By Robert Aveson
Birthplace--Parentage--William H. Scott--An Interview with a Baptist Minister--A Testimony to the truth of "Mormonism"
The writer, the second son of Thomas and Ann Aveson, was born in the town of Bradford, Yorkshire, England, on August 22nd, 1847.
My father was an honest, hard-working man; he was not a believer in any particular religion. My mother was more religiously inclined; her maiden name was Fawcett. Both my father and mother were strict in training their family, which consisted of nine children (seven sons and two daughters), five of whom are now dead.
In the early part of 1860 we removed from Bradford to Malton, in Yorkshire, staying there only about six weeks, and then went to reside at Middlesbrough. My wages were three shillings per week. Mr. Gould was a printer himself and did most of the work. He had only one other employee working for him, and that was a boy named Richard Sedgwick, through whom I procured my situation, and whose acquaintance I had made a few months previously.
On the 5th of the following May I was bound apprentice to Mr. Gould. After I signed the indenture, Mr. Brown, on of the witnesses to it, said to me:
"There, my boy, you have tied a knot with your hand which you can't unloose with your tongue."
The indenture stated that my wages should be three shillings and sixpence per week until I had served my time, which was seven years.
About a week after this, a young man, named William Henry Scott, was engaged to work for Mr. Gould, and shortly afterwards was bound apprentice to him for three years. Mr. Scott was from Seaham Harbor, county of Durham, where his parents and their family resided.
The following August, Richard Sedgwick left Mr. Gould's employ and went to work for a Mr. Thomas Carter, picture frame maker, and was afterwards bound apprentice to him.
William H. Scott was a fine, courteous young man, to whom I became very much attached. He had resided in Middlesbrough only a short time when his brother John wrote to him from Seaham Harbor, stating that his mother and himself had become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and earnestly desired William to investigate the principles and doctrines of that Church. He told his brother to go to a man named Anderson, who was a Latter-day Saint and a resident of Middlesbrough.
Notwithstanding William had recently become identified with the Methodists, he went, according to request, and had an interview with Brother Anderson regarding this new religion; and becoming convinced of the truth of "Mormonism," was baptized a member of the Church.
Brother W. H. Scott became a useful member of what was then known as the Middlesbrough and Stockton branch. We often conversed together on the first principles of the latter-day gospel.
At this time (the Summer of 1862) I was feeling more religiously inclined than I had ever before. One reason for this, probably, was because a religious revival was in progress. The Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists and other religious sects were very energetic and obtained many converts.
About a year and a half previously my mother had become a member of the Wesleyan Reformers, and I had told her that I did not think it would be long before should join one of the religious sects.
I was a regular attendant at a Baptist chapel and Sunday school, and firmly believed that the principles and doctrines promulgated by the Baptists were nearer like those the Savior taught than were set forth by any other religious denomination I was acquainted with, and my mind was fully made up to identify myself with that body.
One Summer evening in 1862, I attended a Baptist prayer meeting with the firm intention of becoming converted to their faith and afterwards applying for baptism. I was under the impression that they made converts in the same way the Methodists did, but found I was mistaken.
At the close of the meeting I spoke to one of the members, and asked him why they did not make converts at their prayer meetings. He said that was not their mode of receiving members; he told me that when he joined the Baptists he prayed to his Heavenly Father for the forgiveness of his sins, and after doing so he felt an inward feeling of happiness, which proved to him that his sins were forgiven; he said after informing his minister to that effect he was baptized. The young man asked me to see the minister. I did as he wished me, and the minister appointed the following Saturday evening for an interview with him.
According to promise, I went to his house at the appointed time and was invited into the parlor. The minister's name was William Bontems. He appeared to me to be a very good man. We were alone in the parlor and conversed together for quite a while. He told me I must pray to the Lord and get forgiveness of my sins, and then I could receive baptism. Another appointment was made for me to see him in one week from that day.
I went home, thinking seriously over the matter. That night I retired to rest a little earlier than usual. As soon as I entered my bed-room I prayed most fervently and humbly to my Heavenly Father, asking Him to forgive my sins and to produce that happy feeling within my bosom which others realized before receiving baptism. I spent about fifteen minutes, at least, in prayer but experienced no happy feeling whatever.
Next evening I again engaged in secret prayer, but realized no benefit. I tried this for a week with no marked effect. At the end of the week I again went to the minister: told him I had prayed every night, but found no relief; and asked him if he could not pray for me. He replied:
" If all the ministers in the world were to pray for you they could not save you."
After further conversation he requested me to continue my prayers, believing the Lord would answer. I did as he told me several nights more, but without success.
As soon as William H. Scott was identified with the Latter-day Saints he became a zealous and energetic member, and was desirous that all those whom he was acquainted with should embrace the gospel. Working together in the same establishment, in the same room, we had a good opportunity to converse upon any topic that presented itself. I told William concerning my interviews with the Baptist minister, and that I had been praying nightly to the Lord to obtain forgiveness of my sins, but, seemingly, without effect.
William listened attentively and eagerly to my story. He had wished, hoped and even prayed that I should be convinced of the latter-day gospel. But I told him I could not see clearly into the principles taught by the Latter-day Saints.
One evening shortly after this (the early part of August, I think) feeling as if my continued prayers for a newness of heart were in vain, I made up my mind to try once more, and if I experienced no difference, would give up the idea of becoming identified with the Baptists and would try the "Mormons."
That same morning while at work, William conversed with me again on the principles advocated by the Latter-day Saints, and smilingly said:
"You'll have to join the 'Mormons.'"
While conversing with him I experienced a heavenly feeling; a mist came over me; I felt within me an influence I had never before realized. The principles and doctrines of the latter-day gospel came clearly before me. The Spirit of the Lord was with me, and I received a testimony of the truth of "Mormonism"--a testimony which I shall never forget. I was supremely happy, rejoicing with "joy unspeakable." I told William I was ready for baptism and asked him to introduce me to the Saints the next Sunday.
The First Latter-day Saint Meeting--William H. Scott Has An Interview With My Mother--She Forbids Me Having Anything To Do With The "Mormons."
It was on the Sunday following when I attended the first Latter-day Saint meeting, having received permission to do so from my parents. That morning I went as usual to the Baptist Sunday school, but did not enjoy myself as much as heretofore. This I attributed to my lack of faith in their doctrines. Knowing "Mormonism" to be true, I could gain no satisfaction from any other source.
The place where the Latter-day Saint meeting was to be held was at a small village called Eston, about four miles from Middlesbrough. Our company left town for that place about 1o'clock p.m., and consisted of William Littlefair, president of the Middlesbrough and Stockton branch, Thomas Watson, secretary of the branch, William H. Scott and myself. It was one of the happiest afternoons I ever spent. We were soon out of town, tripping along through lovely green fields bedecked with flowers of various kinds. Being very much interested in the conversation of President Littlefair and the other brethren--of course it was mostly pertaining to the gospel--the time passed away quickly and we soon arrived at Eston, where the meeting was to be held at the house of a sister named Fewster.
The meeting was opened with an appropriate hymn, then prayer by one of the brethren. The sacrament was administered, and the hymn commencing,
"O, God, the Eternal Father,
Who dwells amid the sky,"
The time was mostly occupied by President Littlefair. As this was the first meeting attended by me and the first time I had heard the gospel preached I listened attentively to the words of the speakers.
After meeting we partook of tea with Sister Fewster, during which we enjoyed a pleasant, sociable chat. Then we returned homeward, arriving in Middlesbrough about 6 o'clock in the evening.
While penning this brief narrative I cannot help reflecting upon the present time. Passing along to my Sunday meetings I often see a number of boys, about my age at that time, and some older ones, loitering about the streets, breaking the Sabbath, neglecting to attend worship, and many who never even visit Sunday school. They have not the love for their religion, which filled my heart at their age. These remarks apply not only to the young, but also to others more advanced in years, who often neglect their meetings, excusing themselves on one frivolous pretext or another.
William H. Scott told President Littlefair that I desired baptism. The president said as I was under age, that rite could not be administered to me. It was necessary for me to first obtain permission from my parents. Thinking the best way to get their consent would be for William to talk to my mother on the subject of "Mormonism," I arranged an interview with her. Accordingly, William went and conversed with her on the first principles of the gospel. It was on a Thursday night. She was interested and listened attentively to the teachings of the young preacher, for he was but a young man, seventeen years of age. At the close of the interview it was agreed upon that in a week's time he should pay her another visit. The appointment was promptly kept, and at its close William gained my mother's consent to my baptism. The next night, Friday, my father, on being consulted, said he was willing for me to do as I pleased.
As everything seemed to be working in my favor, I sought my mother's consent, before retiring to rest on Saturday night, to attend another meeting of the Saints, which was to be held in the afternoon of the next day. Judge of my surprise on being told by her that she did not wish me to have anything more to do with so deluded a people, giving them a bad name and saying:
"I would rather bury you in the churchyard than have you join the Mormons."
Too full of grief to make any reply to her remarks, with drooping head and aching heart I slowly went up-stairs to my bed chamber and there knelt and prayed humbly and fervently to my Heavenly Father, while the tears rolled down my cheeks.
Restlessly I lay upon my bed. "I would rather bury you in the churchyard than have you join the Mormons." Oh, how these words rang in my ears! I had never been so tried before in my life. The knowledge that "Mormonism" was true was firm in my heart, for I had received a testimony and was very anxious to get baptized; but my hopes now were blighted. What course should I pursue? I was young, just approaching my fifteenth birthday, and still under the control of my parents, whom I desired to obey in all things. But could I give up "Mormonism" and deny the testimony I had received? No, the Lord helping me, I would never do that.
Then, again, my temporal position weighed upon my heart. I had recently been apprenticed in the printing business for seven years; and the laws of the country compelled me to serve out this time.
And thus query after query arose in my mind for some length of time, until at last, tired out, sleep closed my eyelids.
Instead of going to Sunday school on the following morning I went to W. H. Scott and related to him what had transpired. He sympathized with me in my troubled state. His advice to me was: [This portion was missing from the copy of the newspaper article.]
It afterwards came to my knowledge that my mother had been making inquiries of her minister and members of the Wesleyan Reformers in regard to what kind of people the "Mormons" were and what was their belief; and the false statements she received in reply accounted for the unkind answer she gave me.
I went to the Latter-day Saints' meeting whenever opportunity offered, but was very cautious not to inform my parents.
Sometimes I attended meetings at Eston and Stockton (both places being about four miles from home) as well as at Middlesbrough.
I soon left my former Sunday school and began attending another of the same persuasion, but differing on some points of doctrine. Then I attended the Unitarian school, where their exercises partook of a secular as well as of a religious nature. From there I went to the Wesleyans; but wherever I roamed, no true spiritual enjoyment could be found as at the meetings of the Latter-day Saints.
A Companion--How I Saved My Emigration Money--An Important Letter From America
My acquaintance with the Sedgwick family, which had been interrupted as related in a previous chapter, was again renewed in the Summer of 1863. From that time, the friendship existing between Richard and myself was of the most intimate character. It was not long before the subject of "Mormonism" was broached to Richard, and he was soon convinced of the truth of the latter-day gospel. Being also under age, he was placed in the same condition as myself; neither of us could avail ourselves of the ordinance of baptism.
Like the rest of the Saints, after embracing the gospel, the spirit of gathering came strongly upon us, and we felt desirous of emigrating at some future day to the land of Zion. In order to do this, it became necessary for Richard and myself to obtain means for that purpose.
About the latter part of 1862, my employer, Mr. Joseph Gould, purchased a weekly newspaper, called the Middlesbrough News. It was printed on Thursday nights, and necessitated my working most of that night every week. The money obtained by overwork enabled me to make deposits in the Perpetual Emigration Fund, the first installment being eleven shillings. This was on December 15, 1863.
The recollection of the first night's work is still fresh in my memory: It was till half-past 5 o'clock in the morning, for which I received one shilling. Just think of it boys! For ten hours' work I received twenty-four cents, all in cash! Would you not think "hard times" had come again if you had to labor so long for such a small amount, especially if you were endeavoring to save means to emigrate? From this time my employer agreed to pay me three halfpence an hour--three cents. Shortly after it was raised to twopence (four cents); then to threepence (six cents). The latter was the highest amount received by me for overwork.
Besides the money earned by overwork, I had a little pocket money given me out of my weekly wages. My mother was not aware that I devoted these means for emigration purposes, but had an idea I had some money saved up. It was the usual custom to go to town on Saturday evenings, and she believed a portion of my gains was spent there. In this she judged wrongly.
My companion, Richard, was working for Mr. Carter, the picture-frame maker. He, like myself, was saving money for the same purpose. He put away most of what he received from his parents as pocket money, and sometimes earned a little by overwork.
From the time my mother forbade my associating with the "Mormons" till the Spring of 1866 (three years) was an unpleasant period of my life. It is true the meetings of the Saints were times of refreshing to me, for I loved my religion; but the fear that my parents would discover my attachment to the Latter-day Saints was ever a source of dread. My home was no longer a home to me. Disobedience to my mother's wishes was ever a sore affliction.
Whenever there was an opportunity for my companion and myself to attend a Latter-day Saint meeting, we did so; but when we had not that privilege, if the weather was fine, we visited the cemetery, the docks, or other places of interest in Middlesbrough and vicinity. These were days which will not easily be forgotten.
In the early part of February, 1866, my mother received a letter from America, which stated that some of her relatives were desirous our family should come to reside with them, and intimated they would send our passage money to cross the ocean.
This was good news to my mother, as she was very anxious, and had been for some time, to go to that land. She was the only one of her father's family remaining in England, the rest having previously emigrated.
There was one thing which prevented our family from emigrating: I had three more years of my apprenticeship to serve. In an interview between Mr. Gould and my mother respecting canceling my indentures, he declined doing so. Under these circumstances it was thought best for the family to remain for a season.
Poor woman! She little contemplated that for the last three years and a half I had been carefully saving means to emigrate to Utah, and intended to leave the coming Spring!
Richard and Myself Determine to Emigrate with the Saints--Receive Baptism--The Notification Papers--First Attempt to Leave Home.
In the Spring of 1866, Richard Sedgwick and myself fully resolved to leave our homes and emigrate to Utah. I had managed to get means enough to take me to the frontier, where the mule and ox teams started to cross the plains to Salt Lake. Richard had only sufficient to take him to New York, where he expected to stay awhile and then proceed to Utah. The time for our departure was drawing near, and we very anxiously looked forward to it with great interest.
As it was my intention to soon leave for Utah, it was deemed advisable by President Littlefair that I should get baptized. Accordingly, on the morning of March 24, 1866, in the River Tees, that ordinance was attended to by Elder John Scott; and I was confirmed by President Littlefair in the afternoon.
My parents knew nothing about it. Nearly every Sunday morning I was in the habit of going early for milk to a small village called Newport. That morning I proceeded as usual, taking with me a small tin bucket. I went to the residence of the Scott family and called for William and others of the family. Richard also accompanied us. On starting out, it commenced to rain, but by the time we arrived at the river side it cleared up. About half a dozen were present. After singing a hymn, prayer was offered and baptism was performed. Another hymn was sung and we started homeward, chatting pleasantly together.
Richard was baptized a few days later. Arrangements were made that William, Richard and myself should sail on the third ship that season, the American Congress, and accordingly we sent our deposit money to secure a berth on that vessel. Every day we were expecting our notification papers, which would inform us what day the ship would start. They came on the 13th of May of that year.
We held meeting that day at Sister Jane Scott's, at whose house the meetings were held from the time the Scott family arrived in Middlesbrough, in 1863. Just prior to the arrival of Thomas Watson, clerk of the branch, I was remarking on the heat of the room. On his entry, William H. Scott asked him:
"Have you brought the Millennial Stars?"
"Yes," said Brother Watson, "and the notification papers, too."
As soon as he uttered these words, a nervous feeling crept over me; I felt cold and went to the fire place to warm me.
We held our usual testimony meeting, and among those who bore testimony to the truth of the latter-day work I was one, and while doing so the tears trickled down my cheeks.
The notification papers stated that the American Congress would sail from London on the 23rd of May, which gave us ten days' notice.
A day or two after this, William H. Scott received a letter, stating that a small company of Saints would leave Sunderland by steamer on the next Saturday morning, May 19th, for London, from which place the American Congress had to leave on the 23rd of that month. We thought this would be a good opportunity to go on this route, as it was much cheaper by this means that by rail. To do this we would have to leave Middlesbrough on the evening of May 18th, five days before the ship would sail.
We were in a rather peculiar situation, and wondered what excuse we could give our parents and employers to be absent a few days without them suspecting our intentions.
To make matters worse, our right-hand man, William H. Scott, received a letter from President Brigham Young, Jr., at Liverpool, assigning him a mission. This was unpleasant news to both Richard and myself, for to start on our journey without him was almost like being left without a shepherd.
As it could not be avoided, however, we determined to make the best of it and leave on Friday evening, the 18th.
On Wednesday evening, the 16th, I broached the subject of being away two days. I told my parents I wished to go with Richard Sedgwick to Hartlepool the following Friday, on a visit to some of his friends, and return on the following Sunday evening. My father was a little opposed to my going, but my mother was favorably inclined. Hartlepool was about twelve miles from Middlesbrough, and Sunderland was over forty.
Having secured the consent of my parents to be away from home two days, the next thing was to see my employer. It so happened that we were very busy at the printing business, and to ask for a holiday would be almost absurd. We were bent on leaving on Friday night, and go we must. But what bothered me most was what excuse I could give my employer to be away. To tell him the same story as I had told my parents would hardly do, as he might say I could go there some other time when we were not quite so busy. Finally, on Thursday, the 17th, I saw Mr. Gould and told him I wished to go and see some of my relatives at Bradford, who were going to remove from that place and desired to see me before they left. I asked leave of absence from 4 o'clock Friday evening till Monday morning. Mr. Gould granted my request.
It was much easier for Richard to get permission to be away a few days than it was for me. He told his parents and his employer that he wanted to go to Hartlepool, and his wish was granted without any particular questions being asked.
After Mr. Gould granted my request he paid me my full week's wages and gave me a shilling for pocket money. He was in the habit of giving me sixpence a week as picket money, but this time he was kind enough to give me double the amount. I thanked him for his kindness. Mr. Gould had been kind to me ever since I entered his employ, and now that I was about to leave him, excepting never more to see him again, reflections of an unpleasant nature crossed my mind.
On reaching home, I quickly put on my Sunday clothes and was soon ready to start, but became so confused as to forget to bid the folks good-by. Just as I was near the door, my mother said:
"What! Are you going off without bidding us good-by?"
I turned quickly around and said:
They watched me as I left the door. I hurried on my journey and was soon out of sight.
Arrival At Sunderland--On The Steamer "General Havelock"--In London--On Board The "American Congress"--Unpleasant News--A Meeting of the Saints--An Awful Surprise--"I Want You!"--Taken Prisoners.
I went down to a steamboat landing, crossed the River Tees in a small steamer and waited there nearly half an hour, when Richard came. He brought with him our box, which contained a bed-quilt, some books and other articles.
On this side of the river was the Port Clarence railway station, where, after securing our ticket, we took the train for Sunderland.
We arrived at the latter place about 7:30 p.m. After some little trouble we found President George J. Linford, who was staying at Brother Inglefield's. We procured lodgings for the night, for which we paid fourpence (eight cents) each.
Early next morning we went on board the steamer General Havelock. Quite a number of Saints (between fifty and sixty) embarked on the steamer; they hailed from Newcastle, Sunderland, and other places.
About 8 o'clock the steamer started. It was pleasant sailing. This was the first time we had been on sea. Richard and I enjoyed ourselves and felt very happy. We were pleased to be away from home and soon made intimate acquaintance with the Saints, finding among them many good-hearted people. We had some interesting conversation which helped to pass away the time.
The following day we arrived in the great metropolis--London--about half-past 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
During the forenoon of the next day, President Linford informed us we could go on board the American Congress, but said he did not know whether we could sail on that vessel or not. He told us that shortly after we left Sunderland on the Saturday morning, a telegram came there from Brigham Young, Jr., asking him not to let the Saints start, but for them to wait till the next ship was ready.
In the evening of that day, President Linford went to Liverpool to see Brother Young and make final arrangements about sailing.
This was rather unpleasant news to Richard and myself, for if we could not go with that ship, it would be expensive to wait two or three weeks till the next vessel started; in fact, we did not have means to do so. Not only this, but we were in suspense about being away, for we were afraid we might be captured and taken back to our homes.
In the forenoon of that day we went down to St. Catherine's Docks and got on board the American Congress.
The next morning Bro. Barker Childs, one of the Saints who sailed with us from Sunderland, asked me a rather curious question. Said he:
"What would you think if you were taken off the ship?"
I replied: "I don't know."
Shortly after this, President Linford came.
"Good morning," said Barker.
"Good morning," responded Linford.
"Well," said Barker, "what's the news? Have we to stay here or not?"
"You can go with this vessel," replied President Linford.
This was good news to all of us who had sailed from Sunderland, and we felt to rejoice when he told us.
Late in the afternoon of Wednesday the ship was towed down the river to Shadwell Basin, and word was passed around that she would sail early next morning.
About 7 o'clock in the evening, a meeting of the Saints was held on the deck. There were some good, soul-stirring hymns sung, and addresses were delivered by Elders John Nicholson and H. H. Felt.
While the services were in progress quite a crowd of spectators were viewing us from the shore, and among them was a short, stout man, who gazed intently at Richard and I.
After the meeting was over we both went below to our bunk, where we anxiously awaited the morrow to come, when we would be out on the ocean beyond all danger of pursuit. The ship was well filled with passengersóevery berth being taken.
Early next morning we were up in good time. I walked about the cabin and on the deck with a feeling of gloom over me, I told Richard of my foreboding of something unpleasant, but what it was I could not tell. The sailors were busy preparing for the long voyage, and we expected soon to start.
About half past 7 o'clock I went off the ship to get a supply of water. Returning, I came near to where Richard was on deck, and said:
"Here's the water; now let's go and get breakfast."
No sooner had I said these words than a noise occurred in the gangway, and the next moment a voice cried out:
"That's one of them!"
I had hardly time to turn around when a rough hand seized me by the collar. The next words I heard were:
"I want you!"
The person who spoke first was Mr. Thomas Carter, Richard's employer; the other speaker was a London detective, the man who watched us so closely the night previous at the meeting.
Mr. Carter then, in a quick tone, inquired:
"He is there," I replied, pointing towards him as he stood close by, an eye-witness to what was going on.
The detective then sized him and pulled him towards me, taking from his breast coat pocket two summonses.
"Robert Aveson," said he to me, "Is that your name?"
"Yes, " was my answer.
"And Richard Sedgwick?"
Richard responded to his name.
"You have absconded from your apprenticeship," continued the detective. "You thought no one could catch you, did you?"
I replied, "No."
Mr. Carter then asked Richard if he had any luggage, who replied in the negative.
I quickly said, "I have."
Then we all went down into the cabin together.
The Scene In The Cabin--One Of The Saints Defends Us And Is Threatened--John Nicholson, President Of The Company, Comes Forward--The Parting Scene--Good By To The Saints--Taken To The Thames Police Office--Trying To Get The Passage Money--Locked In The Cell
On making our appearance in the cabin, the Saints rushed up to see what was the matter, and in a few seconds a large crowd gathered around. I jumped up in our bunk, commenced to get our things together and put in our box what articles I could.
One of the Saints, named Isaac Sutliffe, said to the detective:
"What are you going to do with these boys?"
The response came from the officer in a sharp tone:
"We're going to take them away with us."
"No you ain't," said Sutliffe in an emphatic manner.
After further argument the detective said to Sutliffe:
"If you don't hush up we'll take you, too."
At this juncture, John Nicholson, president of the company, came forward and asked what was the matter.
The detective answered:
"We are going to take these boys away because they have absconded from their apprenticeship."
The officer then produced the papers and showed them to Brother Nicholson, who, after reading them, said:
"That's all right. I did not know anything about the boys."
The officer then asked for our passage money. Brother Nicholson replied:
"I cannot give you it; but the boys can get it by going to President Young's office at Islington."
Our ship tickets were then endorsed by Brother Nicholson, to the effect that the passage money had to be given to no one but the boys (Richard and myself).
Having our luggage ready for starting, we disposed of our ship outfit to two of the Saints, the cost of which was about five shillings. We began to shake hands with the Saints, many of whom, with tears in their eyes, bade us a sad "good-by." While thus engaged the detective seized me by the collar and pulling me towards the steps, said:
"Come along, we can't wait for you!"
With aching hearts away we went with our box, accompanied by Carter and the detective. Our destination was the Thames Police Office, which was about a mile distant. On arriving there, Carter and the detective left as soon as they had ordered breakfast for us.
There were two men in charge of the office, who took quite an interest in us and treated us very kindly.
Considering all things, the morning passed away very well. Something seemed to be whispering within me, "It's all for the best." I told Richard so, and he said he felt the same.
We were made to feel worse by hearing a number of church bells ringing merrily, and upon inquiring the cause were informed it was the anniversary of the queen's birthday. The morning seemed a long one, and when dinner time came we were provided with a good meal of roast beef, potatoes, etc.
In the early afternoon, we were taken in a hack to the office of President B. Young, Jr., at Islington, by Mr. Carter and the detective, whose object in taking us there was to endeavor to get our passage money and use it in paying the expenses of taking us back to our homes.
As we approached the office the detective asked for our ship tickets. I told him I would not give them up. There were three tickets--two to take us across the ocean, the other to take me to Wyoming, Nebraska.
Again the officer asked me for the tickets, which I still refused to give up. He said he would soon return them to me. On that condition I handed them to him with many misgivings. It was a severe trial to be taken back home; but to lose our hard-earned savings as well we felt keenly.
Arriving at our destination, inquiry was made for Brother Young, but we were informed that he was not there. We were invited in and told to wait a few minutes, when some gentlemen would see us; and soon Elders N. H. Felt, George Linford and other brethren made their appearance.
The officer then told them he wished to get the money for the ship tickets, whereupon the brethren returned to another room to hold council. In a few minutes they came and said that Brigham Young had gone to Liverpool, but if the boys (Richard and myself) would send their tickets to George J. Linford at Sunderland the money would be refunded. We were then taken back to the police office.
While on the way back, Carter got out of the hack. After he had gone, the detective drew close to us and said he did not want us to think any the less of him for the part he had taken, as he had only done his duty. I told him it was all right; we knew it.
We arrived at the police office between 4 and 5 o'clock and shortly afterwards had our supper, after which I wrote a letter to George J. Linford and enclosed the three tickets. Just as it was finished, one of the men in charge of the jail said:
"Come, mates, we must do our duty; you'll have to go into the cell."
"All right," said I, and then asked him to post our letter, and he said he would.
We were then escorted into a cell. Some bed clothes were given us and we were told that anyone else would not have been allowed this privilege. They said if we wanted anything we were to shout for it. So they locked us up and went away.
How The Time Was Spent In The Cell--A True Testimony--An Officer From Middlesbrough--Handcuffed--Leave London--Arrival At Middlesbrough--The Police Office
It was a small cell built of rock, with stationary seats around it. In the middle of the door was a square hole, with an extended ledge, where eatables, etc., could be passed through.
All was quiet, no noise, not even the ticking of a clock, could be heard. There was no light save the glimmer of the gas from the passage way outside the cell.
We were alone and felt sad and rather low-spirited. We conversed but little. I walked up and down the cell; Richard laid down and tried to sleep. This was a hard thing for him to do, as his thoughts troubled him. Oh, how I lifted my heart heavenward and prayed most fervently to my Heavenly Father to comfort us in our hour of trial! Presently I heard footsteps, and a voice at the door asked:
"Do you want anything, mates?"
I answered, "No."
Poor fellow! It was one of the keepers. They evidently felt for us, for they came two or three times and asked the same question. Then I laid down and tried to sleep, but could not.
We had been in the cell perhaps two hours, when a heavenly influence rested upon us. I said to Richard:
"How do you feel?"
He replied, "I feel happy."
I told him I never felt so happy in all my life as at that moment, and remarked I did not care how long we remained in the cell if we could feel like that all the time.
It was the holy influence of the Spirit of the Lord that rested upon us. To us it was a testimony that the gospel we had embraced was true. Our minds became calm and we were strengthened in that hour of trial. At last sleep closed our eyes. Thus ended a very eventful day of our lives.
About half-past 5 next morning our breakfast was handed to us through the small, square hole in the dooróbread and butter and coffee. We tasted the coffee, but did not like it; so I asked the keeper to give us some water, which he did.
About 6 o'clock, the cell door was opened and there stood before us an officer from Middlesbrough, a gentleman whom we had seen before. He produced a pair of handcuffs and put them on our wrists. This indignity we felt most keenly. My wrists were so thin the handcuffs were almost too large and they nearly slipped over my hand. He told us to follow him, which we did, and as we passed through the police office, we bade the keepers good-by. Their kindness towards us is still treasured up by me, and it will be a source of happiness to shake them by the hand and thank them for past favors.
A hack was waiting in front of the office, which we got into and started for the railway which would take us to Middlesbrough.
A little while after the train had started the handcuffs were removed from our wrists. To pass the time away we amused ourselves looking out of the car windows and viewing passing objects and did all we could to make them think we did not care for being taken back to our homes; but could the secrets of our bosoms have been revealed, two aching hearts would have been discovered.
Before the train reached its destination the "bracelets" were again placed on our hands. We arrived at Middlesbrough about a quarter to 8 in the evening. Before getting out of the cars we pulled our coat sleeves over the handcuffs, and as soon as we were out in the station, we swung our hands, kept a smile on our countenances and were scarcely noticed by anyone, till we arrived at the Middlesbrough police office. No sooner had we entered the office than one of the officers in charge inquired:
"Are you the boys that have been brought back?"
I answered, "Yes."
He said, "You were not worth bringing back," which sentiment found an echo in my own heart.
In The Cell--A Visit From Richard's Father And My Mother--The Trial--The Decision Of The Court--A Few Words Of Explanation
We were soon escorted to a cell, which was much larger and colder than the one we occupied the night previous. The handcuffs taken off, the door closed upon us, and with sad hearts we sat down upon a bed of straw.
We had been in the cell but a few minutes when Richard's father came with some supper for his son. How sad he looked as he entered the cell--a father's love for his boy was clearly manifest. He did not say much, but looked hard at me, as though he blamed me for leading him from home. Of course I was a few months older than Richard, but he was taller and stouter than I, and to look at us it would hardly appear reasonable that I should have power to lead him away. Mr. Sedgwick only stayed a few moments.
The supper was soon spread. Richard, poor fellow, could not eat, but I did justice to my share. We then laid down and tried to sleep, but what with the mice and other small visitors, and thinking of our peculiar situation, we had little sleep that night, and were not sorry when daylight came.
About 8 o'clock the next morning, my mother entered the cell with some breakfast for me. She did not say much, but felt for me. It was principally through her we had been brought back. Though one of the prime movers in our capture, she was hardly to blame, for she believed it was her duty to do what she had done. So many tales had been told her concerning Utah and the "Mormons" that she felt positive there must be a great deal of truth in them.
About half-past 10 o'clock we were escorted into a room where an officer took a description of usócolor of our hair, eyes, complexion, our height, etc. Shortly afterwards we were taken into the court room and had our trial before Judge Fallows. Besides the judge and several policemen, our employers, Richard's father and my mother were there.
The judge asked a few questions and then inquired what we had to say for ourselves. I immediately arose and said:
"What I have to say for myself is this: The room I work in is not a fit place, as it is a cold, damp cellar."
Mr. Gould denied this statement.
The judge then asked Richard what he had to say for himself. He replied that his reason for absconding was because we were such close companions, and when I ran away he followed me. One of the police said to me:
"You're the leader, then, are you?"
We were then asked by the judge whether we would serve the remainder of our apprenticeship in jail, or go back and work for our employers. We chose the latter alternative.
He then inquired of Mr. Carter what our expenses were, and the amount of our passage money. On being informed, he decided that if our employers could obtain the money for our ship tickets it would clear the incurred expenses; but if not, the expenses were to be deducted out of our wages, and the case was dismissed. At this we were not sorry. I went home; but as my parents were not there I went to see Wm. H. Scott.
Before proceeding further, it may be proper to offer a few words concerning our capture. When we did not return to our homes at the time appointed, suspicion was immediately aroused, and Mr. Carter told Mr. Gould and our parents he believed we were connected with the "Mormons," and had run away with the intention of going by a vessel that was to sail for America. They at once telegraphed to London to see if the ship had started and were informed that it had not.
Our parents were anxious we should be brought back, and my mother begged they would send for us. She said she would do anything rather than have us go to Utah with the "Mormons." Mr. Gould was not much in favor taking any steps; but Mr. Carter felt quite interested in the matter. He telegraphed to London and had a detective put on our track, and started himself for London that evening and arrived there early next morning, when, accompanied by a detective, he took us off the ship as already narrated.
To again continue the story, I spent the Saturday afternoon after our trial with Wm. H. Scott, who had not yet gone on his mission. He informed us that while we were absent he had had an unpleasant time. Both our parents and employers had suspected him of being the cause of our absconding, and not seeing him in Middlesbrough, they thought he had gone with us; but in this they were mistaken, as William, thinking they would suspect him, went to Stockton and stayed there a few days. After this interview I went home and was treated very kindly by my parents that evening.
A Clipping From The "Middlesbrough News"--A Promise Made But Not Fulfilled--The Second Attempt To Leave Home
After my return home, I thought seriously over the matter of absconding. I knew I had broken the law and also the promise I had made in my indentures to work seven years with Mr. Gould. Had my parents been more favorable towards me, I should not have left my home and employer to endeavor to emigrate with the Saints until I was free to act upon my own responsibility, and to do as I thought best. But now that I was back again, it was my resolve to stay and finish the remainder of my apprenticeship, providing my parents would grant me permission to attend meetings of the Saints and not to be too strict with me.
As Richard and I passed along the streets, people made scornful remarks about us.
On the next Friday, June 1st, my attention was called to the following article, with appeared in the Middlesbrough News, published that morning:
"Saturday.--Before W. Fallows, Esq.
"Off to Mormondom.--At this court, two youths, named Richard Sedgwick and Robert Aveson, the former an apprentice with Mr. Carter of Gosford Street, and the latter with Mr. Gould of South Street, printer, were charged with absconding on the 18th ult. The lads, in company with a young man who had joined the Mormons and succeeded in converting the lads to his views, went from Sunderland and from thence to London by the steamer Lady Havelock, en route for Utah. A warrant was sent after them, and they were apprehended in London and brought back to Middlesbrough.--Ordered to go back to their work, and the expenses to be deducted out of their wages."
The next day, after finishing my work at 4 o'clock, Mr. Gould brought my week's wages, but instead of my usual seven shillings and sixpence he gave me five shillings and sixpence. He said he was going to deduct two shillings per week until the full amount of my expenses from London was paid. This did not meet my approval, but as it was accorded to the decision of the court it could not be prevented.
On the following Sunday, shortly after dinner, I told my parents I wished to go for a walk. Permission was granted, but my father accompanied me.
Richard Sedgwick's parents did not take the same course with him as my parents did with me. He could attend any meetings he wished, and was permitted to go where he pleased; but a strict watch was kept over me by my mother, so that I was always in a miserable suspense. Besides this, my mother was all the time talking to me when I was at home, which made me dread to see her.
On Saturday, June 9th, my mother asked me to go with her next day to a meeting of the Wesleyan Reformers.
"Mother," I replied, "I can't serve two religions at once."
"Yours is the devil's religion!" she replied.
The next morning, on going to my trunk to get on my Sunday clothes, I discovered they were not there, and on asking my mother where they were, she said:
"Those clothes you wear every day are good enough for you to go to Mormon meetings in."
Pleased to think she would allow me to go even on those terms, I answered that it did not matter with me what kind of clothes I had on so long as the privilege was granted of attending "Mormon" meetings.
After breakfast, I went to the front door and sat on the step meditating, while people passed to and for, dressed in their Sunday clothes. Then I looked at myself in my everyday attire, with no coat on, as mine was not to be had. It seemed to touch me on a sore part to go through the streets in my shirt sleeves, while all others were dressed in their best clothes. But I revered my religion, loved the Saints and was not going to stay in the house all day notwithstanding the clothes worn by me were shabby for the Sabbath.
The church bells were pealing and the people passing to and fro to their respective places of worship as I hurried to my place of destination--Sister Scott's--and related to the folks there how my Sunday clothes had been locked up by my mother. From one of the Saints, a young man living at Scott's, I obtained the loan of a coat. They asked me to come to the afternoon meeting, to be held at their house, which I promised to do.
Returning home about noon, my father commanded that I should stay in the house the remainder of the day. So I was prevented from keeping my promise.
That afternoon was one of the most unpleasant of my life. Oh, how slowly the time passed away! I retired early to rest. My prayers were not forgotten; and while on my knees big tears rolled down my checks.
Richard and I intended to make our second attempt to leave home; but prior to doing so awaited an answer to a letter which had been sent to President George J. Linford while in the Thames Police office, containing our ship tickets. But three weeks passed away before the expected answer came.
On Saturday evening, June 16th, we received a letter from President Linford. It informed us that our tickets had been received all right and contained his advice to us not to again run away from our homes, but serve out our lawful apprenticeship.
The next day was the time fixed to leave our homes the second time. We intended to start at 5 o'clock in the afternoon by steamer for Shields, a town probably between forty or fifty miles northward.
In the morning of that day I attended the Presbyterian church, and it seemed to me my mother was beginning to think I was weaning myself from "Mormonism."
In the afternoon, Richard and I went to Sister Scott's. There we met some of her relatives from Shields. One of them, a young lady, not intending to return that day, gave me her ticket.
One or two acquaintances of Sister Scott were going to Shields, and we intended, on arriving there, to stay with them that night. Where our final destination would be we hardly knew, though we had been thinking of going to some part of Scotland. Richard had about £1.2s. ($5.50). I had no money, but had borrowed 5s. ($1.25) from Sister Scott.
About half past 4 o'clock, we went down to a boat landing, accompanied by nearly all of the Scott family, and visiting relatives, who were going to Shields. The steamer we intended to go by was timed to leave at 5 o'clock; a steamer for Stockton also started at the same time. Both the steamers were moored near each other. We were there a few minutes before 5 o'clock and went with our friends into a waiting room on the landing stage. Passengers were walking about the landing, awaiting the departure of the steamers. It was our intention to go aboard the Shields steamer; but before doing so we noticed a man named Brooks, a printer, going on the Stockton steamer. Being acquainted with him, we deemed it advisable to wait till the Stockton steamer should start, for fear Brooks would see us going on the other steamer. This placed us in a rather precarious situation, as both steamers having to start at the same time, we were afraid of being unable to get on the vessel without his seeing us. Anxiously we watched the two boats, wondering which would start first, when we saw the Stockton boat make the first move. How pleased we were! It had not got many feet away when, turning to Richard, I said quickly:
"Now, let us go!" (meaning, of course, for us to go on the Shield's steamer.)
No sooner had I spoken these words than a brother in the Church, named John Parish, hurriedly approached us and in a half whisper, said:
"Here's your mother!"
These words perplexed and astounded me. Was it a reality that we were stopped the second time in our attempt to leave home? To be positive that Parish was correct in his assertion I looked in the direction he pointed, and there, sure enough, was my mother gazing intently at the two steamers--one on its journey and the other just ready to start.
Planning To Leave Home A Third Time--Leave Middlesbrough--Arrival At Newcastle--Leith, Edinburgh And Glasgow--A Peculiar Situation: No Money, No Friends--Make Up My Mind To Go To New York--Arrival At Liverpool
I left the waiting room and returned home with my mother. It was my usual habit to be at home at 4 o'clock on Sundays, but being absent at that time on this occasion, my mother, thinking it probable I was going to a Latter-day Saint evening meeting at Stockton by steamer, came to the boat landing to look for me.
The next morning my mind was fully set to make a third attempt to leave home.
At dinner time, seeing Richard a little ahead of me on the street, I quickly overtook him and said:
"Now, Richard, make up your mind to go away to-night."
He was surprised and said:
"We have been stopped twice now, and I don't think it's right for us to go away again; but I'll go with you if you want me to."
We then arranged to meet at the theatre, which was near a boat landing, at 7:30 that evening; he agreeing to bring with him out of my box (which was at Sister Scott's), a tin cup, some writing paper, envelopes and pen and ink.
The working hours in the printing office were from 8 a.m. till 7:30 p.m. The train by which I intended to leave had to start at 7:45 p.m.
Shortly after 7 o'clock that evening it began to rain, The suit I wore was very thin and I would soon be wet through. I discovered also that a new pocket knife, recently purchased, had been left behind; so, thinking of the rain, my poor clothes and the knife, I was in two minds whether to go that night or not. I walked up and down the room in which I worked, hardly knowing what to do. Twenty-five minutes past seven came, but I was still undecided in my mind.
Presently I left the place and hurried down to where Richard was waiting near the theatre. He had the things which he was told to bring. Borrowing twelve shillings from him and, with the five shillings loaned me by Sister Scott, my total stock of cash was seventeen shillings.
The rain still continued and my clothes were wet. I parted with my friend Richard and went on a small steamboat which crossed the river Tees. After crossing, I purchased a ticked to Newcastle on-Tyne for three shillings and a penny and soon boarded the cars and started my journey.
Newcastle was reached about half past 10 o'clock that night. Getting out of the cars, I looked around for a few moments at the elegant and spacious railway station and began to wonder what was the next thing to do, as it was my intention to go to Leith next morning. After finding out where the Leith steamer sailed from I procured lodgings at a private boarding house.
At 4 o'clock I was aroused and quickly dressing myself, left the house and walked around the streets for nearly two long hours. About 6 o'clock the steamer started. We arrived at Leith about 5 o'clock in the evening. Among the passengers whose acquaintance I made was an Irishman, bound for Glasgow; and having the address of the president of the Glasgow Conference, I thought it would be best to go there.
We walked from Leith to Edinburgh, about two miles distant, and then took train for Glasgow, reaching the latter place about 8 o'clock. The address I wanted to go to was about two miles from the station.
After entering the house I related to the lady there the particulars of my leaving home, during which time she prepared supper for me, She told me she expected Bro. Cluff in soon. Nearly an hour afterward Brother Cluff came in. They then held a consultation regarding me and Brother Cluff said I could stay there that night, but they wished me to leave in the morning.
Next morning I started out to seek work--called at printing offices, paint shops and other places; but after traveling about all day met with no success.
In the evening I wended my way to the Conference House where they allowed me to sleep that night.
Next morning I started out again in search of employment. It appeared strange there should be numerous advertisements for boys wanted in many stores, but whenever I applied they always made some excuse.
For two long days I had tramped the streets, applying at stores of various kinds; I was anxious and willing to work but could not obtain any. All the money I had borrowed was spent--every cent--for traveling expenses, food, etc. And here was I in a strange country, without home or friends, and worst of all, no money. What was I to do? My situation was a trying one: I had left home, friends and employer, thinking to easily obtain employment and earn enough, with that deposited with the Perpetual Emigration Fund to emigrate next year to the frontier.
In the evening, I returned as usual to the Conference House, feeling somewhat low-spirited, but doing my best to cheer myself up and look at the bright side.
Conversing with Brother Cluff he asked me why I did not go to New York. I replied that I might as well stay in Glasgow, because if I went there, I should not arrive in time to go with the Saints on the cars to Wyoming, the last ship having left three weeks previous.
Brother Cluff informed me that another ship had left Liverpool--the St. Mark--and if I took passage by steamer from Glasgow the next Saturday, I could get there before the company arrived; and said he thought it would be likely I should have a chance to go with the Saints to the frontier.
Immediately making up my mind to do as Brother Cluff had advised me, I wrote to Brigham Young, Jr., at Liverpool, asking for my money in the P. E. Fund; also to Sister Scott, telling her of my resolve
On the Saturday morning the postman brought two letters, one of which was from Liverpool and contained a post office order.
Being too late to secure a berth on the steamer which was to leave Glasgow that morning, as all the berths were taken, I decided to take the steamer for Liverpool, which would leave that evening at 6 o'clock, and sail from there to New York. I purchased several articles of clothing, and one of the Saints in the Glasgow branch gave me a hat, shirt, muffler, etc.
In the evening, at 6 o'clock, I left Glasgow for Liverpool, which place we reached late in the afternoon of the next day. I at once proceeded to Brigham Young's office. There Elder Orson Pratt received me very kindly and asked one of the clerks to take me to a lodging house, which he did.
The steamer Virginia was advertised to sail for New York the following Wednesday, June 27th, and I made arrangements to embark on that vessel.
Arrival At Queenstown--In Suspense--"It's Only A Runaway Boy They're After"--Arrival At New York--A Proposition Accepted
Queenstown was reached the next day, June 28th. A small steamer brought us some Irish passengers, also some officers in search of some one. I felt somewhat nervous on seeing them and wondered who they were after. Who did they want? Was it me? Being anxious to ascertain, I inquired of an Irishwoman who was near me:
"What do these men want?"
The answer she made surprised me.
"It's only a runaway boy they're after."
I was thunderstruck at these words, but still kept my eye on the officers. At last, seeing them make their way in the direction where I was, if it were possible for me to have sunk into the cabin, I should certainly have done so. Could I hide? No, there was no time for that.
As they approached near me I sat down, folded my arms and said to myself: "Take me if you will!" Oh, how my heart beat! Another moment and they passed by. How thankful I felt it was not me they were after! It transpired afterwards it was a soldier--a deserter--they were in search of.
In a very little time we were sailing on the "deep blue sea."
We arrived at New York, July 13th, being sixteen days on our voyage.
Two or three hours after arriving, I started to find out Mr. Thomas Taylor's office, and was kindly invited in. No time was lost by me in accepting the invitation, as the heat was oppressive. I felt the effects very much, for no sooner was I seated than faintness overcame me. Some cold water and a fan were brought me and I soon recovered. H. P. Folsom, T. B. H. Stenhouse and others were present. Brother Folsom was formerly traveling Elder in the Durham and Newcastle Conference, and I formed his acquaintance at Middlesbrough.
After being in the office a few minutes, Brother Folsom asked me if I was from Middlesbrough, to which I answered in the affirmative. Knowing I had worked in a printing office, Brother Folsom spoke a good word for me to Brother Stenhouse, editor and proprietor of the Salt Lake Daily Telegraph, who asked me how long I would work for him if he paid the remainder of my fare to the frontier. I responded two years. He then said:
"I'll make a proposition to you, Robert: I'll give you twelve dollars a week for the first year and fifteen for the second."
This proposition was eagerly accepted by me.
Leave New York--Arrival At Wyoming--Incidents On The Plains
I slept that night in the office. The next day Brother H. P. Folsom procured lodgings for me at Sister Mary I. Worthington's, in Brooklyn, with whom I stayed till the next Tuesday, the 17th of June, when, in company with her and her family, we left New York about midnight.
Our company consisted of about seven hundred Scandinavians (a ship having arrived on the 17th) and about one hundred English.
On the 29th of July, about noon, we arrived at Wyoming, a small settlement in Nebraska Territory. At a short-distance the tents of the Saints attracted my attention, and I soon wended my way there, finding quite a number of those who had sailed in the American Congress. We were pleased to greet each other.
After dinner I took a stroll over to one of the stores in the settlement, where I assisted in serving customers and was given my board as a recompense.
Early in the afternoon of August 2nd, we started on our long journey. Our train consisted of about sixty-five wagons. The captain's name was Rawlings, and Brother John Nicholson was chaplain.
About twenty miles was an average day's journey. The emigrants walked most of the way, riding only in the wagons at intervals to rest themselves. Each morning, before sunrise, we were aroused by the sound of the bugle. Then could be witnessed a scene of activity; all were bustling around, some going for wood, others carrying water and lighting fires.
While camping at night, after supper had been prepared and disposed of, we enjoyed good times, especially in listening to singing, in which some young ladies excelled. Groups of elder ones could have been seen seated around large fires, conversing about days gone by and forecasting the future.
Following are some incidents which happened on the plains:
Reaching the North Platte River, and after being camped there two or three hours, one of our company appeared with two loaded guns, one of which he hurriedly handed to a young man. We asked what was the matter. He replied:
"We are surrounded by Indians!"
I then rushed to our wagon to get a pistol which I thought our teamster had left in the wagon, but could not find it. All the men left camp to ascertain what was going on. Women and children began to cry and the scene was heartrending. Those of us left in camp were eagerly looking around, expecting every minute to be attacked by Indians. Our camping place was in a lonely spot. On one side, close to us, was the North Platte River, and on the other, about the same distance, were mountains. Not a house in sight; In fact, we were a great many miles away from one. We afterwards learned that the alarm was a false one. The captain called the company together and chided the men for leaving the camp without anyone to defend it.
One snowy morning, when probably about a hundred miles from Salt Lake City, I started out, as usual, on foot. My shoes were considerably worn out, and one of them was badly used up and so hurt me that, despite the snow, I had to throw it away and walk barefoot. Approaching our teamster, I besought him to let me ride, telling him my deplorable condition. He refused to grant my request. After walking awhile I again asked permission to ride, but was again denied. The snow came down in heavy flakes and very few of our company were walking. I trudged along for about three miles with only one shoe on, when my strength failed--I could go no farther--and was about to sit down in the snow, at the same time fervently praying to my Heavenly Father for His divine assistance. As soon as I had uttered my prayer a shoe came flying out to me. Our wagon was just passing by and Sister Worthington was the person who threw it. It was small for me, but with difficulty, after rubbing some skin off my heel, I managed to get it on and went limping on my journey.
Arrival In The "City Of The Saints"--Keeping "Bach"--My Parents Join The Church--They Emigrate To Utah
After a long, weary and tedious journey of about seven thousand miles, Salt Lake City was at length reached on September 30, 1866--a little over three months' travel from Liverpool to Salt Lake City. It was Sunday when we arrived. That morning I arose early, and getting something to eat, left the camp (a few miles up Parley's Canyon), and wended my way to the "City of the Saints," to find the residence of Brother T. B. H. Stenhouse. It was a fine, sunny morning; everything around me looked charming and lovely.
Onward to the heart of the city I went. After many inquiries the residence of Brother Stenhouse was at length reached. He was pleased to see me and invited me to take dinner with himself and family. In the afternoon his son, Lorenzo, took me to his father's printing office, which was my sleeping place that night.
Next morning I went to the Tithing Office yard, where our train was camped (it having arrived there that morning). President Young came into the yard to see us. He shook hands with many of the brethren and sisters, and they felt quite honored. I was informed that a number of the Saints who sailed on the American Congress had only arrived in the city a day or two previous. Although it was over five weeks after the departure of the American Congress before my leaving England. I did not lose much time after all.
I removed what little luggage I had to the Daily Telegraph office, thinking it best to "keep bach" for the present, as I had no relatives or any particular friend to board me. This I did for nearly eleven weeks, when, December 19, 1866, James McKnight, an employee in the Daily Telegraph office, told me that if it suited me I could live with him. His offer was gladly accepted and I stayed with him for several months.
During this time, letters regularly reached me from my parents and I was prompt in answering them; giving full particulars about Salt Lake City and our religion, and often bore my testimony to them. I was here in Utah without a relative and was very desirous they should receive the gospel, although the prospects were not encouraging at that time.
In August, 1868, Wm. H. Scott arrived from New York (the Scott family having emigrated to New York in 1867). I was greatly please to meet my friend. He was the first intimate acquaintance from Middlesbrough I had seen since coming to Utah.
It is painful, however, to relate that he apostatized in the Summer of 1869. It was about the time when the "Godbeite" movement took place. From the time Brother Scott embrace the gospel he was one of the most zealous workers in the cause of truth ever seen by me. He labored faithfully to assist in establishing the latter-day kingdom; but his expectations in regard to Utah and her people were not realized. I had been very fond of himóhad loved him as a brother. He had been a friend and counselor to me in past days, and when I saw that he was as much in opposition to the kingdom of God as he had been formerly in favor of building it up, it grieved me very much. I talked and reasoned with him and tried to show him the error of his way, but it was all in vain. He became more and more bitterly opposed to the gospel and in the Summer of 1870 went back to the States.
Correspondence with my parents and also my relatives was regularly kept up from the time of my arrival in Utah. I was very anxious to induce them to join the Church, and did all in my power to induce them to do so.
In the Spring of 1879, I procured the address of the president of the Middlesbrough Branch--William Garbett--and wrote to him, requesting that he should see my parents and use his best endeavors to induce them to embrace the gospel. Brother Garbett and other Saints visited with that object in view.
On the 20th of September, 1879, I was happily surprised and astonished to receive a letter from my mother with the following glad tidings:
"I, your mother, was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on the 23rd of August, and your father on the 30th of the same month."
This was very gratifying news, both to myself and wife. After waiting patiently and anxiously for over thirteen years. My prayers, which were so often offered up, were answered.
My reply to this letter from my parents informed how my heart rejoiced to hear the good news, and stated that we would assist them to emigrate to Utah the following year.
The time drew nigh for my parents to arrive in Zion. After such a lengthy absence from them, and knowing how opposed to the work they had been, but now their eyes were opened and they could see as I saw, I looked forward with pleasure to the day of their arrival.
They took passage with the first company, April 10th, 1880. I almost counted the days for their arrival. At last it was announced by telegram that the would arrive at 6:30, p.m., April 30, 1880. Every preparation was made by us for their comfort.
My Parents In Zion--Arrival Of Richard Sedgwick In Salt Lake City--His Story Of Leaving Home In 1867--How The President Of The Middlesbrough Branch Was Emigrated--Re-union Of The Middlesbrough Branch
The next morning they were enabled to get a better view of the "City of the Saints." It was the first of May--a fine sunny day. The orchards were delightful for the eye to gaze upon; the peach, plum, apple, and other trees were arrayed in their sweetest attire. The birds were merry, the bee and butterfly passed too and fro, and everything around was beautiful.
My parents were much in love with our city and the surroundings. During the day, father was seen to shed tears--tears of joy and sorrow. He was glad he was here in the land of Zion, but felt sorrowful to think of his sons and daughter in Babylon. To a neighbor who happened to be near him, and saw the tears roll down his cheeks, he said he felt sorry to think that his children back in England were so foolish to stay there, when they might have been here in this beautiful country.
My parents have often expressed, that they wished they had come here years ago.
About the latter part of October, 1880, I was much pleased to receive a letter from my brother Miles, at Middlesbrough, stating that he had been baptized into the Church.
In September, 1881, I sent his fare to emigrate him to Utah, and he arrived in Salt Lake City, Nov. 11th.
My readers no doubt, have been wondering what became of Richard Sedgwick. When I bade him good-by in England, I little thought so many years would elapse before we should meet again. After my leaving Middlesbrough, he stayed there a little over one year, then emigrated to New York and resided in Brooklyn, at which place he was married in July, 1868. Our correspondence continued more or less, from the time he reached that place till he arrived in the valleys of the mountains, November 10, 1882. When we met I should not have known him, nor would he have recognized me, had I not answered to my name when he inquired for me. It was nearly sixteen years and a half since we saw each other, and it was a happy meeting.
The following is Richard Sedgwick's account of his leaving home in 1867:
"I started from home on the 1st of July, 1867. It was on a Monday morning, and on Mondays we used to commence work at 8 o'clock, while other mornings, we began at 6. I took the train for Stockton (four miles away), and on arriving there called at the house of Brother Thomas Watson, clerk of the Middlesbrough and Stockton branch. The box, which we had with us when we left our homes the year previous, was at Brother Watson's house. I told him I wanted it, as it was my intention to go to Liverpool, and from there to New York. Brother Watson was not in favor of my going away, and advised me to return home, but my mind was bent on leaving for New York and then get to Utah as soon as possible. He kept talking with me till I missed the train for Liverpool. This was unpleasant, as I was afraid Mr. Carter would send an officer after me.
"Determined not to be baffled, I took my box, went to the station and waited for the next train, perhaps two hours, and arrived at Liverpool about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. It so happened that a steamer had to leave for New York early next morning. I went to 42 Islington, and got my passage money which I had paid to sail on the American Congress the year previous.
"Next morning I was up bright and early and went aboard the steamer. The vessel sailed about half-past 9 o'clock, and it was well she stared at that hour, for I learned afterwards, by letter from my father, that as soon as Carter missed me, he lost no time in trying to have me brought back again. A detective was put on my track, who, fortunately for me, arrived at the Liverpool docks just a few hours too late."
On September 12, 1881, I received a letter from William Garbett, president of the Middlesbrough branch, which stated in effect that there had been a death in his family, another reduction in wages, a poor harvest on account of incessant rains, and provisions were rising in price. In answer, I told him my faith was that he would be emigrated to Utah before the end of the next year. Circulars were issued by me to his friends, explaining his situation. The result was sufficient means were procured to emigrate Brother Garbett and family (seven in number) to Utah. They arrived here in Sept., 1882.
Reflecting at various times on the scenes recounted in this little work, and of the many joyful times experienced among the Saints in Middlesbrough and vicinity, it occurred to the writer that a revival of old times and acquaintanceships would be greatly relished by those who had emigrated therefrom, and it was finally arranged to have a re-union of the Middlesbrough branch of the church on Thanksgiving day, November 29, 1883.
All the Saints and Elders who had been in the branch were invited to be present at the 4th Ward meeting house, where the re-union was held. Dinner was served at 2 p.m., followed by the various exercises, such as singing, reciting, speaking, etc. The time was agreeably spent till half-past 6 o'clock in the evening. The attendance was numerous without being crowded, and the affair was gratifying to all present. It will remain indelibly impressed upon the memories of all who participated.
Richard Sedgwick Family Site