Ship Westmoreland, Philadelphia, June 1, 1857.President O. [Orson] Pratt.
Dear Brother,--It affords me no small degree of pleasure to have the privilege of giving you a condensed report of our passage between Liverpool and Philadelphia per ship Westmoreland. We arrived here yesterday about half past six o'clock p.m. making thirty six days from Liverpool, and when twenty-five days out, we were within two days of sailing of this place. We were kindly received by Elder Angus M. Cannon, emigration agent, in the absence of Elder John Taylor. Arrangements were made for us to proceed on our journey, which we do tomorrow at five o'clock p.m., per train to Iowa City, costing $10.50 per each adult, half price for all under fourteen and over six years of age; all under six years old nothing.
On the afternoon of the 24th of April last, while our mooring in the River Mersey, the ship was cleared by the government officers, and pronounced in very good sailing condition, clean, and comfortable. We were favored with the company of the presidency of the British Isles.
On the morning of the 25th of April, about six o'clock, we put to sea with favorable wind, and the sails remained as the pilot set them, up to the 9th ultimo. [p.445]
The most prominent items of our organization were as follows: The company was divided into four wards under the presidency of Elders G. [George] W. Thurston, Lorenzo D. Rudd, Christen Larsen, and C. [Carl] C. N. Dorius. The Saints retired between the hours of nine and ten, p.m., and rose again about five o'clock, a.m. Prayer meetings were held in each ward every night and morning, and at noon as far as could make it convenient. Each Sunday was set apart for fasting, praying, and preaching. Schools were organized in each ward for education the Saints in the English language. A musical company was formed, and for a change we sometimes had music and dancing. There are many other items included in our organization of the company, that might prolong my report more than necessary; such as the order of cooking, dealing out provisions, making fires, &c., &c. We occasionally had dialogues, anecdotes, and criticisms that were really interesting and amusing.
On the 3rd ultimo, Sister Marie Gareff [Garff], of Denmark, gave birth to a son about half-past one o'clock p.m., latitude 46.45, longitude 26.23. It was blessed and named after the captain of the ship, Decan Westmoreland. The mother and son are prospering in health and strength.
Died on the twelfth ultimo of inflammation in the bowels, Karen L., infant daughter of Lars and Anna Petersen, latitude 40.59, longitude 45.48. And on the 17th of hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, Ephraim G., infant son of Anders N. and Ingerline Jensen, latitude 42.21, longitude 55.0. They were both buried in the sea with solemn ceremony, such as is not often witnessed at sea. They were both ailing before leaving Denmark, and we did our best to prolong their lives.
We held a general conference on the 17th ultimo, and had a joyful time, the authorities were all sustained by unanimous vote, a good and cheering representation of each ward was given. We collected $5572.04 for the purpose of expediting business on the arrival in Philadelphia, and all that we do not expend in the fare of the Saints from here to Iowa City will be refunded to them; the reason we collected so large of amount was because we did not know the exact fare for each adult and it saves us considerable trouble on our arrival here. The manifestation of the good Spirit of Almighty God, that prevails among this people cannot be described, and they testify that they have been greatly blessed, and that their journey has been a heavenly one to them. They hardly know how to account for it, and it seems as though it was but yesterday since we were bustling in the Waterloo Dock, Liverpool. And we Scandinavian Saints, alle sammen forenede i us kromter kyerlighed to all the Saints left behind in Europe.
I never felt better in any position than I do in the one that I am now engaged in, and I continually pray God that I may fill it honorably. I entered upon it feeling my weakness and inability, but I trusted in my God for that which I needed. I am with a pure, honest-hearted people, and I consider it a blessing from Almighty God. I have rejoiced very much indeed in counseling with Elders [Henry] Lunt and Liljenquist. They are excellent, good men, full of wisdom and understanding, and I was greatly blessed by them, in word and deed. Elder [George] Thurston and Rudd also proved themselves to be faithful elders in Israel, and rendered great assistance in teaching the Saints English, in connection with other duties that devolved upon them. Elders Christenson and Dorius and all the officers gave heed to our counsel and discharged their duties with honor.
Captain R. [Robert] Decan has proved himself to be a whole-souled man, and deserves credit and praise for his manly forbearance, and gentlemanly conduct towards all his passengers. His abilities as a seaman cannot be surpassed by any; by his clever management, we had a delightful passage across the Atlantic, but it was our luck to be caught in calms and fogs the last ten days. Doctor J. H. Davidge, also acted the part of a father to this people, in attending to the sick and afflicted among us.
On our arrival in Delaware Bay, I received the "New York Herald" of the 28th and 29th ultimo, giving the particulars of the assassination of P. [Parley] P. Pratt. Oh, the sensation at that time was beyond description; it was the first news my eyes caught and I almost felt like telling the captain of the tug, I had rather not have seen him; I felt as though the news was true so therefore could not doubt it.
Died, Saturday evening the 30th ultimo coming up the River Delaware, of old age and debility, Jorgen Schram [Scram] of [p. 446] Denmark; he was interred today in one of the cemeteries of Philadelphia. The balance of the company are well and hearty and better looking than when they started. We have got all the sisters to wearing sun bonnets and hats instead of handkerchiefs tied about their heads. We were pronounced clean, comfortable, and good looking. The medical doctor only took a glimpse of us en mass [in mass] and said, "Alright there."
I remain your brother in the gospel covenant,
Matthias Cowley. [p.447]
BIB: Cowley, Matthias. [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial
Star 19:28 (July 11, 1857), pp. 445-47. (CHL)