Through my efforts I had the pleasure of seeing my 3 sisters come into the fold of Christ and being baptized as members in the church, and my heart was full to overflowing for the great goodness of God toward me in my labors in my father's family, then my next efforts were in gathering together sufficient means to pay my fare to New York where my [p.4] brother had been staying until I should arrive there so that we could go to Salt Lake City together as I had promised him when he left home the year before, and he had wrote me that if I could obtain means to take me to New York he would pay my way through the country to Winter Quarters and from there I could work my way through to Salt Lake City. But it seemed as though the evil one was edging up my way for sometime but I called upon the Lord to aid me in my efforts and he did so that I was enabled to leave my home and the land of my birth with all that was near and dear to me and set forth on my journey across the deep waters on the good ship Manchester on the 6th day of May, 1862, just twelve days after my 20th birthday thus fulfilling my prediction that I should be in America before I was 21 years of age, as I said when I was 14 years old. We left Liverpool about half past 5 in the evening and we made fair headway for a few days and then it became quite tempestuous and the winds carried us whither so ever it listed and we began to encounter mountains of waves and the winds increased and drove us first one way and then another and it appeared as though the poor sailors were working both night and day, tacking about trying to gain a little headway and in the meantime most of the passengers discovered that they owed Jonah a bill and he was demanding payment forthwith. As the Saints claim to be honest they were paying him with double interest but notwithstanding they were relieving the vessel of a considerable amount of ballast. She did not increase her speed but kept varying towards the north as though she thought we wanted to go to the Arctic regions for she drifted so far to the north that we encountered mountains of ice and for days were in great danger of coming in contact with them or with other vessels that might be in the same condition as ours. For the fog was so dense we could see but a very short distance away from our ship so the foghorns were blowing and the bells were ringing day and night but we finally got clear of the icebergs and the fog lifted and the winds abated some so that the sailors could handle the ship better. So that they soon got her nearer the line of travel but not for long. For shortly another storm came on worse than the first and the waves washed over the deck of the ship so much that the captain ordered the people all below and the hatches all to be fastened down. There we were for the space of 40 hours and it really seemed at times as though the ship would go down. I was going to say under but she did that quite often during those two days for the waves would cover the deck completely but the ship would straighten herself and the water would run off the deck. But notwithstanding the danger we were in we continued our daily meetings and our prayer meetings and sang the songs of Zion just as though the sea was calm and the sun was shining. We had faith in the God of heaven and knew we were there by his command and knew that he was able to deliver us from all harm and danger. So we rejoiced together in the knowledge we had received that of power of God and the truth of the principles of the gospel we had espoused. After the 40 hours of darkness, for we were not permitted to have a light, the storm spent itself out and we had fair sailing and made good headway. And at the close of six weeks and five days on the waters with very little sickness aside from seasickness and two births and one wedding, we were permitted to once more set our feet on land, and that the land of Zion. So feeling in our hearts truly thankful to our Heavenly Father for His preserving care that had been over us. We gathered up our belongings and went on shore to Castle Garden and there we had to wait some time for arrangements to be made for our transportations. So I began looking around expecting my brother to be there to meet me but all that day I looked for him but he never came and I did not know his address but I thought surely he would be here early in the morning. But morning came but no brother, and the afternoon came and still he did not come and I began to feel quite anxious. And watching the gateway, the main entrance from the city, about 5:00 in the evening I espied him coming toward the gate. I ran to meet him and we were soon embracing each other and the joy we felt in the meeting is indescribable and told me that he did not hear of the arrival of the vessel until 2 hours before as he lived in Brooklyn and had made all haste to come to me then. Indeed I thought my trouble was over. He also informed me that he had taken to himself a wife and that they and two friends that I knew were staying with him that they were all ready to go along with our company as soon as they were ready to start. The name of these two friends were Richard and Hester Vessop that belonged to our conference. The brother came out with my brother and the sister came out just before me and we had a fine time together going around seeing the sights of both Brooklyn and also New York until the proper arrangements were made for us to start on our journey. Then we all got aboard the train with all the Saints that crossed with me and quite a number from New York but nothing of importance occurred on the way until we were traveling through the state of Illinois. There one of the cars that was loaded with the Saints' baggage took fire and instead of them uncoupling the car from the rest and pulling it a short distance away [p.5] and let the people save what they could from the fire, they took the car six miles away to the next station and when the engineer returned back to the train he swore that he could not drive all the damned Mormons to hell. So putting on all steam he jumped from his engine and let her come at full force into the train but thank God there was no one that was hurt. But two cars were smashed into splinters and it took some time to clear away the wreckage so that when we arrived at the place where they had taken the burning car there was nothing left of it but there were hundreds of people around there who no doubt had saved lots of the things that were in the car and carried them off. But the people that had suffered the loss and that in many instances was all they had in the world but what they stood upright in and not one of them got any redress from the railroad company. And so the Saints had to bear the burdens themselves. We were soon on our way again but with sorrowful hearts for no one in the company could tell at that time whether their luggage was in that car or not nor did we find out until we left the cars and took passage on the steamboat and arrived at Florence or Winter Quarters on the opposite side of the old Missouri River from Council Bluffs, so when all the luggage was carried ashore, then it was soon discovered who had been the losers for their trunks could not be found, but myself and brother found all that belonged to us, while the Brother and Sister Jensop [Vessop] that were traveling with us lost their all, as not even one parcel belonging to them could be found anywhere, abut nevertheless, we were truly thankful, that things were as well with us as they were, in that our lives had been preserved, and that the Lord had permitted us to reach this far on our journey. And thinking at the time that we would only have to stay there a day or two, before we would again resume our journey across the plains, but we soon found out that the teams that were expected to take us to the valley of the Great Salt Lake had not yet arrived from there and as there was no means of them communicating with us, nor us to them, we could not for some time before they could make the return trip as their cattle would have to rest for some time to recuperate and gain strength sufficient for their homeward journey. And in the meantime we were all camped in tents, ten persons to each tent. And these tents were placed from 16 to 20 feet apart each way, and there was near three thousands of Saints all there at this time, so that when we were all housed in our canvas tents, we formed quite a large city, but the interests and comfort of those who were placed under their charge. And we held our regular meetings and all met together for prayers night and morning that is the occupants of each tent and on Sundays we held our general meetings where all assembled together, and food was handed out each morning from the commissary to the head of each family for the day, and thus we lived for some time before the teams began to arrive, but there was plenty of good food around us, as far as the eye could see, and the cattle soon became in good condition for traveling, so the first train was loaded and everything put in order for starting and the teamster rounded up their cattle and the next morning they started on their long journey to the valley with 50 wagons and 10 persons to each wagon and tent, besides the teamster, but it was not long before another train was made up and loaded for a start after the one that had gone, and in the meantime we spent our time in any way we choose, and one day me and my brother and another young man went down to the banks of the old Missouri River to bathe, and we selected a place that had backed in from the main stream that we thought would not be too deep as neither of us know how to swim, at least we each thought so, so we all walked into the water and I a little in advance of the others, and as I was going along all at once I stepped into a hole, and down I went, and though I never lost the presence of mind, it seemed to me hours before I started upwards and then I had not reached the bottom, but I finally reached the surface of the water, and the boys had a log of wood that was laying by the bank in the edge of the water, and they pushed it toward me but just as soon as I touched it, I went down again calling o the boys to the boys to pull the log away and not to come in after me, and it seemed to me I didn't go half as far down as I did the first time before I again began to rise and when I reached the surface again I started to swim across the hole, but away from the boys and after getting my feet on the ground, I rested a minute or two. I then turned and swam to wher e the boys were standing and this was the first time I had ever tried to swim and it was also the last even up to now, then I had just passed my 20th birthday, and I am now nearing my 68th birthday. And as soon as I reached the boys we all concluded we had had quite enough for that day, and so put on our clothes and went to camp, feeling fully satisfied that the preserving hand of God my Eternal Father had saved my life from drowning and I felt in my inner-most soul to acknowledge his hand in my narrow escape from death.
And as the teams had kept coming in at short intervals and as one train had started out with a Mr. Kinbel (or Kinbee?) as the captain and the second also under Captain Murdock and a third was [p.6] ready to start under the direction of Captain Waite, now as soon as another could be loaded. It was to start out under the direction of Captain Miller and in this train my brother and his wife and my friends the Jossons were to travel. As I said in the beginning, my brother was only to pay my way to his point, Winter Quarters, so I began to look about for a chance [-] work my way to the Valley, and so I went to see a Mr. Blockburn the one who had charge of the emigration for that year 1862. I found him in his tent where he transected his business and I said to him, "If you please Sir, would there be any chance for me to pay my way by driving a team to the valley?" He turned on his stool, and faced me and sized me up from top to toe, and said nothing for a minute or two, and then he said, "Young man, did you ever drive a team," and I said, "No Sir, that was not my line of business." "Well," he said "If your team should happen to get stuck in a mud hole, do you think you could put your shoulder to the wheel, and help lift it out?" Looking straight at him I said "If you please Sir, did you ever do the like?" He smilingly said "Yes, many times." Then I said, "Well Sir
, if you have done it I think I can." "Oh," he said, "I thought you looked more like a counter jumper than a bull driver," He smiled again and in a minute or two he said, "Well, young man what is your name?" And I said"William H. Hill," and he said "Where did you come from and what was your business?" I told him I came from England, and my business was bricklaying. "Well," he said, "I guess you'll do, yes you can get a team to drive to pay your way as you go, but you will have to wait until all the emigrants have left, and you can drive a team in the last train that will cross the plains this season." I thanked him and told him I would be on hand anytime, and he said I catch up with you, I shall make inquiries of you Captain [THIS WAS WILLIAM H. DAME AS NOTED ON THIS PAGE OF THE ACCOUNT] to find out what kind of a bull driver you are." I told him that would be all right, as I didn't think that we would have anything to complain of, so it was not but a day or so, when the train in which my brother and friends were going to travel in, started out, leaving me all alone as far as friends, relatives or acquaintances were concerned. The captain of the train in which my brother traveled was named Miller. . . .
After being on the travel for the space of twelve weeks we finally got to the mouth of what they call Emigration Canyon, where we cold see Salt Lake city, and we all thought it was the most pleasant sight that our eyes had ever beheld, and then it was different to what it is now for where we stood we could have counted every house there was in the city at that time and that was on the 29th of October 1862 making it 6 months and 26 days from the time I [p.8] left Liverpool, England. The Captain took the load down from the mouth of the Canyon and we followed him and he took us into President Young's yard, and there we all unhitched our teams [-] and all that had any place to go left, abut me and [-] others who had no relations or friends to go to stayed by the wagons, built our camp fire, cooked and ate our supper and were sitting around the fire when a gentleman came up to us, and shaking hands with all of us asked if we had any relatives in the country, and how we had faired while crossing the plains, and where we came from. We answered these questions. Then he asked us if we had anything to eat, and we told him yes, "Well," he said "I want you boys to stay right here and make yourselves as comfortable a you possibly can until you each get a place to go to." We thanked him very kindly and promised to do as he requested and then he told us who he was, and that his name was Brigham Young.
BIB: Hill, William H. Autobiography (Ms 2586), pp. 4-9. (CHL)