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Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1853 (age 26), Ririe, James (Ten Pound Company)

I, James Ririe, was born on the 24th day of January 1827 near Castle Fraser, Parish of Cluny, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. My father had five sons and four daughters. I was the youngest. My oldest brother, Alexander, died the 18th of July 1829 at the age of 17 years. My youngest brother, William, died in infancy, the 30th of August 1823. My father, David Ririe, died the 20th of August 1830 at the age of 52 years. In the month of November, following my father's death, my mother moved about three miles east in the same parish. When I was five years old, I was sent to school. When I was eleven, I was sent to service, in the summer seasons, on the agriculture line. I was taken home in winters to school until I was thirteen years old. I then went to the milling of wheat and continued two and a half years.

My mother died on the 1st of May 1845 in the 56th year of her age.

[James joined the Mormon church, did missionary work, had a disagreement with one of his leaders and was excommunicated. A higher up authority heard his side of the story and rebaptized him.]

Ten Pound Company (Cost of Immigration)
By this time, I was making at the average of 11 shillings per week. I had commenced to save up to get away to the Valley. On the 24th of January 1852, I had put into the bank, two pounds and ten shillings as a commencement. I still continued to save all I could. On the 26th of January I agreed with President McNaughton to go to the Valley, and about the first of February 1852 gave President McNaughton 6 pounds to be my deposit money and to pay for my outfit on the plains in the Ten Pound Company.

At that time only eleven made their way to Utah: Mrs. Mitchell and three daughters, Brother Robb and wife, Brother Brown and wife, Brother Noble and wife and myself. On the 24th of January 1853 I drew from the bank my money, 17 pounds, and on the 8th of February I left work to go. I left Aberdeen on the 12 of February 1853. Before leaving, I took farewell of my friends and relatives. Some of them were very opposed, also some of them in the Church. I also promised to do my best to take out Helen Mitchel the following season. Leaving Scotland, 1853
I arrived in Edinburgh by train at half past 12 noon. I went to Brother Waugh's and left my portrait. I took dinner in a cook shop on High Street, and then went to Mr. Focktrit's. To my astonishment, I there met my sister Margret. I got a kind of a promise that she might yet come to America to me. On Monday 14th I got a number of presents from her for my comfort. There was a top coat, shirts, etc. and a genuine silver watch No. 13484-87-13417. I asked her if she would loan me six pounds to take Helen Mitchel with me, but she not being a Mormon and not understanding our faith in the command of God to gather to Zion said "No sir, you're going to a country that you know nothing of and to take a girl there, perhaps to starve, no. You go there and see if you can make a living. Then write me and I will then help her out to you." I had to go with that promise. I parted with her on the 15th at Edinburgh.

The same afternoon that I parted with Margret, I arrived in Glasgow. I met my brother George at the Glasgow Station. I went to his house. On Friday 18th I got a letter from Liverpool that I could not be included on the International which was to sail on the 23rd of February, but that I would be notified in a few days for the next vessel. On Saturday 12th of March I got notification to be in Liverpool to sail with the Falcon on the 28th of March. Sailing vessels were very scarce that year as the Gold Fever had broken out in Australia and all were going there.

On Saturday 19th, I left Glasgow with about 100 Saints to sail on the same vessel. I was a little sick on the way to Liverpool. I watched the luggage at night on the steamer. On the 20th we arrived in Liverpool where I found lodgings at Mrs. Gellian's. On March 21st we removed our luggage to sheds on the Bramly Moor Dock. I watched the luggage part of the night. That same day I went to the office and paid the other four pounds for my passage. We watched our luggage by turns until Monday the 28th of March when we sailed out of Liverpool. It was a fine day but cold.

To New Orleans, 1853
Tuesday 29th, a cold but calm day. Some wind in the afternoon.

Wednesday 30th, the wind rose and we sailed on well.

Thursday the 31st, a strong gale at night. A complete storm. The trunks were rolling, tumbling, breaking. The ship was cracking, children and women crying. I never was in such a scene. I was very sick. The ship rolled fearfully. I thought we would go to the bottom. My mind was calm as a summer morning, yet I was sorry to lay down my salvation there. Yet, thought I, the will of the Lord is done. In the excitement I asked of the Lord if we should be saved or not. I got a manifestation of the Spirit that we would all be saved and that the storm would abate in two or three days and then general fair weather would ensue after that.

Friday April 1st. The storm was a little over, yet the sea still rather high and the ship rocked much at night, very much. I was very sick. I was scarce able to be up and so were most of the company.

Tuesday the 5th, my sickness abated a little, but I had a sore boil on my neck. It pained me a great deal. All things else went very well with us.

Wednesday, May 4th. This morning we were awakened by the salute that there was land in view. It was half past three in the morning. It was Abaco Island with a lighthouse up to warn ships.

All has gone on very well. The weather is fine in general. Favorable winds and general good health has been, since the seasickness has gone. It has almost all abated. Four children died. One died of teething, two of diseases in the head, one of inflammation of the windpipe. Very interesting are the meetings on Sabbath day. Also meetings on Thursday and prayers at 8 a.m. and at 8 p.m. This night, Wednesday, we sighted the Gulf of Mexico.

On Thursday the 5th we had an awful experience of thunder and lightning.

Monday 16th. We have been in the Gulf of Mexico since the 4th. We've seen some rocks and lighthouses. Everything is much becalmed. We only this day came in sight of the lighthouse at the bar at the mouth of the Mississippi. At 3 p.m. the pilot came on board. At 4, we were in tow of a steamer. About half past 4 a second steamer had hold of us. About 5, we came in sight of land and houses. Could see the grass. A particular feeling of gratitude and joy prevailed to the Providence of Heaven in being brought safely through thus far. About 6, we scraped the bar. About half past 7 we started with another ship, both in tow of one steamer up the river.

Tuesday 17th. This morning scenes of delight passed us on each side of the river. To see the fruit fields was a beautiful experience. We arrived at New Orleans on the 17th of May, 7 weeks and two days from Liverpool.

New Orleans to Nauvoo, See Lucy/Emma Smith and Children
We lay three days at New Orleans. We then took passage up the river on a steamer. We were six days and one night in getting to St. Louis. That day we changed vessels and started for Keokuk. Next night we landed at Keokuk so our sailing was done with. We lay three days at Keokuk and then started for the plains. Such bad roads I have never seen. We went 13 miles from Keokuk and lay over. We lightened up and burnt boxes and goods. I threw away about 100 pounds of clothing, etc.

On Sunday, about twenty of us went across the Mississippi River to Nauvoo. We saw the ruins of the Saints" homes, the ruins of the Temple and we visited the Nauvoo Mansion. We saw Mr. Bidamon, the man who married Emma Smith. We saw Lucy Smith, the Prophet's mother, and also Emma. We also saw his three sons, Joseph, Frederick, and David. David was then in his 9th year and Joseph was 21. We also saw Mr. Bidamon's little girl about the same age as David. They were all playing together about the house.

Outfitting the Ten Pound Company
We crossed back to camp that night. This was about the first of June 1853. Near Montrose, we lightened up our loads. The understanding before we left Liverpool being, that each ten of the Ten Pound Company would have a wagon, four oxen, two cows and each could take 100 pounds of luggage besides being furnished enough provisions for the journey. But we had to take twelve in a wagon and consented to reduce our extra luggage to seventy-five pounds and if possible to fifty. There was no way to hire our extra luggage taken to the Valley so we burned our boxes and extra weight. We put our clothes in sacks. The captain of the company was Jacob Gates. There were 33 wagons in the company and 400 people. The four milk cows proved to be mostly dry cows or heifers. We had one milk cow among thirty-six of us and she died on the Sweetwater.

Across Iowa
Across Iowa the roads were very bad and we greenhorns poor teamsters. I did not know how we could get through the Rocky Mountains with wooden axles, oxen and a stick across the oxens" necks to pull by. I had never seen any such outfit. American ways were all new to us. We had thirty pounds of flour each to take us to Council Bluffs. It had to last us thirty days. But it did not do us. When the flour gave out, there were chances to buy, so I called at a mill. They had no flour. I asked if they had corn meal. Yes, plenty. When they showed it to me, I said "That's not corn meal." They said it was Indian corn meal. "Oh," said I, "It's corn meal made from oats." "I wouldn't call oats, corn!" the man said. I bought the meal and asked how to cook it. They said the same as flour. But they did not tell us to sift it, so we cooked it, bran and all. It was not very good.

We got to Council Bluffs the 30th of June, but as the 4th of July was near, the ferrymen had to celebrate, so we did not get started to ferry until the 11th of July. All got over by the 16th inclusive. While laying near the Bluffs, I found the George McKenzies, late of Dundee and Aberdeen. I called on them and was invited to stop and sleep there. I did for four nights. It was so good to sleep with mosquito bar around the bed.

Council Bluffs to Utah
When we did get started to cross the river, we had to cut willows, fill up the sloughs, make a road three quarters of a mile, to pull the boat up by hand. Then ere it got across, it had to be pulled up on the other side to the landing. In getting the ferrying done, I had overworked myself. When we did start the afternoon of July 16th I had to lay in the wagon sick, the only time I did ride from the Mississippi to Salt Lake. We got all our provisions rationed out to us at Council Bluffs. 100 pounds of flour, one pint of sugar, one pound of tea for 12, and 10 pounds of bacon to grease the wagon, one bucketful of salt for 12 and to feed the cattle. The salt, sugar and tea were all gone ere we got to Laramie. At the Bluffs I asked President Haight if I could take 25 pounds of flour extra with me, as I had seen that in coming from Keokuk to the Bluffs, a pound a day was not sufficient. Abruptly he said "We won't haul it for you sir." By the time we got to Laramie halfway from the Bluffs to Salt Lake some had all their flour eaten up. From then on it was divide, divide until within ten days travel to Salt Lake the captain called for all the flour in the company to be brought in and the last division was made which was two and one-half pounds each and had to last us to Salt Lake. From the Black Hills on our cattle began to give out. When they could no longer work they were driven ahead of the train. When they could not walk any longer, they were butchered for beef and divided among the company. But such beef! It did keep the most of us alive until we got to Salt Lake.

Death of Brother Crossland
The only man in the wagon with me, a Brother Crossland from London, was taken sick on Green River with mountain fever and died west of Bridger. He was buried at the crossing of Bear River and Evanston. I had a rough time of it then having to take care of the cattle, get wood and water for the wagon, stand guard half the night each fourth night. When Brother Crossland was unmanageable by his wife, he being light-headed with the fever, I had to have the tent close to the wagon to be ready to help Mrs. Crossland to calm her husband. He said to me one day "If I die, I should like to write my own epitaph." "What would you write, Brother Crossland?....I should write, "I am murdered by the unwise procedure of the Ten Pound Company."" He had pinched himself to save it for his children.

Captain Jacob Gates gave his horse, the only horse in the company, to Brother Waddington to go to Salt Lake to get us supplies. When Brother Waddington got plenty to eat himself, he took a long time to hunt up the authorities to send us help. We were at the west foot of Little Mountain, when Brother Waddington met us with two hundred pounds of flour. It was not much for four hundred starving people. As I was getting up the Big Mountain on the east side, Brother William Walker came past me with a watermelon rind in his hand. He handed the rind to me. Said he "Watermelon, watermelon!" This was the first watermelon rind I had ever seen. I ate the rind good! That night Brother Walker, as he slept in my tent, gave us six potatoes, one to me and the other five to Mrs. Crossland and her four children. That was all we had for supper. Parley P. Pratt brought out the melon and the potatoes to Brother Walker, his father-in-law. Next night we each got our half pound of flour that Brother Waddington brought out from Salt Lake.

When we got to Salt Lake we could buy plenty, and I still had one English sovereign besides some silver in my pocket. I have been disgusted ever since to hear about the precious gold. It, we could not eat, when there was nothing to buy. I managed to buy two pounds of deer fat at Bridger, but that was all the woman would sell. When Brigham heard how we had been pinched for food, he said that was the last of the Ten Pound Emigration Business.

But I do not think Brigham knew it all. A Sister Hannah Weaver Morgan, now Eakins of Kaysville, and still living there (1901) was hired to work for Isaac C. Haight, the fall we came in. She was then an unmarried woman. She told me herself that Mr. Haight had a sack of gold in the corner of the room she worked in, one foot high and six inches wide. She handled it and hefted it. When Mr. Haight landed he went to Iron County and built himself a palace. Now the part of the Ten Pound Company that I crossed in, the Falcon and on the plains, with me I kept an exact account of all our expenses from Liverpool to Salt Lake. I have the ship's fare, the extra provisions furnished, the cost up the rivers to Keokuk, the passage across rivers and bridges. The statement by Isaac C. Haight, for the cost of outfit-wagon was $70 each, yoke of oxen $75 each, and each yoke of the heifers the same. There was $50. worth of provisions furnished. I made it my business to get the cost of everything and recorded it all up.

The wagon and cattle when arrived at Salt Lake were clear of expenses as was stated in Liverpool they would be for the Ten Pound Company. That is, the part of the company that came in the Falcon. Other companies may have cost more. We were only three days at Keokuk. Some were there a month and some over two months. The men worked on the roads near Keokuk or helped Mr. Haight in getting the cattle from Missouri and Illinois. I worked one day at Keokuk in unloading a vessel of salt. We worked 14 hours at 25 cents an hour. We got $3.50, the biggest money I ever had made in one day. Only one man, Adam Smith, and I stood the full day's work. It was packing salt from the ship to shore. The cattle and wagons were sold in Salt Lake City and the company got three and a half dollars each in vegetables from the tithing office of Salt Lake City. Thus ended my journey from Aberdeen. We started the 12th of February and landed in Salt Lake City the 30th of September 1853. It was a rough journey, taking it all in all.

In Utah/Some More Bad Experiences
The first morning I was in Salt Lake City, ere I was up, came a man to my tent for me. He had married Isabel Mitchell, daughter of Mr. Mitchell of Aberdeen. She had come to London in service and joined the Latter-day Saints there and started along to the Valley. I was requested in Scotland to hunt her up. I got a chance just as I was coming into the city to send her word that I had word from her folks. She had married at Council Bluffs on her way to the Valley to this Brother John Harper. When I got to Salt Lake City, I was in a very dilapidated condition, having so little to eat. The mosquito bites had festered and I had a touch of mountain fever. When I got plenty to eat and got re-baptized and bathed in the Warm Springs, that soon healed my sores.

I was soon ready to get work. All I had was a bundle that I packed from the tent to Brother Harper's, so I needed work. I had learned that nothing could be done in winter here on account of frost. How was I to live if I did not get something ready for winter? When inquiring how I should do, some of the settlers told me, "You will just have to suffer as we have done." "Well," I said, "these hands have kept me from suffering much since I was seven years old and I think they will help me yet."

I got work from a Brother Mustard, whose wife I had showed kindness to while on my mission in Blairgowrie. He gave me work at breaking flax. I had to root it in the water and put it through a hand mill, then shake the husks out and make it ready for the hackles. Four cents a pound of flax when dressed I was to have. He would board me for four dollars a week. I could have my bed in his house. I had my bedding. It was near all I did have. I worked and boarded with them for ten days, but found I could make only my board at the pay he was giving. I had to pay fifty cents a week in my money for my washing. The woman might cook as she could, but she had just four things to cook with; flour, potatoes, salt and water. No butter, no milk, no meat, no nothing, but these four ingredients. It was salt-risen bread, potatoes and Mormon gravy. It was this for breakfast, dinner and supper. I saw with the pay I would be unable to lay up anything for winter frost.

I had learned that some of our immigrants had work on the Temple block wall. One night after my day's work I went to the city. I found Bishop Hunter, the superintendent of the work, and asked him. He was on horseback and was talking to another man. I said, "I understand you are the superintendent of this public work. I have lately come in. Can I get work on the Temple block wall?" Said, he, "What are you? A miller," I replied. He turned to the man and said, "Do you want any millers down your way?" and then, not giving the man time to answer, he went on "Oh he's a fine horse, a fine horse." At last the man said "No." Bishop Hunter at last turned to me. "You'll get along, you'll get along." And then went on again, "Oh, he's a fine horse, what will you give me for this horse?" I thought, if that was the great Bishop Hunter, he was a very peculiar man. I left him and after looking around, I saw Squire Wells. I asked him as I had done Bishop Hunter. There was a man passing on the running gear of a wagon. He held up his hand to the man and said to me to come along. He hollered to Brother Dalton. Brother Dalton stopped. Said he, "Brother Dalton, you said you wanted men to husk corn and here's a man who wants work." "Yes," said Brother Dalton to me. "I give a dollar and a quarter a day, and board and pay at tithing office prices." "Well," said I, "I'll work for that." Said he, "Meet me at the end of the State Road in half an hour and I'll take you to the Church Farm." I said I would, but had to run to the Sixth Ward to tell the folks or they would not know what had become of me.

When I got to the end of the State Road, there was no Dalton there. It was just dark and not knowing the road to the Church Farm, I went to a house and asked to stay. It was not much of a house, only intended for a lean to a house. I got to sleep with two other men in a bed made on the floor. Next morning early I got to the Church Farm and worked at shucking corn with 18 or 19 others for a month, thinking I was to get my one dollar and a quarter a day. Edward Cliff and I kept up with Dalton himself as he took the lead. We had a row each 80 rods long and we never were over half a shock behind Dalton at the end of the rows. When the work was done, he paid us with 60 cents a day, corn on the cob at one and one-half dollars a bushel, and potatoes at seventy-five cents a bushel. Of course, I remonstrated and said, "In my country, if I was not giving satisfaction, the boss would tell us so, but you have not said a word until the work was done." Said he, "I know you two kept up with me, but some did not do as much as a quarter as much that you did and I must pay you all alike."

Brother Cliff and I went to, I think, the bishop of the 12th Ward, and made our complaint about Brother Dalton. "Oh," said he "I know Brother Dalton, never mind boys, you will both be better off yet than Brother Dalton." I must say that has come true for both of us, but it did not help us then. Brother John Harper was building a house. He had to stay constant as a stone cutter on the Church works, so he got me to attend the adobe layer. When the walls were up I put the lumber roof on, doors, windows and flooring, or all the carpenter work that was done. He borrowed the tools for me. He gave me my board for my work. I also took the corn and potatoes to him for board that I had earned off Brother Dalton. One day as I was working on Brother Harper's house, along came a neighbor to look at the house. She asked me if we were going to cover it with dirt. (Now dirt in my country means something very, very nasty, besides not much of it could be got to cover a house.) I looked at the woman in surprise and said "No, we are going to put earth on the roof." When I got the house finished and the pay from Brother Harper, I had enough for my board all winter. When I left, the end of February 1854, I had yet three week's board paid for, so I did not suffer much the first winter I was in Salt Lake City.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.