. . . In the year 1850, my father was greatly blessed in his incomes, the vessel which he was running, brought him in considerable money. At this time, he had the spirit of gathering, and decided to sail, in Jan., 1851. Before he sailed, Brothers Peter C. Hanson, Erastus Snow, and John Forsgren, called at Hull, on their way from Salt Lake City, to Copenhagen, where they were going to do missionary work. I will here relate an incident which happened, while they were stopping at my father's house. One of the brethren, who could prophesy, said to my father, "Brother Briggs, when you get sufficient means to take you to New Orleans, you go, then go from there, to Saint Louis, or you may never get to the valley's of the mountains."
Father delayed going until everything seemed to go the wrong way, and then he began to think of the words of the brethren. However he decided to sail on the ship Ellen, on the 8th of Jan., 1851.
On the 1st of Jan., we left our home, and the land of our fore fathers, to go to a land we knew not of, and that because the Lord had commanded us. Not until we reached Liverpool, did we realize what was needed, for a journey of 6000 miles, across the sea.
The rations allowed for each one, was 25 pounds of hard biscuit, (so hard, we had to take a hammer to break it), 10 pounds of flour, 20 pound of rice, 50 pounds of oatmeal, 10 pounds of pork, 5 pounds of sugar, 5 pounds of molasses, 1 half pound of tea, 2 pounds of cheese, 1 pint of vinegar, and three quarts of water, daily, but the other rations, were for the entire voyage.
The ship left the docks, on the 6th day of Jan, and anchored in the river, for two days, and then sailed, with 470 passengers, aboard. The wind was in our favor, and we traveled, about seven miles an hour. [p.5]
About seven o'clock at night, the wind suddenly changed, and blew very heavy, which caused our vessel to run into another vessel, breaking the jib boom of our ship.
I was on deck at the time, and it seemed to me, that the other vessel, had sunk. All was confusion, and for a while everything was in darkness.
The following day, we sailed as far as Cardigan Bay, North Wales, to repair the ship, but we were ready to sail for sea again, in a few days. The wind was again very unfavorable, so we had to remain in the Bay, for three weeks. While there, one of the sailors was very badly hurt, and had to be sent back to Liverpool.
The captain asked the passengers, if any of them would volunteer, to take his place. I volunteered to work for my passage, and board, until we got into the trade winds. During the three weeks we were in the bay we had to go ashore for fresh water, which was carried to the ship, in barrels.
On the 23rd, we again put out to sea, but made very little progress, as the wind was against us. On the first of Feb., the wind changed, and we soon lost sight of the Irish Coast.
From this time on, we had a pleasant voyage, and on the 14th of March, we anchored in the river, at New Orleans, making twelve weeks, that we had been on the ship.
During the voyage, we had twelve deaths on board, but they were mostly children. Their bodies were sewed up in canvas, and a heavyweight was tied at their feet, then boards were placed on the side of the ship, in a slanting position, and the bodies were slid down the boards, into the sea. When we landed, my Father saw Brother James Goodwin, and borrowed from him ten shillings and three pence, which was sufficient to take us up the river as far as Saint Louis.
We left New Orleans, on the 19th of March, 1851, in the company of which, J. [James] William Cummins, [Cummings] was president, and Brother [Crandall] Dunn, and William Moss, were his counselors. We arrived at Saint Louis on the 26th, after having a good passage up the river, [p.6] and only two deaths.
At St. Louis, the sailors were in a hurry to get rid of the freight, so our baggage was crowded on to the levee. Some of the Saints had friends awaiting them, and others were all alone, but we all felt sad at parting, as we had formed a love for one another, during the voyage.
To our surprise, we saw Brother Lewis, a friend whom we knew, while in England. While in England, my father had loaned Brother Lewis, one sovereign, and I had loaned him 10 shillings, and he had the money with him, to pay us back, for which we were very thankful. [p.7]
. . . We arrived in the city of the Great Salt Lake, on the 4th day of September, 1864, after a journey of 1800 miles in a wagon. . . . [p.47]
BIB: Briggs, Thomas. History of Thomas Briggs, (privately printed) pp. 5-7, 47. (CHL)