Thursday, November 29, 2012

James D Ross - 1860 Wagon Train Leader

James D. Ross had served two missions in England and been first counselor in the European Mission. Returning from his mission, he presided over 594 British and Swiss emigrants aboard the ship Underwriter. He was appointed captain of a company made up of 249 individuals—Americans, English, Swiss, and possibly Germans. A few men joined the company to avoid the Civil War draft. Those who had excess baggage had to leave it behind. The Swiss emigrants had eight or ten wagons out of a total of thirty-five or thirty-six in the company. There were 142 oxen and 54 cows. All of the emigrants, including Captain Ross, were inexperienced in frontier living and plains travel. Many had to learn to drive oxen. Some had to learn to milk a cow or grease a wagon.

They left Florence, Nebraska Territory, in mid-June. On 2 July they were at Wood River Center. On 4th of July they heard cannons firing near Fort Kearny as the soldiers celebrated the nation’s birth. Like other travelers on the plains, they saw large herds of buffalo, thunderstorms, and ever-present begging Indians. They hunted rabbits, sage hens, and duck. They killed a deer and a bear. They passed numerous trading posts where they could buy a variety of goods at inflated prices. At times they traveled within a few miles of other Mormon companies including those led by Jesse Murphy and John Smith. They passed Fort Laramie on 27 July. On 5 August they camped on the Platte River opposite Deer Creek. They followed the road to Green River, passed Fort Bridger and reached camp in Emigration Canyon on Sunday, 2 September. The camp was visited by a number of Church leaders including Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, and Franklin D. Richards. They gave the company practical advice. They drove into the city the following day. Upon their arrival, Brigham Young and Daniel H. Wells greeted them and gave more counsel. A single death had occurred en route. The emigrants expressed great respect for Captain Ross. 

Annie's last name: 

On the list of trek members Annie Hegetschweiler is listed as: Hegescheveld, Annie (12)

Her mother and aunt are listed as: 
Sedler, Anna (33)
Sedler, Susannah (27)

Source of Trail Excerpt: "News From the Plains," The Mountaineer, 11 Aug. 1860, 202.
NEWS FROM THE PLAINS.—Messrs. Judson Stoddard and G. H. Van Schoonhoven arrived in this city from the east on Thursday last. These gentlemen left Florence, N. T., on July 12th. They state that the last hand-cart train crossed the Loup Fork at Genoa July 14. They passed B. H. Young's train at Eagle Island on the 15th, and Taylor's train on the 16th. They passed James D. Ross' and Jno. Smith's trains, at Fort Laramie, on the 27th; both trains were together, and numbered 80 waggons. All were well and getting along finely.

Ann Walton journal references: 

On March 10, 1860 Ann, John and their children Brigham 10 months,Elizabeth age 3, Rebecca age 5, Moroni age 7 and Emma age 12 leftLiverpool and sailed for America. They boarded a ship named the Underwriter. The ship received its name in appreciation for the generosity of the marine insurance companies settling claims onpreviously wrecked ships. A small steam tug pulled the ship down the Mersey River to the ocean.

There were 594 saints on the ship. Elder James D. Ross and two counselors presided over the saints. The saints were divided into wards of around 75 people per ward. Each day began with daily prayer, gospel study, and scripture reading. The women were cautioned to stay away from the sailors. Food consisted of rice, oatmeal, dry biscuits, flour, dried peas some salty meat. Water was rationed and became very bitter by the end of the voyage. There were four deaths and four weddings while crossing the ocean. Thirty-two days later on May 1,1860 the ship arrived at Castle Gardens, New York.

The church arranged passage for the saints under the Perpetual Emigration Fund. Ships were chartered to provide the lowest fairs.  Paper work was ready for them as they entered Castle Gardens, which was the emigration office at this time. The church officials had arranged passage on steam powered paddle ships to move the saints closer to Florence. To continue to save money, handcart companies had been organized. The trip from New York to Florence cost $8.00 to $9.00 and the entire trip was reported to cost $45.00 per person in a handcart compared to $100 or more in a wagon train.

After arriving in New York, the group rested one day and boarded alarge steam side-wheel paddleboat. The group traveled up river to St.Joseph and on to Winter Quarters, which was later, called Florence.  Riverboat fares for the riverboat cost fifty cents per adult and onehalf price for children under twelve. The Latter Day Saints from the Underwriter were on the river for 5 days. 

From Handcarts to Zion:

List of other sources for this trek:

"Arrival of Companies," Deseret News [Weekly], 5 Sep. 1860, 212.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"From the Frontiers," Deseret News [Weekly], 4 July 1860, 141.    Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"Incoming Emigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 8 Aug. 1860, 180.    Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"Latest from the Emigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 1 Aug. 1860, 172.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"Arrival," The Mountaineer, 4 Aug. 1860, 198.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"Emigrants," The Mountaineer, 8 Sep. 1860, Supplement 2.    Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"Latest from the Plains," Deseret News [Weekly], 8 Aug. 1860, 180.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"News From the Plains," The Mountaineer, 11 Aug. 1860, 202.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"The Companies on the Plains," Deseret News [Weekly], 15 Aug. 1860, 188.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
"The Immigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 15 Aug. 1860, 189.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
Baer, Johann Lebrecht, Autobiography [ca. 1908], 17-18.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
Bear, John L., "Autobiography of Elder John L.Bear," Journal of History, Jan. 1911, 80-82.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
Loosli, Ulrich, [Letter], in Our Pioneer Heritage, 20 vols. [1958-77], 11:248-50.   Source Locations
Loosli, Ulrich, History of Ulrich Loosli, 1-4. (Trail excerpt from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.)   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
Nibley, Charles W., Reminiscences of Charles W. Nibley [1934], 17-22.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
Ross, J.D., to Brigham Young, 1 Sept. 1860, in Brigham Young, Office Files 1832-1878, reel 38, box 27, fd. 18.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations
Tucker, James, [Autobiography], in "Father James Tucker Honored; Family Meets in Big Reunion," Deseret News, 25 June 1921, 4:7.   Trail Excerpt   Source Locations