. . . I gave my master notice that I should have to leave him about the last of that month. He said, " I am sorry, John, that you are going to leave us, but I will buy anything that you have to sell to help you raise some money to help you off." I sold him quite a few things, such as my mother didn't want to use. All hands treated to a gallon of beer each day the last week I was at work with them. I left them on the 7th of April 1861. The next day was my birthday, 24 years old. I went up to the work where they were with a large bottle of beer and a birthday cake which surprised them very much. My master paid me up all that he owed me and gave me half a crown for pocket money. As I was coming back home I met an old master, he asked me what was the reason that I was not at work. Said I, "My work is done in this country." "Why," said he, " You are not going to leave us, are you? Why, you were in the Union as a pauper last month and now you have sufficient means to go to America." "Yes, I have enough to take me cross the water and my brother, Edward, has got me a place to work where he is working." "Well, goodbye Mr. John Austin, I must be going to Hemel Hemsted tonight." I started off home to get ready to pack my clothes in the box.
Mother said, "Then you intend going, do you?" "Yes, Mother, I must go. I have already my certificate in my possession and that says I must be down to Liverpool on the 10th of April 1861." I bade my sister Charlotte goodbye and she gave me ten shillings to help me off. They were both crying and said they should never see me or Edward again, for the ship might sink. I told them not to fear, I was in the Lord's hands and He would guide the vessel in all storms and guide me safely through. I started to Hemel Hemsted that day, lodged with William Sells that night. Started off the next morning to Boxmoor Station with three or four others. April 11, 1861, we landed in Liverpool in the evening. There we found Brother Blackbourne, Brother Edwin Scott, Jacob Gates and others waiting for us and others to come and buy their tinware ready [p.289] to go on the ship, Manchester. We went down to the docks the next day and found out that the ship's bunks would not be ready until the 14th, when we were called upon to go on board and get acquainted with our several bunks and save expenses, which we did. And the tugboat tugged us out to anchor and Brother George Q. Cannon and Brother [Amasa M.] Lyman came out to us and organized our brethren for the trip, and preached to us about being patient with one another and trying to help one another.
The next morning, April 15th, the word came that if anyone wanted to go ashore to buy necessities, they could, by permit. I went and bought a barrel with an open lid, lock and key, a straw mattress, a leg of cooked pork and a few other things to spend my money, for word came on board ship that English money was of no use in America, and so I gave the last two shillings to Brother Blackbourne.
April 16th, I started to America on the sailing ship Manchester, about 11 o'clock a.m., it being very calm....
The ship Manchester was tugged into New York Harbor May 16th, 1861, anchored out that night.... My brother Edward hired a row boat and came out to the vessel, bringing some provisions on board with him. I was looking over the bulwarks with one of those hard biscuits in hand, trying to eat it when he held up a handkerchief with some food in it for us. We were very much pleased to see him for we had not seen him for twelve months. That next day they took us into Castle Garden to get us registered and then I started out to Astoria, Queens County, Long Island, to A.C. Henery's. It was late at night when we got there. All hands were gone to bed. Edward and I laid in the same bed; we were talking about the old country all night. We saw the daylight approaching before we dropped off to sleep. The boss got up, made the fire and got the breakfast for all hands. After breakfast he told me I could go and saw wood into lengths for the stove. It was very hard hickory, the saw being very dull, it made me sweat
. The boss came to me and tried it and sent me off to get it sharpened.
About this time Henery Groom came to see me and inquired about his brother Nathan and the rest of the people at Beachwood Green where he came from. I was pleased to see him because he was the first one that brought the everlasting gospel to Bovingdon and Edward wase the first to receive it. Henery inquired of me about Martha Newland, a young lady that Henery promised to send for and marry, but he found out she was coming with me but he never came near the vessel to see her and what was the reason? He had taken up with an Irish girl in the States and married her. He had broken his word in twelve months. Consequently he apostatized and he never came any further.
After working around there a few days my boss says, "John, I want you to take charge of my horses if you will." "Yes, sir," [p.290] says I, "that is just to my hand." Now this required me to get up a little earlier in the morning, about 5 o'clock. This was quite different here to what it was in Old England, three hours less work per day and more pay. I gave very good satisfaction. The horses began to look much better in flesh. I continued with them until the 22 of July, 1861, when the boss came and said, "John, I am very sorry that the war continues; my business is very dull and I am compelled to discharge some of my men." "Now," he says to me, "It matters not to me whether Teddy emigrated, or you, both suit me very well. You can see your brother Teddy and make it up between yourselves, and I will pay either of you and send my team to the depot with your luggage as I understand that the last of your people will start for Salt Lake City on the 23rd." I laid the matter before my brother, and he said Elizabeth had only just got a place to work and I've not sufficient means to take us both through, and another thing, you are only getting 10 dollars per month and I am getting 12. I told him my nine weeks wages would not take me to Florence. Edward said "How do you feel about going this season?" I answered that I would just as leave go this season as any other if I had sufficient money to take me to Florence. Edward said, "I will give you $10.00 to help you on your way if you wish to go, and William Icom and his wife will start with you. The boss says he will send the wagon to take the baggage for all three of you." I agreed to go and Edward gave me the $10.00. We started and took the train on July 23, 1861. We rode all night through the various States until daybreak, which was the 24th of July....We traveled until Sunday morning, then we were obliged to lay over then until Monday morning about 8 o'clock. I recollect myself and William Icom went up into the meat market and found out meat was very cheap. Ham, 4 cents per pound, mutton, 3 cents; beef, 4 cents, and so on.
We then took the train for St. Joseph, Missouri. Now these were very exciting times. We were herded inside of the cars by the conductor, for they were going to throw on full steam as thay had received a telegraph dispatch that soldiers were waiting for that train to come along. We finally came to an open prairie where the soldiers were. The train halted and they soon jumped on board. They rode full speed for a long distance until we came to a large hotel. The train stopped and the soldiers formed into line and they surrounded the house. The train started again. Soon after, it commenced to thunder and lightning. We left the train that evening and started to walk down to the river and just before getting there the rain came down in torrents and we were dripping wet, and what was worse the man who was hired to bring our baggage down came and dumped it all in a pile; the result was the boxes got tipped every which way and broken and wet through. We had to make our beds on the floor of the boat that night. The next morning the boat [p.291] started up the river to Florence. The boat being heavy loaded with government freight for the soldiers, and the water being low, made it quite difficult for the boat to get up the river. After a long time we arrived at Omaha where the captain of the boat found out that the last of the freight had to be landed there -- this leaving the passengers about four miles to walk. Myself and Brother "Oget" being the only two that reached Florence that night. In reaching there to my surprise I saw John Biggs, a brother that crossed the sea with me. He said I was just in time to hire out to E.R. Wright with him to drive an ox team across the plains. I hired out the next morning for $10 per month and my board. The freight not being ready as it was promised, we went out to herd the cattle until the freight came up the river. We were expecting it every day for two weeks. We were busy herding and yoking up our wild cattle trying to break them in, ready for the trip to cross the plains, one thousand miles, which proved to be a very long and tedious journey.
We started out on our journey August 3, 1861, with eleven wagons loaded with cotton machinery and a printing press. . . . [p.292]
. . . October 13, 1861, drove into Salt Lake City. The same day I felt very much pleased to think that God had permitted me to reach my destination in safety. . . . [p.293]
BIB: Durrant, John, [Autobiography], Our Pioneer Heritage comp.by Kate B. Carter, vol 9. (Salt Lake City: Daughter of Utah Pioneers, 1966) pp.289-293. (CHL)