The ship Underwriter
1860 actual view of Liverpool docks: Note: A rare early view of the famous Liverpool waterfront, full of sailing ships and taken in 1860 by local photographer G Berry of James Street.
Canada Docks, Liverpool, UK
Map showing the various Liverpool Docks:
Port of entry, New York manifest 1861 a year after Annie arrives:
The second voyage also originated at Liverpool on 30 March 1860. Elder James D.
Ross and his counselors, James Taylor and John Croft, presided over the 594 Mormon passengers. Seventy of the emigrants came from Switzerland and the remainder from Great Britain. During the crossing there were four deaths and four weddings. After a thirty-two-day passage the Underwriter arrived at New York on 1 May.
Passenger list for the Underwriter 1860: Including Anna H and her mother and aunt: Anna Sidler's future husband is above her on the ship's register:
Liverpool to New York on the Underwriter (30 Mar 1860 - 1 May 1860)
A Compilation of General Voyage Notes
MS, 22:15 (April 14, 1860), p.234
"THE SHIP UNDERWRITER, after a prosperous voyage of thirty days, arrived at New York May 1st. During the voyage there were four marriages and four deaths. The names of the deceased are -- Frederick, the son of John and Eliza Williams, aged one year and eight months; Joseph, son of Edward and Mary Powers; Barbara Frei, aged 58 years, came form Switzerland. The health of the Saints was generally good. Elders Ross, Taylor, and Croft speak in the highest praise of Captain J. W. Roberts, both as a skillful navigator and a gentleman. The ship's company of Saints proceeded to Florence on the 3rd of May."
MS, 22:21 (May 26, 1860), p.331
"Fri. 30. [Mar. 1860] -- The ship Underwriter sailed from Liverpool, England, with 594 British and Swiss Saints, under the presidency of James D. Ross. It arrived at New York May 1st, and the emigrants continued to Florence [Nebraska], where George Q. Cannon was acting as church emigration agent this year, to arrange for the journey across the plains."
Ship: 1168 tons: 183' x 37' x 30'
Built: 1850 by Westervelt and Mackey at New York City, New York In three voyages the clipper ship Underwriter skippered by Captain John Pratt Roberts, carried a total of 1243 Latter-day Saints across the Atlantic. The first passage began at Liverpool on 21 January 1858 and ended seven weeks later at New York on 11 March. Among the twenty-five Mormons on board were Presiding Elder Henry Harriman, Brigham H. Young, John S. Smith, and James H. Browning.
The second voyage also originated at Liverpool on 30 March 1860. Elder James D. Ross and his counselors, James Taylor and John Croft, presided over the 594 Mormon passengers. Seventy of the emigrants came from Switzerland and the remainder from Great Britain. During the crossing there were four deaths and four weddings. After a thirty-two-day passage the Underwriter arrived at New York on 1 May.
On 23 April 1861 this ship sailed from Liverpool for the third time with a company of Mormon emigrants. Elder Milo Andrus presided over the 624 Saints. He was assisted by Homer Duncan and Charles W. Penrose. The emigrants were divided into nine wards, including a separate ward for unmarried men. Before departure Apostles Amasa M. Lyman, Charles C. Rich, and George Q. Cannon came aboard and gave the emigrating Saints their instructions and blessing. During the voyage two children died, and two marriages were performed. After a twenty-nine-day crossing -- a relatively fast passage -- the clipper ship arrived at New York on 21 May.
The Underwriter ran in the Red Star Line for sixteen years. Her Atlantic crossings averaged thirty-three days. She was built with a round stern, a full-length figurehead, and three decks. Her principal owner was Robert Kermit of New York City. In 1879 the vessel was sold to foreign owners. It is said that the ship received her name in appreciation for the generosity of marine insurance companies in settling claims from some previous packet wrecks.
(from "Ships, Saints, & Mariners -- A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration 1830-1890" by Conway B. Sonne, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1987.)
Letter from George Wright
[Written at top of the page: "The voyage but some pages are missing."]
March 1860. [- - -]
26th. We went on board of the ship Underwriter at 9 o'clock in the morning. It was a drizzly day.
27th. There was a man fell overboard but he was not drowned. He hurt himself a little with falling. We started out of the Waterloo Dock just before 11 o'clock and it took about 3 hours and a half to et the vessel out of the dock. We went about half way across the river between Liverpool and Birkenhead and then cast anchor. The anchor was thrown overboard at 20 minutes to 3 o'clock and [- - -] 15 minutes to lower the anchor.
28th We had a pretty fine day and at night I was standing watch on the deck for the purpose of keeping the seamen from going down into the lower decks or stealing anything while the passengers are asleep. There is a fresh watch every 3 hours during the night. The first commencing at 9 o'clock at night and comes off at 12 o'clock; the second from 12 o'clock to 3 in the morning; the third watch from 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock. This kind of watching is continued during the voyage. I went on watch at 12 and came off at 3 in the morning of the 29th.
29th. It was fine for the season of the year. It is a grand sight at night - from the middle of the river to see the docks lit up and the vessels that are lighted with blue and red lights.
30th. We started out of the river for New York. They began to lift the anchor at 1/2 past 9 o'clock and it took about 1 hour and a 1/4 to raise it out of the water. We set sail at 11 o'clock. With the tug steamer we was taken about 50 miles by the steamer. It left us about 6 o'clock. It was with us 7 hours. We had not been 2 hours sailing after the tug steamer left us before some was sick that would be about 9 hours. When we [p.1] had been sailing about 3 hours we came in sight of Welch Wales. There was some mountains several with snow in Wales. It was at our south side.
31st. We passed Belfast Lighthouse in Ireland at half past 7 o'clock in the morning. We passed a many mountains and rocks in Ireland. It is a very rough country what I saw. We passed between Ireland and Scotland with Ireland at our south side and Scotland at our north side.
1st April. It was a fine morning with a pretty good breeze. I got up before 6 o'clock in the morning. I began to feel sick so I went to bed again and I did not get up till the next morning.
2nd. It was pretty fine and towards night we lost sight of land. Scotland was the last place we saw. We had a rough night. 1 of the ropes of the main sail was blown in two and 3 sails was blown to pieces but we had got out of the Irish Channel nearly.
3rd it was pretty calm and from 6 o'clock at night till nearly 8 o'clock we scarcely had a breeze at all and at 8 o'clock it began to blow a fine breeze.
4th. We had a fine day but not much breeze.
5th. We had a fine day in the morning. We saw a sailing vessel. It was making for Liverpool.
6th. We had a rough cold day and a rough night. Just before 8 o'clock at night it blew 1 of the main sails all to pieces. I was watching on the deck from 12 o'clock till 3 in the morning of the 7th. I had not been watching long before it blew one of the sails to pieces and broke 1 of the ropes.
7th. We had a rough day. We could scarcely walk about. The ship rocked so very much a very many fell down and spilled their [p.2] soup and potatoes and cakes and pies and the tin bottles and boxes rolling about and men and women falling down and sliding under the berths and crushing the bottles sides together and hurting themselves at times.
8th We had a rough day but it got calmer towards night.
9th. It was fine in the morning I saw 4 large fishes. The seamen said they was sea pigs. Their bodies looked very much like pigs. They would be about 60 stones each in weight.
10th. It was very calm but before noon it came on and the ship rocked very much all the afternoon making the bottles, tins and boxes roll about that was not well fastened.
11th. It was pretty fine. I saw a very many fishes jumping out of the water. I should think they would be from 1 stone to 6 stones in weight.
12th. It was very fine but before noon the winds got pretty high and continued all night. It was the roughest night we have had. The rocking of the vessel nearly throwing us out of our beds. Sometimes during the night we lost 10 casks of fresh water containing 2000 gallons of water for eating purposes.
13th. It was fine. We saw two vessels but they was a very long way off.
14th. We had a very fine sunshiny day but not much breeze but towards the night we had a good breeze.
15th. It was very fine but not much breeze. We had a preaching meeting on deck it was the first Sunday the weather would permit us to have a meeting.
16th. It was a fine day in the morning. About 8 o'clock we saw a fishing smack. There was a [p.3] child died aged 4 months and was thrown overboard at 7 o'clock at night.
17th. We had a cold day. In the morning it hailed and in the afternoon it snowed slightly. I found a lot of seashells swimming on top of the water of various colors and sizes.
18th. We had a fine day. We saw 3 vessels but one of them was so far off we could only see the top of the mast. There was a woman died in the night aged 55 and was thrown overboard 1/4 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. She came from Switzerland.
19th. [- - -] day in the afternoon it hailed. There was a man died aged 84 years at 1/4 past 5 o'clock in the afternoon.
20th. We had a fine day and in the afternoon that man which died yesterday was thrown overboard at 3 o'clock in the afternoon from Switzerland.
21st. We had a cold, foggy day. We could not see far from the ship side till afternoon.
22nd. It was cold and foggy all day.
23rd. We had a clear fine day and at night it was clear. We saw the new moon for the first time.
24th. We had a fine day and pretty warm. There was child died aged 1 year and 8 months and was thrown overboard at 7 o'clock at night.
25th. It was fine. We had a shower of rain just before noon and at night we had some thunder and lightning, but not heavy, from 7 to 9 o'clock.
26th. We had some rain in the morning but it turned out fine before noon. We saw a vessel in the afternoon. We hoisted our flag and then they hoisted theirs so that the captain could look through his spy glass at them to know what vessel it was. This vessel was the nearest to us of any since we left sight of land and the seamen said it was about 4 miles from us. We have seen one vessel besides this [p.4] that was pretty gain to us up to this time and all the rest had been from 10 to 20 miles from us that we have seen since we left sight of land.
27th. We had a pretty fine day we saw 1 vessel but it was a long way of nearly 20 miles. We had a clear moonlight night.
28th. We had a fine day. I saw 9 sea pigs.
29th. We had a fine day we had a meeting on deck in the forenoon and the Swiss had 1 on the deck in afternoon. We saw 3 vessels and one was a pilot boat with a man on for our vessel. It came to our vessel side at 6 o'clock at night and they stopped our vessel for him to get on and then we set sail again with him on board and left the pilot boat behind. This was the first time the vessel stopped since we left Liverpool river. Only when it has been calm it is nearly been at a standstill.
30th. We had a fine day. We came in sight of land at 12 o'clock noon. This is the first we have seen since we left sight of Scotland. This land is called the Long Islands. It is at our right side or north the Long Islands.
1st of May. We had a fine day in the morning. The tug steamer met us at 7 o'clock this morning to tug us in. It was tugging us 3 hours and then it left us at 10 o'clock and they anchored our vessel. We have been 32 days sailing within 1 hour from leaving the river at Liverpool up to the time of casting the anchor a short distance from New York. . . .[p.5][LETTER DOES NOT INCLUDE OVERLAND JOURNEY TO SALT LAKE CITY.]
Autobiography of Stanley Taylor
After leaving my father's house, my greatest ambition was to go to Zion, and a brother by the name of Andrew Garner, who was an underlooker at Samuel Stocks Colliery gave me a situation which brought me in two shillings and sixpence a day ($15.00 a month) and with economy, in five years I was able to dress well, pay all my expenses and save money to emigrate myself independently all the way to Salt Lake City.
The trip both on sea and land I enjoyed very much, but a wide sea voyage makes us conscious of being cast loose from the secure anchorage of settled life and sent adrift upon a doubtful world. It interposes a gulf not merely imaginary but real between us and our homes--a gulf subject to tempest and fear and uncertainty, and rendering distance palpable and return precarious. Such, at least was the case with myself. As I saw the blue line of my native land fade away like a cloud on the horizon, it seemed I had closed one volume of the world and its concerns, and had time for meditation before opening another. That land, too, vanishing from my view, which claimed all most dear to me in life--what vicissitudes might occur in it? What change might take place in me before I should visit again, who can tell when he sets forth to wander whether he may be driven by the uncertain currents of existence, or when he may return, or whether it may ever be to revisit the scenes of his childhood. I said that at sea, all is vacancy. I should correct the expression. To one given to daydreaming and fond of losing himself in reveries, a sea [p.181] voyage is full of subjects for meditation, but then, there are the wonders of the sea and of the air, and rather tend to abstract the mind from worldly themes. I delighted to loll over the quarter-railing or to climb to the main top on a calm day and muse for hours on the tranquil bosom of a summer sea, to gaze upon the piles of golden clouds just peeping above the horizon, fancy them some fairy realms and people them with a creation of my own; to watch the gentle undulating billows rolling their silver volumes as if to die away on those happy shores. There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe with which I looked down from my giddy heights at the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols.
Shoals of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the ship, the grumpus slowly heaving his huge form above the surface, or the ravenous shark darting like a scepter through the blue waters. My imagination would conjure up all that I heard or read of the watery world beneath me; of the finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys, of the shapeless monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the earth, and of the wild phantoms that swell the tales of fishermen and sailors. Sometimes a distant sail gliding along the edge of the ocean would be another idle speculation. How interesting this fragment of a world hastening to join the great mass of existence. What a glorious moment human invention; as in manner triumphed over wind and wave has brought the ends of the world into communication, has established an interchange of blessings pouring into the sterile regions of the North all the luxuries of the South; has diffused the light of knowledge and the charities of cultivated life and has thus bound together the scattered portions of the human race between which nature seems to have thrown an insurmountable barrier.
In America. The name of the ship was the Underwriter named by Captain Roberts, and a very fine gentleman he was. We left the dock at Liverpool on March 30, 1860 and arrived at the port of New York on the first of May. We stopped at Castle Garden a day or two, then took the boat at evening on the Hudson River for Albany, sailing all night, and therefore missing the beautiful scenery on its banks. From Albany took the train for the West, but I have lost my diary I kept of the route which makes it impossible for me to give a detail of the journey. The only thing of note I remember was the Suspension Bridge and the Niagara Falls which are certainly grand and majestic. I also remember the cities of Quincy, Detroit, Chicago, and St. Joseph. At the last named place, took the boat on the Missouri River for Florence, Nebraska, being about 100 miles west of St. Joseph. . . . [p.182]
eminiscences and Diary of Robert Stoney
We left Leeds on the 22 March 1860 on our way to Zion. Passed our time in preparing to go on board until Sunday 25, when we went to Conference at Liverpool & had a refreshing time & got some good instructions respecting our journey.
We went on board Monday 26 and sailed on Friday 30 March 1860 for New York. Our passage was a favorable one. We arrived in New York on the 30 of April 1860. We spent one day in Castle Garden & then went on board the steamer "New World" for Albany, [p.14] arrived next morning. We had 10 days journey to Florence & when we landed here we had 1/2 dollar & 20 cents. . . . [p.15]
BIB: Stoney, Robert, 1835-1901. Reminiscences and diary, 1860 Jun-Aug. [LDS Church Archives, Ms 3872, pp. 14-15; Acc. #29624]. (CHL)
Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Tullidge Little
. . . We embarked on the ship Underwriter. There were five hundred ninety-four Saints. We had a very pleasant voyage although we had two gales and rough weather most of the time, but none of the Saints seemed to worry about it. We would sing and dance and have a good time. We were in the second cabin. We had a good choir and we all stayed together. We arrived in New York on the first of May. We were on board thirty days. We stayed two days at Castle Garden, went from there to Albany, through Chicago, Detroit, over Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls. The falls were a beautiful sight. We sailed up the Missouri to Florence. We stayed there for six weeks waiting for the company to get ready. . . . [p.104]
BIB: Little, Mary Elizabeth Tullidge, Our Pioneer Heritage Vol. 15 (1972) p. 104.
Diary of Henry James Harrison
The history of my life when I started from England on the 14th of March and 15 when I bid my friends and relation all farewell & so was at a meeting at Farnham in surrey Old England and on the 21st at do. [MEANING Farnham] having instructions for my journey by Brother Hanham, Brother Moss, and Brother Philips, and Brother Yates and biding the Saints all farewell for a time to join us to the Land of Promise some day when the Lord sees fit .
Mar. 23. Started for Reading from Aldershot & biding my brother and brothers and sisters goodbye for a time.
Mar. 24. Started from from [SIC] Reading for Liverpool the same day having a beautiful view of the country as we were going along. One place took out attention very much. Was the Welch mountains over Clad which snow and many other things to [-] to mention for I have only a brief sketch of things that I saw. It was very wet when we arrived at Liverpool quite safe and then we had to proceed to get lodgings for a night or two and the rain still falling fast which made it rather unpleasant but we bore it with contentment. We succeeded in getting lodgings after going to two houses at S' Robert Temperence Otell Button street, Liverpool. There was several Saints at the place besides us that came from the Farnham Branch.
There was a conference on the 25 of March in the meeting room of Liverpool. We went to the afternoon and evening meeting and we enjoyed ourselves very much in the society of so many saints of which we had not bee accustom to.
On Monday the 26th of March we went on board the Underwriter for to sail for New York but we did not start till Friday the 30 of March and then we proceeded on our journey. It was pleasant going down the river. We had a pleasant morning for starting but it came on a little rough. I got up at 12 o'clock at night and saw the Isle of Man. There was a little sickness in the night - but I have not found anything of it myself yet. We passed Ireland about 7 o'clock Saturday morning.
Mar 31 we saw an island near Belfast. We saw 3 birds much like Bore hens near Belfast in the sea. 20 minutes past 8 o'clock passing Cooper Island. 12 o'clock p.m. passing [p.38] the rocks in the North part of Ireland. In the afternoon rather a gale with wet.
Sunday morning beautiful sun shining but the wind very rough and keep tacking the ship very much and a gale and many sick this morning. I am well myself. Holfred Thomas and Sarah and I am sick myself today and all four of us. And we are not making any progress on our journey. Up to April 2 Mar at 12 a.m. we are making a little progress. We can see the hills of Scotland the very high ones covered with snow. We are now in the Atlantic. A beautiful, sunshining day. It was blowing a heavy gale in the afternoon. It split the top sails. We are all sick still.
Up to the 3 of April, Tues., the wind was very still and the sea going over the ship at times. I had to hold on to the ship this morning. We had great headway. I had a job to keep to the fire in the galley. I lost half of my cooking as it was doing.
Wed. April 4 a beautiful day. The ship a going at a rapid rate. The saints all getting better of seasickness.
Thurs. April 5th a beautiful morning. The saints rejoicing on the deck with hymns of praise.
Fri. April 6. Winds and the sea very rough. rather inclined for wet. 3 o'clock Saturday morning on watch till 6 o'clock. The sea still very rough. Everything in the ship rolling about. I had a fall in the night and bruise my nose and forehead.
April 7, April 8 the sea still very rough. A brig passed us this morning. I had another fall and bruised my knee.
Monday April 9 Beautiful morning but rather rough in the afternoon but going on at a rapid rate. Here is very few sick but it split the front sail. It was rather dark in the morning but the sea calm and the ship going on sickly. The wind came on about 11 a.m. and tore the sails to rags and overturn everything in the cooking galley. I did manage to save our dinner of rice but I was oblige to hold to the post of the door while I eat my dinner but a great many had to go without the rice pie and puddings &c.
Wed. April 11. Beautiful morning. The Saints all on deck this morning taking fresh air but it came up rough in the afternoon and the rain came down the hatchways making many wet through.
Thurs. April 12. Beautiful morning and everything appears beautiful around us [p.41] and it's pleasant on the deck but it came on rough in the afternoon. I enjoyed my health first rate and I had plenty of work to do serving out stores and provisions for the Saints on the ship. Beautiful having been better today then on any day on shipboard but it comes very rough in the night and everything was swamp with water. I had a job to keep my hat on and I went down to my berth and found our cans untied and I looking for them. I wounded my head 9 o'clock a.m. and crush between the luggage and in the room of the ship the berths all fell down and a great many was oblige to sit up all night.
Fri. April 13 still very rough and wet. A ship seen by me [and] a great many on deck at a quarter past 10 o'clock bound for New York and 3 more I saw, 2 I say myself. In the afternoon windy but fine.
Sat. April 14. Beautiful day and a great many Saints on deck and 2 marriages with good instructions for the Saints and singing and rejoicing between 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon and in the evening the priesthood meeting with good sound doctrine and good instructions with singing and great preparations for Sunday.
April 15. Beautiful morning and everything look joyful around us. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon a meeting held on deck by Brother Ross and 2 & 3 more brethren gave us good instructions and all were joyful around us with singing and praise and prayer. And in the evening we had sacrament meeting in wards among the brethren. At 6 p.m. till 8 p.m. a sacrament meeting with the sisters with good instructions and bearing testimony and Brother Ross preaching.
Mon. April 16. Rather damp morning with a good wind in our favor. A ship seen at 10 o'clock a.m. A child died about 5 or 6 months old at 12 to about 1 o'clock a.m. Buried at 10 minutes past 7 o'clock in the evening in the sea.
Tues. April 17. Beautiful morning. Many on deck today with dancing and signing songs and recitations. I saw some beautiful shoals of fish about 11 o'clock and about 6 o'clock p.m. one ship and a fishing smack and in the evening a concert in the Virgin Palace.
Wed. April 18. 6 a.m. 2 ships I saw and about 7 a.m. a little snow a beautiful sunshining morning. A sister from Switzerland died last night about 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. I wrote part of a letter for home today. Swiss sister was buried at a quarter to 4 o'clock. Very calm this day. A vessel seen at 6 o'clock a long distance off. That sister was about 55 years old. A squall in the evening which upset us all. [p.43]
April 19. Very rough this morning but the ship gone ahead. I work today serving provisions. A Swiss Brother died about half past 5 o'clock at the age 87 years, 2 vessels open this day--one by me. Singing and music in the evening.
Fri. April 20. A beautiful morning being very calm. A ship seen in the afternoon. The Swiss brother was buried at half past 3 o'clock. At 6 p.m. I saw a ship and some large fishes or dolphins.
April 21. Rather rough this morning with a fog but the ship is going ahead. I am busy today and in the evening singing and rejoicing with songs.
Sun. April 22. Rather cold and damp wind. Sunday morning still holding very cold. During the day a meeting was held in the afternoon in which many testimonies were born and great rejoicing with songs and praise. In the evening a good meeting with good instructions to all.
Mon. April 23. Fine morning and with dancing and singing on the deck and in the evening singing with recitations. Myself on watch 11 o'clock till 12 o'clock and the stars shining beautiful.
Tues. April 24. A beautiful morning and a great many on deck today. Myself not very well today. Beautiful evening with new moon and starlight and many on deck to see a steam vessel at 1/2 past 9 o'clock.
Wed. April 25. A beautiful and the sun very warm through the day. A testimony meeting in the evening with good instructions.
Thurs. April 26. Fine morning but rather inclined to be wet. A vessel seen and the flags wave. Hoisted the flag for America and 5 other small ones and then the American flag again. That cheered us all up and a great many came on deck to us. I wrote another part of my letter yesterday. In the evening after this we had a meeting of instructions and singing.
Fri. April 27. A beautiful morning and fine through the day. A vessel seen this afternoon and a testimony meeting at 1/4 past 3 o'clock in the afternoon and fine through the day. A concert in the Bachelor's Hall at half past 8 o'clock in the evening.
April 28. A beautiful morning and a many on deck today and a vessel see this morning. Fine throughout the day but the vessel going slowly. A sister had a fit in the evening for about an hour. Many on deck till late I enjoyed myself very much and &c.
Sunday April 29. A beautiful morning and a fair wind and porpoises seen in the water. This morning a meeting on deck at 11 o'clock. [p.45] and the afternoon at 3 o'clock a priesthood meeting. A pilot boat came to us at 1/4 past 5 o'clock and took one man on board. A beautiful evening and many walking on deck in the cold of the evening.
April 30. A beautiful morning. Saw land about 11 to 12 o'clock and another vessel in view about the same time. 2 more vessels seen and the land look very natural to us which made us think of home and the day was beautiful. Days was fair up to this time we having a meeting on the day by Brother Ross. He gave us instructions for Florence and then we were to see the beautiful lighthouse and the shores of America.
May 1. Rather damp morning and everyone busy packing up their luggage ready for landing. We got on board the tug at 12 o'clock for New York and landed at Castle Garden between 1 and 2 o'clock. We all felt cheerful to think we are on land again the end of the ship journey to New York to Castle Garden and to Florence. We have to give our names &c at the office in the Garden. We do all appreciate the bread again after having none so long. We had a walk in New York and it was very muddy in the town but there was some beautiful buildings. We have got to learn to understand the American money & coins. We had to all sleep in the Castle Garden on the floor except a few that went out in the town to sleep which was very hard to sleep on the floor &c.
May 2. Uncomfortable through the day and I went out in the town in the morning. The town was very wet through the day and I got every wet myself and in the afternoon a shifting luggage and I got very warm and I felt rather ill. We started for Albany at 6 o'clock in the evening and traveled all night. I slept very well considering it was on the luggage. I woke up early in the morning May 3 we had a beautiful ride up the river we to Albany at about 1/2 past 7 o'clock it was pleasant coming up the river to Albany is a very nice looking place. We started from Albany at 1/2 past 12 o'clock we came 70 miles and we had refreshments stopping again at 1/2 past 6 o'clock and took refreshments. We all partook of rest till morning arriving at Rochester at 1/2 past 5 o'clock. May 4. A beautiful town and then we proceeded on to Buffalo [p.47] and cross the suspension bridge to get to Buffalo. There we could see the Niagara Waterfall. The ice going down the river in flakes. The sun is very hot in the place we sat down on the green seward. We have 5 hours here. I went and bought 3 pints of milk in Buffalo and I had a good at the house that I went to see the cooking stove. The woman told me that it was 16 dollars and the utensils for cooking. And the bake their own bread and the woman showed me some of their bread and they grow their own hops around their dooryard. Started from Buffalo at 1/2 past 4 o'clock in the afternoon having had a rest.
May 5. We arrived at Windsor in America at 8 o'clock in the morning after traveling all night. We are now going to the train bound for Detroit. We went to a hotel to get dinner and I lost a pocket knife I brought from London. Crossing Detroit at 4 o'clock in the morning.
May 6 Sunday having to stop in the place all day. Very warm. Brother Oliver preach to the people on the platform of the depot at Chicago. To Toledo arriving at Peoria at 7 o'clock.
May 7. Arrived at Galesburg at 9 o'clock. Stop to change some of the carriages and to get some provisions. Start from Quincy at 3 o'clock for Hannibal and St. Joseph. This is the Mississippi River [Missouri River]. We arrived at St. Joseph from Hannibal about 1/2 past 10 o'clock.
May 8. Started again for Florence at 1/4 past 11 o'clock. After we got about one hour half our journey we had to stop because it was low water and some of us went onshore and I had a good look around. We went and had a good look at a log hut. (I got a [-] pail of eggs for 10 cents.) It was newly erected and the people living in it and there was plenty of grapevines on the land. We stopped at night after going a little farther and started going again.
May 9 about 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning. Stopping at a landing place about 7 o'clock a.m. at a store to get some molasses and soap and sugar. Stopping a few minutes too long I got left. I had to run and walk about 12 or 14 miles but I got to the boat at the next stopping place but I lost my molasses and got [-] all over through going through the wood and brush. It was very rough and sandy and very hot crossing a sand bar but I caught up with the boat on the next landing. I had a good rest when I got on the boat again and the captain gave me a glass of brandy and I went and laid down on the bunks and rested awhile.
The next day [p.49], May 10, we went and filled on milk. In the morning we had to go and shove the boat. We had to walk awhile. Some of the Brethren caught 2 or 3 mice besides we saw lots of birds and rabbits. It was a beautiful walk being so many of us together which made it pleasant to us. We got on the boat after capsize of 3 or 3 hours. There was 17 left behind but we took them up some distance up the river. We went on a little farther and stopped at a place to get provisions for breakfast. We stopped 3/4 of an hour and then proceeded on our journey. We then stop for the night.
May 11 we were delayed on our journey owing to the shallow water. We all landed again and walked to Council Bluffs about night and in the morning got on again. Then started again at this place and we recuted [UNCLEAR] ourselves with provisions again at this place. Eggs were very cheap at this place 10 cents for 15 eggs. Platsmith was the next place we arrived at but stop but a few minutes and then we went on to Council Bluffs. This is a landing place at a flat level land and not a house near it but a shed for putting in goods. When the land here we stopped but a few minutes to put passengers and luggage that arrive here at 9 o'clock in the evening and landed the luggage but the passengers stayed on the vessel till morning. . . . [p.51]
. . . Arrived in Florence May 12 1860.
June 6, 1860. Captain of company â€” Daniel Robinson. Captain to each 10 handcarts. George Fasor of your 10. . . . [p.54]
Autobiography of Johann Lebrecht Baer
. . . On the 15th, I preached my farewell sermon in my father's house. There was quite a number there. The next day we started on our journey. The parting from my father, brothers and sister was a hard one. One said: "Brother, I would rather see you carried to your grave than go to America." Sister said: When you get there write and tell me how you found everything." I answered that I would write her the truth. As we arrived at Hedington, the next village, there on the side of the road was a woman calling me to come into the house and pray for her little baby who was very sick for many weeks, had 3 doctors and all said there was no hope. I asked her name and she said it was Mary Schmid. Her husband heard me preach yesterday. It was my cousin. I went in, knelt down by the cradle, and asked our Heavenly Father to heal the babe and spare his life. The rejoicing mother thanked me and wished me God's blessing. Arriving in Zurich we boarded the cars which carried us swiftly away from our native land, but before we came to the city of Basil situated on the boundary line I turned my face to see once more the land of my birth. With the snow-capped mountains which glittered like gold from the suns rays - a beautiful picture it was indeed, but a feeling of sorrow with evil foreboding came over me, impressing on my mind that troubles and hardships of a serious nature were awaiting me in the future in the new world. I could not refrain from weeping, the tears rolling down my cheeks. I tried to console myself with the thought that I was leaving my native land for the gospel's sake and for my salvation, remembering the words of Christ, "Whosoever cannot leave father, mother, brothers and sisters, houses and lands for my sake is not worthy of me." But it was hard, hard, hard. Farewell my native land, farewell ye mountains, farewell to all my loved ones. [p.15]
At Basil we took a steamboat down the river Rhein to Rotterdam, Holland. There were 70 persons on board from Switzerland. I had to see that none got lost on the way to Liverpool. At Rotterdam we took the steamer for Hull, England and encountered a heavy sea. The storm was indeed fearful, water came down in gushes into the ships hold, where we were huddled together, women and children crying from getting bruised and knocked about. There were a few families from Holland falling on each others necks and saying good-bye and so on. The ship had 3 masts, one broke off on the deck floor and fell over the ship. Some cattle tied with chains on deck were washed overboard. Then the boat ran on a rock and stood there while they used all the power of the machinery to get it off and down it went with a fearful plunge, but came up again with some machinery broken and our progress was then very slow. In Hull we stayed a number of days. I suppose not to get to Liverpool before the ship was ready to sail the Atlantic. In those days the journey had to be made on sailships as steamers just began to come into use, and would have cost a lot of money to travel on. Underwriter was the name of our boat with 600 passengers, all Mormons, so called from the British Islands, except us Swiss. After all was settled the ship did plow its way over the briny deep and what did we the Swiss hear and see. Hand organ, violin music and then dancing. We did not like that and asked one another what kind of people is this? One of our elders, the very one I first saw in my country went to England sometime ago and could now speak English fluently, told us they were all Mormons. We were horror stricken in hearing this. We never expected that Latter-day Saints would indulge in such worldly pleasures. We were disgusted. I always abhorred dancing. I said: "Mark now, we will have a storm on top of this. Remember what is written in the Book of Mormon when Nephi's brethren and the sons of Ishmael and their wives began to make merry inasmuch as they began to dance and so on - and there arose a great storm and the compass did cease to work. Now we did get a storm so they had to quit too. By and by the storm quit and the ship glided smoothly so the dance went on. I said: "Now mark, there will be a bigger storm and indeed a contrary wind did arise which did drive us back 30 miles before the wind changed in our favor.
I was married to my betrothed by J.D. Ross, a Scotch Captain, along with another couple, Brother Mark H. Forscut [Forscutt] leading the singing.
We landed at New York after 35 days, then on board a steamer up the Hudson River to Albany, from there on the cars to St. Joseph, Missouri. The Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad was just finished in the fall of 1859. At St. Joseph we boarded a steamer bound north (in those days they went as far as Ft. Benton, Montana). We landed at Florence, 2 miles above Omaha. There we were left on the sand bank of the river. Soon some vehicles came down. People began moving away till all were gone except us, nobody taking any notice of it. At last I went up to see what could be done, so a Swiss brother informed me that there was a handcar standing in an alley saying: "If I were you, I would take it and go and get your things up." I hesitated afraid that they might take me up and he answered: "What else in the world can you do? You cannot stay down there on that sand bank. I would risk it if I were you." So I took the car and going to start I heard a shouting and [p.16] looking back there was a big man and I recognized him as John Smith, Hyrum's son, patriarch in Utah, who I had seen in Zurich. What I could make out of his hollering was he wanted me to leave the car alone. But I started with it in full run down the hill, speaking to myself; "Let him come and catch me if he can." So we got our stuff up and crowded with others into one of those deserted houses. Then I put the car back from where I took it. We had to stay there a few weeks till our teams arrived. I was informed that we could not take our trunks with us. The wagons will be overloaded. I did not like to leave them behind, as they were strongly built, bound with iron and put together with 2 inch screws. They did cost me 14 dollars, even though my older brother made them. There came a man, they said he was a Josephite (that was the first time we heard of Josephites) that wanted to buy some trunks. No doubt he knew that some could not take them along across the American desert and that they could be bought for a song. Well, he offered me so little for it that I considered it a shame. I don't know if it was 25 or 50 cents now for both. I told him the screws alone cost that much and before I would sell at that price I would take the screws and locks and use the wood for kindling. I considered him a very poor specimen for a Latter-day Saint. Well, they all came in very handy in the rocky mountain valley, as we had to stay in Florence quite a while.
Starting on our journey across the plains or American Desert Brother Disam, a Swiss, helped us to continue our journey from New York. He bought 4 teams. I drove one, was to pay him after we arrived in the valley. This I agreed to do. Our train consisted of 35 wagons with 2 or 3 yoke of cattle to each. 8 wagons belonged to the Swiss. We proceeded fairly well until on a very hot day the cattle with their tongues hanging out with thirst about noon we reached Platte River where we watered our cattle. Our wagon was heavy loaded, 3500 lbs. on it with 3 yoke of cattle and 2 of us to drive. One of the oxen was half buffalo. We had him hitched with his mate which was as gentle as a lamb to the wagon tongue. I drove the front ones, my partner the back ones. I unhitched mine but he was afraid of the buffalo. He was a big stout man over 6 feet tall. He could have reached over the gentle one without going between them, but he would not. They had to be watered, no question about that or they might run down with the wagon into the river and mash things to pieces. I started to unhitch them. I was small and could not reach over. I had to go between them. As I took hold of the yoke ring, the buffalo commenced to jump and jump and the other one got scared and jumped too. I was knocked down on the wagon tongue and got pressed in between them with no way to escape. It seemed everyone was scared and kept their distance, leaving me to my fate. But as soon as the captain, J. D. Ross saw what was going on he came with a big stick right in front of the infuriated animals and in the twinkling of an [p.17] eye, they jumped to one side. The axle broke, a wheel fell off. It gave me a place to jump. I made the leap and fell exhausted. When the people came a Swiss sister who could speak three languages got some water and bathed my head and wounds. Brother Ross administered to me. As soon as a new axle was put in they lifted me into the wagon and we journeyed on again. They finally got the yoke off the buffalo, but it took the whole camp 2 hours to get it on again, so it was decided to trade him off the first chance we had, to a ranchman, which we did. In a day or two I was able to walk again, holding on to the wagon, as I had difficulty to breathe. In 2 weeks I was called again to take my turn as watchman from 8 to 12 that night. I tried to be excused as I did not feel well enough. In a short time blood came out of my mouth in lumps that nearly choked me. I had to take them out with my fingers. My lungs have been weak ever since. I had such faith in this Latter-day work that I thought when I could see that place of refuge I would fall down and kiss the very ground and praise God's holy name. But oh! How soon it changed. All along our way we had our morning and evening prayers and sang the songs of Zion. As we were getting closer to the Rocky Mountain Range, a strange feeling came over me, evil forebodings of terrible things, troubles and trials seemed to penetrate my whole system. I felt like the air was full of demons and evil spirits which made me feel so miserable I cannot describe it. The nearer we got to our journeys end the worse I felt. When we reached the top of the big mountain we could look down into that chamber and see teams on the Sabbath day going up and down the canyon hauling wood. I was so horrified and inquired who they were. They answered saying that they were Gentiles. Well, we were told in the old country that no Gentiles would come here as it is the Lord's chamber where the people of God had a hiding place till his wrath is passed over the nation. About 7 or 8 miles from Salt Lake City we made a noon halt. There came a few heavy set fellows from the valley, one of them offered up a prayer but they did not remove their hats. On inquiring who they were I was informed they were some of the twelve to meet us. Well, I did think very little of them, because they would not remove their hats in time of prayer, while all the rest of us were bareheaded. I also found out that those teamsters on the mountain roads were Mormons, Brighams, and Kimballs and others. Reader, you might think how I felt, coming from Babylon in full confidence to go to the Saints of the most high and found them such transgressors of the law, which would not have been tolerated in Babylon so called. O my God, my God, what shall the end be? O Israel of old has gone astray in spite of the warning of the prophets and here Israel of the latter days going astray, yea their prophets and leaders their seducers. As we arrived at the city square, which was dusty as could be and a strong wind blowing, we were in a puzzle, thousands of miles from home and friends, destitute and in a strange country, with little understanding of their language, no advice, no help, no assistance in any way, there you are to root or die. . . . [p.18]
BIB: Baer, Johann Lebrecht. Autobiography (ms 10240), p.15-18. (CHL)