Shortly after arriving in England, the children all had the measles but they never broke out on the baby. He was a big fat beautiful baby until this time but after having the measles, he went into a decline and never recovered. Father told Mother that the ocean trip would either kill or cure him and to be prepared for the worst. He died just a few days after sailing, on January 5th, and was buried at sea.
The Mormon immigrant vessel left the first of the year. It was not a very good boat, [p.10] it only had 3 cabins. Father wanted to wait and go later on a better boat and where he could get better accommodations, but Mother insisted on going with the Mormon group. She was always afraid of Father's life.
The boat had three decks. On either side of the second deck bunks were built. It was here that the family lived for three months. It took them that long for the crossing.
The captain gave Father the best place on this second deck. It was right where the light filtered down a little during the daytime. The married people all slept in bunks on one side, while the single people slept on the other. A woman and her two daughters looked after the little girls at night. The two babies Johnny and Fred slept with Mother and Father.
The kitchen was on the hurricane deck. Here they had large stoves. The people had to have their food all prepared, then they would take it into the kitchen to have it cooked. There was no dining room.
I was always ready to do all the errands. One day Father sent me to the kitchen. As I was running toward the cook-house, a wave struck the ship, it lurched and sent me spinning toward the rail. I grabbed some ropes just in time to save myself from going overboard. A sailor helped me up and said, "You sure missed going overboard that time." Everything on the stove was pitched off onto the floor. Everyone had to wait until the things were cleaned up and more dinner prepared before they could eat.
The second and third decks were lighted day and night by large lamps suspended from the ceiling by chains. This allowed for the movement of the boat. Every day a man came cleaned and refilled the lamps. One day while cleaning them, he spilt some coal oil on the steps. A lamp toppled over and immediately the whole stairway was ablaze. Father and others rushed to help and it was quickly put out before any damage was done.
On this vessel were converts from all the European countries. Most of them couldn't speak a word of English, yet they all had one thing in common, the gospel, and one common destination, Utah. Father became great friends with a Brother Bird, a man who was returning from his mission. [p.11]
One day Father took me down into the third class which was the hold. There the conditions were really terrible. People packed in like cattle, about seven or eight hundred of them. The stench was terrible. This was all very shocking to Father.
One old lady died during the crossing. Brother Bird presided at her funeral. He had also taken charge when our baby died.
It was a happy day for all when the boat finally docked at Castle Garden. There we were all bathed and checked at the customs house. Brother Bird took we three girls and walked up Broadway in New York. We were thrilled at the sight. It was just at the close of the Civil War. There were soldiers stationed everywhere.
After we were cleared through the customs the family got onto a small steam engine and went up the Hudson River to the railroad. The day they transferred from the steamer to the train. Father helped check all his luggage. It was raining hard and very cold. He took a bad cold, it settled in his bowels and he never really recovered.
I do not remember a great deal about our trip across the continent, and Mother never told me anything about that part of the journey. One thing I do remember was that the train was very dirty. The immigrants before us had left refuse and dirt on the seats and floors. They didn't have porters in those days as they do now and we had to clean places ourselves before we could sit down. In 1865 the railroad had not yet been built into Salt Lake. Upon reaching Wyoming we had to wait there until the cattle came. Brigham Young would send companies of men from Salt Lake to meet the emigrant trains in Wyoming. They would organize them into companies, have cattle for them to buy to pull their wagons and guide them across the plains into the city of the Saints.
The one in charge of this particular group of men was a Bishop Taylor. Brigham Young had given him money with which he was to purchase cattle that were already broken in, to pull the wagons. But he didn't do this, he bought unbroken, wild steers, just off the range which were cheaper and kept the remaining money for himself. These cattle had not yet come when the emigrants arrived in Wyoming, so it was for them that they had to wait. Leaving the company in charge of other men, Bishop Taylor left and went back to Salt Lake. When the cattle finally arrived, Father refused to have any of them. . . .[p.12]
[THERE IS NO SALT LAKE CITY ARRIVAL DATE GIVEN]
BIB: Richardson, Agnes C. Hefferan. Hefferan story, pp. 10-12. (Ms 5815) (CHL)