. . . In coming from England in 1853 with something over four hundred Saints, on the ship Golconda we were becalmed off the banks and to break the monotony [p.38] the captain gave us the use of the quarter-deck for a dance. It was a warm sun shiny day, and we were a very merry party, but in the midst of our merriment a restless, gloomy foreboding influence took strong hold of me so much so that I left the party and went by myself and asked the Lord to tell me what it meant, and if it was not a warning, to take the feeling away, but it increased, after a little season I lifted my hat and said "Father in Heaven, if trouble is imminent, let peace come to me when I state to the captain to take in sail." I had not taken five steps until I knew I was going right. I found the captain sitting by the helmsman and told him "I wanted him him [sic] to excuse a cowardly landlubber and take in some sail." He jumped to his feet and asked "Who's running this ship, him or me." I answered "You're running the ship but I am looking after the people." He got his speaking trumpet, hollered to the mate in the fore-castle, "Crack up two more sails g.d. quick." At that time we had over two hundred Saints on the main deck, some singing, some sewing, enjoying themselves the best they could and a large number of us dancers on the quarter deck. There was not wind enough to fill a sail, not a cloud to intimate a storm. When the captain gave the order to the mate I told those around me to get below deck as quick as you can, there's trouble coming. They all started except Mrs. Hannah T. King, strong minded woman, new in the work, not used to peremptory orders. I had to personally press her to move. She was the last one to go and her feet were on the bottom step of the stairs when the first mast fell, just grazing her head. In the meantime I had jumped from the quarter deck and run to the mid ships and ordered every man, woman and child to wait for nothing, but get below in a hurry. In ten minutes every mast was torn out of the ship. We had been struck by a spent hurricane, off from the Islands without any earthly warning. If our people had remained above deck it would have been a terrible scene of suffering. As soon as the excitement was over several of us waited on the captain, told him we had two or three sea captains aboard, several sailors and that with the masts and rigging careening the ship to nearly and angle of forty we were liable to sink at any moment a wind or swell struck us, but with his permission we believed we could save the ship. He turned over they key of the carpenter shop and the whole management to us. The next morning when I met the captain with tears streaming from his eyes he asked "What does such things mean." I told him, "It meant God was gathering Israel in the last days and sent his servants with them to care for them." He said, "Mr. Spencer, you can run this ship to New Orleans." And he used to come regularly day by day and ask me
"if everything was right, or if I had any suggestion to make." After the captain gave us control we so cut loose masts, and rigging and we saved enough timber to make jury masts and after about seven weeks reached New Orleans. . . . [p.39]
BIB: Spencer, Claudius Victor. [Diary] The Nauvoo Journal (vol.9, Spring 1997 No. 1) pp.38- 39.