. . . I remained on this mission until the 13th of April, 1864, when I started for home, came out through the straits of the Cattegats. Our captain ran into the bay at Elsinoe, and lay over about seven hours, in consequence of a heavy gate of head wind. Many passengers were sick.
While on this mission I studied hard and obtained a good understanding of the Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. On arriving at Grimsby we found some emigrants waiting for us, who had gone by way of Lubeck. I had with me about three hundred passengers, emigrants. We went by mail to Liverpool. There I was appointed president of the ships company. [p. 10] I was three days busy, day and night, shipping the people. We embarked in the large sailing ship Monarch of the Sea, bound for New York, having on board one thousand passengersâ€”Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Scotch, Welch, English and American. We were over forty days out at sea, with head winds a good deal of the time. On the bands of Newfoundland we saw a number of very large icebergs. On our arrival at Castle Garden, New York, we went immediately on board the steam boat "St. Johns," and went up the Hudson River to Albany, from there by rail to St. Joseph, Missouri, and by steamboat up the Missouri to Wyoming, Nebraska.
On my arrival at Wyoming I was appointed to take charge of a company of Scandinavians of over thirty wagons, on the plains. I was joined by more wagons, making in all over sixty, for safety against Indians, as they were very hostile that season, many people being killed, horses, mules and cattle stolen and wagons burned. Many times, ranchers, traders, and also officers at government posts would use all argument possible to induce us to stop for safety. The answer I would give then was, "We are used to Indian welfare, and we have only provisions enough to take us home, [p. 11] if we keep moving, and we would rather run our risk fighting Indians than stave on the plains."
We arrived home safe on the 25th of September, 1864. After a few days, the emigrants were distributed among their respective friends in the various settlements, but for several years I was very busy as an interpreter for the Scandinavians. . . . [p. 12]
BIB: Smith, John. Autobiography (MS 8305 3 #1), pp. 10-12. (A)