We left home on the 14th of February 1856 and started for Liverpool where we were to set sail on the 15th. However, owing to stormy weather and some repairs having to be made on the ship, it was the 18th before we set out on the ship Caravan and bid a last farewell to our native land. The captain of the ship was William Sands. There were four hundred and fifty Saints on board under the direction of Elder Daniel Tyler.
About the middle of March a terrible storm arose at sea. The ship was driven out of its course and back some two or three hundred miles. The hatchways were closed down and passengers were forbidden to go on deck for three days. One of the ship's masts was broken off and it fell on the deck. One sailor was killed and another had his thigh broken. Soon after the storm a Mrs. House gave birth to a baby girl who was named Caravan in honor of the ship.
On the 24th of March my sister, Mrs. Rachel Hancey gave birth to a baby boy and he was named James Sands in honor of the captain of the ship. We landed at New York, March 27th, 1856. [p.3]
After staying in New York a short time we were re-baptized, then Father moved his family over to New Jersey where we remained until the fall of 1859. Here there were eight other Mormon families with whom we used to meet and hold meetings on the Sabbath for the purpose of worshiping God and bearing our testimonies, and thus encourage each other in the work of the Lord.
Here, the Spirit of the Lord was often made manifest through the gift of tongues. On one occasion a Sister Ann Garrett arose and talked in tongues and when the interpretation was given it was directed to me as follows: The Lord is not well pleased toward you Sister Eliza for you're not arising and bearing your testimony to the truth of the gospel, which you know to be true, when the opportunity is afforded you. Every Latter-day Saint should arise and tell of the mercies of our Heavenly Father when the opportunity presents itself. Whereupon I arose and bore my testimony as best I could.
On another occasion the same sister spoke in tongues and the interpretation was in the form of a prophecy for my brother-in-law, James Hancey. He had been sick for a long time and had become quite despondent and forsaken and had almost given up all hopes of ever going to Utah. For the interpretation he was referred to the hymn found on page 32 of the Latter-day Saints hymn book. The first verse of the hymn reads as follows:
"Peace troubled soul thou needest not fear,
Thy great provider still is near;
Who fed thee last, will feed thee still,
Be calm and seek to do his will."
He was also told that he would go to Zion, and that his council would be sought by many. All who knew the late James Hancey (Dr.) could testify how literally that prophecy has been fulfilled.
While we were still living in New Jersey we were visited by Apostle Parley P. Pratt. He met with the Saints and gave them good council and advice and encouraged them to move on toward Utah as fast as their means would allow. Soon after this, in the fall of 1859, the Saints who were gathered here started for Omaha, which was then only a small village. They traveled part of the way by train and the remainder of the way by steamboat up the Missouri River.
After arriving in Omaha I went out to work to earn money to help my [p.4] parents and brothers and sister to go to Utah. I had not been gone long when I received word that Mother was very sick with a fever and that I was needed at home. I went home and did all the housework. Excepting me, the entire family became sick with the same fever, known as chills and fever or the ague, and I had to be nurse to them all.
On the 14th of January 1860 my father was taken with a severe attack of heart trouble, but he insisted on going to work. However, he took worse and returned home and lay down on the bed. I went to him and asked him if he could eat a piece of the cake I had made. At first he said no, but finally decided he could, so he ate a piece.
Toward evening he became worse and I was sent some distance away to ask some elders to come and administer to him. I did not return immediately but stopped to visit with one of my married sisters for a few minutes when suddenly one of my brothers came and told me that Father had passed on to the great beyond.
The news was such a sudden shock to me that no tongue can tell the pain and sorrow I suffered. I felt as though my heart would break. It so affected me that I could not shed a tear and it completely broke me down in body and spirit for some time.
Before his death, Father asked the family that in case he did not live they should go on to Utah and do the temple work for their dead. This has been done up to the present time.
Soon after Father's death, many of the Saints began preparations to go on to Utah. Among them were my mother and some of my brothers and sisters. It was here in Omaha that I met William England whom I married. Mother gave her consent for me to stay and get married and come on to Utah later.
Everything now being favorable, Mother with the other members of the family started for Utah the 25th of May 1860, with Captain Franklin Brown's company.
While we were still in Omaha the Civil War broke out and we saw many volunteers preparing to go to the defense of their country. One Sunday we were visited by Apostle Parley p. Pratt who read to us the 87th section of the Doctrine and Covenants containing the prophesy of that war.
June 5, 1860 I was married to William England at Council Bluffs by Mr. W. S. Biggs, a justice of the peace. My husband was a shoemaker by trade, a service which was very much needed in the early days of the pioneers. [p.5]
Land around Omaha at that time was very cheap and easy to obtain and would have been worth a fortune later on but our having the spirit of emigration to Zion restraining us from buying. We continued our preparations and on the 1st of July 1861, we left Florence, Nebraska, with a company of Saints whose captains were Joseph Horne and Homer Duncan. . . . [p.6]
. . . September 13, 1861 we arrived in Salt Lake City where we stayed one day. My husband had but one dollar left with which to buy us some food. Kind friends made me as comfortable as possible and the next day we joined another group of Saints going to Cache Valley. . . . [p.7]
BIB: [Collected information on the Seamons and related families, ca. 1980] (Ms 7571). pp. 3- 7 (CHL)