Saturday, March 15, 2008

4th Great Grandfather WSB

(4th Great Grandfather William Stewart/Stuart Brighton--baptized at age 14, in 1844 in Scotland)

From his journal:

"It was at a place called Meadhead that I first heard the name Latter-day Saints, but I learned nothing of the doctrine of the Church until I moved from that place to Airdrie where I went to work in Gartlee.
"I had been in Airdrie some time when I heard a conversation between two men at my work concerning religion. One was a Latter-day Saint, and thus, I became acquainted with Peter Moffet. He invited me to come to a meeting, which I did, and I heard him preach on the first principles. I believed his testimony that angels had visited the earth again. When I returned home I told my father what Brother Moffet had said, referring him to some passages of scripture. A few days later my father was baptized. I was unwell that night, but it was only a short time later, in February 1844, that I was baptized by Brother Peter Moffet. [William was 14 years old at the time of his baptism. He was confirmed 20 February 1844.]
"I was rebaptized on the 16th of January 1849 in Holytown by my father (a common practice in the early Church) and confirmed on the 21st by William Livingston, President of the Branch of the Church there. I subscribed 5 shillings to help clear a sum of debt owed by the Branch at the time I joined the Church."

That is the end of William's baptism story, but because of his being baptized, the rest of his life took a different path than it otherwise would have, so I am including a few more entries from his journal over the next years...
He was married in December 1850 to Catherine Bow, and a year later their daughter Mary was born.
In late 1854 they set sail to emigrate to the United States. They sailed from Glasgow to Liverpool, where they had to wait around for over two weeks for the weather. Once they finally left Liverpool many of the passengers were sick. William was sick for 7 days, his wife was sick for longer.

"At 1 o'clock on the 31st [of December] my child Mary [age 2years and 2weeks] departed this life and Brother Gibson's child, Elizabeth, died at 11 o'clock on the 29th. Both of the children were sewed up in a bag and let into the sea at 2 o'clock--a very little time after they died. I may say that no one could know my feelings upon that occasion except a father. When I looked on the little ones laid side by side and then sewed up in a bag to be put into the heart was pained to see them thrown in the sea, though I look forward to the day when the sea will give up its dead.
"My wife was very bad at the time and continued very bad and weak for the want of food. I went to the Captain and asked if he would sell a little food for a sick person and he said, "Why the Devil sir, I have no food for any one." So I came away from him a little sorrowful on account of the weakness of my wife...but she has got over it and is not getting strong again and my daughter Jennet is now very well and I recognize in the goodness of the Lord to me and family while there has been a great deal of death on board the ship, and in my estimation a great deal of unbecoming conduct with a number of the people."

Once the arrived in New Orleans, William worked for a few years to earn money to take his family out to Salt Lake City.

"I started to go to Salt Lake on the 25th of May 1857. I and my family got on board a steamboat by the name of Edinburgh. We had a very unpleasant passage. We stuck several times on sand bars, and we had a bad set of deck hands.
"While we were stuck on a sand bar I was engaged to help unload the boat. The mate brought plenty of whiskey which the men partook of freely and which soon made them drunk. After we commenced to unload the boat, they began to impose on me by placing too much of a load on my shoulder, which I refused to take, but they still persisted. I then went to the mate and told him that I was going to stop for I would not kill myself for to please a set of drunk men, which some of the men heard, and as I went back one of them came at me with a club and struck me on the shoulders and then on the arm and lamed me right off. My arm was broken. During the night I thought if there was a devil that it was on board a steam boat with a drunk crew, for they were as mean a set of men as the Devil could let come from his domain.
"When I got to Florence I thought I was delivered from Hell and the Devil. I with my family did praise the Lord for our deliverance. I remained in Florence a few days waiting for the saints coming from Iowa. I started from Florence on the 27th June 1857 to pull a hand cart a thousand miles with my wife and two children. I got along pretty well on the plains though it was with hard pulling but thanks be to the Lord who gave me strength to overcome it all and with my family and my sister, Ann, landed safe in Great Salt Lake City on the 11 September 1857 after traveling 12 weeks."