Transcript for Bowen, David, [Autobiographical sketch], in Raymond R. Martin and Esther Jenkins Carpenter, comp., The Samaritans , 74
Samaria, January 28th, 1887
David Bowen is the son of Lewis and Mary Ann Harris Bowen. Born on the 18th of June, 1837 in Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, South Wales. Baptized by Elder Lewis Bowen in Abersychan May 14, 1853, the same day as my mother and my brother John. Emigrated March 17th, 1856 (at the age of 18). Travelled by railroad to Liverpool, England. Sailed from Liverpool on board the vessel Enoch Train. Crossed the Atlantic Ocean in six to seven weeks time. Had a fair passage (though winds drove them back 300 miles when they were near the shores of America), not much sickness, landed in Boston Massachusetts. Stayed on the camping ground four miles from Iowa City about six weeks to get our outfit to cross the plains with, which consisted of provisions, wagons, oxen, hand carts, etc, (two men and two women formed a team). Pulled a handcart from the camp ground to Florence or near Omaha, Council Bluffs, Nebraska Territory. The weather being excessive hot and the handcart laden down to its utmost capacity, making it laborious, consequently I was tired many times from the fatigue of the day's labor. We stayed here a week or two, to recruit up and get supplies to continue our journey of one thousand miles in the same way across the plains. My experience on this part of the journey was the same as before, but of a longer duration, and not as much food as we would like to have had to satisfy the craving of appetite in consequence of a scarcity of provisions. There was a supply of flour sent out from Salt Lake City, hauled by horse teams to bring supplies for all the companies; they met us on the Sweetwater River; we bought sufficient supply to carry us through in addition to our regular rations to our destination. We arrived in the Valley of Great Salt Lake 26 Sept. (This was the first handcart company, under the direction of Edward [Edmund] Ellsworth).
(When I left home) I was put in charge of Elder Andrew Galloway, President of the Herefordshire conference. I being the oldest of the family, it was concluded by my parents and others for me to come on before them to get means to bring the balance of the family out. It took eight years to accomplish this object. My brother John emigrated one year before the rest. With his assistance, and the means which I had in my possession, the object of pursuit was brought about and we were brought together face to face once more; for which we felt to thank God. The family consisted of nine in number; my father Lewis, mother Mary Ann, David, John, Ebenezer Thomas, Benjamin, Brigham, and Martha Bowen.
I was promised by the Elders that I should enjoy good health on the journey; this I received and was much blessed on sea and land. I pulled a handcart from Iowa camping ground to Salt Lake city, a distance of thirteen hundred miles, not missing a day from my cart on the whole journey. I saw many young men in the company sickly and ailing often, leaving their carts and sometimes getting in the wagons to ride. The promise made to me was realized and fulfilled to the very letter. That promise would very often come before my mind, and I exercise all the faith I could to enjoy the same, so that I could accomplish that which I had set out for. Brother [Andrew] and Sister [Jane] Galloway were very kind to me and did all they could to help me along.