Shortly thereafter (December 27th, 1843), I left the home of my birth to gather to Nauvoo. I was alone. It was a dreary winter day on which I went to Liverpool. The company with which I was to sail was all strangers to me. When I arrived at Liverpool and saw the ocean that would soon roll between me and all I loved, my heart almost failed me. But I had laid my idols all upon the altar. There was no turning back. I remembered the words of the Savior: "He that leaveth not father and mother, brother and sister, for my sake, is not worthy of me," and I believed his promise to those who forsook all for his sake; so I thus alone set out for the reward of everlasting life, trusting in God. [p.288]
In company with two hundred and fifty Saints I embarked on the sailing vessel Fanny, and after a tedious passage of six weeks' duration, we arrived in New Orleans. There an unexpected difficulty met us. The steamer "Maid of Iowa," belonging to the Prophet Joseph, and on which the company of Saints had expected to ascend the Mississippi to Nauvoo, was embargoed and lashed to the wharf. But Providence came to our aid. A lady of fortune was in the company - a Mrs. Bennett - and our of her private purse she no only lifted the embargo, but also fitted out the steamer with all necessary provisions, fuel, etc., and soon the company were again on their way.
The journey up the river was a tedious and eventful one, consuming five weeks of time. At nearly every stopping place the emigrants were shamefully insulted and persecuted by the citizens. At Memphis some villain placed a half consumed cigar under a straw mattress and other bedding that had been laid our, aft of the ladies' cabin, to air. When we steamed out into the river the draft, created by the motion of the boat, soon fanned the fire into a quick flame. Fortunately I myself discovered the fire and gave the alarm in time to have it extinguished before it had consumed more than a portion of the adjoining woodwork. Perhaps one minute more of delay in its discovery, and that company of two hundred and fifty souls would have been subjected to all the horrors and perils incident to a panic and fire on shipboard.
At another place the pilot decided to tie up the boat at a landing and wait for the subsiding of a [p.289] furious gale that was blowing. This he accordingly did, and let off steam, thinking to remain there over night. In the meantime a mob gathered. We were Mormons. Too often had mobs shown that the property of Mormons might be destroyed with impunity, in the most lawless manner, and their lives taken by the most horrible means. Had that boat been consumed by fire, it would have been but a pleasing sensation, seeing that it belonged to the Mormon prophet; and the two hundred and fifty men, women, and children, if consumed, would have been, in the eyes of their persecutors, only so many Mormons well disposed of. Thus, doubtless, would have thought the mob who gathered at that landing place and cut the boat adrift. The "Maid of Iowa" was now submitted to the triple peril of being adrift without steam, at the mercy of a treacherous current, and in the midst of a hurricane. The captain, however, succeeded in raising the steam, and the boat was brought under sufficient control to enable her to be brought to, under shelter of a heavy forest, where she was tied up to the trees and weathered the gale.
At another landing a mob collected and began throwing stones through the cabin windows, smashing the glass and sash, and jeopardizing the lives of the passengers. This was a little too much for human forbearance. The boat was in command of the famous Mormon captain, Dan Jones; his Welsh blood was now thoroughly warm; he know what mobs meant. Mustering the brethren, with determined wrath he ordered them to parade with [p.290] loaded muskets on the side of the boat assailed. Then he informed the mob that if they did not instantly desist, he would shoot them down like so many dogs; and like so many dogs they slunk away.
As the "Maid of Iowa" had made slow progress, and had been frequently passed by more swift-going steamers, her progress was well known by the friends of Nauvoo. So on the day of our arrival the Saints were out en masse to welcome us. I had never before seen any of those assembled, yet I felt certain, as the boat drew near, that I should be able to pick out the prophet Joseph at first sight. This belief I communicated to Mrs. Bennett, whose acquaintance I had made on the voyage. She wondered at it; but I felt impressed by the spirit that I should know him. As we neared the pier the prophet was standing among the crowd. At the moment, however, I recognized him according to the impression, and pointed him out to Mrs. Bennett, with whom I was standing alone on the hurricane deck.
Scarcely had the boat touched the pier when, singularly enough, Joseph sprang on board, and, without speaking with any one, made his way direct to where we were standing, and addressing Mrs. Bennett by name, thanked her kindly for lifting the embargo from his boat, and blessed her for so materially aiding the Saints." [p.291]
BIB: Stains, Priscilla. [Reminiscences] IN Tullidge Edward W.,
The Women of Mormondom(New York: MP, 1877) pp. 288-91