Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Arrive in New Orleans - Steamboat for the Mississippi

November 4, 1842 (Friday):

[Levi Richards] Friday Nov. 4 Commenced with gentle gales & fine weather. At 3 p.m. made the great [-] bore by compass east southeast 7 miles distant. At 6 saw Gunkey Light south by east at it bore east 3 miles, at 11 1/4 it bore north by east distance 20 miles. Middle part prosperous gales & clear weather. Ends with fresh breeze & passing clouds all drawing sail set. 3 ships in sight, steering along with us. Latitude by observation 24.15. 154 [knots]. Latitude [-]. Longitude [-].

[George Cannon] On the 4th, fair winds but light. This day another child died of scarlet fever, brother to the little one who died of the same complaint.

November 5, 1842 (Saturday):

[Levi Richards] Saturday 5 Commenced with strong gales & passing clouds. At 4 p.m. double head shot Kays, bore by compass south southeast, distance 10 miles. 3 ships in company from 6 p.m. still 12 squally, took in & made sailors required. Last part strong breeze & cloudy. 5 sail in company so ends. Latitude by observation. Varies ½ point east. 187 [knots]. Latitude [-]. Longitude [-].

[Alexander Wright] 5th We had the roughest sea that we have had since we started today. The child is still very sick. There are 5 sail in sight today. We have passed the Tertuges Lighthouse. It continues a strong breeze and the wind favor. I have been assisting to serve out provisions this afternoon. Some have been sick today. John Donald took the fever tonight and fell into a fit of the cramps they thought he was dead but the doctor prescribed a warm bath for him so that he got better.

November 6, 1842 (Sunday):

[Levi Richards] Sunday 6 Commenced with strong gales & passing clouds at 3 p.m. Tortugos Lighthouse, bore by compass north northeast, distance 10 miles. Middle & last part strong gales & cloudy so ends. Latitude by observation 27.03. Varies ½ point east. 218. Latitude [-]. Longitude [-].

[Alexander Wright] 6th This morning was squally Brother [-] child died this morning at 3 o'clock and was committed to the watery grave. Elders Richards and Watt officiated and we intended to have another meeting but the weather did not permit as it became squally. 4 sail in sight today. One passed us from New York, passed us about 2 o'clock called the "Ambasender." It continued. Wet and squally through the night. 2 of W. [William] Donald’s Margaret and Helen are in their [-].

November 7, 1842 (Monday):

[Levi Richards] Monday 7 These 24 hours begins with strong breezes & squally. Spoke the ship "Ambassador" of New York, 10 days out. At 2 a.m. wind howled west northwest, squally with rain. At 10 a.m. buried a passenger's child (Robert Browns). Last part gentle gales & pleasant. 140 knots. Latitude by observation 29.01 north. Latitude [-]. Longitude [-].

[Alexander Wright] 7th This morning at 3 it blowed hard and rained and the wind turned ahead today W. [William] Donald’s children are sick today, especially Margaret. Afternoon. She has got a [-] the wind is a little more favorable. The ship lies her course. We had thought to enter the river today by 10 o'clock but the head wind has reverted us. Some are sick yet Sister [Grace] Crier. We are getting the last of our provision served out tonight. The night fine and the wind ahead.

November 8, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Levi Richards] Tuesday 8 These 24 hours begins with fresh breezes & cloudy at 6 p.m. tacked ship to southwest. At forenoon tacked to north at 8 to west southwest so ends with all sails set by the wind. 117. Latitude by observation 29. 07. north. Latitude [-]. Longitude [-].

[Alexander Wright] 8th The morning fine but the wind still ahead John and Margaret Donald are still sick, some others are still sick. 3 ships in sight. A fine afternoon and the [-]

November 9, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Levi Richards] Wednesday Nov 9 These 24 hours begins with fresh breezes and clear weather. At 4 p.m. tacked ship to north at 12 to west southwest. Strong breezes & flying clouds at 5 a.m. sounded in fifty fathoms water sandy bottom, at M. in 30 fathoms. So ends these 24 hours all sail set by the wind. 121. Latitude by 29.18. north.

[Alexander Wright] 9th The wind was leading this morning and a fine day. They see some rough. 4 o'clock afternoon we took the pilot aboard. Margaret Donald is a little better. The evening is fine. The lighthouse in sight and 24 ships. A great bustle about getting ready for landing. About sundown a steam tug took us in tow and took us on the bar. She lay along side until eleven then she tried to get us off again but could not. So she lay until morning.

November 10, 1842 (Thursday):

[Alexander Wright] 10th She got ready and the seamen trimmed the vessel and and [SIC] put for it part of the cargo as she was light by the head and after breakfast all the passengers went aboard of the tug and she made another exertion but it was all in vain as she never moved her. They hoisted the flag for another steamer so she came and they both tried her again at 12 o'clock but never moved her. So they stopped until after dinner and they tried her again but never moved her, so [the tug] Daniel Webster left us and the [tug] purpose [Porpoise] stayed with us. Margaret Donald is very weak and is not expected to live. John is worse and W. [William] Donald Junior has been taken sick this afternoon and is [-]. We are just preparing to have the ship off the bank or to make another exertion. The day has been fine and a number of ships have passed by us up the river. The tug tried again at 6 am, at 10, and 12, but never moved her. I commenced fishing after breakfast and [-----------] began to catch some young cat fish and we soon had fish enough. We had fresh fish for supper the first of America we had got.

November 11, 1842 (Friday):

[Levi Richards] The ship Sidney arrived at New Orleans Nov. 11, 1842.

[George D. Watt [1]] Dear Brother, --We have had a passage of fifty-six days--fine weather, with a kind captain and crew, who allowed us every reasonable privilege. There have been five deaths out of the company, and one sailor who fell from the yard-arm and was killed–Brother Yates's eldest child, Sister Cannon, Brother Brown's child, and two children belonging to a man not in the church. We stuck upon the bar at the mouth of the [Mississippi] river thirty-four hours; about two hours after we got off, the "Medford" came on the bar, where she stuck thirty-hours. We landed here on the 11th inst…

[Alexander Wright] 11th At 3 this morning the steamer got us off the bank and we anchored half past 9 in the mouth of the Mississippi River the seamen were inspected and at 8 o'clock we raised the anchor and started for New Orleans as the wind was fair and sailed until the steam tug "Porpoise" came up to us then she took us in tow to New Orleans and we got there at 12 o'clock at night. They told us that the "Medford" was fast on the bar as she went out to sea to find another ship to tow up along with us, but found none. A great many ships and brigs passed this morning as we lay at anchor but the wind got ahead so that when we got ahead so that when we got the steamer we soon passed them. W. [William] Donald's children are all sick tonight.

[John Greenhow] On the 17th of September we left Liverpool, in the ship Sidney, and set our faces towards Zion, and after a passage of eight weeks we landed at New Orleans. There were six deaths during the voyage, viz. four children, one sailor, who fell from the yard-arm, and Sister Cannon, She had not been well for some time previous to our leaving Liverpool, and continued getting worse. She died without a struggle or a murmur, and was perfectly reconciled. She requested to be buried in the sea, if she died previous to reaching New Orleans, but if coming up the river that she might be buried on land. Captain Cowan is one of the most kind-hearted humane men that ever crossed the Atlantic.

[Robert Crookston] We had a voyage of eight weeks… At last we were towed up the river to New Orleans and so had a chance to set our feet on terra firma.

[Ann Cannon Woodbury] We got to New Orleans, November 11, 1842, where we got oranges and anything we wanted.

November 12, 1842 (Saturday):

[Alexander Wright] 12th This morning we took the counsel of Elder Levi Richards and we went in search of a house and I carried a letter to a daughter of Petter Fergison [Peter Ferguson] at Aberdeen and her husband told me that Joe Smith had shot or caused the governor of Missouri to be shot and they were trying to take Joe and called him a great imposter. I found several houses to set at 8 dollars per month or 5 for half a month I went back to the ship and got W. [William] Donald and we went and tried a number of places and at last we rented a room for half a month for 4 elders. Then we went and carried up the children and their beds and placed them in their lodging, No. 8 Saint Marks Street, opposite Saint Mary’s Market. The rest of us lodged in the ship. Only my mother that stayed to assist them to nurse our president and council were looking out for a boat to take us to St. Louis and they thought that they would take the "Alexander Scott" but did not settle the bargain as they expected the "Medford" and that her passengers would go with us so that we might go the cheaper.

November 13, 1842 (Sunday):

[Alexander Wright] 13th This being Sabbath we did not expect to do anything but we were greatly mistaken for the markets and stores were all open and doing business as usual and the carters driven on the same as if any day so we began to see that it was a free country those that want to worship can worship can worship [SIC] and those that want to work or pleasure can do so as we saw them drinking and dancing and playing all kind of music and games. As we returned to the ship from W. [William] Donald's lodging his family was a little better as they had got quite a rest and we expect that they will be fit to go up the river again Tuesday. The "Medford" landed at our stern at 1 o'clock and I went aboard and was glad to see some children in the gospel landed on the land of Joseph then Elder Hyde and Richards and others went and settled and learned what the whole company could be taken up for and they found the "Alexander Scott" to give the favorable best offer taken all things into consideration and Elder Hide [Hyde] came aboard our ship and addressed the company and told that he was truly thankful to his Heavenly Father that he and his company were safe landed especially for the near escape that they had. Me [-] the steamer blew up that was towing them off the bar at the mouth of the Mississippi River for they stuck on the bar as well as we. He then spoke of our passage up and told us that they had agreed the "Alexander Scott" to take us to St. Louis at 2 ½ dollars each, those under 14 half and under 4 nothing. 100 pounds carried to each and 25 cents per 100 for all extra luggage and showed that she was the best bargain considering all things as be the capstan was to carry a few up that had no money so they seemed to be all reconciled after asking some questions and having them answered although there was a good deal of murmuring because they had heard that a boat could be got at 2 dollars per head as there are those that try to break up the company if possible as it breaks their business for they have so much ahead for getting passengers and they try to destroy our plan of chartering a passage.

[George D. Watt] …the "Medford" arrived to-day, 13th; she lies about ten yards from us. They have had two deaths; upon the whole a good passage.--We have taken one of the largest and best steam boats in this port; we pay 2 ½ dollars per head, and 25 cents. per cwt. above the weight allowed each person, which is 100 lbs. We are all going up together.

November 14, 1842 (Monday):

[Alexander Wright] 14th Today we got our permits and prepared to have our goods and luggage examined and to go aboard the steamboat in the afternoon I went to the captain of the "Alexander Scott" and he got the cooks to pass their room to W. [William] Donald's family as we thought to take them along as they looked a little better, so we agreed to pay the cooks 5 dollars for their room during the passage and expected to sail this evening by it rained so that they could not get on with the inspection of the passengers luggage so the boat came and took off some passengers from another ship and the captain said he would not wait as they were not ready then the murmuring began again with both Saints and sinners. Then she came along side of us and concluded to stay until morning and when our passengers went aboard and saw her crowded already and no place but amongst the engine the murmuring increased and I thought at one time that they would go and take a passage for themselves W. D. [William Donaldson’s] children not so well today William and Anne seems to be worse. We lodged another night on board the Sidney.

November 15, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Alexander Wright] 15th I went to town to see W. [William] Donald's family and to conclude about their going. I found William and Anne at the fever and I told them that if the children were mine that I would not take them out, neither did I believe if they on the boat knew the state that they were in that they would take them on so they concluded to stay and have my mother to stay with them and the rest of us go up and W. [William] Donald's luggage with us so we put aboard the steamer being inspected by the customs house officer and started at 2 o'clock and most all our company came along but the passengers of the "Medford" was not ready neither was there room for them. She is a fine boat. She is going 16 miles per hour. Our murmuring has ceased and they have concluded to put up with there lot for all the time. The place we are in is just between the engines. One has had a sore throat this 2 day.


[1] Letter from George D. Watt, dated November 13, 1843 (published in the Millenial Star in January 1883 (3:9), page 160 and in the History of the Church, Vol. 5, pages 184-185), referred to hereafter as “[George D. Watt].”

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