Before leaving Wales we visited our relatives and bade them a fond goodby. We also visited among the Saints. They, of course, rejoiced with us in that we were leaving for Zion. The Saints from Abigaveni took us up to the station in an omnibus.
. . . I shall never forget the morning we took the train from Liverpool. A host of loving friends were at the station to see us off. After one weeks stay in Liverpool we went on board the large American sail boat, the Enoch Train. There were five hundred and thirty seven Saints in our company. The ship's crew numbered thirty. On ship-board there was singing and laughter and loud jesting among the crew. Somehow the excitement seemed to turn me sick. Father said I was white as a sheet. The captain of the vessel stopped to talk to father. "You had better take your little girl down below," he said. They gave me a dose of medicine consisting of brandy and sea water. It put me to sleep. About midnight I awoke and lay observing my new surroundings. A large light shown in the arch way. My two sisters were sleeping peacefully in the berth. How strange to find ourselves out in the big ocean next morning. Some members of the ship's crew were at work cleaning the floor of the boat. I took notice of their method, first scraping, next sweeping, then mopping. In this manner they cleaned the floor.
There was a stove on the boat called, "The Passenger Cook Stove." Upon it the passengers were allowed to cook things, each in turn. In order to make mother a cup of tea, father took up a teakettle to the passenger cook stove. He put his name on it, John Powell. From time to time, all day long, I was sent to ask the cook, "Will you please tell me if John Powell's teakettle is boiling?" Toward late afternoon, I met a couple of Scotsmen who laughed uproariously at my question. I ran back, and told father that he would have to fetch it himself. It took until five o'clock to get that cup of tea for mother. After this experience, father made arrangements with the captain's cook to boil the water on his stove. We were now able to get mother's cup of tea on short notice.
There was a baby born on the ship. His parents named him Enoch Train, after the boat. It was the captain who suggested the name. My little brother was two weeks old when we commenced the voyage. We had named him while on the journey. After the christening, the captain came and gave him a souvenir, five dollars. But mother said, "No, the souvenir is for the baby that was born on the boat. Give it to him." So the captain gave the souvenir to little Enoch Train. There was also another baby named while on the voyage. We had a good time sailing, everybody was congenial, pleasant and kind. Each night and morning, Saints assembled in the big room for prayers. We no longer had to await our turn at the passengers cook stove. Father paid the colored man, the captain's cook, to prepare our food. Truth to tell, we ate little, due to seasickness.
Funny things to amuse us children happened every day. Once we watched two old men set their table and lay our their lunch, in careful, painstaking fashion. They asked the blessing on the food. Just then a large wave came up and threw the dishes right and left. Everybody laughed, even the two old men. They had to scramble under the benches and in the far corners to pick up their cups and saucers. [p.6] One day father sent me to the "captain's galley" (or kitchen) to get some warm bread. I had to hurry back for I had three younger than I to watch and tend. I could not let them remain out of my sight many minutes.
I grew to love the ocean. Each afternoon I watched the sun sink like a ball of fire beneath the waves. Next morning it rose again out of the water. One day I stood looking over the banister on deck, a sailor came and grabbed me saying, "Why are you leaning out so far?" "I want to sea the ship plowing the waves and cutting the water," said I. He held me over the banister and I took a good look.
A good many people on the boat looked to father for numerous little favors. One man seeing him always busy doing for others said, "Are you the captain?" "No," said father, "I'm just the chore boy." One day mother sent me on an errand to the upper deck. I ran along hand in hand with Ann Jones. The sea was very rough. I slipped and fell down, and pulled Ann down. In falling we bumped into an old sailor and I knocked him down. There we lay, all in a heap. Later we found that this old sailor had very poor eyesight, in fact, he was almost blind. Said he, "I have been on the ocean almost thirty years. This is the first time any girls have knocked me down."
One man said to Mother, "Sister Powell, your religion must go very deep to undertake a ocean voyage with so young a babe." He very kindly offered to supply some canned milk for the baby. "How much is it per can?" asked Mother. "Take it, to make us friends," he said.
When we had been on the ocean three weeks, Mrs. Deveroe [Devereux] died. They sewed her up in a sheet and buried her in the sea. In the commencement of the voyage, she remarked to my mother, "I'll go on board the ship and start my husband to Utah. If I should die, he will journey on. If we do not commence the journey, perhaps my husband and children will not reach Utah."
We had Sunday meetings on deck. There was a band that used to play each Sunday after meeting. To be exact, the ocean voyage really did get tiresome at times, although we tried to make the best of it. We were on the ship five weeks and five days. Brother Ellsworth and Brother McAllister slept right across from our berth. They were full of fun and helped keep us lively.
One afternoon when the children were playing up on deck, I said, "Oh dear, I wish we'd soon reach land." Just then the captain held up his glasses and looked afar. I heard him whisper something about land to another man. I kept looking at a tiny speck ahead that seemed to increase. That night we passed a lighthouse. None of us children wanted to go below. We coaxed to be allowed to remain on deck just a little longer. At last the captain said, "All children below." We did not want to go down. Said he, "I promise you tomorrow you'll see something much grander than a lighthouse." [p.7]
Next morning we beheld two large hospitals situated in a beautiful green field. We did not go ashore for two days as we had to be examined first. Five hundred and twenty seven persons in all. Not one of our company was sent to either hospital, one was a general hospital and other a mental hospital. The physicians declared that they had never seen a more healthy, cleanly company of immigrants. All this took place several miles from Boston.
We remained in Boston Harbor one day. While here a number of ministers came on board the Enoch Train, and they distributed pretty picture cards among us children. Some building contractors came aboard and offered father mason work at eight dollars a day. Father did not take the work. All the immigrants from the Enoch Train now traveled in a body to New York. We went by rail and water. At New York, Apostle John Taylor came to the boat and talked to the Saints. He impressed us very much, standing there so erect and tall. I noticed his long beard. He was ready to address us. Our attention riveted on his continence. Then he turned to the captain and said, "How long since these folks had any refreshments?" "Two days," was the answer. "Brethren and Sisters," said John Taylor, "I should like to see you eat before I speak to you." In less than half an hour bakers bread, steak and coffee were brought onto the ship. I had not thought about being so hungry until then. How nice this food tasted.
Apostle Taylor spoke to the Saints and asked God to bless us with a safe journey to Utah.Again we continued traveling, this time by rail to Rock Island, Illinois. Our train was scheduled to cross the Mississippi River on a bridge at eight o'clock. We were fifteen minutes late. The bridge had broken with the train just ahead of us and a great wreck occurred. We had to stay at Rock Island from Saturday morning until Monday morning. On Monday morning we crossed the Mississippi River in a boat. It was a mile wide. On the other side of the river from Rock Island we entered a train of box cars. We reached Iowa City late at night. We walked four miles from Iowa City to the camping place of the Saints. Mother rode, not being strong enough to walk. A missionary, Brother Merrill, whom mother had entertained in Wales, helped her to alight from the carriage. Said he, "Sister Powell, it affords me great pleasure to welcome you to this blessed land of America."
We remained in Iowa six weeks. All the men were busy making handcarts. Our bake kettle which father had ordered had not come. We had to fry our dough in a pan over the campfire. A lady seeing me do it said, "Come into me tent and use my stove." This lady was not a member of the company. She lived in a tent nearby and owned a nice stove with a good oven which she allowed me to used. In the course of my acquaintance I learned that she was a relative of the Joseph F. Smith family.
Each day I took pains to watch the women bake bread in their bake-kettles. I was taking lessons from them. I knew that I should have to do the baking when our own kettle cam e and I was anxious to earn the best way to do it.
It became necessary for Mother to dispose of some of our things. She sold a little flat iron that I had taken care to carry with me. How I cried when it was sold. I think this was the only time I cried on the whole long journey. I felt [p.8] worried and said "Whatever will we do for something with which to smooth our our [SIC] clothes when we get to Salt Lake City."
At last the handcarts were all made. There were two handcarts for our family. My brother pulled one of them all the way from Iowa City to Utah. . . . [p.9]
. . . When we arrived in Immigration canyon we were met by President Young and several members of the quorum of the twelve apostles. They arrived in wagons drawn by oxen and mules. We halted, they served us melons. President Young told us to eat moderately of the melon, to eat the pink, not to et into the green. Father said he was quite sensible. [p.13]
BIB: Sabin, Mary Powell. Autobiography (formerly in Msd 2050), pp. 6-9, 13. (Typescript) (CHL)