Thomas Featherstone kept a personal diary most of his life. A faithful journal keeper, he documented his early life and the day-by-day events of traveling by ship trip from Liverpool to Saint Louis.
“ I was born at Kegworth, Leicestershire, England on 15 September 1834. My father was John Featherstone, born 2 March 1811 at Kegworth, Leicestershire, England and my mother was Eliza Birkinshaw born 10 Jul 1811 at Ener (Heanor), Derby, England. They were members of the General Baptist Church and were sincere in their religious faith. They taught me to pray and fear the Lord. My father was a good man to his fellow creatures in giving food and raiment to the needy and doing all the good he had in his power. My mother was a kind hearted woman to all her children and taught them to do right to all mankind and to fear God.
When I reached the age of eleven, in 1845/46, my father and mother with their family, left Kegworth to live at Derby, Derbyshire, England and lived there seven years. My father worked for a Mr. Tomson, builder, and my brother, Stephen, learned bricklaying at Derby working with a Mr. Greaves also a builder. My brother, Joseph, went to work for a Mr. Wright who was a silk fabricator. I worked with my family two and one half years and had a reputation for having a good character, being honest, clean and industrious.
I then went into service for a Mr. Crump, plumber, glazier and master of the gas works. I was in his service along with a hundred employees and five servants. He was a good master. Father of nine sons and four daughters. There was in his service a man named Charles Reed from Dedfordshire. He was a hostler and fond of the life of the world. After knowing him for a year and a half, I perceived that there was a great alteration in Charles. I began to think he had turned religious. This caused my heart to rejoice, so I inquired of him as to which chapel he attended and he told me the Latter-day Saints.
It was in his stable that I found a copy of the Millennial Star, a publication of the Mormon Church. Charles Reed began to explain to me the first principles of the gospel of this new church, of having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, of baptism and the laying on of hands as being essential to the salvation of man. He also told me how Joseph Smith was called of God in the last days to bring about the restoration of all things spoken of by the prophets since the world began. He also told me that Holy Angels had come to the earth again from their posts of Glory to enlighten the world through Joseph Smith and they brought the will and mind of God to him concerning this generation calling upon all men to repent, both rich and poor, bond and free, in all the Christian world at large. He also taught me that angels had revealed to Joseph Smith a record of the earth. This I could see coming to pass according to what he told me and the many things which he told me caused my heart to rejoice. One morning I went into his stable and obtained a copy of the Millennial Star and I was especially impressed to the event that from that very time I felt I wanted to fear God and serve Him with all my heart and soul.
From the time I had been a child I had sought after the principles of truth of my God and when Brother Reed told me about these glorious principles I could no longer rest contented at home nor anywhere else, but I always wanted to be near him to learn more of the gospel. He invited me to the meetings to hear for myself and I did so and I shall never forget what I heard. The missionary who talked at the meeting was William Bremarton. He spoke about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and how the angels rolled away the stone from the sepulcher with their hands showing that angels have hands, arms and feet just as Jesus did when He arose from the grave and that they have the form and appearance of men.
This all seemed reasonable to me and caused my understanding to expand, making me realize the Christian world in reality was groping in darkness without the Spirit of God; without an organization of Apostles and Prophets as in ancient times. The churches were not following the true order of Christ’s Church and I felt that the Spirit of God had been restored in the Church of Jesus Christ in these the latter days and felt its Holy influence and I saw within myself that these people were honest people and their God was my God. I felt quite happy in their midst, so I continued to attend the meetings on Sunday and during the week. The more I attended the meetings, the more light I received and in about three weeks I was baptized in the Derby Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ. The ceremony took place on a Saturday, September 8, 1849 by Thomas Reed, an Elder, and I was confirmed on 8 September 1849 by Elder Louis Robbins, a servant of the church. In Elder Robbins confirmation, he said that in the service of The Lord, I should be blessed that the spirit of God should lighten my mind and that I should be like clay in his hands, by my faithfulness I should help build up the Kingdom of God upon the earth and that I should see wickedness destroyed from the face of the earth and that I should be gathered with the people of God.
These words greatly impressed my mind and I believed it would come to pass if I were faithful and in measure according to my faithfulness. When I was baptized, I felt I was being blessed of the Almighty with a spirit to my satisfaction and that I now had a testimony for myself that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the Lord, and the Kingdom of God was restored to the children of Man, in these last days. I could now bear my testimony to the fact I now knew I had learned to obey instructions given me and knew the gospel as it was taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and this testimony I bear to all my children and to the house of my fathers and all my relatives and kinfolk. This I have done to cleanse my garments of their blood and to warn them of the judgments of the Almighty that will be poured out upon the wicked and all those who know not God and did not give a hearing unto the servants of the Lord, that have been sent here to bear testimony to the Truth.
My testimony was borne time after time to all who would listen, my friends and relatives, but they would not listen to the truth. They seemed to be too fond of the things of the world. We tried every kind of device and doctrine to convert them. They seemed to be honest in their hearts in trying to do right, but could not see the necessity for us to leave the land of our fathers to go to a strange country that they did not know nor what to expect or depend on. I tried to explain time after time that it was the way and desire of God in all ages of the world. I read the Bible to them and then the publications of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Millennial Star, tracts, Book of Mormon and other books, but always in vain.
I also bore my testimony to my fellow servants and invited them to the meetings held by the missionaries to hear the truth for themselves. When I had been in the church nine months, I found a situations with a Mr. Cole, Colasage School, Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England as butler and footman. My recommendation of good character from Mr. Crump, my last employer, being the instrument to help me secure this situation. I wanted to get a better situation where I could get more wages that I might gather with the people of God to the land of Zion to build up the Kingdom of God. In so doing, on 21 May 1850, I went to my new situation by the 10:00 o’clock train from Derby. I stayed in Nottingham about two hours and arrived at Southwell at 4:00 pm. The trip was 30 miles from Derby.
The inhabitants of Southwell were mostly rich folks and clergy. There is a fine cathedral here with twenty four clergymen to administer to the people from it. Bishops and Archdeacons usually presided. Mr. Cole, my new master had one of the head positions in the church and was a schoolmaster. He had about thirty scholars. His home was within the churchyard and he had servants to wait on him at his call. He had five children, a daughter and four sons, and they all treated me kindly for the first few months. I had plenty of work assigned to me during all my employment at this location.
I began to read the Bible to the other servants and to explain to them the first principles of the Gospel contained therein; the devil began to rage and fume. My master and Misses heard of my actions and they had me on the carpet in the sitting room for it. My master told me I should not read the Bible for there was many things in it I did not understand which he did understand. It seemed he did not want me to read to the servants lest they should see the truth. He began to lend me some of his books to read and he wanted me to go to his church that the bishop might lay his hands on my head and confirm me a member of his faith. There were about a hundred persons to be confirmed on Sunday, rich and poor, menservants and maidservants. This was done once each year.
When he asked me if I would go, I told him that I believed I had hands laid upon my head already. He talked to me a great deal telling me there were many things in the Bible that were not proper for me to read for there were ministers of the gospel to explain all things. He would lend me one of his books and when I had read it, he would lend me another and I would thank him and withdraw from the room and go about my work as usual, endeavoring to give satisfaction to my master and all that lived in the house. When my master found out I continued to read the Bible an preach the gospel to the servants, he began to find fault with everything I did. I bore it very prayerfully for I felt I was doing my duty and I could see the devil was doing all he could to cause a spirit of persecution to exist against me.
At this time, I was fifteen years of age. I was comforted by the thought that the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham, Joseph, Ephraim and Isaac was with me and I had a shared in the prayers of ten thousand Saints and I knew that I should overcome my difficulties. This all caused my mind to expand and I began to think of a plan wherein I scold be enabled to go to Zion and help build up the Kingdom of God, so I began to make my wishes known to the Almighty, that I wanted to be delivered from the oppression which required that I go to my masters church twice each Sunday and do my regular work besides. In his church, I would hear the minister read the ten commandments saying, "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy, for thou shalt do no manner of work, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, or anything else, but thou shalt keep it holy throughout thine house."
This caused me to realize the hypocrisy of my master, knowing that my fellow servants were hard at work breaking this very commandment. It put me in mind of what the Apostle Paul said about such characters, "they have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof. I was determined to be delivered from this bondage that I might return and mingle again with the Saints at Derby, for loved their society.
I felt they were the people of God, so I made my wishes known to the Almighty day and night, praying that He would open the way for me that I might learn a trade and thus get the means to go to the land of Zion. I sent my parents a letter to the effect that I wanted to leave Southwell and told them of my circumstances. In answer, I found that my fathers work had required that the family move and they were now living in Nottingham. On hearing this, I was quite disappointed, for I had anticipated mingling again with the Saints a Derby whom I dearly loved. I continued to pray to the Lord and to my delight my father sent for me to come home to Nottingham to learn bricklaying with my elder brother Stephen, who was a good workman.
I then gave my master a months notice. This action did surprise them and they told me that if I would stay another year with them, they would get me into a nobleman’s family. They said I was independent of them and it caused them to marvel at me and my actions, not knowing that the Lord was on my side and had heard my prayers to deliver me from their power. I rejoice in this and give credit and glory to my God for my deliverance. I left my situation on 24 May 1851 and returned by the 2:00 train from Southwell to Nottingham. I arrived in Nottingham in very good spirits and was met at the station by my mother and my sister, Elizabeth. I rejoiced exceedingly in seeing them and on reaching home greeted the rest of the family and we enjoyed once more each others society.
My brother, Stephen, was then working at Beston, four miles from Nottingham, for a Mr. Burnham, who was a builder.
He was plastering two houses and I went out to the houses with my brother, who wanted Mr. Burnham to teach me the trade. He would not agree to this, so we both left Beston and went to work at Newark, twenty two miles from Nottingham. We worked for the Northern Railway and there Stephen taught me to lay bricks at the wage of fourteen shillings per week, which was considered good wages for a learner. On leaving this work, we returned to Nottingham to work for the firm of Neal and Wilson, builders.
The location of the work was at Grant, twenty five miles from Nottingham and I now earned twenty one shillings each week. I went on from one job to another always improving myself in the trade. To earn twenty one shillings after an apprenticeship of only four months had never been heard of before and I gave the credit to the Lord. I now attended meetings with the Saints an had my recommend transferred from he Derby branch to the Nottingham Branch and I was soon acquainted with many new friends who I knew were people of God and I enjoyed the spirit that attended them. I felt to thank the Lord for what he had done for me.
According to my faithfulness, the Lord had blessed me abundantly with His Spirit and my mind has been enlightened concerning many things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. I have heard the Saints speak in tongues and reveal things that are to come about to magnify the name of the Lord. I bore my testimony with the Saints as to the divinity of the work that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord and that Brigham Young is a prophet in these the latter days and that I knew the Kingdom of God had been set up upon the earth never to be thrown down or given to another people. When I had been a member of the Nottingham Branch about twelve months, I became acquainted with Sister Emma Smith and we were married on 11 January 1853 at St. Mary’s Church in Nottingham, England.
My eldest brother, Stephen, was the best man and my wife’s eldest sister was the bridesmaid. We went to live at my wife’s mothers house and I bought all the household furniture for six pounds. This money was to be used to help the family to go to Zion. We planned to help her now and then, planning to leave ourselves in another year. I knew the Lord would bless us, so that we could gather with the Saints. I was called into the Priesthood of the Son of God to labor in the vineyard. I was ordained a Deacon in the Nottingham Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at the Nottingham Conference under the hands of Elders William Clayton, Henry Savage and John Wrigley on 1 January 1852. Henry Savage was president of the branch and John Wrigley was secretary. I felt the responsibility of the calling and was willing to do all I could to carry on the work of the Lord and I did my duty in this office to the best of my ability.
I felt even more of the power of God and I also sensed more of the power of the devil and the powers of darkness with which men have to contend. by the power of the God of Israel, I overcame my enemies, for many had foretold evil concerning me and they said I should fall that they might rejoice in my downfall. Instead, the Lord did exalt me for I was called to be a Priest in the Nottingham Branch under the hands of William North and Joseph Holmes.
At this time, I was called to go on a mission to by brothers in England. My missionary companion was Elder Allgood and we were sent to Radcliff, six miles from Nottingham to warn the people of the Judgments of God and that the gospel had been restored to the children of men for their salvation. I bore my testimony as to this restoration of the order of Christ, of apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers with all the gifts and blessings as enjoyed by the ancient saints. I went to church every Sunday and taught them with tracts and publications and I did all that I knew how to do to bring them to Christ, but they could not seem to see the truth before them.
They had been brought up in the various churches of the day and therefore had lost all desire for a true religion and they would not come forth to listen to the warnings of honest men. They would not listen to the warnings of the servants of God.
There was one member whose name was Sarah Carnal. She and her husband came to live at Nottingham. The husband, George Carnal, enlisted as a soldier and left for Ireland in the Queens service, all unknown to his wife. His wife being ill at the time, became worse on hearing this news and died on 16 June 1852 after joining the church. She was buried at the cemetery at Nottingham. I continued my labors in the mission at Radcliff until the council deemed it wisdom to call me in. I was then sent to Ruddington, four miles from Nottingham. My companion was John Wrigley.
The council rented a room for us to use in preaching to the investigators and our meetings were well attended for a while and then the people drifted away. We then went out in the field to teach the people that the gospel was necessary for salvation, that all men must repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized by immersion in water for the remission of their sins. That hands must be laid on them for the reception of the Holy Ghost. That gifts and blessings of the Spirit would be given to those that believed. To these people I bore my testimony to the truth of the work. On Sundays, I would go back to Nottingham and labor with my brethren there, brothers John Kiddy, John Wrigley and Robinson.
Brother Robinson was an especially good and faithful man, who fed spiritually those who came to hear him preach. Two other faithful members I remember were brother and sister Harrington. With all our efforts, the people of the villages would not come forth and embrace the gospel. All was in vain for their hearts were hardened against us and I was released to labor at Nottingham where I had more time to preach and mingle with the ones I loved until my mission was completed. I felt that the Lord blessed me for my efforts in His behalf. I paid four shillings for the temple fund in 1852 and 1853 and I also paid into the emergency fund. I gave twenty pounds sterling to Brother Samuel W. Richards, 15 Wilston Street, Liverpool, to help the poor saints who could not help themselves to go to the land of Zion. This has ever been by duty, to help gather Israel from its long dispersion.
The council at Nottingham asked for volunteers to tract at Cotsgrove, near Nottingham, and I volunteered, being made president of the mission there. Missionaries had never been there before. The following Sunday, accompanied by Brother William Davis, I left to take up my new labors and I prayed to the Lord to bless us with His Spirit that the hearts of the people might be touched to receive the truth. We prayed earnestly that we might have the power of our calling upon us and for the people that we might reach those who were seeking after truth, and they might rejoice in the Kingdom of God with us.
We then sang a hymn, "Go ye Messengers of Glory" and then went on our way tracting. At first, the people receive us well, but on second call, they would show us their church books and say they did not need a new religion and that they did not want to hear anything about Joseph Smith or his doctrine (these were mostly rich people). Saying they did not believe in modern revelation. They rejected us and our message. I felt clear of the blood of their garments for they rejected us. The poor accepted our tracts and came to hear us preach. I bore my testimony to all and told them to join us in gathering to Zion. I felt the Lord had recognized my integrity and opened the hearts of my fellow servants in my behalf, for I was called to be ordained an Elder in the Nottingham Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints during the Nottingham Conference under the hands of Elder Charles Smith, who acted as mouth, on 4 December 1853.
From that very time on, I felt the power of God was even more with me to help me to do my duty to the church. My mind continued to expand so that my knowledge of the gospel grew as time went on and I looked forward to going to Zion and to the Temples where I and my family might receive our washings and annointings and sealings with the blessings attending them. My wife, Emma, gave birth to a fine boy on 16 November 1853 and I named him John Thomas Featherstone. He was a fine boy and I rejoiced regarding him as one of the finest gifts of God to me, but to my surprise, the Lord permitted the destroyer to take him from my embrace.
I felt it was to try my faith as Father Abraham had been tried, nevertheless, I blessed the lad in the name of the Lord and committed him to His hands and said "Father thy will, not mine be done." He died on 22 February 1854 and was buried at St. Ann’s Cemetery at Nottingham.
The time was close at hand for us to leave our native country to go to the land of Zion, so I was released from the Cotsgrove Mission leaving Brother Davis and Brother Dahill to continue on there with good prospects of baptizing several persons there. Daily, I expected my notice of embarkation, but great difficulty was experienced in obtaining a vessel and we resorted to prayer and the Lord opened the way. The Council of Nottingham presented me with a sovereign as did Brother Thomas Barrett and Brother W. Brown. This I felt was a token of their love and respect for me. All the members that were leaving from the Nottingham Branch were invited to a festival at New Bedford and we enjoyed ourselves very much.
Brother Thomas Barrett and I were called on by President Westwood to give the farewell addresses to the Saints. Brother Thomas Barrett and I were called on by President Westwood to give the farewell addresses to the Saints. Brother Charles Smith, the pastor of the Nottingham, Derby and Leicester Conferences was present and he blessed the saints who were leaving in the name of the Lord. The saints then lifted up their hands making a covenant to sustaining us with their prayers on our trip to Zion. This party occurred on 9 March.
On Wednesday, 29 March 1854, my family and about forty saints left Nottingham for the Great Salt Lake Valley. We left by train at 2:30 pm for Liverpool, England. There was a large company of Saints at the station to see us off. My mother, father, brothers and sister were there. We reached Birkenherd that same day at 10:00 pm and took a packet to Liverpool arriving at 10:30 staying at Mr. Prices hotel. The next day, with several of the Brethren, I went to see the ship, Germanacus, on which we were to sail. We found it to be a splendid vessel and were informed that it had sailed once to America. The company numbered 220. Richard Cook was in charge.
The ship was under Captain Fales. On 31 March 1854, we boarded the ship to sleep overnight and on 2 April, we went into the River Mersey and cast anchor on 3 April 1854. On this day, a steam packet ran against us, breaking a paddle, but did us no harm. On the fourth, a tug took us up the river to Holly Heath, which is about sixty miles from Liverpool. It was a beautiful sight. We saw the Welch coast mountains on both sides of the river.
The Saints were so thrilled that they sang songs of Zion. The steam tug boat left us and at 4:00 in the morning the sailors put the canvas sails to the breeze. The next day some of the Saints became seasick due to the motion of the boat. My family did not become ill and those who were affected soon recovered. We were soon in the Irish Channel, the day was fair and the sea was very calm. In the evening we had a fellowship meeting and we could all fell the Spirit of God present. Note: Church History Reference: Ship Germanacus or Germanacus sailed from Liverpool with 220 Saints under Richard Cook, 4 April 1854. Arrived New Orleans, 12 June 1854.
6 April 1854:We arose to greet the sun rising on a beautiful morning, the sun came up right out of the water in the Irish Channel. The wind is not favorable and there is too much calm for us to make much headway. The Irish mountains were visible on our right and they are very high, beautiful and majestic. There are several other ships in sight and the Saints are on deck singing songs of Zion to commemorate the day for it is the anniversary of the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is twenty four years since the church was established with a membership of six persons. Now the membership is in the tens of thousands, having been gathered from all the nations of the earth. I rejoiced that I was numbered among those going to Zion. James Works was a passenger.
7 April:The sun rose very beautifully and its reflections was visible on a calm sea giving it an appearance as if the sea were a sea of glass. I had never seen anything like it before. We spent from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm covering the distance of twelve miles. The sound in the evenings consisted of Saints on the deck singing the songs of Zion. There were fourteen other ships in sight. One was a steamship.
9 April: Sunday:We are now in the open sea and are moving at a speed of from eight to ten miles an hour. My wife and I are well but many on board are suffering from seasickness. This afternoon we all partook of the Sacrament and felt greatly blessed with the Spirit of God. Our hearts were filled with gladness. We heard good instructions from Brother Cook, our president. No ships in sight.
10 April: A beautiful morning. The ship is sailing at about the speed of last night. Toward evening we had a little rain.
11 April:From sunrise until about 10:00 am, we were in a calm then the wind came up and we moved along fairly fast. Many of the Saints were very miserable, but my wife and I kept well. There is one ship in sight. We are about seven hundred miles from Liverpool.
12 April:This morning the wind is very high and the sea is very rough and more of the Saints are very ill. My wife and I are not affected.
13 April: The sea is more calm, but we are moving nicely. We are both well. Considerable sickness among others.
14 April: We are Well. Many are Ill. Sea is calm.
15 April:The day is calm and clear and we are not making much progress. The sick seem to be recovering. We do not seem to be affected by the motion of the vessel. I felt I should thank my Father in Heaven for my continued comfort and I now felt I would not become ill as the others had been.
16 April:The sea is very calm and we are proceeding very slowly. We had Sacrament meeting for the second time on board. We had a first rate meeting. Addressing the meeting were President Cook and his counselors, Brother James Hart and Brother Armstrong. Many others on board came to hear them speak and a good spirit prevailed to the great enjoyment of the Saints. We felt blessed and rejoiced to think we were on the way to the land of Zion. After tea there were a few whales to be seen on both sides of the ship. They spouted water to great heights.
17 April:At 4:00 am there was a snow storm and another squall at 8:00 am continuing throughout the day. A ship passed going toward England. Two ships are in sight going our way. It is cloudy.
18 April:A very nice morning with a nice breeze. In the afternoon the wind changed all of a sudden to a head wind, putting the ship under a terrific strain, sending the ship backwards creating grave danger. It gave us a good rocking. Many became ill again as a result.
19 April:The wind is still raging and the water very rough, like mountains of water. It was a beautiful sight to me, to see the power of the wind and sea under the control of our creator. It was marvelous to see how our ship obeyed the laws given by the Great Lawgiver of the universe. My wife and I are well and are helping with the cooking and the care of the sick.
20 April:We are having a very rough time of it. The sea rises and falls to great height. Waves come over the deck with vengeance and power that it seemed that the bulwarks could not resist them. At 4:00 am, it was so bad that some of the sailors pulled in some of the canvas with the ropes. Some of the saints almost forgot their faith. We were all pretty well tried as to faith. The kettles and pans were dashed from one side of the ship to the other, the crying of the children, the cursing of the sailors, all this commotion caused me to think I was in the midst of hell. We also had to put up with and be annoyed by the filth and dirt of some of our fellow passengers, but we bore it with patience knowing our deliverance was sure. Some of the passengers were so ill, I felt a sympathy for them and prayed for them. Brother James Works and I administered to them and they got out of bed and were well and were able to go on deck in the afternoon. We saw some porpoises swimming in the wake of the vessel.
21 April:The wind is not so bad, but the sea is still rough and the waves high. Our gallant ship is still heading for Zion, dancing over the rolling waves. At six in the morning, we sighted some peaks of a reef about sixty miles ahead of us. We are both well and the people much better.
22 April:The sun rose on a beautiful sea. It shone beautifully on the ocean and on the peak above the reef. The peak is reported to have an elevation of 12,236 feet and the upper part is shrouded in clouds. The islands are occupied by about 17,000 Spaniards. It was a delightful sight. In sight are a steamer and a sailing ship. There are thirteen islands called the Canary Islands and we are 2000 miles from Liverpool. At 2:00 pm a German man, age 83, died. He had been ill when we boarded ship. He was buried at sea to the singing and prayers of the Germans on board.
23 April:It is a fine morning and our gallant ship, Germanacus, is going on first rate. In the afternoon we partook of the sacrament of the Lords Supper and we felt blessed with the spirit of God in renewing our covenants with the Lord. It is a fine evening. All is well.
24 April: We are going ahead at a rapid rate. We are both well and most of the Saints are well.
25 April: A fine day. At 5:00, there was a birth among the Germans. We were in high spirits and thanked God for it.
26 April:A fine morning. We are all well and are making good time with a good wind. Today the German baby died and was buried at sea without ceremony.
27 April: Fine day. There was singing and rejoicing. We are both well and retired happy after saying our prayers.
28 April:I arose this morning full of joy and gladness toward my Father in Heaven for all the goodness he had manifested toward the Saints up to this time. It is a beautiful day. I saw a flying fish. We are well.
29 April:A fine morning. The sun rose from the water to disclose not a single cloud in the sky over the Germanacus. Today is a market day on board and we are to receive our provisions. We are all well and in high spirits and in a thankful spirit.
30 April:The day began beautiful and pleasant. At noon we met a fine American ship, the Lancaster. They put up their colors and we put up ours. We hailed them and found they were eighty days out of Calcutta, India, bound for London, England. We told them we were twenty six days from Liverpool. Several other ships are in sight and we could see many flying fish. We held sacrament meeting. Elders Cook and Hart speaking. We are 2,980 miles from New Orleans and all is well.
1 May:Favorable winds are blowing. The waves are dashing and splashing against both sides of the ship, the wake is foaming like the falls of Niagara. It is a beautiful sight to witness the grandeur of this world of water which surrounds us. Even at night with the stars above, the sight of the boat plowing through the water displays the majesty of Gods handiwork. This all caused me to contemplate on the revolutions of the universe. I was led to exclaim to Him who is the Great Lawgiver of the Heaven and Earth, "How great is the wisdom and the power of Him in control and in governing of all these glittering worlds which are revolving in the Heavens." We were greatly impressed with the beauties of creation in all its grandeur and magnificence and then we look at the children of men, the noblest of all Gods creations, many in a degenerate state of confusion having departed from the way and laws of God. I felt to weep for those that have fallen. I found consolation and a feeling of joy flashed through my mind and gladness entered my heart in the thought that our father in Heaven had condescended once more to speak to his children and to reveal the plan of redemption for men in these latter days. The gospel has been restored in all its primitive beauty. The time approaches when the lion and lamb will lie down together and Jesus Christ will be King and Lord over all the earth.
2 May: At about 6:00 pm the wind died down and we entered an area of dead calm. At ten the wind came up again. All is well.
3 May:At twelve o’clock, we checked our speed and found we are going sixteen miles per hour. The wind was so steady, we could sit on deck comfortably as though we were in a rocking chair at home. It began to rain at 9:00 pm and rained nearly all night.
4 May:I arose at 6:00 am and found good weather outside. We were going about six to eight miles per hour. Many stayed on deck until 11:00.
5 May: A fine morning with a fair wind. Squally in the afternoon. We were moving at ten knots per hour at 9:00 pm.
6 May:Fair and clear. We saw a meteor at 1:30 and at 4:00 pm we saw a beautiful rainbow. We hailed a bark for London at 6:00 pm. It was bound for Puerto Rico, West Indies. They were out thirty five days.
7 May:The sea is calm and the sun very hot. All passengers are well. We hailed a fully rigged ship at 11:00 am. It was loaded with passengers from Germany and bound for New Orleans, Louisiana. They were out thirty seven days and gave us three resounding cheers, se we returned the gesture. We had a fellowship meeting at 3:00 pm.
8 May: Favorable winds and fine weather.
9 May: Proceeding at ten knots. All is well.
10 May: A gale was encountered during the evening and night. It was a hot day.
11 May:It rained during the night with a squall developing during the day. At 3:00 pm, we passed a brig. I could not keep up with us, so we were not able to hail her and exchange information.
12 May: Fair wind. All is well.
13 May:A fine morning. The sun is intensely hot. We are making eight knots. Three ships are in sight. We are blessed with another of our Heavenly Fathers days, clear, soft and pleasant without a cloud to mar the beauty of the lovely blue sky or the smooth sea. The wind is so light, it could scarcely be felt on the cheeks of one of our pretty Mormon ladies. We passed the island of Puerto Rico last night and saw vivid flashes of lightning playing over the summit of its mountains. This display is very common in this latitude. oh, how gaily we are fanning along toward our distant homes in the West. At 3:00, a Mrs. Warren from London delivered a fine son. A native American by birth. The lady is doing fine and the little American stranger is doing what the Yankees call "first rate". He weights 11 1/2 pounds and is to be named Germanacus in honor of the ship. Latitude 190 58′ North by 670 45′ West.
14 May:The Holy Sabbath. We did homage to our Creator in whose hands the destiny of our gallant bark has been held in safety during our passage of upwards to six thousand miles. we rendered up to Him honor, praise and glory for His goodness in favoring us on our way to the New World. At 6:00 am, we were all roused by the stentorian voice of our second officer calling, "Land, oh humble up here, humble up and look at it." We were soon on deck looking at St. Domingo, a speck of land close to the beloved Land of Liberty. St. Domingo is between the longitude 680 20′ North and 740 30 ‘ West.
After a rain, it cleared in the pm and we were running along about twenty miles north of the island. Our gallant Germanacus, as true on her course as the needle of the compass points to the North, is graced with clouds of canvas, with shearing sails below and aloft on the starboard and the larboard. The motion of the ship is a delightful rolling motion. There are several vessels in sight each in full attire, each trying to show off their speed. At 4:00 pm we exchanged colors with a Spanish brig, Dules Nambre Jesus (Sweet Name of Jesus). She was about to try to pass us, but with every stick of canvas spread her efforts were in vain.
15 May:It is bright and beautiful. The island is still in sight. If it continues, we shall be in Cuba before nightfall. The history of this island presents a picture of bloodshed, rapine and murder by members of the Negro race. This morning we had the pleasure of exchanging colors with a noble looking Bremen ship (Ernestine) bound in the same direction as ourselves. At noon we could just see the mountains of Cuba. Our ship is an American Clipper and it is nothing for her to come up to and pass every vessel seen.
16 May:During the night, a fine little breeze brought us within six miles of Cuba. It is a mountainous island about seven hundred miles long. The temperature reads 780 in the cabin, 860 on the deck. 1030 in the sun and 800 in the water.
17 May:We made little progress last night. Thunder and lightening this morning with rain squalls. Last night we saw a beautiful meteor flash across the sky and vanish into the horizon in the west, the land of promise to us.
18 May: The sails are hanging listlessly against the ships sapering masts.
19 May: A beautiful calm day. Many sleep on the deck because of the extreme heat. My wife and I are bearing it well.
20 May:A fine morning with a calm situation. The captain on finding we are short of water is sailing for an island sixty miles off course. It is the island of Grand Cayman with a population of 2,000 whites and blacks. We approached the island at 5:00 pm and five small boats came out to meet us with turtles and fruit. The leader of each boat was allowed to come aboard to sell the wares and were informed we would have to go to the west end of the island for water. We anchored here for the night.
21 May:At 5:00 am, we began to move to our destination. On arrival a black pilot came on board and steered the vessel into port. We cast anchor at 4:00 pm. Captain Stockton, the first mate and four crew members went ashore and returned with the news that we could procure water and provisions. The island appears to be a beautiful place, with a new well painted church. The houses were built of wood and plaster several feet from the ground. There was no glass in the windows. Cooking was done outside the houses.
There was a profusion of fruits and many trees producing coconuts, oranges, lemons, mangroves, breadfruits, limes, sugarcane, pepper, endive, corn, potatoes and yams. Their religion is Wesleyan and Presbyterian. They speak English and have several wives each. This afternoon we had no meeting due to the confusion. In the evening, Brother Cook Addressed the Saints. During the meeting, Brother Warren came up for Brother Cook to administer to his wife, who was very ill. After the meeting was over, we learned that she was dead. Sister Warren had been on deck all day. It was the ninth day of her confinement. They had been married ten months.
22 May:At 4:00 am, the ship cast anchor and the brethren mad two coffins and a joint funeral was held after which the coffins were let down into a boat to go ashore. Brother Cook and the captain made arrangements to bury them there. After the burial party returned to the ship, the sailors took the water casks ashore and filled them from a spring or well.
23 May:I went ashore in a small canoe with some of the natives and three of the brethren. They were very kind to us, showing us their gardens and trees. After bathing in the sea, we rambled through the woods enjoying the scenery. It was a pleasant change. Later, my wife and others came ashore and purchased some of the fruits and nuts. We again put out to sea and sighted a schooner. The captain ordered a boat lowered and the mate tried to buy some flour, but the schooner did not have enough to spare us a supply. Their cargo was turtles. While on the island, we did not pass the opportunity to bring them the gospel and leave tracts with them.
24 May: The wind is favorable. We expect to reach New Orleans by the end of the month.
25 May: Our gallant little ship is doing very well. Bright display of lightening in the evening.
26 May:Fine weather. Five knots per hour. We are five hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans. Passengers are on half allowance of water and we are steering for the island of Tartrigga to replenish our supply. Some of the passengers are resentful because of the hardship.
27 May: A fine morning and a calm sea. The Saints are nearly all well. We are busy with our cleaning, cooking and reading.
28 May:Toward evening, a storm came up so suddenly and violently that it caused the ship to roll to one side causing the sisters and children to scream and cry in fright.
29 May:A pelican came out to the ship and settled on the bow. As evening came, we sighted the lighthouse located by the island of Tartriggs. The captain gave orders to lay to until morning.
30 May:It is a fine morning. A boarding party came out from the island and while our sailors were ashore trying to locate some water, the ship ran aground. This happened at about 10:00 am and caused great alarm among the passengers. Some even prepared to abandon the ship. This action caused much laughter among the sailors. The sailors cast an anchor some distance from the ship and tried to set the capstan to work to pull us off, but it would not work. We were on the rock all day and night. Many sat up all night.
31 May:We are still on the rock. The sailors now put out two anchors to the stern and with the help of the passengers, we were able to get her off during high tide. We had to work hard and fast under a burning sun. We rejoiced that our lives had been spared.
1 June:The sailors were required to take the casks ashore to replenish our water supply. Captain Stockton and some of the brethren gathered some fresh birds eggs during the ashore.
2 June:We are still at anchor and the governor and others came aboard. They are all well dressed and seem to have it better than the freemen of England. The American Government is building a fort around the island. The wall is to be sixty feet tall and forty feet thick. Bricklayers get nine shillings per day and all their grub. There is a store and thirteen drinking houses. It is five hundred miles to New Orleans.
3 June: We are busy fetching wake again. Some Negroes came aboard and we sang songs of Zion for them and they seemed to enjoy it.
4 June: It is very hot. We held a Sacrament Meeting. We are in the Gulf of Mexico.
5 June: Several ships are in sight. Porpoises are playing in the ocean about the ship.
6 June: Not much motion until evening when a breeze came up and we picked up to 13 knots.
7 June: Speed six knots. We are all well and rejoicing.
8 June: A very calm beautiful morning.
9 June:Good weather. Many porpoises all about the boat. The captain has offered a half dollar and a bottle of brandy to the first one who sights the lighthouse. Mr. Staples was the first to see it at 12:30 pm.
10 June:The sea is rough. At 4:00 am a tug escorted another ship over a sand bar and at 8:00 it came back and escorted us over the bar. When we were safely over, another tug joined us and both of them took us into the Mississippi River. There the rocks were on both sides of us and the river is very muddy. The scenery is grand. Beautiful plantations on both sides of the river.
11 June: We are going slowly up the river. We had to stop five hours for wood for the steamer. Saw several plantations.
12 June:It is extremely hot. In the afternoon, we held a meeting on deck. Brother Hanson played his sax horn and Bro. Meade played his clarinet accompanying the singers. Due to the heat, we could not hold a long meeting. Brother Hart read his journal to the company and that night Brother Roper visited with us. Brother Cook gave us some good instructions, advising us to look after our luggage at New Orleans and not to get drunk, not to eat any beef or fruit as we had not had such fare for ten weeks. Brother Cook prepared a note of thanks to the captain for all the attention and care and kindness he has shown toward the Saints during the journey. The saints are well. The scenery is beautiful. Green trees on both sides of the river.
13 June:It gets hot very early in the day now. We are getting our luggage ready to be moved aboard the steamer. We arrived at New Orleans at 9:00 am today. Many ships from various nations are here. My heart rejoiced that God, my Savior, had protected us during our voyage across the ocean. We landed at pier number 33 and as soon as we had made fast, there were plenty of sharp traders aboard to see whom they might fleece. We looked after them pretty well and they did not like us for it. A great number of the company went ashore to buy provisions and I bought some things for some who did not want to venture to the market. We returned to the ship and spent the evening and night on deck. While asleep, the mosquitoes were so busy that my hands and feet were covered with pimples to remind me of their visits.
14 June:We are busy getting our luggage on deck for inspection. It was to be ready at 10:00 am. Brother Barrett and I went to the Fisher Grocery to shop and on returning found all on board the steamer and ready for departure at 3:00 pm. While at the store, a man approached us and asked if we were LDS. We said we were and he said he had arrived Monday from Salt Lake City, Utah. His name was Blaser. He gave us his card.
15 June:Wonderful sights were to be seen on both sides of the river. There were sugar plantations and wonderful green trees. I am better, but still a little weak. We reached Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana this morning and passed the customs there.
16 June:As soon as it was light, I could see both shores from by berth and it was beautiful to behold. We are laden with iron and salt as well as a hundred passengers.
17 June:We are still going up the river, but I believe our Uncle Tom is the slowest boat that goes up the river. It is a merchant steamer operated by two engines. Due to a heavy storm, we stayed at Vicksburg, Mississippi, a little over four hundred miles from New Orleans. There are several thousand inhabitant here and they are well housed. My wife and I went for a walk in the park.
18 June:It is very hot. All the passengers had the privilege of going ashore and have a run in the weeds for exercise. When the ships busied themselves washing the clothes. We met a steamer called Belfast. No one can imagine the beauty here unless they could see it. There is an abundance of horses and cows and Negroes. Everybody is busy going about farming or cutting wood for the steamers.
19 June:My wife and I with others of the party are enjoying ourselves at the bow of the steamer watching the scenery. The current of the river is so strong, that it takes part of the bank with it, giving it a muddy appearance and making it not fit to drink. We had no meeting today. I feel well and happy in both body and mind. The spirit of God is with me causing me to rejoice in the principles of my religion wherein the power of God unto the salvation of all mankind upon the face of the earth is felt by me. I felt blessed this day as my spirit seemed to be with my brothers in the Nottingham Branch and I felt my love for them and felt they returned my love.
20 June:We awoke at 4:00 am. The watchman asked us to go ashore for provisions. We were approaching a large city called Memphis in Tennessee, four hundred miles south of Saint Louis, Missouri. Most of the town is on a high hill. The provisions were very costly here and we were only allowed ten minutes and had to run back to the ship so as not to miss the boat. Yesterday, Brother Warrens child died. It was five weeks old. It was the child named Germanacus. We buried it in a wide bend of the river. Brother Armstrong was in charge of the ceremonies.
21 June:The steamer stopped to unload some salt and many of the passengers went ashore and before they had time to get back the landing boards were pulled in and some were forced to wade out to the ship. About thirty were left on shore and they ran along the bank causing much laughter on board and much embarrassment to those not on board. The captain finally took them on with a warning that next time they would be left behind. We stopped twice for wood and some of the brother helped with the work at $1.30 per day. There are forests on all sides of us.
22 June:We had such a storm during the night, we were forced to stop until it subsided. At 11:00, we ran into a sand bank. During the afternoon, we called at Gsardeau, Missouri and delivered 100 bags of salt and six sacks of molasses. Many of us went ashore to buy items. The steamer, Alexander Scott, passed us and we passed a high rock that put me in mind of Nottingham Castle. We expect to be in Saint Louis in the morning.
23 June:The state of Illinois is on the right side of us and the state of Missouri on the left. The river is very wide and many springs and rivers run into it here. We are reported to be three miles from St. Louis and all the Saints on board are under quarantine and are required to remain on board all night.
24 June:We arose to greet a fine morning, expecting a boat to take us off. None came, so I obtained a permit form the doctor to go across on the ferry boat along with the others on board. We arrived safely in Saint Louis and were met there by a Brother Roblett, who with his horse and wagon took us to his house and made us welcome. We stayed with him three weeks, until we could locate a house of our own.
I soon obtained work at two and one half dollars per day. It was very hot and a bad year for cholera with hundreds of people dying. The horses and cattle were also stricken and the dust in the streets was very bad. I worked ten hours each day and had great difficulty eating the food as it was so different to that which I was accustomed to in England. I could not sleep well at night. To these troubles, we added others. We rented a house in which eight persons had died the fall before and I as soon ill with typhoid fever and was confined to my bed all winter.
We stayed in Saint Louis until 1857 and during this period a stake of Zion was organized with Brother Erastus Snow as the president. Milo Andrus also labored there. My wife and I greatly benefited from this opportunity and learned to like Saint Louis. A son, William Edwin Featherstone, was born to us there on 12 July 1856. he was baptized 21 August 1864 by his father and was ordained to the office of Elder by Thomas Allman. He died 24 August 1864 at American Fork, Utah. In preparing to go to Utah in 1857, we bought a new outfit for the trip. John Dutson and I bought three yoke of cattle and a new wagon at Florence, Nebraska. We took passage up the river on a steamship called Uncle Sam. This boat was loaded with guns and ammunition to be used to kill Mormons. While at Florence, I saw many Mormons on their way back to the states.
From Florence we started across the plains, seeing thousands of buffaloes on the way. We arrived at Salt Lake City, Utah on 11 September 1857. We lived in Salt Lake until spring with Charles Brewerton. The next fall, I got work in the church works program, but at the end of three months, all work shut down due to the approach of Johnston’s Army. The next spring, I was called to go to Echo Canyon to meet the soldiers of Johnston’s Army.
On returning to Salt Lake, I found that all the people had moved south to avoid the expected conflict. My family and I moved to American Fork staying with Brother Barrett until we were able to provide a house of our own. At this time the people of American Fork were living inside a fort with walls twelve feet high. This fort had gates to the east and west and all the animal were kept inside also.
A ward of the church was formed with Brother L. E. Harrington as Bishop. John Mercer and John Bournes were counselors. I was ordained a seventy as a member of the 67th Quorum by Elder Thomas Barrett, 12 Jan 1886 and ordained a High Priest by William Webb. I was sustained and set apart as genealogical representative for the American Fork First Ward.
2nd history written by Thomas Featherstone:
I, Thomas Featherstone, farmer, son of John and Eliza Featherstone was born at Kegworth, Leicestershire, England. I received the gospel and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Sept. 8, 1849 at Derby, England. Ordained a Deacon Jan. 1852; ordained Priest by William Clayton; ordained Elder by Charles Smith and others at Nottingham, Engl. Dec. 4, 1853. Married Emma Smith Jan. 11, 1853. We started for Utah March 29, 1854, being ten weeks on the ocean. Our ship, the Germanicus stranded on a rock in the West Indian Islands, where we lay for 48 hours under a tropical sun.
While in New Orleans, Brother Barrett and I met Elder Seth M. Blair who asked us to take a letter to the St. Charles Hotel. When we returned, our boat had started and we ran after it on the hot sands. Finally, the boat stopped, and took us on board. Arriving at St. Louis, we found that our boat and company had been reported lost. We remained in St. Louis three years. In 1857, we crossed the Plains with ox teams, being the same season that Johnston’s Army came to Utah.
I went to Echo Canyon in the latter part of the winter to help defend our people. In the move of 1858, we settled in American Fork, Utah, where we have since made our home. We received our endowments Aug. 3, 1861. Was ordained a Seventy Nov. 29, 1863 by Thomas Barrett. Married Martha Richards July 23, 1866. Went to prison and was fined $100.00 for the gospel’s sake. I was ordained a High Priest April 1, 1894. Received our second blessings Feb. 23, 1900. My son, Joseph went on a mission to Japan in June, 1900. I joined the Genealogical Society of Utah Oct. 5, 1910.”