Immigration of Johan and Brita Lisa Felt
Ship: John J. Boyd (December 1855)
FELT, Johan <1820> Age: 36 Origin: Sweden Occ: Shoemaker
FELT, Brita Lisa <1823> Age: 33 Origin: Sweden Occ: Wife
FELT, Carl <1845> Age: 11 Origin: Sweden
FELT, Sophie <1848> Age: 8 Origin: Sweden
FELT, Thure <1850> Age: 6 Origin: Sweden
FELT, Ludvig <1852> Age: 4 Origin: Sweden
FELT, Wilhelm <1856> Age: infant Origin: Sweden
Note: "Infant" (BMR) NOT LISTED IN SMR (ED)
NILSON, Jonas <1792> Age: 64 Origin: Sweden Occ: Farmer
Note ; Brita’s father
Note: BMR, p.26 "Copenhagen Conference" (SMR)
Ship: John J. Boyd
Date of Departure: 12 Dec 1855 Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
LDS Immigrants: 512 Church Leader: Knud Peterson
Date of Arrival: 15 Feb 1856 Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Source(s): BMR, Book #1045, pp. 19-37 (FHL #025,691); SMR, 1855 pp. 20-34 (FHL #025,696); Customs (FHL #175,516);
John J. Boyd (December 1855) - A Compilation of General Voyage Notes and Autobiographical sketches
A Compilation of General Voyage Notes
"DEPARTURE -- The ship John J. Boyd cleared on the 10th instant for New York with 509 souls of the Saints on board, of whom 437 were from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, 30 from Piedmont, and 42 from Great Britain.
The prices of passages on the Emerald Isle and the John J. Boyd were £4 5 shillings for adults, £3 5 shillings for children, and 10 shillings for infants. The age of distinction between adults and children is 8 years, instead of 14 as heretofore. It is thought that the variations from the above prices will not be very considerable, though this is necessarily guided by the readiness with which ships may be obtained, and the abundance or scarcity of passengers. Persons had better send up their names, ages, &c., even though they may not wish to go by the first ship. This will better enable us to arrange for ships at the times most convenient for passengers. We shall send out another ship-load about the latter part of January, if we have sufficient applicants for passage to make up a company."
<MS, 17:51 (Dec. 22, 1855), pp.812-13>
"NINETY FIRST COMPANY. -- John J. Boyd, 512 souls. On the twenty-ninth of November, 1855, four hundred and thirty-seven Scandinavian Saints sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, on board the steamship Loven, under the direction of Elder Knud Peterson, who returned from his mission to Norway. After a pleasant voyage Kiel was reached, and the emigrants continued the journey by rail to Gluckstadt, thence by steamer to Grimsby, England, and thence by rail to Liverpool, where the Scandinavian emigrants were joined by forty-two British and thirty Italian Saints, and went on board the ship, John J. Boyd.
. . . On the sixteenth of February, 1856, the emigrants landed in New York, and after tarrying a few days at Castle Garden, the journey was continued on the twenty-first or twenty-second by rail via Dunkirk and Cleveland to Chicago, where the company, according to previous arrangements, was divided into three parts, of which one, consisting of about one hundred and fifty souls, went to Burlington, Iowa, another to Alton, Illinois, and a third to St. Louis, Missouri. Most of those who went to Burlington and Alton remained in these places or near them a year or more working to earn means wherewith to continue the journey. The part of the company which went to St. Louis, arrived in that city on the tenth of March, and soon afterwards continued the journey to Florence, Nebraska, where they joined the general emigration that crossed the plains in 1856.
Elder Christian Christiansen, who was sent as a missionary from Utah, to preside over the Scandinavian Saints in the western States, relates the following about the emigrants who stopped in Burlington:
'On the twenty-ninth of February, 1856, about one hundred and fifty Scandinavian emigrants arrived in Burlington, Iowa, to be placed under my jurisdiction, as they, through the lack of means, were unable to continue the journey to Utah that year. I assisted them in the transportation of their luggage across the Mississippi River on the ice, and brought them to a house belonging to an apostate Mormon by the name of Thomas Arthur, of whom I had hired a room for the accommodations of the emigrants -- the only one I could secure in the whole town. On that day the editors of the Burlington papers announced to the public the startling fact, that the town had been 'taken' by the 'Mormons.' Without friends or money I stood in the midst of my poor brethren, not knowing what to do; but I set to work in earnest and succeeded in finding employment for some of the brethren, as wood choppers, in the country, where I also rented a number of empty cabins for the Saints, who subsisted on corn meal, bacon and other articles of food which they received as advance payment for their labors. For the young men and women I also secured places as servants, and in Burlington alone I found places for fifty of them. I also hired wagons and took some of the emigrants to Montrose and Keokuk in search of employment. Thus, in less than a week after the arrival of the emigrants at Burlington, all who were able to work had found something to do. But there were a number of sick persons who needed financial aid, an as I had no money I approached one of the emigrants who had a twenty dollar gold piece, but he was an unbeliever and refused to lend his money to me or anyone else, even for the relief of the sick. A few days later he died, and his widow promptly advanced me the means, and thus I secured the necessary medicines and other things need by the sufferers. My next step was to organize the Saints into branches of the Church, over which I appointed presidents. After a little while everything went well, and in a remarkably short time the emigrants earned means enough to continue their journey to the Valley.' (Millennial Star, Vol. XVII, p.812; Vol. XVIII, pp.170, 206; Morgenstjernen, Vol. II, p.383)"
<Cont., 13:12 (Oct. 1892), pp.553-54>
"Wed. 12. [Dec. 1855] -- The ship John J. Boyd sailed from Liverpool, England, with 508 Saints (437 Scandinavians, 41 British and 41 Italians), under the direction of Knud Peterson. It arrived at New York, Feb. 15, 1856. A part of the company remained in Iowa and Illinois for some time, while a portion continued to Utah the same season via St. Louis and Florence [Nebraska]."
". . . On Thursday, Nov. 29, 1855, a company of Scandinavian Saints numbering 447 souls sailed from Copenhagen, on board the steamship 'Loven,' bound for Utah, under the direction of Elder Canute Peterson, who returned from his mission to Norway. After a pleasant voyage, Kiel, in Holstein, was reached, and thence the emigrants continued their journey by rail to Gluckstadt, thence by steamer to Grimsby, England, and thence by rail to Liverpool, where the Scandinavian emigrants were joined by 42 British and 30 Italian Saints, and went on board the ship 'John J. Boyd.' . . ."
Autobiographical Sketch of Mary Larsen Ahlstrom
The sail ship John J. Boyd was loaded with water and provisions for the trip across the Atlantic Ocean. We were on the ship several days and the doctors came to look at everybody to see if there were sick folks among the emigrants and if so, they had to be taken away.
The 12th of December we were hauled out of the harbor in Liverpool by a steamboat and it went all right as long as we were not out where the waves were rolling high, but after that our troubles began. Nearly all the people were sea sick and hollered for help and they were tossed so. All our boxes had to be tied to the posts with ropes and we had to hold on to what we could get hold of so we didn't fall. We had heavy winds all the time until Christmas Eve. Then we had a tornado. Our boxes tore lose and slid from one side of the ship to the other and we had to climb up in the bunks so we wouldn't get hurt, while the men got everything tied fast again.
Sometime in January our ship caught fire on the first deck and went through the floor to the second deck and filled it with smoke so that we nearly strangled. Lots ran up and wanted to jump overboard. Our leader, Knud Petersen said, "Stay on the ship. We will get the fire out and the ship will get to New York." And it did.
One night after that we had a collision with another ship and we just about knocked a hole in our ship. The Captain had always been mean to the sailors but after that he got worse because they had not been ....at their guard, [p.1] so they were nearly all sick and couldn't work. But we had good luck. On 2 February, 1856 we picked up 36 men from a ship that had sprung a leak and were sinking. We steered for them for them [SIC] for four days and we needed the sailors, too. We were on the ship 66 days. We were 512 immigrants on board but lots of children died and were buried in the ocean. My two little brothers died, one on the 30th of January, the other one week later. We landed in New York the 16th of February 1856 and stayed in a large place, Castle Garden
BIB: Ahlstrom, Mary Larsen. Autobiographical sketch (Ms 9923), pp. 1-2, 4. (HDA)
Reminiscences of Patience Loader Rosa Archer
. . . My father and Myself arrived at Liverpool on December the 9. Stayed and [p.39] visited with my sister and husband until the 12th and in the evening we went on the old ship John J. Boyd bound for New York after we had got all our baggage on board we found the ship would not sail until the next day so I said to my father and Mother that I would go back and stay all night with my sisters as we left my sister Tamar to stay with my sister Zilpha to help her to get ready to leave in July. In the afternoon I left them to go down to the ship again and when I got there low and behold to my great surprise the ship was in readiness to start out the men was just taking away the last plank. There was all my folks standing on deck watching anxiously for me and shouting to the top of their voices for the Lord’s sake bring my girl on the ship and don’t leave her behind there was just the one plant to walk on form the deck to the ship … they was very kind one man went on the plank before me and took my right hand the second man came and and [SIC] took my left hand they said if I slipped they would save me from going in the water … with the assistance of those two brave sailors I got safe on the ship … Never will forget the first night on the ship.
There was five hundred Danish Saints, three German and two Italians and one French family. Two Scotch families and 5 English families. Charles [R.] Savage had charge of the German and French Saints as he could talk their language and Elder Canute Peterson was president over the whole company. He was [a] very kind and fatherly man. So good and kind to all. We passed a terrible night. Not much sleep for anyone that first night and we was ordered to go below. We could not get a berth the first night so we had to lie down on the floor as best we could. I began to think we would smother to death before morning, for there was not a breath of air. I made my bed on a large box. I had a big loaf of bread in a sack, this I used for my pillow. To make sure of having bread for breakfast this was not a very nice thing to do, to sleep on my bread, but it was very little sleep I had but I rested my body for I had had a long walk before I got on the ship. I was very tired at twelve o’clock. The guard came around to see us all with his lantern. I told him I was very glad to see him came with the light for we had been in darkness up to that time. He said, “How is it miss, you are not asleep?” I asked him if he thought I could sleep in a place like this. I asked him if we would have no better accommodations than this all the way to New York. He said, "Don't feel bad. Tomorrow we will be able to give you a berth up above and I will try and give you a place where you can get more fresh air. Then you will feel better."
The guard said he was sorry for us but it would be better for us all in a few days. Old Brother [William] and Sister [Catherine] Hailey, quite an old couple, made their bed [p.41] down on the floor. They had a beautiful feather bed and pillows all in white covers to keep clean. All at once there came pouring down in their faces and all over their nice clean bed some dirty water. The old lady jumped up crying out to the guard, "Lord have mercy on us. I am going to be poisoned. Oh, dear me, what can we do in this dirty place. Have we got to stay down in this dirty place all through the voyage? We will all die before we get there and be buried in the sea." Poor old lady, I felt sorry for her and her poor old husband. The guard listened very attentively to her complaints and tried to console her by promising her that they should have a better place the next day. We was all glad when morning came so we could go on deck and breathe a little fresh air for we nearly all smothered. Not any of us felt like eating breakfast. Our family consisted of father & mother, myself and three sisters, two brothers and my brother, John & wife and two children. I will never forget that night of experience. I am glad to say we left that place in the morning and went on the deck above and we had a very good place. Our berths was about in the center of the deck just beneath the skylights and they was opened to give fresh air. My brother John had traveled on the sea many times. He, it was, that perceived us to get in this part of the ship. Going on deck we were glad to meet President Franklin D. Richards. My brother-in-law and my sister, Tilpha, [Zilpah] his wife, they had came in a small boat to bring us some nice things for Christmas. As they said, we would have to eat our Christmas dinner on board the ship and they had brought us some raisins and currents and suet already chopped and everything to make our Christmas [p.42] pudding and a sack of own made bread. Some cheese, butter and many other good things. As soon as President Richards had settled all his business with the captain of the vessel and Brother Peterson and Savage and gave all instructions necessary and all good counsel and blessings to us all. They bid us goodbye to us all and commended to the care and protection of our Heavenly Father, praying that we may have a prosperous and safe voyage across the mighty deep. Then my dear sister and husband bid us farewell and got into the boat. We all felt somewhat downhearted in parting with each other. But we did not part thinking we would never see each other again as my sister and husband and child, that dear little Flora, that was her name, and my sister Tamar, all expected to leave Liverpool about July to come to America and join us again, which they did and we met on the Iowa camping ground.
Now, I will return again to the old ship and relate some things that happened on that old ship. We had a terrible severe voyage. Much sickness and many deaths, numbering sixty two in all. We were on the sea nearly eleven weeks. After we had been out at sea two weeks we had a bad storm. The hatchways was all locked and we could not go on deck for anything. The skylights were opened and the sea washed over the deck and tons of water came down through the skylights. As it happened we was all in our berths unable to get out. We were all seasick. The whole family, with the exception of my father and brother John, and they was kept busy waiting on us. We was all sick for five weeks, after the storm was over which lasted for nearly a week. The Captain told the Mate to come down and tell us that all that were able to come up for a time, so my brother and father helped us girls to go on deck. They said we were all sick and it would do us good to have a [p.43] little fresh air.
We was all so weak that we were not able to go without help. After we were on deck, the Captain said if we would be good girls and keep very quiet and keep out of the way of the sailors we could stay on deck and see the men turn the vessel that he had sighted a ship in distress, and they was going to their assistance. This was something that none of [us] girls had ever witnessed before and we thought we would like to see.
The captain of our ship was a very rough, cross man, but this was one kind act that he did and this was once that he spoke kindly to us but he was a bad man to his sailors. When everything was ready he gave orders for the lifeboats to be lowered and the ship Mate got into the boat and went to the vessel in distress. He found the vessel was all broken to pieces and several of the men had been washed overboard. The ship was loaded with flour bound for Liverpool. The mate fetched in his boat the first time four poor sick men. Poor things, they looked so poor and worn out. Two men had two ribs broken and could not do anything. They went into the hospital. The doctor attended to them, the other two poor men said to the Captain, "Sir, we feel to thank you. God bless you for coming to help us." The brute of a captain said to them, "G.D-----you go to work. That is all I want of you. Get up that rigging. I don't want to hear no more of your talk." I thought, "Oh, what an unkind man that he was to make these poor men go to work at once without giving them anything to eat."
The boat returned again with more men. They, too, had to go to work. The third time the captain of the vessel came with the last of his men. This captain had his jaw broken. The poor man. He was a very very [SIC] different man to the captain of our vessel. So kind to his men. He had lost his only son sixteen years old, the first time he [p.44] has ever been from home. He said his boy begged so hard of his mother to let him come with me and now this has happened. " I have lost my boy, my only child. How can I go home to my wife without our poor boy." Poor man. It was very grievous to see and hear his grief. This was a very distressing scene. At the same time it was a blessing to us that the captain of our ship had not men enough to mark our vessel. He had often to call on some of the brethren for help and it was said that if these men had not come to our assistance that we would never have gotten to New York. At one time, the Captain said if we did not stop our D---- preaching and praying we would never land in New York. I told the mate that was the only thing that saved his vessel for he was such a wicked drinking man and neglected his duty it was a wonder that he was suffered to live.
One night I was lying in my berth and I saw some spark of fire come down. I watched and they came down again. I called to mother and told her there was fire coming down. We got up but we did not see anymore. The guard came around us, as usual. Then we found the captain was drunk and had kicked over his stove in his cabin. The men, smelling fire, went in and put out the fire. It had already burnt the floor and if the men had not gone into his cabin the stove would soon fell through upon someone below.
In the morning the carpenters came to repair the burnt floor. In this I acknowledge the protecting care of God, our Heavenly [Father], was over his children. Now we was on the mighty deep in the hands of a drunken captain who had command of the ship. If it had not been for some of the men he would have been burnt to death in his own cabin and probably the ship would have been burnt and with all on board. In our escape from such a death, I acknowledge the hand of God in preserving our lives.
All through such a long and hard journey crossing the sea in taking these [p.45] other men on board proved to us another blessing. These was more help to make the vessel and we had a more pleasant journey after they came to us. But through these men coming on the ship, we became short of fresh water and we was only allowed one pint of fresh water per day and that was for drinking. We had to wash in salt water and cook our potatoes in salt water. I said, "Well, one good thing, we will not have to use any salt to our potatoes and we are all willing to share our fresh water with those poor men that lost everything and have come to help us." I felt to bless those poor men.
We had a great deal of sickness on the vessel. Sixty-two deaths in all. It seemed a severe trial to have to bury our loved ones in the sea. My brother buried his little girl [Zilpha]. It did, indeed, seem very hard to roll her in a blanket and lay her in the big waves and see the little dear go floating away out of sight. There was one Danish brother and sister. Their two sons, all the children they had, both died and were buried in the sea. The eldest was eleven years old and the younger nine, I think. This was [a] very severe trial for this poor brother and sister. They were faithful, good Latter-day Saints. They was wealthy people and had then the means of several poor families coming to Utah, but the loss of their two only children seemed almost more than they could endure. I never saw them after we got to New York.
We had a very hard voyage crossing the sea but we had a very nice company of Saints. Good and kind was the Danish brothers and sisters and we enjoyed ourselves together although we could not talk their language, neither could they talk the English language, but we could make each other understand. They would make up a [p.46] dance and as many of the Danish brethren had instruments with them and could play many good dance tunes and the young men would come and invite us English sisters to their dance and we would go and enjoy ourselves for hours together and Brother Peterson, our president, would always attend the dances. He was a very kind, fatherly man and very watchful over his flock and ever ready and willing to give kind and good advice to those under his care, but the journey was so long and tedious that we all began to get tired and worn out. It really seemed, sometimes, that we would never see land again.
One night when we had a bad storm we could not sleep as we had to hold on to the berth to keep from being thrown out. We were all in the dark. My poor mother was fretting and thought we would all be lost and drown in the sea. My father had fixed some curtains in front of our berth to make it more comfortable and private for we girls. Just when the ship was tossing and rolling the worst, I opened my eyes. We were all in darkness, but in a moment the curtains opened and a beautiful lovely figure stood there. Oh such a lovely countenance I had never seen before in all my life and the light was so bright around him that I could see the color of his eyes and hair. He had brown eyes and lovely brown hair and he spoke the words to me as I looked at him. He said, "Fear not. You shall be taken there all safe." Then he left and the curtains were again closed and I called to my dear father and mother in the next berth. I told them what I had seen and for them not to think that we would never get to land again for I believe that I had seen the Savior and that he told me not to fear and that we should all be taken there safe. My father and mother believed in what I said and they all felt encouraged and felt to rely on this promise that our ship would take us all through safe to New York.
Not [p.47] very long after this one morning my brother John came to our berth and said, "Come girls. Get up and go on deck and see land!" We did not believe him at first. We told him that he only wanted to make us get up as he had been up to the galley and cooked breakfast for us and we told him that we could not eat or drink anything as we were feeling sick. "Oh," he said, "come on deck and you will feel better when you see land." So after some persuading we dressed and went on deck and to our great joy we surely could see land. I will never forget the joyful feeling and how thankful I felt to think that we had spent our last night on the old ship. John J. Boyd was the name of the poor old ship. This was the last voyage she went. I ran downstairs to tell father and mother that surely land was in site and tonight we would land in New York. This was joyful news to them for we was all tired of our long sea voyage. Although we had made some very good friends with many of our Danish brothers and sisters, and Brother Charles Savage, he was such good cheerful company. He would sing to us so many of his good old songs to try to pass the time as cheerfully as we could for he was getting tired of the long and tedious journey. At last we landed all safe in Castle Garden, New York in February, 1856 about nine o’clock in the evening.
In the morning President John Taylor and Brother Miles came to visit to make inquiry and found out who had money and who had not. Those that was able to go out and rent rooms for themselves had to do so and those that needed help had a place provided for them and provisions provided for them. My father and myself went to Williamsburg and rented three rooms.
BIB: Archer, Patience Loader. Reminiscences (Ms 6218), pp. 39-57. (HDA)
Autobiography of Patience Loader Archer
…left Liverpool on December 10, 1855, on the ship John J. Boyd
Our company was on the sea about eleven weeks, due to the stormy weather. The vessel was rocked very hard and we tumbled around in great shape. One night the captain, while intoxicated, kicked the stove over and the ship caught on fire. Once while the storm was raging, the curtains of my berth separated and a bright light shown through and I saw a person whom I had never seen before standing in the light which was so bright I could see the color of his eyes; they were brown and he had lovely hair. He spoke to me saying, “Fear not; you shall be taken over safely.” Then the curtains were drawn. I called to father and mother in the next berth, and told them not to fear for I believed I had seen the Savior and they felt to rely on this promise. [p.260]
The captain picked up and cared for a crew from a vessel that had been wrecked. Some of these sailors had broken limbs. Our supply of fresh water became short and we had to cook with salt water. There was a large company of Saints on this vessel, Scandinavians, Germans, and a few English in charge of Brother Canute Peterson of Lehi, Utah. John Loader and wife buried their baby girl in the sea, and most all were seasick. After they got better, they enjoyed the voyage.
We arrived in New York the latter part of February 1856,
BIB: Archer, Patience Loader [Autobiography], Our Pioneer Heritage comp. by Kate B. Carter, vol. 14 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1971) pp. 260-261, 263. (HDL)
Report from Christian Christiansen
. . . Elder Christian Christiansen, who was sent as a missionary from Utah to preside over the Scandinavian Saints in the Western States, relates the following about the emigrants who stopped in Burlington: “On the 29th of February, 1856, about 150 Scandinavian emigrants arrived on Burlington, Iowa, to be placed under my jurisdiction, as they , through lack of means, were enable to continue the journey to Utah that year. I assisted them in the transportation of their luggage across the Mississippi River on the ice, and brought them to a house belonging to an apostate ‘Mormon’ by the name of Thomas Arthur, of whom I had hired a room for the accommodation of the emigrants-the only one I could secure in the whole town. On that day the editors of the Burlington papers announced to the public the startling fact that the town had been ‘taken’ by the ‘Mormons.’ Without friends or money I stood in the midst of my poor brethren, not knowing what to do; but I set to work in earnest and succeeded in finding employment for some of the brethren as wood choppers in the country, where I also rented a number of empty cabins for the Saints, who subsisted on corn meal, bacon and other articles of food which they received as advance payment for their labors. For the young men and women I also secured places as servants, and in Burlington alone I found places for 50 of them. I also hired wagons and took some of the emigrants to Montrose and Keokuk in search of employment. Thus, in less than a week after the arrival of the emigrants at Burlington, all who were able to work had found something to do. But there was number of other persons who needed financial aid, and as I had no money I approached one of the emigrants who had a twenty dollar gold piece, but he was an unbeliever and refused to lend his money to me, or anyone else, even for the relief of the sick. A few days later he died, and his widow promptly advanced me the means; thus I secured the necessary medicines and other things needed by the sufferers. My next step was to organize the Saints into branches of the Church, over which I appointed presidents. After a little while everything went well, and in a remarkable short time the emigrants earned means enough to continue their journey to the valley. . . .” [p.107]
BIB: Christiansen, Christian [Report] IN History of the Scandinavian Mission by Andrew Jenson, (Deseret News Press: SLC, 1927), p. 107. (HDL)
Autobiography of Fredrick Julius Christiansen
… heeding the counsel of Brother J. Van Cott, president of the mission. We then took passage on a mail steamer to Kiel where we joined the rest of the company. President Canute Petersen was the captain. We took the train to Glukstad and from there we journeyed to Grimsby, England. We continued on to Liverpool by steamer and railroad, arriving December 5, 1855, where we boarded the ship, John J. Boyd, that same day, but we were held in the harbor until December 12th. It was very stormy weather most all of the voyage, the winds blowing so hard they could not control the ship, so the sails were lowered and the ship found its own way through the water. But the Saints felt well and fasted and prayed to the Lord for his protecting hand to be over us. There were 430 Scandinavians, 51 British and 41 Italians on board.
The Saints sang often and trusted in the Lord for safety. The captain of the ship became so angry that he forbade the Saints to sing. He was a very disagreeable man, as was the first mate, who whipped the sailors and crew with a long black whip. On January 11, 1856, a ship near us was destroyed by the wind, and thirty seamen on it were rescued by our ship, but the mate whipped them so they could hardly move when we arrived in New York. On January 13, 1856, I married Kirstina Marie Andersen. The weather remained unsettled and approximately sixty children and old folks died, most of them from having the measles.
February 16th we went from New York to Castle Gardens where we remained until the 22nd
BIB: Christiansen, Fredrick Julius, [Autobiography], Our Pioneer Heritage comp. by Kate B. Carter, vol. 10 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1967) pp. 132-133. (HDL)
Autobiography of Peter Gottfredson [Gotfredsen]
. . ."Early in the month of December, 1855, …sailing from there on the 12th of December on the ship John J. Boyd. Under the leadership of Knud Petersen who had filled a mission to Norway and Denmark. There were 508 passengers on board. Knud Petersen became president of Sanpete Stake of Zion. He was father-in-law of President Anthon H. Lund.
We had a very rough voyage over the Atlantic. We got to New York on the 16th of February, 1856. Sixty-five days on the water. We had headwinds most of the way. When we were about one-third of the way over we were driven back to the coast of Ireland. The vessel was on fire twice. The one time was serious. The fire started in the Captain's cabin and burned through the deck and filled the vessel with smoke so that the passengers had to go on deck. Some trunks and other luggage that was on fire was thrown into the sea. There was much sickness on board and I remember more than thirty deaths. I will here describe a funeral at sea. After the customary services the corpse was sewn into a [p.6] canvas, or sheet, with a large lump of coal at the feet. A plank was laid over the side of the vessel and the corpse laid on it with feet out. A prayer offered, the end of the plank raised and the dead slide into the sea, feet foremost, when all was over. Several of the sailors were disabled and some died. The captain was very cruel to the sailors. At one time the vessel sprang a leak, water running in fast. About thirty sailors were working a large double lever pump with ropes attached to the ends of the levers. One sailor was not working to suit the captain. He picked up a rope with a heavy hook in the end, and from behind hit the sailor on the head with the hook, killing him instantly. I stood nearby watching the pumping and saw it. So did some others. The ship was getting short of able-bodied sailors to man the ship and the captain planned to drought [draft] passengers to take the place of disabled sailors.
One morning I had occasion to go on deck very early and looking ahead saw what I thought was a steamship. I went below and told the folks that we would soon be to land, that there was a steamship not far ahead. Some of the passengers went up to see and when the captain turned his glass on it discovered that it was a wrecked vessel. What I thought was a smoke stack was a stump of broken mast. Part of the bulwarks had been torn away by the sea and the waves had swept over the ship and one of the sailors had been swept overboard. Mutiny occurred on our ship. The captain did not want to rescue the sailors of the disabled ship. The mates did. We were told that the mates and the crew put the captain in confinement. The first mate, with two sailors took a small boat and rowed to the disabled ship. The second mate took charge of the ship. The way they got away from our ship [was] they hung the [p.7] boat by ropes from the end of a yard arm. A long timber that is fastened across the mast about twenty feet above the deck which reach out on either side a little past the sides of the ship. The large sail is fastened to it. The boat was hung to the end of this arm. The rocking of the ship set the boat swinging with three men in it. The mate in the back with the steering oar and the two sailors each with a large oar ready to pull when the boat struck the water. The boat went out with a big swing and the ropes ran through the pulleys and the boat struck the outgoing wave. It went through the foam and out of sight on the farther side of the wave. It looked as though the boat had been swallowed up in the sea but soon we saw it gliding up the side of another big wave a hundred yards or more from our ship. Our ship was turned around for at first the wrecked ship was on our right; after a little while it was behind us, and then at our left and further away.
The sailors from the wrecked ship came to our ship in a large white boat that held all of them, as I remember thirty-five. They came to the side of our ship and a rope ladder was let down that they came up on. Their boat was hoisted on to our ship. Our mate and the two sailors were hoisted up in their boat. The wrecked ship was loaded with flour from America to England. It was left to drift where it would. We watched it as long as we could see it. Among the rescued sailors were two Negroes. They were the first Negroes I had seen. I had been told when small, if children were bad the black man would get them. I had come to believe that there were no black men. When I looked up in their faces, standing close by, I nearly fainted. I thought the black man had me sure.
At one time the captain said to Knud Peterson [Petersen]. If I hadn't damned Mormons on board I would have been in New York six weeks ago. Peterson [Petersen] [p.8]said to him, if you hadn't Mormons on board, you would have been in hell six weeks ago.
Our drinking water got bad before we landed and the provisions gave out except some hard sea biscuits. Father had brought his Danish military uniform, sword, gun and bayonet which had been presented to him. They were sewed up in canvas. When we landed they could not be found. They had either been taken or lost. He wanted to keep them as relics.
When we landed in New York it was said the captain was not on the ship. It was thought he had got away on a fishing or trading boat. Several had met our ship a day or two before we landed.
Apostle John Taylor was at New York to look after the immigrants when they landed. He was very kind and attentive to them. We stayed there about a week. We learned that it was providential that we were so long on the sea, for when we got to New York the trains had been snowbound for a long time and could not run for several days after we landed and we would have been on expense. The ship company furnished the provisions as long as we were on board the ship.
BIB: Gottfredson, [Gotfredsen] Peter. Autobiography, pp. 6-9. (HDA)
Autobiography of Andrew Madsen
. . . In 1855 my father decided to sell his old homestead and emigrate to the United States, and settle with the Mormons in Utah. The money he received for the farm was to be spent for emigrating to America his family and other poor people.
November 23, 1855, myself, Neils Peter, Neils, Grathe, and Bena and I left home and started for Copenhagen, accompanied with our father, arriving there the next day. This was the last time I ever saw my father.
We began making preparations for the voyage across the Atlantic. Knute [Canute] Peterson [Petersen] was chosen President over all the Mormon emigrants in our vessel. November 29, 1855 we set sail for Kiel, Germany and landed there at midnight. From there we took a train for Gluckstad, Germany and arrived there at 2 p.m. the following day. We then took a vessel for England and on our journey were four days and nights on the North Sea. We landed at Grimsby, December 4th and went from there to Liverpool by train arriving December 5th.
December 6th we boarded a sail vessel, 508 persons in all, of which 437 were from Scandinavian decent.
Just before we sailed, Apostle Franklin D. Richards came on board and gave us many encouraging remarks and bade us farewell, after which we set sail and were soon lost from all sight of land. [p.1]
Many of us became seasick. The voyage was not a pleasant one and our vessel was not equipped for so many people and we suffered many disadvantages. We had tiers of bunks around the sides and boxes in the center. We were all compelled to eat off the boxes we had to sit on. We were somewhat delayed on our journey.
On December 19th a terrific storm came up and our vessel rocked, tossing us from one side to the other, boxes and all. Again on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th, Christmas day, these storms continued, and on January 1, 1856. it was so terrific that one of our masts was split and wrapped with chains, and all the sails were taken down. The captain became so discouraged over the unsatisfactory conditions that he forbid any of us to sing or pray upon the vessel. But this did not prevent us from fasting and praying in secret which was ordered done by President Peterson, [Petersen] after which better weather prevailed. A few days after the heavy storm we came on to a vessel which was drifting with broken masts and sails. Our lifeboats were lowered and our sailors went out to rescue those on the vessel. About forty men were saved, together with some valuables and the large wrecked vessel was left to its fate on the broad ocean. The sailors taken on board were of great assistance to us as our sailors were about worn out. A day or so later the emigrants and those on board the vessel were frightened by a fire which broke out under the captain’s cabinet. The smoke poured in on the emigrants in the lower deck, almost suffocating them and it was only with great difficulty that it was extinguished.
There was no great excitement as the Saints had faith in God and felt that he would deliver them safe to the promised land, and preserve them from any such a frightful death. Our rations were very coarse and simple and our water became very low owing to the long time on our journey.
There were six grown people and about fifty children who died on our voyage and were buried in the sea. The principal cause of death among the children was from measles which brought much anguish the parents.
We arrived in New York after a long and tiresome voyage of eleven weeks and three days. It was a great joy to us after the many hardships we had suffered, to leave our vessel and go on land.
[CANUTE PETERSON’S [Petersen] COMPANY ARRIVED IN SALT LAKE CITY SEPTEMBER 16-21th, 1856, (Church Almanac 1997-98, page 172)]
BIB: Madsen, Andrew. Autobiography, pp.1-3. (HDA)
Diary of Canute Peterson
BIB: Peterson, Canute. Diary (Ms 1941), vol. 3, pp. 8-14. (Danish) [DOCUMENT NOT INCLUDED IN DATABASE]
Autobiography of John Peter Peterson
My mother and father were baptized by C.C.A. Christensen and myself by Carl Fjeld, fall of 1855. We left Norway, Oct. 15, 1855. We arrived in Utah in 1856. We left Norway, with the S.S. Nordkapp to Copenhagen, stopped there 2 weeks, waiting for the Danish immigrants. Crossed the Batlie to Kiel, Germany, from Kiel to Hamburg on R. R. from Hamburg across the north sea to Hull, England, then to Liverpool where we stayed about 8 days, waiting for the old “Bark” John J. Boyd to get ready to take us across the Atlantic Ocean to America. We encountered some fearful storms. In mid-ocean we hailed a wreck that had been lying for 8 days in a fearful situation. The rudder masts, and railings were gone. The man at the helm and the cook with all his utensils were washed overboard. The balance of the crew and the captain, 21 persons were saved on board our ship. We were 11 weeks on the ocean before we landed in New York. We stayed 3 days in New York
BIB: Peterson, John Peter. Autobiography, pp.[1-2], IN Maxine L. Breinholt, Biographies (Ms 8691), reel 4. pp. 1-2. (HDA)
Autobiography and Journal of John Wilford Peterson
… we stayed about eight days, waiting for the old bark John J. Boyd to get ready to take us across the Atlantic Ocean to America. Across the Atlantic we encountered some fearful storms, on mid ocean we hailed a wreck that had been laying for eight days in a fearful situation. The rudder, mast and railings was gone and the man at the helm, and cook with all his utensils was washed overboard. The crew together with the captain consisted of 21 persons, who was all saved on board our ship (excepting those 2 persons above named.) We then came to New York after being tossed about on the ocean for eleven weeks. Stayed at New York about 3 days on Castle Garden
BIB: Peterson, John Wilford. Autobiography and Journal, pp. 1-3, (HDA)
Letter from Charles R. Savage
New York,, Feb. 18, 1856
Dear President Taylor - Agreeably with your request, I present a brief outline of the voyage across the Atlantic, in the J. [John] J. Boyd.
We left Liverpool on Wednesday, Dec. 12th, 1855, at 7 a.m. and had a fine run down the channel, sighted Cape Clear on the Friday morning following, and had mild weather with a fair wind for three days after. During this time we had leisure to devise plans for the maintenance of order, and cleanliness during the voyage. Notwithstanding that our company consisted of Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Icelanders, Italians, English, Irish, and Scotch, the rules adopted proved efficacious in maintaining a strict “entent cordiale” among us all. The Saints were at the sound of trumpet called to prayer morning and evening. Meetings were also frequently held in the Danish, English, and Italian languages during the voyage. On the whole, we enjoyed ourselves first-rate, notwithstanding the many gales and hurricanes we experienced, from the breaking up of the fine weather, in about longitude 15 degrees, to our anchoring off Sandy Hook.
About midway on our passage, we fell in with the clipper ship “Louis Napoleon,” from Baltimore to Liverpool, laden with flour, with all her masts and spars carried away, and leeward bulwarks stove in; upon nearing the ship we found her in a sinking condition. The captain and crew desired to be taken off, which was done. This acquisition was of great advantage to us, as the bad weather, sickness and exhaustion from overwork, had made quite a gap in our complement of sailors.
We had much sickness on board from the breaking out of the measles, which caused many deaths among the Danish, chiefly among the children. In the English and Italian companies we lost three children. The weather got worse after crossing the Banks, so much so, that we were driven into the Gulf Stream three times, and many of our sailors were frost-bitten. Our captain got superstitious on account of the long passage, and ordered that there should be no singing on board; the mate said that all the ships that had preachers on board were always sure of a bad passage; however, the Lord heard our prayers, and in his own due time we arrived at our destination. On the evening of the 15th of February we were safely at anchor - having been sixty-six days out from Liverpool.
Our supply of water was almost exhausted; we had on our arrival only about one day’s water on board. The provisions were very good, and proved abundant to the last. On our taking the pilot on board he informed us that there had been many disasters during the months of January and February; many ships had been wrecked. We had made the passage without the loss of a single spar. Truly we can say that we have been blest, and that our long voyage has been an advantage to us in many ways.
Praying that we may be as blest during our sojourn on the land of the Saints as we have until the present time, I remain, yours respectively in the gospel,
C. R. Savage. [p.206]
BIB: Savage, C. [Charles] R. [Letter], Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 18:13. (March 29, 1856), p. 206. (HDL)