Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1862 (age 10), Mills (Palmer), Louisa Harriett, (Came Alone)

I was the daughter of Charles and Frances Mills, and granddaughter of Thomas and Frances Farr. Thomas was a farmer by occupation. I was born December 10, 1851, at Winchester, Hampshire, England, the eleventh in a family of thirteen children. Father, at the time of my birth, was a private in the Eighteenth Regiment of Foot, in the service of the Queen, and was under the command of Lord Wellington. He also served under Lord Wellington in the famous Battle of Waterloo. Mother was a servant girl before her marriage April 17, 1832, at Prescott, County of Lancaster, England, by the Vicar of the Parish Church, Rev. C.L. Driffield. After making Winchester the family home for three years, they moved to the famous seaport town, Southhampton. I made this my home until May 1862.

While at Winchester, the family first heard the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was carried to them by Charles R. Savage, who later became a member of the old folks committee, and William Willes, who later became bishop of Coalville, Utah.

While at Southhampton I attended a public school for a short time but was forced to leave on account of poor health. A little later I attended a Catholic school kept by Sister Rogers. At this school I received my first lessons in crocheting, knitting and other subjects taught. While still a small child I remember seeing President John Taylor and Erastus Snow who were missionaries in my home town. About this time a liking for music took hold of me and that liking still clings. In the year 1857 my family moved to St. James Street in Southhampton in order to be nearer the Church. In the face of opposition, the members worked hard under President Henry Pusey. After a lapse of a few years I was baptized and confirmed by President Pusey, having to go a long distance at night to the ocean. At this time the Saints were requested to fast and pray for three days for the Saints in Zion because of Johnston's Army. Mother fasted all three days and I fasted one. ...I also saw the mobbing of the Saints and breaking of the windows by the non-members.

Traveling Alone, because of Poverty
In the year 1860 President George Q. Cannon, who was president of the European Mission, counselled the Saints to go to Zion. If they did not have the means to go all at once, to send as many of the children as they could and the next year send more until all were in Zion. Upon this advice my brother, Charles, and my sister, Mary, were sent in the year 1861. I was to go the next year and my sister Sarah the year following ...

May 1, 1862, I left my home for America, coming to this country without a single relative in the company of Saints. After travelling for three days we arrived in Liverpool and set sail from this port after laying in anchor twenty-four hours. After nine weeks of sailing we arrived at Castle Garden, New York. We had a pleasant voyage, there being no deaths, but one birth. A baby boy was born on the Manchester, which was the name of the ship. He was named for the captain, M. Tracey. Among the Saints were two English sailors of note. One was the late Francis Daily and the other was his friend. While in the iceberg district, seeing the anxiety on the face of the captain, they asked to be allowed to pilot the ship through the danger. They were permitted, and after the danger was passed they received the congratulations of all.

Train to St. Joseph, Riverboat to Florence
After staying in New York for nine days we travelled overland as far as Albany, and from there to St. Joseph, Mo. From here we travelled up the Mississippi River as far as Florence, now known as Omaha. This was the camping place for the Saints. Nine weeks were spent in Florence making preparations for the trying journey to Zion. All who could sew helped in making tents, wagon covers and other necessary things for the journey.

One terrible accident happened while still at Florence. The weather is very changeable there and the most perfect day may be changed to a very disagreeable one in a few minutes. This day was lovely, but one clap of thunder and a flash of lightning changed it completely. I was suffering my first attack of homesickness and was in my tent, while in front were standing Brother George Q. Cannon, who was giving orders to the overseer for making up the train, and W. D.[Joseph W.] Young. The thunder and lightning came and the clerk was instantly killed. Brother Young was scalped as though an Indian had done it, while George Q. Cannon was unhurt.

Routine While Crossing the Plains
Now I must relate about the great trials and hardships of crossing the plains. Dan [His brother, George ?] Miller of Farmington, Davis County, Utah was captain and was a very able one. Travelling was slow, each wagon being furnished with from four to six oxen, there being about one hundred wagons, each containing from six to twelve persons. This train carried ammunition for the people in Salt Lake. While crossing the plains everything was done in a systematic fashion. At six o'clock all were up, and at eight they were on their way. At noon camp was made for lunch and at night camp was made for the night by water if possible. A corral was made of the wagons. The cattle were herded if there were no Indians in the vicinity. After supper there was usually a dance; the fiddle music was furnished by the teamsters. After the dance a meeting was held which was opened by song and prayer and the subject spoken upon was about the travel for the next day. The roll was called twice each day. At nine-thirty o'clock all were supposed to be in bed.

The women's work consisted of cooking, washing and tending the children. The sisters were advised to have large pinafores made in order to gather and carry buffalo chips which were used to make the fires. I walked almost all of the way, fording the streams that were forded by anyone. Often Brother and Sister Morris and their niece and I travelled in advance of the train and often located the place of the camp for the night.

While crossing the plains the Saints saw and tasted the first watermelons they had seen grown in America. They were grown on ranch owned by an apostate who gave us all we wanted. There were several deaths and a great many births while on the trek. The immigrants were not molested by the Indians who were quite numerous. We arrived in Salt Lake City October 9, 1862, and my brother Charles was there to meet me. I spent a few days with him and then he took me to my sister Mary Hibbard in Morgan County. It was while staying there that I met my future husband, but I did not know it at that time.

In May 1863 I went to Salt Lake and found employment in the home of Brother William Ostler in the Tenth Ward. The pay which I received for six months work was a pair of shoes which Brother Ostler made. I then worked for Brother Samuel Atwood in the Thirteenth Ward where I received fifty cents worth of dried peaches which I helped to dry. I was rebaptized in the Tenth Ward in 1863, and in the fall of 1864 I left Salt Lake City and returned to Morgan. Mother became housekeeper for Thomas Palmer, the father of four motherless children. In February 1865 I was married to Thomas Palmer in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah by Brother George Q. Cannon.

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.