Autobiography of William Probert, Jr.
. . . We sailed on the ship Monarch of the Sea. We sailed along alright for about 16 days, then there came up a very bad storm, and it lasted for 4 days. There were one thousand Saints on board, and a crew of fifty sailors. The sailors were afraid that the ship would go down, and they prepared all the long boats (there were 6 of them in all) and at the same time swearing that no Mormon should get in one of the boats. They were a hard lot of men. The way I came to see and hear them was I helped to give out the rations to the passengers and was allowed on deck. The old ship was squeaking and groaning as though it could not stand it another minute, so President Woodard called out all the elders and went upon the deck. The prayed and rebuked the wind and waves, and in a short time the storm abated and all were saved. While we were being tossed about upon the waves, there were two other vessels on the south of us, laboring hard with the storm, but finally we lost sight of them, and they never got into port.
We landed in Castle Garden on June 3, 1861 and the first thing I saw was the Military parading the streets of New York, and drumming up for volunteers to go and fight the south which had rebelled against the north. All work was stopped to make men enlist, and as I had no money, it looked rather blue for me, but I had faith and hoped that I could get as far as St. Joseph, Missouri. I had just spent my last and only cent for one suite of clothes and one blanket tied up in a large handkerchief.” [p.56]
After we left New York State, we were often stopped to see if we had any arms on board, or any rebels. Sometimes in the night we were stopped and had to face a field battery until morning, and then to be inspected before we could move on. Sometimes we were piled into cattle cars, or any way to get along.
We reached St. Joseph’s. At that time the railway came no farther west, so we had to go on board a steam boat, on the Missouri River, and run up to Florence. So I went on board without asking any question about it, but I was well pleased, as this was the same kind of boat that I had seen in my dream three years before, and then I knew that I would get through all right.
When we arrived at Florence there were a great many people waiting for us, to see how to make up the trains for travelling across the plains.
On my way through the States I had heard of good many hard stories about the Mormons, and a number had tried to get me to stop and not go any further west. I thought if the Mormons in Utah were as bad as reported, I could go on to California, so I would not stop. Well, at Florence, I began to think that there might be some truth in it, as I found that some of the teamsters would drink whiskey. I had been taught that the Saints in Zion were perfect, and I should have to be the same, or I could not live with them. Some of the immigrants got so badly disappointed in the Mountain Saints, that they turned back, but I went on, and found it badly mixed.
Now this was something new, to emigrate, and it was not very pleasant, but the thought of going to Zion inspired us to do so, for they thought all was good there, and it would pay them to do anything to get there . . . .
. . . We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 12th of September 1861 about noon. The next day we began to divide up, and each mess or small party of teamsters went for their own homes, some for one town and some to others. . . . [p.57]
BIB: Probert, William, Jr., [Autobiography], IN Biography of William Riley and Hussler Ann Probert Stevens, comp. and ed. by Orvilla Allred Stevens (privately printed, 1981) pp. 5
May 14th. Arrived in Liverpool, and went aboard the ship Monarch of the Sea. It is an excellent vessel, large, roomy, new and clean. Here are English, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Swiss, French, Welsh, Irish and Scotch Saints all together.
May 15th. Received tickets, cabins and provisions which consisted of cheese, bacon, meat, rice, tea, sugar, potatoes, [p.478] pepper, mustard and water. This 15th day of May, 1861 Johanna Nilsson and Carl Eric Lindholm were married by President John Van Cott on the great ship Monarch of the Sea. Many other couples were married. Apostles A. [Amasa] Lyman, Charles Rich and George Q. Cannon were aboard ship. They counseled everyone to be friendly, patient, peaceable, charitable, and tolerant to one another. Apostle Cannon suggested that Elder Jabez Woodward be appointed president over the Saints aboard ship until our arrival at New York. Elders Hansen and Wilhelmsen were chosen counselors. At 11 o’clock the apostles left the ship. They bade the Saints farewell after the Saints had sung many hymns for them. A tug boat towed us a long way through the channel.
June 18th. Sighted land today, the 34th day at sea.
June 19th. A steam tug towed the ship into the place of quarantine. Physicians came aboard and examined us. Arrived at New York.
June 25th. Arrived at Quincy at 2 p.m.
June 26th. Left Quincey and arrived at St. Joseph at 10 p.m.
July 1st. Arrived at Florence, Nebraska.
BIB: Lindhom, Carl Eric. [Diary], Our Pioneer Heritage comp. by Kate B. Carter, vol. 12 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1969) p. 478-479. (HDL)
We were all very thankful when we reached New York City. Mother and the younger children stayed at a hotel, father and the older ones stayed at Castle Garden, (the wharf). We rested a few days then started for Florence, Nebraska. It was during the Civil War, and we could hear the boom of canons and firing of guns as we rode along. Shutters were up at the window and the people on the trains were asked to be very quiet.
When we passed through Missouri the people were very bitter against the Mormons and set a bridge on fire to retard our progress. When we got to Florence we stayed there a week.
BIB: Walker, Elizabeth Staheli. History of Barbara Sophia Haberli Staheli. (Ms. 8691, reel 3), pp. 1-3; Acc. # 35501.
At Liverpool we embarked on The Monarch of the Sea, a very old and rickety ship and entirely unseaworthy. The sea was so rough and stormy that the waves washed over the top of the deck. When the people were frightened the captain said, “We’ll land in New York all right. We’ve got Mormons on board and we always get through when we have Mormons.” On its return voyage The Monarch of the Sea, loaded with cargo, sank, but the captain and the crew were saved.
We were on the ocean six weeks. All of the Mormon families traveled in the steerage. The voyage was very rough. I can remember the chest sliding and banging from side to side across the wooden floor and all the other chests and trunks with it. I can also remember my mother sitting and clasping her hands, praying that we would get to America in safety. She was a very devout and courageous woman. We slept in bunks on the sides of the boat. In the center we children played during the daytime and ate our meals. Our food consisted of hard tack and a little bacon and coffee. We used our chests and trunks as tables when we ate our food. Sometimes the captain would be kinder than usual and send down a little soup.
We finally landed in New York, all safe and sound, and went to a place called Castle Garden, where all the emigrants landed, and where all the freight unloaded for the vessels was brought for storage temporarily. Castle Garden was located at the Battery, just across from the Goddess of Liberty. It was right on the waterfront.
Castle Garden was the dumping ground for all kinds of cargo and it was also crowded with emigrants. The floor was greasy and dirty. Here we had to make our beds on the floor, as did all the other emigrants.
From New York City, we traveled by boat up the Hudson and took the trains at Albany to travel to Omaha, the outfitting place for our trip across the Plains. All of us were forced to travel on sheep cars so filthy with sheep beans on the floor that we could not sit down and had to stand al the way. We traveled this distance without a change of cars.
BIB: Felt, Alma Elizabeth Mineer, Journal, An Enduring Legacy, vol. 7 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1984) pp. 196-198, 200. (HDL)