George Jacklin

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      When George Jacklin was 14 years old he was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Just six years later in 1862, he was sent alone to Utah. George�s poor rural family may have decided to send the family to Utah a little at a time. He was the first in his family to emigrate to Utah. Because he wasn�t very educated, he didn�t write about his own journey. There isn�t much more detail among the many biographical sketches written by his descendents either. Fortunately, many Mormon pioneers who went on the same ship, train, steamboat, and wagon train as George, recorded their experiences in letters, journals, diaries, and autobiographies.

      From the time Mormons were first baptized in England, they were encouraged to emigrate to Utah, called �Zion� by these faithful converts. Gathering to Zion was a religious principle taught by the early Church leaders. It was also an economic opportunity for the rural poor in England (Arrington 128). It was a way to improve spiritually as well as physically. It definitely was a test of both their faith and health.

Perpetual Emigration Fund and Thomas Shelley.

      Most likely, George Jacklin received financial assistance from the Perpetual Emigration Fund, or PEF. In 1849, the Church established the PEF to aid Mormons emigrating to Utah. The PEF received donations from members in Utah. The down-and-back (or out-and-back) wagon train was demonstrated in 1860. Wagons trains headed east in the spring leaving supplies along the route at supply stations. After picking up emigrants in Florence, they returned to Utah. The teamsters were men called on six-month missions which were compensated by labor-tithing credit (Stegner 289-291). Saints were strongly encouraged to donate oxen in 1862 for the down-and-back wagon trains. Thomas Shelley donated one �yolk of cattle to help in gathering the poor� the same year George Jacklin emigrated to Utah (Shelley). At the end of the 20th century, Thomas� son and George�s daughter met and were married. Once emigrants established themselves in Utah, they repaid PEF loans from their excess production. Because it was such a high priority for the Church, general tithing funds were used to cover PEF expenses when funds were overspent (Arrington 131).

      To save for the trip, the Church established the Emigration Deposit Fund, Individual Emigration Account, and Penny Emigration Fund for convert�s savings accounts. Even if George didn�t use the PEF for financial assistance, he did use it much like a modern day travel agent. George or his father, John, would have told the PEF shipping agent in Liverpool that he wanted to emigrate to Utah. The agent would then make all the arrangements from Liverpool to Utah. The agent would charter a ship and then notify George of the departure date, the price, and the amount of baggage allowed (Arrington 131).

Train to Liverpool.

      The local church organization would have assisted George in making travel arrangements to Liverpool (Arrington 132), about 200 miles west of his home in Whaddon. The first part of the journey was most likely a third-class train ride. Trains initially had just two classes, first and second. Eventually, there was also a third class. It was an open cattle car, �a box with no roof.� There wasn�t any protection from the wind and rain. In stormy England, this was a serious problem. Passengers would arrive blue faced, sneezing, rain-beaten, and chilled. There were no toilets on trains until 1892, thirty years later. Ladies sometimes traveled in separate compartments from men. The ladies would bring chamber pots concealed with discreet baskets. A long tube was available for a man that was strapped under the pants. Train speeds ranged from 20 to 40 miles per hour. In 1844, the Parliament required every train line to run a train at least once a day for no more than one penny a mile. They were even less expensive than third class. By the 1870s, third class passengers outnumbered second and first class passengers by two to one (Pool 148, 149).

Sailing on The William Tapscott.

  William Tapscott (Sonne).

      On May 13th, 1862, George boarded the �William Tapscott,� a sailing ship chartered by the Church and built in 1852 (Sonne 162).

Passenger Conditions in 1862.

      According to Sonne, shipboard conditions in the 1860s were much better than earlier voyages. Among these better sailing ships were the William Tapscott, which carried more Mormons than any other sailing ship (Sonne 83). The ship had three decks. The passengers slept on the two lower decks. The second deck was entered through a trap-door hatchway. On each side of the deck, there were numbered cabins. Each cabin contained sleeping �berths�. Each cabin also had light from a large porthole covered with very thick blue glass. Two long tables ran down the middle of this deck. Benches, fastened to the floor, bordered these tables. When the sea wasn�t rough, the porthole window could be left open (Kunkel).

      The bottom deck was entered by a trap-door hatchway on the second deck. Like the deck above, there were cabins with berths around the sides. There weren�t any portholes on this deck. For light, there were lanterns. It was very dark. A passenger on this deck, Caroline Larrabee, described it as �� so dark that you could not see for awhile till your eyes got accustomed to the gloom.�

      There was a cooking gallery for the common use of all passengers. In the center of the cooking gallery was a very large stove, about 10 feet square. Around this stove was space for passengers to stand and hold onto their pans as they cooked (Kunkel). The toilet closet was a large whole with a bar to sit on. Caroline Larrabee describes it well, ��The only place I was frightened was when we had to go to the closet, there was just a straight stick across and of course you could see the ocean. How I did cling to my little sister when she was on that bar, for it was a large enough place to let a grown person down, let alone children.�

Boarding The Ship.

      The PEF started stocking the ship with provisions at least a day in advance. Thomas Memmott recalls �Brother Sloan left me in charge of the ship tonight [May 12th]. I appointed guards, and we had some trouble with thieves prowling around.� The British government inspected the ship on the 13th as eight hundred and seven Mormons were starting to board. Some Mormons were British, but the majority of them were Danish and Swedish converts who traveled from their homeland to Liverpool. As the passengers boarded the ship, a doctor would minimally inspect them for illness. There was quite a bit of turmoil at this time as the Saints boarded the ship. William Wood in his Journal states, �It was an interesting sight to see the Saints boarding the ship with all kinds of tin utensils tied in bunches and some were carrying their straw mattresses on their heads, while others were loaded down with all kinds of parcels and lunch baskets. Some had old pieces of furniture, such as a tea-caddy or teapot or some old picture of great-grandparents.�

      As the adults loaded their luggage and kids, some of the kids quickly dispersed, exploring the ship with great excitement. The hatchways were particularly interesting places, but also dangerous. Isabelle Kunkel recalls, �It was lots of fun the next day to watch the sailors stow away the baggage for so many people. We youngsters all around the hatchways were watching them lower the trunks from the deck into the hold when all at once a little boy, a Welsh boy, leaned too far over and lost his balance and came tumbling down three stories to the hold. He just missed me. He almost struck me in the face as he passed the place where I was leaning over � to see all I could. It was a wonder it did not kill the poor child. It broke his leg in two places. They put him in a cabin opposite ours. He was such a patient, jolly little fellow. When his leg did not pain him he used to sing: �Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel is a Motto for Every Man.� He would sing at the top of his voice the chorus: �Drive care away, for grieving is a folly. Put your shoulder to the wheel is a motto for every man.��


      The ship�s passengers were led by a presidency, called by the British Mission President from returning missionaries. Elder William Gibson was called as president with John Clark and Francis M. Lyman as his counselors. The Saints accepted the appointment with a sustaining vote and uplifted hand, just as Mormons sustain Church leaders today. After most of the passengers were loaded on the 13th, the ship left the dock. The remaining passengers were brought by a tug on the 14th before the ship sailed to America (Memmott).

      After departure on the 14th, the presidency divided the passengers into nineteen Wards, each with their own presiding Bishop. This Bishop would explain the rules that dictated their daily routine. At 6 AM a bugle would sound and all members would go to the top deck, if their health allowed. At 9 AM, each ward would have a morning prayer. They had a final Ward prayer meeting for the day at 8 PM (Lyman). The last prayer meeting was a time that instructions were given, including such items as ��cleanliness, cooking and the sisters not associating with the sailors� (Memmott). After 9 PM, females weren�t allowed on the top deck (Lyman).

      The ships with Mormon passengers were known to be well organized and relatively clean. After the initial commotion, the passengers settled down quickly. William Wood describes in his journal, �There was a little confusion until after the doctor's inspection; however, it was remarkable how quickly the people settled down to the requirements of those who were selected as bishops over the respective wards. I do not think the same number of non-Mormons would have settled down to such order.�


      Food was provided by the shipping company but supplemented by the PEF and emigrant. Caroline Larrabee describes what they ate as �sea biscuits that were as large as a modern sized plate and were hollow. There was salt beef, pork, rice, split peas, oatmeal, vinegar, mustard, black tea, brown sugar, fresh water and a very little flour, for there was no way of baking bread. The flour was to make a pie or pudding � Lots of the people had some extra food stuffs with them such as raisins, currants, and other fancy stuff.� Just as some passengers inevitably complain today of airline meals, some passengers didn�t accept this food either. In fact, they didn�t act too saintly. Francis Lyman, a counselor in the ship�s presidency states, �At the serving of rations, some people refused some of their supplies, others took them and threw them overboard.� Perhaps they went rather hungry. It took the leaders a long time to pass out the food for the trip. Thomas Memmott spent all day, from just after breakfast until 8 PM, passing out provisions on the 14th. Bedding and cooking pans were also provided (Wood Autobiography).


      As the Tapscott departed Liverpool the weather was fine, the Welsh Mountains could be seen in the distance, and the sailors sang as they pumped water (Memmott). It was common for the Saints to sing church hymns. Isabelle Kunkel relates �As the ship began to move, hundreds of voices - men, women and children- began to sing: Come, Come Ye Saints; then Cheer Saints, Cheer, We Are Bound for Peaceful Zion, Cheer Saints Cheer for the Free and Happy Land; then Oh Ye Mountains High in the Clear Blue Sky, by Charles W. Penrose. It was one of the nights that I have never forgotten.�


      The next day, two stowaways were found. Finding stowaways was fairly common on transatlantic voyages. These two boys were given work, including scrubbing the deck, to work for their passage (Freshwater).


      The Mormon passengers weren�t accustomed to the rocking ship and consequently seasickness was very common. Ebenezer Farnes states �� some of the people came on deck, others lay in their berths afraid they would die, and others afraid they wouldn't die.� Francis Lyman, the second counselor, relates �� seasickness was found raging among us on the second day out ... I came down with it as soon as possible. I had the violent form. It would engage me in a set-to from once to five times every day. I was quite indifferent to all that passed around me.�

Youth Enjoy The Trip.

      While most of the adults were seasick, many kids were roaming and exploring the ship. Caroline Larrabee recalls, �We would get two of those big sea biscuits each with a piece of boiled beef and pork with some mustard and vinegar on it, and go up on the upper deck and sit on the coils of rope enjoying ourselves. Then we would prowl around poking our noses into every place we got a chance. We managed to find out where the captain�s cook was cooking and he wanted to know if we could sing. We said �Yes�, so he asked us to sing for him, which we did. He gave us some nice fresh meat, broth, bread, cake and many other good things. We took some of it to Sister King for she was so sick.�

      Ebenezer Farnes, a particularly adventurous nineteen-year old, recalled the following experience, �Myself and some of the other young men started to climb the rigging. We chose the middle mast because it was the highest. We had climbed about half way up and the sailors thought they would have some fun by catching us up in the rigging and tying us up to the mast. They caught one boy on the first landing and tied him there. By this time I was at the top of the mast having a good time �The sailors � stayed at the third landing from the top � so they could catch me and tie me. About sixteen feet from the top is a guy rope that runs down to the side of the ship deck to hold the mast steady. Instead of coming down the mast to where the sailors were, I swung on to the guy rope and slid down to the deck. The rope had been lightly tarred and was not dry and I was skinned and covered with tar from my ankles to my thighs.� Perhaps George Jacklin, a twenty-year old contemporary of Ebenezer, participated too.

Courtship and Marriage.

      Young men and women frequently got to know each other well, very well. They were frequently married too. There was one marriage the first night, two about the 20th, and three more on the 24th.


      Accidents were fairly common. One woman slipped going down a hatchway and spilled boiling water on the face of a child (Freshwater). Brother Hargraves fell and hurt himself quite seriously. Captain Bell fell and broke a rib (Lyman). Sarah Marsden fell and hurt herself severely (Memmott).

Church Services.

      Each Sunday they would have church services. Weather permitting, the entire group would gather on the top deck. Besides the sermons on religion, they would sometimes cover other concerns. On the 18th, Thomas Memmott states, �President William Gibson and counselors John Clarke and F. [Francis] M. Lyman preached. Some dishonesty amongst some of the people, some trifles missing.�


      During the trip, there was calm weather but there were also many severe storms. Ebenezer Farnes relates the following with a bit of humor, �During the calm the emigrants had a good time playing on deck, climbing up the riggings, dancing, and playing games. One game we played all the time � was pumping water out of the vessel. About ten men at a time on the pump. One of them would sing all the time making up the song as he pumped. Some of the words of the song were good and some ridiculous, but it helped to break the monotony.� They constantly pumped out water. Some water came from leaks, but much came from storms that would inundate the deck with water. The storms, apparently not uncommon on these transatlantic voyages, were a terrifying experience for many of the Saints. The strongest storms came about three weeks after the journey began.

      Ebenezer Farnes relates, �About the third week on the voyage there came a terrible storm which tore everything down that could be broken. So bad was the storm that the people had to stay in their beds for three days, the hatchway being closed most of the time, the water being one foot on the first and second decks, washing from one end of the ship to the other and side to side, as the ship tossed and rolled.� Staying on the top deck was particularly hazardous, as William Freshwater relates, ��[the wind] increased until the sailors had to tie ropes about the ship to hold themselves on. They spiked all the hatchways down and would not let any of the passengers go on deck at all.�

      A teenage girl, Isabelle Kunkel, relates the grandeur of a storm well, �The waves were [a] mountain high. As one end of the ship went down, you could not see over the top of the waves, the next minute the other would be down. It was the grandest sight that I ever saw, beautiful but awful in its grandeur. But havoc in the steerage and in our quarters too. The buckets, grips, pans and all kinds of cooking utensils and trunks were skating all over the place. A great many of the women and children were frightened nearly to death. Some felt sure we would be shipwrecked. � There was no thought of cooking that day for no one was allowed on deck, but strange to say, we did not think of food or eating, not even (did) the children.� But sometimes they tried to go on and eat their meals anyway. William Wood relates this experience in his autobiography, �I undertook to make a fine sea pie for Whit Sunday. I fixed the potatoes and meat, put into the boiler, several layers of dough between and seasoned it up all fine and took it up to the galley, placed it on the big range to cook. It was rough weather and the sea run high. It was a difficult matter to keep the boiler on the range so I made it fast so that the rolling and the pitching of the ship could not throw it off. Dinnertime came. Down I went with the pie. The plates we placed all around the boiler on the deck. All were expecting to have a rare dish of pie. I came out with a big ladle and unfortunately it was not cooked enough. It came out with potatoes and meat all mixed in with half-cooked stringy dough. It had such an effect on their stomachs that it turned them to vomiting so instead of a rare treat of pie it was a spell of sickness.�

      Many of the passengers said that the Captain was glad the ship was carrying Mormons on this journey. Ebenezer Farnes relates �When the captain was asked about the storm he said if he had known the condition of the ship he would not have sailed on her but consoled himself as he had a load of �Mormons� on board he would get through all right as there had never been a ship lost that was carrying �Mormons.��


      Besides the constant threat of storms, death was also all too common. At times, they came at the same time. Francis Lyman relates, �� we consigned to the sea Mary Carr, the fourteen-month-old daughter of Richard Carr. With singing and prayer, in a terrific storm, we attended to that sad rite. The weather was so severe that all were early below decks, and the evening was spent in singing the songs of Zion.� At least three infants died on the journey in addition to Brother Hardcastle (Memmott; Lyman; Kunkel). Their bodies were sewn into a canvas bag with an iron ball placed at their feet. A long wood plank was placed over the side of the ship, with the body at the water�s end. After the ceremony, the plank was lifted until the body slid into the ocean (Farnes).


      On the brighter side, the passengers sometimes saw beautiful sunsets and some wildlife. Porpoises were seen playing about the ship (Farnes), whales sometimes passed (Freshwater), and sharks were seen too (Memmott).


      The journey took somewhat longer than expected, and for this reason water and some food was rationed in mid June. Francis Lyman relates, �We found it necessary to put all on half-rations of water and all provisions except salt beef and sea-biscuit. The medical stores were depleted entirely of wine and brandy.�

New York City.

      On June 25th, about 6 AM, they could finally see their destination. Thomas Memmott recalls the view as they approached the harbor, � � a most beautiful sight--miles of land, green and nice, houses, dozens of vessels bound in and out. Several batteries at the entrance of the harbor, the scenery most splendid.� William Freshwater said it was much more attractive than the Liverpool port. The steam tug Henry Binden towed the ship to Castle Garden (Memmott). Castle Garden was a receiving station at the lower tip of Manhattan Island.

  Castle Garden in 1855 (Sonne).

      Castle Garden is not on Ellis Island near today�s Statue of Liberty. It was a former theater, a large circular building decorated with paintings on the inside with a capacity of about 8000. There were lots of crooks to cheat emigrants at Castle Garden (Sonne 123). A doctor boarded the ship and inspected the Saints for illness. After passing the medical inspection on board, they went through customs at Castle Garden. The church leaders warned the members of pick pockets, called �sharpers�, in New York City. Despite the warning, brother Phillip�s money was stolen during their two-day stay in the city.

Train Ride.

      At 8 PM on the 27th, they boarded a train at the Hudson River Depot that first pulled the train cars through the city by horse. By 10 PM, they were on their way to Albany via steam locomotive on the Hudson River Railroad (Woods 20, Memmott). The next morning, they crossed the river by steamer and headed by train to Buffalo via Rome, Utica, and Rochester, New York (Memmott) on the New York Central Railroad (Woods 20). After crossing a suspension bridge into Ontario, they changed to the Great Western Line (Woods 20).

Niagara Falls.

      At Niagara Falls on the 29th, many of the Saints enjoyed a quick tourist break. Ebenezer Farnes relates ��[Niagara] falls are the grandest sight I have seen yet, water and mist, and a swift current below the falls is a sight beyond my description.�

Civil War.

      On the 30th, the Mormons traveled from Windsor Ontario to Detroit Michigan (Memmott) by ferry steamer (Woods 20). According to Woods, this Canadian route was more likely used because it was the least expensive rather than to avoid the Civil War (21). But the Civil War, now well under way, made it much more difficult to travel. The deadly battle of Antietam, where over 26,000 soldiers died, was less than three months away.

Cattle Cars.

      One problem caused by the war was the lack of passenger cars. Cattle cars were frequently used rather than passenger cars. The train moved union soldiers and supplies. This caused a shortage of passenger cars. According to Kimball, cattle cars were lice ridden and passenger cars were preferred (Kimball BYU Studies 35). However, Woods states that cattle cars were safer because Southern rebels tended to blow up passengers cars because they carried Union soldiers (Woods 16).

      In Detroit, they boarded the Michigan Central Railroad for Chicago (Woods 20). The train was reduced to just twelve cars from the previous eighteen. The next few days were particularly difficult. Ebenezer Farnes recalls ��common cattle cars, with all the filth left from the last load of cattle, all wet and stinking�� were used. William Wood recalls in his journal that, �At one place we were hustled on board of a freight train. The cars had been loaded with hogs and they had not been swept or cleaned out, thus we were choked with the dust and we could taste it for days afterward.� The steam engines also had problems, Ebenezer Farnes relates �The engine would have to stop on some of the upgrades and get up steam and go on again for a few miles. So slow was the train that the people could get out and walk up the grade and some of the young folks would get around the cars and push to give them a start.�

      Isabelle Kunkel recalls this part of the journey well. �We were all dreadfully tired. We had not had a chance to lie down � What sleep we had was taken sitting up or leaning back in our seats, but for one day and night we did not even have that privilege. You see, we came during the Civil War and railroad cars were scarce, and one place� all the trains of cars that our folks had rented had been burned by the Rebels, so there were none at that station to be had. The depot master offered to rig up some boxcars, or we could wait in the depot for twenty-four hours or maybe forty. There was nothing sure about their being able to furnish enough, so they put it to a vote of the people and, of course, the vote was for the boxcars rather than wait. So they put heavy planks across the box cars quite close together, no back to lean against, and very little foot room.�

Attacked by Southern Rebels.

      In Chicago, they boarded the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad (CB&O) for Quincy Illinois (Kimball BYU Studies 35). They arrived in Quincy about noon on the 2nd of July. There, they took a riverboat down the Mississippi River to Hannibal Missouri. They then boarded the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad (H&StJ) for St. Joseph Missouri. The worst problems during the Civil War were on the H&StJ line. Although Missouri fought on the side of the North, it engaged in its own civil war. It had more war action than any other states except Virginia and Tennessee. Southern rebels made many efforts to destroy the H&StJ rail line in Missouri (Kimball BYU Studies 35). As they traveled on to St. Joseph Missouri, Southern soldiers apparently tried to wreck the train by putting some type of car or object on the tracks. Different passengers had different accounts but many recall the day�s events. Thomas Memmott states, �Passed a camp of soldiers this evening not far off. Again another company guarding a bridge. Whilst we were running at a pretty good gait, the engine ran into a truck, and smashed it to our danger and the danger of the men on the truck. Lots more soldiers (Federals).� Ebenezer Farnes recalls ��some bush rangers tried to wreck our train. They loaded a trolley car with rails and as we came down a steep grade they started the trolley car down the grade so as to meet us at the bottom. Our engine struck the trolley car and three cars went over the fragments of the trolley car.� Isabelle Kunkel recalls, �� we met with an awful jolt. Everybody tumbled into each other's lap � there wasn't room to fall on the floor. �the conductor came through the train to find out how many of us were hurt or killed. He looked with wonder when he found there was no one hurt or dead, said it was a miracle that he could not understand. � someone had tried to wreck the train by putting the section men's handcar across the track. Our boxcar train broke it to smithereens and passed on as though nothing had happened.�

      They should be glad this was all that happened. The next year an emigrant who stayed over one year in New York City had the following experience. William Freshwater recalls �Just before we arrived in St. Joseph, Missouri, the rebels, or bushwhackers, fired two cannon balls through our train, one shot went through the passenger car exactly eight inches above the peoples� heads and the other through a baggage car destroying a great amount of baggage. We stayed in St. Joseph three or four days, afraid to go on because of the rebel soldiers being all throughout the country. While we were there, some fifteen rebel soldiers were taken prisoner, right from among our company, by the northern soldiers. Two companies of Union soldiers surrounded the depot and made the rebels surrender or they would have killed them. I can truly say I saw a little of the war between the North and the South.�

      George Jacklin�s group arrived in St. Joseph Missouri about noon on the 3rd of July. They stayed overnight in a large barn. There was great �excitement� in the town because of the war and Independence Day. There were also some threats from Missourians who didn�t like the Mormons.

Steamboat to Florence Nebraska.

      They left in the evening via steamboat up the Missouri River to Florence Nebraska (Memmott; Wood). Thomas Memmott recalls sleeping on the deck of the steamboat. The next day was very hot with �splendid� scenery (Memmott). At least two Saints died from the heat and were buried on the bank of the river. Caroline Larrabee recalls, ��[we] were packed in [the steamboat] like sardines in a can. Thirsty, oh how thirsty, we were on the Missouri River. When they would dip up a bucketful of water and let it settle, it was half sand, and how warm it was.� They arrived near Florence Nebraska about midnight on the 6th. William Wood recalls, �On arriving opposite Council Bluffs [Florence is across the Mississippi from Council Bluffs] on a very dark night, the boat ran alongside of the river bank and landed the gangplank in a big bunch of willows and then pitched our baggage all into the willows. It was midnight and we laid about as best we could on the bags and bedding till daybreak when there was a hunt for baggage.�

      Florence Nebraska was the staging area for wagon trains set up by the church across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs Iowa. It was the former Winter Quarters. According to William Freshwater, ��Florence [had seven houses] all of which were trading posts.�

George Jacklin, The Wagstaff Family, and The Wagon Train to Utah. Map

  Ruth Wagstaff at age 17, 3 years after emigration.

      Just a few weeks ahead of George Jacklin, the Wagstaff family had also arrived at Florence. They were still waiting for the ox teams to arrive from Utah to take them to �Zion� when George Jacklin�s group of Mormons arrived.

      The trail they took was almost the same as the one followed by the original 1847 pioneers. The main difference was at the last stretch into the Salt Lake Valley, their trail followed a new route through Parley�s Canyon. The map below is the route taken by the Shelley family. George Jacklin and the Wagstaff family took this same route except that the starting point was Florence Nebraska rather than Kanesville and the Parley's Canyon change mentioned above. Click a point on the map to move to a description of the point for the Shelley emigration. The scenery was largely the same. If you click a point on the map, click the "Back" button in the browser to return to this point.

Preparation at Florence. Map

      Florence was the staging area for all Mormon wagon trains at this time. It was more of a tent city with trading posts than a normal village. In 1863, Mary Elizabeth Lightner described the view, �� tents were scattered over the hills, and when the camp fires were lit up at night the scene was beautiful to behold (Holmes).�

Thunderstorm Kills Emigrants.

      During the several weeks stay in Florence waiting for ox teams and just as George Jacklin�s group arrived, there was a major thunderstorm. Ruth Wagstaff�s biographical sketch states, �The Church had erected some small shanties at Florence for the use of the Saints who were detained there. Located in one of these shanties at Florence a terrific rain came on. The rain ran through the roof as if it were a sieve, and the family always remembered the drenching they got.� This understates the experience. William Wood, who was in George�s group, recalls in his autobiography �Everything was soon loaded up and taken to the campground. Tents were served out, so many persons to one tent. As we began to pitch our tents, quite a wind sprung up and in a very short time it turned into a terrific thunderstorm and a cloudburst. Two persons were struck dead by the terrible lightning - one a brother from the London Conference and a young man from the Valley who came down to drive [a] team for the poor emigrants. Two or three others were badly injured.� Other members recalled the Saints struck by lightning too. Ebenezer Farnes recalls �One storm in particular, the water came down in sheets. It rained so hard that it hurt the skin wherever it struck and lightning killed three��

Sickness in Wagstaff Family.

      Just before leaving Florence, David Wagstaff, Ruth�s brother, became ill. He was �taken down with Mountain Fever and had to be led around and cared for. The captain and company held a meeting to decide whether to start without him but he refused to be left behind, said he would rather die on the road. In about ten days he was feeling fine � (Wagstaff, David)�.

George in Ancil P. Harman Company.

      In a biographical sketch of Ruth Wagstaff by an unknown author, it states George was in the Ancil P. Harman company.

Wagstaffs in Omar Duncan Company.

      The Wagstaff family was assigned to Omar Duncan�s wagon company. In Ruth Wagstaff�s biographical sketch it states, �Their things were loaded in Elisha Davis�s wagon, with Brother Davis as their team master. They were assigned to Captain Omar Duncan�s company.�

      William Lindsay recalls the arrival of the ox teams, about July 22nd, �Captain Homer Duncan�s ox train arrived � This was a strange & a wonderful sight to us who had never seen oxen hitched to wagons. And the teamsters shouting & cracking their big long whips it sure was all very strange to us at first.� James Lindsay recalls �It was a strange sight to us when they did come. We had never seen oxen and men driving them with their long whips and shouting, �Whoa, Ha and Gee� at them.�

George Jacklin Drove Oxen.

      As they were preparing to leave, George Jacklin, just twenty, agreed to drive an ox team to Salt Lake City to pay for his transportation (American Fork Citizen). A number of other young men also agreed to drive ox teams. Ebenezer Farnes recalls, �He handed me a long whip about fourteen feet long, and showed me five yoke of cattle. � You can imagine my surprise. I had not even seen an oxen yoked and did not know how to drive them. Well, the leader of the wagon train started the first team, and the rest of us piloted our cattle behind and we traveled about ten miles the first day on our journey of one thousand miles ��


      Before leaving, the wagon trains were stocked by the Saints with their purchases from the church-run trading stores in Florence. One member said they stocked the wagons with flour, meat, sugar, tea, and coffee (McBride). According to Arrington, each outfit contained one wagon, two yoke of oxen, two cows, and a tent. Ten immigrants were assigned to each wagon. Each wagon was provided with one thousand pounds of flour, sugar, bacon, rice, beans, dried fruits, and other supplies (Arrington 133). William Lindsay recalls that �Tents were provided one for every wagon & a man appointed to see that the tents were properly staked down each night & placed in the wagon next morning. An average of 12 persons slept in each tent & had all their belongings in one wagon.� Mary Jane Wagstaff recalls �We had a water barrel tied on the side of the wagon.�


      The wagon trains were well organized, like the sailing ships that crossed the Atlantic Ocean. William Lindsay recalls, �Prayers were held in the camp night & morning, all were called together for that purpose at the sound of the bugle & the captain gave counsel & issued orders for the day.�

Learning to Camp.

      For most, learning to camp in a tent and cook over campfires was a new experience. William Lindsay recalls, �Flour & bacon was furnished to everybody but of course every family had to do their own cooking, bake, skillets & frying pans & camp kettles were furnished. Most of the time we could get wood to make the fires. But it was really a great trial for many people to cook their food outdoors in the heat, the wind & the smoke. But each helped the others wherever they could & we got along very nicely considering the peculiar conditions they were placed in.� James Lindsay recalled a similar experience, �It was a very trying time for everyone traveling day after day in the heat, dust and winds. We did our cooking in skillets over smokey fires and slept in tents with ten to fifteen men, women and children. Flour and bacon was about all the food we had. Usually the water was bad, and sometimes no wood to burn.�

Ruth Wagstaff Walked.

      Almost all emigrants walked to Zion. They walked about one thousand miles in two months. In Ruth Wagstaff�s biographical sketch it states, �Father, Mother, and the girls [Wagstaff] walked the entire distance across the plains. �� In Ellen Mariah Wagstaff�s sketch, it states that her father, Samuel Wagstaff, made each of the Wagstaff children a walking cane to assist them in this long journey.

George Jacklin, Age 20, and Ruth Wagstaff, Age 14, Meet.

      About this time, Ruth Wagstaff, just fourteen, met George Jacklin who was twenty. In a biographical sketch of Ruth by an unknown author it states, �While crossing the plains, their company caught up with the �Ancil P Harman company� which was delayed because of the death and burial of two ladies and a tiny baby. While here Ruth met a man by the name of George Jacklin �At that time both companies traveled together towards Zion.�

      In Ruth�s biographical sketch, Ellen Tracy states �An elderly man who as a small child traveled in this same company [Wagon train to Utah] said that this young couple [George Jacklin and Ruth Wagstaff] would get off together to whisper the things only true sweethearts say to each other and smile and no doubt make plans for some day in the future.� George and Ruth later married in American Fork Utah in 1865.


      As they traveled to Utah, the English and Danish emigrants got to know each other. William Lindsay recalls, �With it all we had some good times around the campfires when we got so we could talk a little Danish & they could talk a little English.�

Followed The North Platte.

      Overall, the wagon train journey was not too eventful. James Lindsay recalls �It was in this way that we moved along at about fifteen miles a day, often resting on Saturday afternoon to wash and clean ourselves up. All day Sunday was spent resting. Prayers were offered night and morning, and often singing and dancing in the evenings.� The company followed the �Mormon Trail� by the side of the Platte River until the Junction of the North Platte. At that point, they followed the North Platte northwest to Casper Wyoming. In some wagon trains, the pioneers caught fish in the river to supplement their food supplies (Reed 72).


      Elizabeth Clark recalls that �When the company arrived at Laramie, Wyoming, one evening as they were taking the oxen to water in the stream, some Indians were in ambush close by and when about half of the herd was at the stream, they rushed out and caused a stampede of the oxen. These were lost and the company had to proceed with half of their oxen.� Although the recollection of the Indians may be correct, Laramie, WY is far from Mormon Trail. Perhaps she meant Fort Laramie.

Learned To Hunt.

      The pioneers learned to hunt with rifles for the first time. In England, it was illegal for George to hunt for game. Only substantial landowners were allowed to hunt game by law. Now, hunting supplemented their food supplies. Perhaps George hunted game for the first time.

Trail Through Wyoming To Utah.

      They followed the Sweetwater past Devil�s Gate, Wyoming and about a week later most likely passed over the Continental Divide at South Pass. After South Pass, they crossed the Green River. According to Farnes, the Green river was very high that year and it was very dangerous to cross it (Madsen 164). The wagon train meandered on to Fort Bridger and down through canyons to the Salt Lake Valley. According to Mary Jane Wagstaff, they arrived in Salt Lake City September 24th, 1862.

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