Rochester, 21 Apr 1841:

Other Voyage Accounts:

Manuscript History of Brigham Young


April 15.–[1841] Elders O. [Orson] Pratt, W. [Willard] Richards, George A. Smith, Levi Richards and myself, having bid the Saints in Manchester goodbye, went to Liverpool, and arrived in time to attend a teaparty at the Music Hall, where 200 Saints were seated at table together. I addressed the meeting a short time, and was followed by several of the Twelve. At the close of the party the Twelve met a few moments, and agreed to sail on Tuesday.

--18 (Sunday)--We met with the Saints in Liverpool, and the Twelve occupied the day in preaching and bearing testimony to the people.

--19--We spent the day in getting our baggage on board, intending to draw out into the river, but the wind being unfavorable, we remained on shore.

--20--Elders H. [Heber] C. Kimball, O. [Orson] Pratt, W. [Wilford] Woodruff, J. [John] Taylor, George A. Smith, W. [Willard] Richards and family, myself and a company of 130 Saints, went on board the ship Rochester, Captain Woodhouse, at Liverpool, for New York. We gave the parting hand to Elders O. [Orson] Hyde and P. [Parley] P. Pratt, and a multitude of Saints who stood upon the dock to see us start. We drew out into the River Mersey, and cast anchor in sight of Liverpool, where we spent the day and night.

It was with a heart full of thanksgiving and gratitude to God, my Heavenly Father, that I reflected upon his dealings with me and my brethren of the Twelve during the past year of my life, which was spent [p.96] in England. It truly seemed a miracle to look upon the contrast between our landing and departing from Liverpool. We landed in the spring of 1840, as strangers in a strange land and penniless, but through the mercy of God we have gained many friends, established Churches in almost every noted town and city in the kingdom of Great Britain, baptized between seven and eight thousand, printed 5,000 Books of Mormon, 3,000 hymn books, 2,500 volumes of the Millennial Star, and 50,000 tracts, and emigrated to Zion 1,000 souls, established a permanent shipping agency, which will be a great blessing to the Saints, and have left sown in the hearts of many thousands the seeds of eternal truth, which will bring forth fruit to the honor and glory of God, and yet we have lacked nothing to eat, drink or wear: in all these things I acknowledge the hand of God.

--21--The wind is favorable; busily engaged nailing down and lashing our luggage to prepare for sea. The anchor weighed and sails spread at 12 midday. We had a good breeze through the day, but nearly all the passengers were seasick and vomited at a dreadful rate. The Twelve and the Saints occupied the second cabin, other passengers occupied the steerage. The fare was £ 3 15 shillings

The Rochester was a fast sailing ship, about 900 tons burthen, and passed all the ships that went out of port with us, among which was the “Oxford” of the Black Ball Line.

--22--Many arose quite weak through vomiting and sickness. [p.97] Pleasant morning; nearly out of sight of land; ten sail in sight. Elders Kimball and Woodruff assisted me in getting the sick passengers out of their berths to take the air. Elder George A. Smith was quite sick with a severe cough.

--23--Cloudy and some rain; contrary winds.

--24--Commenced at midnight to blow a gale; head wind; blew away our fore-topsail; all very seasick.

--25--Sea mountains high; head wind; ship rocking and pitching; nearly all seasick.

--26--We partook of a little food this morning, but were weak and feeble. We still have head winds and rough sea, though the sun shines. We met and prayed for the sick and they began to amend.

--27--Still high wind; the sick somewhat better; the Twelve are generally well.

April 28--Strong head winds, which increased to a tempest. The sails were close reefed, the tempest raging furiously, sea running mountains high. We shipped heavy seas, and, while in the midst of this scenery, the cry of help was heard in our cabin; we rushed to the scene and found the ropes giving way and breaking which held about 40 tons of luggage, piled up between decks, consisting of heavy trunks, chests and barrels, which, if once liberated from their confinement , would with one surge be hurled with great force into the berths of men, women and children and would have endangered the lives of all. [p.98]

On seeing the foundation of this mass giving way, Elders Richards, Woodruff, Pratt and others sprang to the place of danger and braced themselves against the baggage and held it for a few moments until we partially secured it, when the captain sent several sailors with ropes, who made the same fast and secure. When this was done, I repaired to the aft quarter deck with brothers Kimball, Richards, Woodruff and Smith and gazed upon the grandeur of the raging tempest and the movements of the ship for a short time. We all went below, except Elders Woodruff and Richards, who remained until a heavy sea broke over the quarter deck, which thoroughly drenched Brother Woodruff; Brother Richards was partially saved by throwing himself under the bulwarks; they then thought it best to leave, and followed our example by coming below. We did not sleep much during the night, for boxes, barrels and tins were tumbling from one end of the cabin to the other, and in the steerage 15 berths were thrown down, nine at one surge, all the men, women and children thrown together in a pile, but no lives were lost nor bones broken.

--29--The gale has ceased; sea rough; sun shines pleasantly; a fair wind for the first time since the day of sailing. We are sailing ten knots an hour; nearly all had a good night's rest; I was very sick and distressed in my head and stomach.

--30--Fine breeze; sailing ten knots an hour; fears entertained that the ship was on fire, as smoke arose, but it was found to come from [p.99] the cook's galley. Brother Woodruff, in the morning, was requested to carry the dishes to the cook for washing; he got his hands full of dishes of various kinds, and, as he stepped to the door of the galley, the ship gave a dreadful lurch and rocked until her studding sails reached the water; this unexpected heave plunged Brother Woodruff head foremost about ten feet, the whole width of the galley. The cook, in trying to save him, fell on the top of him. As this was his first introduction to the galley since he had been at sea, he begged the cook’s pardon for such an abrupt entrance and withdrew, leaving the cook with three smashed fingers to pick up his dishes at leisure, they being scatter from one end of the galley to the other. When the cook saw me, he beseeched me very earnestly, whoever I sent to the galley, for mercy’s sake never send Mr. Woodruff again, as he came nigh getting killed by him.

May 1--Fine beautiful morning; the passengers have got over the seasickness and all seem cheerful. Fair light breeze; water smooth; nineteen pieces of canvas spread; sailing twelve knots an hour.

--2--Strong favorable wind; cloudy; sailing twelve knots an hour. We saw a fin-back whale rise out of the water several times about twenty rods from the ship.

--3--Morning calm; strong, fair breeze in evening; sailing twelve knots an hour.

--4--Clear, serene morning; water almost perfectly smooth; scarcely air enough to move a sail. The captain took the names, ages and occupations of each person on board, to make a correct entry when he arrives in port. [p.100]

--5--Warm, pleasant morning; almost a dead calm; sounded, but did not find bottom. We saw a large shoal of porpoises to the north of us. Elder Peter Maughan lost a child, six weeks old, this morning. His wife died a short time before he set sail. The body of this child was committed to the watery grave by sewing it up in canvas and tying a stone to it, sinking it in the sea on the banks of Newfoundland, latitude 42°, 25', longitude 50°, 10'. Evening chilly and foggy.

--6--Slight breeze; sailing eight knots an hour. All the Saints on board are well, except Sister Richards, who is still feeble. We enjoy ourselves well, singing and praying with the Saints morning and evening.

May 7--Head winds and very foggy. A storm arose in the evening from the southwest. The sails were close reefed, the heavens gathered blackness, and the sea piled up into mountains. In the midst of this a fight ensued between the cook and the Irish, which was stopped by the first mate. We had the roughest night we had experienced on the voyage; the spars and other things were afloat on the main deck.

--8--Fair weather, but strong head winds; sea rough, shipping heavy seas.

--9--Strong, fair wind; sailing twelve knots an hour; the coldest day on the voyage.

--10--Fine, pleasant morning, but calm.

--11--Strong west head winds; sailing nine knots an hour. We passed a full-rigged ship standing the same way we were. We have passed every ship we came in sight of since we left Liverpool.

--12--Head winds; fair weather, but cool. Captain Woodhouse [p.101] proclaims land in sight, which we soon saw with the naked eye. It proved to be Cape Sable, Nova Scotia.

--13--Dead calm, sea smooth, cloudy, head wind in the evening.

--14--Dead calm today.

--15--Pleasant morning, light breeze, sea smooth; saw a shoal of mackerel.

--16--A light breeze; sailing four knots an hour. We sounded and found bottom at twenty fathoms on Nantucket shoals.

--17--Strong head winds; we came in view of Long Island, 3 p.m., took a pilot on board at 4, who informed us that they had not heard from the “Oxford,” nor any ship which left Liverpool at the time we did, nor for several days before; he also informed us that no word had been heard of the steamship “President;” all expected she was lost.

--18--Strong northwest wind; sailing nine knots an hour. We heard of the death of General Harrison, President of the United States.

--19--While passing through Sandy Hook we ran into a fishing smack, came near sinking her with all on board. We had a head wind and could not run into the dock; cast anchor at 11 a.m. at the quarantine ground. A steamer came down to get the latest Liverpool news. An editor, who came on board, paid the steamer $45 to bring him out to the ship to get the latest news.

--20--Warm, pleasant weather. We commenced early in the morning to get our luggage on deck. There was a fight between the [p.102] carpenter and second mate, which was ended by the first mate striking the carpenter with a junk bottle, and as he went to strike the second blow, I caught his arm and prevented him.

Two quarantine lighters came alongside the Rochester and took all the passengers and baggage to the custom house, where we had to unload all the baggage, which was inspected by the officers, after which we reloaded on board the lighters, which took us to New York City.

When we arrived at the docks, we found them covered with horses and drays and a great crowd of draymen and pickpockets, who stood ready to leap on board and devour all our baggage, and, because we were unwilling to be robbed and felt disposed to do our own business without being forced to measures by draymen, they cursed and swore at a dreadful rate, and acted more like savages than civilized men; but, after much difficulty, we got our goods out of the lighters and loaded on drays, and had to keep constant guard over them to keep them from being stolen. Many attempts were made to steal our baggage. I collared some of the thieves, and threatened to throw them overboard if they would not let it alone. I was under the necessity of striking their fingers to keep them from carrying off the trunks they laid hold of.

We were until ten o’clock at night getting from the docks to an inn. We were all very much fatigued, for we had been constantly handling boxes, chests, barrels and trunks from sunrise til ten p.m., without eating or drinking. We took supper about midnight and laid [p.103] down to rest at the Battery Pavilion.

--21--Brother Kimball, O. [Orson] Pratt and myself took lodgings at the house of Elder Adams.

--23 (Sunday)--The Twelve met in council in the morning. Elders Kimball, Pratt, Woodruff and myself gave an account of our mission to England to the Saints in the Columbian Hall, Grand Street.

--30 (Sunday)--Forenoon, attended meeting. Elder Woodruff preached. Afternoon, held a conference meeting. Evening, Elder Kimball addressed the people.

--31-- I visited the Saints on Long Island.

June 1--I returned to New York, and on the 4th, in company with Elders Kimball and Taylor, I left for Nauvoo, by way of Philadelphia.

--7--Arrived in Pittsburgh.

--12--We started on board the “Cicero.” The water being very low, we ran on a sandbar twelve miles below, and there remained all day and night. We went ashore and spent the time agreeably, having a good company with us.

--13 (Sunday)--Remained all day on the sandbar. I went ashore. We got off the bar about half-past seven in the evening.

--14--Spent the time agreeably.

--15--Proceeded down the river till about 11 a.m. , when the boat stopped till about half-past twelve p.m. when we started. The condensed steam being let off, scalded a woman, her daughter, and a child by the name of Thomas. We laid up seven miles above Wheeling.

--16--We started very early and, after proceeding about three [p.104] miles, we ran on a sand bar; got off about 4 p.m., and soon arrived at Wheeling, were we stayed all night. Captain Thomas O’Connor was very kind to us.

--17--Proceeded on our way finely and arrived at Cincinnati on Sunday morning, the 20th. We went ashore and found several brethren. We went on board the “Mermaid” for St. Louis, and arrived in Louisville on the 22nd, at 6 p.m., where we remained all night and started at noon on the 23rd, and arrived at the mouth of the Ohio on Saturday the 26th.

July 1--We arrived in Nauvoo, and were cordially welcomed by the Prophet Joseph, our families and the Saints.

--9--President Smith called on me at my house, when he received the following revelation:

Dear and well-beloved Brother Brigham Young, verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Brigham, it is no more required at your hand to leave your family as in times past, for your offering is acceptable to me; I have seen your labor and toil in journeyings for my name. I therefore command you to send my word abroad, and take special care of your family from this time, henceforth, and forever, Amen. . . . [p.105]

BIB: Young, Brigham, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801-1844, comp. by Eldon Jay Watson (privately printed, 1968) pp. 96-105. (HDL)


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