Saturday, April 12, 1856. I left Dublin, Ireland, bound for Zion. Kate, my wife, and children were all sick on the passage to Liverpool. After ranging the streets in Liverpool for sometime, we found a Brother Chapman, who gave us lodgings, and brought our luggage to his house, for which we had to pay five shillings, six-pence. We attended meeting in the morning, in the Center Branch, where we heard Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock and other elders speak. We attended another meeting in the evening and heard Captain Dan Jones and others preach. Brother [Dan] Jones addressed the Saints both in English and Welsh as members from both countries were present.
Sunday, April 13. We had passed a very unpleasant night with the Chapman's, having been bitten by bugs all night, and in the morning I found my eyes fearfully swelled. I went to the Mission Office No. 36 (later 42) Islington Street, but could not easily settle for my passage, in consequence of the brethren being so very busy. We moved from Chapman's to a fresh lodging.
Monday, April 14. I settled for my passage at the Mission Office, and bought some things for my journey.
Tuesday, April 15. I walked through the most part of Liverpool and saw the principal buildings, St. George's Hall and others.
Thursday, April 17. We left our lodgings and went on board the Samuel Curling in the Wellington dock.
Friday, April 18. The ship was still in the dock taking in the cargo and the passengers' luggage.
Saturday, April 19. The ship was towed out of the dock into the Mersey River and cast anchor until 12 o'clock. A tugboat came alongside and brought Brother Franklin D. Richards and others of the Valley elders, amongst whom were Brothers Scott and McGhee, bringing Sister Brannigan [Mary Branigan], who went to Belfast a week previous to avoid being taken by her parents, who wished to prevent her going with the Saints.
All hands had to come on deck to pass the doctor and the government inspector. After passing and going below, I was sent for by Brother Franklin, who gave me his parting blessing and expressed a wish to serve me when he came to Zion. We remained at anchor in the river until the next morning, when the captain of the ship and Brother Captain Dan Jones, [p. 1] the president of the ship, came on board. We passed the doctor again in the general muster on deck. The tug towed the ship out to sea and left about 2 o'clock p.m., carrying back letters for the post. I wrote to my uncle and Tom, and received a letter from my uncle and one from Brother Bond. There was very little wind, the ship running about two (2) miles an hour. The brethren held an organization council on deck, but afterwards went below to the hospital. Captain Dan Jones was appointed president of the company, and the following rules and regulations were adopted:
First Presidency: Elder Dan Jones, president; Elder John Oakley, first counselor, and Elder David Grant, second counselor.
The ship was then divided into 11 wards, and I was elected first clerk of the ship.
Elder Thomas Thomas to preside over the 1st Ward.
Elder John Edwards to preside over the 2nd Ward.
Elder John Perry [Parry] to preside over the 3rd Ward.
Elder Job Welling to preside over the 4th Ward.
Elder John McDonald to preside over the 5th Ward.
Elder James Thomas to preside over the 6th Ward.
Elder Evan Evans to preside over the 7th Ward.
Elder Richard Williams to preside over the 8th Ward.
Elder William Butler to preside over the 9th Ward.
Elder John Lewis to preside over the 10th Ward.
Elder John Walters to preside over the 11th.
Brother [John] Wilson was to be 2nd or assisting clerk. The resolutions passed were, that the president of each ward have a sufficient number of men up every morning to wash and clean under and before each berth in his ward, and to have it finished and prayers over at 6 o'clock. Any neglect of the rules passed by the council or presidency, the president of the ward would be held responsible, and would be liable to be tried by a council of his brethren.
The cook house was to open to receive the 1st and 2nd wards at 6 o'clock for cooking breakfast.
3rd and 5th wards to cook from 6 to 7
4th and 6th wards to cook from 7 to 7 1/2
7th and 8th wards to cook from 7 to 8
9th and 10th and 11th wards to cook from 8 to 9
Dinner was to follow the same rotation, commencing at 11 o'clock and ending at 3. Supper or tea, the same rotation, commencing at 4:30 and ending at 7:30, when the galley fires were to be put out.
Prayers were to be over in each ward at 8 o'clock p.m., and the president of each ward was to have a teacher's meeting within this time, say to commence at 7:45 or quarter of eight.
In order to prevent disease, the presidents were to have the Saints go on deck as much as possible. [p. 2]
There were many other resolutions passed with regard to the regulation of the Saints in the different wards, one of which was, that the hospital be allotted to Brother Jones and the clerks for an office, and that we keep all sickness out of the ship.
Sunday, April 20. The weather was still very calm, and the ship was off the Welsh Coast. A general assembly convened on deck. Captain Dan Jones and his counselors addressed the meeting.
Monday, April 21. The weather was still calm, and the ship was in Cardigan Bay, off the Welsh Coast.
Tuesday, April 22. During the night we had a nice breeze, which left us on the Wexford Coast, Ireland, where we were perfectly becalmed.
Wednesday, April 23. The wind was a little fresher this morning. The ship was running at 5 miles an hour. I was called for the night watch and appointed sergeant of the watch. During my watch, I found one of the sentries asleep. I was relieved by Brother [William O.] Payne at 1 o'clock.
Thursday, April 24. This morning there was a good and favorable wind; the ship was making 12 miles an hour. Kate (my wife) and the children were sick. I felt sick myself, and all on board were sick, too, unless it was the crew and Captain Jones.
Friday, April 25. The wind was still favorable, with the ship running 14 miles an hour. The passengers were still all sick. Between the decks was a horrid mess, as the ship was rolling perpetually. I paid the captain's cook one pound to cook for me during the voyage, it being almost impossible to get anything cooked at the passenger's galley fire, from the number of passengers and the smallness of the cooking stoves.
I was appointed by the president, the "Millennial Star" and book agent for the passage, he having bought a few numbers of the "Star" from Liverpool in advance and some books.
Saturday, April 26. We had a favorable wind all day. Nearly all the Saints were on deck. I paid Brother [Dan] Jones for the "Stars" and books sold and returned those unsold, and received fifty "Stars" more to sell. The week's provisions have given out. 9 o'clock p.m., and all well on board.
Sunday, April 27. A small bird, a swallow or martin, flew on deck and fell down panting; it was caught by the carpenter of the ship, who gave it to the captain. The captain said it had flown from land which was 700 or 800 miles from Cape Clear.
We had a favorable wind and the ship was running well. I addressed the Saints at the evening meeting, being called on by the president. A [p. 3] general meeting was held today on deck. I volunteered to assist in the washing and cleaning of the ward in the morning.
Monday, April 28. I passed a very sleepless night; the water was coming down on my berth all night.
A child, 17 months old, died this morning, and the body was thrown overboard at 8 o'clock p.m.
We had a head wind, and the ship was running about 6 miles an hour.
Tuesday, April 29. The weather was very stormy. Another child died this morning.
Wednesday, April 30. The wind was blowing a gale. Very many of the passengers were sick again, owing to the roughness of the sea. There were two births, a boy and a girl, which leaves the number of passengers the same as when we started.
Thursday, May 1. I was getting the passengers to sign the bonds, required by the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company.
Friday, May 2. Getting passengers to sign the bonds, but obliged to leave off in consequence of the roughness of the sea. Sister Lamerson [Anne Lauerensen] fainted but recovered immediately on being administered to. The sea and storm rose so high that the boxes which were lashed, broke away from their fastenings and ran all over the ship. A boy fell down one of the hatches and was hurt.
Saturday, May 3. We had a fearful storm last night, two of the sails being carried away. The captain of the ship said he had never witnessed such a storm, although he had been 20 years at sea. I did not sleep any all night, being obliged to hold the children, one under each arm, to prevent them from being thrown out of bed.
12 o'clock. The storm was still raging, and a great many people were sick from the pitching and rolling of the vessel. A general prayer meeting was held at the middle hatch for calmer weather and a more prosperous voyage.
Sunday, May 4. We passed a good night and slept well. The vessel was making very little progress, as the wind was dead ahead. A sacrament meeting was held between decks, and another meeting was held at 7:30 in the evening.
Monday, May 5. I was called to be captain of the watch for the night last night, just as I was going to bed. I went on guard at 1 o'clock and came off at 6. Nothing particular transpired during the night.
Tuesday, May 6. We had head winds and stormy weather. Many people [p. 4] were very seasick.
Wednesday, May 7. We still had head winds, and the vessel rocked very much.
Thursday, May 8. A child died this morning.
Friday, May 9. We had stormy weather the whole day. Another child died this morning. A gentile passenger made a great deal of noise, and was dragged from the young females part of the ship, where he had secreted himself and put into his own berth. Brother Lucas and myself were placed as guards. [p. 5]
BIB: Birmingham, Patrick Twiss [Journal] in Church Emigration Book (1855-1861). pp. 1-5.