. . . I, Catherine Hagell Naisbitt, was born in London, England, March 28th, 1849, the second child of a family of eight. My parents' names were John Hagell and Mary Eliza Lee. I was barely 13 years of age when my mother died, leaving a family of eight children ranging in age from one week to 14 years. I being the oldest girl naturally felt the loss most keenly. We had planned on emigrating that year, but Mother's death prevented our starting on so perilous a journey, especially with such a young baby. However, the following year, Father sold out his business and we started on what we children thought was to be a pleasure trip, but, alas, the first night aboard the ship proved to be anything but pleasant. We begged Father to take us home, but his reply was "We have no home, we are going to make one in Zion." Little did we realized the hardships we would encounter before we reached there. Shortly after we set sail, the baby, who was only one week old when Mother died, took suddenly sick and died soon afterwards. He was buried in the sea when he was just fourteen months old. We all felt this loss very keenly, especially Father. The name of the ship we sailed on was the Belle Wood. We set sail on the 29th of April 1865, and were six weeks and three days on the ocean. When we arrived in New York, word had been sent from Utah that no wagons would be sent from there as had been the custom in other years. Therefore, only those who had the means could go on. These gave their money to Brother Taylor, who had charge of the emigration and he was delegated to purchase oxen to take us on. Father had enough money to send one, though he did not have sufficient for the whole family. He was, therefore, advised to send me, which he decided to do. He had a wealthy brother in New Jersey who was willing to help him in any way, provided he would give up his religion and keep me with him. When he found Father would not do this, he refused to help in any way.
I never will forget the homesick feeling I experienced when they bade me goodbye. We were detained in Castle Garden ten days after this, and I can assure you if it had been possible I would have gone back. I did not know his address, however, so, heartsick and weary, I started with the company, feeling that I was leaving all worthwhile behind me. When we arrived at the frontier I found a letter from my uncle asking me to return to those poor motherless children. I was overjoyed at the prospect, but it seems I was destined to disappointment, for when I told the captain that I was going back with the missionaries who were going East from Utah, he said, "No, my girl, there is no going back in the Church." So once more I was headed toward Utah with no prospect of returning to my family in New Jersey.
. . . We did not arrive in Utah until the 15th of November. . . . [p.112]
BIB: Naisbitt, Catherine Hagell [Autobiography], Our Pioneer Heritage, comp. by Kate B. Carter, vol. 10, (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1967), pp. 110-12. (CHL)