On the 6th of April, 1854, father, mother and myself were baptized into the Mormon Church and in the month of October, 1855 we left our home and began our trip to America. We went to Aalborg and stayed there a few weeks until all the people from that part of the country were ready and we all got on the steamship "Iris" to sail to Copenhagen. We went down the river named Lumfjorden and came to Copenhagen in the afternoon the next day. There we stopped a few days until the steamship "Lyon" was ready to take us on board for Kiel in Sliesvig.
Here we got on a railroad train through Holstein to Gluckstad where we got on another steamship for England. We had a terrible storm on the North Sea. It took us two days and one night to reach England where we arrived in the afternoon and got on the train for Liverpool and traveled all night. We were both tired and hungry when we got to Liverpool. There they had a dinner for the company. Some kind of soup, there were little bits of meat in it and lots of potatoes but it was so strong of pepper and ginger and salt I could not eat it. Here we were left in a large hall for one week and we were glad for that for we could go into town and buy all kinds of food ready to eat. We got good soup and meat and potatoes, and rice and milk and anything we liked until we had everything ready. The sail ship John J. Boyd was loaded with water and provisions for the trip across the Atlantic Ocean. We were on the ship several days and the doctors came to look at everybody to see if there were sick folks among the emigrants and if so, they had to be taken away.
The 12th of December we were hauled out of the harbor in Liverpool by a steamboat and it went all right as long as we were not out where the waves were rolling high, but after that our troubles began. Nearly all the people were sea sick and hollered for help and they were tossed so. All our boxes had to be tied to the posts with ropes and we had to hold on to what we could get hold of so we didn't fall. We had heavy winds all the time until Christmas Eve. Then we had a tornado. Our boxes tore lose and slid from one side of the ship to the other and we had to climb up in the bunks so we wouldn't get hurt, while the men got everything tied fast again.
Sometime in January our ship caught fire on the first deck and went through the floor to the second deck and filled it with smoke so that we nearly strangled. Lots ran up and wanted to jump overboard. Our leader, Knud Petersen said, "Stay on the ship. We will get the fire out and the ship will get to New York." And it did.
One night after that we had a collision with another ship and we just about knocked a hole in our ship. The Captain had always been mean to the sailors but after that he got worse because they had not been ....at their guard, [p.1] so they were nearly all sick and couldn't work. But we had good luck. On 2 February, 1856 we picked up 36 men from a ship that had sprung a leak and were sinking. We steered for them for them [SIC] for four days and we needed the sailors, too. We were on the ship 66 days. We were 512 immigrants on board but lots of children died and were buried in the ocean. My two little brothers died, one on the 30th of January, the other one week later.
We landed in New York the 16th of February 1856 and stayed in a large place, Castle Garden. The 21st of February, 1856 we left New York on a train for Dunkirk, Cleveland and Chicago and to Burlington, Iowa where we arrived on the 1st of March, 1856. We crossed the Mississippi River on ice and pulled our boxes and bedding loaded on top of the boxes across the river with the ice cracking under our feet. We stayed in Burlington, Iowa until the next day and we went out to hunt work. . . .
. . . well, we started in the first part of May 1858, for our trip. . . . [p.2]
. . . We got to Salt Lake City on the 29th of Aug. 1859. . . . [p.4]
BIB: Ahlstrom, Mary Larsen. Autobiographical sketch (Ms 9923), pp. 1-2, 4. (CHL)