. . . made preparation to leave for the Valley by May 13th in the old sailing ship William Tapscott. Brother F. [Francis] M. Lyman had counseled me in everything, and particularly as to the journey. Miss Gentry accompanied me in visiting my father and mother and all own kindred. They all treated us very kindly, but expressed their sorrow that we were led away by such a disreputable people as the Mormons.
After our visit we returned to Maldon and took farewell of Father Gentry and all our Maldon friends, gathered up all our baggage and proceeded to London, meeting the Saints to start for Liverpool. When we arrived we boarded the William Tapscott. It was an interesting sight to see the Saints boarding the ship with all kinds of tin utensils tied in bunches and some were carrying their straw mattresses on their heads, while others were loaded down with all kinds of parcels and lunch baskets. Some had old pieces of furniture, such as a tea-caddy or teapot or some old picture of great-grandparents.
After the English Saints were on board, several hundred Danish and Swedish Saints embarked, making a total number of eight hundred. There was a little confusion until after the doctor's inspection; however, it was remarkable how quickly the people settled down to the requirements of those who were selected as bishops over the respective wards. I do not think the same number of non-Mormons would have settled down to such order. Thus nothing but the Spirit of the Lord would produce such harmony. Songs of Zion were being sung, such as: "Ye Saints Who Dwell on Europe's Shore;" "Come, Come, Ye Saints;" "Oh Babylon, Oh Babylon, We Bid Thee Farewell;" "I long to Breath the Mountain Air," and others and a very divine influence seemed to prevail.
We sailed from Liverpool, May 13th, 1862, and the eight hundred people were organized into wards, and space with bunks allotted to each ward with a presiding officer. Brother Lyman had charge of the company. He was returning from his first mission, and because I had been on a British warship for five years, he requested me to look after the following persons: Sister Maria Filer and her daughter from Braintree, Essex; Sister Coalbear and son David from Mundon, Essex; Sister Rose Livermore from Maldon, Sister Elizabeth Gentry from Mundon and an aged Brother Perkins from Essex. I was to look after the [p.269] above by way of getting their rations; also to see their food cooked and to render them any assistance that they needed. I was also appointed by Brother Ebenezer Farnes to assist in the serving out of the provisions. After the ship had got fairly out to sea the people were lying in all directions with seasickness. It was a severe trial to them, being so closely confined. However, they tried to bear up in a marvelous manner and called upon the elders to administer to them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Brother William Gibson and a Brother John Clark rendered great assistance in regard to the governing of the company. We had head winds and double reef topsail breezes often, thus the good ship labored very heavily. We encountered a violent gale of wind on Whit Sunday which affected the people badly, and which they never forgot. Poor Brother [Francis M.] Lyman was very sick.
After forty-two days we arrived in New York and were quickly hustled into Castle Garden and passed the inspection, after which we took train for St. Louis. On account of the Civil War we were routed and changed about a number of times. At one place we were hustled on board of a freight train. The cars had been loaded with hogs and they had not been swept or cleaned out, thus we were choked with the dust and we could taste it for days afterward. We arrived at St. Joseph on the Missouri River on the 4th of July. We camped in a large barn waiting for a steamboat. Everyone in the town was celebrating the 4th, and there was much excitement, as reports came that the Confederate Army was making toward the Missouri. We were hurried onto a small steamboat, the crew of which consisted of Negroes who were very rough. On arriving opposite Council Bluffs on a very dark night, the boat ran alongside of the river bank and landed the gangplank in a big bunch of willows and then pitched our baggage all into the willows. It was midnight and we laid about as best we could on the bags and bedding till daybreak when there was a hunt for baggage. I found mine easily enough as they were sailor's black bags with my name on them. . . . [p.270]
BIB: Wood, William, Journal, Our Pioneer Heritage , comp by Kate B. Carter,Vol. 13 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers 1970) pp. 269-70. (CHL) November 19, 1998