I was born Feb. 1844 at Mars Hill, Worstershire England. My father William Rowley died when I was but five years of age, leaving my mother Ann Jewell Rowley with seven children and with practically no means of support except what she could provide through the hard labor of herself and older children. But with hard struggling we managed to live there until the early spring of 1856 when my mother received an invitation from the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to come to Utah, by the help of the Perpetual Emigration Fund. She gladly excepted. My mother was able to see her way clear to get to Utah and the body of the church.
On the 4th day of May 1856 we bid farewell to our native land and set sail for the United States on board the sailing vessel Charles Thornton, which carried five hundred passengers. We were on the water for six weeks during which time the ship took fire and came near to being destroyed in mid ocean, but by the protecting care of the Lord were preserved to gather with the Saints in the valleys of the mountains.
We had an uneventful trip from New York City where our ship landed. From New York we traveled by train to Iowa City which was then the terminus of the railroad. We had to wait until very late in the summer for our Handcarts to be made. Some were made of green material because of the great demand. Some of the brethren became quite alarmed at having to wait so long, fearing for the safety of the women and children if they were detained until winter came on. Brother Levi Savage expressed himself as being very much concerned. However, late it was, we got along alright from Iowa to Wood River. In Wood River we had some bad luck losing fourteen head of our oxen and were forced to put in our cows and beef steers to take their place. Soon after we lost our oxen we had another misfortune which was more severe.
We became short of provisions. This fact came forcibly to our minds by the time we reached the last crossing of the Sweet Water. Here we were entirely out of food and the fact that the snow was two feet deep did not lighten the burden on our minds. We were there three days before relief came and many died with hunger and cold. Fourteen being buried in one grave at Pacific Springs. My brother John and Thomas were both badly frozen. Sister Eliza died early in the journey. Other than the things mentioned we had an uneventful trip from here on to Salt Lake City where we arrived the 9th November 1856. . . . [p.1]
BIB: Rowley, Richard. Richard Rowley, 1897 (Special Collections & Manuscripts, MSS SC 2763), p. 1. (Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah)