. . . The Saints from the surrounding country began gathering and were camping on the beach getting ready to emigrate to Zion. We sold what holdings we possessed and joined the company and camped on the beach. It was while we were camping on the beach that my baby Elizabeth took sick and died, Jan. 2, 1865. We buried her on the beach. We notified our folks of the baby's death but none of them came to see us. We continued our residence on the beach while preparing for our voyage. We boarded ship April, 1865. My old minister of the Church of England came on board ship to talk to me. He said, "Lizzie, you had better reconsider what you are doing and stay with us." I told him, "No, I knew that I was right in what I was doing." He said, "Why don't you know that the government of the United States is sending an army to Utah for the purpose of exterminating the Mormons. They will kill and hang them all." I said, "Alright, I will go and be hanged with the rest of them." He was very disgusted with my independent attitude and left the ship [p.9] without wishing me good luck, a pleasant voyage, or anything else.
Naturally I thought of leaving my people and going far away especially after the hateful attitude they had taken towards us, after we joined the church but I would find consolation in this matter with the fact that I had a soul to save and I was positive that my cause was right.
There was far more grievous nature that seemed to be uppermost in my mind for I was leaving the precious remains of my baby there on the beach in a cold swell of that distant land and for this my heart was extremely sad. After I had been on the ship for three days I laid in my bed and sobbed and prayed earnestly to God for comfort in this direction. Sometime during the night I dreamed that I held the baby in my arms and that she was coming with me. So real was this dream that I awoke and on awakening I felt the baby so plainly in my arms that I looked to see if it really was there. I felt comforted and from that time on whenever I thought of my little girl, I felt like she was coming with us.
The brig Mexicana was the name of the ship we sailed on. We left Port Elizabeth, South Africa, April 10, 1865 with forty-seven Saints on board. Miner G. Atwoods [Atwood] presided while Father served as ship's steward. Our captain remarked it was the most pleasant, peaceful voyage he had ever experienced. The water was so smooth and calm that the ship would scarcely move at times. En route to the promised land we only met one vessel in hailing distance. The usual question was asked our captain, "What are you loaded with?" The reply was, "Sheepskins and Mormons." All the people on that ship cheered and laughed. When we crossed the Equator the sailors played jokes and had their own fun, initiating us to "King Neptune" or the "Ancient Order of the Deep." They spent almost the entire night playing ghost tricks on each other. Once the sailors were all on deck and in great excitement they yelled, "Man overboard" and after all of the passengers got up, dressed, and ran upon deck, they had a dummy prepared, threw him overboard, and then drew him back. The sailors had fine fun by resorting [p.10] to all kinds of capers to try to excite us. There was very little seasickness and all enjoyed the trip. Shortly after we crossed the Equator, a very dear friend of ours, Brother [George] Kershaw, took sick and died. For four days before he died two sharks followed the ship but they were never seen again and his body was buried at sea.
We landed in New York, June 18, 1865, making just sixty nine days on the water. After landing in New York we went by streetcar and train to the Mississippi and crossed the river by steamboat. Then up the Missouri River to St. Joseph. Here we stopped for a while to prepare for our tedious journey across the plains.
We started our journey with Brother Walker's company known as the "Independence Company," August 12, 1865. . . . [p.11]
. . . We arrived in Salt Lake City, November 9th, having been three months lacking three days on this journey. When we realized that we had actually reached our destination and our journey was over our hearts went out in gratitude and thanksgiving to out Heavenly Father for his protective care over us and our safe delivery. . . . [p.12]
BIB: Sims, Elizabeth McDermott. Autobiography (formerly in Msd 2050), pp. 10-12. (CHL)