I was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, England, on the 6th of January, 1828, my father was John Robinson, a house carpenter, and architect, my mother was Elenor Charters, eldest daughter of Alexander and Ann Charters of Balmaghie, North Briton. My mother died of consumption when I was very young. I do not remember her but my grandmother Robinson took care of me as I was a delicate child and very fretful. My dear father was exceedingly kind and affectionate to me, more so than he was to my sister, Anna, who was two years older.
We were raised to the Independent faith. I had a good memory and retained the texts and many portions of the scriptures, and loved to go to Sunday School. I was a great favorite with my teacher, also my grandmother. I think I was five or six years old when my father married a young lady from Leeds, Yorkshire. Her name was Elizabeth Mattley, by whom he had two sons and eight daughters. She was a good woman, and loved me as one of her own children. We were very happy together. It was in 1840 that Brother John Taylor came to the Isle of Man to preach the gospel. My mother received it with great joy and Brother Taylor baptized her, but Father did not accept. He was very liberal in supporting the elders and finding them homes and I think at one time believed the gospel, but for some cause never joined the Church. He was a good man, indeed he was an honorable man, and brought up to be strictly honest. In the year 1841, my sister, Anna, and myself were baptized by Elder Joseph Fielding. It was the 1st day of March and Father was so pleased that we had the courage to go, for it was very cold weather. He thought a great deal of Brother Fielding.
I remained at my father's house until the year 1855, then the 16th of February, my half- sister, Helena, and I left home to gather with the Saints. It was a terrible trial for me to leave all that I loved, the land of my birth, my dear father most of all. It was indeed stretching my heart strings, but I knew in whom I trusted and I laid my earthly all upon the altar. The pleasing associations of home were very dear to me and I was going to a strange land, among strangers, but still I felt it was my duty, and the path of duty has been the path of safety to me.
We were detained two weeks in Liverpool waiting for a ship. It was a sailing vessel, with about five hundred Saints, mostly English people, but no person that I was acquainted with. We had a very rough voyage, being eight weeks on the sea, but God sustained me through it all. I was not seasick and helped all that I could with those who were, and formed some nice acquaintances. I must say that my father was very much opposed to my [p.529] leaving home, as he had promised my mother when she was dying never to lose sight of her two little ones. However, he could not prevail on me to stay home with him.
We had been about two weeks at sea, when on the 8th of March, I had a most delightful dream. I thought a voice spoke to me in comforting words from the Proverbs of Solomon, saying "many daughters have done well, but thou excellest all." This renewed my determination to serve God and keep His commandments. However, on the 22nd I was taken very ill indeed, for one week had to keep to my bed. Then the storm arose and drove the good old ship Siddons on the banks of Newfoundland, which almost froze us to death. The weather was very severe and the hailstones were as large as walnuts. The captain was a kind man and did all that he could for our comfort. Now the ship provisions gave out and there was considerable suffering for want of something to eat. We had been provided for four weeks and that time was now up. However, we had a great deal with us that mother had sent so we divided with the Saints as long as it lasted, and on April 19, the tugboat came along side and we dropped anchor. We had spent two months on the Atlantic Ocean and on April 22nd, we landed at Philadelphia. Brother [John] Taylor met us and we spent two days visiting with him in the city. He took us to the train bound for Pittsburgh, thence took the boat called the "Mongahela." On the 28th of April, I was taken very ill again and continued so until the 3rd of May. I think it was the bad water that caused it. May 7th arrived at St. Louis and changed boats. The one we went in was called the Polar Star. We spent a few hours in St. Louis with a lady who we were acquainted with. We then took cabin passage and on May 14th, landed at Atchison, did not know any person. Then I did feel a little homesick. However, we met a kind brother who had received word to look after our comfort. We slept in a tent that night. The heat was intolerable. There was quite a number of Saints camped here waiting to start across the plains. We were there until June 9th.
Then we started with John Hindley as our captain. I think there were about 60 wagons. It was here that I got acquainted with my dear friend, Romania B. Pratt. All went on nicely until July 16th, then the captain was taken very ill indeed. I became more acquainted with him then and did all I could for his recovery. He soon got quite well and on August 25th we arrived at Fort Bridger. We traveled on till Sept. 1, then a Brother Bennet came with a fresh team and wagon to take us into Salt Lake. Sept. 2nd, Brother Joseph Caine and Brother S. W. Richards came to meet us, and make us feel welcome to the City of the Saints. On the 3rd of Sept., 1855, we got in and Brother Joseph Caine took us to him home, and did all that he could for our comfort. But I could not help feeling very homesick. I felt that I was a stranger [p.530] in a strange land. . . . [p.531]
Jane Charters Robinson Hindley, 1881
BIB: Hindley, Jane Charters Robinson, [Autobiography], Our Pioneer Heritage, comp. By Kate B. Carter, vol. 16 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1973) pp.529-31. (CHL)