. . . James Palmer, and Mary Ann Price, were united in the holy bonds of matrimony on the 14 day of March 1842 by Elder George D. Adoms minister of the gospel at Liverpool. We were now ready to go on board of our vessel and on the morrow being the (Tuesday) the 15th we were towed out into the River Mersey on board the little sailing ship the Hanover. Captain Drummond Master, the crew consists of two mates one inspector, 3 sailors and two hundred and thirty passengers in charge of Amos Fielding bound for New Orleans, United States of America. This company left the dock singing and rejoicing being towed up the river by the Irishman steam packet to the black rock lighthouse, and then left us to the winds of heaven. It happened that we had a headwind in the Irish Channel for some hours and shortly the passengers become sick and all their mirth was turned into sadness [p.63] for a short (time) at least until the seasickness had abated which was about the third day.
On the 16th we passed Holyhead, and at that time had a strong headwind, and making but little progress.
The 17th was stormy and a headwind continue.
The 18th was much the same and the 19th was worse for we were shipping water all day and the sea was rough, so much so that a wave struck the ship with such force that it set the bulwarks of the ship and split the main mast in sunder. This cause a little excitement among the passengers some fearing they were going to the bottom. One lady was thrown from her bed and her shoulder dislocated which was replaced immediately by the doctor on board.
On the 20th the storm was abated and we have lost sight of the coast of Ireland. We are sailing at the rate of 8 miles per hour.
21st the wind is more favorable we are making fine headway.
22nd much the same some of the company are recovering from their seasickness.
23rd a fine day the wind was much in our favor.
24th we were opposite the Bay of Biscay, many large fish were seen.
25th we encountered a slight calm.
26th was very calm, and some of the worldlings were fiddling and dancing.
27th Easter Sunday there was a great great change and a headwind.
28th was a favorable and little stormy.
29th was a calm and very warm.
30th a piece of a broken block fell from the mast and struck Sister [Elizabeth] Rudge on her head causing the blood to flow copiously, and one of the sailors fell from the rigging and was badly hurt. The wind arose about noon and we are making 8 miles an hour.
31st the weather was fine and the ship was making 10 miles an hour.
April 1st there was a little rain on forenoon, and a good wind at two o'clock. There came a little bird and perched upon the captain's cabin it seemed quite weary and had the appearance of a green linnet or canary. It rested itself awhile an then [p.64] took its flight. We were informed that we are about 400 miles from land.
2nd was a fine day. Music and dancing that evening by the worldlings.
3rd a fine day. We are now approaching a warmer climate. We have pleasant weather this being the Sabbath day. Elder [Amos] Fielding preached to us as he stood upon the cabin deck, he was seconded by Elder Player. He spoke well. I find we have some few in company that are Catholics and a few Methodists that frequently show a contentious spirit among us.
4th a fine day the wind in our favor. We saw a vessel on the distant sea and some of the passengers saw a swallow pass near our ship.
5th was calm and the sun shone hot. We have seen some flying fish, and more birds. We had fine weather until the 14th when we were blessed with the sight of the Island of Guadeloupe, and having a good breeze we soon passed the Island Mount Aratt.
On the 17th we passed the Island of San Domingo and had a delightful view of the landscape and mountains and in some places we saw smoke, streaming up into the atmosphere while we were gazing darkness covered the earth.
On the 18th we saw the Island of Jamaica on our starboard side. The trees were out in leaf, the weather was extremely hot. We are told we shall see land now every few days. We are now delayed by a calm. Next day a slight breeze sprang up and we are opposite the Isle of Cuba, and had a nice view of the same.
Early on the 27th about 2 in the morning the wind arose and blew a gale and we are at this time fast and heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. We are evidently drawing near to land, and I am thankful.
On Saturday [23rd] we saw a water spout reaching from the sky down into the sea, and sucking up the water with great force.
On Sunday 24th we had a brisk wind, and was making 8 miles per hour The captain sought for land frequently. We have passed Cape Antonio.
On Monday 25th we were making fine headway for the mouth of the Mississippi River. That evening there was a meeting held by the passengers to express their gratitude to Captain Drummond and officers for the good feelings manifested to the passengers on their vessel. Elder [p. 65] [Amos] Fielding was chairman when cheers were given to the captain and mates and also to the sailors.
On Tuesday [26th] we saw a brig, and the wind was fare, but in the afternoon we were caught in an hurricane. The thunder roared the lightning flashed and the rain poured down in torrents. We are surely in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Wednesday 27th we spoke [to] a vessel and they informed us they were from the city of New York. The first mate was on the look out for land and soon discovered from the main gallant topsail that we are sailing directly towards the mouth of the Mississippi River. Shortly we saw a vessel approaching from our left that came from Germany and a steam tug came booming over the bar to meet us. They threw their large cables and made fast to our ship and soon we were anchored safely in the mouth of that king of all rivers, and soon our German friends were made fast along side and we were booming up towards New Orleans. When we arrived Elder [Amos] Fielding soon chartered the "General Pratt" steam boat that carried us all to St. Louis, State of Missouri, distant some 1,200 miles. When we arrived there we were transferred to a smaller boat known as the "Indian Queen," she was a poor boat and could hardly be considered a safe one with but little accommodations. However she was soon under way and snorting away up the river. On the last stage of our journey at length she reached the foot of the rapids at Keokuk where lighters where needed and nearly all the able bodied men were put ashore to walk 12 miles while this boat made the assent of those ugly water falls. She had made but a short distance however when she struck and fast upon the rocks and where she remained for nearly a week and much in danger of other boats as they were flying up and down that river, at length the brethren succeeded in obtaining a team of horses and effectively brought up to the landing at Nauvoo, [p.66] all our people with their goods, chattle and effects, it didn't take me long to find out the location and whereabouts of my parents, that had safely arrived there some two weeks prior to this day all in good health and spirits. Our meeting again after such a journey of 5000 miles by water and braving the perils of the deep was indeed a very happy one, and can only be appreciated by those that have made the effort while struggling in the same great and glorious cause. And now as I am favored with a few days rest, and that too, in the house of my friends and in the city of the Saints. Before entering upon the duties of domestic life, I wish to return my heartfelt thanks to Almighty God, for his preserving care over me during my whole life long unto the present day, and especially while on my mission in my ministerial labors. . . . [p.67]
BIB: Palmer, James. Reminiscences, (Ms 1752), pp 63-67; Acc. #35474. (CHL)