Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1862, Stokes, Henry (Clerk of Miller Company)

Arrival in America, 1860
Our family consisted of five members: myself, wife and three children, Eliza Olivia was nine years old; Elizabeth Jane, three; and Henry, one year. We spent the first night in America in Castle Gardens. We were in the midst of strangers and felt afraid to trust them, not knowing what might happen. We watched and slept in turns. The next day we were taken by brother Stone, the emigration agent, to the town of Williamsbury where he had hired rooms for us. We remained in Williamsbury a few days. I had brought a recommend from the boss of the factory where I had worked, and obtained a situation in a glass warehouse on Cliff Street, New York City, in the firm of Messrs. Heroy Struthers and Company. We found a good brother and friend in New York City who entertained us and helped us in many ways. His wife prepared a supper for us on our arrival in the city and he lent us money to pay the rent on the house for a month in advance, and bought a stove for us and had put it in the house ready for use. We felt highly favored and thought he was a friend indeed. His name was William Palmer.

I went to work the following day and felt pleased to have work to do so I could earn support for my family. The next day was the Fourth of July, called Independence Day, and the factories and warehouses were closed, so I had a day's rest which was very acceptable to me. I remained home all day. There was a celebration being held in the park opposite our house and at, night I, went into the park to witness the doings and took Eliza Olivia and Elizabeth Jane with me. We had a grand sight. They had a fine band of musicians playing national tunes, etc. They had a grand display of fireworks of various kinds and one display that we thought was most magnificent. It represented a perfect portrait of President Washington. I felt pleased to think I had been successful in obtaining employment by which I would be able to sustain my family. But I felt a little discouraged because they required me to do different kinds of laboring work and I had never done such work before. I was sometimes required to do work so hard and heavy that it was beyond my strength. Nevertheless, I took hold of everything they required of me and never refused. I continued to work at this warehouse for six weeks. A brother by the name of Joshua Taylor, who worked at a military equipment factory, invited me to come down to the factory where he worked and he would try to obtain employment for me. I went to the factory as suggested and obtained employment. I felt much pleased and began to work that day. My employment was to learn to cut leather skate straps.

To Utah, 1862
We left New York City about the 17th of June, 1862, in an emigrant train of cars bound for St. Joseph, Missouri. We passed over the suspension bridge below the falls of Niagara from which point we saw the famous falls. In passing through the states we saw several camps of soldiers but were not interrupted by them. When we came to Quincy, Ill., our luggage car caught fire and a great deal of our luggage was burned. We arrived at St. Joseph and remained there one night. The next day we went on board a boat and started for Florence on the Missouri River. We landed on the shore of the river at midnight, and the next day were formed into a camp on the east Side of the river under supervision of Joseph W. Young. Here we remained in camp for six weeks waiting for the church team to come from Utah. The reason for their non-arrival was caused by high water in all the rivers and streams between Salt Lake City and the Missouri River. The company built bridges or made fords at every river and stream before it could cross. While camped here we had a fearful storm of wind, thunder, lightning and rain. One man was killed instantly by lightning and another so badly injured that he died in the night, after the storm had passed. It was found that nearly every tent in the camp had been blown down and everybody was wet through to the skin and terror struck the hearts of all. Such a storm as this was never before experienced by any of us. While camped here, we were advised by Elder Joseph W. Young, our president, to make out lists of burned luggage against the railway company and demand damages. This was done, and damages were paid by the railroad company. I was one of those chosen to do this business and was up town at the office with the other brethren when this terrible storm began and it was with great difficulty that we found our way down to our camp and our families.

About the end of July the emigrant teams from Utah arrived under the charge of Henry W. Miller of Farmington. As the season for emigration to Utah was already late, all the necessary preparations were made with all possible haste and no time was lost in crossing over the river and arranging the train in readiness for the start on August 5, 1862. About one o'clock in the afternoon, we made a start and traveled a few miles through a pleasant hilly country and passed by a lone house on the way, and for a short distance a line of telegraph was by the side of the road. We walked by the side of the train and as we looked forward or backward, we thought it was a grand sight to behold such a train of people and teams all bound for Zion.

August 6th. Pursued our journey to the Elkhorn River where we arrived early in the afternoon. I was very much fatigued, so much so that I was not able to assist in pitching the tent. I had to sit down and rest myself for about two hours. Our camp ground was on the north side of the river. We remained here three days waiting for the provisions wagons to arrive. We found this to be a pleasant place to camp. The river abounded with fish and we found a variety of wild fruit, such as gooseberries, currants, and wild grapes. The men and boys indulged in bathing and fishing; the women and girls in gathering fruit. One boy caught a fish which weighed eighteen pounds and he could not pull it out of the water. One of the men got a gun and shot it for the boy. A boy named Peter Barker had a narrow escape from being drowned in the river. He went to bathe and could not swim and got into deep water, but he was seen by a man, after going down the third time. The man rescued him.

7th. The family all well, except me. I was lame in my foot. Eliza Olivia went out and picked some wild grapes with which my wife made a nice roller pudding. In the afternoon I went with our teamster and some other brethren down to the river and had a good bath. We found it to be a good place for bathing. It was a clear, swift current with a good, sandy bottom. In the late afternoon I went with Eliza Olivia into the woods and got some firewood.

August 8th. Eliza Olivia and some other girls went into the woods to pick grapes but they soon came back as they were scared by Indians. Some of the Indians came into camp. One of them represented himself to be the Chief of the Omahas. He wanted to beg a pair of boots or some money to buy them.

9th. Captain H. W. Miller came into camp. Five teamsters were sent from our camp to assist the church train.

11th. Arose early and prepared for an early start. I rode in the wagon this morning because I had a sore foot. After eating my dinner, I went to see Captain H. W. Miller. Found him sick and laying down in his wagon. He requested me to see him at night or tomorrow morning.

14th. I arose at the sound of the horn. Left camp about half past six. Before leaving camp, I had to write out a list of strayed oxen which were lost while camping at Florence. Arrived at Loup Fork about noon. The train crossed without accident. After crossing the river, we passed through some woods where we found some wild currants with which my wife made a pudding for supper. A sister in brother Perk's tent was taken very sick and thought she would die. The elders administered to her and she seemed to revive a little, but remained very ill all night. Captain Haight's train crossed the river and camped on the west side of the fork. Wrote a letter for Captain Miller to brother J. W. Young at Florence, informing him of our whereabouts and of the health of the camp in general.

18th. We started out of camp about eight. Passed several houses. Eliza Olivia got half a pound of butter for five steel pens and had a little milk given her. It was quite a treat to us. We passed by a telegraph office at Shoemaker Point. The captain inquired if there were any messages for him but there were none.

23rd. After prayers the guard went out to bring in the cattle, but some of the cattle had strayed away (around fifty yoke.)The guard succeeded in finding them and brought them into camp.

24th. Captain Miller addressed the people on their duties while traveling over the plains. Obtained the names of the different camping places and the distance traveled each day from Captain Miller to be entered in the journal I had to keep of the journey.

26th. Elders Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich and company arrived in camp this morning, just as our camp was starting out. They stopped with us a short time and had breakfast, and then started out on their journey, leaving us behind.

28th. Provisions were dealt out to one part of the camp. Brother Kimball's train was at the Fork and waited for us to cross over. Also Brother Bates" train was there. All crossed without accident. Two births occurred at night, one of them died. Sister Miller in Tim Parkinson's wagon gave birth to twins. The roads had a variety of beautiful flowers on the side. Distance traveled was eleven miles.

30th. Eliza Olivia and I traveled by the side of the Platte River a long way and in coming to a nice shallow creek which we had to cross, we pulled off our shoes and stockings and washed our feet and drank freely of the water.

Sept. 3rd. Started out at seven and just as train began to move out Kimball's train passed along and was a great hindrance to us because they did not move as quickly as we wanted. Captain Miller appeared to be angry. After traveling about seven or eight miles, we stopped for noon on the Platte River. Soon as we stopped our train, Kimball's train stopped. In the afternoon we again started out on our journey. As soon as our train began to move out, Kimball's began to move. But we were successful in gaining the road first. We traveled about eight miles and camped for the night on the Platte River.

5th. Here we had great difficulty in cooking supper and breakfast because the rainstorm had wet the buffalo chips and we sat up until a late hour trying to cook some beans, but we could not succeed. We hoped the buffalo chips would be dry in the morning.

8th. Felt sick and was not able to perform my usual duties. My wife and Eliza Olivia had to attend to them. Stopped for noon at the Platte River. In the afternoon we pursued our journey about five miles east of Scotts Bluffs where we camped for the night.

15th. Wet, miserable morning. Had rained nearly all night and whole camp ground was flooded. Many had to dig trenches around the tents to draw off the water. Did not start out of camp until one p.m., on account of bad roads and some of the oxen had strayed. Pursued journey about four miles and camped in the hills. Had plenty of wood but no water, Large fires were made around the camp and it was quite an illumination. It looked as though we were holding a celebration for some important event.

16th. My wife was sick this morning and couldn't cook breakfast or bake bread so Eliza Olivia had to do it. We started out of camp about seven.

18th. Continued journey on to the LaRounty bottoms and arrived at a creek where we camped for noon. We found some very nice plums along the creek. Many of the people and I gathered all we could pick. Wrote out some receipts for Captain Miller for flour which he had lent to Kimball's company.

21st. Some of the oxen had strayed and we did not start from camp until about eleven. Took the children down to the river and caught four fish which made us a nice supper. Came to a trading station. Captain and several others made some purchases and exchanges for buffalo robes.

23rd. Captain took up some flour which he left when passing down. Camped for night at small vacant station near Platte River. abundance of buffalo berries.

27th. After dinner, I struck down towards river and succeeded in finding some fine mushrooms which I gathered, and we had them fried for supper. It made us a nice, delicious dish. We thought it was the best meal we had had since leaving New York City. v 28th. Today Brother William Fuller and Emma Happen were married. Brother Wm. F. Critchlow officiated. Brother Critchlow sang two love songs and played some lively tunes on the fiddle. Afterward we sang two hymns. Brother Darton conducted the singing.

October 1. When we passed over the rocky ridge, we could see the Wind River range of mountains which were covered with snow and on the left hand we could see the mountains on the other side of the pass.

10th. Scenery pleasant to look at while traveling. There were fir trees growing, and it looked more encouraging to us. We found grass growing and trees were more abundant. Just before we stopped for noon, sister Alice Barker was taken in labor. We had to stop for about two hours, pitch the tent and attend to all necessary services. Elizabeth and the children went on with the train but I stopped behind with the wagon. While the sisters were attending to sister Barker, we brethren made a fire and cooked some bacon and made some nice pancakes. Sat down by the fire and ate freely. After sister Barker and her baby son were safe and all right, we pursued our journey and traveled over the mountains. It was a steep descent and rather dangerous in the dark. The sun set when we were about half way over the hills, and the moon did not shine upon us until we were near the camp ground. Camp was located about five miles east of Bear River. I found my wife and children safe.

12th. It was a fine morning and all nature seemed to smile upon us. The mountains seemed to smile at the thought of us soon arriving in Salt Lake City for we were now only about seventy miles from it. We passed a large new station where some Mormons were supposed to be living. One of the teamsters went and shook hands with one of them. Arrived at Echo Canyon, passed Cache Cave and continued down the canyon. In the afternoon we passed by a station where by order of Captain Miller I left a letter for Brother Haight's Company. Continued down the canyon. Met a small train of four wagons loaded with grain for one of the stations east of the canyon. Our captain wanted them to wait while our train descended down the hill but they would not, so we had to wait while they ascended the hill. The horn was blown for a meeting at the usual time after we camped. Captain Miller and the chaplain spoke to us about the journey which we had nearly completed and said this may be the last Sunday we should all be together.

13th. Scenery was varied and changeable. Many curious looking rocks of different shapes and forms were seen on the right hand side, and on the left side were to be seen mountains covered with brush and grass while the rocks were adorned with pine trees growing in abundance in all kinds of places where a person would be supposed to think there would be no nourishment. The creek ran down the middle of the canyon and in some places it made the road very narrow. On both sides of the creek, willows grew in abundance. Their leaves now indicated the season of the year. They were turned to a beautiful orange yellow color. After dinner we passed through the mouth of the canyon and turned to the left, around a great mountain by the side of Weber River and close by the river was a small settlement. The captain and some of the people stopped there for a short time. We came to a little settlement which reminded us of civilization. The houses were one story high and about square and at regular distances from each other. All of them were built a few yards from the traveled road and all were fenced Trees were growing by the side of the foot path and everything appeared neat and pleasant. After passing the settlement, we camped for the night. Name of the place was Chalk Creek.

14th. Continued on through Silver Creek Canyon. We found it difficult to pass through it. Many of the passengers had to walk, even many small children. It was very wearisome and dangerous. Brethren walked by side of wagons on the upper side and held on to the side of the wagon to prevent it from capsizing or tipping over. We passed through the canyon about two or three miles and had to stop a long time being hindered by Kimball's team and Haight's trains. In many places we had to lock the wheels of wagons and put on brakes. It was steep and rocky. The creek ran through the canyon in its wild, rushing manner and ran first on one side and then on the other. Camped for night at Parley's Park. Went around camp and procured report of births and deaths which had occurred since leaving Florence. There had been eight births and twenty-eight deaths. Some of the brethren engaged to work at Hoyt's mills near Silver Creek.

17th. I went in advance of the train until I came in sight of the famous and most beautiful city in the whole world, Salt Lake City. I thought it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Before entering the city I sat down and wrote a brief letter of the journey from Florence to Salt Lake City for publication in the Deseret News. When I had nearly completed it, the captain came up and passed on slowly. I hastened after him and gave him the letter. He took me up into his wagon and drove into the city near the public square where we met the captain's brother, Daniel Miller, and his son. After stopping a short time, we continued through to the public square where we camped. Many of the people took their baggage out of the wagons and soon met friends and acquaintances with whom they had been familiar. Among others we saw Walter Huish, and Mrs. Everett, gave her a letter from her Aunt Sanford of New York. Went to the post office and received a letter, but I was much disappointed because it was not from any of our family or relatives. Met Brother Thomas Tame who lent me a three cent piece to pay for a letter. I saw Brother Chadd, who invited us to go and stay with him for a few days, but I concluded to go with the team which had brought us to Salt Lake City. We started out with the teams which had come from Mendon, Cache Valley. Brother Thomas Tame accompanied us through the city and we stopped a short time and looked at the theatre and also at the temple. There were several men working on the temple and we thought by looking at the foundation it would be a fine structure when it was completed. We also saw the Court House and the President's house and passed up the main street and also saw the Literary Institute of the Ninth Ward, and I was struck with admiration of the plan of the city. I thought I had never seen such a beautiful city in my life. We continued our journey as far as Session Settlement where we camped for the night.

William Dearden was born July 7, 1826 in Haydock, England, where in February, 1848, he became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His first wife was Mary Greenall, who died leaving him with two small sons; and his second wife was Ann Agnes Arkwright, whom he married in 1853. While living in England, she became the mother of two sons and two daughters, the sons dying in infancy. With the aid of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, the Dearden family sailed from Liverpool in the early summer of 1862 and journeyed westward with the Henry Miller Company.

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.