The Life of Fredrick Weight
Contributor: gjsbckjsb Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
Fredrick Weight was born in Glostershire, England, on June 18, 1828, the third son of James Weight and Ann Foukes, who were “poor, but honest parents.” His father, who worked as a blacksmith, struggled to provide for his family. As a result, Fredrick was forced to begin to work at an early age, and therefore, only spent about three years in school. It was while he was at school, however, that he learned to read and sing. Two skills that would later prove to be very useful to him. Of his school experience he writes, “I was the leading singer in this school and was set to teach small classes, as I was a favorite with the School Master.” In addition to learning about music, he also learned about the scriptures, he states, “The scriptures were read to us and I got a good understanding of the Bible and it’s contents, which has been very useful to me throughout my life.”
He began working at the age of ten as a mason tender. He records, “I was paid three shillings per week, which I gave to my mother and thought I was doing great things.” He later worked as a plasterer, an errand boy for a doctor, a general worker for a Gentleman, and a tobacco factory worker. Finally, he went to work with his father at the Iron Works, where he spent seven years. He writes, “Here I became acquainted with making all sorts of machinery...I received thirteen shillings a week and my wages increased to thirty before I left.”
During this same period of time, Frederick developed a love and a talent for music. He and his brothers began to practice music together. They purchased musical instruments to form a four part ensemble in which Frederick played the bass. The group sang and played together in concerts and musical meetings. He recalls, “I would work ten hours a day and practice from two to three hours. I arose at 4:00 a.m. and practiced for two hours, then went to work at 6:00, practiced thirty minutes at noon, leaving just thirty minutes in which to eat my dinner. Then I went back to work until 5:30, and after returning home, I ate my supper, fixed to go to my music meetings, to which I walked four miles – four miles there and four miles back, twice weekly, making a distance of sixteen miles every week of walking after having worked ten hours each day at the factory. I kept this up for three or four years, carrying my violin-cello under my arm all the way there and back.”
Of religion, Frederick writes, “I was very religious as far back as I can remember, being a member of a religious sect called the Independents.”
Frederick was very active in his church attending “...eight meetings every Sunday.” He also became a favorite of the Pastor and one of the leading singers in the Church choir, “...taking the lead of the singing on week nights at meetings.” Frederick believed that there was no better religion than the one he belonged to.
However, when Fredrick was about twenty years old, he was out of work and began to feel depressed. He became disillusioned with his religion and began to feel “...very unsettled.” It was about that time that his “...brother James went to hear the Latter-Day Saints preach, and was soon baptized into their Church.” He records that James’ baptism made his mother feel that Jim had been “lost.” Then he writes, “But it was not long until my oldest sister went to hear them and she also was baptized, then her husband, etc., until all the family had joined but me. I still stuck to the old religion to which I belonged. I just could not see it at the time, and said if Mr. Taylor [his pastor] was not right, no one was, and I would not go to hear them [the Mormon missionaries]. Time passed with my folks preaching to me for a whole year, but still I refused to go and hear the Mormons.”
Then a single event changed the course of Fredrick’s life. In his journal he states, “A conference of the Mormon Church was to be held in Newport, Monmouthshire, in Wales, about thirty miles from Bristol across the Channel. My brothers and I were invited to attend and furnish the music...I decided it would be an outing for me, so I consented to go along. Our passage being paid, I decided to take my “intended” wife with me. We started in the morning with the tide and arrived safely in the afternoon...We were all kindly received and were treated very well. This made a great impression on me, as they seemed to be more united than any other religion, including the sect to which I belonged.
“The following day was Sunday and the commencement of the Conference. We played and sang the first and second hymns, after which the preaching began. Franklin D. Richards, one of the twelve apostles, and Cyrus Wheelock, were on the stand, along with many of the Elders. The preaching was very different to anything I had ever heard before. They talked about oxen, wagons, crossing the plains, getting outfits for the same, and many other things of a temporal mature which I thought was not becoming on a Sunday. When the meeting closed they were all delighted with our music. We met again in the afternoon and evening and had very good meetings.
“After the evening meeting, a young girls became very ill and wished to be administered to. I then saw one of the Elders of the Church take a bottle of oil that had been consecrates for the healing of the sick, pour some of it on her head and gently smooth it on with his hand, and at the same time, pray for her restoration to health. After this I saw two or three Elders lay their hands upon her head and pray for her, at which time she became better. This was the first time I had ever seen the administration of the laying on of hands for the sick.
“Upon retiring that night, I thought about all the things I had seen and heard that day. My “intended” was baptized the next day, which made me a little unhappy because she said nothing to me about it until afterward; however, she felt strongly that she had done the right thing and wished that I would do the same. I decided I would go home first and ask my old minister regarding it and find out his opinion; but I failed to get in touch with him and could not get this new religion off my mind. Two or three days later, on April 6th, 1849, I was baptized by Elder George Halladay and confirmed a member of the Church by the same man.
“Now–what did the old minister say? What did he not say! He said the Mormons were the scum of Hell and I was lost [and] would go to Hell. I was everything that was bad because I had joined that awful sect called Mormons or Latter-Day Saints, but he called us Latter-Day Devils and every other thing he could mention. Some of the Elders told me I must go and preach to him and warn him of his danger, by preaching the Gospel to him. I went to his house one morning and began talking to him, but as soon as I started talking he got up, opened the door, and showed me the way out. I said, “Sir, you must hear it,” but he said, “I will not hear it,” and shut the door in my face, and I have never seen him since.
“That was my first experience with preaching Mormonism – I was kicked out. I then went to their choir meeting to talk to the members and tell them about Gospel, but they all left me, and would not hear a word I had to say. They all left, and there I stood all alone, having to extinguish the gas, after which I went home alone. I was looked upon as one of the off-scourings of the earth. I left them and have never seen any of them since.
“I now attended the Latter-Day Saint’s meetings, being appointed to take charge of the singing, which I did as long as I remained in England.”
Eventually, Frederick decided to leave England and join the Saints in Utah. Originally, he thought he would go alone and then send money back to his “intended,” Charlotte Burgum. However, both his parents and the Branch President thought it best for him to marry prior to his departure and then take his new wife with him. The Branch president obtained the money that would be required to send Charlotte with the agreement that Frederick would pay it back to the President’s brother in St. Louis.
With the financial situation arranged, Charlotte and Frederick were married on August 18, 1849. They then spent one week with Frederick’s family before setting sail for Liverpool. The evening before they left, Frederick’s father, James, wished them good-bye for the last time.
Of the initial journey, Frederick wrote, “We were to sail in a dory steam packet which was used to import pigs...There being no accommodations for passengers, some of us had to go into the hold where the pigs were kept, and there eat, drink, and sleep – if we could. We Latter-Day Saints numbered about eight adults and several children. My wife and I sat up on deck until night came on and then we did not know where to go. The sea was getting worse and worse – the water dashing over the sides of the steamer and rolling from side to side so that we could not stand on the deck. My wife clinging to me every moment, we now began to really feel what sea-sickness was. As our vessel heaved, we heaved, so I asked one of the sailors if he would let me have his berth for my poor wife that night, to which he consented for a half-crown. I paid him and put her to bed, but Oh! What a place...[it] reeked with filth, oil, grease, and such a horrible stench! This was the place where I had to put my new bride, after having paid such an outrageous price. I was with her all night holding the slop basin for her, as she was vomiting constantly and so weak she could not help herself. The vessel was pitching and the water rolling over us all night long...As I had occasion to empty the slop basin every little while, I looked over the side of the vessel by the light of the moon, and saw the turbulent sea with its green water rolling and tumbling over the side...The next morning the weather was no better and it continued bad all day. I went to the mate and asked him if he thought we would ever reach Liverpool, and he replied very seriously, ‘I hope so, I hope so!’ I know that the Lord preserved us and was with us or we should all have been lost.”
Eventually, the ship docked in Liverpool where Frederick and Charlotte joined 700 others on the sailing vessel, the North American . The group set sail on September 3, 1849. After a few days of good weather, the group met with a very bad storm. So bad was the storm that the passengers were locked below the deck without any light where they remained for two days and nights suffering from sea sickness and with little to eat or drink. Frederick reports, “...people were vomiting, children [were] crying, some [were] praying, some [were] singing, and some of the most fearful [were] moaning ‘We shall all go to the bottom.’...If the vessel had gone down, we should all have been smothered to death before we ever reached the bottom. But I had no fears for we were obeying the word of the Lord in getting out of Babylon, according to the word of the Lord.”
When the weather improved, the group began to hold meetings for which Frederick organized a choir of singers. When the ship reached the West Indies, it became “becalmed.” Frederick recounts, “The weather was very hot, melting the pitch on the deck, and it poured over our beds. We remained in this condition for almost two weeks, the sea being as smooth as glass with the ship standing still on the water.” After two weeks, the Saints became “tired of the calm and impatient” to be on their way.
Frederick describes what happened next, “...the Elders assembled below deck and held a council as to what was best to do, as we did not know how long we might be becalmed. We concluded to ask God in mighty prayer for a wind in order that we might continue on our journey. This we did at night, and the next day there appeared a catspaw on the water. At the sight of this, the Captain gave order to set sail...before they could do so, a wind began to blow, increasing so that we had to take in some of the sails. We now sailed along like a steam engine, with the wind continually increasing.”
A few days later, the ship met with another storm. “The Captain...thought his ship would be lost, but the Elders told him we were headed for New Orleans and that we would reach our destination. I was singing, Come All Ye Saints of Zion, and the mate remarked, ‘These damned Mormons would sing if they knew for sure they were they were going to the bottom of the sea.’ I had no fear at all, though we were in a dangerous condition.
The Elders now again assembled in prayer. I was with them, and we could hardly stay on our knees, as the ship was rolling so badly, but we asked the Lord to stay the storm. He heard our prayers and the storm was stayed so that we again saw daylight...From this time on, we had good weather for the balance of the voyage.” Eventually, the ship arrived in New Orleans where Frederick booked passage on a steamboat headed for St. Louis.
After arriving safely in St. Louis in November 1849, the couple found that they did not know where to go. At last, Frederick found “two rooms in the basement of a house,” which he rented for $4.00 a month. “I brought my straw bed and box and put them in one of the rooms. I laid the bed on the floor, then brought my sick wife and put her to bed, then left to find something for her, as I had no stove, no wood, or coal to burn, no light, no money, and nothing to eat... A pretty fix to be in a strange land! The worst of all to me was the fact that my wife was so sick. If she had been well, I would have felt much better – I had no one to help me and not one dollar to my name. I felt very bad, looking at my wife and knowing that she needed many things which I could not get for her just then.”
During his first year in St. Louis, Frederick struggled to find steady work. However, in spite of these difficulties, he was pleased to report, “...I lived and paid my way without running into debt.” During that year, he was appointed to lead the choir at Church meetings, a calling that he held as long as he was in St. Louis. Eventually, he found a permanent position at Eagle Foundry, where he was paid $8.50 per week. With this job, he was able to live comfortably and save enough money to come to the Salt Lake Valley in the Spring of 1852.
Of his journey, Fredrick records, “In the spring, I bought a light wagon and a yoke of cows with which to cross the plains. My brother, James, who had arrived in America, started with this team for Council Bluffs, a distance of 500 miles, with a large company. I with my wife and infant son [born January 8, 1852] went by steam boat up the Missouri River, planning to meet the company at Council Bluffs...When we arrived [there],...I found my wagon broken and that one of my cows had died, leaving me with but one cow to cross the plains...Not know what to do, I told my circumstances to Brother Brain who offered to take us as passengers in his wagon if we could pay “so” such – I do not remember the amount I paid, but it was all I had after selling my cow, my wagon, and my outfit...I had to walk most of the way, a distance of 1,013 miles.
“We began our journey on the 9th of June 1852...taking with us provisions to last about three or four months...Our company was made up of fifty wagons with one head Captain over all, (Captain Howell Company). He then divided us into companies of tens – ten wagons to a company – with a captain over each ten. We were amongst the first ten and took the lead, my family being in the second wagon...There were nine of us sharing Brother Brain’s wagon, three women, two men, and four children, and we were packed in very closely...We arose at dawn, prepared and ate breakfast, after which we rounded up the cattle, and again were on the move, traveling about fifteen or twenty miles...each day. I had a sick wife and baby to take care of besides taking my turn at standing guard. I had to cook and wash for my wife, my baby, and myself, ...drive a team and do all camp duties besides...
“[My wife] had no milk for her baby, making it necessary to feed him on cow’s milk from a bottle, which was a great trial as we had no cow of our own. I went around camp every morning to get milk for him...
“I drove an ox team 500 miles and walked all the way with bare feet, through mud holes and creeks, and waded through rivers, over rough rocks, prickly pears and hot sands – 500 miles barefooted, which made my feet as tough as an ox hoof...
“We passed through many trying scenes during this journey, which I will not write at this time. We arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon on the 15th of September, 1852, a journey of four months.”
Of his first days in the Salt Lake Valley, Fredrick writes, “I had a sick wife and a six month old baby and knew not where to go as I was a stranger and knew no one. I had no wagon, no team, and but 25 cents in money; however, I soon found a house that had a roof that was open in the top and it was not plastered, which made it very cold and miserable, but it was the best we could do. We stayed there about one week...I could see that I would have to find better quarters for my wife as she was gradually getting worse, so I found a house which was owned by Sister Dalton, and she consented to care for [my wife], but she still became worse...Consumption had set in and she was nothing but skin and bone. She suffered a great deal and just five weeks after we arrived in Salt Lake City, she passed away – a good Latter-Day Saint and a martyr to her religion...We had been married about two years. It is impossible to describe my feelings at this time for I felt the loss of my wife very deeply. I paid Sister Dalton with my wife’s clothes for taking care of our boy. I paid everything I had for his care until I had nothing left. I felt so alone in the world...”
Fredrick found work on the Public Works, where he helped to dig the foundation and cut stone for the Salt Lake Temple. He even was present when Brigham Young broke the ground for the temple.
His first winter in the Valley was a time of great suffering. He writes, “I found a place to board for the winter and paid for it with work. I had no clothes but what I stood up in, and I needed winter clothing very badly, but I could not afford to get any, and as the winter was a very hard one, I suffered very much...I had a few bed clothes and a corn husk bed, and a thin worn out old wagon cover. Many a night I crept into bed almost frozen, the snow being on it when I retired and I had to shake it off when I got up in the morning. I ate my meals in the house and slept out of doors in my wagon box at night. Some nights the wind blew and the snow drifted in on my bed until I thought I should freeze to death. Sometimes my feet were so cold that I could not get them warm to save me, and I lay in misery all night. I spent the entire winter in this way. I did not have enough to eat nor could I keep warm...But the Lord was with me and kept me alive and safe through all this.”
In order to earn a few extra dollars, Fredrick and John Jones started a musical group and they would often play for parties. He even played for Brigham Young’s parties at he Social Hall. He was also one of the first to “...help start Theatricals in Salt Lake City, being engaged in the musical department of this Company.” He was also a member of the Nauvoo Brass Band and played with them for nearly four years. He writes, “I played a solo Ophecleide, and went into training each year with the Nauvoo Legion, where I was appointed Drum Major.”
The following spring he purchased a lot and a wagon box which he put on the lot. He lived in the box all summer and through the winter. Then he began to build a house on the lot. After working at several odd jobs, he finally was able to complete one room of the home. He states, “[It] was the first house I had ever owned in all my life...Bother Hart and [his] wife came to live in my house, and she cooked for me which was a great help.”
Eventually, Fredrick made a monumental decision, “I felt very lonely and was desirous of getting a wife, for I could see that I could live and get along better with a wife in this country...As I played at a good many parties, I met quite a number of young girls. I also met several at meetings, whom I felt I would like to make my wife, but when I decided on one, I found that she was already married. Brother Jones, the man with whom I played, had met and tried to keep company with a girl by the name of Mary Millns [Milnes], but did not get very far with this courtship, so I told him I thought I would try. He said that I could try but he was certain that I wouldn’t get very far because if he couldn’t get her, he was sure I couldn’t. Anyway, I said I would try, which I did, and won her in about three weeks, after which we were married by Bishop Lytle...in Salt Lake City, on the 7th day of January 1854.
I took her to my little house that same night where we had very little with which to begin housekeeping. I had no bed, no stove, and no cooking utensils with which to cook, but a frying pan. We also had two tin plates, an old bedstead, some bed clothes, a big factory sack with a few corn chucks in it for a mattress, two three-legged stools, one fork, one knife, and one spoon. I think this was all of our earthly possessions. We had to borrow a bake kettle for two years before we could get one of our own...I pitched into work and soon got some more things around me, getting a good bed and other things. We had to work very hard and lived hard...
“During the year 1854, the grasshoppers came and devoured all the crops, eating every green thing. They took every bit of the wheat so that we had no crop that year. This was very trying times for everyone in the valley. I knew not what to do as I could get nothing to eat for work and I had no money with which to buy – even if we had had money very few people had anything to sell. Things got worse and worse. People had to dig roots for something to eat, finding anything they could to live on. My wife was nursing her first baby at this time and she went from house to house to get a meal, anything she could, in order live. The baby drew blood from the breast sometimes instead of milk. I went 20 miles one day to try and get something to eat, but all I got was a boiling of potatoes and a candle. I went from house to house, asking for something to eat but could not get much as people did not have anything to give. I sometimes got a drink of buttermilk and a piece of hard bread. I went to the house of Brother Lorenzo D. Young one time, as I was very hungry. I asked for something to eat and it was sweeter than any sponge cake I had ever eaten in all my life. I never shall forget that piece of bread nor the woman who gave it to me, and I say God bless her forever. Another time I went fourteen miles and got three pounds of shorts. One time I got some bran and we sifted it to make a cake and that was very good. When the cake was gone, I still had the siftings, so I mixed them up with water, but could not make them stick, so I put them into the frying pan and tried to bake it into a cake, but it would not stick, so I browned it as well as I could and tried to eat it but I could not do it – it was like chalk, so I had to give up.
“My wife went to President Kimball to get some flour, as he was giving some to the poor at this time. He gave her seven pounds and she made some cakes and cooked them in the frying pan and I tell you they were good. We gathered greens, pig weeds, and beet tops – anything we could get that was edible and lived on the best we could find. One time we were seven days without flour in our house, living on greens and anything we could get.
“The next year a light crop was raised and we milled a little flour from time to time and got along a little better. I went to work and put another room to my house.”
In November of 1856, Fredrick and his family moved to Springville. They spent the first six weeks living with Walter Savage and his wife, and then they purchased “...a half lot from Bishop Aaron Johnson...for which I paid with hard work...” He built a dugout on the property and moved his family into it. The following year, he built an adobe house of which he states, “When it rained we had to hold an umbrella over us when we went to bed to keep the rain off. The floor was as wet inside of the house as the street outside.”
In 1856, Fredrick was called by Bishop Aaron Johnson to be the choir leader of the Springville branch, a calling which he held for 25 years. He eventually came to be known as The Old Chorister, a name that was given him by President Cannon. He even lead the choir which sung at the dedication of the Salt Lake Tabernacle in October of 1867, and later joined the Tabernacle Choir. In his own words, he reports, “I have sung thousands of hymns and tunes and taught them to others. I have attended thousands of funerals and have sung hymns and anthems to hundreds of them.”
Eventually, Frederick took up plastering as a trade and worked as a plasterer for 26 years. Hundreds of houses in and around Springville were plastered by him. He also worked on the constructions of public roads, water ditches, meeting houses, and school houses. “I worked along from day to day and made a living the best way I could. I built a house on a lot that I had purchased East of the city, and set out and orchard...raised my own garden...which I found to be of great help to us as a family.”
In 1865, Frederick entered into the principle of Polygamy. He writes, “I took another wife according to my belief in the religion that I had embraced – Elizabeth Bocock by name, a very good woman, and one with whom I have lived happily ever since. Although there are many things in this double life to put up with, which is not so pleasant, yet I believe it to be a commandment of God, so I obeyed and tried to do the best I could. I have suffered many things for my religion and do not expect to gain Exaltation in the Kingdom of God without suffering, for we are told that it is through suffering that we are made perfect.”
The two families lived on the same lot in separate houses for over six years. The Frederick bought another parcel of land, built a house and moved his second wife into it. He would live with one family one week and the other family the other week. Fredrick and Elizabeth lost four of their children, two of them just twelve hours apart. Of this time Fredrick wrote, “After our great loss, I worked very hard at plastering and any other work I could get, but with a very heavy heart. I felt bowed down to the earth, yet I kept it bottled up within me – grieving in silence, and prayed to the Lord to give me strength to bear all that might come, as I was passing through many trials at that time, both in poverty as well as family affairs. I had no peace within me night or day, many times walking the streets all night crying and praying to the Lord to comfort me in my distress.”
What added more to Fredrick’s distress was the fact that he and our great-great grandmother Mary were also having problems in their marriage. He writes, “At this time, I could write a volume regarding the troubles and trials that I passed through with my wife Mary, for we did not live happily for more than 21 years of our married life.” While Fredrick chose not to write at length about his trials he briefly mentions that Mary had asked for a divorce “...which brought on an alienation of feeling, making our lives very miserable – the thousandth part of which I do not wish to write. Thus we lived for years, with feelings getting no better as time went on.” Fredrick went on to state, “I have found in my experience during my lifetime, that there are three very great trials, which tried me to the very core, namely - Sickness, Poverty, and Polygamy , and I went through all three at the same time; however, in spite of all this, I have remained true to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and faithfully attended my duties in [the] same.”
Eventually, Fredrick was arrested on November 12, 1887, on the charge of Polygamy and was taken to Provo and bound over for trial. His trial occurred on March 10, 1888, at which time he plead guilty. The night before he received his sentence, he received a blessing in which he was told he would not have to go to the penitentiary. Yet, on March 24, 1888, he was sentenced to 60 days in the penitentiary. However, the story does not end there. As it turned out, when he was being marched to the train that would take him to the penitentiary, he was told an order had come from the judge that he was to be released.
Of the experience, Fredrick writes, “How did all this come about? I will now tell how the Hand of the Lord was in all this: Brother James E. Hall had been working on my case for two or three weeks prior to this time, and he had talked with the Judge who had tried my case, telling him of my circumstances [poverty, sick wife, dying child] which caused him to pronounce a lighter sentence. Others also interceded for me. After the trial Judge Dusenberry of Provo said to Judge Henderson, ‘I am well satisfied with all that has been done today, except one thing.’ ‘What is that?’ asked Judge Henderson. ‘I think it is too bad that that old man (meaning me) has to go to prison.’ ‘What was I to do?’ asked Judge Henderson, ‘he can’t pay his fine. Has he any friends?’ ‘Yes,’ said Judge Dusenberry, ‘I am his friend.’ ‘Well, will you go his security?’ asked Judge Henderson. ‘Yes, I will,’ said Judge Dusenberry. ‘Then,’ said the Judge, ‘I will let him off with a $100.00 fine.’ ‘Write the order at once and I will fetch him back from the train.’...I was a freeman once more. It was by the mercy of God that I got off so well...the Hand of the Lord [was] with me, guiding me through this trial, even though those of my family who should have been true to me, failed me – yet the Lord raised up friends to help me that I did not know of, and I thank Him for it.”
Unfortunately, Fredrick’s family problems continued. Eventually, on November 7, 1889, he and Mary finally divorced. This left him free to marry Elizabeth legally, which he did immediately.
Fredrick reports that both he and Elizabeth enjoyed doing temple work. He relates the following experience, “...it was our desire to go to the Temple to do work for the dead, but everything seemed to work against us to prevent our going. We owned a cow that we had planned to sell to raise money for this, but that failed us, one night...she fell with her head in the manger and broke her neck. We got there just in time to see her take her last breath. That was $30.00 lost in just a few minutes. Many other things worked against us – one trouble after another, to stop us; but at last we finally got started on our journey, arriving at the Logan Temple...We had a very enjoyable time, receiving blessings for ourselves as well as for our dead. Here I will say that our Temple is one of the best places I know of on Earth to go, and [it] is a great blessing to be permitted to do work for our dead, thereby gaining blessings for ourselves.”
Fredrick passed away at his home in Springville on the 15th day of December, 1901. He was buried in the City Cemetery at Springville. In closing his story he wrote, “We desire to be humble and faithful, doing good for the living and the dead, unto the end of our days; and desire that our children and their generations after them, shall walk in the ways of the Lord and continue the grand and glorious work for the dead which we have commenced.”
The Story of Mary Milnes
Contributor: gjsbckjsb Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
Born: 31 December 1834 in Clayton Heights, Bradford, York, England
Died: 4 November 1904 in Springville, Utah, USA
Mary was the fourth daughter of Edward Milnes and Elizabeth Smith. She was born in Bradford, England, in a section known as Clayton Heights. Her childhood days were spent in a very happy home. Her father was a well-to-do furniture dealer who loved to provide for and entertain his family. Her mother was a “...born lady and had a house of order. She taught her daughters all the routine housework. They were all good cooks and very handy with the needle. All were very busy in the morning and then they dressed for dinner. 1”
Mary was seven years old when the missionaries came to her house, and she was eight when she was baptized on February 21, 1843. However, by the time she was baptized, her parents and older sisters had been members for almost 10 months. During that time, the Milnes household had become a center for Church activity in Bradford. “Month after month the scriptures were read and discussed by her father and [other members and investigators] – as the family sat around the table, the ladies working on their sampling or needle point as it is called today, knitting or tatting, as the mother and four daughters were artists with their needle work. 2”
Eventually, the family accepted the call to go to Zion, and in February of 1852, Mary and her family left England for New Orleans aboard the sailing ship Ellen Maria . The following information is derived from the Mormon Immigration Index.
"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.[This was Mary’s sister Tabitha’s baby]) 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 ."
Autobiography of Hannah Thompson Brower
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?
[verse] 2 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?
[verse] 3 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?
verse  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.
verse  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.
verse  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. (HDA)
Diary of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company
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 ½ 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] (HDA)
Autobiography of Margaret Sant
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] (HDA)
Reminiscences of James Thomas Wilson
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 *****. 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 3,000 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 ******* 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.
The 3 Dalry Families
The Dalry families had money sufficient to buy their provisions and came independently on their own hooks. Brother R. [Robert] Watson and family were being brought by the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company. I have promised to give an outline of the three Dalrys.
The end of Smith, Shadden, and McGlachenlin - their fate
They all remained at St. Louis and further than this I am indebted to others for my information as to them. John Shadden’s wife was found dead in bed. . . His two sons were killed in the mines; . . .
Mark McGlachelin’s wife died soon after coming to this country. The old Mark kept a saloon in Atton [PROBABLY, Afton, Wyoming] and was killed. His son Mark was through the late Civil War and after coming back was also killed, both killed in quarrels.
Brother [James] . . . Smith went on the river as a boat carpenter. He was an excellent mechanic and he was so much attached to his wife and took it so hard at her leaving him, that his mind became deranged, and he would walk the deck of the ship not knowing what he was doing, till one night in one of those spells, he unwittingly walked overboard and was drowned. His wife had 11 children by him but none survived to be a year old. . . . The Savior says, make to yourselves friends with the mammon of uprighteousness that should you fail they may receive you into everlasting habitation. Now as relates to them and their fate, this must suffice. 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 *******, 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 *****
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 ***** known as ***** Tom. A. O. Smoot of Salt Lake at last owned this ***** and finally he was drowned while bathing. As we came up the river Elder Church put this ***** 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 *****. 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 *****.
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 *****’s arrest and how they had to beat him before he could be taken, that he was a runaway ***** 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 ******* 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.
***** case settled
Next day the sheriff came home feeling much better than the day before. The first thing he says, we have investigated the *****’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. (HDL)
From the journal of Chester Southworth
“North Post or Laramie, we learned, was named after Jacques Laramie, a trapper who was killed near a stream that is now known as Laramie River. The fort was founded about 13 years before the Saints arrived and was a trading post for hides and furs.
Register Cliff was a resting place with good water and good grass. Parson is where we crossed the Little Sandy [a mile further west is where Brigham Young met Jim Bridger, who informed President Young of the conditions he would find in the Salt Lake Valley].
Green River is where Brigham Young met Samuel Brannan, who had traveled from California over the Sierra Mountains and through the Salt Lake Valley to try to persuade President Brigham Young to come to California.
Fort Bridger was an army post. Here the pioneers spent a day repairing wagon wheels and making general preparations for continuing the trek. Here we caught mountain trout, enjoying the opportunity to clean up and rest.
Echo Canyon was named such because of the echo the wagons made coming through the canyon.
The John B. Walker Company entered Salt Lake Valley on the 5th of October 1852 [our family record gives the date as 7 October 1852]. Upon our arrival, every member of the company was baptized by order of President Brigham Young, who said it would wash away our sins after our long and tedious journey.
From the journal of Sarah Southworth Burbank
"In June, l852, we camped at Winter Quarters where the company was organized in companies of fifty, a captain over each. Daniel M. Burbank was our captain. Then we started on our journey. When we came to a stream we washed out clothes and dried them on the grass for we might not get a place again for fifty or a hundred miles. We gathered dried buffalo chips to make a fire to ~cook our food, dug a hole in the ground, put the skillet in the hole with a tight lid on it, placed buffalo chips on the lid and set them afire. It baked the bread fine. That was the way we did our cooking until we got to where there was wood again."
"Approximately a hundred Indians took Mr. Burbank a prisoner. We thought he would be killed but the Chief gave him up to us if we would give them flour, sugar and coffee. He had gone to hunt buffalo when he was captured. The poor cows furnished us milk and we ground parched corn in a coffee mill to eat in the milk and save our flour."
“Edward Milnes” by Birdella Reynolds Bearnson. DUP Museum.
“Tabitha Milnes” by Ella Wheeler Reynolds. DUP Museum.