Sept. 30, 1850. I was making preparations to return to America.
Tuesday Oct. 1st 1850. I was getting my luggage &c on board the ship. At night Brothers O. [Orson] Pratt, & F. [Franklin] D. Richards appointed me to preside over the company of Saints who were to sail for New Orleans on the ship James Pennell. They also appointed Brothers Christopher Layton, & Henry Webb as my counselors. The following is a copy of a letter which I received.
15 Wilton Street, LiverpoolOctober 1st, 1850.
This is to certify that our well beloved brother Elder W. [William] L. Cutler is appointed to preside over the company of Latter-day Saints sailing to New Orleans on board the ship James Pennell and we exhort the Saints to abide by his council and instructions [p. 124] during the voyage and they will be blessed. It is expected that every person will assist Brother Cutler in preserving order and cleanliness so necessary during a sea voyage for the health and benefit of the passengers generally.
Elders [Christopher] Layton and [Henry] Webb assist Brother Cutler as his counselors.
F. [Franklin] D. Richards
Presidents in Great Britain & Ireland
2. At 7 a.m. the ship left the dock & went out into the river, & anchored. She had souls on board; they were all Saints, with the exception of a very few. Several elders, came on board to take the last shake of the hand, & to bid us farewell until we should meet in the land of Zion. At night we all assembled upon the quarter-deck, & the above letter was read & received the universal sanction of the company. [p. 125]
3. After comfortable night's rest we were wakened at 4 a.m. by the tow boat coming & fastening to the ship, & all hands being called upon to raise the anchor, after which we were soon on our way down the River Mersey. After the steamer left us, we continued to move slowly on, although the wind was not very favorable it being from the south.
4. The wind continues unfavorable yet the weather was very pleasant & we glided smoothly over the water. At night we called the company together & gave them some instructions & also laid some resolutions before them, by which they were to be governed until they were repealed, by the presidency, or the company.
5. The wind continues unfavorable & the weather very pleasant until evening; then the wind began to blow & the rain to fall, [p. 126] which produces a great change, not only in the appearance of the external things, but also in the internal part of the ship for seasickness seized nearly all on board.
6. Sunday after an almost restless night, we arose, & found that the ship had had [SIC] to contend with a severe headwind all night. It being directly from the west. (on the 5 we took in our sail, near the Isle of Man, when the captain sent the mate ashore in the small boat, with 4 men who had been hid away in the cargo until hunger had compelled them to come out & show themselves.) The wind continued all day & considerable part of the time it rained it rained, & the sea frequently rolled over the bulwarks & we were compelled to have the hatches fastened down, which caused great suffering among our sick. A brother by the name of Cornelius Meek died in the afternoon. [p. 127] He had been afflicted for some time with the asthma & was expected to live but a short time, unless a sea voyage should restore his health, how he managed to pass the medical inspectors or to escape the notice of the officers who examined the passengers on the ship are matters which I am not able to explain. At 8 p.m. we committed his remains to the briny deep. Strong wind from the west.
7. The storm continued through the night, & the morning presented a miserable & gloomy scene to our view & continued through the day. Nearly all our passengers were sick & not able to wait upon themselves or anyone else, & even the captain & mate were seasick. They said they had not experienced such a storm for three years. At sunset the storm began to abate.
8. This morning the weather was a little more favorable & in the afternoon we ventured to open the hatchways [p. 128] to get a few of the passengers on deck & towards night the wind began to be a little more favorable & our sick began to recover from their seasickness. I suffered considerable from seasickness, but could not vomit or throw up which would have been a great relief to me & also a benefit. Wind from the northeast
9. During the night the wind became very favorable & in the morning our hearts were cheered by a pleasant breeze & a clear sky & the restoration of the most of our sick & we passed quite a pleasant day upon the deck. At night we had a meeting for the purpose of making further arrangements relative to the organization of the company, & to instruct & cheer the hearts of the Saints. Brothers [Christopher] Layton, [Henry] Webb & myself occupied the time. Wind from the south to the east, a pleasant gale.
10. The wind continues to blow a strong gale from the southeast the health of our passengers continue to improve, although the sea is rather rough, we also have frequent showers of rain. [p. 129]
11. The wind continues the same, & also all things on board the ship. At night we had meeting to make some more necessary arrangements for the benefit of the company. There were two or three persons who were rather inclined to be rebellious but their proceedings were soon disapproved of by the company.
12. The wind has changed to the east, but blew as strong as usual.
13. Sunday. The wind is from the northeast. We designed having 2 meetings on the quarter-deck, but was prevented by showers of rain, of which we have had more or less every day. In the afternoon, we held meeting below decks & administered the sacrament; after which quite a number bore their testimony to work. Brothers Webb, Layton & I exhorted the Saints to be patient & praiseful & to thank the Lord for prospering us on our voyage. For 6 days past we have been running from 6 to 11 knots an hour (or miles) & that right on course. [p. 130] On the 13 Maria, daughter of John & Allis [Alice] Gale died with bowel complaint aged 3 years.
14. The wind continues to blow a gentle breeze from the northeast but towards night it died away, almost to a calm. Just before sunset, we met on the quarter-deck for the purpose of reproving some who had not complied with the rules of the company & to know if the company would permit the regulations to be trampled upon with impunity? They replied No.
15. During the night the wind the wind [SIC] continued to fall & we had a perfect calm, at 6 a.m. Brother [John] Gales child was committed to her watery grave. There were several showers during the day.
16. This morning there was light breeze from the southwest & for us was the worst point from which it could have come southwest but it was not steady & brought several showers of rain during the day. At night we had some trouble with two females by the name Wright who had been in habit of stopping on deck to a very late hour & sometimes all night & had refused to comply with the rules of the company in some other respects on different occasions; one of was not a member of the church. We succeeded in getting them below & keeping them there. [p. 131]
17. During the night the wind increased to quite a gale & the sea became as rough as at anytime since we left port & our passengers was as sick as ever & some who had not been affected before were very sick. I was very sick in the morning & most of the time during the day. The wind continued from the southwest but in the afternoon died away, that so as to produce another calm. At 6 p.m. we called a meeting below deck when Brothers Layton & Webb addressed all on board, while the best of attention was paid by the company & also by the officers & crew.
18. The wind continued from the South southwest which is very unfavorable, but did not blow as hard as it did yesterday & towards night there was quite a calm.
19. Last night at 11 o'clock, Alfred, son of Charles & Elizabeth Ashwell, died with the bowel complaint, aged 2 years. At 2 p.m. Elizabeth, wife of William Mathews [Matthews] died with the asthma, having been afflicted with it for several years; aged 29 years. [p. 132] This morning at 4 o'clock the wind changed to the northeast & blew a fine gale, before noon, the wind raised & the rain fell in torrents & the sea became as rough as on previous occasions & rolled over the bulwarks, so that we were compelled to close the hatchways.
20. Sunday. The wind increased during the night, & when morning came , we found that we were running under double reefed topsails, the rain also continued the most of the time during the day.
21. The wind continued during the night, & about daylight it increased & the sea became much rougher than at any since we started. The ship could scarcely carry her topsails, even when double reefed. Between 12 & 10 o'clock the wind had subsided so that we ventured to open the hatchways which a great relief to our passengers who were very sick & had suffered much for the want of fresh air. We had a general cleaning out below & when night came they began to be quite cheerful. The sea also became quite calm. [p. 133]
22. We had a very pleasant night, the wind changed to the east by southeast but was not heavy enough to drive us over 3 or 4 knots an hour. The weather was also very pleasant. This is the first time that we have had a dry deck for 17 days. Held meeting below deck at 6 p.m.
23. During the night the wind changed to the north & blew a very pleasant gale, & we had a very pleasant day. At night we called 30 men of our company together, whom we had selected to act as watchmen for the remainder of the voyage. This was done because some were not willing to do that duty & they neglected it when they pretended to do it. The men whom we selected consented to act as watchmen & do what they were or should be instructed to do. One of our principal objects was to keep a few females in their proper place, after bed time & to prevent any person from going above or below deck unless they had special business.
24. The wind continues favorable, & we run about 7 knots an hour during the night. [p. 134] The wind continues from the north but we have not made over 3 or 4 knots during the day, but the weather is very pleasant, & the most of our passengers are quite restored & begin to enjoy themselves very well.
25. There was a calm, but the day was very pleasant.
26. At 4 o'clock this morning, there was a nice breeze from the northwest & we made 5 or 6 knots an hour; weather very pleasant.
27. Sunday. Had a pleasant breeze & a fine day, being the first pleasant Sunday we have been favored with since we left Liverpool. We had 3 meetings on the quarter-deck in the morning at 11 o'clock, Brothers James Cantwell & William Lloyd addressed the assembly at 2 p.m. had sacrament, then Brothers William Fisher & James Lacket [Lockett] addressed the meeting. At 6 p.m. we met again when Brother William Betts delivered a very interesting discourse upon the first principles of the gospel. I was so sick that I could not take any part in the service of the day; in fact I could not set up but a small portion of the time pain in my head, chest, & lungs. [p. 135] Those persons who have been so rebellious & caused us so much trouble, this day made a confession of their faults & promised to observe the regulations of the company & to obey our counsel for the future. This gave great satisfaction to all our company.
28. This day was very warm & but little wind; in fact I might say we had a calm. The first mate (Franklin Bartlet) caught a dolphin. The captain had it cooked & gave it to us, to divide among the sick & aged. At 6 p.m. we called a meeting when Brothers Layton & Webb addressed the company & gave them counsel upon various subjects, which was needed very much. My health continues very poor.
29. The calm continues, but the weather is very pleasant; but several are quite sick.
30. In the forepart of the night there was a gentle breeze from the north which continued until this afternoon when it changed to the northeast & increased so that we made from 5 to 7 knots an hour.
31. The wind continues from the northeast. At night we had a meeting between decks when Brother William Rex, Aldons & myself occupied the time. [p. 136]
Friday Nov. 1st, 1850. 1. The wind continues to blow from the northeast & brought several heavy showers of rain. A great portion of the afternoon, we were running 10 knots an hour & sometimes 12.
2. In the forepart of the night the wind died away & in the latter part it changed to the southwest which was the point to which we wanted to remain. It has continued from that point during the day & some of time very strange.
3 Sunday. In the latter part of the night the wind changed to north by northwest and we were again enabled to pursue our course at the rate of 10 knots per hour. The sea was very heavy, & frequently broke over the bulwarks in great quantities, which prevented us from having a meeting in the morning at 2 p.m. We had a sacrament meeting, & also read a portion of letter, in which there was some good instructions given, relative to what course the Saints ought to pursue after arriving at Orleans &c, &c. Brother Layton, Webb, & myself then urged the necessity of their giving heed to that [p. 137] which they had heard, & also gave them some additional council, for their benefit after arriving in Port &c. At 6 1/2, we again assembled, & spoke upon the church established by him when on the Earth, & shamed the people that, was to, & had apostatized from that order then showed that Danish spoke of a Kingdom, which God was to establish in the last days, which should stand forever & ever. I then showed the time when it was to be done & the proved that it had been done, & that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was, (or is) that church or Kingdom. The captain, & some of the crew attended our meetings, & was very attentive. This afternoon, Ann, daughter of Thomas and Hanah Rogers, died with the bowel complaint, aged 1 year. At night we called a meeting, & made the remainder of supervisions, & some preparations about going a shore &c. [p. 138]
4. The wind changed to the northeast and blew a fine gale, & the weather was very fine. At night we called a meeting, to make some arrangements about the distribution of the remainder of our provision, & a few other articles which belong to the company, & gave them some council about what course to pursue after arriving in Port &c, &c.
5. The wind & weather continues favorable & pleasant; at 4 a.m., we saw the light house on the Island of Abbies, & at sunrise, we saw the Island; at 10 we saw the Bury Islands on our left, (the other being on our left) & several other Islands farther west, belonging to the same group.
6. The wind continues from the same quarter & the weather is still pleasant. This day we gave out the principal part of the provision which we had on land. At night we had a meeting, & I gave the company some advice relative to what course which they should pursue when they get a shore. We are now in the Gulf of Florida. [p. 139] I also informed them of many things which would hear, relative the to authorities of the church, & endeavored to prepare their minds, to meet, & to reject all these false reports, & to keep a firm hold of the truth. Brother Layton made a few remarks by way of bearing testimony to what I had said.
7. During the night the wind changed to the north which was unfavorable to us, as we wanted to run to the northwest. The sea was very rough, & broke over the bulwarks several tons at a time. At night we called a meeting, & Brother Layton & Webb occupied the principle part of the time.
8. We are now in the Gulf of Mexico. The wind continues against us, as it comes from the northwest. The weather continues pleasant, & the health of the company is improving.
9. In the forepart of the night, the wind lulled, almost to a calm, & during the day has been changing from north to northwest; the breeze was very light, & the day warm & pleasant. [p. 140]
10 Sunday; the wind continues the same as yesterday, with the exception of being more of it. We held two meetings between decks, on account of the weather being rather rough. The first was a sacrament, & testimony meeting & Brother Henry Scofield [Schofield], occupied the time in the evening. I was sick, & not able to attend; I have not been well for several days, having had a severe attack of the bowel complaint.
11. The wind continues unfavorable, although there is but little of it; We tacked ship, or changed course, several times, but the wind soon changed so as be direct a head of us; & instead of our making any headway, we were carried back, as both wind, & the Gulf Stream were against us. At night we held a meeting on the quarter deck, & I laid a few items of business before the company, & then exorted them to cultivate a spirit of liberality, & made a few remarks, relative to the building up of Zion, & who would be permitted [p. 141] to dwell there, & enjoy the great & glorious blessing which the Lord has in store for his people. Brother Layton, & Webb, spoke for a short time, & made some very appropriate remarks, & gave some good council.
12. The wind continues unfavorable, but the weather is very pleasant. Today a shark made his appearance round the ship, & several hooks were put out for him, two of which he took away. Several after schemes were resorted to, but they did have the desired effect. The night being very pleasant, we had a dance to give our passengers plenty of fresh air & a little good exercise. We have had two previously.
13. In the latter part of the night, the wind increased to a gentle breeze but it was still unfavorable being from the north, & some of the time from the northwest. During the day, it changed our course, the wind changed so as to be dead ahead, which made the officers crass, & many of the passengers very [p. 142] down hearted; some of the time it blew quite hard, & brought considerable rain.
14. Some part of the night the wind was a little more favorable, but it did not continue long enough in any one quarter, to be of much benefit to us; in the forenoon it became somewhat favorable but not enough so to permit us to run on our direct course. At night we had a meeting between decks, & Brother Layton, Webb, & I occupied the time, in giving council, & trying to cheer up the spirits of the Saints.
15. Until 12 o'clock the night was very pleasant. But then clouds began to appear & rain soon began to fall, as it were in perfect sheets, in a short time it began to slack raining, & we had a gale of wind. This soon dulled, & the rain fell as fast as before. We experienced several changes of this kind in a few hours. But between the hours of 4 & 5 a.m., we were struck by a gale from the northeast which carried away our main mast, [p. 143] the main brace falling upon the house on deck, where Brother Layton, & wife, Sisters Barns & Ashwell, & I were sleeping, but there being very strong timbers in the upper deck, they shielded us from harm, but it cracked the timbers so that we had not a shelter from the rain. It also carried away the mizzen mast, & the foretop sail yard, & top sail, & cracked the foremast in two places, one or two of the jibs were also carried away - in fact the [-] sail was the only one left of shade which were spread. The night (or morning) was extremely dark, & all the disaster took place in 10 short minutes, yet no one was hurt. The wind soon began die away. But the sea rolled considerable, & our wreck of a ship rolled as though she was going down, all the passengers & cargo into the sea. When daylight made its appearance, a very unpleasant scene presented itself to our view. The captain, officers, & crew were busily employed in cutting [p. 144] the rigging to liberate the ship from the broken masts, &c, which were beating against the side of the ship, & was likely to knock a hole in it or cause her to spring a leak. The crew were employed in clearing the deck, but as we weren't prepared to carry sail enough to steady the ship, she continued to roll, so that it was almost impossible for anyone to stand on deck. One of the boats was also carried away. We were at this time about 100 miles the mouth of the Mississippi River.
16. The crew & many of the passengers were employed in clearing the deck of the remnants of the wreck. The ship continues to roll, as hard as ever. There has been but very little wind since the gale, but that has not been favorable, as it come from the north to northeast.
17 Sunday; The crew, & part of our company were engaged in put up some fixtures to enable us to spread a little more canvas. The remainder of the company were employed in cleaning the lower [p. 145] deck in regulating their boxes, barrels, &c, &c, which had broke loose during the storm & the rolling of the ship.
18. The principal business of the day was to put up some spars to strengthen the fore mast so that we could carry a little more sail. During the night the wind changed to the east which enabled us to run on our course as we are due south of the mouth of the river. We made only about 2 or 3 knots an hour. The day was pleasant with the exception of being rather warm. All on board began to be quite cheerful.
19. The wind continues favorably being from the south, east and increased so that we are making 4 or 5 knots an hour. We are now carrying a cracked sail on the remains of the mizenmast as a substitute for a main sail, (but it is of but little use) five old stern sails, on the foremast for a foresail, a foretop sail, two top sail, stern sails, a fore gallant sail, and two jibs. These made our ship rock a little more [p. 146] natural. The wind has changed to the south which is still more favorable for us. At night we had a meeting & several of the brethren & sisters bore their testimony to the truth of the work. About 9 p.m. we caught sight of the light house at Beleeze [Belize] at the mouth of the river.
20. This morning we could not see any sign of a light house nor of any of the ships which were to be seen last night in every direction. The captain was completely lost. About noon a pilot came on board & he soon put us right. About 6 p.m. a towboat fastened onto us & took us up near the mouth of the river where we cast anchor for the night.
21. The steamer this morning & took us into the river & when we got over the barr, we came long side of the "Joseph Badger" that left Liverpool 2 weeks after we had. She had a load of Saints & was taken to Orleans by the same boat that took us. [p. 147]
22. This morning we had the pleasure of seeing abundance of sugar cane & oranges trees loaded with beautiful fruit & many other things which which [SIC] was highly interesting. Between 9 & 10 a.m. we were safely landed in Orleans having been 7 weeks & 2 days on our passage. In the afternoon I went to procure a boat to take us to St. Louis. Brothers Layton, Morris, & Evins (the two latter were from the "Badger") accompanied me. But we did not [-] one. After I returned to the ship I was so overdone that it was with difficulty that I could stand & I had a raging fever nearly all night.
23. This morning I went & engaged the Poufine No 2 Cabin fare $10 Deck $2. I then went to the custom house to do the same business & was detained until late in the afternoon. About 8 p.m. we had all of our luggage on board the steamer & left port. . . . [p.148]
24 Sunday. The sails on the other ship expected to remain until Monday. The weather is quite warm & our boat is crowded with passengers many of whom are from the Gold Mines in California. Some few are very well supplied with Gold while many of them have but very little & some have had to borrow to get home. Most of them line in the northwestern counties of Missourie [Missouri].
25. The weather continues very warm & some few of the company began to be effected by the bowel complaint.
26. I was employed in writing letters during the forenoon. This day we passed Natchez, which is a desolate looking place when viewed from the river.
27. This day we passed Vicksburg & at night the mouth of the Arkansas River at which place the boat struck a snag on the starboard side, which run through the guard into the coach house & throwed the stove [p. 149] onto the wheel which carried it out of the top of the wheel house & threw it overboard. (They had discovered the snag & commenced backing water.) But they soon got two small ones, by which they were enabled to cook two meals per day.
28. Nothing of importance occurred. Some of the sick are recovering & some few others are complaining.
29. All things confirm about the same.
30 Sunday. We passed Millers Point & the mouth of the Ohio River. By the request of a great number of the cabin passengers & the consent of the captain, I delivered a [-] upon the first principles of the gospel. Many of them listened with marked attention. . . .[p.150]
Sunday Dec. 1st 1850. 1. We passed Millers Point & the mouth of the Ohio River. At the request of many of the cabin passengers & with the consent of the captain I preached for a short time upon the first principles of the gospel. Many paid great attention & took great pains to learn what our true principles were & some received the most of them with gladness.
2. Our sick are beginning to recover, generally speaking. The weather begins to be rather cool.
3. Nothing of importance transpired and that we arrived in St. Louis about 7 o'clock p.m.
4. This morning the weather is very sharp. I was employed in aiding the Saints to get dwelling places &c.
5. Last night at 10 o'clock the other company of Saints arrived. They had 4 deaths coming up the river. I was as overcome by the cold that I kept by the fire the principal part of the day at the house of Brother Alexander Robbins [p. 151].
6. I was visiting some of the Saints.
7. Was looking for a boarding place.
8 Sunday. The weather being cold & my health very poor I did not attend meetings until evening. Then went to concert hall in Market St. where I found a large congregation assembled to hear Brother Theodore Curtis lecture upon the subject of Zions being in America.
9. I was very sick all night. Today I succeeded in getting lodgings with Brother Alvin Manfeith in Cristia Avenue between 15th & 16th Streets.
10. Was writing letters of Brother Robbins store & visited some few of the Saints.
11. I took an emelick, which brought up an immense account of phlegm & billions matter.
12. I am some better this morning but feel very weak. Last night I took some pills to cleanse my system. I am employed the most part of the day in reading & writing.
13, 14, 15, & 16 - was confined to the house. . . . [p.152]
17. Up to this time, I have not been able to leave the house or to set up a fourth part of the time. Today I went down to Brother Robbins & back; but I was very much fatigued.
21. Up to the present time I have still been confined to the house, & my health is now very poor. Yet it is some better than when I arrived in this place; as I have been cleansing my system; but I am very weak from the effects of the disease & the operation of medicine.
I will now proceed to give the names of those who came over the sea in the ship James Pennell which constituted our little company. [END OF JOURNAL: NOTE THAT THE PASSENGER LIST WHICH FOLLOWS HAS BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE MORMON EMIGRANTS PASSENGER LIST FOR THIS VESSEL.] [p. 153]
BIB: Cutler, William L. Diary, (Ms 1402), pp.124-53. (CHL)