Saturday, August 29, 2009

Leaving Liverpool on the Sidney: Ann Cannon is Sick

The next few blogposts will follow George Cannon, the Immigrant, and his family from Liverpool to Nauvoo, Illinois. The Immigrant and his family sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans on the ship Sidney with other LDS converts. Others on the voyage also left extant journals. For the most part, the following entries will list a particular date and then give the journal entries from the various participants in their own words. Occasionally there are retrospective accounts by participants, or comments by Joseph Smith or others about applicable events and they are also put in where relevant.

September 3, 1842 (Tuesday):

[George Cannon [1]] Liverpool, September 3, 1842--Gave notice to my employer that I was leaving his employ that day. He had previous to this offered me five shillings a week more wages, telling me that it was quite absurd to think of more distress coming on this country--that things were beginning to look brighter, and in a short time would be (as he termed it) alright. Finding that I was determined by the help of God to go, he acknowledged that my testimony and his own observation had led him to conclusions which made him tremble, and he begged of me to write to him when I got to Nauvoo the truth, and he would place confidence in my account, and he thought he could induce about forty of his relatives to join him in emigrating to Nauvoo, and they are pretty rich in worldly substance (he has no prejudice against the doctrine.) Now the petty trials commence in every shape. All our friends know that we will bitterly repent leaving England and a constant employ. We can get nothing for our furniture--our friends who are so anxious about us will buy none of it, not even the clock or drawers which belonged to the family.

[Ann Cannon Woodbury [2]] My mother had a presentiment that she would die on the sea. Father wanted to go by New York, but she said she had a brother and two sisters there and they would keep her children if she was gone and she wanted them to go to the body of the church. Her folks were so opposed to Mormonism they would never let them go.

[Robert Crookston [3]] My father had saved quite a sum of money for his old age and I also had quite a little so we decided to emigrate to America where we could be with the body of the Church. My Aunt Sophia, or Suffie we called her, and cousin Maggie were anxious to go with us so we told them we would pay their passage. Uncle William Robinson had not joined the Church. He drank a good deal and he and Aunt Suffie were not living together. He felt very bad and wanted to go with us but had no money. He was a good natured, kind man but father and mother did not like him. His daughter loved him and I felt sorry for him and finally the folks consented and we brought him over. We could not afford to pay his passage so we pulled the feather beds to the front of a bunk and hid the old man under the quilts while the inspector went through. All of us would smuggle food down to him and take him up on deck at night for some fresh air. After he had been in Nauvoo a while he joined the Church but was not robust and died at that place. The folks had to bury him. Our Scotch neighbors thought we were crazy, and as they knew that we could not take much of our possessions with us we had to sell everything at a great sacrifice. But we wanted to come to Zion and be taught by the prophet of God. We had the spirit of gathering so strongly that Babylon had no claim on us…

September 13, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Alexander Wright [4]] We landed at Liverpool on the 13 at 1 o’clock and anchored in the river as the tied was in. I went ashore in a small boat and went to Mary Bruit and Feildens of so to see where the ship was and I met Mr. Pratt [5] as I went up and learned that the ship lay in Waterloo Dock and her name was the Sidney of Boston commanded by Captain Cowen. I then went to her and found Brother Hiram Clark there given out the berths and I took by our berths on the larboard side Numbers 37, 38, 39, 40 and 42. I then went down and the boat had got up to the wharf and we hired a carter to take our luggage to the ship for 6 shillings and we sleeped aboard of the Sidney on 13th of Sept. and we lodged there until we started and provided ourselves with such things as we wanted. We bought straw for our beds at 1/8 per stone and we got boiled water and room to eat our meat in a cook house for 1 ½ each we was not allowed fire on board until the ship sailed as no fire is allowed within the docks at Liverpool.

September 16, 1842 (Friday):

[Levi Richards [6]] 1842-Ship Sidney lying in the port of Liverpool.
Friday Sept. 16 M. [morning] commenced with fresh breezes from the southward cloudy sky. At 4 p.m. hauled down to the dock gates.

September 17, 1842 (Saturday):

[Levi Richards] Saturday 17 At 9 a.m. hauled through the gates down the pier head. At 10, set the fore & mizen topsail, & dropped off into the river, & called over the passengers’ names & found three secreted & sent them onshore & proceeded down the river - at 11 the wind to the west, northwest. Weather looking very bad & rainy, returned up the river again some 10 miles.

[George Cannon] My wife’s brother did not come to see us off. Well, this shows how deeply they have our happiness in view! Saturday morning about nine o’clock. 17th of September, 1842, we [7] hauled out of the Waterloo Dock on board the ship Sidney. Captain Cowan, and were towed by a steamer past the light ship (the wind being about northeast and very light).

[Alexander Wright] On Saturday 17th of Sept. we [8] went through the docks and started about 9 o'clock with 180 passengers for New Orleans. We sailed for a few miles but the wind died and the tide took us back so that we had to anchor opposite Liverpool until the turn of the [tied] did rise.

[John Greenhow [9]] In Liverpool the work has been going on steadily, since the time you [John Taylor] left, and the hearers both numerous and respectable. At the time you left I believe the Liverpool Conference numbered about two hundred and fifty; and when I left, in September last, over seven hundred. We have had peace and good order throughout, and have had but seldom indeed to resort of cutting off. The last twelve weeks of my presidency over the Liverpool Conference we baptized ninety eight.

[Robert Crookston] …on the 7th day of September 1841 we [10] sailed from Liverpool on the Ship Sydney. Captain Cowan, Levi Richards, President with 180 passengers. Among the number were George Z. Cannon, Angus Cannon and their mother, George D. Watt and family.

[Joseph Smith [11]] Ship Sydney sailed from Liverpool for New Orleans with 180 Saints.

September 18, 1842 (Sunday):

[Levi Richards] Sunday 18 Commenced with strong breezes from the west northwest & rainy. At 1 ½ p.m. came to in the river, 2 miles below Liverpool. Middle part moderate & pleasant. At 10 a.m. hove up anchor, took steam & towed down the river ending with light breeze from the north.

[George Cannon] On Sunday, the 18th, we all left Liverpool in good spirits, and nothing caused me so much regret as leaving so many of the Saints behind, anxious to go but without the means to do so.

[Alexander Wright] Morning 18. When we got a steam tug to take us down the river. I standed to prayer the first night by the directions of Elders [John] Greenhow and [George D.] Watt. The wind was favorable today.

September 19, 1842 (Monday):

[Levi Richards] Monday 19 Commenced with light from the north & pleasant. At 2 p.m. steamboat left us 14 miles from town, set all sail by the wind. At 4 set fore topsail & topgallant stud sail. At 8 p.m. the light on point lines bore by compass west, southwest 10 miles. At 10 saw Skariee Light, bearing by compass west. At 12 it bore southwest ½ west 7 miles. First the wind hauled south, southeast. Cloudy weather, Holyhead Light, been southwest at 3 ½ it bore east by north 2 south. At 8, Bordsey Light, bore southeast 12 miles. At 11 a.m. tacked ship to west southeast ending with gentle gales & passing clouds.

[Alexander Wright] Sep 19. We had a fair wind today so that we had to bet and it was counseled that it would be the best order to have prayers at the main hatch when the weather would permit. There was some sickness but not much in our family.

September 20, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Levi Richards] Tuesday Sept. 20 Commenced with moderate gales & rainy. At 4 p.m. passed Bordsey Island Lighthouse, bore by compass southeast by north, tacked ship to the west, northwest. At 1 a.m. tacked ship to south, southwest. Moderate gales & cloudy. At 4 to west, northwest at 6 to southwest…Flattering winds, ends with moderate breezes & cloudy all sail set by the wind.

[Alexander Wright] 20 wind was more favorable. The greater part of the passengers were sick and my mother was bad with a dysentery.

September 21, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Levi Richards] Wednesday 21 Commenced with fresh gales & cloudy & frequent squalls of rain. At 2 ½ p.m. saw St. David's Head, bearing by compass southeast of west bearing head sea at 8 p.m. At 6 the head bore southeast by east, at 7 the Smalls Light bore by compass south by east from which took departure 8 miles distant. Middle part strong breeze & heavy head sea. At 2 a.m. got the anchors on bow & secured them. At 4 put one reef in the fore & mizen topsail, and furled the topgallant sails, spanker & spencer. At 11 set the reef from the mizen topsail. Ends with fresh breeze & heavy cross sea. From noon 20th to noon 21st 142 knots. Latitude 50.-16. Longitude 7.-57.

[Alexander Wright] 21 we had a strong breeze today and all our people were sick but W. [William] Donald and Robert Wright. We lost sight of land today.

September 22, 1842 (Thursday):

[Levi Richards] Thursday 22 All these 24 hours strong gales & squally. Saw an English man of war steering up the channel & one brig. Ends with strong breezes & passing clouds. 207 knots. Latitude 47.-28. Longitude 11.-11.

[Alexander Wright] 22nd we had a fair wind today and the most of the passengers were still sick.

[George Cannon] We are now launched on the bosom of the mighty deep, and sea-sickness had made the passengers for the most part very ill. My dear Ann is dreadfully affected with this nauseous sickness, perhaps more so on account of her pregnancy. In how may ways and shapes are we tried! Not a morsel of food or drink will remain on her stomach--the moment she lifts her head she is sick almost to death. Yet I have never heard one complaint from her on her own account, but regret at not being able to assist me in the care of the children. Her stomach seems to have changed its functions, and this is the tenth day without anything passing through her.

And how am I all this time! Well in body, but if depending on my own strength I should be in despair. But thanks be to our Heavenly Father, he has removed a fear from my mind which has preyed on it for years. Many years since I dreamed a dream which time or circumstance has never been able entirely to remove. I was impressed with a conviction that my wife should die while in a state of pregnancy. This was before I thought of marrying. Many would think this preceded from imbecility of mind or superstition; but my dreams (those I mean which made a deep impression on my memory) have been fulfilled so plainly that I never could doubt but that God sent them for some good purpose. I have never seen my wife pregnant without this fear of her death, and always felt thankful to God in a twofold sense when this critical time was past. She was aware of this feeling of mine, and it was a trial of our faith to cross the sea while she was in this state. But thoughts of undertaking the voyage in the spring when the weather was so cold, and with an infant of two or three months old, was in her estimation worse; and both of us feeling, while in England, that we were away from home and could not rest satisfies, although worldly circumstances favored us, still our hearts were in Zion and with our children, however persecuted, calumniated and belied.

While racking my mind and considering and devising what more I could do for my Ann-- I had given her consecrated oil, castor oil, pills, salt water, etc., had the hands of the elders laid on her, still she continued in the same state and I feared that inflammation would take place. Sister [Harriet] Chandler had no apparatus for administering an injection. I applied to Brother [Levi] Richards, who got all that was requisite of the captain, and this was the means under the hand of God of removing one fear from my bosom, and causing me to rest in peace that night--the first for many nights and days. Leonora and David have had no sickness and are less trouble than I expected, but George, Mary Alice, Anny and Angus have all been very sick, particularly George and Anny.

Perhaps a more agreeable ship’s company, both of the Saints and seamen, never crossed the Atlantic. The captain and officers are kind and humane men and so far from disputes or hard feelings that the sailors say they never saw a family who agreed better: and they wonder how a company of people who were many of them strangers to each other can bear and forbear in the manner they do. One of the sailors, an intelligent man, told me that he had been in the passenger line of shipping for years and never saw anything like it: in general the captain kept his distance and did not allow of freedoms from the passengers: but here he allowed them every indulgence, took pleasure in having the children round him on the quarter-deck and would play with them as if they were his own. May the Lord bless him for his kindness!


[1] George Cannon Journal (privately printed by John Q. Cannon in 1927), referred to hereafter as “[George Cannon]” unless otherwise specifically stated.

[2] Ann Cannon was the third child of George and Ann Cannon (she later married Orin Nelson Woodbury). Ann’s hand-written journals were preserved and are included, in summary form, in Cannon Family Historical Treasury (George Cannon Family Association, 1967), hereafter referred to as “CFHT.” This segment was on page 161. Later references to Ann Woodbury Cannon’s journal in the CFHT, pages 161 to 162, shall be referred to as “[Ann Cannon Woodbury]”, unless otherwise specifically indicated.

[3] Robert Crookston Autobiography, 1900 (LDS Church Archives), referred to hereafter as “[Robert Crookston]”.

[4] Journal of Alexander Wright (LDS Church Archives), referred to hereafter as “ [Alexander Wright]”.

[5] “Between the middle of September and my own embarkation in October, I chartered three vessels for New Orleans, and filled them with the emigrating Saints, viz: The ‘Sidney,’ with one hundred and eighty souls; the ‘Medford,’ with two hundred and fourteen souls; and the ‘Henry,’ with one hundred and fifty-seven. I next chartered the ‘Emerald,’ on which I placed about two hundred and fifty passengers, including myself and family.” Parley P Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt: Revised and Enhanced Edition, edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Deseret Book Company, 2000) (hereafter “Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt”). Pratt was president of the British Mission. Hiram Clark was in charge of emigration for the church out of Liverpool.

[6] Levi Richards Emigrating Company Journal (LDS Church Archives), referred to hereafter as “ [Levi Richards]”. The passenger list includes Levi Richards, age 40 (born in 1802), a “minister of the Gospel.”

[7] The passenger list has 8 Cannons, including George Cannon, Sen. (the author of the journal), age 45 (born in 1797 [he was actually 47, born December 3, 1794]), a joiner; Ann Cannon (his wife), age 42 (born in 1800 [she was actually 44, born August 26, 1798]); and their six children: George Cannon, Jun., age 15 (born in 1827 [January 11, 1827]); Mary Alice Cannon, age 13 (born in 1829 [she was actually born December 9, 1828]); Ann Cannon, age 10 (born in 1832 [January 28, 1832]); Agnes [Angus] Munn Cannon, age 6 (born in 1836 [he was actually 8, born May 17, 1834]); David Henry Cannon, age 4 (born in 1838 [April 23, 1838]); and Leonora Cannon, age 1 (born in 1841 [she was actually 2, born September 11, 1840]). George, Jun. adopted the middle name “Quayle” later, in the goldfields of California, to distinguish himself from another George Cannon also in the goldfields.

[8] The passenger list has 8 Wrights, including William Wright, age 62 (born in 1780), a farmer; Ann Wright (his wife), age 62 (born in 1780); and their six children: Alexander Wright (a son and the author of the journal), age 37 (born in 1805), a farmer; James Wright (a son), age 30 (born in 1812), a farmer; John Wright (a son), age 22 (born in 1820), a carpenter; Robert Wright (a son), age 20 (born in 1822), a carpenter; Mary Wright (a daughter), age 18 (born in 1824); and Ann Wright (a daughter), age 17 (born in 1825).

[9] Letter from John Greenhow to John Taylor (published in Times and Seasons on February 1, 1843, pages 91-92), referred to hereafter as “ [John Greenhow]”. The passenger list has 6 Greenhows, including John Greenhow (the author of the letter), age 33 (born in 1809) a printer; Jane Greenhow (his wife), age 33 (born in 1809); and their four daughters: Eliza Greenhow, age 13 (born in 1829); Sarah Greenhow, age 11 (born in 1831); Jane Greenhow, age 9 (born in 1833); and Mary Greenhow, age 6 (born in 1836)

[10] The passenger list includes James Crookston, Sen., age 62 (born in 1780), a collier; Mary Crookston (his wife), age 62 (born in 1780); and their two children: Robert Crookston (the son and author of the autobiography), age 22 (born in 1820), a collier; and James Crookston, Jun., age 20 (born 1822), a collier.

[11] History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 164

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