. . . On the 16th of January, 1849, we left Louth by the morning train and although it was quite early in the morning, the station house was crowded with our friends and associates who were there to say farewell. Our company from the Louth Branch consisted of Brother Warburton and family, Brother Coulam and family, Brother Thompson and wife, our family, and Sister Mason and son. The departure of these leading families of the Louth Branch left it in a disorganized condition, from which it has not since recovered.
Our journey from Louth to Hull on the 16th, and from Hull to Liverpool on the 17th of January was full of interest to me, a boy of 16 years of age, when I could appreciate to some extent the many strange, interesting, and delightful scenes we witnessed.
On the 18th we visited the ship Zetland on which we were soon to sail for America. We found it to be the largest ship at that time in Liverpool Docks. We got our luggage on board, but did not set sail until January 29th, which afforded us a splendid opportunity to visit some of the many places of interest in the town of Liverpool. At 2:30 p.m. we left the shores of our native land, the large company of Saints on board, presided over by Brother Orson Spencer, were joyfully singing the songs of Zion, but alas in a few short hours a change came over the spirit of dream, for the most of us were down with seasickness.
Sunday, February 4th meeting was held on ship board. President Orson Spencer preached on the occasion.
February 6th--stormy. The cook house got on fire and it took considerable time to extinguish it. During that exciting time we realized some of the horrors of fire out at sea.
March 17th we found ourselves sailing among the West Indian Island.
March 22--sailing along the Island of Jamaica situated south of our course. The lovely villas, fields, plantations, hills and forests of these tropical islands was truly beautiful, especially so to us after beholders nothing but a dreary waste of waters for many long weeks.
March 24th--sailing along the island of Grand Cayman [Caymon], four boats, manned with natives came along side of our ship with products of the island for sale.
Sunday, 25 March, calm and hot, thermometer 117. A shark was caught and hauled on deck, which caused a lively scattering among the passengers.
March 31st, the pilot came on board to pilot us into the Mississippi River.
Sunday, April 1st we came in sight of the shores of America after a voyage of 10 weeks and was towed up the river by a steamboat. The country on entering the Mississippi River is flat and uninteresting, mostly inundated with water.
April 2--when we came on deck this morning we found ourselves surrounded on every hand by the most beautiful objects: rich and fertile fields with slaves at work, splendid mansions of the wealthy planters, beautiful forests on both sides of this magnificent river, composed of an [p.4] endless variety of trees, shrubs and flowers. We arrived in New Orleans about 3 p.m., April 2nd and remained there one day.
April 4th we bid adieu to the ship Zetland and crew and got our luggage on board the steamboat "Ioway" [POSSIBLY, Iowa] bound for St. Louis. After starting on our journey up the river we learned that there were several cases of that dread disease the cholera on board the "Ioway."
Sunday, April 8th four passengers died of cholera and on the 10th two others died of the same disease, and on the 12th of April the pilot of the boat died also of cholera.
We arrived at St. Louis in the afternoon of the 12th of April.
We remained in St. Louis four days and on Sunday, 15th we attended the Saints' meeting in St. Louis.
Monday 16th--purchased our wagon covers, chains, plows, etc. to fit us out for crossing the plains and to establish ourselves in our mountain home over one thousand miles from any place of supply.
April 17th we left St. Louis on board the steamboat "Eliza Stuart" for Council Bluffs.
April 19th--while traveling up the river the piston rod of the steamboat broke wounding a horse which was on board and detaining us six days until repairs were made. While being detained here Sister Coulam, one of our company from Louth, died and was buried.
On May 4th after passing Fort Henry we saw the first Indians and signs of civilization becoming less frequent, the banks of the river being bordered mostly by dense forest with an occasional log cabin and a small clearing around it. About 3 in the afternoon of May 4th we arrived at Council Bluffs and got our luggage onshore, and the next day made our home with a Brother Robbins and lodged with him until we prepared for crossing the plains. While here we purchased our fit out [outfit] of wagons, oxen, cows, provisions, cooking utensils, etc. for our long journey and to supply us until we could reap an harvest in the Salt Lake Valley. The rest of the company took up lodging with the different families residing there.
On Saturday, May 12, Brother Jonathan White, one of the company from Louth, died of Cholera, and on the 16th of May, Brother Edward Warburton died also of cholera.
On May 28 we started from Council Bluffs on our journey. . . [p.5]
. . . On Tuesday, September 25th we entered the Valley early in the afternoon and thus completed our long journey and at last gazed upon the Great Salt Lake Valley, the goal upon which our hopes and expectations had so long been centered, and although the whole country was at that time in a wild and uncultivated condition, it appeared to us all that we could desire.
We traveled a few miles on the bench east of where Salt Lake City was laid out and entered Emigration Street, and although two years previous no sign of civilization was to be seen, now a city was laid out upon a most magnificent scale on a choice location with its wide streets and many comfortable homes surrounded by flourishing gardens, furnishing another pleasing contrast to the weary traveler after crossing the dreary plains. . . . [p.7]
BIB: Atkin, Thomas, Autobiography (Ms 165), pp. 4-5, 7. Acc. #1240. (CHL)