In 1864 I was released from my work as missionary in the Norwich conference to come to Utah. I came alone, as my mother and myself were the only members of the family who united with the Mormon church and my mother remained at the old home in England.
I came over from Liverpool to New York on the sailing vessel Hudson. On board there were 1000 Mormon emigrants. John Beck was of the number as was also Professor Careless. I remember that John Beck and I made a deal. He could not speak English and I could not speak German. I agreed to teach him English and he agreed to teach me German; but unfortunately for me, I became so busy that I could not carry out the contract. I had charge of one ward on the ship, and had charge also of all the lost property. You may be sure that with 1000 men, women, and children crowded in to one vessel, this gave me plenty to do.
We arrived in Castle Garden; were taken up the Hudson and out to Buffalo on a vessel. At Buffalo we took train for St. Joseph, Missouri, and there we took steamer for a small place called Wyoming near Nebraska City. There our party was divided into two companies, one under Captain Hyde and the other under Captain Snow.
The balance of the trip from Wyoming to Salt Lake was made with ox teams and three whole months were consumed in crossing the plains. There was great suffering during this part of the trip. There was lack of food. Flour went to $1 a pound. Occasionally we would stop at a ranch and get fresh beef. Ivariably this made us sick as we would go for weeks without fresh meat and would eat too heartily of it when we did get it.
The trip across the plains was such a hard one, there was so much exposure, and the trip ran so late into the season that over 100 persons died between the time we left England till our arrival in Salt Lake. Those who died were mostly children or old people who were not strong enough to stand the rigors of roughing it on the plains. As for me. I enjoyed the outdoor life and thrived on it.
We encountered heavy snow in the Black hills and were forced to camp in the snow on more occasions than one. At these times the future seemed dark. Many in the company had left good homes and being deprived of all comforts, faded away and died.
I married my wife on the plains two weeks out from Salt Lake. We became engaged on the way over, but did not intend to marry till after our arrival in Salt lake. My wife was Serena Barnett, a young girl at that time. On the trip her mother, sister, niece and sister-in-law all died. She was left with no one to care for her or the little property falling to her and in order to secure authority to care for her we were married.
I remember one little incident of the trip as though it happened yesterday. Crossing the Platte river at Julesburg, we had to put twenty yoke of oxen to each wagon to pull it across. We had to ride on the backs of the oxen. I was riding one of them when one of my toes got caught in one of the links of the ox chain. I had my choice of having my toe broken or tumbling off into the river. I tumbled and it was the deepest part of the ford, too. . . .[p.35]
BIB: Miller, John H, "Forty Years in Zion," Salt Lake Tribune (Apr. 5, 1903) p. 35. (L)