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A Brief History Of The Journey Of Samuel Jackson And The British Saints From England To Provo In 1851

Compiled from the journals and records of the period
by David L. Mefford

Samuel Jackson, born 10 March 1816 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, was the son of Thomas and Mary Ann Jackson. We find him in Wolverhampton in 1849 at the age of 34 as a newly baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Ward records list him being baptized on November 8, by James Bell. His address is listed as St John Street. While there, Samuel was active in the Branch and for a time served in the Assistant Superintendent of the Sunday School. He was also one of the Secretaries for the Perpetual Emigration Fund. (Wolverhampton Branch Minutes)

The record in the Temple Index Bureau, states that Samuel "Emigrated, December 31, 1850."

On January 4, 1851, he sailed with a group of the Saints from Liverpool on the Ship Ellen bound for New Orleans with Captain Phillips.

The ships record lists:
Samuel Jackson, Last Maker, #120, age 34
With an address of "care of R Hougart at or of (???) Stokes Bloomsbury St, W. Hampton
There was also a deposit of 400 (pounds, shillings?) with a note "Paid Tkt 19"

It is interesting to note that below his entry is that of Hannah Walker, age 34 with the same mailing address. There seems to be no record of her husband, Joseph Walker, on the ship, although family traditions say he died on the voyage. Later records in Provo, Utah, state that her maiden name was Holt. I don't know where we get the name of Joseph Walker as her first husband, I have not yet found any documentation to that effect and if he did exist; were they divorced or did he die? Hannah married Samuel, although I don't have the date or place. There are several journals that reported that six marriages were performed the day or so before the ship dialed, although none list the names of the individuals married.

As we have no other records from Samuel Jackson, I will piece together the journey from the journals of several other people on the voyage.

John Woodhouse recorded the following:

"The ship provided for us was the Ellen, and after a day or so we commenced to get on board. Our ship registered 1800 tons of burden. Our company 464 Saints. We were presided over by Elders and returning missionaries, J. W. Cummings, Crandel Dun and William Moss. Brothers Dun and Cummings both had presided over our conference (Sheffield). I suppose we had the room allowed us by law, 18 inches of breadth each, but we were still very crowded. Our sleeping arrangements were berths, two tiers high all around the vessel and down the center of hold. And two cabins on deck. The berths allowed for a family were allotted together as much as possible. There was about 6 feet of space in front of the berths, for passage way and storage room for provisions, boxes, etc." "We were instructed to make everything fast, but as we did not understand the term in a suitable sense we could not forsee the result. In those days all did their own cooking and furnished their own utensils, so that the amount of tinware we needed was enormous, and a look at the ceiling of our vessel, when all were hung up, might cause a stranger to think that quite a proportion of the vessels cargo was tinware."

"Our cooking arrangements consisted of a gallery about four feet long, and three feet wide. The top full of holes over which to place vessels to boil. A fire was along each side with bars lengthwise. Some of our tins had a flat side and hooks on them to hang on the bars. These we called "Hangers on". There was an oven down the center between the two fires for baking, this completed our cooking accommodations which were meager. Especially as we were not skilled in the use of it."

"By January 5, 1851 we were all on board, our last duty on shore being to pass a medical inspection. This consisted in going to a small square window at an office near by and there each putting out our tongue, then the inspector stamped our tickets, a stamp for each person. The evening of the day saw several couple of the Saints united in marriage. (Samuel and Hannah?) An ocean voyage seeming to them just the thing for a honeymoon. Forenoon of the 6th the vessel moved on her way. The Saints joyfully singing, "Oh! Babylon, we bid they farewell, we are going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell".

"Sailing down the Meisey River was pleasant. Evening found us in the Irish channel. With a strong wind blowing, the night dark. First we had a narrow escape of being run into by a passing steamer. The wind continued to increase, with it an increase in sea sickness amongst the passengers, very few were exempt. Another thing our tinware, water bottles, provisions chests, etc. broke loose from their moorings and dropped from their nails overhead, and the scene in the vessel I am unable to do justice to. The articles chasing each other from side to side of the vessel. Spilling their contents as they traveled, the water bottles having the advantage in the race, owing to their being round, they would leap or roll right over the other things and beat both ways. And we were all too sick to interfere, so they went it, unmolested. We could only look on out of our berths and witness the scene. We had enough to do to keep from rolling out ourselves. About midnight we experienced a violent shock, and more movement from side to side, which continued for a time and then ceased. Morning found us anchored in Cardigan Bay, North Wales. We learned that our vessel had struck, or had been struck by a schooner, which first struck and caught on our jib boom, breaking it off, then heeled around and caught on to our main fore and main yards, breaking them both off, one in the hinges and the other half way between. As to the schooner from all we could learn, she was lost with all on board."

"While in the bay we jade a new jib out the broken yard, and made one new yard out of a stick we had on board, and obtained another new one form the shore."

"Morning found me able to get up. I commenced a round of the vessel I first called on one who had traveled with me in the ministry, and who was also one of the couple married the previous evening. I found them in bed and unable to get up, but able to eat. They invited me to breakfast provided, I would get it, for myself and them. This I did. I next called on another of my ministerial brethren in the cabin. He was a family man, well to do and had come on board with a large provision chest well supplied with good things, extras for the voyage. I found them trying to sort out the contents of the chest. It had contained chiefly supplies in glass jars, preserves in variety, pickles, mustard mixed and unmixed, pepper, sweet cakes cut and uncut, eggs, raw and cooked, etc. If a person had taken a hammer and worked on the contents for quite a while he could not have produced a better mixture of the whole contents, glass jars included."

"I almost felt thankful we had nothing to loose or break. In addition to the chest they had a large brown jar packed full of eggs in salt and hung on a nail by a string over the berth. The motion of the vessel had chafed the string in two and the eggs and salt had joined them in the berth below. Brother B-told me his experience of the previous night, he saw his chest after it had broken loose and was racing around the cabin. He jumped out of bed in his night cloths, got astride the chest, using his feet for braces, to try and hold it in place. He worked hard with it, until the vessel anchored and he was able to return to bed. These are sample that will answer more or less for all of our experiences of that first night. The experience was valuable. It taught us what was meant by fastening our boxes. We stayed two weeks in Cardigan Bay. Here we organized the vessel into wards for prayer, companies for cooking and cleaning."

Lucy Ashby Clark said that the Ellen "landed at New Orleans on March 15, 1851."

Brother Cummings in his letter to F. D. Richards added the following:

"At New Orleans we chartered the steamer Alex. Scott, to take the company to St. Louis, We paid 10s 5d per head for adults, all our luggage included, children half price. We left New Orleans on the morning of the 19th of March, and landed in St. Louis on the 26th."

John Woodhouse continues:

"Next morning a fine steamboat named the Aleck Scot, came alongside and we were soon transferred on board her for our journey up the river. The boat was a noble boat of 1400 tons burden and furnished us plenty of room and board. The weather was very pleasant. The journey up the majestic river seemed so strange to us. The primeval forests still occupying so large a proportion of the distance. In fact the clearings along the river's bank seemed a mere fraction. After a very pleasant journey of about seven days, we arrived at St Louis. Here many of us who had been associates, expected to separate. Many being able to continue their journey to Utah, other myself included, having to remain to earn the means first, then continue when such means should be raised."

Lucy Ashby Clark was one immigrant that continued on to Salt Lake:

"The Company went to St. Louis on the Ellick (Alex) Scott and landed on March 23rd, stopped in St. Louis for three weeks, then started up the Missouri River on the 13th of April on the Sacramento; stayed there (Winter Quarters?) until the next spring and during this time we secured a team of one yoke of oxen and one of cows. We started from Kanesville on July 3rd, 1852 in the 18th company of that year's immigration. Henry Miller was captain of 50 wagons and Apostle O. Hyde over the ???? We had a rough trip over the plains as we were not accustomed to the mode of travel, and as if to add to all our troubles, our eldest daughter, Sarah, slipped from the wagon and was run over and died the next day, September 6th, at the age of seven years and eleven months. We buried her on the Sweetwater. It was a great trial to leave her, but we acknowledged the Lord in all things and proceeded on the journey. Soon after this, one of our cows became very weak and we had to leave it, as it could not stand the trip. We traveled on with one yoke of oxen, and it seemed the Lord strengthened them for the extra burden. We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 24th of September, 1852. We remained for October Conference and felt well paid for our three months of travel, crossing the oceans, rivers and plains. On Oct. 10th we left Salt Lake and started south to Provo, a distance of fifty miles. We stayed at the home of Samuel Jackson who was an old friend from England. In a short time my husband built a small adobe house 12 by 14 feet."

The question arises as to whether Samuel and Hannah stayed in St. Louis, Winter Quarters or continued on to Salt Lake in 1851? The Provo 2nd Ward records show that Samuel and Hannah Jackson were re-baptized on September 4, 1852. As to whether they came on in 1851, or earlier in 1852, is unclear. But we do know they were in Provo by the first part of September, 1852, and were there long enough to have acquired a home by the first of October to be able to entertain their friends from England.

David Mefford

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