On the eighth of February, 1853, we bade farewell to the members of that Branch, our friends and loved ones, and started on our journey. We went by train to London where we stayed over night. The next morning by daylight we boarded the train again and arrived at Liverpool after dark that night. We were taken to a comfortable hotel by one of the elders, where we remained for a few days. There were twelve of us besides the captain in our little company. Four men, four women, and four children. We sailed from Liverpool on the fifteenth of February and arrived in New Orleans in five weeks. The quickest trip, the captain, said on record for a ship of that kind. The weather was pleasant.
There were three deaths, one marriage, and one or two births during the voyage. One of the number, a young many named Charles Jones, died of smallpox and was thrown overboard. Seven of the remaining eleven afterwards apostatized from the Church. The name of the captain was Owen. His wife's name was Elvira, so the ship was called the Elvira Owen. There were 345 people on the ship. The captain of our little company was Joseph W. Young.
At New Orleans we were transferred to a steamer named the "James Rob," and after eight days and nights we arrived at St. Louis. Two or three days more took us to Keokuk, a small town on the Mississippi River. Here we camped and waited for five weeks for teams and wagons to take us across the plains. I secured work in the town so I could earn enough to purchase a few things I needed, before starting upon that long and tedious journey.
We left the camp ground but only traveled one day when we were delayed another week. Here, by walking a short distance, we could see Nauvoo, "The City of the Saints" and the ruins of the temple. We then traveled on daily for about three hundred miles to Council Bluffs where we stopped to get more supplies and spend he Fourth of July. Here, others joined our company and we were more completely organized, with Cyrus H. Wheelock for captain to conduct us across the plains. I was to pay for my transportation by cooking, washing, and either leading or or carrying one of my sister's children.
After traveling several days through swamps and mud, we crossed the Missouri River and camped for another week at Winter Quarters where so many of the Saints died when they were driven from their homes in mid-winter. There were still traces of their huts and dugouts. It brought very solemn feelings to us as we looked over the situation and walked upon the ground where there had been so much death and suffering, and as we traveled on we daily passed graves where some had fallen by the wayside unable to travel further. Nothing very particular [p.164] happened to our company the rest of the journey until we reached what was known as "Little Mountain" where we camped for the last night before reaching Salt Lake City.
In the morning after breakfast myself and two or three others started out ahead of the teams for the City. I do not remember how far it was but we did not think it far. After coming thirteen hundred miles by land, walking most of the way, we had learned pretty well how it was done. We had not gone far when we were overtaken by some people who had met our company to look for friends whom they were expecting, but failing to find them, they were returning. They invited us to ride, took us to their home in Salt Lake, gave us our supper, and made us comfortable until our wagons came in after dark, October sixth, 1853. It would be impossible to tell how thankful we were to those people, and that we had reached our destination. . . . [p.165]
BIB: Waters, Sarah Birch, [Autobiography], Our Pioneer Heritage, comp. By Kate B. Carter, Vol. 11 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1968) pp. 164-65. (CHL)