. . . We sailed from Liverpool about 12 noon on the 20th day of April under the Presidency of Israel Barlow in the Ship "Samuel Curling" with upwards of 500 souls almost all of whom were bound for Great Salt Lake Valley.
The evening previous to our embarking, all the pastors and presidents of conferences were called to meet with F. [Franklin] D. Richards at his lodgings for the purpose of getting instructions as how to conduct ourselves and those on shipboard during our passage. It was prophesied by F.[Franklin] D. Richards and Daniel Spencer that if we on board did right we would be preserved, and not a soul of us would die; but if we did wrong it would be otherwise with us.
On the 21st, our arrangements were made, and the ship was divided into 7 wards and each wards had a president, I being appointed to preside over the 5th Ward, in which chanced to be quite a number of my old Scotch acquaintances.
The presidents of wards had each 2 counselors, and in each ward were appointed 2 teachers, to visit and keep the Saints in good order, etc. Strict discipline was observed, cleanliness rigidly so, and the order was to retire to berths by 9 p.m. and get up on the morning by 5 a.m.
After being on the sea in fair winds, contrary winds, gales, and calm weather, we sighted land for the first time on the 22nd of May, about 6 o'clock a.m. We were towed into the New York harbor on Tuesday 22nd, and slept aboard that night.
On Wednesday the 23rd, John Taylor and others of the brethren missioned in New York, came on board our vessel today, and had those of us styled "Independents" separated from those called "Perpetual Emigrating Fund" passengers so as to have our business matters and expenses kept separate, etc., whereupon the "Independents" organized themselves into a company, John Robinson, president, Henry Maiben, clerk. We slept this night on board also.
On Thursday 24th a steamboat took our luggage from off the ship up to another wharf where it was put aboard another steamer to be taken to Amboy to be put on the cars for Pittsburgh. We slept in New York on board a "hotel" tonight in which from 5 to 10 beds were in one room. On Friday we were taken per steamer to Philadelphia, landing there at 8 p.m., and was lodged in a boarding house for the night. Next morning at 11 a.m. we left Philadelphia per railway cars for Pittsburgh, a distance of 330 miles. [p.55]
After many adventures both by railway and river we landed at St. Louis about 5 a.m. Thursday, June 7th 1855, where we were kindly received by my brother-in-law, Peter C. Peterkin, and my sister Sarah, his wife, as was also a Mary Anne Smith of our company who was sick of smallpox; and after stopping there about three weeks until Sister Smith recovered we took a berth of the "Saranak" for Atchison, at which place we landed on Sunday 8th July, at about 5 p.m. and went per ox team to Mormon Grove - 5 miles. E. Snow put me in charge of the company of Saints on board the "Saranak" at St. Louis, which was no sinecure office for one so green as I.
While at Mormon Grove my wife and child and afterwards, myself, had cholera, but rallied in time to start across the plains on which journey we started on Thursday 26th July, in company with 300 souls.
After experiencing all the vicissitudes incident to "life on the desert plains," and on the mountains we sighted and landed in the object of our travels on Sunday, being the 28th October 1855, in good health, having experienced no serious injury on our journey. . . . [p.56]
BIB: Rowan, Matthew, 1827-. Reminiscences and journal, 1853-1864. [LDS Church Archives, Ms 8230, pp. 55-56; Acc. #33375] (CHL)