. . . When the letter came from Liverpool telling us passages for all our family had been secured on the sailing ship John J. Boyd and telling us to sell everything we would not need on the journey and come to Liverpool in site of three days to get on board the ship which would sail April 22, 1862. This letter caused great rejoicing. Brother Sam ran around the house shouting, "Boys this is the best letter ever came to our home." This was the first ship that season. . . . We received the letter on Thursday and on Saturday the 19th of April, 1862 we left Kiel . . . on the train to Glasgow where we were met by Brother Robert Sam who took us in charge and helped us get our luggage on board a small steamboat bound for Liverpool. It was late in the afternoon when we started on the trip down the River. . . which was a very fine river. We passed [-] where many large ships are built and went out into the open sea. We were on the open deck of the ship and without any shelter along with other passengers. No chance to sleep but being seasick, we could not sleep anyway. This is our first seasick experience. [p.272]
Two of the passengers got into a fight right close by & one called the other a son of a b. . That was the first time I ever heard those words. It was quite windy & the sea was rough & nearly all were seasick. But we landed in Liverpool about ten, next morning & got on board the ship John J. Boyd where there were 700 Mormon emigrants getting assigned to their berths & bunks preparatory to starting on the trip across the Atlantic Ocean, 3,000 miles of water. Of course, there was some bustle & confusion in getting all properly placed. Then the ship was divided into 6 wards & a man was appointed to look after each ward. James S. Brown was president of the company & John G. Lindsay and Joseph C. Rich were his counselors. It was really wonderful to see how soon all got settled down & knew their own places & their rights & privileges on the ship. There was a large double stove or galley where all the cooking had to be done for 700 people, so you may see it was hard to get much cooking done.
We sailed from Liverpool on the 22nd of April, 1862 bound for New York & had what was called a fairly good passage over the sea. However, we had one quite hard storm that shook things up some, but no great damage was done. Of course, the ship was being tossed about & was lurching badly. Two women right close to us were very much excited & crying. I could not help smiling although I had to keep a hold of the bunk to keep from being thrown out. I thought it absurd to suppose that a ship with 700 Saints bound for Zion could possibly sink. I even then as a boy of fifteen had faith we would be preserved, which we were & all except one man & child that died & were buried at sea came safely to land at New York on the 4th of June. Captain Thomas seemed to be a very fine gentleman but 2 of the mates were very cruel and tyrannical with the ships crew & stowaways. We saw many fish of different kinds while crossing & nearly all had several sieges of seasickness. Very few escape this sickness. We were landed at Castle Garden, the emigrant home in New York and stayed there 2 days & nights. The sights were beautiful as we came into New York. But the men on guard had hard work to keep sharpers from getting among us emigrants. Leaving New York we were marched through the streets to where the horse cars took us to the Hudson River where we went on a steamboat up to Albany. There we were shut up in a railroad roundhouse until a train came to take us farther on our journey. We went by Niagara Falls & saw that mighty stream foaming white as it tumbled over the precipice. We also passed through Detroit & Chicago & up the Mississippi to Hannibal. [p. 273] Then on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad to St. Joseph, Missouri. The Civil War was in full swing & there were soldiers guarding the bridge as we were close to the Confederate lines.
We had very little food to eat on the journey from New York. The ship's fare was bad enough but it was better than none and we went hungry most of the 10 days coming to Florence, Nebraska. At St. Joseph we were transferred to a steamboat to go up the Missouri River some 250 miles. We were some 3 days on the boat. Just an open boat, no shelter from the heat or cold but we got some of the scraps left from the boat hands' table. We had to sleep just any place on the deck and sometimes had to move in the night. Old Robert McKnight was at the landing at Florence to meet us. He had a small basket of scones & a bucket of milk & you may be sure we were glad to see him and relieve him of the scones & milk. . . . [p.274] Our family were quartered in a small log cabin very likely built by some of the pioneers. While at Florence we got our food supplies from the church stores fared very well. The Montgomery came two weeks later & Mother invited them to share our little cabin. We all lived there 5 weeks longer waiting for the teams to come from Utah to haul our luggage across the plains. While here we were visited by the worst storm of thunder, lightning, winds, & rain that I ever saw. Two men were killed & several injured in that storm. While there I helped to herd a bunch of church cattle on the hills. About the 20th of July Captain Homer Duncan's oxtrain arrived & we were assigned to John Turner's wagon. This was a strange & a wonderful sight to us who had never seen oxen hitched to wagons. And the teamsters shouting & cracking their big long ships it sure was all very strange to us at first. As quicky as possible we started on the dreary tramp of 1000 miles. Tents were provided one for every wagon & a man appointed to see that the tents were properly staked down each night & placed in the wagon next morning. An average of 12 persons slept in each tent & had all their belongings in one wagon. Prayers were held in the camp night & morning, all were called together for that purpose at the sound of the bugle & the captain gave counsel & issued orders for the day. Flour & bacon was furnished to everybody but of course every family had to do their own cooking, bake, skillets & frying pans & camp kettles were furnished. Most of the time we could get wood to make the fires. But it was really a great trial for many people to cook their food outdoors in the heat, the wind & the smoke. But each helped the others wherever they could & we got along very nicely considering the peculiar conditions they were placed in. I think we left Florence on the 22nd of July on the wearisome journey. . . . [p.275]
. . .I am pleased to say my 13 men women & children all came safely through to Salt Lake City. With it all we had some good times around the campfires when we got so we could talk a little Danish & they could talk a little English. Our oxen stood the journey fairly well some of the oxen got tender footed & had to be shoed. As we came back Green River & the other streams were very low & could be forded easily. We were some 25 days on the way arriving in Salt Lake City near the last of Sept. There we unloaded our emigrants & bid them farewell. Some we left in tears as they were expecting friends to meet them & none had showed at the time we left them but no doubt would later. . . . [p.288]
BIB: Lindsay, William. Autobiography (Ms 1140) pp. 273-275, 288.