Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chapter III Samuel SMITH History Voyage from England

CHAPTER III The Voyage of the "Swanton"
On January 16, 1843, the 'Swanton" set sail from Liverpool. The passengers included Daniel and Sarah Wooding Smith, their son Samuel (age 24), his wife Mary Ann Line Smith (age 31) and their daughter Mary Ann (listed as 'infant"). Other passengers were Samuel's two sisters and brother: Jane Louisa Smith (age 13 years); Mary Ann Smith (age 7); and John Smith (age 4). There were a number of other Smiths on the ship's roster but we are not sure whether they were related to Daniel and Sarah and their posterity. Along with the 212 saints on board there were about 38 crew members, bringing the total to 250 souls. The 'Swanton' was the nineteenth shipload of Latter-day Saints to leave England to make their home in America.

After a few days at sea, Lorenzo Snow realized the care of over two hundred Latter-day Saints was more than he could handle alone. So he called Robert Reid and a brother M'Auley as his counselors. The ship's passengers were divided into two grand divisions (based on their location in the ship itself). Twelve subordinate officers were then appointed to see that the Saints kept themselves clean and their living areas were comfortable and well-cared for. Not that the members were allowed to backslide during the voyage. Far from it! Elder Reid noted in his journal that even regular sailing days were filled with concern for spiritual things. He wrote: "The order of the ship was, that the bell went round at six o'clock in the morning for all to arise... [there were] prayer meetings every night at seven o'clock: preaching Tuesday and Thursday nights and twice on Sunday, with church [sacrament] meeting in the afternoon.' He felt the Saints were rewarded for their close observance of gospel principles and declared 'peace and health have been in our midst.'

Only one problem seemed to vex them during passage. Head winds, which continued for about four weeks, made progress very slow. But on February 17th the wind became favorable and the ship made excellent time from that point on.

In Romney's The Life of Lorenzo Snow we have this account of the Lord's manifestation to the Saints and crew in a miraculous healing effected by Lorenzo Snow.

During the latter part of the journey over the waters the power of the priesthood exercised by Elder Snow was made manifest to a remarkable degree in the healing of the steward of the vessel. He was a young German of affable mein and charming personality. He was stricken with a malady that refused to yield to treatment and it seemed that only a few moments would elapse until his eyes would be closed in death... Consent was given to administer to the dying man... Elder Snow took a [seat by his side], offered a silent prayer, then placed his hands upon his head and by virtue of the priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ rebuked the disease and commanded the young man to be made whole. It was but a short time thereafter that the steward was seen walking about the deck praising God for his recovery. The officers and crew acknowledged the healing to be miraculous and, upon landing in New Orleans, several applied for baptism, among them the first mate of the vessel.

Extremely good feelings prevailed throughout the voyage and the crew, as mentioned above, were highly regarded by the Saints and vice versa. Brother Reid reinforced this idea strongly near the end of the long
voyage. After land had been sighted, Reid summarized thus: '...We have been blest with one of the kindest Captains (Captain Davenport) that ever had charge of a vessel and a kind and obliging crew; and we thank God that he granted us favour in their sight, and hope the preached word and the conduct of the Saints has caused an impression to be made upon them that will never be effaced." That excellent harmony prevailed among the members is underscored by Elder Reid's comment concerning the distribution of provisions. He stated: "I have myself superintended the giving out of all the provisions except the water, and we had plenty and to spare: for after having been at sea above eight weeks, we shall have a sufficiency to last us up the river to Nauvoo."

Also on the "Swanton" was another group which later played an important role in the life of Samuel Smith and his wife. This was the Richard Griffith family. Richard and his wife Mary, both 32 years of age, later brought 'the three orphans' Richard, Fanny and Sarah Jane Ingraham to Utah after their parents (William and Susannah Griffith Ingraham) contracted black measles and died shortly after reaching America.
Once the "Swanton" docked in New Orleans (on March 16 of 1843), the Smiths made arrangements to make the nearly 1,000 mile journey up the Mississippi on the riverboat 'Amaranth". However, they apparently did not leave immediately for the Mississippi was still so ice filled that riverboats could not yet navigate its full length.

As soon as possible though, several hundred saints loaded into the 'Amaranth' (including the Smiths) and headed upstream for the long-sought destination.

Richard and Mary Griffith apparently elected to stay in New Orleans to await the arrival of the "Yorkshire' which had set sail from England on March 20, 1843 and arrived in New Orleans May 10th of that same year. The 'Yorkshire' group, under the leadership of Thomas Bullock, included William and Susannah Griffith Ingraham and their three aforementioned children. Susannah was Richard Griffith's sister, so the Griffith's desire to linger until the rest of their family joined them in New Orleans was understandable. And it is very fortunate for the children that Richard and Mary did wait, because both William and Susannah Ingraham died within the same week and their three orphaned children (Richard, Sarah Jane and Fanny) were left to make their home with the Griffith family for the next five years. Two older children of William and Susannah apparently went back to England from New Orleans rather than face the further rigors of frontier life. And so it was that several key players in our drama arrived in America within two months of each other. Sarah Jane and Fanny Ingraham were destined, in a few years, to become the second and third wives of Samuel Smith even though they (nor Samuel and Mary Ann for that matter) had no inkling of that prospect when they arrived. But that was during the Utah years. First we must cover the important years at Nauvoo and the protracted trip west.


Abrahm Smith said...

I am a decendent of Samuel Smith. Do you know if he had a journal? If so, do you know where it may be located?

Lark said...

I don't know of a journal. The first place I would go to find one would be in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Archives located at the church office building in Salt Lake City, Utah.