Elsa Schaefer Laemmlen Funeral 9 June 1988, Reedley California

Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (12)Today is the anniversary of my Grandma’s funeral in Reedley, California in 1988.  I love my family and friends who surrounded her life.  Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (13)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (15)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (8)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (10)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (11)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (6)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (7)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (9)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (16)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (17)Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (18)

Laemmlen Family Gatherings after the funeral:

Ann and Riana Laemmlen:Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (4)

Rudolf and Elsa sons and families: Wilfred and Gwen, Art and Grace, Franklin and Anne, Henry and Joanne:Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (5)Rudolf and Elsa posterity:Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (3)Grandpa Rudolf and Ann:Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (2)Rudolf and Elsa grandchildren:Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (1)Grace Laemmlen and her sister, Marilyn Beutler holding Riana Laemmlen:Laemmlen, Elsa Funeral, Family 1988 (14)

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Henry Dittmore b. 1836, d. 1893

dittmore-henry-b-1836-sitting  dittmore-henry-b-1836


Written by his daughter, Eliza D. Call:

dittmore-henry-waldorf-churchWaldorf Church

Henry Dittmore was born June 8, 1836, at Waldorf a/Werra Saxmeininger, Germany. The son of George Nicolas Dittmar and Christina Maria Heiner. His mother died when he was two years old. We do not know who cared for the children until they could care for themselves. There were the two of them, he and his sister Ann Eva.

At the age of seventeen his father died and he and his sister were left orphans and in course of time his sister left for America. At age nineteen he bid farewell to his native land, relatives and friends and wended his way to be with his sister, and to escape four years of compulsory military service.

Had Henry remained in his native land he would have had to serve four years in the army. At that time all men over twenty one had to serve in the army for four years in military training and all boys from fourteen to eighteen had to learn some kind of trade.  He had learned the trade of a tailor.

They located in a German colony in Pennsylvania where they remained till the spring of 1860, then came by ox team, a long tedious journey. Struggling on, over rough roads, fording rivers, across plains and mountains, enduring heat and storm and all the privations and hardships of the journey, they arrived in Great Salt Lake City on September 1, 1860.

Henry found himself alone, you might say, in a strange land among strangers, most of them speaking a different language. He found employment at Daniel H. Wells, receiving his board and lodgings and ten dollars per month. He often was escort of Brother Wells’ girls to dances while living here. He made his home with Brother Wells about three and one half years. By that time he had met an English girl, Rachel Smuin whom he married on March 11, 1864. She was the daughter of Thomas Smuin and Sarah Hook. They were married in the Endowment House.

He continued in the employment of Brother Wells for about two years. He then went to Morgan, where his uncle Martin Heiner and family had located. This place did not seem to appeal to him, thus in the spring of 1869 he moved his family to Pleasant Grove, and bought a piece of land about two and one half miles south of Pleasant Grove center at the foot of a big sand hill. A nice stream of water ran by on the south side of the property.

Here he built his home, at first a log one-room house with one door, one small window, a dirt roof and floor, with a fire place where his wife cooked. In a few years he dug a cellar, rocked it up instead of cement, put in some bins on one side to put his grain in and moved the log room on it and put a shingle roof on.

During this time he met many hardships, trouble and sorrow, yet many were the weary traveler who were fed and they and their teams sheltered for the night. At his place no one was ever turned from his door, hungry.

He cut his grain with the cradle, and his lucerne with the scythe and hauled hay on shares to feed his cattle and horses in the winter. His eldest son, Arthur was accidentally run over with a loaded wagon and died three days later from the injuries. He often stood guard at night to protect his wife and family as well as the neighbors from the Indians.

For five years he cared for Thomas Smuin, his father-in-law. The last two years he had to be cared for just like a baby., The old gentleman had to be dressed and undressed, bathed, with never a complaint from Henry. He felt that it wasn’t any more than his duty to care for him, the same as if it were his own father.

He worked on the railroad and though was not a public sort of man hauled rock for the temple out of Cottonwood Canyon by ox team.


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Bushman Family History as Recorded by John Bushman in his Journal

Today is John Bushman’s Birthday.  He was born 7 June 1843 in Nauvoo, Illinois.  John was a wonderful record keeper.  We are grateful for the history he recorded in his journals of his ancestors and of his family.

Bushman, John sketch recording his historyBushman, John sketch recording his history 1John Bushman’s journals can be found in the Special Collections at the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU.  Below is a transcription of the first pages of his journal, which contain a history of his  Bushman ancestors and of his family.Bushman, John's Journals HBLL (2)John wrote in the third person.  Here is his handwriting:Bushman, John's Journals HBLL

Born June 7th 1845 at Nauvoo, Illinois, his father was born in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania, who was the 7th child of Abraham and Ester Frank’s Bushman, whom tradition says came from Germany about 1753. Abraham Bushman was born 12th April 1767 and Esther Frank was born 4th Oct. 1764. They were married January 12, 1768. Bushman, Abraham & Esther

There were ten children born to this worthy couple as follows:

Henry Bushman born February 10, 1791, Died in infancy
Elizabeth Bushman born February 12, 1789, died Oct. 4, 1840
Susana Bushman born February 5, 1793, died June 10, 1853
Mary Bushman born Nov. 1, 1795, died Aug. 3, 1877
John Bushman born May 5, 1797, died Aug. 20, 1845
Martin Bushman born April 1, 1802, died Oct. 18, 1870
Ann Bushman born Sept. 5, 1806, died not known
Sarah Bushman Born Mar. 12, 1804 died February 27, 1877
Esther Bushman born May 5, 1808, died April 6, 1877
Abraham Bushman born Feb. 5, 1799, died May 5, 1855

His Grandfather Abraham Bushman was 5 ft. 8 in. tall and weighed 160 lbs. His Grandmother, Ester Bushman, was a large woman and most all the children were large. His father, Martin Bushman was a strong well built man 6 ft. tall and weighed 175 lbs. He was a successful farmer, having worked on the farm all his life. Elizabeth Degen was the oldest child of John Casper Degen, and was born in Holstein, Switzerland Sept. 12th, 1802. Her mother, Maria Graff, Degen, died when Elizabeth was only 4 years old, so she never knew a mother’s love. Her father gave her a fair education in her native land; at the age of 14, she came with her father and step mother and her 2 children to America 1816 on the old sailing vessel. They were on the ocean 17 weeks, they suffered for provisions and water. She was bound out to serve to pay their passage across the ocean. Her father died August 19th, 1821 at Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She was 5 ft. 4 in. tall and strong, dark eyes and hair, was well learned in all the duties of that day and time. Well prepared for the duties of her after life, and had learned to read and write the English language. In 1827 she met her future husband in person of Martin Bushman. They became acquainted, and she accepted his offer, and they were married March 20th, 1827. They made their home near his parents, and lived happily together gaining many of the comforts of life, while living here in Lancaster Co. they had the following children born to them:

Henry Bushman born Dec. 11, 1827, died March 30, 1828.
Maria Bushman born Jan 31, 1829, died Feb. 5, 1829
Jacob Bushman born July 27, 1830 living in 1918
Sarah A. Bushman born Jan. 9, 1833, died June 18 1917
Abraham Bushman born July 14, 1835, Died March 25, 1839
Elizabeth Bushman born Nov. 9, 1837, died Oct. 12, 1846
Martin Benjamin Bushman born Feb. 5, 1841, living in 1918

Bushman, Martin & Elizabeth

In 1840 some Latter Day Saints elders – Elisha H. Davis and H. Dean who baptized Martin and Elizabeth Bushman and others came to Lancaster, and preached the restored gospel as taught by the Later Day Prophet Joseph Smith. This worthy couple investigated the doctrine and embraced it, feeling it was from the Lord, and that it was the only true church of Christ upon the face of the earth, they soon got the spirit of gathering with the saints of Nauvoo, Illinois. None of their parents or relatives joined the Mormons, as they were called. After Martin had built his parents a comfortable home, they settled up their business and bade farewell to all their relatives in June 1842 and started with their four living children and one team on a journey of a thousand miles through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to Nauvoo on the Mississippi River. After a long tedious journey, most of the way with Henry—– they arrived among the saints. They soon met the prophet and Patriarch who gave them a hearty welcome. They rented a farm just East of the city from Edward Hunter a wealthy man from Pennsylvania, Chester Co. The following spring they put in a crop. Their oldest son Jacob now thirteen years old was considerable help. Every tenth day they would work on the Temple which the saints were building. Everything prospered, they set their hands to do, and they fed and clothed their family. Everything was peace for a few short years.

The saints were prospered and the city and Temple grew rapidly, and the future looked bright. On the 7th of June 1843 this worthy couple had a son born, whom they named John, the author of this sketch, the next fall the enemies of Zion commenced to stir up charges against the leaders of the church. The prophet was arrested many times of false charges, tried and acquitted. The apostates were the worst enemy’s the prophet had. The strife got so bad that the men stood guard day and night to protect the leaders. The prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were fond of visiting or calling on the Saints in their homes, in this way the people became more intimately acquainted with them, and loved them for the great interest they took in the people. They were very anxious to have the Temple pushed to completion. The saints were very busy with their farms, and done all they could on the Temple. The mob grew more determined to kill the prophet, and on June 27, 1844 they took Joseph and Hyrum Smith and 2 or 3 other leaders to Carthage jail 22 miles southeast of Nauvoo, for trial. The Governor of the state gave his word that the brethren should not receive any harm, but in the afternoon of June 27th 1844 the mob came and broke into the jail and killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and wounded Apostle John Taylor. One of the mob went to take the head off the Prophet, when a streak of lightening struck him and all were frightened and fled. At the death of those great leaders the saints were all in mourning and were like sheep without a shepherd but they were soon comforted in the person of Brigham Young, the president of the twelve Apostles. When the mantle as it were of the prophet fell upon Brigham, some people declared it was the prophets voice, and looked like Joseph. This satisfied the people and Pres. Young was soon made the Pres. of the Church.

1846-1847 & 1848-1849. The saints with the twelve Apostles at their head rushed the Temple to completion, or so near completion, that many of the saints received their blessings therein. Among the rest was Martin and Elizabeth Bushman. On Nov. 29, 1845, Esther Ann Bushman was born. The mobs were not long satisfied after they had martyred the Prophet and Patriarch. They kept disturbing the people and driving them from their homes and property, and finally in 1846, in the winter, drove the saints from Nauvoo, the beautiful city and Temple. However before leaving Martin Bushman took all their children into the Temple and showed them the beautiful building, which they have never forgotten, especially the font resting on the back of twelve bronze Oxen.

In Sept. 1846, after assisting the body of saints across the Mississippi River with their only team, the Bushman family of six children were compelled to leave their grain and all they possessed, except what they could take in one wagon, they bade farewell to their home and beautiful city and Temple and crossed the great Mississippi into Iowa, just in the rainy season. Nearly all the family took the chills and fever. They traveled in company with several other families to the western border of Iowa. On the 12 of October 1846 their Daughter Elizabeth, nine years old, died just before they camped for the night. She was buried early next morning without a coffin, and they continued the journey with the company. Just one week later on Oct. 19, 1846, their beautiful dark eyed baby, not a year old died and was buried the same as the first one, and they continues their journey in sorrow, especially as their little son John was near deaths door. But as the rainy season passed they all regained their health. After many hardships and privations they arrived at Highland Grove a small village of saints near Council Bluffs in the western border of Iowa. Here they located and prepared for winter.

They built a log house and covered it with dirt, with a dirt floor. No lumber could be got at that time. As no provisions remained the father went over one hundred miles into Missouri to work splitting rails. After he had earned some corn meal and pork, his son Jacob went and got it with their ox team. At this place there was a branch of the Church with William Cazier presiding Elder. There was ten or twelve families of saints living there. They had regular Sabbath and evening meetings, and enjoy social gatherings, although they were very poor and destitute. In the Spring of 1847, they broke some land and put in what seed they could get, after which the father went again to Missouri to work for bread stuffs for his family, while Jacob and little boys cared for growing crops. In the fall the father returned and with what they raised had sufficient to keep them through winter.

The saints supported a small school where the children were taught and rudiments of an education. The spring of 1848 they planted more crops, then the oldest son Jacob now 16 years old went to Missouri to work. He got from 8 to 10 dollars per month. He worked until early winter, then he returned home where he stayed until the Spring. This helped the family through another winter. This spring of 1849 they increased their farming and the father went to work to get some clothing which had now run very low. He returned in the winter, and on the 6th of December 1849 their last son was born. They named him Elias Albert. John was now 6 1/2 years old and could appreciate his baby brother.

There were Latter day Saint Elders came to the village to preach, and the people had many profitable meetings. At one of these meetings John received his first testimony of the divinity of the gospel while sitting at the knees of his mother.

The spring of 1850 they put in a larger crop than before to prepare to go to Salt Lake the following year, and they bent all their energies for that purpose. This summer Jacob and his sister Sarah, now 17 years old went to Missouri and earned something to assist the family. This summer the little boys assisted on the farm. In the fall Sarah returned with some apples, about the first the little boys ever saw. 1851. This winter Sarah taught the village school and her brothers attended the school and gave the teacher more trouble than all the rest. There were usually plenty of wild fruits at this place, such as plums, cherries, blackberries and strawberries, Hazel nuts, hickory nuts and black walnuts. Up to this time there was no cooking stoves around there, the mothers done all the cooking in large bake ovens and large iron kettles on the open fire places.

In the spring of 1851 the Father went to Missouri and got Jacob who had stayed there all winter and brought him home to go to Salt Lake with the family. In April, brother Jacob was baptized by Elisha H. Davis, senior. The family had got together enough provisions and clothing and 2 yoke of oxen and 2 yoke of cows and one wagon, all ready to start the fore part of June 1851. John was now 8 years old and his father baptized him in Key Creek and confirmed him. As the little boys were now old enough to assist their father (who was near sighted) to drive the team. Jacob engages to drive three yoke of Oxen and wagon for an old friend Henry Kearns to Salt Lake.

They crossed the Missouri river at Winter Quarters and went west a few miles, where they were organized into Kelsey’s 100 and Alma Allred’s 5th. This organization was to insure safety traveling through the Indian country. They were delayed some on account of high water. They followed the trail of the Pioneers of 1847, following up the Platte River about 500 miles, then up the Sweetwater and over the South pass, and down to Green River and Bear River, and over the little mountain and down Emigration Canyon to Salt Lake City. They met bands of Indians, and great droves of Buffaloes, they had several stampedes, but very little sickness. They stopped in the city one week, then went south 30 miles to Lehi. There was about 30 families living here.

Posted in Bushman Family, Family History | 1 Comment

Home in Nauvoo where John Bushman was born 7 June 1843


John Bushman is the younger brother of my Great-grandpa Jacob Bushman.  Martin and Elizabeth’s first 7 children were born in Pennsylvania before the family moved to Nauvoo.

From the Biography of Martin Bushman and Elizabeth Degen (Based upon Bushman Family History, compiled 1956 by Newbern I. Butt for the Bushman Family History Committee, pp. 12-15):

In the spring of 1840 two elders, Elisha H. Davis and H. Dean, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, came to preach the Gospel in Lancaster County. Both Martin and his wife, Elizabeth, were of a strongly religious nature and investigated the new doctrine whole heartedly, were convinced of its truth, and were baptized. In spite of criticism and ostracism by relatives and friends in Lancaster County, they grew in faith and were filled with the spirit of gathering in Nauvoo, Illinois with the rest of the members of this faith. It is probable that they would have made the thousand mile trip to Nauvoo in 1840, but circumstances prevented this. Their aged parents were without a home of their own, and Martin spent the fall and winter in building one for them. Also they were expecting the birth of their son, Martin Benjamin, and with more time they had hoped to sell their property to a better advantage. The property was finally sold at a great sacrifice, and provided little more than a team and wagon and the necessary provisions for the thousand mile trip with a family of six. When they arrived in Nauvoo, they found the city crowded with new converts and it was hard to find a place to live. However, they soon found their old friend, Bishop Edward Hunter, who was also of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. The Bishop immediately fixed up and rented to the Bushmans the upstairs apartment of his house. He also rented to Martin his farm which was just east of Nauvoo.


Pictured above:  Mary Carroll at Edward Hunter home in Nauvoo where her grandfather, John Bushman was born, taken by her daughter Linda Sue in 1965.

Linda Sue Carroll < Wayne Earl and Mary Lois Westover Carroll < John Lycurgus and Maren Adele Bushman Westover < John and Mary Ann Bushman
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“Still moving.” –Henry Clegg Jr.

Clegg, Henry Jr. Wives 1

Here is the story of Henry Clegg, a man I’ve come to love and admire, as told by one of his descendants, Gayle M. Clegg:

“My husband’s great-grandfather Henry Clegg Jr. was a finisher. He joined the Church with his family when the first LDS missionaries went to Preston, England. Henry had a view of his destination in his mind as he and his wife, Hannah, and their two young boys immigrated to Utah. Henry left his older parents, who were too feeble to make such a long and arduous journey, knowing he would never see them again.”

“While crossing the plains, Hannah contracted cholera and died. She was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.  The company then moved on, and at six in the evening, Henry’s youngest son also died. Henry retraced his steps to Hannah’s grave, placed his young son in his wife’s arms, and reburied the two of them together.

Henry then had to return to the wagon train, now five miles away. Suffering from cholera himself, Henry described his condition as being at death’s door while realizing he still had a thousand miles to walk.  Amazingly he continued forward, putting one foot in front of the other. He stopped writing in his journal for several weeks after losing his dear Hannah and little son. I was struck with the words he used when he did start writing again:

“Still moving.”

“When he finally reached the gathering place of the Saints, he began a new family. He kept the faith. He continued his story. Most remarkably, his heartache over the burial of his sweetheart and son gave birth to our family’s legacy of moving forward, of finishing.”

“. . .We each must find and finish our own story, but how much sweeter the telling when encouragement is called out, when arriving at our destination is valued and celebrated, however long ago the journey commenced.

“. . .The greatest mentor and advocate we have said: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up”  (D&C 84:88). Can any of us afford to leave this piece out of our individual journey?”

“Henry Clegg was still moving forward to live among the faithful Saints, to take his place, to raise a righteous family, to serve his neighbor. He had that picture in his mind even when his heart was breaking. . .

“. . .With the Lord, nothing is impossible (see Luke 1:37), but we each have to finish our own story. He sends His Spirit, we call out encouragement to each other, but we have to keep writing, keep walking, keep serving and accepting new challenges to the end of our own story. “Still walking” is the fundamental requirement in the journey of life. He wants us to finish well. He wants us to come back to Him. I pray that each of our stories will end in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, the authors and finishers of our faith.”

– Excerpts from Sister Gayle M. Clegg, The Finished Story, General Conference April 2004

Clegg, Ann Lewis Headstone

Part of the reason I love this story is because it is a story of my husband’s ancestors.  After Henry Clegg Jr. lost his wife, Hanna, he crossed the plains and came to Salt Lake City where he married Ann Lewis from Cardiff in 1857.  She is the daughter of John A. Lewis and Ann John.

John A. Lewis’s headstone and his 2nd wife, Priscilla’s headstone are in our back yard right now.  John A. Lewis is my husband, John’s Great-great grandfather.  When their headstones needed to be replaced in the Spanish Fork Cemetery, I spoke up for the original stones.  Priscilla Lewis’s headstone is in several pieces and very difficult to read anymore.  From what I remember, the epitaph on her stone said something like this:

She left her home and friends
And crossed the mighty deep
. . . and kept the Faith
And now at last has gone to sleep.

And his reads:
Here lies our Father
A noble sire
A man of God,
A freind to the poor.

“Still moving.”  I love his words, I love that he just kept going and that he cared enough to tell us so.  And I love that the paths of our families crossed then and his influence continues still.

Today is John’s father’s birthday.  John Dean Lewis was born 22 Oct 1916 in Spanish Fork, Utah.  He would have been 98 years old today.  His father was Frederick Lewis b. 1880 in Spanish Fork.  His father was Frederick Lewis b. 1844 in Cardiff, Wales.  And his father was John A. Lewis b. 1814 in Llandaff, Wales.

Lewis, John A. Headstone Lewis, Ann John headstone. 1 Lewis, Ann John headstone. 2

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Remembering Elsa Schaefer Laemmlen d. 6 June 1988

Laemmlen, Rudolf &amp; Elsa's 50th Anniversary 1979.

My dear Grandma Elsa died on this day in 1988 in Reedley, CA.  She was 93 years old.  I loved my Grandma.  This photo was taken in 1979 when she was 84 years old.  It was my grandparents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Grandma was always a steady and sure presence in my life.  I look forward to being reunited with her someday.  The treasures below bring back some of my favorite childhood memories.  These were my toys at Grandma’s house.  Elsa Laemmlen Treasures (2)elsa-laemmlen-treasures-15elsa-laemmlen-treasures-8Grandma’s hands were always busy, stitching, quilting, crocheting hot pads or Christmas ornaments, or mending clothes.elsa-laemmlen-treasures-5The button box was my favorite.  I’d spill them all out on the floor, then spend hours sorting them into piles of my favorites.  I loved the magenta ones best of all.elsa-laemmlen-treasures-12elsa-laemmlen-treasures-10The Dominoes were well-worn from years of play when my dad was a boy.elsa-laemmlen-treasures-23The marble can was heavy and filled with beautiful marbles, and many cat eyes.elsa-laemmlen-treasures-16elsa-laemmlen-treasures-20Grandma’s Christmas cookies!   Springle, sugar cookies and pfeffernusse!  All of them were simple, hard and dry, but we loved them.  She’d put an egg wash on the sugar cookies, then a very few sprinkles.  The pressed springle were so hard we’d have to gnaw on them, but the anise seeds on the bottom made them smell so good.  They’d last for months in a big glass jar.elsa-laemmlen-treasures-6Oh how we loved the Tinker Toys, now so old and worn.  elsa-laemmlen-treasures-22I loved spending time with Grandma, almost every day as I was growing up.  I miss her dearly.

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The Daniel Harvey family immigrated to America on the ship Amazon.


Here is an article form The Ensign, published 13 March 2015

The Voyage of the Amazon: A Close View of One Immigrant Company
By Richard L. Jensen and Gordon Irving (From March 1980 Ensign)

In June of 1863 the Amazon, a passenger ship with 891 Latter-day Saints aboard, set sail from London. Just before the voyage, many Londoners—government officials and clergymen included—came for a firsthand look at the Mormons and their traveling arrangements. Among the visitors was author Charles Dickens, who spent several hours on board the ship questioning British Mission President George Q. Cannon and quietly observing the Saints.

A month later Dickens published an account of his visit to the Mormon emigrant ship. He pointed out that these were primarily working-class people, including craftsmen in many trades. Though he remained skeptical about what the Mormons would find when they reached Utah, Dickens was impressed by their thoroughgoing organization, their calmness, and their quiet self-respect:

“I went on board their ship,” he said, “to bear testimony against them if they deserved it, as I fully believed they would; to my great astonishment they did not deserve it; and my predispositions and tendencies must not affect me as an honest witness. I went over the Amazon’s side feeling it impossible to deny that, so far, some remarkable influence had produced a remarkable result, which better known influences have often missed.” Of the people themselves Dickens wrote that had he not known they were Mormons, he would have described them as, “in their degree, the pick and flower of England.” 1

Dickens was right: a remarkable influence had indeed produced a remarkable result. The influence enabled this group of Saints to become, in effect, a large family that worked successfully together toward a difficult goal. Other observers marvelled at the success of the Mormons’ emigration and often pointed to their thoroughgoing organization as the key. But Dickens, a shrewd observer, raised the central question: What was behind the organization and its smooth operation? Only through the Spirit of the Lord could the full answer be found.

Fortunately, records kept by the British Mission and by the Amazon passengers and their descendants make it possible to look closely at the ship’s family before, during, and after the voyage. 2

Below is George Q. Cannon’s ticket for passage:The Amazon Ship, Ticket for GQC.jpg

Prelude to Emigration
Missionary work had begun in the British Isles in 1837. During the next fifty years converts were urged to emigrate and strengthen the Latter-day Saint base of operations in America. With such strong encouragement to emigrate, one might expect Latter-day Saints to have left their homelands soon after conversion to the gospel. The experience of the Amazon emigrants suggests, however, that preparation for emigration was usually a long, slow process.

For instance, Ishmael and Mary Phillips were converted to the gospel in Herefordshire, part of the great wave of conversions that followed Elder Wilford Woodruff’s missionary labors in 1840. But calls to Church service delayed their emigration. Ishmael served as a branch president and a diligent local missionary for thirteen years. Later the Phillipses moved to Birmingham, where Ishmael did missionary work for another ten years. Finally, twenty-three years after their conversion, they emigrated on the Amazon with their two daughters, the two young children of the eldest daughter, who was a widow, and two other children who were under their care. 3

Many others of the Amazon Saints, like Brother Phillips, had also given years of Church service before their emigration. William Fowler, an 1849 convert, had served for several years as a local missionary. He authored the hymn, “We Thank Thee, Oh God, for a Prophet,” which was published for the first time in Liverpool two weeks before the Amazon sailed. 4

Also of prime importance in determining when a family would emigrate was the matter of finances. In spite of great faith, many would-be emigrants found it difficult to save enough money to pay for their passage and other expenses. Charles and Eliza West joined the Church in 1849 and began in 1853 to put money into the individual emigrating accounts kept by local Church leaders. But the expenses of a growing family made saving difficult. “We had children faster than we could get means for our emigration,” Charles told a visiting missionary in 1862. 5 That year the Wests arranged for an emigrating couple from their branch to take two of the West daughters with them. The family then had extra incentive to save so they could join their daughters the next year.

The Wests were apparently typical. Half the married adults aboard the Amazon had been Latter-day Saints for thirteen years or more. Even those with a larger income found it difficult to save for emigration. But single adults, without the expense of a family, generally emigrated three to four years sooner after baptism than married adults. Though some of the Amazon passengers were recent converts, eighty-five percent of the adults had been members more than five years before they emigrated.

Some husbands and fathers of Amazon passengers had emigrated earlier, hoping to establish a home in Utah and earn enough to pay for their families’ emigration. This was not an uncommon practice among emigrants. On the other hand, some wives—even expectant mothers—and children aboard the Amazon were leaving their husbands and fathers behind; these breadwinners hoped to join their families the next year after earning the rest of the emigration money and closing out their financial affairs. Such men must have had great confidence in the safety of Mormon emigration and in the treatment their families would receive when they arrived in Salt Lake City.

Pressure to Stay
Many of those on board were sailing despite strong encouragement from relatives, friends, and employers to remain where they were. Amazon passenger Elijah Larkin, a Cambridge police detective, was visited by a member of the local police supervisory committee who tried to persuade him to stay with the police force. Brother Larkin took the opportunity to explain the gospel, bear his testimony, and sell the man copies of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, a pamphlet, and a ticket to the Cambridge Branch’s farewell party for the emigrants. 6

Family Organization
Eight of every ten Amazon passengers came aboard with a family group. Most of these groups consisted of husbands and wives and their children, but other families were headed by widows, widowers, or individual parents whose spouses had sailed earlier or would sail later. Thirty brothers or sisters were traveling together in groups of two; there were also a few grandchildren and other relatives. This family-based organization spread to individuals traveling alone, who became “attached” to particular families during the voyage. Elijah Larkin wrote in his diary, “I organized my family consisting of 9 persons having added Ruth Coe, Hannah Webb, Martha Larkins, Wm & Chas Read to it to draw our rations together. …” 7 The Larkins felt a special responsibility for their new “family members” throughout the journey to Utah.

The ship’s family was also well organized to provide for the many needs of the Saints aboard. Mission president George Q. Cannon appointed a president and two counselors for the Amazon emigrants. President William Bramall and second counselor Richard Palmer were returning missionaries from Utah; first counselor Edward L. Sloan had been a local Church leader and editorial assistant for the Millennial Star and was now emigrating with his family. As the voyage progressed these appointed officers would supervise the provisions, worship services, and the care of the sick. They were assisted by a sergeant of the guard, two cooks, two stewards, a lamplighter, and a man who took charge of the lost-and-found department. The presidency also divided the entire company into fifteen “wards” of about sixty persons each, and appointed a president for each ward.

Life Aboard Ship
Morale was high as the ship embarked. The entire membership of a brass band from the Cardiff Branch in Wales was emigrating together, and their music made the occasion festive. They would provide accompaniment for dancing and other enjoyment during the voyage. Elijah Larkin soon organized a choir. The ship’s officers passed out provisions, helped the emigrants settle comfortably between decks, and fastened down loose luggage. A baby girl born three days after departure was christened Amazon Seaborn Harris.

The voyage had its share of challenges and difficulties, which gave the emigrants opportunity to use their religious teachings and their ward organizations. At 5:30 each morning the Saints were to “rise, receive water, clean out berths, scrape the decks and prepare for prayers in the various Wards at 7 o’clock.” 8 However, because many became seasick right away, caring for and administering to the sick caused a relaxation of that rigorous schedule. At times the ship was becalmed; at times the crew fought headwinds. One Sunday the ship was hit by a violent squall while ward meetings were being conducted on the lower deck. One sail was “torn into ribbons like paper,” and water poured down the hatches before they could be closed. But the singing of the hymns continued. The second mate was heard to exclaim how astonished he was at “the nonchalance displayed by the sisters in such a season of apparent peril.” 9

English Saints aboard the ship outnumbered the Welsh five to one, but that did not deter some members of each group from squabbling over the relative merits of their homelands. The ship’s presidency tried to calm the rivalry by preaching against nationalism. A little irritation which developed over family cooking arrangements also had to be smoothed over. And apparently a few were guilty of “finding” articles that had not been lost. Still, on the whole, the voyage appears to have been a positive and memorable experience.

The Overland Journey
After their arrival in New York on July 18, the Amazon Saints were taken by rail and river steamer to Florence, Nebraska. Though the Civil War was raging at the time, they were largely unaffected by it. At Florence, teams and wagons provided by the Church met those who could not afford to provide their own transportation. They then divided into several companies for the final leg of their journey.

From Salt Lake City, Elder George A. Smith of the Council of the Twelve sent Charles Dickens a final report on the progress of the Amazon’s emigrants:

“The whole company arrived in this city, and encamped on the Union square on Saturday & Sunday Oct. 3rd & 4th, in good health and fine spirits. After attending the General Conference, they distributed themselves among the people of the Territory, like the water of a river as it empties into the sea, and could now only be found by searching 25,000 square miles of country, and by their industrious habits, they are placed where they will soon put themselves in possession of the necessary comforts of life.” 10

Settling in the West
The temporary “family” which had worked so closely together aboard the Amazon now dispersed. Most became part of another kind of family, the ward organizations of the various Latter-day Saint settlements. A high proportion settled first in Utah. Of the Amazon passengers for whom information has been located, ninety-eight percent lived in Utah during 1863–65. By 1891–1900, eighty-four percent still lived in Utah, while thirteen percent were in Idaho and three percent were elsewhere.

Success and tragedy alike met the immigrants in the western United States. One was struck and killed by a railroad train, leaving a large family. Another committed suicide, apparently in despair over the recent death of his wife. William Fowler became a school teacher in Manti, Utah, but died only two years after he immigrated. Some had marital difficulties. A few became disillusioned with their religion and left it entirely or abandoned church involvement. From all indications, however, the vast majority remained faithful to the Church, and most received the sacred ordinances of the Endowment House, which was used before temples were completed in Utah.

The Amazon immigrants’ achievements as individuals were notable. Lavinia Triplett became Utah’s leading female vocalist in her day. Edward L. Sloan was an outstanding writer and newspaper editor. The Castleton family became prominent merchants, the Larkins respected morticians. William McLachlan became the first president of the Pioneer Stake in Salt Lake City. And George Sutherland, an infant when the Amazon sailed, became a U.S. Senator and a justice of the United States Supreme Court. Others were bishops, patriarchs, state legislators, and fine parents—people who contributed in many ways to the building of their communities. To use Charles Dickens’ phrase, they became the “pick and flower” of western America.

[illustrations] Illustration by Richard D. Hull

Richard L. Jensen, a high councilor in the Salt Lake Hunter West Stake is a research historian in the Church Historical Department.

Gordon Irving, assistant stake clerk in the Bountiful Utah South Stake, is a research historian in the Church Historical Department.

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