John Jacklin

Waited Twenty-nine Years to Emigrate to Utah.

      From the time Mormons were first baptized in England, they were encouraged to emigrate to Utah, called �Zion� by these faithful converts. John Jacklin waited twenty-nine years to emigrate not because of lack of spiritual commitment, but because he was too poor.

Low Farm Laborer Wages.

      Agricultural wages in Cambridgeshire were near the lowest of any county in England from 1830 to 1860. Typical wages ranged from 7s to 9s per week (there are twenty shillings, s, in a Pound, �) (Pool 20-21). If we assume that John Jacklin made 9s per week, he would have made about �23 per year about the time his first son George emigrated in 1862. According to Weibye, an inexpensive steerage ticket in 1873 was �6.6 for the ship John emigrated on. The cost of the complete trip to Utah would have been much more. From this, it can be estimated that in 1862 the cost of one family member to emigrate to Utah would have been more than six months of wages.

      Because of the low wages, it was difficult for John to raise sufficient money for the family to emigrate to Zion. It was previously thought that John Jacklin sold the �family farm� to raise money to emigrate to Utah (Shelley 26-27). John didn�t own any real estate. The Earl of Hardwicke owned the Jacklin cottage and garden. It was part of the Earl�s Wimpole Estate. Most likely, John Jacklin received financial assistance from the Perpetual Emigration Fund, or PEF. In 1849, the Church established the PEF to aid Mormons emigrating to Utah. Once members established themselves in Utah, they repaid PEF loans from their excess production (Arrington 131). Because funds were limited, John probably chose to send his family a little at a time. In May 1862, his oldest son George emigrated to Utah as a nineteen-year-old young man. In July 1873, John sent two more sons, Moses (eighteen) and Noble (twelve), to Utah. The remainder of the family who emigrated left in September 1875. John perhaps raised the most money to emigrate during the Whaddon coprolite boom.

Coprolite Boom.

      Farmers could not afford to pay higher wages because their prices were low due to low cost imports. They needed to improve productivity to increase wages. Farm productivity was increased in part by using fertilizer made from coprolite � calcium phosphate nodules (it was not fossilized bone or dinosaur dung as some state). The dirt was removed from 3 feet to as deep as 20 feet to remove the coprolite nodules. The seams of phosphate nodules varied in thickness from a few inches to a couple of feet. The nodules were ground to powder and then treated with acid to make a phosphate fertilizer. The fertilizer sold for about 3� per ton. One acre of land could yield as much as 300 tons of fertilizer. Contractors paid about 150� per acre for a three-year lease. In Whaddon, this rent was paid to the Earl of Hardwicke, the noble who owned most of the land. At the end of the lease, they needed to replace the topsoil and level the ground (Parker 215-218).

      The coprolite industry was booming prior to John�s emigration to Utah. The Earl of Hardwicke made a substantial amount of money in the 1860s from coprolite mining in Whaddon (National Trust 91). The Whaddon census data tells us much about the growth of the coprolite industry there. The coprolite works did not exist in Whaddon on the 1841, 1851, and 1861 censuses. Coprolite mining employed 63 workers in 1871; ten of these were Jacklins including John, eight other Jacklin laborers, and William the brother of John is listed as a coprolite works engine driver. In 1881 it drops to 15. By 1891 it drops to just 8 workers.

      During the coprolite boom, wages were inflated. This made it easier for John to save money to assist his family to emigrate to Utah. The population of Whaddon was very stable from 1841 to 1891 at an average of 350 people for all years except 1871. In 1871, the population was 19% larger, due to the coprolite works. The number of agricultural laborers drops significantly in 1871 too. Coprolite mining was a booming industry in 1871. It is clear that common laborers were in high demand just prior to John Jacklin emigrating to Utah. It was a windfall for laborers. They were paid so much per cubic yard of earth and mineral removed. A good worker could earn 2� per week. This is more than four times the weekly wage just one decade earlier. The mediocre worker could make 1� per week. Farmers could not compete with the wage and wages jumped from about 12 to 24s per week. As the coprolite workers mined the ground, they found lots of archeological items, coins, brooches, weapons, tools, etc. These items were sometimes sold to make extra money (Parker 215-218). This demand for laborers inflated salaries and made it easier for John Jacklin to save toward emigration to Utah.

      Ellen Tracy states, �John, the father [John Jacklin], continued digging fossils and his pay check was used sparingly [so] that every penny possible might be saved.� According to Tracy, Emma (Noble) Jacklin, John�s wife, was the financial head of the family. She saved as much money as possible. According to Arrington, Mormons were encouraged to save in the Emigration Deposit Fund, Individual Emigration Account, or Penny Emigration Fund to start preparing to make the trip to Utah (Arrington 131). It is quite possible that Emma Jacklin used a PEF account to save money earned in excess of their needs from the inflated coprolite mining salaries.

Three-week Trip.

      When John Jacklin emigrated to Utah in 1875, the conditions were quite different than for earlier Mormons. Saints emigrating in the early 1850s traveled through New Orleans and saw slaves and plantations in the southern states. When George Jacklin traveled to Utah in 1862, he saw and experienced the Civil War. Almost all these Mormons came by sailing ships across the Atlantic Ocean. Most of these Mormons traveled from Kanesville (Council Bluffs, Iowa) or Florence (Winter Quarters, Nebraska) to Utah by wagon train and experienced camping out-of-doors for the first time. However, in May 1869, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads completed the transcontinental railroad. The use of transatlantic steamships and transcontinental railroads revolutionized the time it took to emigrate to Utah. It took the Shelley family, in 1851, just over eight months to emigrate to Utah from Farmcote, Shropshire, England. It took John Jacklin less than three weeks to cover the same distance in 1875.

Leaving Family Behind.

      John�s party included his wife Emma (54 years old) and an unmarried daughter, Sarah (18 years old). They left their son Amos and his wife with two grandchildren and their daughter Hannah and her husband and one granddaughter in Whaddon. Amos and Hannah both were baptized into the Mormon Church but never emigrated to Utah. It was undoubtedly a difficult decision to leave loved ones forever. According to Bessie Smith, a great granddaughter living in Whaddon today (2001), she has three pieces of furniture left by Hannah�s parents, John and Emma, when they moved to Utah.

Train Ride to Liverpool.

      The first part of the journey was most likely a third-class train ride from Whaddon to Liverpool. Third-class was an open cattle car, �a box with no roof�. Speeds ranged from 20 to 40 miles per hour (Pool 148, 149). Most likely John left Whaddon and arrived in Liverpool, about 200 miles west, on the same day. After arriving in Liverpool, they likely purchased some supplies for the journey. As the passengers boarded the ship, a doctor would minimally inspect them for illness (Sansom).

Boarded S. S. Wyoming.

  Wyoming (Sonne).

      The Jacklin family crossed the Atlantic on the S. S. Wyoming, a steamship. The Wyoming carried more Mormon passengers than any other steamship, 10,473 in 38 voyages. Fares ranged from 3� to 6� over the time period Mormons emigrated. The ship was built in 1870 (Sonne 115, 166). A replica of the ship is at the Winter Quarters Visitor's Center in Omaha, Nebraska. There were 300 Mormons on board. Unlike many earlier transatlantic voyages, the ship carried many passengers who were not Mormons. In 1873, the same ship had 510 Mormons and 1000 total passengers (Wray). According to Hansen, the Wyoming was 300 feet long. It had three decks (Sonne 128). The lowest deck, referred to as steerage or third class, was the least expensive and lowest class of travel. It was most likely how John Jacklin and his family traveled. Moulton, a passenger on the Wyoming in 1874 describes the ship in detail, �� lifesaving boats� were �all around the edge of the giant steamer � The top deck was flat with an iron railing all around. We were a long way up above the water and it was beautiful to stand by the railing, looking down on the great massive water below us. �we came as third class, the same as animals, so we were down in the dungeon (you might call it), like a great long loft in a barn only so much larger than anyone can comprehend who hasn�t been there, with two long narrow tables and benches on each side of the tables so that made four benches, all stationary, nailed solid. Then at the side was our bunks, just rough lumber, nailed up like big square boxes one above another. Three or four could lay side by side. The older people generally occupied the lower bunks and the younger ones had to step on the lower ones and crawl up in the top ones. Oh no, we didn�t have springs or mattress to lie on. Some had their feather beds, but even they got awfully hard. We had to furnish our own bedding, but we were advised not to take anything we did not absolutely have to have as we were pretty much all poor and could not afford to pay excess baggage charges� The middle deck was where the first and second class passengers lived like human beings in nicely furnished rooms or apartments. The kitchens were on that floor also and there were great long aisles for us to go through after we climbed a ladder from our quarters to get to the middle deck� which was like a great large room.�


      The S. S. Wyoming departed Liverpool on September 15th, 1875 with 118 English converts, 168 Scandinavian converts (mainly Danish), and 14 Mormon missionaries returning from their European missions. Among the missionaries were Joseph F. Smith, a future president of the church and just released president of the European mission, and Francis M. Lyman, who was a counselor on the ship that George Jacklin took in 1862. Richard V. Morris was called as the ecclesiastical leader for the ship. According to Joseph F. Smith, President Morris divided the Mormons into four wards, an organization that was typical of earlier voyages. On the 16th, the passengers lost sight of the British Isles (Hansen). John Jacklin never returned.


      The meals on board were apparently served to the passengers, rather than on much earlier voyages where the passengers prepared food from basic food stuffs. Moulton, a passenger on the Wyoming the previous year, recalls, �At mealtimes after we got our ration, as I have said, we had to stand in rows to get our allotment, but then we would go to the table and eat like real human beings. Sometimes the ship would start rocking like a cradle from one side to the other and if we were at the table eating we would often tip over backwards and go on the floor, as there were no backs to our benches, to say nothing about rocking chairs, or upholstered cushions. Our potatoes, tin plates and cups would also go rolling [and we would] scramble to catch them. For believe me, we were hungry. We would have been thankful to eat what people now throw out.�

Storms and Seasickness.

      Although the voyage on a steamer was short compared to a three-mast sailing ship, there was still plenty of time to encounter some storms. President Morris recalls some seasickness among the Saints during the first two or three days. John Squires recalls on the 17th, �The weather is still very fine, but nearly all the emigrants are sick, in fact, I never saw so much seasickness before. I felt some symptoms of it myself. Brother Smith and Morris have both been sick. Went down to lunch and eat a little lettuce, beet and radishes, after that I felt worse, till at length I had to make quick tracks, and forthwith cast up my accounts. I neither eat dinner nor supper, but retired to bed early.�

Church Services.

      A church service was held on Sunday the 19th (Morris). Elder Squires gave a short address, Elder Hansen spoke in Danish, and then Elder Smith gave a 45-minute sermon �speaking with great power� (Morris). Many members had little appetite as the ship continued to roll (Squires). The next day the ocean was very rough (Hansen).


      They also had good times on this voyage. Elder Squires remembers playing checkers with Elder Lyman. President Morris recalled delightful weather where the passengers �amused themselves in various ways to break the monotony of the voyage.� On the 21st, President Morris wrote about �an immense iceberg � which was the most beautiful sight of the kind that we have ever seen. The captain judged it to be about 1,000 feet long and 300 feet high, and about 5 miles to the south of our course.� Apparently, a telescope was necessary to see it well though (Squires).

Pump Stops Working.

      On the 23rd, a pump stopped working. The ship stopped for several hours (Hansen) and when the ship continued, it had to travel at a slower speed.

New York City.

      The broken pump delayed the arrival in New York, but only by about 18 hours (Morris). The Wyoming set anchor about 3AM on the 26th (Hansen). About 8AM a doctor checked the passengers. On the 27th, they passed through customs at Castle Garden (Morris). Castle Garden was a receiving station at the lower tip of Manhattan Island. It 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).

Pullman Pioneer.

      The transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869. John Jacklin and other Mormon emigrants coming after 1869 were called �Pullman Pioneers� because they came by train. (Kimball Preface XIV). On the evening of the 27th, they departed by train from a New Jersey depot for Utah (Squires). The train didn�t have sleeping cars (Hansen). Moulton recalls travel from her 1874 trip vividly. John Jacklin probably traveled on a comparable train. She states �We were on the train eight or nine days and nights from New York to Salt Lake City, Utah, sitting straight up in our seats unless we leaned on each other or lay in each others lap, as there were two in each seat and just the straw or wicker seats. We couldn�t even get hold of a pillow.�

President Grant and Other Experiences.

      The Saints experienced occasional death and dishonesty, very typical of the experiences of Mormons traveling to Utah earlier. Hansen recalls that Peter Bow�s grandchild died on the 29th. Squires recalls that a satchel was stolen containing �14, a gold watch, and a ring. On Oct 1st, President Grant of the United States passed their train on his way to California (Hansen). Some scenery is mentioned but not much. John Squires recalls passing �lovely� little settlements every few miles on the 2nd. On the 5th, the train arrived at the Ogden depot. John Jacklin traveled on to the Salt Lake Valley the same day on a different train. After twenty-nine years as a faithful Saint, he finally arrived in Zion.

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