Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ericksen Emigration

On Wednesday, May 2, 1860, 301 emigrating Saints, viz. 182 Danish, 80 Swedish and 39 Norwegian, sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, on board the new Prussian steamship, “Pauline,” under the leadership of Carl Widerborg, who now emigrated to Zion. The voyage over the Cattegat and North Sea being stormy, a number of the emigrants suffered with seasickness, but the company arrived safe and well in Grimsby, England, May 5th. From Grimsby, the emigrants continued the journey to Liverpool, where they arrived Sunday afternoon, May 6th, and secured lodgings in a hotel on Paradise Street. On Monday, May 7th, they boarded the “William Tapscott,” a freight ship, which the previous year had brought a large company of emigrating Saints across the Atlantic. Besides the Scandinavian Saints, 85 Swiss and a large company of Welsh and English Saints went on board the same ship bound for America. Among the English were Elders Asa Calking, who had presided over the European Mission, and Thomas Williams, both accompanied by their families. When all were on board, the emigrating Saints numbered 730 souls. Asa Calkin was appointed president of the company, with elders William Budege and Carl Widerborg as counselors. They company was divided into nine districts, each with a district president. The district presidents of the Scandinavian contingent were Lars Ericksen (my ancestor), assisted by Hans Jensen; Mads Poulsen from Copenhagen, assisted by Carl J. E. Fjeld from Norway; Elder Christensen (Dannebrogsmand), assisted by Paul Stark from Sweden; Jons Jonsson from Malmo, assisted by Soren Moller; and Ingvart Hansen from Aarhus, assisted by Hans M. Nisson from Lolland; Swen Lovendahl was appointed captain of the guard and Nils Larson from Skane, Sweden, cook.

The “William Tapscott” sailed from Liverpool, May 11, 1860. It was a fine ship and a splendid sailer, but, owing to contrary winds, the voyage consumed 35 days. Union and good order prevailed during the whole voyage. Prayer was held every morning and evening, and, on Sundays, religious services were held on the deck. Owing to cold and change of diet, considerable sickness prevailed among the emigrants, and ten deaths occurred, most of them among the Scandinavian Saints. Four children were born on board and nine couple married, among whom were Hans Christian Heiselt and Larsine Larsen from the Vendsyssel Conference, Denmark. On the 3rd of June, the small pox showed itself among the emigrants, seven cases of this disease were reported, none of which however, proved fatal. On Friday evening, June 15th, the ship arrived at the quarantine dock in New York harbor. The next day, two doctors came on board and vaccinated, with but very few exceptions all of the steerage passengers, a part of the cabin passengers, and the ship’s crew. This was done to prevent a further outbreak of the disease, though all the sick had nearly recovered by this time. On the 20th, after being detained in quarantine five or six days, the passengers were landed at Castle Garden, New York. The smallpox cases had previously been taken ashore and placed in a hospital. On the 21st, the emigrants left New York per steamboat “Isaac Newton” and sailed up the Judson River to Albany, where they arrived on the 22nd. From Albany, the journey was continued via Rochester to Niagara Falls, where the train stopped about seven hours in order to give the emigrants the pleasure of seeing the great waterfall and the grand suspension bridge. The journey was continued through Canada along the north shore of Lake Erie to Windsor, where the river was crossed to Detroit in Michigan. Thence to Chicago, which city was reached June 25th.

From Chicago, the emigrants traveled by railroad to Quincy, Ill., whence they crossed the Mississippi River to Hannibal in Missouri, and thence traveled by railroad to St. Joseph, Mo., Here 13 persons were placed in a hospital, but upon close examination, they were found to be well enough to join the company the following day on the trip up the Missouri River, to Florence, Neb., where the company arrived in the night between June 30th and July 1st.

Elder George Q. Cannon, who this year acted as church emigration agent, made splendid arrangements for the journey across the Plains. It was deemed wisdom to send the emigrants as far as possible by steam and avoid the toilsome and harassing part of the team journey from Iowa city to Florence, a distance of nearly 300 miles, which in former years had required from 15 to 20 days’ travel. It had been learned by experience that the distance between Iowa City and Florence, at the season of the year when the emigrants had to travel it, was, in point of toil and hardship, by far the worst part of the journey, owning to its being a low, wet country, which in the opening of the years was subject to heavy and continued rains. These storms, owing to the nature of the soil (being clay most of the distance), rendered the roads almost impassable. Arriving in Florence, the emigrants found shelter in a number of empty houses while they made the necessary preparations for crossing the plains.

A handcart company, consisting of 126 souls, traveling with 22 handcarts and six wagons, left Florence on their westward journey, July 6th, under the leadership of Capt. Oscar O. Stoddard. The company was divided into three parts under Elders D. Fischer, Anders Christensen, and Carl J. E. Fjeld, respectively.

*This information appears in the book: “The Family of Auer Winchester Proctor, Volume III, Ericksen.” The book was published by Stevenson’s Genealogy Center, Provo, Utah, in 1984.

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