Diary of Joseph Crossley

  The following is from the diary of Joseph Crossley, brother of Ephraim Crossley.  This diary was written on the journey from Liverpool, England, to Boston, Massachusetts.  Joseph was 19 years of age at the time this was written and Ephraim was five.  The journey began in May of 1856. 

  -- Saturday and Sunday was spent in packing, we were intending to go down to Liverpool on the Wednesday following.  Mother was to go down on Monday morning to get ready the springs and the beds filled with straw and this arrangement was made with a view to save expense but on the Sunday evening about half past nine o'clock when Mother was just giving her final instructions to me, about to go out of the house for the last time, the luggage was all packed up and part of it gone to the railway station.  Sister Hannah was at Grandmother's about nine or ten miles off, sister was at Unsworth, about four miles off when the brethren and sisters who had been off at a special conference at Manchester came in saying that orders had been given that all must go down to Liverpool on the morrow who were going from the Manchester Conference.   Mother had her basket in her hand just ready to start when they came in.  Judge of our surprise, what was to be done?  Mother seemed ready to drop but there was no alternative but to pack them in the night.  I was concluding to go to Unsworth for Sister Sarah when she arrived home.  She, another sister and William Booth, a friend not in the Church, were then dispatched for sister Hannah at Grandmother's.   This William Booth and a companion of mine named Wm. Taylor carried our luggage to Brother John Holt's who lived close in the Railway Station that it might be ready in the morning.  I then went and labelled the luggage and about half past twelve went to bed at Brother Barlow's. 

  -- Monday Morning, May 19, 1856.

  In consequence of the clock striking four instead of five I rose about six o'clock, one hour behind my calculation.  I washed and dressed myself and hurried off to the station not having time to take any breakfast and I only arrived a few minutes before the luggage.  After a few minutes the train came up.  We then, after exchanging farewell greetings with the saints, quite a number of whom were met together to watch us off, some smiling and some weeping, saw our luggage safe on the train and got in ourselves.  The whistle blew, the bell rang and off we started, leaving Radcliffe behind forever for ought we knew.  After a monotonous ride of about four hours, exchanging carriages once, we arrived in Liverpool, and on applying to the guard for our luggage we found to our dismay it had gone to Preston or Southport, in consequence of us not seeing after it when we exchanged carriages.   We told the stationmaster of our mishap and he promised to write for it and directed us to apply to him in the afternoon.  We then went from the station to our lodging, got lodgings at the first place we applied to - 76 Great Groshall Street.  After getting something to eat we went in search of the officer and found him and our passengers contract ticket, came to our lodgings, got something more to eat and I, in company with Brother Edward Barlow, who had come to Liverpool along with Sister Ellen, then went to the Railroad Station to look after our luggage, as their luggage had gone along with ours; found it had arrived at the station all right.  We then gave it in charge of the station master to retain custody for us until we could take it aboard the ship.  I forgot to say that while at the office we learned that we could take our luggage on board on Wednesday morning at eight o'clock.  After coming from the station I rested until the evening when I took a walk along with Sister Sarah and Brother Ephraim, to view the shipping and the docks - on the way took a look at Nelson's monument which lies to the left as we go from ???hburn station to the docks.   As I had never before been at Liverpool, I looked upon everything with surprise and wonder.  I looked curiously at the number of colored people of various hues from the jet black negro which were standing in groups or passing along the streets.  My head grew dizzy as I looked down the dock walls, which, as the tide was out were some of them dry.  I was amused at seeing the crowds of people who were crossing from Liverpool to New Brighton and Brinkerhead in steamers accompanied by bands of music.  I watched a steamer depart for Dublin and was really affected to see the scenes that took place. 

Tuesday, May 20, 1856

  After a bad night's rest I rose and washed and draped myself.  After getting breakfast, mother, myself and Brother Ephraim started to look at the ship 'Horizon' on which we were to sail for Boston.  After traveling a long way above two miles we found her in the Bramley Moore dock; looked through her and started back, by this time it was 1 o'clock turned.  On our way back feeling faint and fatigued we stepped into a cock's shop and called for potato pie, after which we had got, we ate very little of, except Ehpraim who seemed to relish it.  Mother smoked her pipe after which we went to our lodgings. 

Wednesday, May 21st

    Rose from bed after a better night's rest than the previous night, washed, draped, got little breakfast and went to look after someone to take our luggage to the ship.  Went to Brother Chapman Emgrt.  Promised to take it for four pence per package, waited near his house till his cart came alongside, got into it, drove to the Railroad Station, paid one-sixth pence to liberate our luggage, got it into the cart, got in myself along with Brother Barlow and Sister Ellen with their luggage and rode to the Bramley Moore docks alongside the ship where our luggage was unloaded.  Paid one-fourth pence for the carriage of it and two pence to the men for assistance.   Watched the luggage till noon when I got a little something to eat.   Watched the luggage again till dusk with the assistance of Brother James Lord we got it safe aboard the ship alongside our berths.  Mother procured three laps of straw for our three beds at eight pence per lap  After a great deal of confusion we succeeded in getting to bed and I slept very well.

Thursday, May 22nd

   Rose and spent the day in looking about the docks.

Saturday, May 24th

   Ship continued anchored in the River Mersey.

Sunday, May 25th

    About one half past nine o'clock in the morning the steam tug came alongside and after landing Elders Y.D. Richards, C.H. Wheelock,  I.A. Young and others on the ship, she was joined to the ship by a cable and towed us out of the river; about four hours before the steamer left us we had an address from Elder Y.D. Richards in which he promised us that inasmuch as we would give heed to all the counsel of those placed over us and be patient and forbearing one to another not a soul on board should be lost;  as the steamer left us with the brethren who came with it on board they gave us three cheers, we gave them three and they gave us one.  Two couples were married today.  After the steamer left we had a head wind all day. 

Monday, May 26th

  This morning I was awaened by hearing persons puking with the sea sickness, got up ------

   (a page or two is missing ---)

Thursday, May 29th

   All a deal better today, mother able to walk about, wind very calm.  Pilot left us today in a boat and joined a passing ship.  Two children broke out withthe measles today.  Another marriage in the evening.  Saw a few fishes on the starboard side.  Irish coast visible to the north all day. 

Friday, May 30th

   Fair wind in the early part of the day which increased in the evening to a gale and before going to bed a many who were getting better of sea sickness began to be sick again and to vomit with increased violence.  I was very sick; the ship rocked violently, strong indications of a stormy night.  

Saturday, May 31st

   Awakened sick and faint.  Mother and all the rest of the family very bad, the saints vomiting on all sides; fair wind and strong all day;  found that an old woman had died during the night.  She was taken sick like many others last evening and sent for the doctor (being she was the only one on board who did so) he gave her a pill and draught and she was not hear to speak afterwards; her daughter found her dead by her side.   She was buried at about eight o'clock this morning in the sea. 

Sunday, June 1st

  Rose inthe morning a little better than yesterday; mother and two sisters still very bad, no appetite, disgusted with all food;; ate a little tharcake and vomited it over the ship's side;  favorable wind but not very strong, increased towards evening; attended meeting at eleven o'clock in the forenoon; the meeting was addressed by Elder Martin, President of the ship and his two counselors, Elders Hansen and Wall.  He exhorted the saints to be patient and forbearing on towards another, careful of their water and provisions and obedient to those who were placed over them.  Elder Broderick also addressed the meeting.  The meeting was addressed by the President of the Wards.  A man died in the afternoon who was almost dead of consumption when came on board; his body being worn out by long service in the ministry.  

Monday, June 2nd

  Fair wind in the morning which increased in force towards  evening.  Mother and Sister Hannah still very bad; felt very sick myself and giddy with the rolling of the ship, also very weak and indisposed to action;  many older people, still very sick.  I forgot to say that before that on Saturday a young child died and was buried in the sea.

Tuesday, June 3rd

  Awoke in the morning a little better but Mother and Sister Hannah still very bad.   A pretty strong wind, head wind, all day and very cold upon deck. 

Wednesday, June 4th

   I felt much better this morning.  I  believe a little camomile given me by Brother Durham has done me much good.  Mother and Sister Hanna still very bad.  I made mother a little sego gruel after and Hannah had some after which mother got up and went on deck.  Brother Durham enrolled my name among the guard this morning and I was appointed to stand guard for the first time at twelve o'clock at noon, where I dare say people thought I cut a pretty figure, but if I do as I am told I don't now that I am to blame.  There was scarcely any wind all day but the ship rolled tremendously especially towards night; about five o'clock we were caught at our berth taking our tea when the ship gave a roll and off to the floor and before we had time even to rise from the ground the ship gave a violent roll in the opposite direction and the people on the opposite side who were likewise taking their tea, performed the counterpart of the thing we had performed just before.  There we lay all in a heap, the men laughing, the children shrieking, the women declaring in loud exclamations their fears for the tea things;  but in a shorter time than it takes me to write it, the things were found, some in one place and some in another, were all collected the floor dried and all men set to work to lash their things fast.  The ship continued to roll from side to side all night, and about eleven o'clock at night we were awakened by someone jumping out of their beds declaring that their berths were breaking down, and several others exclaiming in the same manner.  One man who went with crutches with a broken leg when he came on board was very near to have his arm broken by the falling boards.  The ship rolled continually; it seemed ready to pitch us out of bed every moment. 

Thursday, June 5th

    We were all feeling better this morning, no wind, the ship rolling unduly, but about noon an ice-fresh breeze set in which conveyed us along rapidly and steadily.  Saw a great many fish in the afternoon which the men declared were sea pikes.  The saints this day brought their beds up on deck for an airing by request of President Martin. 

Friday, June 6th 

    The breeze which sprung up during the afternoon increased during the night to a brisk gale, and in the morning a good many which were getting better of sea sickness broke out again as bad as ever.  All our family very bad excepting Ephraim and myself.  Strong winds blowing all day.   One of the main sails we rent in twain by the force of the wind in the afternoon.


 (break in the diary pages, picks up again with June 8)

------- a light breeze in the morning which sent the ship through the waves rather speedily but it was rather cold.  The saints met together at half past en in the forenoon on deck and were addressed by several of the elders in a spirited manner.  All felt to rejoice.  The closing Elder, Elder Martin, spoke to the conduct of the saints on the ship; they were duly admonished as to the hour to retire to their beds, and the hour of arising in the morning; and he requested the saints to be careful of their provisions, so that if the passage would be protracted to any length of time they might need to have to repent of any extravaganzes in their several wards to partake of the sacrament and to hear their testimonies to one another.  Towards night the wind dropped considerably and the ship rolled.  Several were again taken with vomiting, mother among the rest.  She is very weak and feeble - made her a little sego gruel which she said did her good, very fine evening.  

Monday June 9th,

   A beautiful clear calm morning.  The sun rose in a cloudless sky, and all rose from their beds much better.  Towards noon a light breeze sprung up which increased to a gale in the evening.  Strong indications of a stormy night.  Mother again very bad.  All pretty well except her of our family. 

Tuesday, June 10th

   Arose in the morning after having passed a restless night in consequence of the heaving and tossing of the ship.  Was awakened during the night by the cry of fright which proved nothing but the wind.  People arose from their berths in fright and trepidation.  The man who raised the cry was down on his knees making his peace with Heaven; the women, some groaning and some praying, mingled with the loud commands of the officers on deck and the replies of the sailors echoing with the howling of the wind and the rising of the sea, all tended to arouse in the breast of anyone the need of the blessings of the Heavens.   As for myself, I must confess that although I never stepped from my bed, it made a great impression upon me, and I was forced, as it were, to offer up my prayer to God to deliver us from any impending calamity.  But through the timely intervention of the captain of the boat, the fear was prevented from spreading.  As for myself, I soon relapsed into a slumber from which I was next awakened by the voice of the President of the ward calling us from bed.   The morning was wet and stormy, the deck was very slippery; a great many people failing to know the source of the excitement.  I fell upon deck as I was taking some wood to the galley but by the goodness of God I did not hurt myself much.  Mother is very bad today.  President Evans in the afternoon got all the men together and gave them some very good counsel to the saints.  He spoke about somebody lighting matches and smoking, and he said that those who did so jeopardized the lives of the whole ship's company.  He spoke about the sick, and said that if they not able to come upon deck, if they would tell him, he would carry them upon his back.  He again referred to those who broke the simple rules for the proper conduct of the saints upon the voyage, and he said that those who persisted in breaking the rules were not worthy to be numbered as good saints.  Several of the brethren spoke in a similar manner.

Sunday, June 15th

  A fine morning and the ship gliding safely and steadily through the sea.  The saints assembled together upon deck at half past ten.  They were addressed by President Martin, Evans and quite a number of the elders.  The meeting was then broken up after dinging upon cold ___ which had been opened the night before.  The saints met in their several wards to partake of the Sacrament, and bore their testimonies to one another.  

Tuesday, June 17th

  This morning the atmosphere was quite thick and foggy.  The first time I went upon deck I was astonished to find myself quite as wet as if I had been rained upon, but I had been up but a short time.  We are today upon the banks of Newfoundland.  A ship appeared about six miles to the north east of us. 

Wednesday, June 18th

  Still damp and foggy.  Ship sailing quite steadily.  A great many sea birds flying about and a large block of wood floated past the ship which cheered up the hearts of the saints as they are signs of the vicinity of land.  The saints were called upon today to sign a bond to the Emgton Company. 

Thursday, June 19th

  Fine clear day but cold breeze.   brother heard the captain say yesterday that he expected we should land in about four days in the wind kept up.  Several small fishing smacks seen today.  One cam alongside our vessel in the evening and sold the captain some cod fish.  He kindly gave seven large ones to be divided among the sick and the aged of ???? company.  This morning a child born upon the ship was thrown overboard  It had died during the night. 

Friday, June 20th

  Fine and clear in the morning, but foggy in the afternoon and evening.  A double ration of flour was served out to the saints which caused them to rejoice as a great many could not eat biscuits and had suffered much from want of fresh bread.   Mother has improved greatly in health during the past week by the ship sailing steadily.   President Evan came the round this evening and informed the saints that another ration of flour would be served out on the morrow which was generally a source of comfort to many.  The cod fish which this day was served out to the sick, the aged and the infirm, mother got a little and I got a little taste, which was the first time I had tasted that fish.  It was very nice. 

Saturday June 21st

  Was foggy in the morning but fine and clear in the afternoon.  Mother very sick today with the motion of the vessel as the wind is strong and contrary. 

Sunday, June 22nd

    Fine morning, but the wind strong and contrary.  The saints met together on deck a half past ten in the morning and were addressed by President Evans on baptism for the remission of sins. Brother Young then spoke upon the resurrection.  Elder T. B. Broderick then made a few remarks upon doing to others as we would be done by, and advised the saints to be careful upon leaving the ship at Boston.   He cautioned them to look after their luggage, as others would probably be those who came on board who would steal it.  He advised the saints to be temperate in the use of fresh meat, as after living so frugally on salt provision, it would be likely to not agree with them.  He also cautioned the saints against the use of strong drinks, as their bodies being weakened by the being on the sea, very little would make them drunk.   President Martin then spoke and repeated the instructions of Elder Broderick in relation to their luggage and the use of fresh meat and strong drinks, and said that it would be necessary to be careful of the bodies; he again reminded them of the readiness and willingness they had manifested in following out his instructions during the passage over and said that his mission was ended at Boston, but that he expected them at all times to be subject to those place over them; that obedience was one of the first things that would lead them to the path of salvation and safety in this world.  He then offered a vote of thanks to the Captain because of the kind and generous treatment given to the saints on the passage across the Atlantic, which offer was seconded and carried unanimously by the lifted right hands.  He then said that before they landed some further instructions would be given to the saints.  The meeting was then concluded with prayer by President Evans.  In the afternoon the saints met together in their several wards to partake of the sacrament and hear their testimonies one to another and rejoice together. 

Monday June 23rd

   Strong contrary wind in the early part of the day but wind changed in the afternoon in our favor and continued so all day.  Write a letter for Elder Young.  Family pretty well. 

Tuesday June 24th

   A beautiful morning, the ship sailing along under a favorable wind.  There are signs that we are in the vicinity of land by the birds that are flying about. 

Wednesday, June 25th

   A beautiful calm morning.  The sun rose in a cloudless sky.  A slight breeze sprung up about noon which subsided and it again became calm after a short time.  In the afternoon there was signs of wind which soon set in to blow;  the sky was streaked with clouds in the afternoon.  A steamboat was seen which passed close to our ship.  The ship's company them a cheer as they passed, and they gave us a cheer and then they went on their way.  Mother was better today then ever since the ship set sail. 

Thursday, June 26th

  A strong wind the entire day.  Mother was again very bad with sickness and vomiting.  The two marines who had been sick for several days broke out with the measles.  This epidemic, which I have never imagined before, had grown quite prevalent, but yet none have died of it.  The saints were ordered this day to get things dressed up and respectable, to make everything neat and clean about their berths in preparation for landing. 

Friday, June 27th

  This morning the waves received another victim in the body of our Mother, Ann Allen, who came from Radcliffe when we did.  She died about half past three in the morning.  The day was very warm, as a result no wind.  The captain spoke so some little fishing smack about seven o'clock in the morning.  The boat came alongside the ship.  Saw another fishing boat about noon.  The notice was put up for all the passengers to Iowa to leave their luggage with their names on, for Iowa City, Iowa. 

Saturday, June 28th

   This morning we first came in sight of land.  When it was first shouted that land was to be seen, the ship's company crowded towards the forward deck.  It was very dim at first, but towards afternoon it became plainer and all felt to rejoice on the prospect of once more  ?reading on solid ground.  Soon after noon we were all ordered below which was not so pleasant to anyone as all were happy to behold the scenes which every moment burst upon their view and which were filled with beauty.  We were down below till just before sunset then we were allowed to go on deck.  The scene that met our eyes was so beautiful - the green highlands dotted with trees and cottages.  In the distance could be seen Boston with ??ts trees, chimney, churches and steeples.  The people never tired of gazing on the beauty of the scene. 

Sunday, June 29th

   A beautiful quiet day.  The ship's company passed the doctor, and were praised as the best looking company that had ever landed in that port.  The captain's family and several of his friends visited the ship.  In the afternoon the saints met on deck and were addressed by President Martin and the captain, who spoke in very eulogistic terms of the conduct of the saints during the voyage.   President Martin gave the saints some very good advice and that no one was to leave the ship until ordered to do so, or under his direct permission.   

                                 THE  END

also the note below had been added to the diary account;

After arriving in Boston, they made their way to Winter Quarters and from there they started across the plains with the Edward Martin Handcart Company

Joseph Crossley was never well during his life, being a cripple of some kind.  While crossing the plains, they never had very much to eat, just a little flour each day mixed up with water which they drank.   Joseph grew weaker and weaker until one night he died in his sleep.  The ground was frozen so hard they could not dig a grave, so he had to be left with just a blanket wrapped around his body.  Before the handcart company was out of sight, they saw the wolves after his body. 


(Note;  I was faithful to the spelling in the story as received. This story was sent to my husband via his great aunt, Hope Hayes, aunt to his mother, Cora Lenore Crossley.   The diary notes were received by my husband as a copy, typewriter formatted.   My husband, Arthur Crossley Ruger explains that Joseph Smith Crossley was Mary Jarvis's son by her previous marriage (Smith) and widowed when she married James Crossley.  Joseph may have been formally adopted into the Crossley family.  At the writing of the above journal was age 19, a school teacher.  Joseph Crossley died on the Martin Handcart Company journey.  Joseph had a condition of the hip or leg that impaired his movement ability...... Lietta Ruger, July 2, 2013      




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