. . . Now we are going to start on that great journey across that great and mighty sea. We got to Liverpool on the 2nd of February, 1854. My father and mother-in-law. Myself and wife we started to the valleys of the mountains on the 4th of Feb. 1854, in the ship Golcondale. A sailing vessel, there was 464 Saints on board.
The ships was taken out to the open sea by a steamer and then we was left on Sea to the mercy of God. There was one thing that gave us joy and satisfaction for we knew that God was with us to protect us [p.7] on the sea and we had a good captain to guide the ship and in a short time after the steamer left us the ship was in full sail and she looked handsome. We had a good breeze and she ploughed the main very fast. It was very cold when we left Liverpool and in a few days we got to a warmer climate and we was comfortable on deck. It was a site to us to see the ships a sailing on the sea. We had a brass band on board I was one of them, all Welch. There was a choir on board and I was one of them and also a string band. They played for dances, we had dancing on sea. There were some elders along with us returning from their mission. There was a few bachelors on board. They had a place by themselves. They called it Bachelor's Hall. They made lots of fun to us on sea. The captain was very kind to us, especially to the sick. But very little sickness we had on sea and only one death and that was an infant and indeed it was a solemn time, when the child was dropped into the sea.
We enjoyed ourselves very good while traveling on sea. Our president was Elder Curtis, he was returning from his mission. He organized us and appointed teachers to look after us. And we had meetings every Sunday. We had a good voyage and but one storm and that was a fearful one and I shall never forget it. It lasted about 4 hours and I was on deck to see it all. The waves as big as mountains. The sailors got all the sails fastened before the storm was very bad. The thunder and lightening was terrible and the rain a pouring down but the ship done well but she sprung a leak, but it was soon stopped. The storm quit about dark. The next day the ship was in full sail again and we all felt to rejoice for fine weather once more and I tell you my friends that we did feel indeed to rejoice. [p.8]
I Will Never Forget
I shall never forget that day
The time for me to go away
And leave my mother and brothers three
To go across the mighty sea
T'was in the morning at eight o'clock
The ship in Golcondale left the dock
Then the captain gave his command
And took us safe to Zion's land
And when we first stept on the land
It did look good also grand.
We felt to say with one accord
Yes thanks yes thanks be to the Lord.
We had the pleasure to see a wedding on sea. The bride was tied to a chair. She was hoisted up the mast quite a ways. The captain said what a brave woman. Then she took her handkerchief and waved it in the breeze. The brides-man was carried around the ship in a chair by four bachelors. They made it for that purpose. This took place about the first of March, 1854. We had a great deal of amusement on the sea and when we got through the Gulf of Mexico the Captain said, ship about. Then we traveled northeast until we got to that great river Mississippi. Here a steamer came to meet us and towed us up that mighty river. The water was very muddy and when we came to the quarantine station we had to stop here for the doctors to examine us. When the doctors came on board, we passed then two by two they pronounced us all well. We started again and got tp New Orleans on the 18th of March 1854. We made the trip in six weeks from Liverpool to this place. We stayed in New Orleans a few days to get ready to travel up the river again. It is about one hundred miles from the mouth of the Mississippi to New Orleans and we was glad to get there and about the last of March we started for [p. 9] St. Louis in a small steamboat and we was crowded.
We Was Crowded
Now we are traveling up the river
Crowded in that little steamer
But still we felt to ask the Lord
For too protect us all on board.
Now we are going, yes faster and faster.
The steamboat a puffing and snorting and pushing hard against the stream, but oh, what a dirty water for us to use. We dip it up for to settle it but don't get much better. Never mind, we will do the best we can with it. I must drink it, anyhow, because I am very thirsty. And what a rackety noise, it makes me shudder. The captain a shouting and the water a splashing and the band a playing and some of us singing and some of the sisters a washing and the babes a crying. And the sailors a talking and many of them a smoking. And all of us trying to do something and the boat a tugging and snorting. When traveling up the Missouri River also the Mississippi indeed it was a great sight to us to see such a forest of timber and land. What a wonderful stream this is going in such a force taking down some very large logs. They sometimes strike the boat with tremendous blows but we got through all right. We got to St. Louis on about the 10th of April, 1854. And we was glad to get there. But what a dirty looking place this is to be sure, and when we got on shore we had a great and a sad sight to see the negroes working rolling the cotton bails. The boss that was looking after them used them very ruff. Some time he would give them a hard lick with his whips. Thought that was bad [p.10] to treat human beings in that way. And here we are crowded into an old hospital and it is the best place we can get. We stayed two weeks in St. Louis. Here the cholera started among us. And we buried a few of the brethren and sisters in this place and in a few days the word was to get ready to start up the river again and we was glad of the chance. The distance from New Orleans to St. Louis is about twelve hundred miles.
The Gospel Plan
And God in his mercy to this generation
Revealed to the prophet the plan of salvation
The very same plan the apostles of old
Was sent by the Savior to preach to the world.
When Jesus our Savior was here among men
He taught the great plan of the gospel to them
And told his disciples go forth and proclaim
Through faith and baptism, salvation will come
And also he said lay your hands upon them
That they may receive the promises that's given
For the spirit of God will show them the way
And also will guide them from going astray.
There's twelve apostles, to be in the Church
Yes, prophets and teachers to guide and to teach
And all these officers and many more
Was all in the church in the days of yore.
But all of the priests will say we don't need
The gifts of the gospel for they have all ceased
And this is the doctrine they've taught unto men
But the Saints don't believe such doctrines as them
The latter day Saints will not go astray
If they will be faithful and also to pray
Then let the Saints rejoice and go to sing
For Jesus our Savior shall be our king.
J. J. Davis
Now for another start again.. . . We started from St. Louis on the 24th of April 1854. And after we got [p.11] started the Captain of the boat said put on more steam and away she goes. We had a good view of the country on both sides of the rivers, it was a great site to us because most all of us was trades men and that is the reason that so much traveling through this country was interested to us. We had to stop a few times to bury the dead while going up the river. We got to Kansas, Missouri in the month of May. The distance from St. Louis to Kansas is about four hundred miles. This was a trading post in them days, one or two stores and a few houses and after we got on shore we camped close to the river. The cholera was very bad amongst us by this time and in a few days we moved from here to Mr. Magees plantation. Now we had a good place to camp in. We buried quite a few of our brethren and sisters in this place. It was here I buried my Father and mother-in-law. We stayed in these camps six weeks. We went from here to Westport and stayed here a few days to get ready to start on the plains. Now comes the labor and toil for a people that has no experience what ever for to travel, yes, more than a thousand miles across this great plains and also those great mountains before we would get to the valleys of the mountains, oh, yes we had a fine time to see the negroes breaking the young steers for the company.
Traveling Together To the West
We've traveled together, in peace many years
Yes over the Sea and also great rivers
And on our journey thus far we are blesses
And God in his mercy our lives has preserved.
The Cholera at Kansas
And that awful disease which all of us dread
Was raging in camp and many of us died [p.12]
It was here I buried my Father and Mother
And truly twas awful to leave them both here
And those sorrowful days was terrible bad
But the Saints had faith in the promise of God
Then we faithfully ask for the plague to cease
And God in his mercy then stopped the disease
Starting on the Plains
The first night we camped twas on the Indian Creek
And my wife that very night was taken sick
And before the night was over
The wife gave birth to a daughter.
Now for a Hard Trip
We started on the plains on the first of July, 1854. . . . [p.13]
. . .We got through the Immigration Canyon. Then we could see the valleys of the mountains which made us rejoice and to thank the Lord for his blessings to us on our journey. We got to the city of the Saints a few days after the October Conference of 1854. We rolled through the city with joyful hearts and camped on the Immigration Square, west of the temple block. [p.18]
BIB: Davies, John J. Diary (Ms 8620 reel 2 #11), pp. 7-13,18. (CHL)