. . . In the latter part of the month of March 1859, we started from home, the train leaving Portsmouth at about eight o'clock in the morning. Father went to work as usual at six o'clock; he would not see us start. Mother and all the rest of the family and a number of the Saints went to the depot with us. I could not shed a tear, but it seemed to me that I could not endure the load in my stomach. I must hasten from this scene; it is too sacred. If I had known the near future I could not have done it.
We stayed the first night in Reading. The next day brought us to Liverpool and we went directly on board the ship and took our berths. The name of the ship was the William Tapscott. Our berths were situated in the stern of the vessel and were very comfortable quarters. There were quite a number of Saints from the Southampton Conference, the name of the conference we belonged to. Among others I will make mention of William Ostler, a traveling elder in the conference, Sister [Susannah] Mary Shorey and Emily Lovett [Lovatt] from Portsmouth. Emily was, or rather had been, Sarah's companion when Sarah was at home. I prided and comforted myself that when I would meet Sarah what a comfort it would be to me, and said in Emily's presence once that it would then be all right for me. She gave me to understand [p.185] that it would not be so, for she intended to outdo me there, and so it proved. When in two days Sarah came on board, John and I ran to meet her, I getting to her first. I was in her arms when Emily tore me away and dashed me to the deck and took my place. It was then that my situation became known to me and I realized that I was alone without Mother. It was then that I shed the first tears since leaving home.
Well, we became installed in our new home and then we set sail singing "Babylon, Oh Babylon, We Bid Thee Farewell." There were 750 Saints and 56 officers and crew. The captain was a thorough gentleman in every respect and full of fun. His last name was Bell, but I forget his given name.
At the time I left home I was keeping company of a young man named Thomas Watson, he being an apprentice to the blacksmith trade. We had been keeping company for sometime and had become very much attached to each other. At our last interview, he tried to persuade me to stay single for two years and then he would come to Zion and join me, to part no more. I did not promise to do this, although I fully intended to write and give him that promise. If I could have foreseen the future I surely would have acted far different at that time, for I knew not that he truly loved me.
When we left home, or rather just before I bid her goodbye, Mother told me she had put me in John's care and she wished me to do as he said in every respect possible. So about the first thing he said was that he would not let me have any writing material to write letters unless he could read all that I wrote, and he would rather I would not correspond with Thomas, which nearly broke my heart. I came near forming a dislike for John. Anyhow, I have never felt toward him since as I had before that happened. I suppose it was all for the best. I must try and think so, at all events, since I was scarcely able to decide what was best for me to do, but I did not write any letters on the entire journey.
I had a girl companion whose name was Jane Mather and she kept company with a young man named Fred Singleton. We four went together, but Jane did not like Fred as she did Tom, and she said after I was gone she would get Tom, but that she could never do. After I left, Tom married a young girl named Mary Gubble. In after years he came to Utah to live, working at his trade as blacksmith and wagon maker. He came to Payson to live, not knowing I lived [p.186] there. I saw and recognized him, and my husband and I called on him and his family. He did not stay long in Payson but moved to Salt Lake City.
GOODBYE TO ENGLAND
We set sail from England on the first day of April. After we got out in the sea, the people began to be seasick. I do not think there were ten escaped and I was one of the favored ones. I was not sick a half hour all the voyage through. We had a very pleasant trip. We had dancing and music every evening, with a very few exceptions. Our regular meetings were held, and we had a splendid party on the captain's birthday. The young people got up a nice program for the day.
Everything would have been much more pleasant for me if it had not been for one of the brethren who was determined to have my company. He was a married man returning from a mission and bringing his family with him to Zion's land. His poor wife I shall never forget. She was sick the entire time we were on the water. I do not think she sat up three hours the entire voyage until the last few days. She wasted away until she looked more like a skeleton than anyone I had then seen. It must have been a severe trial to her to be sick so long and to know that her husband was continually running after the girls as he was. I used to go and hide in the back part of our bunk and other places to get away from him. I formed quite a dislike to him while we were on the sea. It seemed that wherever I went he was always present. There was a young man, a Swede, that I preferred before I did him. It was the Swede I liked to dance with.
All the way across the sea, I was hoping that when we landed in New York there would be a change. I well remember a remark made by our president of the company of Saints on board, said he, "Fanny, my girl, I think you will always be provided for on this journey by Brother Rowley." John would stand on one side and laugh at my mistakes and blunders and then ridicule me. I used to think I had a hard time on board ship, but I found later that it was the best of the journey. All the work I had to do was to peel potatoes for the mess. There were eight of us in the mess, and I was the youngest of them all.
Despite his funmaking toward me, John was ever most kind and considerate, and would not allow anyone to trample on me. He often took Emily to task for her conduct toward me. [p.187]
We were on the ocean a month and a day. I have not forgotten the time when we came into New York harbor; what a lovely sight it was. The boat came and towed us into the harbor and the inspection officers came on board and inspected us, and we landed the same day.
I forgot to state that on our journey we had only one death on board, an elderly Swedish lady upward of eighty years of age. A shark followed the ship for three days. That was quite a sight for a landsman. We had one slight storm lasting only six hours, just strong enough to rock nicely. I remember Jimmie Bond, that is what we called him, for he was such a jolly fellow. His wife was lying sick in her berth; he was kneeling at an unlashed trunk when the ship began to rock. It pushed him under the berth and back again in quick succession and he singing all the while, "Here we go, there we go again", and the trunk following him each time. It was quite laughable to those looking on, but not, I suppose, for Jimmie.
And so we landed on the soil of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Oh, what a good feeling to be on hard ground once more! We landed at Castle Garden, a place of great renown to emigrants. We intended staying there all night with the Saints, but Brothers Eldridge and [George Q.] Cannon were there to receive us and bid us welcome to American soil. When they found that John and I were to stay in New York, they had a place among some of our people for us to stay. One of the brethren living in New York came and we went home with him and stayed there all night. They were kind and hospitable in their feelings toward us. I won't forget our walk from Castle Garden to the house. We walked like drunken people. John and Sarah could see how I was walking but could not see how they walked. John would correct my way and Sarah would correct John until we thought what was the trouble with us. This evening was the beginning of a great deal of trouble to me.
In the evening Brothers Eldridge and [George Q.] Cannon came to see John with a proposition from Brother Rowley. He wished John would use his influence with me to induce me to go with him to Utah; that he would like me to become his wife when we reached Zion. John told them that he thought it was useless because I had grown to dislike Rowley, and he did not wish to persuade me against my will and wishes [p.188] because, in a measure, he was responsible to Mother for the way he treated me. John took me aside and talked to me about it and tried to show me where he thought I would be better off, but I could not see it that way at all. Next morning John saw the brethren and told them I did not want to go. After a little while we met again, for they were all this time at work making preparations to move the company on through the States. Brother Eldridge said he did not like the idea of "leaving a single girl in New York open to the snares and temptations that are sure to be found in all large cities everywhere." He spoke very fatherly and kindly to us both and told us to think well. "It would be different if you could both be together all the time, but in your circumstances it is not possible." In fact, he said a great many true and good things that I do not remember now, but the substance of it as that he did not think it advisable for me to stay there now that the way had been opened for me to go.
Still I hesitated to go. I did not wish to leave John, for I felt he was the best friend I had in America, and it seemed that I could not give him up and rely on myself alone. Then Brother [George Q.] Cannon talked to us very kindly, and I truly feel the deepest love and gratitude to those noble men of God for being so mindful of me, a poor humble English girl. Their counsel was good and well meant; I fully realized that at the time. It was not through their words that I hesitated, but it was our part of the program I feared. Finally Brother Rowley said that if I would consent to go with him he would pay all my expenses of the journey and he would try and be as a brother to me, and when I got to Utah I should be as free as now. That seemed to give me encouragement, so John and Sarah talked the matter over and finally John told me he thought that under the circumstances I should accept Rowley's offer. In the duty to my brother I must here state that he never through it all used anything but the utmost kindness toward me, and furthermore I know fully that John realized his position and relation toward me and he left it to me to decide for myself which I would do. He would be satisfied either way. I made up my mind to go and that evening started our journey to the States. (I should have said through the States.) Leaving my dear brother behind was another severe trial to me. It seemed that now I was entirely alone as far as help was concerned. . . . [p.189]
BIB: Simons, Fanny Fry, An Enduring Legacy Vol. 6 (Salt Lake City, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1983) pp. 185-89. (CHL)