William, Jane, and Nephi sailed to America from England in 1853 on the ship Swanton. They were a part of a group of 200 Saints being led by Lorenzo Snow. They arrived in New Orleans, and made their way to Nauvoo, arriving on 12 April 1848. One of their children died in Nauvoo. They stayed in Missouri for two years preparing to travel across the plains.
His travel to Utah is mentioned in his son Nephi's obituary.