Thursday, September 3, 2009

Steamboat Stuck in the Mississippi

November 16, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Alexander Wright] 16th We are going on at a good speed we passed and stopped a few moments at Natchez today at 12 o'clock we are amused with the scenery as we pass along. We see them driving the cotton to the river side for the steamboats to carry to market and we have met a number of boats going down and a number of farmer barges with [-] to New Orleans. They build a barge and loads her down and then sell barge and all. Anne Wright is a little better today. It is wet and foggy this afternoon. We stopped a sort time [at] Vicksburg, landed some passengers and the passengers bought some provisions. They charge higher here for provisions than at New Orleans. 12 o'clock at night when we stopped here and all made well.

November 17, 1842 (Thursday):

[Alexander Wright] 17th Today we passed a boat that left New Orleans on Saturday which was 2 days before said of the river then they tried to get over but ran aground and we had to build fires and stay by them all night which caused great murmuring and many of the Saints excused themselves in drinking spirits to warm them as they thought some were intoxicated. The night was cold and frost and the ice ran thick in the river.

November 18, 1842 (Friday):

[Alexander Wright] 18th We passed the Arkansas River at 2 this morning which is said to be half distance. We had a very cold night of it. Some hail fell last night and it freezes so that the decks are covered with ice. We have had to put on our winter dresses today. Father has not been very well today. Anne [Ann] and Marey [Mary] is better. Petter [Peter] Murphy had his hat and shoes stolen last night and another man had his watch stolen from his berth when he was out at the privy. At ten tonight we stopped a few minutes at Memphis and put ashore some passengers and goods and took on some passengers and bought some provisions, but did with as little as possible as everything was most double price, but bread and we bought little put but bread. We fixed our beds for a winter night so we slept comfortable.

November 19, 1842 (Saturday):

[Alexander Wright] 19th This morning frost here, but was calm. The boat stopped at sunrise to to [SIC] take in [-]. A number went ashore. Some took guns but shot nothing but a small hawk. One man shot 2 partridges last night. Father is better and all well. We passed a boat at noon stuck on a shoal and seemed to be very fast. We came through where the water was 8 foot. At 2 o'clock a barge came along side and gave us a supply of wood. We have met a great number of barges with produce and cattle. We are sailing along the state of Arkansas on our left and Mississippi on our right. Then we came [to] Missouri on our left and Tennessee and Kentucky on our right.

November 20, 1842 (Sunday):

[John Greenhow] After tarrying three days at New Orleans we again embarked on board the "Alex Scott," and made rapid progress till we passed the mouth of the Ohio, when we soon after run a-ground and remained there three days…

[George Cannon] We were now a fortnight on the river, stuck fast in different places; but about four miles below Chester I thought we should spend the winter. John and Archibald Boyd and I took possession of a log house and put it in tolerable repair. Brother Alexander Wright said he had a prior right to this house, but as he had made no agreement with the owner, possession was the first points of law. Here our children were washed and cleaned, and they had need of it, and Betsy, John Boyd’s wife, and Ann, Archibald’s wife, behaved like Saints ought to do--like mothers to my children. They worked night and day, not knowing how soon the boat might go, washed and cleaned everything belonging to us and mended everything that came under their notice. In fact they behaved like mothers to my children and the Lord will bless them for it.

[Alexander Wright] 20th The boat stopped at the mouth of the Ohio River this morning until day light. I drank some water out of the Ohio which was clear and good to drink. We started at day light and through the forenoon we passed through a very snaggy place. There were 4 wrecked boats. Some were snagged and others blown up and burned. In the afternoon we were all put ashore as we had come to a ridge of rock and a shoal called [-]. We was ashore on the Missouri. [ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE IS WRITTEN, (turn back leaf) My father and us went and looked at a log cabin about half a mile from the ship and we concluded to take it as we intended to go to work and to move the luggage, my father, and the women into a house until the boat got up. In the afternoon, my father and I went to Chester and obtained liberty to occupy the cabin until the boat got up by paying for the wood that we burned from Mr. Col, but two of the name of Boid [Boyd] moved into the same house on Sabbath and took possession of it [28th] and Canon [George Cannon] went in the morning. I went and told them that we had agreed for the house, but they would not let it go as they said they would pay his asking [price] and stay. I then went Chester to Mr. Col and told him and he said he would come down and turn them out but then went to his brother as he had gone to St. Louis and left his brother to act for him. They went and agreed with him that they might stay and pay what he asked for it. I asked to Mr. Boid [Boyd] in the afternoon and he told me what he had done. I told him that it was very underhand work and that I should know a man by his actions, so we could not get the house. There was a boat called the "Ohio" came down to assist the one that sunk to get off so that the hopes was that we might get up with her.

November 21, 1842 (Monday):

[Alexander Wright] 21st After day light they came ashore with a scow and took the women and children ashore off the boat then they brought out another load of luggage and took the rest of the passengers aboard and then they took out the rest of the luggage and sent the passengers ashore again. The boat started a little, but stuck again so that they took the passengers aboard for the night and let the men go to bed as they had all been on duty for 2 days and a night.

November 22, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Alexander Wright] 22nd After breakfast all the provisions chests and bedding and cooking utensils and passengers were put ashore again. We raised a fire and cooked our dinner and supper and had a short washing to each of us and in the evening the boat got up and the luggage was put aboard and the passengers went aboard for the night.

November 23, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Alexander Wright] 23rd Early this morning the boat started, several boats past us while we were on the shore. We sailed about 40 miles and [--] to sound and after sounding found that we could not get over so we stopped for the night.

November 24, 1842 (Thursday):

[John Greenhow] …on our deliverance [after running aground] we got to within ninety miles of St. Louis, where she had to remain three weeks for want of water…

[Alexander Wright] 24th The cabin passengers began to leave, some by land and others by boats going past the river is falling a boat coming on from St. Louis. Got snagged a short distance above us and sunk. No prospects of us getting up as the river is still falling and the frost is hard.

November 25, 1842 (Friday):

[Alexander Wright] 25th Cabin passengers were told that they would have to pay for their board if they stayed and the steerage passengers were restricted from burning any more wood belonging to the ship so that some went out and camped and others cut wood and brought it. We took up our abode by the side of an [--]. Stayed there and cooked and kept ourselves warm by gathering wood and keeping on a fire from morn to night and sleeped aboard the boat all night. The weather is fine, but cold and frosty.

November 26, 1842 (Saturday):

[Alexander Wright] 26th Passengers are daily leaving, some by other boats going up, some to houses, and others to go up by land, but no chance for our boat as the river still falls. The boat that sunk above us has delivered her cargo and is putting in a bulks head of clay to close the leak so that they may get her off.

November 27, 1842 (Sunday):

[Alexander Wright] 27 It is Sabbath today, but no respect is paid to it. Some as they continue to carry off their luggage and rather an extra quantity has been moved today. We [-] the mood is light and it looks to be poor sail.

November 28, 1842 (Monday):

[George Cannon] November 28th, Brother Greenhow started for St. Louis on foot, knowing well that he could do no good for his family or the Saints by remaining with them.

November 29, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Alexander Wright] 29th We still lie 3 miles below Chester in the state of hellness. We are still living in the woods by day and in the boat a night we get our dinners most every day by shooting and plenty of grapes to pull from the vines that hang on the trees. The game is not very plenty here and it is generally of the small kind such as squirrels and quails, deers turkeys, &c. Prairie hens are seldom to be seen here. It is a poor place here and very little work to be got and wages low as there was no appearance to get away. Elder Richards called the official members of the Church of Jesus Christ to assemble together in a grove by Elder Hareson [Harrison] and when we met there we went to a goly [UNCLEAR], back of a small log cabin occupied by [Thomas] Fairbridge and Kay. Were [went] to the boat. Elder Richards then told them what he had called them together for to know who was to be on the Lord's side and who was not and spoke concerning the transgressions that existed and the violation of the words of wisdom. They did not all appear and we sent for them and while they were gone. There was a proposal that a committee should be appointed to go and by some provision wholesale that the company might obtain it cheaper. Elders [Levi] Richards, Watt, [William] McLean, and Harison [Richard Harrison] to buy pork and beef and to bring in for the company the brethren then had come and as it was let, we had no time to go into particulars, but consented to be on the Lord's side and to keep the word of wisdom. The meeting then adjourned until Thursday at 2 o'clock to meet at Elder Boid's [Boyd’s], a half mile from the boat.

[George Cannon] About the beginning of December Brother Richards called a meeting and wished to bring the Church to order, to have them such as he could recommend when he got to Nauvoo. It was proved that many had broken the word of wisdom and some females on board the "Alex. Scott" escaped reproof on the principle that he that has least sin should cast the first stone.

[Ann Cannon Woodbury] Levi Richards engaged the heaviest draft boat on the river and at Chester it stuck on a sand bar and we had to live in the woods for two weeks. We suffered considerable before they got a boat to take us to St. Louis.

November 30, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Alexander Wright] 30th Today I went in search of work and accompanied Elders [Levi] Richard and Watt and Hareson [Richard Harrison] too, in search of provision. We found that the cheapest we could find was 2 dollars per hundred and on fat for both and I could find no work but was to call in the morning to know if I could get some work to gather corn.

December 1, 1842 (Thursday):

[Alexander Wright] Dec. 1st This morning I started with 2 more to gather corn if it was wanted, but the farmer had but one time, so that he could not employ us. We still live as before and are washing today. At 2 o'clock the council met as agreed. Meeting was opened and the business that had to be done commenced by considering the rest that provisions could be bought at and that the good prices would be more than 2 cents and the bad less so that they could not agree, and taken all things, to consideration it was agreed that every one should buy his own the best way he could. The meeting after doing some other business, adjourned to Monday.

December 2, 1842 (Friday):

[George Cannon] On the 2nd of December 1842, my poor Davy took ill of the scarlet fever or ship fever, and two days after, John Boyd, son of Archibald, took the same complaint. We left the log house to go up the river when the children were in the height of the complaint, yet I think they are the only children who have survived the complaint, of which fourteen died to my knowledge from the ship’s company.

[Alexander Wright] Dec. 2nd I went in search of work this morning but found none but agreed with a farmer for a hog. At 2 dollars per hundred I then returned to the boat and found that Elder [Levi] Richards was willing to take the half of the hog Elder Watt went with me to the farmer and chose the one we thought best and he brought it in the evening and we divided it in quarters to different families.

December 3, 1842 (Saturday):

[Alexander Wright] The Dec. 3, I went to see some chopping and my Brother James went with me and we concluded to take it although we were only to get 40 cents a cord for chopping. We went home and I concluded to take a days travel into the country to see if I could find any work.

December 4, 1842 (Sunday):

[Alexander Wright] Dec. 4 Being Sabbath, I spent the day at our camp in the wood and at night went aboard of the boat to sleep. As usual, a number of strangers visit us today and much opposed to Joseph Smith and the Mormons. One gentle man entered into conversation with Elder [Levi] Richards and he said he had found one candid Mormon. I said if he would make inquiry he would find the most of them candid men and Joseph Smith was as candid a man as ever he met with. I told him that I had proven that for myself.

December 5, 1842 (Monday):

[Alexander Wright] Dec. 5 This morning I started with my brother Robert Wright for the 6 mile prairie for a distance of 20 miles. We got there little after sun down and as we knew no person save a Mr. [William] Brunt who came on the ship Sidney with us from England who had bought Mr. Hind’s farm and knowing that Mr. Hind was a Latter-day Saint I though of lodging there and we began to inquire for Mr. Hinds, but we was yet some way from his farm. As it got dark we called at a Mr. Crows to inquire the way and he said as it was dark we might lay [-] our gun and stay for the night. I thanked him and said we would be glad of the chance. So we sat down and after speaking few words he asked me if I was a Latter-day Saint. I said I was. He said he should be very happy to spend the evening with a brother, so I felt quite at home and enjoyed their company through the evening and after attending to family worship went to bed

December 6, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Alexander Wright] Dec. 6 After breakfast I and my brother started for Brother Hinds and as we went we met him by the way and his wife, Sister Hind on horse back going to Brother Cros [POSSIBLY: Crows] to get him to go to the squire’s as a witness for he gave us to understand that Mr. [William] Brunt had gone back on his bargain and had gone yesterday to the land office to enter 3 forties, one of them occupied by Brother Hind. He thought to enter but B [Brother] Hind had entered it himself I went with him and visited Brother Castle returned to B [Brother] Crows for the night.

December 7, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Alexander Wright] 7th Called at B [Brother] Hinds in the morning and saw Mr. [William] Brunt and Rigbey [PROBABLY: Job Rigby] and families. I then with Robert for the boat "Alex Scott" at the mouth of Mary’s River. Went by Brownstown and Gorden's Mill found no employment and as night over took us we took lodging at squire Jeffres [Jeffries] and agreed with him for some corn meal at 3 bits per bushel and agreed to cut saw logs and take a whip saw for pay if the boat stopped to let us have time.

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