. . . We went to Liverpool in Dec. 1854 where we stayed for two days at a hotel then we boarded the ship Clara Wheeler, a Latter-day Saint vessel and started for America. It was a merchant's ship with Captain Nelsen in charge. We started in the evening, during the night a tornado came up and the ship got lost. The captain had to send out a sky rocket, then an English pilot vessel came and took charge returning it to Liverpool. It struck a rock while at sea, but the boat wasn't hurt. We had to stay in Liverpool until fair weather, but no one could leave the boat. We were seven weeks on the ocean. At first I was quite seasick, but the weather was good. The boys my age had a good time playing games& running from top to bottom of the deck. There was a seize of whooping cough and measles. Several of the children died & had to be buried at sea. We passed Cuba & saw a city of McKenzie in the Gulf of Mexico. It was so [p. 3] warm that some men slept on deck altho it was winter time. We were stalled for two days because of no wide. The carpenter of the vessel got sick and the captain had Father take charge the remainder of the voyage. The ship went about two hundred miles up the river and landed in New Orleans. By this time we were nearly out of provisions; we had no bread and had to eat hard tack or hard biscuits. About the first thing we done after landing was to get some bread and molasses. It was the best bread I had ever eaten. We stayed there for about two days then chartered a river boat to St. Louis. The steamboats burned wood instead of coal so they had to stop & load up at intervals. At one stop I went with some other boys to a plantation house. The whites lived in a large house and the negroes in a small one. At St. Louis, we rented a house. Father could find no work and not enough money to buy oxen to go on to Utah. Father told us they had the negroes walk across a platform, then they were [p. 4] examined by a doctor & a price was set on them as thou they were horses. The wenches about 14 or 16 years old sold for $14.00. We were in St. Louis for about a month then went on up the river about 35 miles to Alton where Father found some work but very little pay. My little sister Alice became very ill while we were here and soon died at the early age of five. Father then went on to became very ill while we were here and soon died at the early age of five. Father then went on to Pittsburgh and got work at Allegheny City in the steamboat yards. He sent us some money and we joined him in the fall of 1856. There was a small branch of the church here. Thomas Barton was the branch president and father was put in secretary. One time Elder Wooly of Salt Lake City came and stopped at our house for quite a while. John Taylor was the president of the Philadelphia Conference. He published a paper called "Mormon" we subscribed for it from Feb. 1855 to Sept. 1857. In it we read about Parly P. Pratt being murdered in Arkansas.
Father and another man had a contract to make barges on the Monogahela River. Father was to be in charge of the correcting; steady work the year around. The man kept his word. It was William Stones works. [p. 5] At the time the great campaign was going on for John C. Freemont & John [James] Buchanan we settled in Dravosburg being which is just across the road from McKeesport. Here I knew much happiness. I had many friends & we spent much time swimming in the river. I saw flood roaring down the river filled to the brim & run over filling the homes with mud & rubbish. Everyone kept a boat tied to their house so they could leave if it got too high. Then when it was over they would clean up & start over. One time I went to a circus. There I saw a little midget man 2 feet 1 inch named (Tom Thumb). The group of boys played marbles, ball, went skiff riding & hunting; then at berry season time we would get up about 3 o'clock & go picking berries. Sometimes we visited other churches but never once did I desire to join them. I took a few music lessons from a German organist of the Lutheran Church. I also took a few from a minister's daughter of the Methodist Church by name of Beacon at McKeesport.
A great sorrow fell over us when Father became ill with appendicitis [p. 6] and was taken away Aug. 7, 1860 leaving Mother, Emma & myself. I went to work in the coal mines although only about 14 or 15 year old. At first I had a partner and got 50 cents a day but later the boss gave me a room to myself and I got $1.00 a day which was to keep the three of us.
I had some very dear friends there of the best were Daniel Stone, William Dores & William Lead Beater. We parted only when we married. Every Sunday we would row up the river then float down as we sang hymns, war songs, and etc.
Every summer the members of the church would go with their tents and camp for eight days holding three meetings a day, also prayer meeting.
Then I was about seventeen years old & yearned very much to join the army of which Mother did not desire. One night I had a dream, I was in the battlefield among dead men and horses, it seemed I was not hurt but the scene before me was terrible. I felt this was a warning to me as I stayed at home.
I first met the Allott family in Dravosburg, then they moved to Braidwood. The later I got a job in Braidwood, [p. 7] where I once more met the Allott family. It was then I knew the little cute white haired girl of Dravosburg was the choice of my manhood. I fell in love and married Harriet Allott on Feb. 2, 1871; I was 26 years old and Harriet 17 years. She was the daughter of Henry Allott & Sarah Barnnett. She was born 25 Nov. 1852 at Chester Pennsylvania. Her brother Moses was married that same day. We were married by a Presbyterian minister. We each paid him five dollars.
Harriet and I made our home in Pennsylvania for a short time. We were made even happier when little Annie our first child was born 7 Dec. 1871. She was the prettiest baby I have ever seen with her fair skin, auburn hair and beautiful eyes. Not long after this we decided to go to Braidwood, Illinois for a visit which lasted for eleven years.
On 5 Jan. 1874 a son was born to us, we called him James after my father, but short was stay; only nineteen days until we saw him called home again 24 Jan. 1874. The Lord had been mindful of us and blessed us again with a lovely daughter; Sarah Mae, 2 May 1875. Then in [p. 8] 4 Oct. 1877 a second boy was born. We called him John Samuel and how we loved and enjoyed him. Again we were happy when on the 25 Jan. 1880 Harriet was born and again 19 Jan. 1882 our sixth child was born, another girl, and her name was Bertha Emma.
It was in this year of 1882 I was to at last see my long hoped for dream come true, for I boarded a train to Salt Lake City, Utah after so many years of waiting. . . . [p. 9]
BIB: Eden, John. Autobiography (Special Collections & Manuscripts Mss 1080) pp. 3-9 (Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah)