Transcript for Harriet Jackson, Biographical information relating to Mormon pioneer overland travel database, 2003-2017
Always my parents dreamed that
emigrate some how, some time they would be able to raise enough money to Emigrate with their family to america and Utah where they might worship in peace and safety and because "faith heard the rustle of a wing an hope saw the glimer of a star" they with seven of their unmarried children sailed from Birkened [Birkenhead] England June 4 1868. It is true they did not have enough means to make so long a journey to a new strange land. It took everything just to reach here. Upon arrival they found no source of sustenance. The missionaries painted with fanatical to a land of milk and honey They found a desert of sage brush. But I am glad faith and hope led them here and that I endured the hardships of the trip and learned to live in this hard land and conquer the forces that would have beaten me down. A great sorrow to my father in leaving his homeland was that he could not take with him all of his carpenter tools. These tools were part of father and he loved them. Only a definite number of pounds were allowed and mother of necessity had to supply some of those pounds. Besides tools were heavy. mother shake her head again and again send him away with this tool and that because there was not room. He did however manage to take quite a number of the most valuable ones along. It was a luc[k]y thing for all on the old John Bright sailing vessel that he was so persistent. Sailing along on the high seas the old ship sprang a leak and would certainly have fed us all to the fishes had not father been there with his tools. going below with the captain he soon had the leak repaired and the fearful passengers quited But father was not an John Bright when she sailed homeward nor was anyone else, capable of repairing of repairing her, and the old ship with all her cargo crew sank into the waves. How distinctly over the years I recall that ocean voyage so the much so that I shudder as I remember. we of necessity sailed for cheapest fare. our quarters were crowed and the air bad. Sister Sarah or Sally as we called her, became terribly sea sick and could not apparently recover. Finally Father and mother decided that she woul certainly die if they did not get her up where the are purer. she was far too weak to walk so they each took an arm and practically carried her up a kind of ladder to the highter deck. Her eyes were red like blood and she was so thin and white on could easly have mistaken her for a dead child. the air seemed to revive her, however and after some time she seemingly became herself again. But I think she never regained her former strength and vitallty. It may even have been her death was partly due to this debilitating sickness. The food was poor and scare so that we were always hungry. sea biscuits our bread were so hard we could not possibly bite or break them. Mother always thoughtful, had taken a large pot of butter with her,. Part of this she spread on our biscuits each day hoping it would make them eatable we liked the butter and biscutes untill every vestige of butter was gone and then tossed them into the sea we hoped the fishes would eat them so they would not be waisted because waist was a sin. one day when the earth was all sky and water a great iceberg got directly in our path a steam ship steamed by mountain of ice un harmed but our ship was sailing straight toward the great mass. Pepople looked at it in terrifed silence. How could our vessel get by without smashing itself upon the ice and a great cry went up and all eyes were turned upward. up, up the masts climed nimble sailors Sally were chanded. And miracles of miracles, we sailed safely by, many hearts there were among that frighened throng who felt that God alone steered the old ship that day. Heads were bowed in humble thanksgiving. For six weeks and 3 days we rocked and tossed on the great water Then one day when our eyes ached from strain and the ocean seemed boundless some one sighted land. a great hurrah went up, children danced and hugged each other, sweethearts thrilled each to each husband and wives looke one at the other, in reverent awe. Then they locked arms and in couples one behind the other they paced the old ships deck. All night all night the bright stars twinkled above, and the dark waves dashed below, they walked singing songs of thanksgiving and joy. How welcome was the land. In mid-July we landed in New York Thankful that our family had survived the hard ocean voyage but sorry that many others had not been so fortunate some there were who had left loved ones sleeping in the dark ocean. for them our hearts ached. The journey across the Plains was hard too but much more enjoyable than life on the sea. We traveled in the John R. Murdock ox team company some of the women and smaller children rode in wagons but father sister Sally and I walked all the way. Father loved to walk and we loved to walk just to be with him besudes there was no room for us to ride and how we did love to be with Father. Mother might be sharp and cross, but Father never. Father teasing, kind loving. Scores of years lie between us over and beyond those years. I see you yet, my Father walking sturdily onward striking to right and to left with your cane killing grasshopper and crickets without number sometimes sally's hand was clasped in your free hand sometimes mine as we tripped along beside you chattering questioning playing or when our small bodies were weary just tramping doggedly along. Father was killed shortly after we came to Utah, and our lives in this new land took on a harder rough garb. our traveling from then on was up hill all up hill and the trail unbroken. Sally and I wept bitterly and long at the loss of Father but we had to go on. Long and lonely and hard were the years robbed of his loving touch and smile all thru my life I have missed him. The rules of the company were strict. Perhaps the one empsized most was that no one leave the trail taken taken by the wagon trail company. It was so easy to get lost in the vast reaches and time was too valuable to use searching for lost ones Besides Indians were all about who might easily kill or carry away wandering whites, but Father and a Brother Williams were wanderers by nature, searchers for the new, the different the unknown, and so in spite of fast rules they sometimes yielded to their primitive urges and took what they called "short cuts" and scenery tramps one day they walked there way alone away from the wagon train on a path all their own. Sally and I followed gathering flowers and playing as we went, soon we came to soon we came to Green River Wyoming and found that we must Cross on a single log laying across it or return they way we had come and follow far behind the train. Brother Williams got down and hunched his way across the log, but Father had a bigger problem. The frightened girls clung to him desperately. Father thot he could walk across carrying one under each arm but I was too frightened. Neither would I consent to his taking me first as I was afraid he would fall in when he went back for Sally. I simply did not dare to be left alone while he took Sally over either. Well something had to [be] done for we could not cross alone finall I decided I would go over first and little Sally bravely waited while Father carried me across first. The walk over the plains with Father and Sally is one of the bright spots in my journey thru life. How happy and carefree we were and how close our souls were to each other. Even though Father was taken so so soon. I am sure he has always remained near his two little girls, shortly gathering the younger and more fragile one to his bosom and inspiring the other with courage and determination to travle life's highway bravely, honestly, through long hard years I also recall what joy we all gathered within the circle of wagons about the camp fires in the evenings to sing songs of thanksgivings and praise. Come, Come ye saints was the favorite song, with we thank The o God for a prophet a loved second. I loved to sing those songs and I still enjoy singing with the congregation in church. Finally on aug 18 1868 we arrived in Salt Lake City and were sent by Bishop Hunter to Lehi.