river are huge monsters resembling old castles, having good saloon or dining rooms and are very commodious - that is providing you have plenty of money, but storage passengers who are not overly stocked with this commodity must be satisfied with a pallet or a straw mattress laid upon a rack similar to sailor's bunks. More or properly speaking, they compare more favorably to an institution where I was kindly invited to visit at Uncle Sam's expense to spend a beautiful summer, or deny God and His gospel. So not to be stubborn I accepted of Judge Pinney's Moderate dose, having lain upon both styles of bed ranges, I believe I am enabled to give an unbiased decision and I think the Yuma prison beds are at least a class higher than what I had on the St. Paul. But to give the reader an idea of the arrangement of these nocturnal sleepers, I would refer you to the vender of the feathered race where one floor of his coop is vertical to the 2 lower stories. The St. Paul, I was informed, was an old condemned leaker and liable to go up at any moment, but she didn't. But sometimes she tried to run out of the river but the banks were rather steep to succeed. There are many islands in the river, and on dark nights when the helmsman might not be quite straight the boat would take advantage of the helm and would attempt to cross the islands, but was generally unsuccessful and sometimes the deck hands had to tighten the forepart so as to be able to back out. But after 7 days hard labor we reach St. Louis having traveled 1100 miles. Here we were detained 3 days waiting another transfer, and also here we parted forever in this life. The 3 Dalry families, Smith, Shadden, and McGlachelin and also Brother Robert Watson and family and only one of the families ever came to Utah. He is now superintendent of Z.C.M.I. at Ogden.
Before I left St. Louis, Sister Smith bought me a pair of shoes, a hickory shirt and give me a small chest to put my clothing in but I never had any use for this chest till sometime after my arrival in Salt Lake. We were transferred to another packet and in the afternoon on the 3rd day we were again afloat on the Old Mississippi heading towards the west. 40 miles above St. Louis we are at the mouth of the Missouri River it being dark when we entered it and was next day before I learned we were sailing up the Missouri, and if I had not been told I scarcely would have known the difference. There is a great many snags in the river. One night I rose out of bed. I was afraid of something happening. I was standing behind the paddle wheel. All at once a large snag run through the floor or projection just aback of the paddle wheel. I had a narrow escape of being thrown into the river so I went back to my bed seeing I was just as safe in one place as another for if God takes notice of a sparrow, how much more will he care for his children who put their trust in him. We were 4 days from St. Louis to Kansas City, a distance of 400 miles. 60 miles below this place we passed Lexington where the Saluda exploded her boiler blowing her upper decks into the river. There was a company of Saints on this vessel and many of them were blown into the river and were drowned. Many were scalded. Some had to get their legs amputated. I went to see the maimed and scalded in the hospital. They looked a sorrowful lot. I examined the blown-up boat, all that remained of her was the hull, laying on its side at the shore. When we landed in Kansas we moved into a two story log cabin. We got along some way but we were awfully crowded, but people can get along most in any situation when they are agreeable.
February 11, 1889
There was a family who came with the company I was in by the name of McKinney. They had 4 or 5 of a family. After we got to Kansas I was fortunate enough to succeed in getting to board with this family, so I was now numbered in their family, my rations being drawn with theirs. But I found a camp life to be to monotonous loitering about the wharf idling away my time to no profit, so it came into my mind to walk down to Independence, Jackson County, [p.40] whereon is to built the New Jerusalem. It was only 9 miles distant.
I start for Jackson County
I tried to get some of the boys to accompany me, but did not succeed. So away I started alone and just outside the city limits I struck a belt of heavy timber, but the farther I went, the timber seemed to get thicker, and I began to have doubts as to the wisdom of my adventurous journey. If I could get there and not be able to come back the same day, I would be out of luck for I had not a cent of money to meet any expenses. Another drawback....I was unarmed and thinking I might fall among bad company or become a prey for wild beasts I philosophically concluded to retrace my steps and return to camp. I got back in time for dinner. Now whether it was timidity or being led by the whisperings within I leave others to judge. I would have liked very much to have been enabled to accomplish this journey, but fate was against it. But one thing I can say that I never have regretted it to any great extent. The distance between Kansas City and Salt Lake is 1200 miles and it would take us at least 3 months to reach our destination after we started traveling by ox team. Being in Paddy's fix, having the small chest which Sister Smith give to me before leaving St. Louis but no clothes to put it in, a long journey before me, and my wardrobe as I have related somewhat scant, I set out to seek for employment. It was now about the end of April 1852. Just as I got outside of the city I came to a nice frame building sitting upon a small patch of land not long cleared, the stumps remaining. I rapped at the door and was answered by the gentleman of the house. I told him my business. He asked me many questions as to where I came from and where I was going to. All of his interrogations I answered correctly. Then you are a Mormon. Yes sir. "Well, says he, "I do not care as to what creed you belong to. It's not one's business but your own. What can you do...anything...Do you think you could take out those stumps and straighten up my place?" 'Yes sir - I can.' I do not think I mentioned anything about wages until I finished the job but he agreed to board me. I agreed to begin next morning at 7 a.m.
A Young Doctor
This gentleman's surname was Bridget. He was a professor of medicine. He was quite young. He had a wife and one child, also two young niggers, a boy and a girl which his father give him when he got married for a start in slavery for Missouri is a slavery state. I went next morning and took a chum with me to help with the stumps as they were very heavy. The doctor employed him also. But he did not work to suit him so he paid him off but I do not remember how much per day he received - I know not. After the stumps and holes were all disposed of, he set me to gardening which I did to his entire satisfaction. He paid me 50 cents per day which he said was the highest wages for outdoor hands paid in the state.
Sheriff Smart- My Chum Again
He then introduced me to his father-in-law, Mr. Smart, Sheriff of the County. He give me a good recommendation as a young man he would have no occasion to watch as I was trustworthy and an excellent worker. I again took the same chum along as he wanted to earn a little money and I felt to do him a kindness if it was in my power - for we were both on the most intimate terms - our first job was to plant corn. I got along first rate, but that night my partner was paid off. [p.41]
A Bonnie Lassie
I expect the doctor give Mr. Smart his recommend. He was a young man I much respected, and I felt sorry he had not been able to keep at work, for his family needed his help, but although they both told me their reasons for not keeping him, I had too much regard for his feelings to tell him the reason of his dismissal. This young man at the present is a good man and the father of a large family, and I think it prudent to withhold his name feeling at what I have said he might take offense. I finished my labors with Mr. Smart by fixing his flower garden, putting the beds in, in whatever form he desired. His daughter of 16 summers, a beautiful lassie, kept constantly with me suggesting how she would like it done. Of course I done all I could do to please her. I also boarded with Mr. Smart. Both of these gentlemen kept excellent tables, from 10 to 15 different dishes, and to let those who may pursue this history understand how I got along at the first American tables I ever sat at, and how green I was, it may seen laughable, but to me it was anything but fun.
My first American Experience in eating
At the first American table I ever sat at, I was nearly starved, and this is how it happened - I would be handed first potato gravy, meat, bread, corn doggers, and then different dishes of garden sauce greens, radishes, I would keep taking and piling up my food on my plate till I would not know what to do for want of room. Then came along the pies and custards. By the time I got the last eatables some of them would jump up and not to be thought unmannerly I would also leave the table, little better satisfied when I sat down, for in my native country the head of the house always remains at the table till any guests who may chance to be visiting are through. But when I went to camp in the evening I hunted up all the pieces of scones and hard crusts I could lay my hands upon and they seemed quite palatable without either milk, butter, meat, or molasses.
Near a collision - over a niger
An incident occurred while I was at Mr. Smart's which came very near bringing us in collision with the settlers. It happened on this wise. Elder E. Church, a returning missionary, left us at New Orleans to visit his father's home in Tennessee. His father having died while he had been on his mission, his father in his will left him some property and a portion of it was a niger known as niger Tom. A. O. Smoot of Salt Lake at last owned this niger and finally he was drowned while bathing. As we came up the river Elder Church put this niger aboard of our vessels, but did not accompany us himself. When we arrived at Kansas, Tom lived among the Saints and he behaved himself first rate. Sometime after I was working for Mr. Smart, Tom was arrested as a runaway niger. He was asked to show his papers if he was free, but this he could not do as he had none. Mr. Church held them, thinking he would be safe with us till he would come up, for if Tom had held the papers he could run away and been quite safe. Tom refused to be taken, declaring he was Mr. Church's niger.
Tom's arrest - they beat him [p.42]
So they beat him very severely and thrust him into prison. That evening Mr. Smart came home. He had a long yarn to tell about the niger's arrest and how they had to beat him before he could be taken, that he was a runaway niger and the Mormons were hiding him, and that it was no new thing for the Mormons to do. He said it was for encouraging the slaves to leave their masters that the Mormons were driven from Jackson County just a little ways below.
Mormons blamed for encouraging niggers to run away
I denied these assertions. In tecto, he said it was the intention of the citizens to raise a mob and drive us out of the country, but he says Mr. Wilson, I will hide you in the house for I do not believe you would assist in any such unlawful deeds. He then asked me if I knew anything in relation to this affair. I replied I knew all about it, so he asked me to make a statement of all I knew.
I give a true statement - Mormon Creed
So I related to him all the circumstances in relation to the whole matter in detail. He says I believe you to be a young man who will tell the truth. We are going to try him tomorrow and I shall want you as a witness in this case, and if it is proved that the Mormons are linked in this affair, I am afraid as mobs will rise against you. Says I, Mr. Smart, you need have no fears. If it comes to a trial, the Mormons will come out all right. We believe in minding our own business - but says I, Mr. Smart, if it so happens that a mob is raised to drive us out, I promise you that no house will ever conceal me while my brethren are being mobbed. He seemed quite excited over the affair, and the thought flashed to my mind that I might not be far from many who had took a part in driving the Saints from their homes in Jackson County, and that I might be seeing some of the very men whose hands were yet reeking with the blood on innocence.
Niger case settled
Next day the sheriff came home feeling much better than the day before. The first thing he says, we have investigated the niger's case and found out that you have told the truth. I replied that I had no fears as to the outcome if a fair trial was given, but I was glad it was settled.
This affair just ended as the cholera broke out in our camp, and many of our brethren and sisters fell victims to this awful scourger. Whole families were entirely swept away, parents losing most of their dear ones, and children losing their parents, and if ever I was in a situation requiring all the faith I had, it was then.
A Prayer for my Life - My request granted
I called upon the Lord with all my heart, for I was attacked with it in its first stages. I went out on the steep hill facing the river. It was blowing, raining, and heavy lightning. I held on to the stump of an old tree while I knelt down where no eye could see me but God, and I plead for my life. I told [p.43] the Lord how he had blest and delivered me from the yoke of bondage, and that I was going to Zion and intended to send for my folks and if he took me away they might never get away. He heard my prayer and what I desired has been accomplished.
Want me to stay
The citizens held a meeting and concluded to furnish teams and move us out 8 miles on the open prairie, where they would not be in so much danger of the contagion. As our teams and wagons had not yet arrived in the meantime, Mr. Smart wanted me to remain with him for another year. He said the United States was going to send an army to Utah to wipe out the Mormons and if I went I would be killed. I told him I had but once to die and that I would go if I knew I would die on the way.
A Temptation to me
He then made the following proposition to me -- if you will stay with me one year I will give you $150.00 in cash, a horse and saddle. I will also give you my daughter to wife and you will be enabled to go to the Valley independent.
I then made him the following answer
Mr. Smart, I thank you very kindly for your generous proposition, but the truth is, I left home to go to Salt Lake and I am going if I live, for your eyes never beheld enough of property in any form to be sufficient to entice me to stay. He also paid me 50 cents per day. We parted good friends - and he bid me God speed. . . . [p.44]
. . . Rising to my feet, I gazed with rapture at the scenes before me. Casting my eyes in all directions to see which view was the most enchanting. Looking to the south I could discern the top of the Wasatch range covered with snow. To the west lay like a shining glacier the Great Salt Lake, and 2 of its 7 islands in plain sight, and the beautiful valley lay as far as the eye could reach in every direction and although the valley had only been a little over 5 years settled and as yet we could discern but little of the hand of industry, yet I knew the nucles was laid of a mighty empire whose destiny it was to make laws and govern the world.
Citizen meet us - a multitude come out all dressed in best attire
Now others began to arrive and give many expressions of their feelings, similar to my own, and then the teams. I mounted my mule and traveled with the crowd mingling our voices together on the many topics that presented themselves before us in relation to the Valley - the people and the end of or journey. At last the vanguard of our brethren and sisters from the city to meet us were seen in the distance and in a short time it seemed all the inhabitants had turned out in mass to give us a reception. . . [p.53]
BIB: Wilson, James Thomas. "The Life of James Thomas
Wilson."[Reminiscences] , pp. 36,38-44, 53.
“Arrival from England, by the “Perpetual Emigrating Fund,” Deseret News [Weekly], 18 Sep. 1852, 2.
Capt. A. O. Smoot’s company, of 31 wagons, was escorted into this city, by the First Presidency of the church, some of the twelve Apostles, and many of the citizens on horseback, and in carriages.
Capt. Pitt’s Band, in the President’s spacious carriage, met the company at the mouth of Emigration kanyon, where the saints of both sexes of near 70 years of age, danced and sung for joy—and their hearts were made glad by a distribution of melons and cakes; after which the Band came in the escort, and cheered the hearts of the weary travelers with their enlivening strains.
Next in the procession came a band of pilgrims—sisters and children, walking, sunburnt, and weather-beaten, but not forlorn; their hearts were light and buoyant, which was plainly manifest by their happy and joyful countenances.
Next followed the wagons. The good condition of the cattle, and the general appearance of the whole train, did credit to bishop Smoot, as a wise and skilful manager,—who was seen on horse, in all the various departments of his company, during their egress from the kanyon to encampment.
As the escort and train passed the Temple Block, they were saluted with nine rounds of artillery, which made the everlasting hills to shake their sides with joy; while thousands of men, women, and children, gathered, from various parts of the city, to unite in the glorious and joyful welcome.
After corralling on Union Square, the emigrants were called together, and Prest. Young addressed them as follows:
I have but a few words to say to the brethren and sisters at the present time. First I will say, may the Lord God of Israel bless you, and comfort your hearts (The company and bystanders responded, AMEN.) We have prayed for you continually; thousands of prayers have been offered up for you, day by day, to Him who has commanded us to gather Israel, save the children of men by the preaching of the gospel, and prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. You have had a long, hard, and fatiguing journey, across the great waters, and the scorched plains, but by the distinguished favors of heaven, you are here in safety.
We understand that the whole company, that started under bro. Smoot’s guidance, are alive and well, with but a few exceptions. For this we are thankful to our Father in heaven; and our hearts are filled with joy, that you have had faith to surmount the difficulties that have lain in your path; that you have overcome sickness and death, and are now with us to enjoy the blessings of the people of God in these peaceful vallies. You are now in a land of plenty, where, by a reasonable amount of labor, you may realize a comfortable subsistence.
You have had trials and sufferings in your journey, but your sufferings have been few compared with thousands of your brethren and sisters in these vallies. We have, a great many us, been under the harrow for the space of 21 years. I trust you have enjoyed a good measure of the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of your toils; and now, as you have arrived here, let your feelings be mild, peaceable and easy; not framing to yourselves any particular course that you will pursue; but be patient until the way opens before you.
Be very cautious that you do not watch the failings of others, and by this means expose yourselves to be caught in the snares of the devil; for the people here have the failings natural to man, the same as you have; look well to yourselves, that the enemy does not get the advantage over you; see that your own hearts are pure and filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and you will be willing to overlook the faults of others; and endeavor to correct your own.
With regard to your circumstances and connections here, I am little acquainted; but this I can say, you are in the midst of plenty. No person here, is under the necessity of begging his bread, except the natives, and they beg more than they care for, or can use. By your labor, you can obtain an abundance; the soil is rich and productive. We have the best of wheat, and the finest of flour, as good as was ever produced, in any other country in the world. We have beets, carrots, turnips, cabbage, peas, beans, melons, and I may say, all kinds of garden vegetables, of the best quality.
The prospects are cheering for fruits of different kinds. The grapes that we have raised this season, are doubtless, as fine as were ever exhibited for sale in the London market. The peach we expect will do well also. We had but few last year; this season we have more. We are under the necessity of waiting a few years before we have much fruit; but of the staple articles of food, we have a great abundance.
With regard to your obtaining habitations to shelter you in this coming winter—all of you will be able to obtain work, and by your industry, you can make yourselves tolerably comfortable in this respect, before the winter sets in. All the improvements that you see around you, have been made in the short space of four years; four years ago this day, there was not a rod of fence to be seen, nor a house, except the Old Fort, as we call it, though it was then new. All this, that you now see, has been accomplished by the industry of the people; and a great deal more that you do not see; for our settlements extend 250 miles south, and almost 100 miles north.
We shall want some of the brethren to repair, to some of the other settlements; such as mechanics and farmers; no doubt they can provide themselves with teams, &c., to bear them to their destinations. Those who have acquaintances here, will all be able to obtain dwellings, until they can make accommodations of their own.
Again with regard to labor—don’t imagine unto yourselves that you are going to get rich, at once, by it. As for the poor, there are none here; and neither are there any who may be called rich; but all obtain the essential comforts of life. Let not your eyes be greedy. When I met you this afternoon, I felt to say, this is the company that I belong to—the ‘poor company,’ as it is called; and I always expect to belong to it, until I am crowned with eternal riches in the celestial kingdom. In this world I possess nothing, only what the Lord has given to me, and it is devoted to the building up of his kingdom.
Do not any of you suffer the thought to enter your minds, that you must go to the gold mines, in search for riches. That is no place for the saints. Some have gone there and returned; they keep coming and going, but their garments are spotted, almost universally. It is scarcely possible for a man to go there, and come back to this place, with his garments pure. Don’t any of you imagine to yourselves that you can go to the gold mines to get anything to help yourselves with; you must live here; this is the gathering place for the saints. The man who is trying to gain to himself the perishable treasures of this world, and suffers his affections to be staid upon them, may despair of ever obtaining a crown of glory. This world is only to be used as an apartment, in which the children of men may be prepared for their eternal redemption and exaltation in the presence of their Savior; and we have but a short time allotted to us here, to accomplish so great a work.
I will say to this company, they have had the honor of being escorted into the city, by some of the most distinguished individuals of our society, and a band of music, accompanied with the salutation from the cannon. Other companies have not had this mark of respect shown to them; they belong to the rich, and are able to help themselves. I rejoice that you are here and that you will find yourselves in the midst of abundance of the common necessaries of life, liberal supply of which you can easily obtain by your labor. Here is the best quality of food; you are in the best atmosphere that you ever breathed; and we have the best water that you ever drank. Make yourselves happy, and do not let your eyes be like the fool’s eye, wandering after the things of this world, but inquire what you can do that shall be for the best interest of the kingdom of God.
No man or woman will be hurried away from the wagons, but you may have the privilege of living in them, until you get homes. I hope the brethren who live near by, or those who live at a distance, will send our brethren and sisters some potatoes, and melons, or anything else they have, that they may not go hungry; and let them have them free of charge, that they may be blessed with us, as I exhorted the people last Sabbath.
I have not anything more to say to you at this time, as my presence is wanted in another place. I pray the Lord God of Israel to bless you; and I bless you in the name of Jesus, amen.