William Young Black (1784 – 1873) Coming to America

Following are various accounts of William Y Black’s fellow passengers on the sailing ship “Swanton,” which departed from Liverpool, England with a final destination of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America:

Ship: Swanton

Port of Departure:   Liverpool, England

Date of Departure: 16 Jan 1843

LDS Immigrants: 212  Church Leader:  Lorenzo Snow

Port of Arrival:   New Orleans, Louisiana

Date of Arrival: 16 Mar 1843

BLACK, William <1784>   Swanton  1843

Gender:   Male Age: 59

Notes: Swanton, 212 souls. On Monday, January 16th, 1843, sailed from Liverpool, Captain Davenport, with two hundred and twelve Saints aboard, bound for Nauvoo, via New Orleans, under the direction of Elder Lorenzo Snow. During the first four weeks of the voyage, continued head winds prevented the ship from progressing very fast, but on the seventeenth day of February the wind became fair, and continued so during the remainder of the voyage. A few days after leaving Liverpool, the company was more fully organized by the appointment of Elders M. Auley and Robert Reed to act as counselors to Lorenzo Snow. The emigrants were also divided into two grand divisions, and twelve officers appointed to attend to the comfort and cleanliness of the Saints. At six o’clock every morning the bell sounded for all to arise; prayer meetings were held every night at seven o’clock; there was preaching every Tuesday and Thursday nights and twice on Sunday. Peace and health prevailed among the people, though some were disposed to murmur a little. Much of the power of God was manifested in the restoration of the sick by anointing with oil, and through the prayer of faith. The following is from the Biography of Lorenzo Snow, written by his sister, Eliza R. Snow, (page 65): ‘The commander of the ship Swanton, Captain Davenport, and officers of the crew, were kind and courteous, which contributed much to ameliorate the discomfort incident to life on the ocean. The steward, a German by birth, was a young man, very affable in manner, and gentlemanly in deportment — a general favorite and highly respected by all. During the latter part of the voyage he took sick, and continued growing worse and worse until death seemed inevitable. All means proved unavailing, and the captain, by whom he was much beloved, gave up all hope of his recovery, and requested the officers and crew to go in one by one, and take a farewell look of their dying friend, which they did silently and solemnly as he lay there unconscious and almost breathless on his dying couch. Immediately after his sad ceremony closed, one of our sisters by the name of Martin, without my brother’s knowledge, went to the captain and requested him to allow my brother to lay hands on the steward, according to our faith and practice under such circumstances, saying that she believed that the steward would be restored. The captain shook his head, and told her that the steward was now breathing his last, and that it would be useless to trouble Mr. Snow. But Sister Martin was not to be defeated; she not only importuned, but earnestly declared her faith in the result of the proposed administration, and he finally yielded and gave consent. As soon as the foregoing circumstance was communicated to my brother, he started toward the cabin where the steward lay, and in passing through the door met the captain who was in tears. He said: ‘Mr. Snow, it is too late; he is expiring; he is breathing his last!’ My brother made no reply, but took a seat beside the dying man. After devoting a few moments to secret prayer, he laid his hands on the head of the young man, prayed, and in the name of Jesus Christ, rebuked the disease and commanded him to be made whole. Very soon after, to the joy and astonishment of all, he was seen walking the deck, praising and glorifying God for his restoration. The officers and sailors acknowledged the miraculous power of God, and on landing at New Orleans, several of them were baptized, also the first mate, February 26th, 1843.’ At New Orleans the emigrating Saints left the Swanton, and, on board the Amaranth, wended their way up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where they arrived Wednesday, March 29th, 1843. There they had to remain a few days, laying in a boat, waiting for the river to open, before they could continue the journey to Nauvoo. Descriptive of the arrival of the company at Nauvoo, the following occurs in the History of Joseph Smith, under date of Apri112th, 1843: ‘Before the elders’ conference closed, the steamer Amaranth appeared in the sight of the [Nauvoo] Temple, coming up the river, and about noon, landed her passengers at the wharf opposite the old Post Office Building, consisting of about two hundred and forty Saints from England, under the charge of Elder Lorenzo Snow, who left Liverpool last January, after a mission of nearly three years. I, with a large company of the brethren and sisters, was present to greet the arrival of our friends, and gave notice to the newcomers to meet at the Temple tomorrow morning at ten o’clock to hear instructions. After unloading the Saints, the Amaranth proceeded up the river, being the first boat up this season.’ In the afternoon of the same day the Maid ofIowa arrived in Nauvoo with Parley P. Pratt’s company of British Saints.”

Autobiography of  Christopher Layton

… On July 10, 1842, Mary Matthews and I were married at Thorncut, Bedfordshire, England, by Reverend Taddy, and on Jan. 1st., 1843, we left Thorncut with Mr. Coleman’s family, in a large baggage wagon en route for America. George Coleman and I drove the baggage in a very cumbersome wagon with three strong horse’s tandem.

It is against the law of England for teamsters to ride, and while both of us were riding, a policeman saw us and gave chase. We whipped up the horses and after going about three miles we outran him and slowed down again to a peaceable jog.

Leaving our wagons at Wolverhampton we went by train to Liverpool where we joined other Saints and were enrolled on the good ship Swanton–Captain Davenport-vas the nineteenth company of Latter-day Saint emigrants, with Lorenzo Snow as the company’s captain. We stayed at Liverpool for two weeks waiting for repairs on the ship, but we [p.4] made the vessel our home, doing our cooking and sleeping on board.

One day Brother Coleman said to me, “Chris, ain’t you going to peel some potatoes and make us a pie?” So I went to work and made the meat and potatoes into a pie; and when it was baked all of the others wanted to share with us and asked for a recipe for “Chris’s pie,” as they called it.

On Jan. 16, 1843, we set sail from Liverpool and as we slowly saw the land disappear in the distance we sang one of the songs of Zion and cheered each other with sympathizing words. We were the first British emigrant company of the season, and numbered two hundred and twelve souls. We had a pleasant voyage across the Atlantic, during which time just before reaching the American shore Mary gave birth to a little son, whom we named William M. Layton.

After sailing for seven weeks and three days we arrived at New Orleans and were transferred to the steamer “Amaranth” in which we sailed up the Mississippi River. Our baby died before we reached St. Louis, being only about six weeks old. It was buried on shore. We arrived at St. Louis on March 29, 1843.

We were now transferred from the steamer to a barge, and here we had to stay two weeks waiting for the ice to break up in the river. My wife was sick and delicate and the weather was raw and chilly, but we consoled ourselves with the Lord’s promises and thanked Him that we were so near our journeys end. My money having given out, I was obliged to borrow $7 of Prime Coleman.

About the 7th of 8th of April a small steamer fastened a cable to our barge and tugged us up the river to Nauvoo where we arrived one very cold morning, April 12.

Now rejoiced we were when we were safely across! And there stood our Prophet on the banks of the river to welcome us! AS he heartily grasped our hands, the fervently spoken words “God bless you” sank deep into our hearts, giving us a feeling of peace such as we had never known before. The Saints had congregated in front of the old post office building to gladly welcome us to this land and the beautiful city of Nauvoo …

BIB: Layton, Christopher, Autobiography of Christopher Layton, ed. By John Q. Cannon

Autobiography of John Nelson Harper

… On the 6th of April I went to Liverpool and stopped for one month, I then came home and went to Hillsboro and in the summer I went to Lerchfield to Mr. Mussentines to do work for Richard Akin. He violated his contract and I had no witness to prove my contract so he rouged me out of 8.19 pounds; so I then left and went into Belfast and commenced to work for William. Low and he sent me down to learn to work for him, and on the 5th of Nov. I came home and Sister Margret Leach, daughter of Hugh and Ann Leach was joined into the holy bands of wedlock by Brother Andrew Hennyy, and elder in Israel, we being the first that was married in Ireland by the holy priesthood on the 7th Nov. 1842 in Hillsboro. Then after we was married decided to gather with the Saints in the land of America so we left Hillsboro and on the 31 st of Dec. we sailed from Belfast in the “Mibemia” at 9 o’clock in the evening, and after 22 hours sailing we arrived at Liverpool at 7 o’clock in the evening. 8 hours of the time was spent in sickness.

We landed in Liverpool on the 1st of Jan. 1845. We then proceeded to Mr.

Thomas Carrelle, who lived on Milton Street. We stopped there until the 3rd then we went on board the Swanton and on Sunday the 8th we had a meeting on board. Prayer by Brother Lorenzo Snow, preaching by Elders Filding and Clark. In the afternoon we went to the music hall where we heard Elders Ward and Mitchlson and partake of the sacrament and we saw four confirmed. During our stay in Liverpool there were 6 of the passengers embraced the fullness of the gospel, we wrote home on the 4th, 7th, and 9th of Jan. from Liverpool, and on the 12th of Jan we had a pleasant walk to George’s monument and James’s Cemetery and seen the statue of Mr. Huskison M. P. and Engineer.

On Sunday the 15th we had a meeting in the ship where there was four confirmed and one child blessed. We went to the hall and attended Sacrament and in the evening we heard Brother W. Anley give a fine lecture followed [p.6] by Brother Wilkie. We wrote home on the 16th the day we sailed from Liverpool. There was nothing particular occurred for some time. The most of the time the passengers spent the first week in sickness. We had one birth on the 15th and died on the 24th.

On Friday 20th we passed by the Wicklow mountains.

On the 22nd we passed by Cape Clear, and Monday 23rd we had a great squall of wind in the morning that was very alarming and caused great confusion with the luggage.

On the 25th of Jan. we had a fine day and calm day.

On Friday 27th Elder Howard’s [Samuel Howard] child arm was broken by fall down in the hatch, and on Sunday 29th we had a fine day and good meetings. The weather in general was calm but the winds kept contrary to us.

On Sunday the 5th we had our morning meeting on deck and our afternoon and evening below. Elder [Lorenzo] Snow gave us a fine lecture in the evening.

On Wed. 8th we had a very rough sea and some heavy squalls that lasted to Thur. night. There was through the day a great surge came over bulwarks and wet a number of the Saints. There were a great many sick that day, we were of the number.

We are now on the 9th of Feb. through the Barbary and Canary Islands and in the Trade winds. Sunday at 12 we had our morning and Sacrament meeting on deck. The day being very hot the Captain caused a canopy to be erected to shade us from the sun. Preaching by Elder [John] Sheffield and MacCauley [McAuley].

Thursday 14 Brother Charles Smith and Reves [William Reeves] bore their testimony. On the 19th we had a fine meeting on deck.

On the 16th of the winds turned favorable to us.

Tuesday 21st Brothers [Thomas] McCann and [John] Charleston bore their testimony.

Thur. 23rd Brother Night [William Knight] gave us a fine discourse. On Sunday 26th Brother [Lorenzo] Snow gave us a fine lecture.

On the 27th Feb. after sailing six weeks we came in sight of land. The first was the island Antega on the right and Guadeloupe on the left.

Friday March the 2nd the sea was rather rough.

Snow chartered the “Goddess of Liberty” to St. Louis distance 1200 miles; the river being low we were 11 days in coming. We arrived in St. Louis on the 27th of March. We were then the 5th company of Saints that had come form England during the fall and spring, but the river was not fit for boats to run on account of the ice. We remained in St. Louis to the 7th of April when Brother [Lorenzo] Snow chartered “Amornath” to take us to Nauvoo where we landed on the 12th of April, and we were met at the landing by the Prophet of the Lord and some of the 12 Apostles and a great number of the Saints. I was then full rewarded for all that I passed to see with and hear with my ears a living prophet of God and hear the sweet words of his mouth blessing us in the name of the lord God of Israel. Conference had just come to a close; we was the first boat that had ascended the river that spring. Brother P. [Parley] P. Pratt landed the same afternoon with another company of Saints in the boat “Maid of Iowa” …. [p.8]

Letter from Robert Reid March 15, 1843

New Orleans, March 15th, 1843

Brother Ward, — I now take the opportunity of writing to you, to let you know that I am well thanks be to God for all his mercies–hoping this well find you the same. I promised to many of my friends in the Isle of Man and in England, to write to them to let them know of our safe arrival in the land of Joseph, and so you will oblige me if you will give the following a place in the STAR [Latter-day Saints Millennial Star].

We left Liverpool on board the ship Swanton, on the 17th January, 1843, at 11 o’clock in the forenoon, and we continued to have head-winds for about four weeks, consequently we made little progress; but on the 17th of February the wind became fair, and has continued so until the present time. We had on board between two and three hundred passengers, under the care of Brother [Lorenzo] Snow. A few days after we left Liverpool, the ship was set in order, and Brother M’Auley [John McAuley] and myself were appointed his councilors, and the ship being divided into two grand divisions, twelve officers were appointed to attend to the comfort and cleanliness of the Saints. The order of the ship was, that the bell went around at six o’clock in the morning for all to arise, which has been attended to; prayer meetings every night at seven o’clock; preaching Tuesday and Thursday nights, and twice on Sunday, with the church meeting in the afternoon. Peace and health have been in our midst, although some have been disposed to murmur, yet those spirits have been subdued by the authority of the holy priesthood. We have witnessed the power of the Almighty on the face of the waters. For three or four nights the sea appeared to be an ocean of fire, such a sight we never before witnessed.

On February the 27th we saw the first land, at half past two o’clock in the afternoon. March the 4th, we saw a large comet, and it continued visible for seven nights. I do not know whether you have seen it in England or not, as there is no mention made of it in the almanac; but whether or not, we rejoiced to see it, as one of the many signs bearing testimony of the coming of the Son of Man, and that the wisdom of this world does not know all things. I must say, that in my opinion we have been the most agreeable company that ever crossed the mighty ocean, and we have witnessed the power of the holy priesthood in the restoration of the sick, by anointing with oil, and the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus. I will relate one case: the steward of this vessel was so injured by a blow from one of the crew, that his life was despaired of, and I stood over him for some time, and thought that life was gone. The captain had administered to him all that he could think of in the way of medicine, but to no effect; and after they gave up all hopes of his recovery at twelve o’clock at night, he sent for Elder [Lorenzo] Snow, and by anointing with oil, and the laying on of hands, in the name of the Lord, he was there and then raised up and perfectly healed. For this token of the divine favour we will praise the God of Israel.

We have been blest with one of the kindest captains that ever had charge of a vessel, and a kind and obliging crew; and we thank God that he granted us favour in their sight, and hope that the preached word, and the conduct of the Saints has caused an impression to be made upon them that will never be effaced.

Remember me in the kindest manner to elders Fielding and Clark; and I must say great credit is due to them for the manner in which they supplied the ship Swanton with provisions. I have, myself, superintended the giving our of all the provisions, except the water, and we have had plenty and to spare; for after having been at sea above eight weeks, we shall have a sufficiency to last us up the river to Nauvoo. I cannot, therefore, but feel for my brethren connected with the emigration department, when I call to mind the wicked lies of apostates and others in regard to provisions, feeling convinced of one thing, that though the servants of God labor with all diligence for the salvation of the human family, they will necessarily find enemies to contend with, and that, perhaps, even amongst some terming themselves Saints.

We have this day got to New Orleans, and have engaged the steam-boat “The Goddess of Liberty,” the one that took Elder [Parley P.] Pratt and company up. We get to Nauvoo for eleven and sixpence, luggage included. We intend to start on Saturday the 18th. The captain is a kind man to the Saints, and has a letter of recommendation from Elder Pratt.

Yours, &c. in the covenant of God, Robert Reid

Reminiscences and Diary of Charles Smith

… R. Seasons arrived from Nauvoo bringing word that the Lord had accepted the labors of the Elders in this land and there was to be no more ordinations in this land and the Elders was now to set there faces Zion-ward and save themselves from the untoward generation another circumstances was that Elder Snyder was deputed to come from America to England to the Saints for their assistance towards building of the temple and another was that they was entering into arrangements to gathering the Saints out of Liverpool, this land all of them next season. All of which news caused me to rejoice exceedingly. I now determined to do all that I could to enable myself to gather with his people. I attended the music hall on Sunday 22nd of May. Heard Brother Pratt speak upon the subject of revelation. Afternoon, I attended sacrament meeting. Night, Brother Pratt preached again. Next day I came to Hapody Wern. Next day to Lightwood Green. Next day I came to Oswestry. Went to Owens the matchmaker and got a   job and began to work next morning being 26th of May. I continued there about six weeks. The Lord blessed my labors. From there I went to Poolquay and wrought there sometime. I then came back to Oswestry and labored there a few weeks. In the beginning of Nov. I went to see my mother. I with her a week and then left. I came back into Shropshire to prepare to emigrate to America. I then went to Liverpool in company with Brother Joseph Griffiths, paid my passage to America. I then came back into Shropshire to prepare to take my luggage to Liverpoo1.

On the 26 of Dec. I went to Ellesmere to help Sarah Price to prepare. I sent her passage money to Liverpool by post. That night we went to Lightwood Green in company with Elder James Marsden. On Friday we went to Ellesmere, again on Saturday to Lightwood Green the same went to Hindford, stopped all night. Sunday went to Oswestry in search of a cart to take our Luggage. We got a cart and came back to Hindford. We loaded and then started about ten o’clock at night. At 12 we reached Lightwood Green but the [p.9] Saints expecting we had [SIC] was not coming that night went home. We took our leave of Sister Martha Price. I had peculiar reflections in leaving this place. I was a member of the Church at this place, I loved the Saints here, and my prayers ascend to God in their behalf. I had first been baptized into this branch had met with the Saints many times in this place and had rejoiced in the truths we had received together. The same night we continued our journey to Wrexhan, breakfasted there the next morning and continued our journey to Liverpoo1. We got to Chester about 4 o’clock we-sent-goods-by-the-barge, [SIC]. We then went to the railway station paid our fare and went to Birkenhead. Went, then crossed the river to Liverpool. It was dark when we got there; we lost some of our things. We then hired a cart to take our luggage to the ship which was lying in WaterIoo Deck. Some of us went to Brother Hillard [and] some other places.

On Tuesday evening Jan. 3rd, I was married to Sarah Price. Joseph Griffith was married the same time. On Thursday we went on board ship but having adverse winds we did not sail until the 16th. Many of the poor Saints suffered for want of provision.

We then set sail, the wind was blowing pretty keen from the north. In about two hours I was taken sick; this is a very bad sickness but I did not have it so violent as some some [SIC] were very sick. All the way pretty much we had a pretty good passage. In four days we were clear of the Irish Channel which is very dangerous in stormy weather. [We] were becalmed several times which hindered us very much we had one pretty smart storm which last only a few hours, we soon got into the (p. 28) trade winds which are very favorable. About the West Indies we saw many flying fish and a small kind of whale called grampers playing about. We were in a storm in the Gulf of Mexico three days. It then settled down and we made the mouth of the river. We rather unfortunately, we struck on a sand bar and were detained there [p.lO] until next day when we got a steamboat then (they) towed us up the river to New Orleans which was about 190 miles. We got there in the afternoon the next day, being the 15 of March after a passage of 8 weeks and three days. I seemed quite rejoicing to think that we were once more on land, although in two or three days we left Orleans for St. Louis. We were very much thronged besides over two hundred Saints there was a good many Germans and Negroes. The river was very low and we were very often stuck fast on the sand bars which are very numerous in this river. We were as long again as is usual in consequence of sticking fast. The weather was very cold and very uncomfortable. Our berth was very near the boilers and sometimes we were nearly suffocated with steam and would much the same as a person in a steam bath. In a few minutes the boat would take a tum and the wind would blow enough to freeze a person in. We were in this uncomfortable situation nearly two weeks which caused a great deal of sickness. After we arrived at Saint Louis a distance of twelve hundred miles, some left us at this place, but I felt determined to pursue my journey to Nauvoo. We were compelled to remain at St. Louis about ten days. The Saints that left England in the fall were compelled to remain here all winter the river was froze over above. We left Saint Louis on the “Amaranth” about the eight of April and arrived at Nauvoo on the 12th or 13th. The next day Brother Joseph Smith preached to us which comforted our hearts very much. We were glad to see some of our old friends rejoicing on the truth, but many of them had denied the faith and some were dead …