. . . I remember that I was the first to pay tithing in two branches. I paid from what little I had in Chard. The first Sunday I was in Portsmouth was the first time the Saints were called upon to pay their tithing and I was the first to pay it there. It was just one penny. I had many good friends in Portsmouth and one of the best was Elder Phenes [Phineas] Young who gave me money towards my emigration. With that, and what I had earned, I had enough money to take me to Iowa City so you see that the promise given me by Elder Harding was fulfilled. And I know the Lord blessed me after paying tithing of the little I had.
In company with other Saints I left Portsmouth for Liverpool, England on March 23, 1857. On March 26th we boarded the ship, the George Washington. With 813 passengers on board we left the dock on March 27th, and sailed on the 28th bound for Boston, U.S.A. Never will I forget the hymn we sang as we sailed away, "Yes, My Native Land I Love Thee."
I was seasick about three days, but I enjoyed the trip, for I loved the ocean. Was I not going to Zion? I was leaving every one of my kin and my native land behind me, going out into a new world. What for? Because God had told his children to gather to Zion. I was obeying that commandment, for I had a testimony of this work. That was forty-one years ago, and never have I seen the time that I was sorry for what I had done; and I have a stronger testimony to bear today than ever before.
Our president on board was James G. Park. Nothing of note happened on our trip across the Atlantic Ocean until we cast anchor at Boston Harbor, when there arose a storm that detained us until April 22nd. We landed April 23rd, and started for Iowa City the same day, stopping at Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, and Rockland [Rock Island]. We arrived at Iowa City at 11:00 April 29, 1857. There were teams waiting for us. They took us out three miles to the campground, where there was a grove of trees with a stream of water running through it.
This was the end of the journey I had paid for. I had no money left. President Park had money from a fund which had been gathered on board the [p.3] ship and not entirely used. They took a vote, and decided to use it to send someone to Utah. Again I found I had many friends, for I was chosen to be that one, as I was young, being only eighteen years of age, and alone, with no one to protect me.
In the company were three girls, Eliza Hallet, [Ann] N. England, and myself. We had no money, so we went to the captain of the camp, James A. Little, and told him our plight. He furnished us with something to eat, the first good meal we had had since we left England. He also gave us permission to get work in Iowa City while preparations were being made for the trip across the plains. . . . [p.4]
. . . While I had been working in Iowa City, preparations had gone ahead for the journey. The handcarts were ready and loaded with our supplies. They were rude two-wheel carts with a sort of box on an axle between the wheels. There could not have been a more difficult mode of travel. We would push and pull these carts across more than a thousand miles of trackless plains, barren desert, and towering mountains.
I knew when we left England that ours was to be a handcart company but it was impossible for me to realize the hardships that I had to meet. Misgivings or fear never entered my mind for it was the only way I could get to Zion and the journey had to be met with faith and courage.
We left the campground on the 22nd of May, and moved out about three miles, where I had a chill. The first week we traveled only from four to five miles a day on account of the rains. Our bedding was wet all the time. . . . [p.5]
. . . We crossed the Little Mountain, and arrived in Salt Lake at three o'clock p.m. September 12, 1857, where we were glad to lay down our handcarts, but sorry to part with our kind Captain Israel Evans and his assistant Ben Asby. . . . [p.6]
BIB: Witbeck, Susan Melverton R. Autobiography (Ms 11637), pp. 3-6. (A)