. . . Now comes the sorrowful time for us to leave our friends and relations behind us in our native land. We prepared everything that we could think of for the journey. 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 started to the valleys of the mountains on [p.157] the 4th of February, 1854, in the ship Golconda, sailing vessel. There were 464 Saints on board.
The ship was taken out to the open sea by a steamer and then we were left 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 on the sea, and we had a good captain to guide the ship. In a short time after the steamer left us, the ship was in full sails and she looked handsome. We have a good breeze and she ploughed the main very fast. It was very cold when we left Liverpool, but in a few days we got to a warmer climate and we were comfortable on deck. It was a sight to see the ships sailing on the sea.
We had a brass band on board. I was one of the them--all Welsh. There was a choir on board, and I was one of them; also a string band. They played for dances; we had dancing on the sea. There were some elders along with us returning from their mission. There were a few bachelors on board. They had a place by themselves. They called it bachelor's hall. They made lots of fun for us on the sea. The captain was very kind to us, especially to the sick. But there was very little sickness and only one death, and that was an infant. Indeed it was a solemn time when the child was dropped into the sea.
We enjoyed ourselves very well while traveling on the 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; but that was a fearful one and I shall never forget it. It lasted about four hours and I was on deck to see it all. The waves were as big as mountains. The sailors got all the sails fastened before the storm was very bad. The thunder and lightning was terrible, and the rain was pouring down. The ship did well but she sprung a leak, though 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.
We had the pleasure to see a wedding on the sea. The bride was tied to a chair and 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 bridegroom 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 northwest 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 Quarantine Station, we had to stop for the doctors to examine us. When the doctors came on board, we passed them two by two and [p.158] they pronounced us all well. We started again and got to 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 were glad to get there. About the last of March we started for St. Louis, in a small steamboat, and we were crowded.
Now we are going, yes, faster and faster. The steamboat puffing and snorting and pushing hard against the stream, but oh what dirty water for us to use! We dip it up to settle it, but it doesn'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 "rackity" noise; it made me shudder! The captain shouting and the water splashing and the band playing and some of us singing, and some of the sisters washing and the babes crying and the sailors talking, and many of them smoking. All of us trying to do something, and the boat tugging and snorting when traveling up the Mississippi River! The Mississippi indeed was a great sight to us, to see such forests of timber on the land. What a wonderful stream this is, going in such 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 about the 10th of April, 1854; and we were glad to get there. But what a dirty looking place it is, to be sure; and when we got on shore we had a great and sad sight to see the negroes working rolling the cotton bales. The boss that was looking after them used them very rough. Sometimes he would give them a hard lick with his whip. I though that was bad to treat human beings in that way. Here we are crowded into an old hospital, 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. In a few days the word was to get ready to start up the river again; and we were glad of the chance. Distance from New Orleans to St. Louis is about twelve hundred miles.
We started from St. Louis on the 24th of April, 1854. After we got started the captain of the boat said: "Put on more steam," and away she go! We had a good view of the country on both sides of the river. It was a great sight to us because most of us were tradesmen, and that is the reason traveling through this country was interesting to us. We had to stop a few times to bury the dead while going up the river. We got to Kansas City, Missouri, in the month of May. The distance from St. Louis to Kansas City is about four hundred miles. This was a trading post in those days, one or two stores, and a few houses; and after we got on shore we camped close to the river. [p.159]
BIB: Davies, John Johnson., "Historical Sketch of my Life," Utah Historical Quarterly 9:3-4 (July, October 1941), pp. 157-159. (CHL)