. . . For several years mother entertained a desire to emigrate to Zion and was making preparations for it. Finally an opportunity presented itself for her to go with a large company of elders and Saints. She went to America leaving us girls in care of some members of the church. She remained in the States from three to five years intending all the time to send for us but was unable to do so and therefore went back to England feeling that she could better accomplish her cherished desire in getting us all to Utah by so doing. After mother had been in America only a short time, a great deal of opposition developed against the Mormons and the church in Bradford and vicinity. And there was such a falling away from it that it seemed there was little of it left and I joined the Particular Baptists and enjoyed attendance at their services and the association of the young folks at the church very much.
I had commenced to work at the factory at nine years of age working half days and was at school the other half. And when about fourteen I commenced to work full time. [p.2] Mother still being anxious to get us all to Utah, we commenced again to save and to make preparations for the trip as best we could when suddenly and unexpectedly father died and the money we at once got from the estate opened the way for our almost immediate departure from our native land. And on April 30, 1866 we sailed from Liverpool, England with a large company of elders and emigrating Saints on the good ship John Bright, Captain Davison commanding. We were five weeks and two days crossing the ocean landing in New York on June 7, 1866. C.M. Gellett [Gillet], a Utah elder who had labored in Bradford, was in charge of the company which was further organized into wards each being presided over by a bishop. Other elders in the company who had labored in Bradford were Steven W. Alley, Benjamin Stringham, and Robert Watson. These brethren and some Saints with whom we were acquainted made the voyage much less lonely than it otherwise would have been for us. Some pretty rough weather was experienced but there were no deaths and we were not seasick. One marriage was performed and three mothers gave birth to babies on the ship.
Stopping in New York overnight we resumed our journey on June 8th by boat and railroad, our immediate objective being Wyoming [Wyoming, Nebraska]. There we had to wait a considerable time for the company to go on to the valley Salt Lake City, Utah, but on July 6th we made the start in the Thomas E. Ricks company. My mother and daughters; sister Susan Nichols, an emigrating Saint; C.W. Staynor, a returning elder being assigned to a wagon drawn by four mules with Jonas Nuttal Beck, a returning elder as teamster. The wagon being heavily loaded, we were forced to walk most of the way. . . . [p.3]
We arrived in Salt Lake City on August 29, 1866, and upon invitation of Elder Beck I went with him to his mother's home (she had been a widow for less than a month--a fact her son did not know until she reached home) where I stayed until the fifteenth of the following month, when in response to his proposal we were married in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, Utah, Apostle Wilford Woodruff performing the ceremony. Between the time of arrival and our marriage I had been baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I first met my husband on John Bright, he having been made bishop of the ward we were placed in by C. M. Gellett [Gillet] in charge of the emigrating Saints. I did not suspect any design on his part there, however, nor on the way from Wyoming) except that he favored me in asking me to ride in his wagon more often than he did the others in the company; and I did not interpret my being taken to his mother's home as an intention to make me his wife. All preliminaries took place afterwards. . . .[p.4]
BIB: Beck, Martha. Autobiography (Ms 8237 3 #25), pp. 2-4. (CHL)