. . . I left London, or rather home, No. 32 City Garden Rose, City Road, London, about 4 p.m. May 23, 1866 and went down to the London docks, and went on board the American [p.11] Congress, a very fine sailing vessel. I was seasick for about 3 weeks straight ahead. I really thought that I was going to die but about three weeks after we started Brother John Nicholson, one of the presidents of the vessel, gave me about a tablespoon full of brandy& I began to mend from that time.
I helped to serve out the provisions on board the ship. We used to have some good times on board, singing, dancing &c. We had pretty good weather, very little storms, and a generally prosperous voyage, landing in New York on July 4, 1866, rather the 5th. I had my bunk on the 2nd deck. On board I got acquainted with a number of boys, one whose names was Robert Pike who was drowned soon after leaving New York as he was passing from the steamer to the shore. He was much respected by all on board. His body was found about two days after the Saints left the New Haven steamboat station where he was drowned.
Left New York on the afternoon of the 5th and arrived at New Haven steamboat station by the next morning. Stayed there all day. [p.12] In the afternoon we took the cars for St. Joseph, Missouri which occupied about 6 days. We arrived at St. Joseph early in the morning and were to leave about 7 or 8 o'clock upon one of the river steamers for Wyoming, Nebraska. While the men were unloading the luggage from the cars to the steamer, Brother Riter & myself went into the town to buy some provisions for those who had none to last them two days on the boat, the length of time the steamer took to travel from St. Joseph to Wyoming. And while we were gone they had finished loading the luggage and while we were returning to the boat we heard the steamboat whistle, and when we came in sight of the landing, saw the steamer about half a mile on her journey up the river & we were left behind. We made the best we could of it, & went back to where we had bought the forty loaves of bread and got them to take them back and spent the most of the day there. We found that the folks that kept the store were apostates. They had been to Utah and had gone back dissatisfied.
While in St. Joe, [as] it is called, I visited one of their meetinghouses with a young boy who went to act as deacon & clean up the [p.13] house. It was in this place where I first tasted gum, the boy giving me a piece. 6 p.m. the 2nd day, visited the marketplace & bought some mutton & potatoes which the storekeeper where we bought the bread kindly cooked for me to take with us on the boat.
The first night after arriving in St. Joseph I slept in a wagon box on some hay. The next night we went and slept on the steamboat so that we would not be left behind again, and on the second day after, in the afternoon, we reached Wyoming where I found my luggage, a box, and a sack which contained all that I possessed in this world consisting of some clothing, a few tools, &c. I stayed in Wyoming that night, & the next afternoon started on the journey across those long, dreary, desolate plains about a thousand miles to our destination. I was in one respect more fortunate than many others, some of them having to stay in Wyoming 5 or 6 weeks. On the next day after my arrival in Wyoming, one of the brethren asked me if I would not like to go on. I told him yes, & he told me to get my luggage and get into a wagon that was just ready to start, and, after they had taken [p.14] away my box from me, as being too heavy to take along, and putting all my things into my sack, I started on my journey with about 500 others in about 60 wagons, across the plains . . . . The captain of the company [was] Brother Halliday . . . [p.15]
. . . It was on the night of the 25th of September, 1866, that we made our last camp out. Early next morning we were up and doing. This place I think, must have been what is called Hardy's Station. The most of us boys put on some of our Sunday meeting clothes and started to walk to the city ahead of the train, but it seems a tremendous long walk, in Parley's Canyon we met several parties who had come to meet their friends & relatives, but I thought I had no one to meet me, so I journeyed long, till I came to the mouth of the Canyon. I shall never forget my feelings as I looked upon the city of Salt Lake from the bench at the mouth of Parley's Canyon, it seemed beautiful to me. . . . [p.24]
BIB: Denney, Charles. Reminiscences and diary (Ms 1820), pp. 11-15, 24. (CHL)