. . . September 26th was the day decided on to start from home for Liverpool. My relatives and friends were there in full to persuade me to stay, and not go to Utah, where they said I had neither friends nor money. I told them that the gospel taught me that unless I was willing to forsake all for the Gospel's sake, I was unworthy to be called one of the chosen. I shall never forget my feelings on that occasion, for though my heart felt as though it would break, I felt that my way had been opened in answer to my prayer. I felt that God had been kind to me when father, mother, and friends had all turned a cold shoulder on me, and why should I now distrust him? I had set my mind and could not be turned from what I felt was my duty, and I had so long prayed for a chance to gather with the Saints to Zion. I had also learned that sacrifice would bring forth blessings, and I would not let them see that it worried me in the least.
That day I went to Brother Layton's place that we might start together from Bedford station. The next morning on arriving there I found my mother and a cousin there, they having walked twelve miles to see me again. That was a hard parting for me.
As the train passed through the tunnel going into Liverpool, the sight that met my eyes was wonderful to me, as I had never seen a ship nor the sea; but there I saw the ships for miles along the harbor, and the broad ocean spreading out before me; what a wonder!
We spent some time going about in Liverpool and through the ships. We also went through a "man of war" that was there.
The morning of the 30th came and we boarded the ship James Pennell. The first night out they began to be seasick, but I was not bothered until the second morning. As I arose I walked out of the cabin and looked over the side of the ship, when all at once I turned so dizzy that I could not stand and began to vomit. That was a good introduction to the disease. Nearly all on board had a spell. After I had been on the sea about two weeks I was taken down with a severe cold, and was so bad that I could hardly move. The captain told Brother Layton to take me out and put me in a chair on deck. This he did without telling me what it was for. But I soon found out, for I had not been there long before a great wave came in sight, and I sitting, there helpless and alone. I was fastened to the chair and the wave rolled over me and drenched me through. It made me angry, for I could not so much as change.
At the end of six weeks we were within one day's sail of the Gulf of Mexico, and we retired about midnight, the stars shining as brightly as possible. But we were awakened soon after by the heavy roaring of the sea, and the sound of the sailors. Such thunder and lightning I had never heard or seen. In a short time the main mast was torn off and we drifted helplessly for eleven days, not knowing what our fate would be. But we were rescued and landed safely at St. Louis, December 4, thankful to our Heavenly Father for our deliverance from what seemed would be a watery grave.
It was a cold, rainy day when we landed; we knew no one, and no one seemed to know us. We were as pilgrims in the promised land, without home or shelter. But Brother Layton went out in town and rented a large store room on Fourth and Poplar Streets. We went in and were sheltered from the rain, but were very cold. In a short time someone came up with a new cook stove and set it up in the room, but we had never seen such a thing before and did not know what to do with it, so we left it just as they put it. After waiting a few hours, sitting on the floor of that large, dirty room, Brother Layton returned. He had been busy getting our luggage off the boat. We did not know how to rough it, as we had always had plenty at home, and every accommodation possible on the voyage, but when we came to be placed in such conditions we were lost.
O, how awkward we were at trying to cook! But we made the best of it. Brother Layton hired someone to do our washing, but we did not stay in that place long, we moved to Twelfth and Franklin Avenue. In the spring of 1851 Orson Hyde came down from Kanesville and counseled Brother Layton to rent a farm if possible near St. Louis, and put the men to work that were owing him, and let them work it out. This, of course, delayed our journey to the mountains.
One very hot day in July, as I was about to eat my dinner, I began shaking violently, and did not know what was the matter. Soon a fever developed, and I then realized that I had chills and fever. Every day I would have a spell until I became very weak. Many a night I never closed my eyes. One time I felt a little better and was left alone to do some work while Sister Layton was away to see her father, who was sick. I got a pan and went to get some flour from the barrel, and that was the last that I knew that day. When Brother and Sister Layton returned they found me in an unconscious condition, and everything just as they had left it in the morning. I had torn my clothing into strings and pulled my hair, but knew nothing of it. I had the best of care that could be had, but could get no relief as long as I lived in St. Louis.
In the spring of 1852 we started on our journey for the West. We went up the Missouri River to Kansas City. While on the boat I was taken down with congestive chills that nearly cost me my life. I was not able to walk around when we landed at Kansas City, but soon improved so that in a few days we moved out into the woods where we made our camp. Brother Layton and his father and Sister Layton and I, and we were miles away from where any other white folks lived. Indians were passing constantly, but we were never molested by them. Brother Layton was called to [p.86] go to Lexington to buy horses for the Emigration Fund Company.
Before we were ready to start on our journey across the plains, the cholera broke out in camp and several died, but it did not attack any of our camp. The chills and fever was a constant attendant on me dearly all the way. I did not walk at all crossing the plains on account of sickness. When we were traveling along the Platte River I was baptized for my health, but it did not appear to have much effect, so my travels were anything but pleasant. I had taken enough quinine for a dozen people, I though, but it was of no avail. The morning we reached the Bear River bottom I had my last shake, and it was a very severe one. It was a cold, frosty morning and took a long time to get up a large hill that we had to go over. They took the carriage up first, and then we had to wait several hours for the rest of the camp. It seemed that the chills had no more power over me, but I had something else that was almost as bad. A pain began in the roof of my mouth, then it began gathering until I could not open my mouth or swallow. Just after we crossed the top of the mountains Brother Franklin D. Richards and several others came to meet us. He came to the wagon that I was riding in and administered to me and promised me that my tongue should be loosened that I could talk to friends when I arrived in Salt Lake the next day. My sister and her husband had come a long way to meet us, but on account of my mouth I had not been able to talk to her.
Next morning we left camp early and as we caught sight of the valley we saw some of the elderberries and Sister Layton jumped off the wagon to get some of them for me. I tried to crowd some of them into my mouth, when all at once the gathering broke; and what a relief! My tongue was loosed just as I was told it should be, and I did talk to my friends.
The first house that I went into in Salt Lake was Brother Elias Smith's. It was a log house with but one room in it, but we were made welcome, and it was a rest after our long journey across the plains. . . . . [p.87]
BIB: Layton, Sarah B. "Autobiography of Sarah B. Layton." Woman's Exponent 29:18-19 (February 15 and March 1, 1901) pp. 86-87. (CHL)