. . . The ship Wellfleet sailed from Liverpool, England. In the vessel there was about 500 Irish emigrants and about 145 Saints. Before we got through the Irish Cannel, I heard one of the seamen say, "Before we land at Boston, there will be a man killed on this vessel."
We had some sickness on the vessel. At one time we had three days dead calm. The vessel rocked and tossed and pitched. One of these days I was called to go and attend the cooking gallery. It was my turn to be cook. We had two very large stoves. The small stove had a guard around it to keep the kettles on. The larger one had none. The people brought their kettles and pots and pans to have their breakfast cooked. Some had rice and some gruel. Some tea, and some coffee, some one thing and another. There was quite a mixture. Presently the vessel give a reel like a [p.178] drunken man trying to stand on his feet. The kettles, pots and pans was all thrown together. Those that was on the large stove was thrown off. I had to grab hold of the guard that was around the small stove or I should have gone to.
When the people came to see if their breakfast was cooked, they found that they had to get a fresh supply. Some laughed, and some cried and some swore. I thought it was a mean trick of the vessel to serve the people. But that was not all; it rolled our boxes from one side the to the other.
Another time we had a very bad storm and the vessel pitched and heaved and the waves dashed against the vessel as though it was going to dash its sides in. We heard that the captain said he did not know that he would have to put down the hatchways to keep the people down and the water out. Before they did this, I thought I would go up to the deck and see what the danger was like. I saw a wave coming. I made sure that it would heave us as I grabbed hold of an iron pin that was in the side of the vessel. There I held like grim death, for the wave was more like a great mountain for miles in length.
I soon found that we was climbing up the side of it I remained until we got down in the abase below and when we commenced to climb the next mountain wave, I did not see any danger we would land right.
It was amusing to see the Catholics how they was all down on their knees praying with their beads and crossing themselves.
Another time I was sipping water from the sea when a sail flapped and swung a thick rope and caught me under my heals then rubbed me up my back and knocked my cap into the sea, to wait until its resurrection.
Our captain was a good man, he gave us many privileges. We held many meetings. The Spirit of God was with us and he truly blessed us.
The first mate was a fine looking man; stood about 6 feet 2 inches and the second mate was Turner. He was a mean man and delighted to punish the men. The captain had a cook for the shipmates and no one was allowed in his place only the captain.
When the captain left the vessel and the pilot came on and took command, there began to be trouble with this Turner and the sailors. He had them at all times for their coffee until he would not let them have it. Then Turner went to force him to let them have their coffee. The cook told him that if he came in there he would put a knife in him. It was a pocket knife with a blade about 4 inches long. Turner made an attempt to go in, and the cook met him with a knife in the pit of the stomach. Turner gathered himself to go again, then he got another prong and fell down. He was carried away to the doctor. The first mate turned up his sleeves and got a pistol to shoot the cook. (He was a nigger). The pilot called to him and told him that he must not do it. There is mutiny on board he said. Well, if you do, I will put you in irons. Well what must I do put him in irons says the pilot.
While this was going on I was at the place where the sailors got their coffee. There was about 8 or 9 of them. Each one drawed their knife and commenced to flourish it about their head and dancing in a circle saying that each one would kill his man, and I stood in the ring looking for a place to creep out. The first chance I got I was out of that.
With a great deal of trouble they put the cook in irons. When the vessel came in harbor the captain came on board. There was the police sent for. They came in a boat and the cooks wife came with them. Although she was a dark woman, she was quite the lady. [p.179] When they brought him on board the vessel, the captain did not want to give him a good charter, but the cook demanded it and asked the captain if he had misbehaved himself while he was the captain. He said no, only that he had stabbed the second mate. The cook told him he had nothing to do with the vessel at the time. The captain saw that he was beat, so the cook got a good charter.
The police put their things in the boat. The cook an his wife went with them. I heard that the man that was stabbed, died. The nigger was tried and acquitted because he had no right to be there and interfere with the cook.
We remained there two or three days and then went to New York on a steamboat.
We landed in Castle Garden then we landed in Boston July 13 (1856).
Brother Deulen came from President Taylor's office and took our things to Brooklyn, New York and rented a room for us. When we had been there about two weeks our baby, Alma Walker died on 31 July and was taken to a place called Flat Bush on Long Island and buried in a graveyard there. His sickness was cholera infantum. We was not able to buy a coffin for it and the City Fathers had to do it. There was a man sent with a hearse and took the baby away.
While we was living in Brooklyn near New York, my son of my first wife got to be a bad boy and would not come home. He stayed out of nights and caused us much trouble. He went off one day as though he was going to work. We never saw him after. We heard of him going towards Newtown, by a man that knew him and asked him to come home. He said he would not and he never did. We never hear of him afterwards.
In the winter of 1856 and 57 we was living in East New York on long Island. I was working on top of what was called Sifross hill, helping to make a reservoir to hold water. Me and some more men were loading what we called dump carts. I was loading one under a bank. It was about 14 feet high. When the word was given, lookout, I jumped back against the cart wheel and raised my hands to save myself. The bank came against my hands and then crumbled over my feet. I was buried to my knees. It was only by the owner and God that saved me from being crushed to death.
While we was living in Williamsburg, I was put in as a teacher to labor with a Brother Tilt and Brother John Taylor, one of the Twelve was in our District. Of course we had to go and meet him like the rest of the Saints. I often thought that I would like to know of a truth if he was a true servant of God. I prayed that God would let his spirit to rest down upon my head and bosom like fire, when I steeped inside their house.
It so happened this Sunday morning that I had to go alone, so I knocked at their door. Their servant came and let me in. When I stepped in the hallway and raised my hat, the Spirit of God rest down with such power that I said Father it is enough. This was a great testimony to me that he was a servant of God. I never had a doubt on my mind about any of them.
While we was at New York I wrote to mother who was then living [p.180] on Dry Hill near St. Louis, Missouri. It was a coal mining district. She wrote wanting me to come along. She troubled me so much with her letters that I went President Taylor about it. He told me to never mind her, she was all right an stop where you are.
Here came another one telling me that I ought to be ashamed of myself in not coming along and her living alone in the woods. She sent me word that I could get work at the coal mine.
President Taylor left New York and went to Salt Lake City and put in his place as president in New York, Brother W. I. Appleby. I thought, "Now is a good chance to get his consent." We was counseled not to leave New York without asking their consent and taking our recommend so that we could join the Branch where we should settle.
I went to the president and told him what I wanted. I could see that he did not want me to go. I showed him the letter that Mother had sent me. He read it. Finally he gave consent. I sent Mother word so she sent me the money to go with. I took our daughter Mary Ann with me and Mother (his wife) stayed with the family of the name of John Hutchins. They were tailor's by trade. (This was the time that I jumped from among the reptiles onto a place where there was none and the place looked so nice and green and when I got there I had lost my bottle of oil.)
I had a pleasant trip from New York to St. Louis. I stopped at Robert Mores. This was in the year 1857 about the Fourth of July. I left my daughter Mary Ann there while I went to hunt Mother up on Dry Hill.
When I got to Mother's, I found there was a sister there that had come from the Manchester Branch. Her name was Ogden. When come to find out, there was no Saints on Dry Hill nor in St, Louis. I fell in with the wicked and lost the Spirit of God. (Here was that dangerous road that I traveled). I was there but a short time when my wife came from New York. (Here was the time that I fell into by and forbidden paths.) There was no Saints there nor in St. Louis. There was lots of back out Mormons and some that had been to Salt Lake City.
There was a family of the name of Kings of that had been to Nauvoo and was there when the heavens wept. He said it seemed to him as though it rained stars. He knew Joseph Smith the prophet. He had left the church.
(Hannah Smith was born 31 May 1858 Chelton, Missouri)
We had been there nearly 3 years before we heard of any Saints. When I heard of them, I made up my mind that I would find them out. I walked seven miles to St. Louis and found their place. They held their meetings at Brother Jenkins. I gave my name in to be baptized.
I went the Saturday following and was baptized in the River Mississippi. While I was in the river no one knows the pain that I suffered. It seemed to me as the waters would cut my legs in two. I begged the brother to get me under the water as soon as he could for I could not stand the pain. (It was just the same as I felt in my dream when I thought the fire was burning my legs.) After I had been under the water I was alright.
(There was the time when I jumped from the fire in among the reptiles. This was the time when I found the bottle of oil in my hand.)
I was confirmed the next day by Brother Lamborne. While his [p.181] hands was on my head, he said that the spell that had been placed on me it was broke never to return. If ever any man felt to thank God, I did, for many is the time that I have wept for joy to think that I was once more in the church. I would walk to St. Louis every Sunday to get to meeting. When I would be returning home at night, many is the time that I weep for joy and ask God to help me to keep his commandments.
I will mention a circumstance that took place while we was living on Dry Hill near St. Louis. At one time I took twenty acres of land to clear the brush and timber for a pasture for a man. His name was Thomas.
One day when I was at work, there came over me a feeling that I had better go home. I did not know the reason that I had to go so early. I did not heed it at the first but it got stronger, so I put my ax away and the impression was, "You had better take it with you." I was about a mile and a half away from home. When I started for home, the Spirit said, "You had better hurry." I walked faster. It said, "You had better run," so I ran. It was a long way through the timber to go.
Before I got through timber I saw a man step out of the road and go in the timber. I quit running and walked slow until I got opposite where he was. I saw him changing his shirt.
When I got home, my wife asked me what I had come home so soon for. I told her the impression of my mind and what I had seen in the timber. I had not been in the house long before this man came and knocked at the door. He put his head in and grinned and told me why I had to come home so quick. I placed my ax where I could place my hand on it. He asked me if I could tell him where such a person lived. I told him no. He went away. I knew then why I had to hurry home, for he was after no good. He had forced several women that lived in the timber, so we heard. Some men got on horseback and got after him. He was a man that was very swift on foot. He got to know they was after him and he avoided them. They chased him a long ways. He got in the timber and got away from them. God preserved my wife at this time from being aggressed by the wicked.
At another time I took a contract to grub and clear twenty acres of land of a man by the name of Macaslum and I got a coal miner to help me. His name was Joseph Simson. He had built him a place the same as I had, a frame house. He acted very mean towards us. I let him have his own way.
Our daughter Hannah was taken very sick. She was so bad that I had to sit up at night. While she was sick, Simson told it around if she died she would be starved to death. I was sitting up one night watching her to breath her last. About midnight she took a turn for the better. Joseph Simson had a little girl about the same age as ours. She was taken sick that night as ours got better. Their's lingered on for a week or two and died. So that they looking to fall on me, it fell upon themselves. Our daughter is living today as a neighbor of ours and has five children.
It was in the year 1861 that the war broke out between the North and the South. Work became very hard and caused a deal of men to go to war. I had some thoughts of going to join the army. I would have done, but God showed me in a dream the state of the men that went to battle. To me it was heart sickening for I saw men rushing [p.182] into battle and slaying each other. God showed my rate if I went. When I awoke I made up my mind that I would not go.
At the first when men commenced to enlist, it was only for home guards, but all went to war and at one time there was scarcely a house in St. Louis but you would hear them cry and moan, some for their father's' and some for their sons. So great was the slaughter so they would weep and moan for the dead.
Before I moved down to St. Louis, I had been working for a man of the name of Jacob Shirner. He kept a store and had coal miners working for him. I had been cutting timber for him for props for his mines. He wanted my very much to join the army.
I had been in the British army and the government was offering big pay from $35.00 to $75.00 dollars a month. I had some thoughts of enlisting for three months. I thought it was only a trap laid.
It proved so by those that joined the army. About this time I had a dream or night vision. I thought I had joined the army and we went to battle. The clashing of arms and howling, weeping and mourning, no person can think or imagine what I saw in my dream. Neither can I tell it. God showed me in my dream what would be my fate if I enlisted. I have thanked God for showing me what he did.
In the year 1861, we was then living in Missouri about 7 miles east of St. Louis on a road leading from Dayton to Manchester road. It was in November, mother and I was walking to meeting on Sunday. We was going to St. Louis. When we had got on Dayton road we passed a great many emigrants. They was going to Illinois. It being Sunday, the Governor could not give them a pass to cross the river because Missouri was a slave state and they had to have a pass to cross the river into Illinois.
I stopped and talked to one old man and ask him where he had come from. They had come from the same place where the Saints had been driven from. They had been drove by the Bushwhackers or Guerillas.
Some they only give two hours. Some not that long. They had to gather what they could and leave, if not, they were shot down like so many dogs. They had to leave their hogs and cows. That is what the man told us. They was raided of everything they had.
That prophecy that Joseph Smith delivered at Nauvoo, we have seen it fulfilled. That Sunday night there came down a foot of snow.
Doctrine and Covenants, Section 87: Revelation and prophecy given through Joseph, the Seer, on war given December 25th 1832.
It was in the year 1861 when this war broke out. We was living about 7 miles east of St. Louis at that time. The Guerillas had got within about 80 miles from St. Louis. It seemed that everybody looked for them.
There was a company of succession soldiers camped on the outskirts of St. Louis. The officer had given his orders to go in the city, and it left him without only a few that was on guard. I had heard that there was going from St. Louis, another company of Northern Soldiers going to drive the other away from their position and I was invited to go and see the fun. I told them no, if there was going to be a fight, I would keep away.
The Northern soldiers went and took possession of the camp and took what men they could prisoners, and the captain, they demanded. [p.183] He struck across a poolfench and offered them the hilt and told them if his men had been at home, he would have given them battle.
There was thousands of people went to see the fun. When the soldiers was marching home, the people commenced to shout and throw rocks at them, so the soldiers turned and fired among the people. There was about thirty killed and wounded.
One man told his daughter to lie flat on the ground. Before she could do that she was struck in the bowels with a bullet and killed her.
A person was hardly safe in St. Louis because the Marshal Law had been read. There was one Irish woman stood at the corner of a street, commenced to curse some of the Northern Soldiers so he took his bayonet and ripped her bowels open. There was quite a number of people killed on the streets. This was in the summer of 1861 and in the fall when we saw thousands of men, women and children that had been drove from where the Saints had been drove.
I got work with two brethren. They followed white washing, so we moved in St. Louis.
Persons that owned property and they seeded, it was taken from them and made into a barracks or in hospitals for the Northern soldiers.
Down at Pittsburgh, there had been a great battle fought. At one hospital where we had to whitewash, there was a deal of sick. They was mostly prisoners.
One day when I was there, the prisoners was having quite a feast of strawberries and cream. All the commanding (officers) belonging, had left wile the suasionists had brought in this for the prisoners. It seemed for about two hours they had a nice time of it and then everything was cleared away and then came the officers in and had around as though nothing had never happened.
In the spring of 1862 we was told there would be a chance of the poor Saints if they could pay their fare to Florence, the church would take them to Salt Lake City.
Early in the spring I got work with two men of the name of Joseph Simson and Benjamin Peel, whitewashing rooms for them; so we moved out of the county into the city. I worked a few weeks for them and they could not find me work anymore.
On Monday morning when I was going to work, I picked up a ring and it was broke. I looked at it. The impression of my mind was that our Union was broke. When I got to Mr. Peels he told me they had no more work for me. A day or two after I went down to the levee where the steamboats was and got work one day helping to unload a steamer.
Afterwards I got work with a man; his name was William Smith. He was an Irishman. I went out whitewashing rooms for him.
We soon got money enough to pay our fare up the River Mississippi to Florence. June 2, 1862 was about the time we went on board the steamer "Sumgatay." I worked some on the vessel helping to load with cattle and lumber.
We had a pleasant time most of the way. I was on the deck one day when I heard the captain call out to run the vessel ashore. He was then looking up the river. It commenced to rain and to hail and the wind blowed. The captain commanded the men to tie her (the steamer) to a tree. There was very large hail stones [p.184] came down. I picked one up and showed it to the captain. It covered the hull of my hand and all of an inch thick. The captain said it was the largest he ever saw.
In running the boat to the shore there was one of her paddle wheels ungeared. We went in the timber for awhile and gathered mulberries.
The captain gave orders for us to travel so we started up the river, but went slow until we came to a place called Franklin. It was one of the most desolate places I ever saw. They had had a cyclone there. It had both hailed and rained and the wind had blown the hailstones and broke all their windows and blowed their fences down and their fruit off their trees. The people told us that about three miles from there it had blown a brick church down.
It was this storm that our captain saw when he ordered the boat to be run ashore. We was on the outskirts of it. We was there some three or four hours and then we started up the river again.
We past some timber where we could see where the wind had blown a road clear through timber. There was one place where it had twisted a tree about four feet through, into kindling wood and never hurt a log cabin that stood not far from it. The timber was on our left going up the river, and the log cabin and the tree that was twisted, was on our right.
We landed alright at Florence which was in Nebraska. While we was on the camping ground we had one of the awfullest storms that I ever saw, with thunder and lightening and rain and the wind blowed as though the very elements was coming down.
There was a creek that ran past where we camped and a bridge over it. While John A. Young and others was traveling along the road, John W. Young was struck with lightening and hurt pretty bad. Some tents was blown over. I was a might glad that night; while going my rounds, I saw one tent blown that was blown over and a girl laying asleep on some boxes. I brought her to our tent and let her stay until the next morning and then took her to her father and mother.
We remained here about six weeks. We had two small children (children of our own.) We left Florence towards the last of August with a company of Saints that was led by Captain P. Harman's church train.
We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 5th of October with emigrants. . . . [p.185]
BIB: Smith, William (1824-1915), Journal and diary, "Utah Pioneer Biographies." vol. 2, pp. 178-185. (FHL)