. . . During the six years of my ministry I had labored in the counties of Stafford, Warwick, Salop, Worcester, Gloucester, Flint, Montgomery, and transiently in Nottingham, Derby, Yorkshire, Lancashire, and in London. And the close of my labors found me as penniless as when I first started out without purse or scrip. But God in his love had enriched me with a true wife and two sweet children whom we loved dearer than life, and believing as I did, and also my wife, that it was our duty to go out of Babylon and go to the land of "Zion, the pure in heart," where we hoped to be able to train our loved ones in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, secure from many evils of the world, we consented to obey the counsel of the authorities, and seek a home in "Zion," and the following notice copied from the Millennial Star for March 25, 1854, will show the time of our departure:
The John M. Wood, Captain Hartly, cleared for New Orleans on the 10th instant, having on board three hundred and ninety-seven souls, fifty-eight of whom were from Switzerland and Italy. Elders Robert Campbell, president of the company, A. F. McDonald and Charles Derry, ex-presidents of conferences, also Jabez Woodard, ex-president of the Italian mission, sailed on board this vessel, after having labored faithfully and diligently to extend the work of God in Europe. May a prosperous voyage be granted them."
We had waited three weeks in Liverpool for the sailing of the vessel, during which time our little means was nearly exhausted. [p.268]
We were for two weeks tossed about in the Irish Channel, which sorely tried the faith of some, as well as their physical powers of endurance. One man I remember who for the first day or two was very loud in his professions of faith and gladness at leaving "Babylon," when he began to realize the effects from the terrible rolling of the ship, he vomited up all his faith and joy, and declared if he could set foot on land again, neither God, man, nor devils should ever get him on the sea anymore. His faith went with the contents of his stomach!
Our ship's company was divided into wards and I was placed in charge of one ward. One little old sister would jump out of her berth early in the morning shouting, "Here we are, all six of us, five small potatoes and myself." She always seemed as happy as a lark. During the worst of the storm our little Alice Amelia, then about three and a half years old, would sit on the berth and sing, "In a gallant ship we ride, for to spread the gospel wide," etc. No storms seemed to affect her at all.
Some deaths occurred on board. And after a voyage of at least seven weeks we arrived at New Orleans, and were transferred from the John M. Wood, to a Mississippi steamboat and continued our journey to St. Louis. Here we were placed in quarantine. Our little boy was now afflicted with erysipelas in his limbs. We applied dry flour; it helped him; but some other ailment came upon him, and he lost his appetite, and we had nothing to create an appetite and he lingered in sickness until he arrived in Utah. I well remember the agony of souls as we watched him during what seemed to his death struggles. We prayed and struggled at the throne of grace that his life might be spared.
On the quarantine island we saw the terrible effects of cholera. Many of our company we would see apparently well and cheerful at six o'clock of a morning, and before noon they would be carried to the grave.[p. 269]
After tarrying on the island we were permitted to continue our journey to Kansas City. Many deaths occurred on this trip, which rendered it a sad and weary journey. My cousin, William Littley, met us there with an ox-team, and took us to the general camp ground, Westport. Here we remained about three months, the cholera daily thinning our ranks. At length we were divided into numbers of ten to each wagon, and started on our overland journey of thirteen hundred miles, through a desolate wilderness, and over wild and rugged mountains, to the Great Salt Lake Valley. There were thirty-six wagons. . . . [p.270]
BIB: Derry, Charles, "Autobiography of Elder Charles Derry," Journal of History [RLDS] 1:3 (July 1908) pp. 268-70. (CHL)