. . . We left the old home at Eglysbath about the 17th of May in 1864 in the night time. We traveled about 20 or 30 miles and reached the coast about the middle of the night. The next morning we boarded the steamship and reached Liverpool in a couple or three hours. Here we stay for about two days and on the 21st of May at 4 p.m. we boarded the ship [General] McClellan and sailed for America.
The next morning after we boarded the ship we looked back but could see nothing of our old England. We had been on the ship about 15 or 20 days when a storm, almost a hurricane, overtook us and the rocking of the great ship caused great excitement among the passengers. My parents took steerage passage while my brother John went one story below us with the other small boys to bunk. When the storm came up mother was worried about John sleeping down there and made him a bed on the trunks and boxes in her room. These were placed in a row down the middle of the room between braces while the bunks were in rows on each side of the wall. I remember well how some people were crying, some praying and some singing all night as long as the storm lasted. We got John to bed and the girls went to bed on one side while the married folks had their bed on the other side of the room. When we were all settled as best we could for the rocking of the ship and the seasickness among us, there came an extra swell of the sea. The ship rocked slowly, then lurched, which landed John, bed and all down on the floor among the buckets [p.484] and shoes, etc. and rolled him under the bunks. Mother started up and cried "O my boy, my boy." Father said in his quiet way, "Oh never mind mother, he'll come back when we roll the other way." But she thought he must have rolled out of the ship into the ocean.
Well when the ship slowly rolled back, here came John from under the bunks, with bedding and buckets and mother grabbed him. When the excitement cooled down a little, they took John and tied him down to the boxes and posts and we spent the night in peace. This storm lasted for about three days and two nights. We reached New York on the 21st of June. When we sighted the hills of America a great shout of "America, America" went up from the eager throng and there was singing and rejoicing all day. The ship was anchored for the night and the next morning we were put on a small steamboat and carried to shore. We were taken into a large inspection room. Father went first, the children next and mother brought up the rear. The inspector looked at father and asked him where his wife was. "Sick," he said "back there." He looked us all over and said, "You'll do" and passed us.
In a day or two we embarked on a boat and sailed up the Hudson River to Albany. On each side of the river were beautiful homes and we feasted on the beautiful scenery on either side. We boarded the train from there to Lake Erie. Reaching there we changed cars. The president of the company warned us we may have trouble here, but to remain silent. We left the train here and were met by a mob armed with lumber edging which they hit us with. Some of them said not to hit the girls, but to get that old man. We finally reached our train, and after boarding it were taken on to it, train and all to cross the lake. Early in the morning we were all tired and lounging in our seats. The Canadians came to meet the train with great baskets full of different kinds of sandwiches to treat their fellow countrymen. The two men that came to our car came up to my mother who was always awake and asked her where her family was. She pointed to the four children and said "These are mine and fathers." He filled her lap with sandwiches. When father and the children awoke and saw what the Canadians had done he said, "Well you can give me the petticoat government. It
's the best yet." [p.485]
BIB: Roskelley, Mary Roberts. [Reminiscences], Our Pioneer Heritage, comp. by Kate B. Carter, vol. 12 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1969) pp. 484-85. (CHL)