. . . The next winter John finished up his work and gave notice to Sir Benjamin Hall he was taking his family to America. Sir Benjamin wrote to John saying, "Tell Powell not to let a question of money come between us."
No one in the village wanted to see John, Elizabeth and their family leave. They sold all their feather beds, bedsteads, bedding and furniture at a low price, some they gave away, some they left in the house. She gave away and sold all their worldly goods at a great sacrifice, but John and Elizabeth felt they had found more in their new religion. Lady Hall said, "Poor John, all that's the matter is his mind is turned by Mormonism." John replied, "It's a true remark."
Reservations for the family were made 10 March 1856. John paid his passage and deposited his money with the Emigration Fund, to sail from Liverpool to Boston. (A gallaway of John Braidley abersy chan, Pontypool, Wales.)
Before leaving Wales they visited their relative and among the Saints. They had a son, David Samuel, born 2 March 1856. The Saints from Abigaveni took them to the station in an omnibus. They stayed in Liverpool a week. On March 23, 1856, on ship P29 Enoch Train (Handcart company L 856) they left for America. John 43 years old, Elizabeth 35, John's trade, mason. Children, William 15, Mary 13, Margaret 8, Elizabeth 7, Anna 4, David 3 weeks. The family came on the Emigration Fund from the Herefordshire Conference, England. The boat was a freighter converted to a sailing vessel with Captain Daniel McCarty. Captain of the ship Henry P. Rich. There were 534 souls of the Saints on board and a crew of 30. The Saints were under the presidency of Elder James Ferguson, Edmund Ellsworth and Daniel D. McArthur.
There was a large stove on the boat, where the passengers took turns to cook food. John put his name on his teakettle and put it on the captain's stove so he could prepare a cup of tea for Elizabeth. Due to the long waiting time at the passenger's stove, John paid the captain's colored cook, to prepare the food and bring it to them.
The baby being young when they left, John had him christened while on the boat. Everyone on the boat were pleasant and kind. The Saints gathered each night and morning in the big room for prayers.
John depended on 13 year old Mary for many errands and help with the other children. He and Mary enjoyed the ocean, he would hold her over the banister so she could see way out and watch the ship cut the water. A good many people on the boat looked to John for numerous little favors. One man seeing him always busy doing for others said, "Are you the captain?"
"No," replied John, "I am the chore boy."
After two weeks at sea, a terrible storm came and drove them back until they could see the spires of the buildings in Liverpool. After 3 weeks a Mrs. Deveraux [Devereux] died and was buried at sea.
Church services were held on deck each Sunday. A band played after the meetings. Brothers Ellsworth and McAllister helped keep up the morale of the people. [p.17]
It took 5 weeks and 5 days to cross the Atlantic from Liverpool to Boston. It was necessary for the immigrants to be examined before going ashore, this took 2 days. While in Boston Harbor a number of building contractors came on the ship, they met and talked with John and offered him $8.00 per day to do mason work, but John did not take the work.
The Saints in a body traveled by water and train to New York, where Apostle John Taylor met them. Food was sent to the ship for them, being 2 days since they had eaten. Leaving by rail, they traveled to Rock Island, Illinois. The train being 15 minutes late saved all of them from plunging into the Mississippi River as the bridge has broken with the train ahead of them. They stayed at Rock Island until Monday morning crossing the Mississippi River by boat. Here they traveled in box cars to Iowa City. From here they walked 4 miles to the Iowa camp grounds. A Brother Merrill, a missionary who had lived at their house in Wales, met Mrs. Powell at the carriage.
John had paid his families immigration fee, before leaving Wales and fully expected to find teams and wagons at Council Bluffs to take them the rest of the way to Utah, but there were only a few teams with loads of merchandise for the stores in Salt Lake City. So, John, along with the rest of the men, made their handcarts on which they could haul the few things necessary to make the journey across the plains, on thousand miles to Utah. Mother Powell had to dispose of many of their things, among them was their flat iron. John had a bake kettle ordered, but I had not come. The family with the help of Mary did their cooking over a camp fire. A lady ask Mary to use the stove for baking in her tent. They had never seen a tent with boards until they came to America. Everything was so different from the life in England and it was hard to stand such changed conditions.
John and family stayed in Iowa City six weeks. Much of this time his wife was not well. June 9, 1856 the Saints left for Salt Lake pushing and pulling handcarts. It was a new experiment for the Saints and the church. John and his family were in the Edmund Ellsworth company. . . . [p.18]
. . . Arriving in Immigration Canyon 26 Sept. 1856 they were met by President Young and several members of the quorum of Twelve Apostles. They brought watermelons for them. He told them not to eat too much. John said, "Brigham Young was quite sensible.". . . . [p.20]
BIB: Jacobson, Emma McDowell. Our Powell/Peterson ancestors (Ms 6824), pp. 17-18, 20. (CHL)