EVENT: THOMAS AMBROSE POULTER, the son of THOMAS POULTER was born at East Moulsey, Surrey, England at the Bell Hotel. My grandfather also kept a diary. My father was lame. He was apprenticed to a Boot and Shoe Maker to the Royal Family of England, namely, King George the Fourth and King William and Queen Adelaide and Prince Sase Coburg of Claremount, Esther and also Hampton Court Palace.
My mother's name was SARAH DAVIS, who was born at the Castle Hotel at the foot of the Bridge Tower, East Moulsey, Surrey. She was married at the age of nineteen to my father THOMAS POULTER. She was a fine young woman-had a bonnie head of hair and was well educated. She was also a poet. My grandfather WILLIAM DAVIS was also lame, having like my father been thrown off a horse when a boy. The Castle Hotel was noted for stewed eels and pies. My grandmother was a noted cook. My grandfather WILLIAM DAVIS kept post horses, and so on, also owned land, also lands on the river Thames, for growing willows for baskets. My grandfather was a good man, beloved by all his neighbors and abounded in good works. My mother would often go and weep over his grave after his death.
I asked my mother of what religion my grandfather WILLIAM DAVIS possessed. She said he feared the Lord, but he never went to any church. But she said one day or evening she wanted to go out on the sly, so she quietly went upstairs to peep to see if he was asleep when she saw him on his knees saying his prayers. This was a lesson she never forgot. When he was dying, several ministers came to see him, and wanted him to receive the Sacrament, but he told them to go home and let him die in peace. One man, a Wesleyan preacher strove so hard, but grandfather told him he feared no Hellfire brimstone nor any such stuff. "Mr. Davis, what do you believe?"
"Well, my friend, my belief is Hell to a man who is a bad man, remorse of an evil conscience. A good man of good works there is no remorse, no Hell of Conscience." My grandfather did not take the Sacrament, but he called his family by his bedside and blessed them, and then died in peace. Beloved by the poor and honored by all, he was buried in St. Mary's Churchyard, East Moulsey, Surrey, England.
I write from memory and truth is my motto as I wish to do unto others as I wish others to do to me. I do not know one thing of my grandfather POULTER. He was a worldly man and when he died, he died without a will, and great confusion was the result. For it was grab, grab, and quarrel. My father (THOMAS) would have nothing.
My great grandfather THOMAS DAVIS came from some Castle in Wales, and was first keeper of the Royal Horses to King George the Third, of England. He had a large family, for today his son's sons are now with the present Queen of England even Queen Victoria. In all the Royal Stables, the name of DAVIS is great. Also many of the branches of the Davis are at Lower Mousley with land by the Thames boats, punts, and so on.
As the Prince wished him to so do, my father (THOMAS POULTER), removed to Esher and leased the Wheat-Sheaf Hotel. The Prince gave my father the privilege to hunt with his game keepers. My father was a great sport. His Hotel was crowded all the time by the Prince's household and the Lancers and the Dragoons were quartered at the Hotel. Father, all this time, did the work for the Prince, as father made the best waterproof hunting boots.
Claremount, the home of the Royal Family, all the time, was crowded with the nobles of the earth and gay times. Claremount was a lovely spot. Fish and game abounded. I was often sent to the mansion. The tenant's hall was large. They had--I remember--for breakfast, large joints of meat hash and stew, and strong ale and beer. The servants would load me up with plum pudding. Talk about high living, and to see the piles of game and meats consumed. Good old England times.
My father was a good shot, a jolly singer and dancer, and a jolly good fellow. A large green about five acres, was in front of the Wheat Sheaf Hotel as father was a great sport, on all holidays, he would get all the little boys and girls of the village to run races with their hands tied behind them with bread and treackle tied over their mouths. Large tubs filled with oranges, and boys climbing greasy poles, and eating boiling porridge. Clothing and money would be the prizes. Now all these fine times and prosperity was through the Prince staying at Claremount.
We had a dog by the name of Sharper, had a fine harness and cart. He was a faithful dog. He took beer every day to the copper mills and he also took the children to school.
Father kept a splendid horse by the name of Black Bess. My grandfather T. EVANS (or godfather) was a great sport. One day they went out to get rabbit, when they got half way home, the mare ran on the mile stone throwing them both out, cutting them up badly. The farmer where they had stopped, made the horse drunk with old ale; all three where too much so.
As time wore away, changes came. The Prince left Esher and was made King of the Belgians. The Princess Laxcoburg was confined, and both died, some say poisoned. Nothing supported this town, as in these days there were no railways or anything else, and it must be born in mind that no poor man dare carry a gun without a license which was five pounds per year. Game laws were very strict. Only the rich could get them, and also the friends of the game keepers. Rabbits were sold in markets as times were growing hard.
Next house to the Wheat-Sheaf lived a man and his daughter, who was ill. He sent for my mother and made her promise that if he died she would take the girl into her family. He did die, and mother at this time was confined, and the child, Elva, that was her name, was sent to the poor house. While mother was in bed one evening Elva's father drew the curtains and stood at the foot of the bed. He did not speak, but stood staring at her. My mother rang the bell and told the servant to send up or tell her master to come. Immediately, all was excitement. As soon as he entered the room, she begged him to go to the poor house and bring Elva, which he did. Mother said the father never came again. Mother declared this was true.
Father sold out and left Esher for Hampton Court. He again went into business. His house opened in Bushey Park, a lovely and grand park filled with game and deer and the trees were planted with food of all kinds. Close to this, were the Royal Gardens and Palace, a grand old place, guarded by police and soldiers of light horses of different kinds. The band played in the Royal Gardens. He would meet on a Sunday morning all the boys and lassies for miles around. The gardens had the finest plants and the largest grapevines in the world. Father had the Royal Coat of Arms over his door and got a good trade started. There was a large green in sight, a cut ten acres, where the troops marching from town to town would camp. We were allowed, on the Fifth of November, to make bonfires, and stick old Guy Fawkes in the middle. All the boys and lassies would be out squibbing each other with fire crackers and fine times for the boys and girls. On the first of May was May Day. The chimney sweeps and the jack in the green on this day had fine sport. Opposite our house was a lovely grove of horse chestnut trees. Here the daughters of the Duke of Clarence and the wife of Cambells would meet and pelt me with horse chestnuts. The Duke, afterwards, was made King of England, King William the Fourth.
We were surrounded by the Parks of Ivinser, York, and the lovely gardens of the British Isle. I was now at the age of twelve years. I had to go to school three miles, which made six miles every day. Here father prospered in everything with a good business, lots of friends, and my mother visited ladies in the palace. Mother had five boys and five girls. These were the brightest days of my youth, but this bliss was suddenly to be blasted, cursed law.
My godfather, T. EVANS, went to law over a house. It lasted till Father was bankrupt, and the Duke being made a King and leaving Hampton Court Palace made business dull. Everything was dark. My mother like a real and true British lady plucked up, and her influence with the Ladies got Father a position as one of the tea inspectors. We moved to London. Here Father had good times, going to work in the morning at ten and quitting at four in the afternoon. Father thought this was a place for life, but alas another change in life. The government made a change. This caused a change in every department through the kingdom. There were forty discharges from this department alone. Father was again thrown on the wide world. He moved to Chelsea and sent at his old business, but alas, times got worse. He then moved to Hampton, commenced again at his old business. Times were hard and business dull. Father still had the business of making the hunting boots for the King of Belgians.
At this time, I had an uncle by the name of GAINES, who was boss of the City Gas Works, Black Piers Street Fleet, London. He put Father in as yard overseer. This place Father kept for twenty nine or thirty years until his children clubbed together and built him a cottage with a nice garden near the place where he was born, namely, East Moulsey, Surrey, so he might die and be buried with this forefathers. He was allowed so much weekly, with a servant, horse and jig. Here Father was blessed with good health, and lived in peace and mother the same, surround by old friends and their children. SARAH ANN who married JAMES MCLACHLAN, a great builder at Clapham Common, also an artist; CHARLOTTE, whose husband by the name of GEORGE WRIGHT GREENWOOD was a barrister of the law. These two resided one at Clapham, and the other at Regent Park, both well to do in life. They kept their carriage and servants. These two would come down almost every week to fish and ride out in the jig. So my parents days here were their best in their old age. At the age of sixty, father retired from the gas works. My sister ANN married WILLIAM HENRY LEE, a piano maker. My sister JANE married WILLIAM CRAWSHAW and upon his death married JOSEPH WILLIAM HARRIS, a lawyer. My sister MARY married a rich man in Yorkshire the name I have forgotten. My brother and his wife, WILLIAM POULTER, immigrated to St. Louis, America. My brother ROBERT, was drowned. SARAH ANN was the first born. THOMAS AMBROSE was the next born 1 June 1817, then came WILLIAM, JANE, ANN, CHARLES THOMAS, ROBERT, ELIZA, CHARLOTTE and MARY.
I will now write a line on myself. I wanted to go to sea, but my friends would not let me go. I went to live with Lady Harriet Host at Hampton Court Palace. This lady had several of the royal rooms to live in. She was the wife of Sir. W. Host, who was a brave man, Post Captain in the British Royal Navy. He has a marble statue of himself in St. Paul s Church, London. This lady was very fond of me, as were her children; her sons Sir. W. Host and Master Theodore who were in the flagship at Portsmouth, also Master Windon Host and three girls. Her ladyship traveled, and where she went, I went. She took a trip to Portsmouth. Here, she rented a house for three months. She visited the best society of the town, the Admiral Sir. W. Williams. One day the Admiral made a party to go to the Isle of Wight on a cruise and a picnic. It was a fine yacht, well named. Before we got to the Spithead, nearly the whole party was seasick. I was on the fore part of the vessel with the sailors. The Admiral's steward was a jolly fellow. He handed out the wine, ale, port, and brandy in fine style to the joy of the crew. I was terribly scared of the sea and very sea sick. On our way back, we got on a land bank. The company had to be landed in the Admiral's barge. The servants were left to the last. During this time the boats would be gone about two hours. All this time the steward and servants and sailors were having fine times. And by the time the boats got back they were all more or less, jolly drunk. On going ashore the steward or butler sang a song, "the sea, the sea, the blue and open sea." Oh, how I wished I was on shore! No sooner I landed, I ran ashore as hard as I could, looking back all the seas was coming after me. The next day the Lady Harriet Host gave me fits, so much so, that I ran away and walked all the way to Esher and to Hampton Court. In these days, the rich travelled in their own carriages and hired post horses every ten miles. Stages carried the Royal mails, carried the letters and papers. The coachman and the guard were dressed in scarlet and gold. The guard would have a seat behind that would only hold one with a long box in front that had a pistol and blunderbuss--loaded with buckshot. Where they changed horses, it was lots of drinks for the guard and the coachman, and where they had supper was by the hall that was run by Richons. You would see the tables filled with roast and boiled joints of meats, hot brandy, and water gin, and beer. No wonder these men had such red noses, big bellies and bloated faces. But the rosy red-faced girls to wait on you added a charm to it all. Charles Dicken's works will give a true history to all these things.
I went home then. My father gave me a sound flogging and locked me up all day without food which was a blow to me. I never forgave him for years. left home and went to live with Mr. Smith, a retired rich man. I stayed here till I got disgusted, and made up my mind to go to sea. So I packed up and started, but I took the wrong stage and went to Brighton. Here I found nothing but pleasure boats and fishing smacks. I found this a fine town with Queen House. Knowing some of the Queen's household, I called on them. I stayed there two days. They were very kind to me and begged me to go home. This place was not a seaport, but a watering spot for health and lots of white fish, spratts, herring, oysters fresh every day. The third day, I arrived at London to go home, but the thrashing I could not forget, so I did not go. I sent to Portsmouth on the Van. I had some money saved up.
When I got to Portsmouth, I went to board at a house on the beach. The landlord called me his son Tom, and trusted me to attend to his bar. He gave me a bed and room to myself. He and his wife were remarkably kind to ne. I heard that there were two ships in the harbor fitting out to go to the North Pole commanded by Sir John Franklin. The officers told me that the boys were all engaged. I felt bad as I was in hopes of going to the North Pole. I went to the Admiral, as I knew him. He told me to go home to my parents as he would do nothing for me. I sent to my lodgings with the blues. I went to the sea shore to drown myself, for to go home was awful to contemplate and to be the sport of all. The landlord was still kind to me.
I went to the George Hotel which was kept by Mr. Guy. This is where Lady Harriet stayed a week. I told him all the truth. He took me and made me take charge of the coffee room. This hotel was the largest and best and where all the foreign Princes stayed. Mr. Guy had two beautiful girls who were very fond of me and good to me; so were all the household, especially, Mr. White, the housekeeper, and the head waiter, William. I stayed here over a year. I had many offers to go out to all parts of the world, but I wanted to go to sea.
In the Royal Navy, at last! A new Admiral came to Portsmouth-Admiral Dundas. The flagship was here, H.M.L. Bretania, with 120 large guns, manned with fresh officers, etc. One of the officers came and asked me to go and be his cabin boy so I took the offer. He was a Scotchman, by the name of McLain. I was rated as first class boy. Every time I went ashore, he would give me money to spend, which was the means of leading me into bad company. A guard ship is not like any sea going ship. We had a brass band on board, a drummer, fifer, and fiddler. I had to turn out at four in the morning to help stone decks, lash up hammocks, stow them, breakfast, up bags, then the various drillings for the big guns, small arms and outlash. At twelve o'clock, which the bell would strike eight times, pipe to dinner, which consisted of fresh beef, soup, one pound of beef, one pound of biscuit, one quart of cocoa, and one of tea, with so much sugar. The tea would be boiled in a large copper and the sugar added so with the cocoa. Now the ship's cook had to keep everything clean and brightened. The mate of the lower deck was inspector with the help of the Quarter master's sergeant of the Royal Marines and the Master of Arms. A guard, one of the Royal Marines, would be placed as follows: one at the poop, one at each gangway, one at the fore castle, one over the tank of fresh water, one at the Captain's door, one each over the powder magazines, so the Marine was guard over the prisoners, and also formed a body as an army on shore to help the troops of the line fight in battle. Although the British troops of the line don't compare themselves with Marines, but still there is a jealous feeling in all the regiments. When a regiment is given the name of Royal, it indicates that the regiment is old and has been in many bloody battles. For instance, the Royal Horse Guards, the Royal Grenadiers, the Royal 18 Irish, and the Royal Marines. All these regiments are at all times called into bloody battles as they fight to conquer or to die. As the regiments are more in number than the rest, they are sent to every place, such as Waterloo or to Russia or to Egypt. I write this to show how the Army and the Navy work together, I shall write as I proceed, as I write now, it is dinner time.
A mess is twenty five men. The Royal Marines mess by themselves on the Lower Deck, aft part of the ship. So do the band. The drummers and the fifers also mess with the Royal Marines. One hour is allowed for dinner. Each man gets one gill of rum each day, half at dinner and the other at supper. After dinner, drilling, and the other things until four o'clock, when they pipe to supper--which consists of tea and biscuits and the rum. When the drummer would beat to quarters, at the sound of this drum, each man and boy would have to fly to his post of duty. Then the officers would call the roll, then report if any man was sick or missing, or the worse -drunk. If a man was the worse for drink, he would be put in irons and flogged with cat and nine tails. The drilling would last for two hours or so, the pipe down bags. We changed our clothes twice a day. Wore clothing every night till morning. Blue cloth in winter, and white ducks in summer. Then pipe all hands to dance, and skylark until eight o'clock. Then down hammocks. Each hammock and bag was numbered and so it was soon known, and look out for squalls if you were not there in time. The Officers and the Captain were allowed a steward, a cook, and a boy. The wardroom officers were allowed the same, as was the midshipman. Now I will try and describe how the men were flogged but I cannot do it in justice.
The prisoner would be in irons with a guard over him. All hands would be summoned on deck, every soul. The Marines in full dress. In file on the quarter deck, the quarter masters ready with hands to tie the prisoners up. The Bosun and his mates ready with their bags and their cat of nine tails. All the officers would be in full dress with swords on and cock hats. The Captain would be below, and so everything was ready. The Captain would come on deck, which he no sooner did than an officer in command of the Marines would say, "Present arms, shoulder arms, ground arms." By this time, the Captain would be in place surrounded by all his officers. The clerk would hand him the book (containing the article of war, and the leaf turned down where the prisoner the law that he had broken). The Captain would read the same with hats off. After, he would say, "Have you any just cause why I should not punish you? It might be the law of death." The prisoner would not say a word. A death like sentence would be the next command, "Strip, sir." The prisoner would strip off all his clothing to the hips. The quarter master would tie around his loins or waist a red flannel belt. The quarter master would rise up to the grating, his fist fastened; with his legs tied and his bands all ready. Then would come the word, "Bosun Mate, do your duty." At every lash, the Master of Arms would say, "one, two" and so on until twelve. Then the Captain would say, "Another Bosun's Mate, more licks." And so on it would be according to the prisoner's offence. But reader, what a sight! A bloody sight to this man's back but to a jelly, and the blood and gore running down his back in the red belt on his waist. The doctors are there to see if he is able to stand the licking. He is then cast off, and taken to the sick bay where he stays until he is quite well.
Now comes an order from the Lords of the Admiralty to muster fifty first class boys to go with the fleet in the Mediterranean. I was the first boy that volunteered to go. We soon got the fifty boys. We all landed at the docks to be inspected and draw our two months advance. I was dressed with somewhat finer clothes than the rest, so the Admiral said to his officer in command of the boys, "What dancing master is this?" He meant me of course. "Oh, oh, Thomas, you are tired are you, of fresh beef? All right, my boy, you will get hard tack, salt port and salt horse."
We were then all taken in the Admiral's barge to Spithead, where was at anchor, H.M. Ship Aisha-84 guns or 74. A fine sea going ship, well manned going to join the fleet in the Mediterranean. I was not long abroad before I wished I was on the shore. Every morning, we had to muster on the quarter deck and then woe unto us if we were not clean. Then we had to go over the mast head up one side, and down the other. If any of the boys had dirty heads, one of the boys would have to get a bucket of salt water and sand and scrub him good. We stopped here till the Queen Victoria was crowned at twelve o'clock. We dressed the ship with flags, and fired a royal salute of twenty one guns. An extra gill of rum.
Orders came up! Anchor, and sail for the fleet! When we got into the British Channel, it was over dark. The sea was running high. The thundering and lightning was terrible. All hands were called on deck to shorten sail. We boys were told to man this rope and that. And the terrible thunder, etc., we did not know one rope from another. The officer of the watch swore at us and called us land lubbers etc. After the watch was called, he made us fifty boys march up and down the main rigging. But I crawled into the main top lubbers hole, and the rolling of the ship drove me to sleep. If I fell out of this, death could have been the consequence. As I was fifty feet high when I woke, I found all the boys gone and so out I crawled and down I came. When half way down, the same officer said to me, "Who are you sir?" "Who am I, sir? Boy T. A. POULTER." "You land lubber, go below, sir." I went too quickly. The next day, I was picked out for the ward room officers.
One day one of the boys was cleaning knives, and at this time, he had the carving knife in his hand. At this time, I stuttered bad. He mocked me. I gave him a smeller on his nose. He then stabbed me in the wrist which made blood spurt all over me. I then pitched in and I blooded him all over and myself too. We were both marched on the quarter deck. We had on white clothing. The Captain called the boy, a Spaniard, and gave orders for his flogging, which he got in good style.
Land hove in sight, and the next day, we cast anchor at the wonderful rock of all rocks, even Gibraltar. This place is a noted place. A great many troops are kept here all the time, and every kind of war method ready to be sent to all parts of the world, where men and provisions are required. The town is on the side of a hill filled with men and women, thrifty Spaniards and Moors. It is guarded day and night. One of the officers took me on shore with him to carry his sketch book. This gave me a privilege that few got. By this time, I saw the cannons and the grates that made the shot red hot, to destroy the French ships. One then went to St. Michael's cave, away up in the mountains, a large cave where the water would drip down and form pillars of solid stone of all colors. This stone would be worked up into ink stands, fancy book stands, etc. There would be some smart boys here who would shout and describe the wonders of this rock, and a thousand and one of other things. Of course, you would have to give him a quarter. We went to see the Chapels powder magazine. We then went to see the market which was filled with delicious grapes and oranges and lemons, dates, fish of all kinds, and all kinds of vegetables. The stores were kept by English, French, and Spanish merchants. Everything was sold remarkably cheap. Cigars per ox, twenty five per hundred. Tobacco twelve cents per pound. Wine and spirits of the real French kind was very cheap. No duty on the goods; it was a free port.
There were two large ships or hulks here, where the convicts were kept under the strictest law. They would land every day on the shore to work under a strong guard. After taking in a supply of water, we set sail for the fleet. Arriving at Malta, the fleet had left no one now here. Here we stayed for a week. Refitted, repainted the ship, took in water, and provisions at this place. At this place was a wonderful fort, a strong army with large stores of food. For seven years in case of war, this town was strongly fortified. The ship soon loaded with lovely girls after the duty boats would be alongside, loaded with fruit. At this place, the starboard watch went on shore, for twenty four hours to have fun. At this place, I went to see the noted chapel St. Johns. The inside was gra;nd the alter was magnificent; it must have cost millions. I cannot describe it. The Church of Rome has great sway here. The bells ringing all the time and all the priesthood carried out the old style in all its force. The British Government does not interfere with any creed. It was here, you leave me alone-I will you.
On the corner of the Main Streets, were statues of the Apostles, one on each corner of the streets. I observed the Maltese would stop and take off their hats and cross themselves. The females would count their beads. I went, as usual, to a hotel with the officer. Here I fell in love with a beautiful Greek girl. She was a beauty. I one day hired a donkey to ride out to the place where St. Paul was wrecked, but I no sooner got out of town than the donkey ran me over his head, and away he went home. The next time, I went and hired a horse. It got along nicely until he got at the half way house. Here he turned around. I tried to stop him, but I needed to hold on for my life. This let me out on haltered animals.
We again set sail for the fleet, calling at places on the coast, Tonue, Sicily, and Athens. All those places, I would get some relic of these towns. At last, we struck the fleet, at Vola Bay. Oh, what a sight! A grand, magnificent sight! A large fleet of all sizes, and war ships of every nation. They were painted in the grandest style, but the sight was grand.
The fifty boys were sent on board of H.M. Ship Calondia, 120 guns. We all had to pass the doctor. The signal was hoisted to the fleet for the ships that wanted the boys to come and get them. I was picked to go on board of the ship "Revenge" of 74 guns, by the Officer, Lee Gouldsmith. At this place, I went ashore to wash my clothes. The shore was lovely. The mountains were jasper stone, and turkish stone. At this place, wild grapes grew as large as our plums, dates, and figs. The Turkish men would come on board to trade. They would sell you nice straw; no, not straw it was made from some leaf. They would fill the hat with grapes, figs, dates, all for half a crown or fifty cents. They were great smokers. They would trade in musk, furs, silks and pipes at any price. The scent would stink the ship. The Turkish women were hard to see for they were not allowed to speak to anyone. They wore a thick veil over their faces. The Turks were the handsomest men I ever saw, eyes like eagles.
The officers and sailors were remarkably kind to me. The fleet made sail for Malta. On our way, we would have sham fighting matches, and sham battles. On our way, we would have all was bustle. As our ship was three years in service, the Admiral gave the Captain orders to proceed home to England to be paid off. While we were so preparing, a ship of war from England arrived. Our relief-H.M. Ship Belorifin, 75 guns.
A private of the Royal Marines had killed the sergeant. He was sent a prisoner to our ship. placed between two guns both feet in irons, with a guard over him. Every day a gun would be fired for all the Captains to come on board and try the prisoner. After a long trial of six weeks, he was found guilty. His sentence was death. To be hung by the neck until dead. The prisoner was Irish by birth. The prisoner broke out in: "Revenge is sweet, I will die like a man." As he came down the hatchway, he asked me for a glass of water. I was standing by the steward's door. I was just going to drink a glass of lemonade in which I handed him to drink. He drank it and said, "God bless you, my boy." The next day, he was hung at eight o'clock in the morning at the main yard, on board his own ship. All hands of the fleet turned out to see him hung. We then took the mail on board, and sailed for England, and called at the Rock of Gibraltar for supplies, and sailed for Old England.
On our arrival, we fired a salute of fifteen guns. As soon as we anchored at Spithead, boats were flocking by the shore. Girls of no end came to them on board. Such kissing, such fainting, such crying! The next day we went to the Harbor to be paid off. We had to strip the ship of everything and return every thing to the dock yard. Peddlers and Jews and girls were swarming on board. The day we were paid off, the fun began. The sailors would get piles of clothing, and then get a fast board and skip off. I went ashore with two lads. Twins so much alike, you could not tell them apart. Their name was Mutton. Their sister was very kind to me. At this time, I had been away from home for three years. Because my father flogged me, I would not go home, so I stopped at Portsmouth until I spent all of my money, and then joined H.H. Sloop of War, the Hyacinth of 18, 16, 32 pounders and two long tons. I had fallen in love with two fine girls while on shore.
The vessel was well manned with first class men, and aims. In these days, we had flint locks to all our guns. I was still a first class boy I looked so young. Our orders were to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, to await the Admiral's orders to cross for slave ships. While in harbor, fighting out, I pulled the stroke. One in the commander's gig, whose name was Captain Warren was a fine man, but very strict in discipline while lying at Spithead. He would go on shore at all weathers. The gig's crew consisted of five first class boys and the coxswain. A Petty Officer made six, of course, the best looking and smartest in the ship. Often times when in the boat, the waves of the sea would break over us which took up our time to off hats and bail out of course, we knew the Captain was at the rudder lines. At last orders came to prepare for sea. The Port Admiral and pay barge came to pay us our two months advance. Oh, how I thankful I felt! I was assured of food, and clothing for three years at least. The ship was again flooded with girls, men's wives, peddlers and Jews. Oh such kissing and hugging and fainting!
We then made sail for St. Helena where the great Napoleon was confined. One day, one of the boys was holding the logline. The force of the speed drew him off the poop. Then for the first time, I heard the cry, "man overboard!" Oh, what a shudder when through the ship. Now came the orders thick and fast. Let go the life buoy, lower the first gig--which was soon done by the brave of the brave. The sea was rough. About all the ship's hands were on deck. The boy was one of the gig crew my chum. Oh, how noble he acted. He was a splendid swimmer. He could not see the life buoy, and the boat could not see him. Still, he was on top. Oh God, what a sight! Large birds called the Albatross were flying over his head. He threw his hat up in the air, when he took off his sea jacket, and swung it over his head. He threw his hat up in the air, but as the sea was rough, all hopes were lost. As the evening was on us, the Captain gave the order, all hands about the ship, and make sail and steer for the gig. The Captain told each man to save himself and let the boat go. The six men were saved. The boy, the life buoy and the Captain's gig were lost. I had now lost my chum, and my partner in the dance. I danced no more after this, nor smoked. It made me reflect, and feel more serious.
We arrived at St. Helena, took in water and hired a cook for the Captain. I was taken from the top, and made the Assistant Midshipman's steward. The next thing of interest was crossing the line. This was fun for some. The old sailors would find who had crossed the line before, so as to have the sport on these who had not. Now for the fun. It was a lovely evening. The sea was calm. All hands were below at supper. presently a sailor at the fore top hollered out, "I can see about a head." All the men, boys and officers were on deck with spy glasses which the officers lend freely, but they fixed a single arc across the glass which loomed like a lone on the sea which made the greenhorns believe it was real. Soon the boat was in speaking distance. The officers hailed the boat by saying: "My name is Neptune, the God of the Sea. Have you any of my children aboard?" The officer then said "Yes, come on board." Then Neptune would say, "What ship is that, and who is she commanded by?" Then the officer of the watch would say, "This is H.M. Ship Hyacinth of 18 guns, commanded by Captain Warren." Then all the officers were on deck to receive the mighty Neptune. Side boys were called with side ropes. Up he walked with a three-tongued spear in his hand, a pot of gold. His face was all painted red, his body all naked to his waist. All was excitement, now up went the Captain who was now on the quarter deck with all the officers around him. Now the talk was commenced by Neptune asking the Captain a lot of questions, which the Captain answered as if he was the real God of the Sea. Now the boat, all this time was long side of the ship. As the farewell shake of the hands were going on, down came lots of water from a loft, which made of the hands scatter in confusion. Neptune slipped into the boat, and all the green horns believed it was the real Neptune, the God of the Sea.
Next morning, the sport began again. All the green horns were taken down below. Down came two men stripped all but their pants, who took up the time, and said to the Doctor, "Here is a subject." He would say, "Well, Well, my son, what is your name?" Then, he would say, "You are very, very sick. You must have some nice sugar pills. Open your mouth, sir." And, if you didn t, he would jam his great fist down into your mouth and rub a lot of sheep dung and tar in your mouth, nearly choking you. Then, he would pass you on to the barber. This fellow would take a tar brush, and lathers your face all over with tar. Then you were passed up to a high stage on a platform where were two more men with iron saws which scared me. I said, "Oh, don't shave me with that, for I was good looking." "Well, give a bottle of rum, and we will let you off." I soon agreed to that, and so they threw me over into a large pail of water where two more men grabbed me, one, on my hands, and the other my feet. They almost drowned me. It was a month before I got over this barbarous treatment. It is the custom, but is barbarious in the extreme.
The ship was surrounded by sharks. We shot several and hooked several. We put four pounds of salt pork or beef on a hook. Living for so long on salt meats, we got lime juice handed out to us, and fresh water. By the change in the color of the sea, we knew land was near. The men at the mast head hollered out, "Land ahead!"
The next day we were safe in the Harbor of Capetown, Cape of Good Hope. The Admirals's ship was here which we had orders to refit. The harbor or the sea here was filled with fish. We caught them as fast as we could haul them out of the water. Here all the petty officers when on shore to get the things for their mess. Here nearly all the them deserted, as men of this place were hard to get. Just as we got ready for sea, the Captain ordered the Jolly on shore, and all the crew deserted. The Captain sent officers on shore to lay wait for them, and we got under way and sent out to sea, and then came back. All this crew was caught, and flogged the same day with the cat and nine tails. Instead of cruising on the coast of Africa after slaves, we were ordered to the East Indies to cruise after Pirates. We captured forty, and killed about fifty, and got all their prows, a long boat with brass guns in their bow and stern, and these were Malays. The forty prisoners were all hung. This broke up the band of
pirates. We then cruised about the land. We landed on shore where we could see evidence of where the pirates had been. These islands were dangerous on shore on account of wild beast. We would often start on shore with a party of about forty or fifty men. I would go with these men to serve out the grog. We would take a large fish net containing a large space of sea. So many men would be tolled off to haul the net, and so many to watch for turtles. The men watching for turtles would hide behind a rock and wait for the turtle to lay her eggs. Then they would sally out, and turn them on their backs. It was great fun to see the great turtles throw the sand all around, but we had trouble turning them over. We would sometimes get three for four hundred eggs. The eggs are white soft skin, and quite round. The turtle was made into soup. It was very rich. We soon tired of it. The fish were divided among the men. I would go among the rocks and gather up the lovely sea shells which abound on the shore and the beautiful coral.
I did not finish the trip from the Cape of Good Hope to Singapore. The day we left, there was a large shoal of fish. We got our fish lines, and hauled the fish out as fast as we could to the docks, which were covered with fish, all the same kind, about three or four pounds each. They were delicious fish.
As we got out of the harbor it clouded and came on to blow tremendous. The ship rolled; the poop was dry, so was the forecastle. The waist was not. We had to be battened down. All the fires had to be put out as it smoked the ship. We had to eat pork and beef--raw. One of the officers, Mr. Halket, gave us a jar of orange marmalade, a jar that contained five gallons. This terrible gale lasted for three days and nights. It was truly awful with waves mountains high, but as the wind was in our favor, we were all right. We were under snug sail, so we rolledabout in fine style. Had this gale lasted twenty four hours longer, we should have lost all our boats, and some of our men, but fortunately the wind went down and veered around as we wanted. The flying fish came on board in great numbers.
One day, I saw a great cloud dip into the sea. The sea all around it was like a bubble, and the fish were drawn up in the cloud. It turned out--it was a water spout. It then drew up on the heavens and spread in dark clouds. How wonderful are Thy works Oh, Lord, God of Hosts! Marvelous are Thy ways, past finding out! And Thy might works! Who can compare them with Thee?
I will now go back to Singapore to Melate again. We spent out time in cruising about the islands. We had good times here with lots of good fruit and vegetables.
An officer by the name of W. cleverly was very religious, and tried to make me so. He would invite me down to his cabin. But when he talked to me on religion, I would put my fingers into my ears, and I would -not be converted by him. At last, I thought I would turn and be religious. I left off in part my swearing. I swore that men that have an impediment in their speech, always do. I got to be kind to the sick; gave them my allowance of pudding and wine. I thought that I was out stripping my friends. The officers of my mess would say, "Steward, I am afraid you will become religious and go mad." I thought I was making great progress in religion, but alas, I was soon to have a test, and a trial. I never dreamed one of the officers hated all religions, and hated Cleverly now. Mr. Cleverly was really a good man and a good Christian. We had two more on board; the carpenter and Captain's steward were what I called policy Christians.
Now this officer, Mr. Burkley was going to give the professors of religions fits when he had the chance. One day, while lying at anchor in Singapore, the officer got up a party to go and get fishes and turtles. I had to go, as usual. We left the ship after dinner with fifty men. We had not gone far when it began to rain, as we were all dressed in white, it did not take long to get wet to the skin. I was ordered to give all hands a glass of grog, and one was forced down me. We had a good breeze, and soon reached the place, but could not land. A coral reef two feet wide ran along the shore. On shore were coconuts. Trees were loaded with monkeys jumping from tree to tree, and grinning and swinging by their tails from limb to limb. We made for a place, but just before we landed, I had orders to hand out another glass of grog, and another was forced on me. Mr. Burkley caught hold of me, and threw me over board. I swam to shore, and made a large fire, and pulled off my clothes to dry. After this, I did not know what I did do, as I was dead drunk. I was taken on board in that state. felt very sick the next morning, oh, so sick. Oh, all my officers had fine sport over me, especially Mr. Burkley. Oh dear, how shamed I felt, and so sick. My cook, an old salt, told me to take a glass of grog, and I would be all right. I did so, sure enough, I was all right-but, oh, I felt so ashamed. I shunned my friend, Cleverly.
I did feel very bad to think my religious ideas were cooked all into a pie. There happened to be a tract in the carpenter's cabin written by the Protestant Religious Tract Society. The title of it was the "Seamen's Friend." I read this book halfway through, and threw it down not to read anymore of it. Orders came for the ship to sail for the port of Tanah. As we were going through the Straits of Melakker, one of the Lieutenants got drunk. The Captain ordered him to his cabin under arrest, with strict orders to stop all his drink. The sudden stoppage was the cause of his death, for he died two days after. The ship's carpenter wanted to cover his coffin with cloth, but the Captain would not allow it. He told him to paint it with black paint. The man's sudden death, and his funeral gave me the blues. I again took the book of the "Seamen's Friend", and read it again. It gave me some hope, but I thought nothing but Hell. I wanted to do something good to get God's mercy. At this time, I did not know anything about religious creeds, only the Church of Rome, and the English Church, and very, very little of that.
We now arrived at Singapore and one morning, as I was taking a cup of coffee up to the officer of the watch on the quarter deck and I was halfway up the hatch, the ship was struck with lightning. It tore the main top mast, split the main yard, and ran on the chain cable through the Morse hole into the sea. I felt so sick, and it was the chain cable that saved my life. This was a narrow escape indeed.
The village of Tanah is a lovely place with some of the beautiful birds and parrots. The forts are supplied with all kinds of provisions. This is a great place for spice of all kinds. There is a hospital at this place, a fine Church, and many fine houses. The grave yards are laid out in fine flower beds. The girls at this place marry at ten years of age. One of our officers married a young lady here, a rich planter's daughter, and as they were eating their marriage breakfast, the bride died of heart disease. So the officer lost his bride. The people were very kind to him.
The Admiral's ship came here, and he came on board and drilled us at our guns and gave the Captain a going over for not hoisting the lightning conductor every evening. He ordered us to create a forte on the Siamese coast to blockade the same. This fort and the town were the property of the Siamese, but the Malay had got it into their hands. The Siamese had a large army on shore, so their supplies were all cut off as we stopped all supplies by the sea. All our boats but the Captain's gig and jolly boat, and nearly all the officers and men were on shore to cut off supplies from the army in the fort. We had a fine time of it. The men had fine times in the boats. The weather was beautiful. They got lots of fish and eggs and poultry. Mr. Burkley and Mr. Knox were all I had charge of. The fresh beef was so tough that we could not eat it, and eggs being cheap, we easily ate from eight to twelve at a meal. We got fresh butter every morning in small bars containing about two ounces. It was made of goat's milk. We also got a vegetable called the Yaham. This was a delicious vegetable; some of them would weigh five or six pounds each. The meat would not keep over ten hours it was so hot and sultry. We threw piles over board every evening. I made lots of curry nearly every day.
By throwing so much meat overboard it caused the fish to come about the ship. we could see lots of tiger sharks. These sharks were very vicious, terrible spotted monsters. These sharks were supplied with two small pilot fish--one on each side of their gills or mouth, and they would hold on by the mouth of the shark in the time of danger as the shark was a power in the water. The Captain sent the jolly boat on shore to bring a canoe off to the ship. The Captain gave the boys the strict orders to tow off the canoes stern of the jolly boat, and as the boys were bringing off the boat, there were two of the boys to the jolly boat and two in the canoe. The Captain hailed the boys to get into the jolly boat, but as the boys sprang from the canoe the canoe flew back. The Captain told one to come on board. The boy took the paddle, dug in fast, and it went spinning round and over went the boat. The boy threw his arms over the boat and before the jolly boat and the gig could reach him, a large tiger shark grabbed him by his legs and hauled him and the canoe under water, and he never rose any more. I was on the forecastle all this time watching with intense anxiety. Did I say he was a boy? He was a fine young man over twenty years of age, rated but a first-class boy. Shame on the Captain, and the Admiral of the British Navy, but so it is, policy for the sake of favor. Damn such favor! The British people don t want any such policy men in her ranks.
After the accident, I went to my cabin and wept bitterly. To think, I fought this boy only a day before. It prayed upon my mind a great deal. thought of his poor mother, who was a widow woman living at the Isle of Wight. I was down on him too, but this horrible death of being torn to pieces by sharks. How horrible to contemplate! Remorse took hold of me. I could not sleep. I read the "Seamen's Friend" again. I went to my hammock. I dreamed I saw Heaven, and Hell. Hell was Hell. I had to tarry up and down a long passage, one end of Heaven. Here they were singing and praying. All was peace and happiness, and love. On the end was Hell. Here the people were cursing, swearing and fighting. No peace, but I saw no fire and brimstone. About four o'clock in the morning while in my hammock, I felt as if some hand held me by the arm. It pained me. I jumped from my hammock and went in between the pumps, fell on my knees and cried out, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." Three times I cried out, I felt a change come over me. I felt a new young man. I only wonder that I was not sent to Hell long ago. In every way, I was indeed born again in the spirit, a change of heart, a change every way, a real change. From this moment a fear came on me to do evil. I left off swearing, fighting and quit bad company. The fear of man had left me. I did not fear any man, only the Lord. How changed everything become. I took notice of everything that I was surrounded with, I could see the wonderful works of the Lord of Hosts. I now read the Bible every day, the Old and New Testament. I did not understand only felt the great and wonderful love of the Lord Jesus. I learned two things. One was "when I can read my title clear to mansions in the skies." I prayed three times a day with my head on a table. All the officers away, I had it all to myself-no one to trouble me.
The Princess would come on board to seek counsel. At last after three months, they concluded to turn over the fort to the ships, and threw themselves on our protection. All the troops and people went on board to prows, and steered for Tanah, to get protection under the British flag. The Priests and Princess came on board the ship bringing a few of their guard. They were all armed with creases, a dagger than made a terrible wound. They also had spears and scimitars. This was a large sword to take off your head. The Priests would rise at sunset. It now came time to sail for Tanah with the Princess. On our arrival the Sergeant of the Royal Marines was sent on shore and died. In the night we put on shore two men, the carpenter and the mate for bad conduct. Death was their doom. They had been court martialed. They were put down in the log book as runaways. We stayed here for some time. While here Mr. Burkley got tight and was confined to the cabin. He was crazy, but I put some brandy in his coffee, and tea, and so saved his life. For this act of kindness he never forgot.
Now the officers could see a great change in me, and so they went to work to drive religion out of me. Mr. Halket, Esq. went on shore and brought me some pious books. They tried hard, but the harder they tried the firmer I got. I did not care nor fear man. The caterer of the mess by the name of Mr. Brake, Esq. was a real gentleman and a man of good sense. I wrote him the hymn, "When I can read my title clear, etc." I threw it on the mess table, he read it, folded it up and put it into his pocket. In the evening the officers all met to take a glass of grog or a glass of wine and crackers and chat and play at chess. Card playing was not allowed on the ship. He, Mr. Brake took out of his pocket the hymn I had written and read it and all but Mr. Halket made fine sport of it. After all the fun and jokes had ended Mr. Brake spoke as follows: "Gentlemen and fellow mess mates, I have now come to the firm conclusion that I want you all to quit right away even from tonight and for all time while Thomas is our steward this slurring, etc. on his religion and leave him alone. For should you know this comes to the Captain's ears he will take him from us." At this time the Captain had no steward so the officers were very kind to me. Some gave me their keys to their wine lockers. And that night they made me up a ruse to go on shore. I went on shore and came off early. I was indeed converted by the power and grace of God.
The orders came to proceed to the Island of Selome to refit and meet the Admiral. On our arrival we found the Admiral's ship and seven others war ships. The natives came on board to barter and to sell all kinds of precious stones, pearls, gold rings, watch guards, all kinds of handsome birds and peacocks. The natives were good and kind.
Now I want my reader to bear in mind I still read the Bible daily and the fear of the Lord was upon me and the officers still very kind to me. One morning the native that attended our mess brought me a fruit like an egg or plum. I ate this on an empty stomach. My whole frame was in pain. I took some brandy. This made me worse, I then went to the Doctor. He tried to bleed me but no blood would flow. He tried both of my arms, and then cupped me and lashed by sides on my loins to ease my pain. I was taken to a cot and placed under the starboard side of the ship. On the other side of the ship were two fine strapping young men also on the sick list. Now these two young men were sick from going into bad company, and one of them died one day. The news came on board that the Admiral was coming to muster the ship company and drill them. After the ship was inspected, he came to see me and asked me if I could stand the firing of the Big Guns. I told him I did not know. He told the Captain to hoist the signals for all the surgeons to attend. They were all soon on board. They came to me and felt my pulse. They shook their heads and told the Captain there was no hopes for me recovering. So they did not fire. This was about ten o'clock. At eleven o'clock I began to feel very bad. The news flew through the ship that the young gentleman steward was going to die. At twelve o'clock the Bosun mates piped to dinner. I now felt very sick. My friend Cleverly was at my side. I told him I felt very sick, and wanted to see my Mother, brother and sisters. He said, "Thomas that is impossible." He took from his side pocket a small Testament and read to me a chapter from the Book of Hebrews, twelfth chapter; namely, whom the Lord loveth the same he chastises and afflicts every son. After he read this I laid me down saying, "Blessed is the name of the Lord." I felt no pain but very weak in body. One of the ship boys came up to my cot and asked me for my little brig. My friend went to his cabin to pray that I might die in peace. Now while he was gone I was lying on my back and to all appearances dying. But I was in a trance or a vision. I felt that I was dying and there was on my right hand and my right side and also on my left a black nigger. I would look up at their faces and they never moved, but looked around and their eyes were watching for something. I felt that I was dying, but the niggers pressed closer and closer as death approached. I felt I was lost and all hope nearly gone of being saved from the wrath to come. I still looked on the faces of the niggers. It was the same looking ahead for something. Suddenly a man stood in front of us who had on a white garment that shone most beautiful. His hair was as bright as the sun and as white as the driven snow. He looked noble to me. He had a staff in his right hand. He stood before me, a noble, loving, handsome man. I tried to go to him, but I could not. The niggers were still on my sides. I was in a vise. I tried to speak but I could not. I was at the mercy of all. The man in white stood looking at me. He took his staff and waved it to the right. In an instant the nigger on my right was gone, but one on my left was still there. He then moved his staff to the left. In an instant the nigger had gone. The man in white spoke to me, but what he said I know not. He disappeared. I opened my eyes. Officer Cleverly was standing at my side. He asked me how I felt. I told him I was well, but too weak to sit up. He then went and told the doctor. The doctor came to me and felt my pulse and reported to the Captain. The Captain got the quarter master who removed me under the poop as it was quiet with the Union Flag around me. From this time I was fed on sega and port wine. I begged them, the officers, to let me go on shore till I got well, but they said that a trip to sea would do me more good.
The order came to proceed to Madras to get the mail. While we were there the governor sent us fresh beef, fish and vegetables. The rum boats were loaded with fruit, butter, eggs and chickens. The poultry was sold to us by the pound. We could not land at this place or on shore. The surf was so great that your life was in danger. The natives came to the ship after linen. We could not bathe here as the sea was full of sharks and snakes.
The Captain of the fore top had a wife in England. This man came to me one night and said, "Steward, let me have a dollar?" I said, "For what?" "Oh, you know," he said. "Yes" said I, "I do know and I won't lend you a dollar." He asked, "Why?", and I said, "Because you have a nice and a fine wife and child in England that you ought to honor." "I know it, but let me have a dollar." "I have," I said "several dollars lying in that drawer, and there they shall lay for some other purpose." I was moved to tell him thus "Now", I said, "As sure as you live and as sure as you go with one of those girls, your wife this night, will be led away by some man in England. Now mark, it as you and I live it will come to pass." Now the time will prove how this did happen.
We took the mail to the fleet and got orders to sail for China to learn of the trouble there. We had received lots of letters and books and I had heard of the death of my brother, ROBERT. Cleverly gave me some pious books and a splendid Bible that ladies who lived in Derbyshire, England had sent him. So it was good to be religious. I got lots of presents from the officers. By the time we got to Singapore I could walk around. I had a great craving for greens and pork which I got. We took in some provisions and water. The biscuits were hard as a flint. It took a hammer to break them. We had now been in the East Indies for nearly two years. The ship was infested with cock roaches. They would eat and ruin all they came in contact with, lay their eggs in the sugar and rice. About nine o'clock they would fly out, by the thousands and run all over you if you were in your hammock. It was terrible. They would eat the nails off your toes.
We made sail and arrived at Macao and fired a salute. The flag at the port was Portuguese. A small town where all the traders were and the business men. We then proceeded to Hong Kong which was then called Victoria. At this place we found a splendid harbor with about forty vessels, large and small ones and some East India tea ships. These were fine vessels. There was not a house on shore, a barren island. We found why this large fleet was there. The Chinese government would not trade with, the English because the opium trade was the only thing that took out their gold and silver. Chinese money was brass money like a cent with a square hole in it, strung on bamboo cutting. The Chinese are cunning. They will do anything for money. The bum boats had a Joss in a glass case. This is their God in part. The British Counsel gave us dispatches to take to the Governor of Canton. On our arrival at the Bouge Forts, we delivered the same to the Chinese Admiral who was anchored with a large fleet of war junks and several row boats well armed and lots of men. They had brass guns. I do not know how large they were. The row of boats were manned with troops; they had spears, swords, match lock pistols and large shields. Some of the troops wore breast plates and steel hats. At the entrance of the river were two large forts one on each side in the shape of a half moon all manned with thirty two pounders long guns. There was a fort, a large square fort, a large square fort before you came to these on the end of a neck of land. We stayed here three days and a boat came off with orders to take up our anchors and go on three miles below the forts or they would blow us up out of the water. And so we did so. On the fourth day that boat brought back our dispatches. The seals were not opened. With orders to go or they would drive us from the Chinese seas, and so forth. Now this was Sunday, a lovely day on the third day of November 1838. Being Sunday all hands were dressed in their Sunday clothes. Some were reading, some lying down, the ship all snug. I was making a duff pudding. All at once we saw rounding the point where the square fort was, a fleet of war junks, twenty nine in number and quite a lot of row boats with hundreds of men. They had lovely flags made of silk with red ground work and a dragon in gold in the middle. The drummer beat to quarters, loaded the guns with round shot. up anchor, loose sails. Now for some fun. The Chinese fleet anchored in two divisions along the shore. We cruised around past them, but they did not fire a gun on us, but their guns were all run out and they were loaded. The men were all standing at their guns. The Chinese Admiral was standing at their guns. The Chinese Admiral was standing on his poop of his flag ship with his drawn sword in his hand. He was a brave man, so brave that Captain Warren gave orders to our sharp shooters not to hurt him, but to spare his life for bravery.
The Captain gave orders to fire the bow chaser over the ships or I should say over the junks to see if they meant business. As soon as we fired the first gun they opened fire on us. We were now about eight hundred yards off. We soon got our guns to bear and found out that our guns were superior in every way. We found the guns of the junks were all lashed, so we closed on them, until we could see the brave Chinese Admiral waving his sword and ordering his men to fight all the same to Tiger. I was all this time at my post handing out the powder. I could hear the shot whiz over the ship. I could hear the Captain say, "Steady, my men, steady. Take good aim. Don t throw away your shot."
I was at this time in a dark room and was scared if a shot was to drop where I was, it would kill me and I should go to Hell sure. Now the true cause of this fear was all through reading those lying books, such as Pikes Early Deity which is full of Hellfire and brimstone. I felt terrible. I dreaded death in every way. Such books should not be printed, especially, within ships of war and the army.
As the fury of the battle increase, so did my fear increase of death. As I had the fear of death upon me, suddenly in the midst of this confusion and blood shedding I felt a hand suddenly on my head and a warm feeling came over me, and the fear of death left me. It was whispered in my ear the ninety-first Psalm, every word of it. The same spirit told me I should live until I was sixty years of age and no power on earth could hurt me. After that it would be on conditions as time proven. Now reader, this is true, so help me God. Now if you read the ninety-first Psalm you will there read what it says and it will make you reflect and ask yourself who inspired the man who wrote this ninety first Psalm. Be it remembered at this time I was a young man acting as a young gentleman steward and had just recovered from the East India sickness. Oh God! How marvelous are Thy ways.
As the battle was raging the sea where the war junks were at anchor was like blood, and eight junks were sunk and one blown up. It was truly awful! Still the Chinese fought. The brave old Admiral waving his sword. Three hours had now passed into eternity, and how many souls or spirits who can tell. There was destruction and confusion on the wounded, but the Chinese must have lost hundreds. It was down right murder, still the brave old man still waved his sword. Our men saved his life, for they might have shot him. Captain Warren gave orders to cease firing, all hands trim sails and make for the Portuguese settlement, Macow, to warn the English and other foreigners to be on guard in case the Chinese could rise on them. Now when the old Admiral saw us as he thought, run away, he flourished his sword and proclaimed a great victory over the barbarous English, not. withstanding his great loss of men and junks and the crippled state of the junks, yet he proclaimed a great victory. We will now drop the curtain on this bloody fight.
The Ambassadors now met in council. The British Ambassador made it now public that as the Chinese government had refused our dispatches, and insulted the British flag, that a blockade would be placed at the mouth of the Canton river. The French Ambassador tried also to do the same. There was a French war ship also at Macow, so they thought to slip ahead of us. Now Captain Warren could speak French, and it was blowing a head wind against us. The Frenchmen came so close to us that our Captain beat to quarters and ordered the French Captain on board. What they said I know not, but they just went it, and so that night the Frenchmen got on shore and we kept them off. We saw no more of our friend, the Frenchman after this.
We now anchored at the mouth of Canton River. An American ship was the first to try to break the blockade. We fired two shots before she hove. Two bum boats came off at the meal times. They sold eggs, but nothing but duck s eggs. Fine large fowls, ducks dry, live and dried fish, and fruit and splendid preserves.
We waited here a year before the government sent out any extra ships or troupes. At last they came with an old granny to command. The troops got sick and anyone could see and feel that we must have a change. The Admiral ordered us to cruise and take all the salt junks we could find. We sailed and in one day we took nineteen large salt junks. It was a lovely sight to see these fine vessels. There was a large fleet of them as they sailed in line. We had a lovely breeze, so we had no trouble to take them one after another. As we fired the bog chaser the Chinamen would jump into their boats and row on shore, so we had no trouble but to anchor them. They were all loaded with salt. Now the salt was used to turn the tea a bright green by laying the salt on sheets of copper until the yardgrease would appear, then the tea would be placed on top and kept stirred in the hot sun until it became a beautiful green. So much for green tea, and if this is not real poison I know not what is.
The Admiral after this sent us to Manilla to get rope. This was a Spanish town. On our passage we had a slight touch of a typhoon. We lost three boats and the decks seeped. The sea broke clean over us. Our interpreter was a Portuguese and a Catholic. Every time the sea broke over us, he would fall on his knees and say, "Oh, Donna Maria, save me!" The poor man was scared to death. At his place the officers got a good supply of cigars, tobacco, a lot of fruit, beef and mutton and vegetables, which was a treat to us.
We started for Hong Kong. On our arrival there we found a large fleet of ships. We here took in water and provisions. We got our flour from a Yankee ship. It was so white and beautiful. It was a treat to us, for while we were in the East Indies our flour was like lumps of chalk, no taste and crackers like flint, but the Yankees was delicious; the English crackers are good. While we laid at anchor at this place it began to blow a real typhoon! Such a blow! It smashed up one half of the ships. We had down five anchors, and drifted three miles. Several merchant ships were on shore. Their cables broke and several fowled into each other. The destruction of the fleet was bad. I remember one China junk swept past us at a terrible rate. The men were on the deck on their knees calling on us to help them, but we could render no help. On the third day we bad up all our anchors and moored in a good and safe place. The merchants sold us some bales of their fine blue cloth very cheap. They were damaged by the salt water. While we were here a troupe ship arrived with part of the Eighteenth Royal Irish, a fine body of young men; also another with the native troops from India and a few extra men of war. A new Admiral and a fresh General. These fellows meant business but the Chinamen had made peace with us on purpose to gain time. As this made the third time, the rascals soon found out that we had fighting officers and they meant
business. One fine morning all hands proceeded to the Rouge Forts and cast anchor at the spot where we had the first battle with the junks. Now it must be remembered that the expense to the merchants was great. It was a lovely morning when at last the flag went up at the mast head on board the flag ship for the troops and the merchants and the small arm men of the sailors and the bass guns. Now the orders were to land the troops one mile on the coast below the fort. This fort was the square fort just on the neck of land about five miles or so from the half moon forts on the mouth of the river Canton. The land on the coast was just rolling land. No sooner had the boats landed our troops than we observed the Chinese came marching out by the hundreds.
Their leader, some great Mandarin was carried in a Sandan Chair on the shoulder of four strong men. Their flags were grand made out of silk and gold. Now our ships the Hyacinth and H.M. Lame were anchored to anchor eight hundred yards from the fort, and fired into it. As we were sailing along this shore we could see our sailors ahead of the British troops. Our troops looked a mere handful to the host of Tartar troops. A horror ran through me, for it looked as if our men would be cut all to pieces, but no sooner were they within the range of the twelve pounder field guns when the slaughter began. The first man shot was the man in the Chair, then the man that carried the flags. It was terrible. The British troops flanked the enemy on every side and poured broadside after broadside into them and got between the Chinese and the fort. The Chinese had no field guns. Our blue jackets scaled the walls, pulled down the fort flag and hoisted the Union Jack. Then three cheers went up. The Chinese flew into the sea and there they were shot like so many helpless dogs. We anchored close into the fort. We ordered the drummers and the buglers to beat a retreat, but it was all in vain. The British troops were let loose like beasts of prey. Every Chinaman got shot or run through with a bayonet:
While we were lying here an iron steamer called the Nimisis arrived from England. This steamer had powerful exertion. The Admiral made us stay here to bury the dead which took us two days. While we were doing this, the iron steamship Nimisis and the other few ships were taking the forts at the mouth of the river. We had five men wounded with powder. They were swollen so big and large thy could not see out of their eyes. The Doctor had to feed them with a quill stuck in their mouths. These men thought indeed they were in Hell all the time. The sea dogs, natives, were allowed fifteen to loot, that is to plunder. By this they made hundreds of dollars.
We overtook the fleet at Wampoo. Here the troops and Admiral's ship could proceed no further so the Nimisis and the boats towed us up the river to Canton. This took us three days. Wherever the Chinese could build a fort they did, but they got slaughtered in an awful manner. It was truly awful to see the dead piled on heaps all along the banks of the river. Going up we caught two Chinamen stealing. We put them in irons and flogged them. While we laid off Canton about five miles waiting for the troops to concentrate, we saw a large town of boats of all shapes and sizes living on the water. Some painted and fitted up in first class style. The Chinese women outside of the walls did not have small feet. All the small feet women resided in the cities.
Now on the twenty-fourth of May we fired a royal salute of twenty-four guns which served as a warning to many that we meant business, and in honor to our Queen, Victoria. At noon the boats landed the troops and fighting commenced at four P.M. We anchored abreast of Canton. There was a tide here and as the tide went down it left us on the top and we rolled from side to side and just at dusk we saw two large junks lashed together on fire. All our boats were away. We only had two on board, so we put a small anchor on board of the junk and towed them in shore. We made the rope fast around some trees which brought the fire rafts right on the cotton rafts and set on fire all the houses between us and the walls of the city. We were firing on both sides around for about three hours. The boys of the fleets came on board with the wounded and what with the groaning of the wounded and the dead it was Hell.
I found the officers who drank hard, if they ever got wounded, their wounds would turn to mortification, and so it is best to refrain from all strong drink. On the third day we had all the forts. The forts were outside of the city. On the fourth day orders came to cook beef and port for three days. On the fifth day we were going to shell and take the city, so we sent a dispatch to warn the enemy to take out all the women and children, so that at eight o'clock if they did not come to our terms we should hoist the red flag. We had on board the British Ambassador and several other officers of rank. Now it must be remembered that all the forts that commanded that were in our hands and if the red flag was hoisted they would open fire all at one time. At eight o'clock that night three Mandarin officers offered us three million dollars to spare the city. The price was six million which at the last moment they gave. And we took on board the first million that night as they did not want the common people to know, as they had fifty thousand tartar troops in the city and we only had three thousand, but of course their arms were long match locks and spears and swords.
We took our silver and dollars to the flag ship which was at Wampoo and then proceeded to Hongkong, which is now Victoria. Be it remembered that at this time the English had taken this place there was not a house in the Islands. The troops came soon after us and all the rest of the fleet. No sooner was the fleet here and the troops were here than a terrible sickness broke out. We lost lots of men. Here houses went up on shore like magic. It was marvelous and Chinese girls flocked here by the hundred. A jail and churches went up by the order. The Admiral died here, and the flag ship was ordered to Cultar with two millions of dollars, and the sick India troops to Madras and two more troops to England.
With the balance, the four million we started for Amoy. This is a lovely spot. Here we ransomed the city for four million dollars. At this place the guards at the gates wondered how it was the Chinese were carrying out coffins all day, so one of the guards thought that he would like to see a dead one. Made them down with the coffin and opened it and lo, and behold, it was not a dead Chinaman, but filled with silver goods and other valuables. We then put the city under martial law.
We stayed here for some time, and then proceeded to Chunsan. We soon took this place as it was a small fort, but while here they sent us a fire junk and we took three men, who were placed in irons. The next day they were brought up on the quarter deck to be flogged. We found out that they were a father and two sons. The oldest son was seized up and flogged till the blood flowed down his bare back. He got three dozen lashes. The Captain then ordered the youngest son to be flogged, but the one just flogged told the interpreter that he would take the flogging for his brother. This caused quite a sensation to run through the officers. The Captain told the Chinaman that for his noble conduct he would forgive his brother and father. The Captain and the officers made up a purse of fifty dollars, and
took them on shore. No sooner the news of both reached the shore than the native boats came off with chickens, fruits, eggs and vegetables, and the whole island were our friends. So much for the kindness on both sides, it will stand for noble deeds.
Now we were ordered to China T or some such place. Here were all the fleet and the troops. We soon took this place. The city was walled in all around with four gates. The store had written over it's doors, "English Protection". Here we traded. In all the stores the Chinese had a tea pot with small cups with sweets and cakes. They used no sugar in their tea.
A fine river was here which we had to blockade. One night two junks came down which was a great prize as they were loaded with money and valuables. A large town up the river fifty miles was sending fifty thousand Tartar troops. One night they came and we had a jolly fight and the Chinese retreated after a great slaughter. At this place one of the Fifty Fifth soldier's was hung for shooting a Sergeant. This hanging one of our own men had a great influence on the men and also on the Chinese. The Winter here was very cold. The East India native troops felt the cold so bad that we had to send them south; this was a fine place to stay.
I could go on shore and trade. The pigs and fowls were delicious, and so were all of their eatables. Our Christmas was grand on board of all the ships and also with the army. We visited each other without reserve. We had jolly times all around. The Mids made me a handsome present. I bought crepe shawls, handkerchiefs, grass cloth, china ware, and I bought Chinese dresses. On, what beauties! I got several from the men and they were complete. I had silks. I got enough to open a store.
A fresh load of ships came here from England to relieve the ships whose time had run out, and we were one of them. We had been out in commission five years. Also recruits for the regiments. By this extra force the Admiral and General had a grand sail up the river and stormed another town, and we soon took this place for ransom and returned.
We were now ordered home to England to be paid off, but the Admiral tried to get us to stop till the war was over, but not one man would stay. Only the officers, as they all got promoted at every battle. Our prize money was so large. The next place was to be taken was Nankin, a large city, wealthy and very ancient. But we now gave three cheers, took the mail and sailed for Old England. We called at Amoy for the mail, for every place the British had taken they held in bondage until peace was proclaimed.
On our arrival at Hongkong we were greatly surprised to see the change, forts, churches, and houses by the hundreds, markets, bazaars. Here we took in some water. We took in the mails and started for the Island of Javee. We stayed here a week and fired at the target. I went on shore and tried to get a monkey and some parrots. There was a port at this place, Dutch I believe. I heard the natives singing hymns, and the native children were going naked. We started for the Cape of Good Hope. On our way there one of our men took sick. A large shark followed our ship. That is a sure sign of death, and the man died. I read to him from the Bible. All his talk was about his mother.
One day the ship was surrounded by dolphins; we counted six large ones from four to six feet long. To see them dive was a lovely sight. They turned like the rainbow and into many colors. On our arrival at the Cape of Good Hope we refitted the ship and took in provisions. The sand on shore blew like a cloud. Out to sea it was very fine. The sheep at this place had on them tails weighing from twelve to sixteen pounds each of solid fat. The sheep were tall and lean, but very strong. I went on shore at this place and visited the graveyard. There were twelve men in one grave, all. were drowned. I then took a stroll up the hill and went to a hotel to stay all the night. The house was filled with our sailors. They were having a jolly old time, singing and dancing and kept up in good time till late at night. Now the landlord had a pretty girl. The landlord came to me and told me not to be scared, but she was going to take his sword and fight. They came to terms by the landlord letting them have two pails of beer and so they kept up this game till day appeared. I had my breakfast with the landlord. The sailors were lying dead drunk all over the house. I took a stroll and went on shore, the other side where I saw men like so many brutes.
I had for a long time missed wine, brandy and beer. Before we went into the Cape, being a fine calm day, I cleaned out the officer's wine lockers. By so doing I knew just what I had in each locker. Now I was in the habit of giving the cook a glass of grog every morning, but this morning I missed a bottle of real French brandy, a half bottle, and a bottle of gin. Knowing that I had this the night before, I reported the same to the officer of the watch, and he in turn reported the same to the Sergeant. Now this Sergeant was a sly old coon. He was not long before he had Corporal Lord on the Quarter deck drunk and while on the quarter deck they found the brandy bottle with the cork pushed in. The Corporal was disrated; both legs put in irons and after two weeks was flogged. Now I had time again and again, missed drinks but at last the thief was caught.
We now prepared for sea, and the next port we struck was the place where Napoleon was once a prisoner, and died and was buried there. Now this place was called St. Helena. It was eight hundred steps to the top of this lovely spot, on the top of this place were gardens, shrubs, and beautiful gardens with spring water. The grave or vault was here by a fine weeping willow tree. I took some leaves and sprigs from this tree and some of the grass out of the vault. This place is noted for water cress. We took in a good supply of water and prepared for sea. There had been a ship wreck on the back of this island where we took the seaman and one boy. When this boy came over the side of the ship as merry and looked happy and gay, I felt he was not a common boy. He had on no shoes, no hat, nothing on but a pair of white pants and shirt and a fine white handkerchief. Then the pipe went up for all hands to dance and skylark, he was the first to dance. This boy's name was Master Charles Caroline. I took quite a liking to this boy at first sight. They had lost everything they had. I called this Charley up to me on the forecastle and offered him some clothing and a hat, and well I sized him up. I soon found out that he was a very fine scholar and had taken a trip to sea with his uncle to Calcutta and were wrecked on his way home. One of the officers called Charley on the quarter deck and told him to sweep it. I could see the tears rolling down his face. I felt for the boy, so I said, "Charley, how would you like to come and be my boy?" "Oh I will do anything if I can only be with you." I went at once to the officer on the quarter deck who gave me Charley to be my assistant.
We now had fine times until we came to Spithead and it would have done you good to see Charley, how he watched my interest. Of an evening Charley would tell me how rich his grandpa was and that he lived in a castle by the seaside; that his father was the largest builder in Ireland and had one hundred men at work. He did all his work in his own yard, and had the charge of the Custom House and the Royal Barracks and the streets of the
houses. His oldest brother was married and they called him a fop. He had three sisters. Now reader, when I heard this, how do you think I felt? I had every reason to believe it was all true, for he was well versed, a good scholar and so forth. Charley wrote to his parents in Ireland, and I wrote to my parents. Now as soon as we cast anchor at Spithead, the boats came off by the dozens. We soon had the custom officers on board, bum boats, and men's wives. One of these men came to me and asked to let him take on shore some of my treasure, as the custom house would seize it. I let this man take a real Mandarin War coat. The sleeves were worked with gold dragons. It looked grand. I gave this villain and his partner a present worth five pounds.
An order came from the Lords of the Admiralty that we were not to be paid off at Portsmouth but to proceed at once to Shearneys, a most horrible place. This was done to spite the officers at Portsmouth. Now Shearneys was at the mouth of the river Thames. There was dock yard here and forts and lots of war ships lying in readiness for commissions. On our way to this place Queen Victoria was staying at the Duke of Wellington's castle. It was on the sea coast. We cast anchor and fired twenty one guns, hoisted the Royal Standard of England and manned the yards.
On our arrival at Shearneys, we fired a salute. The Admiral came on board and mustered the crew and was highly pleased with the same. The Captain went to London to the Honorable East India Company and got our prize money for the blockading, and brought the news that the war of China was ended and the twenty-eight million dollars was paid by the Chinese Government. Orders came on board to dismantle the ship. We soon took out the powder and the short guns. By the time these were out of the ship she rose up out of water about six feet.
Now it must be remembered that nine years had passed away, and although I was now 25 years of age, I had no beard nor any sign of any on my face and I would pass for a boy of sixteen, and was green in knowledge of the cunning and craft of the world; I was a mere babe. I really and sincerely felt that every one who went to Church was real good and the only ones, or else they would not go. While we were here my father and some other boy's father were in a boat along side of the ship. Now both our fathers were very much alike in age and looks, and so was the boy and me. The odds were I was rather an able seaman and the boy a first class boy. Now as both of us went down in the boat together we were both at a loss to say, "Father". But the other boy's father knew his son, so that gave me a cue to say, "Well, Father, how are you?" Now when I saw the gray beard of my father I felt bad to see old age coming on him. Now as the ship was quite high out of the water it was quite a job to get them on board. My father soon made himself at home and he was soon jolly. He told me that the officers and men had spoken so good and highly of me, that he could leave me to come home as soon as the ship was paid off, which I told him by the Lord I would, and the newspapers would post him on everything going on in that direction. So the officers made me a present of a fine suit of broadcloth and five pounds. I gave my father the latter money and sent him home rejoicing. Now be it remembered the ship as it might be expected was represented with Jews and girls.
The Captain of the fore top came to me and said, "Steward, what you told me in Madras has indeed come to pass." "In what way?", said I. "Well, my wife is on board and she says that on a certain day a man had come to her and that they had been living as man and wife and had two more children. Now she wants me to take her back and forgive her, and she said, "You know you have not been true to me." "Now Steward, what shall I do?" "What shall you do? why if you had lead a pure and virtuous life I would say the man who had seduced her should take her, but as you are an equal and worse in crime, all that you have to do is take her again to your bosom." "Steward, I will." I saw them both that day and both happy.
Now there are two Captains, one the starboard and one the larboard. One was a real Scotchman, and had a wife and oh dear, to see these two fine lovers. How they loved! What vows they made to each other! And on the day the vessel left for her foreign station, she fainted away in his arms. Now instead of his wife whose sin was as bad as the other one coming on board, she sent off his boy, all dressed up in the real highland fling dress. He was five years old, with a note to say that the boy was his, but she had sold herself to another. What was the result of this on him? Why he got drunk and got both legs into irons and in that was kept till the ship was paid off. Now judge of the two. Well I came to the conclusion that a sailor had no business with a wife. Only think, our ship was away for five years and three months.
Now Charley and me by this time had grown to love each other dearly, and while we were on the forecastle watching the ships and the steamers, Charley said he saw his dandy brother on board. I asked Charley how he could tell his brother so far off. He said he knew by the way he handled his handkerchief. At noon his brother came off to the ship. He went to the Captain to get Charley. The officers that I was steward of asked him to dinner. He told the officers that Charley's father had sent him to bring home Charley, and to inquire about me. That day Charley went off with his brother to Ireland, with promises that I should soon hear from him. I felt very sad, for it is not like friends on shore, for it is a fact that seafaring men are true to each other as a general thing.
The day came for us to be paid off. Of course, we had on board all classes of bummers, especially for charity. Jews and girls like so many land sharks. It is a noted fact that some of the sailors are not on shore two hours before they lose everything they possess. The girls make them drunk and then rob them, but some do it to keep them until they get another ship. Now there was not a man who wanted to land at this outlandish place, and the Lords of the Admiral ought to be ashamed to put the men to extra expense in this way. So we hired a small steamer at so much each to take us and land us at London Bridge. We started off and I left lots of goods on board. We had not gone far up the river Thames when the fog came so bad that the Captain came to the conclusion to land us at the Black Wall Rail Road. Now only fancy how we felt, to be locked in a car we had never seen or heard of before. Soon we passed over streets and past houses. I, for one, was scared. We went at a terrible rate of speed, and at last we arrived safe. There was at the station a tall gentleman dressed in black. He made a speech, "Now my boys, I am glad to see you all again on the shores of Old England. I want you all to tell me where you want to go and I will start you all off." One of the boys wanted to go home with me, so I let him go. Now this man in black called a cab for us two boys, and told us to keep together. He took the number of the cab and told him to drive us to the place, which he did. I often think of this man and often reflect who he was; a stranger to us and yet a friend in disguise. I can say, to me, he was a man, one of the Almighty's noblemen.
Upon our arrival home, the cabman knocked at the door and out my shipmate and I jumped. My dear sister JANE was the first to meet me, then in came Mother. They did not know me, but in came Father and he said, "Tom, my boy you are home one day earlier than the paper has advertised." As soon as they knew I was Tom, then Mother took me into her arms and wept for joy, my sister JANE fainted, my sister ANN was upstairs sick abed. I thought she looked very handsome, my sister CHARLOTTE went and hid herself. SARAH was married. Now Father got some pork and beef sausages, which I am very fond of and some good old English ale. It was not long before the news got out among my cousins that I had come home after an absence of nine years. One hour had not passed before in came my uncles, aunts and cousins by the dozens and old sweethearts. By this time I got a letter from Charley Caroline, Esq. Talbert St. Dublin, Ireland.
Now having a cousin an editor of a London paper, it soon spread around that a young man had just come from China in the H.M. Hyacinth and had arrived at his home safe and sound, after an absence of five years with quite a number of relics from Africa, East India, and China. It got so at last my Father's house was besieged by all classes to see my things that I had brought home, from China. The editor of the greatest and most powerful paper in the world, The London Times, after he had seen all the things I had brought home, said to my Mother, "Now, Mrs. Poulter, I would like to see your son Thomas, and tell him what I think of him." I was soon in his presence. "Well, sir," he said, "I have come to look at your curiosities that you have collected from your travels abroad. Let me, as the editor of the London Times congratulate you, and you Mrs. Poulter. I will write up a bit of this for the morning paper."
My goodness, it got worse and worse. It was rap, rap, ring, ring. Now this truth is, as I was a steward although so young I was allowed two gills of raw rum daily. Now it took one gill a day to pay away daily which left one to spare. Now I never went to fight on shore, so if I ever got anything I had to get it out of the men. The Royal Marine who washed my clothes and locked up my hammock and bag would loot with his chum to get me goods off others for a bottle of rum. I could get things that were worth from one sovereign to twenty. At one time I got five suits of a Mandarin Lady's dresses all complete made from thick silk with embossed flowers and gold. I also got a large Mandarin coat belonging to some great man, the value of it in England was twenty pounds. The things I got to bring home filled a large room. No sooner did the puff in the Times got out aboard than I had the Manager of the Egyptian Hall in Pickidilly offered me five pounds for one dress, a gong three pounds, three pounds for a mervior. The merchant of the large store called East India House on Lygate Hill near St. Paul's London came to look at my things. As soon as he saw my beautiful Mandarin coat, he wanted to buy it from me. I told him it was not for sale. He begged me to let him have it to put in his show window, and he said it was the handsomest coat he had ever seen. It was a dark blue silk worked with gold dragons. He offered me twenty pounds, but I refused it. Now, I want to be remembered, the reason I did not sell my things was because I gave my word and honor to my friend Cleverly that I could not part with anything nor leave England until he returned from China. Which time will proved how I acted my part. Every day it was the postman with letters for T. A. Poulter, Esq., some for one thing and some for the other, even one from Tousaw's Vase Works.
My sister JANE and I went to Somerset House to draw my pay. I had an order for two hundred pounds. From there I went to the White Hall Treasury and Pay Office. It was one of those miserable foggy days. I was met in the office by the porter, a jolly fellow with a big belly on him. He was so kind and gave me a chair by the fire. I was then shown into another private room where sat a real old gent, who was remarkably kind also.
"Now, my young friend, what is your name?" "T. A. Poulter". "Yes, I see by our order. Now young man you are one of a thousand to save so much money. Now Mr. Poulter I want you to point out to me what part of China were you in." This I soon did. "Now my young friend I want you to be very careful. Is that young lady your intended?" "No sir, that's my sister." "Very good, Now I will pay you. Would you like to have part in gold and part in bank notes?" "Yes, sir". Out came the drawer full of gold, bright sovereigns. In went the bright copper shovel and poured them into the scale. Then out came the new five pound notes on the Bank of Old England. On going out I get all the blessings. Now came the porter. "I wish you good luck young man, and would like to drink to your health."
I handed him a shilling. As soon as I got home I got all my brother and sisters together and gave them each five pounds, and some presents, such as some cornelis crosses, shells, pearls, eagles and feather, and grass cloth, silk for dresses, fans, tea pots, china bowls. Each a crepe shawl, silk handkerchiefs, a cloak, a china purse and lots of other things, costly things. I called up my Father and Mother and handed to each of them ten pounds. Now this brought the tears from my Father and Mother. My Father said, "Thomas, we feel so grateful to God for sparing your life and bringing you home safe. Now take our advice and put your money in the bank."
"Yes", said I, "So I will. But you have to take this as from the Lord. It is a gift, for in that bloody battle of Canton, I vowed if I was spared to return to England I would do as I have been doing, wherefore give Him the glory and the praise." Oh, how good I felt in doing the good and in the thought of making others happy.
I made a feast and invited my cousins and old sweethearts. I made it myself. I sent to Newgate Market and got some rabbits, eggs and ham. I then made what they called a sea pie. I made three large pies, that they called three deckers. There was more fun and mirth than I had seen for months. My happiness was in seeing others happy. Now my brother CHARLEY was a splendid singer, so we took a trip to Moulsey, Surrey to see our cousins and a host of old friends. Now being Christmas time we were invited to lots of parties. It was sing, CHARLEY, sing. I was invited to this and that party.
One day I took a walk alone into the Bushey Park, and that dear oak tree was the place I used years ago to get the mushrooms from. I felt the place here was to me sacred. I took off my hat and knelt in prayer to thank the Father of Heaven and Earth for his past mercies. I then took a stroll down to the Royal Gardens and then to Hampton Court Palace, and crossed the bridge to East Moulsey. On my arrival at my UNCLE STRUBLE's, I got a letter from Ireland to beg me to come as Charley Caroline, Esq., was to be apprenticed with me to learn the trade to be a carpenter and builder. I was promised fifteen shillings a week and to learn a trade in all its branches and a chest of tools. As soon as my uncle read the letter he said to me: "Now Thomas, I want you to go to London right away and take the steamer and go to Dublin, for such a chance as this must not be lost."
So to London I started, but my Mother wanted my likeness taken in oil painting, so I had it taken and gave another party before I left Old England. Some of my cousins made me a large cake and one brought me a bottle of wine for my journey. The steamer started from London Bridge. I took a steamer cabin and enough grub to last a week. Now the lady's cabin was next to mine. As were steaming down the river we all felt first class, but on the second day out, it began to blow. The stewards were sick and the ladies were sick. It made me feel bad, so I opened the door and oh, what a sight! There were about ten ladies, oh how sick they all were! I told them not to be afraid of me for the stewards were sick and I was a steward going to Ireland on a visit and that I had some cake and wine if they wished. Some took all they wanted but some were so sick they wanted to die; some took water and some took wine and cake. Oh, my gracious! They called me all the dearest names they could think of. Now we arrived on the Sunday about one o'clock. The ladies, one and all told the landlord to get a good dinner for twelve, and just as the ladies sat me at the head of the table to carve the boiled chickens, in walked Master Charles Caroline not dressed in sailor's clothes, but dressed up in the finest. It took the shine out of me, but I felt good, as I had a good stock of clothes and thirty pounds in my pocket to be free with. Now as Charley grabbed hold of me to take me off to his home the ladies grabbed me too, but Charley prevailed by saying that his mother and sisters were dying to see me, so away we went. We soon reached Talbot Street. Rap, rap went the knocker but it was not opened by a servant, but by his mother and his three beautiful sisters. His mother took me to her arms and kissed and embraced me and said, "Thomas, you saved my boy."
At the end of hall stood the youngest girl with two little Spaniels in each pocket of her apron. I was then conducted to the parlor where the dinner was waiting consisting of everything good. After dinner the girls asked me a thousand questions about China, and Charles the old gent said, "Thomas, tomorrow is Monday. You and Charley can each take a horse and go all over Dublin to see the sights, and then on Tuesday you and Charley will go to the shop under the charge of the foreman. You will each find a chest of tools." There were about twelve carpenters at work and four young men apprentices. Our first job was to dress boards for flooring, then to mortise.
Now the news had spread far and wide that Charley's friend Tom had arrived. One of these boy's father was a retired merchant. He lived fourteen miles from the city, so the boy took me home on Sunday. On my arrival I found a fine house close to a park and a fine dinner with a lovely girl about eighteen, the only girl. They put me at the head of the table to carve the chickens, and it was Tom this and Tom that. I was all in all, so after dinner we took a walk. The Miss Murray took my hand and we fell in love right away.
The other apprentice had me home, but they were not rich like the others. This was an evening party. I soon found out that the Irish are a loving people where they take. There were two fine girls here. They took up the carpet to have a dance. They played on the piano, and they jigged off in fine style. On the Sunday I went to hear the Rev. Mr. Grigg preach against the Roman Church. Now I know that he misconstrued and told a heap of lies again the Church of Rome. I went to the Church of Rome. They sang in Latin, splendid, now the Priest went to show that they were wrongly believed, which I know was true.
One time I went to spend an evening with a rich lady. She treated me very kindly. She had several cats alive and several stuffed. It made quite an impression on me for it goes to show that a woman must love, if not a man or child, it will be a cat.
The next fine sight was on St. Patrick's day. I saw them march on and on over the bridge. There were ten thousand people with seven brass bands. The grandest of all was that not one man or woman was drunk, all teetotalers. It was a grand sight. If I was any judge of what was good it was the meat and the fruit, and all things made of all kinds was strong and good. You would say it was very good to be in Old Ireland if you had plenty of money. I had a talk with several peasants and farm laborers who declared they only had meat once or twice a year. They lived on potatoes, bread and milk. Their families looked robust and healthy.
Now my friend Charley was quitting the work bench, and what was worse had fallen in love with a young lady over the way. Where I slept was on the first floor in the front room, there was a great play actor. This man had the rheumatic fever, and if ever I heard a man pray then swear this was the man. He walked the floor all night, sometimes praying and then swearing. This man was one of the people's favorite play actors.
I now made up my mind to quit Ireland. I accordingly informed Mr. Caroline, that I should leave for England. He took it very hard. On the morning I left the workshop. I bid the workmen goodbye. In leaving the yard I was met by the head clerk who thus said to me: "Mr. Poulter, I understand that you are going to leave us." "Yes," I said. "Now my young friend I am a father of a large family. Fifteen years have I worked for the firm of Mr. Caroline, one of the richest firms in Dublin. He has charged me to plead with you to stay and learn the business, and he will make you the master of your trade. I beseech you as a father to stay. Has the foreman done anything to cause you to leave? Do you want anything to make you happy? If so, say so. Mr. Caroline will do anything to make you happy." "No, I said, "My mind is made up to go to England."
During this conference I was being watched by Miss Sarah Caroline, the oldest daughter, who now opened the glass door, took me by the hand, led me to the parlor, placed me on the sofa with her arm around me and she thus addressed me: "Thomas, can it be true that you are going to leave us? Do tell me Thomas, the reason. Has anyone treated you in any way mean? Has the foreman, have the clerks? Has Charley? Oh, do tell me at this moment".
Mr. Caroline said, "Thomas I have the Morning Post, will you read it?" "No, sir, thank you." "Won t you take some chicken broth?" "No, thank you, sir." During this time Mr. Caroline was sitting by the fireplace, a lovely fireplace, a mantle of pure white marble supported by beautiful female figures with a large looking glass on the top, bright fenders, polished fire irons. Elegantly furnished. Mr. Caroline was the greatest builder in Dublin Ireland. A good man in every way.
As the steamer was not ready to start for London, I had to start. I went to the market and bought me nine of the best Irish hams. It rained hard. Both of the drawbridges were up. Everything looked and seemed to say, "Go back, Go back."
The steamer was just going to push off when Charley came on horse back to be me farewell, and to pay me the two pound ten I had lent him. Good for Charley. He felt bad on my going away. In three days I got to London. Had a fine trip. On my arrival home I felt bad. I now felt I had done wrong in leaving Ireland where my prospects were so bright and friends so kind on every hand. I got a letter from Charley's friend Mr. Murray to say that after I had left Charley had joined the Dragoon as a common soldier. I found out that a woman was the cause of his enlisting and leaving his home. Another letter came to say the Sarah Caroline had had a sad accident. Her clothing had taken fire and death was her fate.
As I promised my friend, Cleverly I would stay in London until he came home, I kept my word. He came home. I lent him two pounds in cash, took him home as he was paid off in town of Wolige. Cleverly lived in Gasport, near Portsmouth, fifty miles from London. We promised each other in London that we both would divide our silk, shawls, work boxes, tea, candy, shells, a host of other things too numerous to write about. Well, I kept my word, I gave him the very best of my valuable things. Had diamonds, pearls, and precious stones and watch guards. I went to his home. I found his home was rented by his father. It was a cottage, with six rooms, outhouses and a nice garden. While I was here he fell in love with a widow lady, a very handsome woman, but much older than himself. He got a license and got married. I gave him away. We went to the lawyer and bought the cottage. I signed my name to the deed. It cost five hundred pounds besides the law fees. As soon as Cleverly got married, his wife who was greedy and dishonest never gave me any of my share, that I ought to have had. Neither did I get back any of my valuable things.
We now got a letter from one of our old officers to come to visit them. We both went. The people we went to see lived at Matlock. Their kindness was marvelous to us. They were all very pious. The Rector's wife was very kind. We were asked here and there. At one place, a rich old farmer's, we sung. The farmer's wife had mixed the cream with some good brandy which made our crowd very merry. They all sang. We stayed a week. We had a fine time of it. I went to London, Cleverly to his home in Gasport. Our friends gave us some presents to take home and some five pounds in cash.
I now made up my mind to stay on shore. I had a friend in the Tower of London who promised me employment under the government, but day after day passed away and no place. One day while here I was standing on the tower steps by the River Thames when a lady passed. She was dressed in black silk with gold rings on her hand; her hair was hanging loose. She was handsome, about thirty years old.
Now about this time there was a great to do about bad girls and bad houses all over England. The clergy, Bishops and Rectors of Parishes were buying the houses and turning the unfortunate girls out into the streets. The poor girls jumped off the bridges, Waterloo, Black Friar and London. I will here say it is better to provide something for the evil before making things worse than they are for them.
I now went to the Lords of the Admiralty to get on the Coast Guard, but my Captain would not give me an order as it required a seaman and not steward for the Coast Guard. I now wrote to Miss Wosley, a lady living at Matlock, Berth. In three I had a letter to say I could be employed as one of the horse police on the Rock of Gibraltar or the Isle of Wight, or as a butler to the Right Honorable Mr. Toler, the Proctor of England. As this was at Hampstead Heather near my home I took the place at good pay.
This family consisted of Mr. Toler, two sons and three daughters, bachelors and old maids. They were a very pious family. Prayers, two a day. Church on Sunday, twice a day at the Chapel of Ease. I at this time had the privilege of going with the ladies in the carriage to the different place to hear the Baptist Roll, Rolling Hill. We had lots of company on these days. We had everything in style. The ladies were remarkably pious. As a proof of it I will show. Miss Rachel Toler went one day her rounds to see the poor which were of the Parish Church. She happened to call on a woman who was a Roman Catholic. She was just confined, sick and poor, but because she was a Roman Catholic she got no relief. But when Mr. Toler heard of it, he sent me right away with a half a crown, two and six with orders, for coal, mutton and blankets. Mr. Toler was a good man and a Church man of the old Church, while the rest went to the Chapel of Ease. had now been with this family for three years. I was treated with every kindness and respect. Miss Wosley and several more ladies would write to me, addressing me thus, My dear Poulter, writing to me all the time on religion.
I now began to think I ought to join some religion. I found out now the different creeds, so I made up my mind to join the one that was nearest the Bible. I went to the Baptist. At the meeting I would cry and fret and I wanted to die to be with Jesus Christ. I felt his love was great. I now made up my mind to join the Baptists.
I at this time apprenticed my two sisters. CHARLOTTE to a first class dressmaker for three years with board. My sister JANE to learn the trade of making hats and millinery. It cost me nearly one hundred pounds. My object in doing this was for them to go into business together.
I now wrote to my sister JANE to join no religious sect but the Baptists. Only think of my surprise at her answer. It was as follows: "My dear brother Tom, do not join any church till I write again." I of course waited and to my surprise I got a letter from a Baptist Minister as follows: "Dear Sir: Your sister has shown me your letters wishing her to become a Baptist. I am glad to say that your sister has been a strict attender at my church for some time, but I will now send you something for you to read and study over, namely, The Proclamations of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the United States. You will see that he embraced all the truths, that are recorded in the Bible. The gifts and the blessings that are and that will follow the believer."
My mind was upset now. My towers all fell to the ground. Now I began to study and to think in earnest. I thought of what the Bible had said that in the last days, false prophets should come and receive the very elect. wrote and asked this Baptist preacher how he came to be a Mormon, or Latter Day Saint. The answer was this, "One fine morning I stood under a tree to preach. After I got through two men who had listened to me came up to me, shook hands and said, "How do you do, Brother." Thinking that they were Baptists I asked them to dinner. After dinner the two men asked if I was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I told them I had not heard of them. They told me they were from Nauvoo, and asked me to let them preach. I did so and in doing so the signs followed them. Several of my members joined at once. I lost my place as the minister of the Baptist Church. My wife now gave me fits for losing my bread and butter, cursed, and on it was Hell! Now brother I am an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
I, Thomas A. Poulter, now went to London to the meetings of the so called Saints. I watched closely to all to try to find fault if I could. A sister by the name of Davis had the gift of tongues and some other sister had the gift of tongues and prophecy and the interpretation of the same. The hall was filled with members, not rich but all poor, but all honest, industrious seekers for the truth. The meetings were preached in the morning. Afternoon it was free for all to testify and it was at these meetings the gifts were exercised. In the evening the smart preachers would preach. I must say I felt bad to see how blind I had been in reading the Scriptures.
About this time my brother WILLIAM got married and joined the Saints. Being a good speaker they made him an Elder. My brother always had one or two saints at his house to stay all the time. My father, THOMAS POULTER, was a very strict man as to his morals. He went to hear Moses Martin. When he came home, he forbid my two sisters, JANE and CHARLOTTE to go any more. He said the Latter day Saints were a low lot and dared them to go any more, but I did so.
The more I felt the Latter-day Saints were right, the more I thought they might be false prophets in these last days. In reading the Millennial Star I read of B. Ross a Scotsman whom they termed as the walking Bible. Being well posted in the Bible myself I prayed I might get the chance to meet him to prove to him that he was a false prophet. At this time Ross was in Scotland. Three months after this I went to London to see my brother, when lo, Mr. Ross was staying there. After awhile my brother said, "Tom, if you want to prove Brother Ross is a false prophet, now is the time."
I had my Bible in my pocket, but I was shut up in everything. In everything I tried to prove I failed on all points. I now said, "Mr. Ross, I am ready to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." After dinner my brother WILLIAM and Mr. Ross went to the bathing baths near Black Piers Bridge, and there I felt good. I want now to make a remark. I wore on my finger a valuable gold ring mounted with a ruby of number one. Now Mr. Ross had his eye on this ring. He said to me, "Brother Thomas I would like to have that ring." "Well," said I, "Brother Ross you are a Scotsman, I will make you a present of this ring and a silk plaid waistcoat." It was a beauty.
I now returned to Hampstead Heath a Saint. One year passed. Mr. Toler did not know I had joined the Saints. I went to the meetings privately, but I did not make free with the Saints as they all looked so poor.
One day a preacher came to see me. I was scared! He was dressed in a suit of dirty greasy clothes. Miss Rachel Toler had seen me shake hands with him at the gate. I felt the fat would be in the fire now sure. As it was our dinner time I begged of him to keep his tongue quiet knowing him to be an out and out ranter, but alas, the good dinner and ale got the master of him. Good Heavens! He preached Mormonism with a vengeance. Of course I felt bad as I knew it was money he was after, I handed him some and told him to come and see me in a more decent dress. No sooner had he left the house when the house keeper wanted to know how I got to know such a low, ignorant man. The ladies wanted to know if I had joined them. Of course, I told them the truth. I told them I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Miss Rachel cried and talked to me to prove to me they were all false prophets. The men folks forbade me having any more Mormons to come to see me. My goodness! What a change took place.
Cross looks, all my former privileges stopped for what I had done. I reflected I could see that if I was right they were wrong in all their religious worship. Their conduct now convinced me that the love of the Godhead was not in their hearts, that their religion was show. Miss Rachel one day called me into the library with the Bible in her hands and tears in her eyes trying to prove to me that the Mormon people were a wicked people, that Joseph Smith was a horse thief, a money digger. Just at this moment in came her father who said, "My dear Rachel, do not waste your time to argue with Thomas for you can not do it."
I now got letters from all my friends telling me to leave the Mormon religion right away or else they would forever withdraw all their interest in me. Now before I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints it would be, My dear friend Poulter, but now the dear was left out. I, of course quit all correspondence. But the ladies were trying all in their power to convince me that I was wrong. The minister from Matlock and his wife, a good woman, who took me by the arm and walked around the garden trying hard to convince me I was wrong and calling the Mormons bad in every way. Her husband got the Bible. I closed him up as soon as Brother Ross did me. He told me I was too far gone that he could not save me.
At last the ladies got one of the smart ministers of the day to stay a week to talk too. Finding he could not convince me in any way that I was wrong, he said to me, "Thomas, I can do no more to save you. But where did you get such a knowledge of the Bible? I am surprised at your knowledge."
So I could not see why the ladies were now so cross and still they did not discharge me. My friends at Matlock kept their word to me, they did not write to me.
Well, I was more convinced then that the religion taught by the Mormons was the true one. I now made up my mind to leave. I gave Mr. Toler a month's notice that I would leave. "Thomas", he said to me, "Why do you want to leave me? I am getting old and feeble. I want you to stay with me till I die. Is it more wages that you want? If so, say so. At my death I will leave you twenty pounds and a silver watch." I said, "No sir, my mind is made up to go again to sea." Now having made up my mind to go to sea I took this course. The family took the Daily Times. As my boss was a Tory, the Times published the British Navy news twice a week. Now I had it fixed in my mind that I would wait till the last Saturday of the month and if in the Navy, news a ship was to be put in commission, that ship should be the one for me to try to join as a steward.
Now this month I prayed sincerely that I might get good luck, so as to shame all my proud enemies. Now I had not looked at the Navy for a whole month. To my surprise and still I was not surprised, a ship or a steamer was to be paid off and to be recommissioned by the Honorable Lora A. Beauclark, on the following Thursday. On the Monday my month was up. I felt as sure of getting a place as a steward in the H.M.L. Stombolie as I was born. On the Monday I left, but Mr. Toler didn't have another in my place thinking that I would not go. I stopped too late so that all the omnibuses quit, but I met a Baptist Minister who took me home, gave me a good bed and breakfast and took me to London in his rig. Now this was Tuesday.
When I got home, I found several of my mother's friends from the country had come up to see the Lord Mayor's show which was to be on the morrow. Now the steamer was lying in the dock at Wolige, but I felt I had better go down as soon as possible. At the same time I felt sure of a steward's berth as I live. So on the strength of this I stopped to see the Lord Mayor's show which was very grand. Now on Thursday I put on my blue clothes, as in my former employment I had to wear black. Well, here I was at Wolige. As I stood at the dock yard I inquired of the police man if Lord Beauclark was in the yard. "No sir, there he is on the side walk waiting to get the sea men when they are paid off today." All right over I went.
"My Lord, I am a Steward. If you are not engaged I would like to join you." "Well, sir, what ship were you in last?" "H.M. Hyacinth." "why that is many years ago. Why you must be pretty rusty." "Oh no, my Lord, far from that. I am polished up. Living three and one half years with the Honorable Mr. Toler of Hampstead Heath." "Well, as your old Captain is here I should like to see him. Now Steward, I want you to go to Mr. Toler and bring me your time of your service and meet me this evening at the Duke of St. Alban's Mansion in Pickidilly."
I made all haste. I went to Captain Goldsmith, my last Captain. "Why Poulter", said he, "You must have forgotten all about being a steward". "Oh no", said I, "I am polished which I can and will prove all right". Away I went to London to see Mr. Toler. I no sooner asked Mr. Toler than I got his answer. "Thomas, I will not give you any paper for Lord Beauclark or anyone else, and you have had all this cut and dried before you gave me warning."
I saw it was no use to say any more, but to go to his son Thomas Toler and state how his father had acted towards me. The old gent was mad, so Thomas gave me a good letter. At nine o'clock I got to the mansion. I rang the bell, the door was opened by a jolly fat porter. I saw several girls peeping at me at the side doors. I could hear them say that the steward was a nice young man, how good looking, but how young to be a Captain's Steward. Now the porter rapped at the door saying "The Steward, My Lord."
"Show him in." I was surprised to see another gent talking. I of course did not know whether he was the Duke or not until, "Well, Steward, have you got the letter?" "Yes, my Lord." Taking a silver that was on the side board, handing the same to let them see that I was polished, I had made my brags. After reading the letter the old gent said to me, "Steward, how much wine and stores will it take for three months to have twelve to dinner every week?" I answered all the questions and received orders to come to Wolige next day. His Lordship had a valet to attend him. He took me to the hotel where he told the waiter to put glass, wine, silverware for six for dinner. He then asked me to lay the cloth for six and to decanter the wine. His Lordship stood behind. I soon showed him that few could beat me at this business. After I got through he said, "Now Steward, go to the dockyard and be put on the ship's books as my steward." "Yes, my Lord, but I want a week leave." "All right, order the stores. Get a first class cook and here is four pounds to purchase a good number one goat."
I went straight to London then to Hampstead Heath to tell them that I was the steward of the Captain Lord A. Beauclark of H.M.L. Strobolie on the home station. I must say I felt somewhat proud of my good luck. Everyone wondered how and where I got the interest from not having been to sea for five years. My pride was soon to have a test from a quarter I least expected. My week being out I went to the ship to take charge. I took my bedding and sea chest of clothing of which I had a good stock of two kinds, one for a butler and one for a Steward and plenty of money. On my arrival I found the vessel out of dock and everything aboard all stowed away.
The cook was installed and the valet acting as my steward, I could see that jealousy was in the valet's breast towards me and for no cause as I could see. Now during my absence from the ship, only a week everything ready for sea, all the men engaged. My old Captain had been a kind of help to his Lordship in telling him what to do. Just as I got all things in working order Miss Wolsey having heard that I was a steward, wrote to his Lordship that I had joined the Mormons, who were a wicked deluded lot and that I would turn his ship upside down. So his Lordship said to me, "Steward, are you a Mormon?" "Yes, my Lord." "Well, I have a letter from a lady who writes and tells me you advocate the same. Now Steward, I think a great deal of you, but I want you to understand that I am the Minister of this ship as well as the Captain, So I want you to bear in mind that I will not allow you nor any other man to preach or teach any religion, but the Church of England at your peril. Now see to it."
I was so confounded and astonished at this lady writing in this way as she did and the threat of Lord Beauclark that I made up my mind to quit the ship and leave the Navy, but this was no easy task to do as all my clothing and bedding was on board. I now made up my mind to leave the ship. There was at this time two Mormon Elders working in the dock yard; I went to their house and told them that the Captain was a tyrant and that I had made up my mind to leave the ship at all hazards, but I wanted their help. One of the Elders remarked that I was going to take a bold stroke in leaving a man of war guarded on sides by royal guards. "I know", I said, "But I am going to leave the ship at all hazards and risk." One of the Elders said, "Let us all three bow the knee and ask the Lord to bless us, for if the officers knew it they would leave their place in disgrace." After we had prayed, one of the Elders asked if the Lord had opened the way for me to go if I got clear of the ship. "Yes."
Now for the plan. Now brothers I want you both to be at the landing place at twelve o'clock and I will be there or soon after with my box and bedding. If I get so far safe I will jump out of the boat and each of you take charge of my clothes while I jump on the train for London. Now this day his Lordship had lunch on board at twelve o'clock. He had for his lunch roasted pheasant, lemon pudding and coffee and dessert to finish off with. Now at this time all the ship's crew had their dinner and the young officers. "Now", I said to the Captain's valet, "Now William while the Captain is eating his lunch I will go on shore and get some milk for his coffee." I had in the pantry my razors, hair brush, combs and a new trumpet that cost me eight pounds. These I thought wisdom to leave in the pantry; on deck I went. I asked the watch to let me have two or three men to put my chest and spare bedding in the boat as I wanted to take them On shore out of the way. The men were ordered, I hailed a boat that I wanted to take and went for the landing; leaving all on board in perfect ignorance of my bold trick. On landing on shore there were the two faithful elders waiting. Each one now took charge of my things. I paid the water man, gave the elders some cash and off I started just in time to go to London on the train.
On my arrival home my Mother felt very bad to think I had to thus run away from my ship. "Now Thomas", she said, "You had better go out of town for the officers will be after you." I now went to brother WILLIAM'S but his advice was to clear off some where until the ship sailed.
During this time what are they doing on board the ship? Let us see. "William, has the Steward returned with the milk?" "No, my Lord." "Why, two hours and not returned yet? What is the matter?" On deck went my Lord. "Now sir", to the officer of the watch, "How did my steward go on shore?" "Why he went on a waterman's boat and took his sea chest and bedding on shore." "Why, sir, you must be a fool, sir, worse than a fool. Man that gig." Away he went, first to the milk shop, then to the hotel, then to the railroad. Finding I had gone, I was now put down as a deserter running away with four hundred pounds and a reward of twenty three pounds for my arrest. Soon as possible two officers were at my mother's house dressed as stewards. "Is Tom at home? We are stewards on a spree and want Tom to go with us to the play tonight." Now my sister MARY said, "My brother Tom has just gone to my brother WILLIAM's." "Now my dear, here is a shilling for you. Come and show us where he lives."
But I was by this time at Esher and Moulsey, Surrey, going here and there. Now all this time I had no peace of mind. I was away a week and could not rest anywhere, so I started for home with the sole purpose of going on board and clear up my character. The next day I went from London to Gasport with the sole purpose of delivering myself up. Just as the train arrived the steamer was passing to the docks to take in coal. Well, knowing that I could and doubtless would be put in irons and flogged with the cat and nine tails, I had not the courage. Now I knew several good men in Gasport and Portsmouth so I called on them to get counsel and advice. Their counsel was for me to stay on shore until the ship sailed to sea. A place of refuge was provided with a sister, a very pious young woman. I was now here for twelve days, going out for airing and no one suspected me as a deserter. At last I felt I ought to go on board. I told my friend the minister. He tried all he could for me not to go. Now he had to go to Gasport and he asked me to walk with him. To get to Gasport we had to cross three fields covered with green grass and wild flowers, and we had now reached the third field. "Now brother here we must part." "No, do not go on board. It is the work of the devil." "My honor demands it. My friends demand it and go I must." Here we embraced each other. He wept and left me by the edge of this lovely meadow.
I could not die happy unless I leave this in black and white for as the Lord God liveth what I now write is as true as the sun and the moon and stars run in heir course. Now for it. I had now made up my mind to go on board. I paced on the grass and I lifted my voice, standing on my feet praying thus: "Oh, Lord God Almighty, look down from above Thy dwelling place and grant unto me Thy servant, this sign. I will now go to the sea side and on my arrival there if I see a small boat at anchor and a man bailing out the boat and he shall look up and say, "Do you want a boat, master?" If I find, let not the Captain nor the Officers of the ship have power over me to flog me, but give me Thy presence and the angels over me for good." I now made for the sea shore which was not very far off. I passed two police officers who said, good morning. On my arrival at the sea side I there saw with my eyes a lovely boat at anchor with a jolly fine looking man bailing out the water. He said, "Do you want a boat, master?" I of course said, "Yes, come on shore." I now felt so sure that I should escape the lash. "What ship, sir?" "H.M.L. Strombolie."
Now we soon got among the ornery ships of war. Said I, "To the boat, man. Do you know a gunner by the name of Cleverly?" "Yes, sir, right here in this seventy-eight gun ship." "All right. Row me aboard." Cleverly was all this time standing on the gangway. I went on board. "Thomas", said he, "Are you not afraid to be seen out like this? Don t you know that if you are caught you will be put in chains and flogged?" "Yes, I know, but I am now going on board to see." Cleverly took me to his cabin and we both knelt in prayer. We kissed each other. We now made for the ship, which was coaling alongside of the dock yard. When we got alongside, the guard told us to keep off and to go through the dock yard. I landed and got the pass word and steered for the Strombolie. On my arrival I found two police men walking up and down to keep the men on board, a Royal Marine with fixed bayonet on the gang way, the forecastle and the poop. The officer of the watch was an old ship mate of mine in China. I got safe on board. "I have come on board, sir to report myself." "Well, Poulter, do you know that you are a deserter? And that you have been absent two weeks? You are now on board the vessel you have deserted from, that your punishment is to be put in irons and flogged with the cat of nine tails. Now Poulter, the Captain is now on shore. I advise you to go as soon as you can and save yourself, while I talk with the guard." But I remained on the quarter deck. The officer returned. "Well, Poulter, is your mind made up what to do?" "Yes, sir, to abide the consequence." "Then I must do my duty. I must report to the commanding officer." Down he went to report to the Captain, "Steward on Board, sir." "What! Who brought him on board?" "No one sir." "Well, well, what shall I do with him? A deserter come on board of his own free will. Well, he must be made an example of. Put both legs in irons with a Royal Marine over him with drawn cutlass."
During this time I told the two police men I was a deserter, that they had lost the purse of twenty three pounds. This put the stunners on them. In irons I was placed with a guard over me. The Master of Arms brought me my dinner, beef steak, fried onions, potatoes and a cracker. Just at this time the Captain came on board. I felt my doom would soon be made known to us. Now for the parley between the Captain and the first Lieutenant. "Well, Mr. Davis seeing that my steward came on board of his own free will, I wish him to be kept in irons with bread and water for fourteen days. See that he is not to read, write, or to see anyone during that time, to have exercise on the poop from twelve to half past every day with the guard over him with drawn cutlass." Mr. Davis, "Your steward, sir, is a deserter. He must be flogged as a warning to the rest." "Mr. Davis, I am the Captain of this ship. My order is law while I have charge." The Master of Arms came to me, "Well, Steward, your doom is fixed. You are to be placed in the lower cockpit with both feet in irons with a guard over you in close confinement on bread and water for the term of fourteen days with half an hour for exercise on the poop."
Oh praise the Lord, I am not to be flogged with the cat of nine tails. Glory to God in the highest! I did feel good. At four o'clock, eight bells, the supper was piped. The Master of Arms brought me a basin of water and three crackers. Now the lower cockpit where I was confined was twelve by eighteen feet with steps or ladder at the end. Around this was the young officers sea chests. On one corner of the cockpit was the Captain's store room and on the other was the ward room officer's steward. On the other corner was the ship steward's cabin and the other corner the entrance to the powder magazine. Now the guard had to stand. I sat on a chest by the ship's steward about eight feet high between decks. This was my place of confinement. The next day the Master of Arms brought me my water half milk by the Captain's orders. We had a fine goat on board. Now about noon at eight bells piped to dinner. But before going on deck the ship steward asked the guard if he would like to take a glass of rum. Well he did not say yes or no, but said, "Will a duck swim?" He took the grog. "Can the steward take one?" He did not say yes or no but went to the steps to look up. I then took my grog. I was now marched on the poop with the guard. The guard talked to me. The officers of the watch sent for the sergeant to relieve the guard with a fresh guard. Seven days in the black list was his doom. As soon as I got down again I was addressed by the ship's steward in this strain, "I am, like yourself, young, a steward, when on shore, gay. Now your sentence is bread and water for fourteen days. Now the guards are all with the officers and crew, and are proud of your conduct thus far, now as I may or might get in a scrape some time I want you to do by me as I shall do by you. Now as I live so shall you." "All right", said I, "Be it so."
The next day the other guard talked to me. He was likewise the same. "Why what is the cause of all this? Mr. Davis take the guards off the prisoner and let him be under guard on the next tier." Was this not another token of my Heavenly Father s love toward me? I was kept in irons day and night, but left free in the cockpit so I could get my food with the ship's steward without anyone to see or hear what passed between us below.
A week had passed away. All well now, it was Sunday. On this day all hands dressed in their best clothes and had to muster on the quarter deck. I was placed on the upper deck with a guard, drawn sword over me before the main mast. After all hands and the ship had been inspected the Captain cast his eyes on me. "Mr. Davis, my steward looks very well under his bread and water. Does my steward have the bread and water three times a day?" "Yes, my Lord." "Are you sure as to that?" "Yes, my Lord". "Well. he looks very well under it. Mr. Davis, ring the bell for church." We marched down to church and I had to sit by the Captain. He read and prayed out of the common prayer book. It was now twelve o'clock. Piped to dinner. "I told no lie, but close work was it not Steward?" was the reply of the ship's steward.
The Captain went to the Duke's Mansion to shoot game. He was gone eight days. My time was now up. I never had better times of it in my life, but )ust before this the Port Admiral came on board to pay the two months advance. My name was called. I was conducted by the guard to the state room. "Take your cap off, sir". I took my hat off. "Sir, here is your cash." "I have all the money I want, sir. I would have you remit it to my account."
The Captain got up from the table and went off. The Admiral told the guard to confine me again in safe keeping. I was now placed in my old quarters without guard over me. I had a hymn book with me to cheer me up. Sixteen days had passed away when the Captain had returned from his brother, the Duke of St. Alban's Mansion. I was sent for. The First Lieutenant got fits for keeping me two days overtime. I was now free once more. Now said the Captain to me, "Steward, I am proud of you in the manner you have conducted yourself while you were a prisoner." "Yes, my Lord, but you have anguished me wrongfully and I want my discharge." "Steward, you cannot have your discharge. I will raise your wages five pounds from this day per month extra." "Now, my Lord, you valet has lied to you in every way, please have him in and I will prove him a rascal and a villain." The guard at the door sent in the valet and I proved him a liar and a villain. He was placed in irons with bread and water for fourteen days on the next deck away from the steward's quarters. The Captain's cook was put in irons and flogged for getting drunk.
We were now ordered out to sea with the channel fleet. The Admiral was Sir Charles Parker. In the Bay of Biscay a storm came and we caught fire in the coal bunks. We put in to a seaport on the coast of Ireland to repair. The Irish came around the ship bringing all kinds of provisions, live sheep, hay, fruit, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, and played the bagpipes and let us have everything cheap. In the evening the girls came along side of the boat, like so many wild colts, no hats or bonnets but ruddy and young. They wanted to come on board to dance, but the Captain would not allow it. The girls and the men got mad. We found the fleet at anchor. The Admiral was mad at our stay behind. Lisbon was a fine town laid out in sheets and squares and fine churches and markets but nothing to be compared with the poorest town in Old England. On landing I was surrounded by boys. "Let me carry your basket, Steward." Up would come a dandy, he would show me all the fine places, where to get and to buy things, and to the finest girls in the town. While we stayed here at this place, I went ashore every morning to market. I went to the queen's palace and to the churches and nunneries, where I saw some of the prettiest girls I have ever cast eyes on.
Now I'll get on the square with the Admiral. The Captain gave a picnic on shore. It took us three days to prepare for this. I had splendid good luck, everything went off good, nothing broken or lost. The ladies of some fine old mansion took all the crowd over to her lovely home. Oh, it was a lovely place grape walks with great clusters hanging over your head, and the flowers of all shades. Here the steward treated me fine. He gave me twenty gallons of wine and made me drunk. We stayed here three days and nights eating and drinking of the best of the Lord. It was grand. All the officers of the fleet came in turns. I was the only steward that was allowed there. Oh, did I have a fine time of it. The wine was delicious. It was good, very good, and the store room was full of casks of wine with racks full of grapes hanging over your head. I feel love sick with a pretty girl. On the fourth day the Captain gave a ball. It was the same thing over, and over again, round dancing, lots of wine, lemonade, etc. One day there was to be a grand bull fight. I was invited to attend this fight. It was a grand affair. Thousands of handsome women of all ages were there.
The Admiral sailed for England and left us to go to Gibraltar to get stores for the British Minister. On our arrival I went on shore to the stores. found everything free from duty. I got a present of three cases of lent, 12 bottles in each case, a box of fresh brandy, 12 bottles were in this case also. I went up the hill to St. Michael's cave, a large cave filled with lovely sparkling stone, with all shades of colors. From this place I could see the mainland of Spain, Algiers the mighty harbor where many a bloody battle had been fought. On the square was the cannon and the grating for red hot shot. A large army of troops were kept there ready to be transported to any part of the world. The market was splendid, supplied from the Spanish quarter, fruit, meat, fish, vegetables of every kind, wine and Agars, oranges and flowers. There were lovely Spanish girls by the hundreds on our arrival at Lisbon. I took all the goods to the English Ambassadors, where I fell in love with a pretty Portuguese girl. She wanted to get married.
On my arrival to England, I sent the wine and the three boxes of eau de cologne to different people, in England-the wine to my Mother. I also took some large onions and large grapes to the Lady at Portsmouth as a present. I went to see my old friends at Gasport. I had a good time there.
Again we were ordered to Lisbon to go to Algiers to punish the Moors for piracy. We anchored in the Bay, loaded the big guns and shells, ready to fire into the port or town, but the white flag was hoisted. The Captain went on shore and I with him. We went to the British Consul, stayed there three days and nights. Some of the new maids were English and some were Arabs. Our place was guarded by Arab troops. They were armed with long match locks, spears, and swords. The town was built with brick houses. The streets were very narrow. Camels and donkeys were the animals used in the town. The men were very tall and handsome. The women were beautiful. The Jews were treated rather severely. I saw a Jewish lady dressed very rich in her clothing, but had to take off her shoes and silk stockings when passing the Moorish places of worship. We got the pirates and took them to Gibraltar.
We stayed here for a few days. I got lots of things here very cheap and then we sailed for Lisbon. The Captain's cook got drunk and was put in irons and flogged the next day. I went on shore with the ship's steward and gun room steward. I went to the different places and to the church and also to the nunnery. I was allowed to stand in one corner of the chapel to see the young ladies go to the altar and confess. They all saw me. Oh, did they not smile! Oh, such lovely girls of all ages! I also went into the grape and flower garden. It was lovely in the extreme.
Then I went to England to refit. At this time there was a row or trouble brewing in Ireland and we were ordered to Cork while here. We were visited by many of the town folks. A beautiful girl came on board. I fell in love with her and she with me. I landed on shore and was met on the shore by 12 young Irish girls. They joined hands and encircled me in the middle and told me to choose. I told them they were all so pretty I could not do it, but I soon found out the place of my lady love. I stayed there three days. I wanted to get married, hemmed my black silk neck tie with her hair. Oh, dear, what two love sick fools we were.
The ship was then ordered to Waterford. We arrived in the night with guns loaded with shells. At day light we got the guns pointed at a green house with a green flag flying where the man resided who tried to get Ireland to rebel. This was in the 1849. The police and troops took all of them. We stayed here over two weeks. The women were remarkably handsome and noble and very kind to me. Fish, meat, and vegetables are in great abundance and very cheap. The salmon were delicious. The rebellion was now nipped in the bud.
The Admiral, Sir Charles Napier, ordered us to Kingstown. On our arrival there the towns folk felt good. The railroad officers gave us free rides to Dublin. I went up to hunt my old friends who were all number one folks of Dublin. They were all glad to see me. Invitations were all the rage. Talk about true love and hospitable kindness, I got it, in children also. So glad were they to see me. To be sure the real Irish friendship was here. Down they came to see me, dressed in silk and satins. The Captain and Officers were all surprised and wanted to know how it was that I could find such friends. My goodness, what sport me and the Purser's Steward had. To be sure, twice I missed the train and had to get the police to hunt me up a bed sometimes in a hotel and sometimes in a cottage. It was true kindness to us wherever we went, plenty to eat and drink, all free. Was it not fine? I should say it was fine and jolly. Oh, such jolly times raspberry brandy, Dublin porter veal, Irish whiskey, etc., a good time it was while it lasted.
Orders came to proceed to Plymouth. Here we stayed with the Admiral and at the Hotel had a fine time of it. Fell in love with the bar maid or the bar maid with me. A fine time we had.
Ordered to Portsmouth. Went to see my old friends in Gasport who were too religious to be happy, or allow anyone else to be so. At this time there was a flare up in France. The King and Queen had to fly. We were ordered to cross on the coast of France to save the Royal family. All got safely landed at Dover and went to Claremuount, Esher, Surrey, and there ended his Kingship.
We were now ordered by the Port Admiral to prepare to get ready to sail to the North Pole with provisions for the lost ships. As I dreaded the cold weather I wrote to Admiral Dundas one of the Lords of the Admiralty for my discharge. The next day I got it. His Lordship and Right Honorable Lord A. Beauclark called me into his cabin and said, "Well, Steward, you have got it at last, have you?" "Yes, my Lord, I cannot stand the cold." So he gave me a first class discharge.
Mrs. Holford at Hampstead Heath wrote to me when I left the ship to come to her and take charge of her mansion there. A lovely place, the gardens were most beautiful with fountains and marble statues of all kinds. Three gardeners were kept all the time. I had fine times. I lived like a Lord, nothing to do only enjoy myself. Hampstead Heath is a lovely place, a great place for donkeys and the rich. On a Sunday it is crowded with the folks from London. Now Mrs. Holford was a widow lady with seven children. The servants, which was quite a host when all collected were well organized. We had to go to Church twice a day on Sunday and all the house met on the morning at seven o clock for prayers. A chapter was read from the Scriptures and prayers from the English prayer book, and at night at ten o'clock as regular as clock work. No liberties of any kind were allowed with the servants, no liberties given or taken. Four to five meals a day with the hired help, with the family four meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper every day. On Sundays she would not be hard on the hired help. When any visitors came they would always hand out something handsome. Grace was always asked at the meals at the servant's hall and at the family. The family was very pious, Church of England folks. Very rich furniture of the grandest style. Everything kept in splendor. The parties were grand. It was the same thing over and over again. It consisted of dinners served up in splendor. The silver dish and glass and china was grand. I had charge of all this. It was marvelous to see the rich food at these dinners. Wines of the riches kinds, fruit, flowers of the most costly kinds and some of the most lovely girls would be at these parties with bare necks, arms and bosoms. I should say it was a cure for any sick man.
Was there any poor at Hampstead Heath? Yes, there was and they were all taken care of by the rich church members. If the poor man was in trouble or sick they got relieved. It made no odds whether you were a Protestant, Baptist, Catholic, you got help in every way with clothing and food and fuel. Of course, lots of pious devils and they would get the most of the rich, but to sum it all up it was a paradise on the earth. Was all this appreciated? Yes, by some and not by others. So, where you will, I always found ingratitude and pious devils in every shape and form. Now you say it made no odds whether you were a.member of this church or that church, of course it did. Now I will prove this. Miss Rachel Toler, a very pious lady of about thirty-five was of the Church of England. One evening her father a good nobel man said to Rachel, "Well, Rachel, how do your poor get on?" "Well, pa, my district is very nice. All have the comforts of life, but there is a family in my district who are Roman Catholic in great distress. The woman is confined and very sick." "Well, my dear, of course you gave her the help she needed?" "No, pa, I did not." "For why?" "She is not of our religion and she is a Catholic." Father Toler said, "From this time on never let creed stand in the way of good doing." "Thomas, here is half a crown, and get the cook to fix up some soup and take it at once to the sick woman." I felt glad in my heart to see such a venerable good man was living. It was a warning to me not to be bigoted nor too pious, but try to do good and rebuke evil in all things.
At this time I got more disgusted with the different creeds, selfishness and pride. By taking the Bible I saw I was also acting the pious humbug that I was. Now I was determined to be a real Latter-day Saint or nothing. By so doing I was told to renounce my religion or leave in one month. At this time brother CHARLEY was a splendid singer. This I could see was leading him into bad company. I now got CHARLEY to join the Mormons. I fitted him out with my sea bedding, clothes, and the fare to go to St. Louis to join our brother WILLIAM. This made me poor in purse and clothes but I was determined by the help of the Spirit to be a Latter-day Saint or nothing.
A family in Heath sent after me. I went and stayed three months. Now this family was Scotch; a very religious and good and lived and acted good in all things. I now joined the Prince Albert Institution to get employment as a butler or steward. This was open from nine to four. With our names entered on the book, where we lived and the places we served, nothing written of what creed. So the butlers were in a room by themselves. The employer that wanted a butler would call you out. Strange as it might seem I was called out day after day, I would agree but when it came to the understanding I was a Mormon that stopped all further talk. Well, I got to be pretty low in my pocket. I would pray very earnest for my way to be opened that I might get employment at last. At last my name was called to be engaged as a butler. A fine looking man and his lady began, "Well, Thomas I see by the books that you have been a steward in the Royal Navy and a butler on land. Now, Thomas, I want a good honest man to be my butler, as I am away for many months. Now, Thomas, what are your terms?" I laid it all down. The lady wanted me to go to church with her. I refused all her requests, so that we could not agree on anything, but the Queen's counselor was a fine man, a noble man and we agreed in all things but the pay. I wanted five pounds more a year. We agreed as to my religion but for me to allow with any of the domestics, but we parted not coming to any engagement. Now this was Thursday, on Saturday I was called out by a post Captain who wanted me to go to his mansion right away as he was ordered to sea. We agreed to pay, now for the religious part. I will. leave you in charge of my two daughters and a brother is the Rector of the Parish Church. You will have to make a show in the pew every Sunday. Twice I refused. Well, all the butlers in the room were very anxious to know why it was that I was so often called out but I could not get suited. I never told them it was religion.
On Sunday I went to the Mormon Church in Theobold's Road. As I was praying very earnestly to the Lord to open my way as if a spirit whispered to me and said, "Thomas A. Poulter,. what is it you want? Two places have been opened to you, one ready to grant you everything you desire in religion, but five pounds wages stood in the way. On the other hand, a place has been opened for you to proceed at once with high wages but to the Church of England you must go. Now what do you want, is it money you want, or religion, or both?" Surely I felt condemned for it was plain I wanted both. What should I do? Four days had gone, and the first offer also, but the next day, Monday I went to Whit Hall to see if I could engage on his terms. When I went he was at the window looking out as if expecting me. He did not wait for me to ring the bell but opened it, with his smiling face and laughing eyes. "Good Morning, Thomas. Come in to the library. Well, Thomas what can I do for you?" "Well, sir, if you are not engaged, I will be glad to accept of your place at your own terms." "Why Thomas what has brought you to this conclusion? For you must know I have seen a hundred butlers." "Well, sir it is not for the want of an opening for a place but on Saturday a good place was open to me in every way so far as wages go, but on religious matters it was a blank, so I refused. I concluded to take your offer on your terms so that I can have the privilege of enjoying my religion." "Well, Thomas, I will proceed today to the office and then to Hampstead Heath, and if I find all is true as you tell me I will let you know tonight, so call tonight at seven o'clock". At seven I rang the bell and was shown up to the drawing room. "Well, Thomas I have been to the office and to Hampstead Heath and found everything as you related in every respect, now I will hire you as my butler. You will have to attend the Queen's Levee and drawing room every six months. On those occasions you have to have a new suit of black made by my tailor of the very best with a nosegay of flowers on your breast. You see, Thomas, I want my butler to look the best in the crowd, for on those occasions I wear my state robes of my high order as the Queen's Counselor."
Now we will drop the curtain on all this. My boss was a man of good sound sense, free from all religious bigotry. His principles, were for reform and liberty on it's broadest and first principles. To sum it all up in one word he as a man in every sense of the word. His wife was a high talented lady, good and kind in all her actions with a noble will to do right. As for me, I was allowed every indulgence. Only had to ask, and I was cared for in every way. I went to my meeting twice every Sunday. In the morning the gospel was preached, and in the afternoon a testimony meeting and the sacrament administered with the gift of tongues. The evenings the gospel was preached always. Every Sunday the power was there to prove it by works. There were several pretty sisters and smart elders. My object is to show the power of God in the Mormon Church and some of its follies by giving the Elders too much freedom to speak and to act in their various ideas. Of course, I do not want to condemn or to recommend this or that truth. Now what is the real religion taught by Joseph Smith the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the books of their creed will show. Now I will write of the fruits I saw in those who were the leaders in the same. It is written in the Bible, "Judge not, nor condemn not." Now, I was a butler with this Queen's Counsel who profess no creed but one--namely, to do right, and to do all the good he could. For three years and six months I was his butler and had charge of all his plate and the keys of his wine cellar, etc. Now the servants were all allowed the same privilege to worship God as they pleased -at this place I had the privilege to ask who I liked to the house. I asked several elders of the church home to dinner and by their talk I got to know a good deal.
Now, at this place I fell in love with a young lady by the name of MISS BUTLER whose friends lived at Birmingham at the Crown Hotel. She had three sisters, very handsome as were their parents and all intelligent. During this time the Duke of Wellington died and I took charge of the mansion. I went with MISS HANNAH BUTLER to see the Duke who laid in state at Chelsea Hospital. It was a grand sight to see the Grenedier Guards resting on their muskets like statues. It took all the day. The crowd was immense. At times so great that we were taken off our feet and carried along for yards. It was indeed grand. At this time the wonderful glass house was built in Hyde Park. Wonderful was the Hearts of Man exhibited in this building. At this time Miss Beecher wrote a book called Uncle Tom's Cabin. It cause the greatest excitement as it showed the slaves in the Southern States. It played all over London.
At this time I felt I ought to get married. Now I loved MISS HANNAH BUTLER although she was not a Mormon at this time but was a noble woman in word and deed. I was ordained a teacher 9 March 1851 by Elder Hyde. Soon after, 26 December 1852, I married MISS BUTLER in St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet Street, London.
At this time the Church was very strong, 30,000 Latter-day Saints. I was still butler to the Queen's Counsel and married when Elder Wallace at the testimony meeting said, "Brother Poulter, you are to gather up for Zion right away and not to tarry and your way shall be opened all the way to Zion." Up got a brother and stated, "Brother Poulter, your way shall be opened right through to Zion. Angels shall protect you." Now at this time my wife was in the family way. This move was something I did not expect. Now to prove this of "Thus said the Lord in the Church of Latter-day Saints there are the gift of tongues." Now to know what it was my privilege I fixed up and went to a Mormon evening testimony meeting some miles away where I was not known. I prayed to the Lord to let me know by the gift of tongues. At the meeting were the president, his two counselors and me. Soon came a sister poorly dressed and then came a sister well dressed, and it was that sister sat on one side and the other on the other. This made six members in all. After the singing, prayer, and so forth, the sister now on my left rose up on her feet and reprimanded the sister that spoke in tongues for not rising on her feet that a great and mighty angel had spoken through her. "Now thus saith the Lord. There is a brother in this meeting that wants to know if he is to go to Zion. Yes, the word is to you. Brother, gird up your loins and prepare to go to Zion. For the time, yea, the time has come and your way shall be opened up to you to go straight through." I rose up and told them that I was the brother. I from this moment made up my mind to prepare for Zion. I gave the Queen's Counsel a month warning to leave. He approved of my going to America and wrote me a letter with the Royal Coat of Arms to give or to show to the President or anyone else. I wrote to sister JANE and told her that I was told to prepare to got to Zion. JANE sent me a letter with a five pound note on the Bank of England. I then went to Clapham to tell JAMES MCLACHLAN and my sister SARAH ANN tried hard to persuade me not to go. Mack offered me a house furnished from top to bottom if I would only stop in England. Finding I was determined to go, he gave me five pounds and my sister gave me a gold chain and locket.
I now had three shares in a loan club that my father was President of. It was fifteen pounds. I went home to break the news to Mother and Father. My Father was engineer at the City Gas Works. After dinner my Father went to his work. I then broke the news to Mother. My poor Mother burst out in a fit of bitter crying. I left her on her knees by the sofa praying. I now left. As I left the house my uncle, G. DAVIS was at the door. I told him to go in and comfort my Mother. He thought I was acting mean in leaving England, but I felt I was in the path of duty to my God, for by his help my business was to try with all my powers to get to Zion. On the day I left the Queen's Counsel he gave me a five pound note and so did his wife. The fifteen pounds I had in the club I made a present to my Father, as the club was for the sick and those who were in distress. I now bid the servants goodbye. I forgot to say that the house maid had made me four caps worked beautifully for the baby that was to be born. I was very lucky in getting all my debts owed me. I went to the Bazaar in the Strand and got me a chain purse. I got it full of gold sovereigns. I now sent to Liverpool to secure a cabin for two passengers on board of the ship John Montgomery.
My wife was at this time staying with her parents in the Crown Hotel, Birmingham. They were all very glad to see me on my arrival in the family, as this was the first time I was ever with or had seen them. I found Mr. and Mrs. Butler a fine, tall handsome couple and three daughters also very handsome. All well educated and graceful and well-to do. Now I had the offer to be put into a business of any kind and everything free of expense to me if I would only decline the offer and the ideas of going to Zion. Mrs. Butler wept bitterly. Several friends came to see me and all tried their best to see me and persuade me not to go to that wicked placed called Zion. But I was immovable. I thanked them for their kindness. "Well", said all of them, "We have offered and tried hard to persuade you and offered you a business and you refuse and we will not help you to Zion as the sin will not be on us." I again thanked them and told them I had a chain purse full of gold and if my wife HANNAH did not wish to go she could take the purse full of gold, for my fate was Zion. My wife's Mother finding I was determined to go said, "HANNAH, you have a sister in America, but where we do not know. As your Mother, my counsel to you is now to go with your husband and may God bless you both." Now one of the sisters had made two pairs of worsted socks for the baby.
As the ship was not going to sail for two weeks I took a trip to Rochdale to bid my sister JANE goodbye. Now JANE at this time lived 33 Lord St. Rochdale. She was at this time a widow with four children, two boys and two girls and living on her own means very comfortable, I felt very happy here as JANE was a noble woman and was the first that brought us the news of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The next place I now went to was a lodging house in Liverpool close to the docks where the ship was moored and getting ready for to start. I found there was no beds of any kind in my berth, so I wrote to London to my Mother who sent me down the next day a feather bed. In the morning, 12 March 1854 we went on board and we sailed. There were about 30 saints on board all pretty well off and of a good class, a mixture of all classes and all for Zion bound. Now I will write the truth to show what is the true religion and who are Saints. Now my wife at this time was heavy with child. I had prayed very earnestly to God that a good mid wife might be on board. Now as I had been a steward of course I was used to a sea faring life.
The Captain was a good man and take it all through, the ship's company was also a set of fine men. The cook was very obliging to the Saints. Sea sickness in all its horrid forms came over the Saints. I at this time made myself very useful being quartered near the hatchway in and after the cabins. I was nicely fixed. I helped the Captain and the rest all I could after the sea sickness was over. Our president was Robert Campbell, a Scotsman, Elder Smith and several others. We had prayers every morning and night and singing and testimony preaching every Sunday. I might say it was a heaven afloat. The fear of God was in our midst. We were happy for the spirit of love and peace was in our midst. Although we had Saints from all part of the world but a kind of smart well to do Saints. As we got into the Gulf of Florida my wife HANNAH took sick and as good luck would have it the hospital was empty. No one was sick on board and my prayer was answered in the mid wife. A fine broad Scotch woman came and offered her services showing me papers that she had served in the hospital. At six o'clock in the morning we were all on our knees when HANNAH was confined with twins on the 19 April 1854. At sea the joy was so great that on the third day the Saints all united to give the mother and the twins a grand feast and it was in no mistake.
Sister Wolington was a lady of fine breeding and rich, gave bountifully of her good things. I got three bottles of brandy and wine. The first mate proposed the toast. The boy to be called JOHN MONTGOMERY WOOD POULTER and the girl to be christened HANNAH MONTGOMERY WOOD POULTER. The mate was very jolly for the brandy had got into his head. The band played for we had a fine band dressed in green and gold trimmings. This was the first and the last of the band. At last we arrived in New Orleans 2 May 1854 all in good health and spirits. But alas, alas! How soon the spirit of love and happiness was to depart. We found Elders had been sent from Salt Lake to take charge of us. This was the last ship and the richest that went through. Now I will show a little of this love we got. It was given to be the understanding that all contracts made in the ship or in England was now as of no effect as all was placed in the hands of Captain Brown of Ogden City. Now this Captain Brown was a fine smart looking man, he got a steamer to take us to St. Louis, and so it was all that could not afford to hire a cabin had to go below and do the best we could, like so many cattle. While the officers of the Saints, Captain Brown and the rich of our company had first class cabins and ate and drank at the mess tables of the best of the land, the poor below had to take care of themselves in the best way that they could. The water we had to drink was river water, we had to put alum in it to make it drinkable. We had no prayers, we had no singing. The rich Saints with their Elders would come down to see us. Yes to see us, confined like so many cattle in hot stinking quarters. At last the cholera broke out on board and several of the sisters died and were buried at the places where we took in our wood with no singing or prayer.
I asked the Captain of the steamer to allow me on the other deck where I could get some fresh air as the twins were getting sick. By me doing this the Captain of the steamer gave all liberty to come up on the upper deck. Our good mid-wife was taken sick and died, buried like the rest. I was very found of singing and we got together talking about this and that I asked one of the Scotch sisters to sing and to make me a flag to fly in my tent to cross the plains with. She made me my flag. It was a fine flag, the red, white and blue and no stars but a beehive in the middle. While she made this flag it drew around us quite a crowd. This sister that made my flag was fair to look upon. A singer, a voice like a bird. "Sister, I love to sing the songs, the songs of Zion. Will you sing?" "I will", she said, "Brother Poulter if you will help me." My! She sang like an angel. The poor Saints gathered around us and when it came to the choruses they sang with power. Soon it brought around us these enemies that the rich Mormons and their leaders were afraid of. Well, we got through and of course we expected to be eaten up alive by these Mormon enemies, but wonder, ye heaven, give ear! Oh earth! They stood like statutes struck with wonder at the echo, the echo of the Scotch sister's lovely voice. Poor she was, but the spirit of the Gods were upon her and what dith they? Madam if you please sing us another song?" "Yes, sir" was her response. Again went up her lofty strains. It filled the steamer, it floated in the air. Spirits of the just were around us. All the singers felt good. Well, what did the singing do? What did it do--it went up to the heavens, the angels came down and drove away the sickness. Light again shone on our souls and it kept so until we neared St. Louis.
When listen, oh ye Heavens! Give ear of ye earth! The poor Saints were soon in hopes to be in St. Louis to be again with the good Saints of Latter days. But alas, more of our hopes blasted. Again the cruel power of man came to bear on us. We were all turned on an island into a lot of dirty houses with stores at the end of it kept by Doctors. Oh, we had the cholera among us. We were no sooner here when the Doctor told us not to go right away. We had to give them supper, then they wanted us to give them food for three days. They took two young steers and killed them and dressed them. It was a fine sight to see them mount on their horses and start off full of glee.
The next day we camped in another lovely grove with a stream filled with fish, but the mosquitoes were awful. Sickness now broke out in our camp. Several women died and the children several were sick and died. They were buried by the wayside. One girl about fourteen said to me, "Brother Poulter give me drink of cold water, for I am dying." We were now on the plains. We had no water. She died. It was terrible. My wife's left breast was sore, so the twins faired bad. At last they took sick. I slept in a tent. I took the twins and prayed to God to spare them to get to Salt Lake, as I dreaded the wolves, for we had them on our trail every night howling terrible.
Still our crowd was a merry one. Every evening we made large fires. We had a band in our crowd, dancing and singing. The cattle were guarded by two of the brothers every night. One night we killed a beef. It was near my tent. At midnight the large white wolves came howling and snapping their jaws, and followed the next day for several miles. We were now on the river Platt, where the grass was two feet high but no wood but wagon loads of buffalo chips which made a beautiful fire. At this place were large herds of buffalo, hundreds in a drove. My brother WILLIAM and two more of the brethren took horses and went over the hills to hunt. Night came on, it was dark but the hunters did not come. I fired off guns but not an answer. At last I hoisted a lantern on the wagon top. Soon the three hunters were in the camp loaded with meat. The wolves were after them howling terrible. The hunters said the lantern in the top of the wagon saved them.
We now broke camp and traveled to where we had to ford the river, Ashby Fork. The stream was running rapid. We had to drive the cattle by men on both sides to keep them from floating down the stream. When we got over we had two double teams to go over the hill. On this side the feed was very good, lots of wood and game and fish. We stayed here three days. On the top of a hill we found a dead Indian Chief. He must have been a great chief as he had a medal from the President George Washington. His hammock was filled with beads, children shoes, pipes, tobacco. He was dressed in white skins. He smelled like cedar. He must have been a man of about six feet or more. We got spades and dug a grave and put him in it.
We now traveled about twenty miles. We camped but it was a bad place to camp. No grass. This night eight of the steers had gone back to the last camping place. Two of them was WILLIAM's. Eight men with eight horses and a week's grub went in search of them. They traced them to the banks of Ashby Fork and there they had crossed the river. While the eight men camped the first night the wolves and bears roared, howled and snapped that seven of the men would not go a foot further, but my brother WILLIAM took the best horse and went over the river. On the plot he met a train of Saints, 300 wagons this train had got the cattle, my brother helped then across. In three days he overtook us. His eyes were bloodshot, he having had no rest for three days and nights. He was followed by two Indians and three squaws all the time. We killed a beef. The two Indians came into our camp. They were fine looking men, six feet and stout, part of the tribe of Sioux.
A government train passed us going to Fort Laramie. Three days after this we came in sight of the fort and passed a camp of Sioux Indians, 10,000 waiting for their rations. They had been here for three months. The young bucks came out to trade for a wife. They offered three ponies for a wife. Some of the girls for the fun of it made a trade which nearly ended in a fuss. We camped near the Fort. In the evening the young squaws came to visit us. They were very pretty, dressed in white skins with trimmings of beads. A buggy with the officer and lady wanted to hire me and my wife at high wages if we would stay with them.
We stayed here for three days, then camped in a lovely place. While we were at supper a man came riding in saying, "The Indians had shot an officer and twenty nine men, had burned up the Forts and were on the war path." The man wanted us to wait for his train. At break of day we had prayers. Got up the cattle. After breakfast we took council. It ended, obey orders, ten miles. In looking back we saw a large company of Indians in red blankets coming horse back with a large train of horses and cattle. The cry run through the train to get arms ready, but to our joy it was a company of Indian squaws and a trader flying for his life. He left us, the cattle and went ahead with the horses. We saw no more of this crowd. It was a God send to us, as we needed a fresh lot of cattle as our cattle were getting sore feet.
We met several teams going east after freight. One day we passed a large camp which had white tent covers on their wagons and fine fat cattle. They came to us and said, "Go back." They proved to be a company of Josephites. They ran the Mormons down in every way. Well, we kept on our way. Several fast teams passed us. Our food began to give out. We come across a steer which was scratched all over. We shot it and skinned it for beef. The wolves were bad. My wife had a bad breast which was hard on the twins. We now traveled about twenty miles a day.
One day we passed a church team going east for freight and emigrants. We noticed the teamsters had beautiful teeth, clean and white. We also met one of the twelve apostles, Brother Benson. He camped with us all night. He told us that we should not find Salt Lake a heaven but all kinds of fish and said he, "Some of the biggest rogues in all the world. Now brethren look out for sharpers. By the way brethren, I want to trade a mule. It is rather lame but you bet will lead you right into Salt Lake." Well a brother had six fine mules. "Well", he said, "I guess I can let you have one good mule." "Dear Brother, you shall be blessed." Well, the trade was made and the dear brother got took in. We were nearing Salt Lake. At last the end arrived. It was told us that a band would meet us and Brigham to take us in. Well, now let us see how it turned out. It was a lovely day, about noon, just as we were going down the canyon opening to view the great Salt Lake. It was a lovely sight, the sun shining on the lake. Well, they told us in England we should see a beautiful Temple. Now for some fun as we were nearing the City, we should meet some men, Mormons of course. "How do you do brother? Your teams look well." On their long trip of five months our teams were four steers, three cows and one horse. Well this brother took us home to his house, a hut. Was not room to sit down anywhere.
"Well, now to business. Now my brethren I will sell you a lot. I will make you some dobies. I will get you some rock and loam clay and a yoke for your steers and a cow and a horse. Oh yes, by the way let me have your wagon to haul the metal on." My poor brother BILL was sharp in his way but was no match for these fellows. "Well, BILL if you can and like, you can
live with me and let Tom go up to Bountiful and strike out for a job." Alright so I struck out for a job. On a Saturday I got there in good time. I looked around. I saw a fine doby house with barn. But on going up to the house I was barked at by a large dog. I turned back on the other side of the road. I saw a man smoking a pipe. "Hello stranger, how do you do? Do you want to find anything or anyone?" "Yes sir, I want to strike a job". "Well, stranger, I have two acres here. Can you spade it up for me? Now stranger come in and see the old woman and the two girls."
So in I went. The old woman was sitting by the fire smoking a pipe. The girls were knitting socks. They all looked fat but dressed coarse and shabby and clean. Now between me and them was quite a contrast. I wore a suit of black that cost forty dollars and a stove pipe hat. Well after a good deal of sport on me for my ignorance, it was, "Well stranger you had better go over to Dan Woods. He can fix you up good as it is getting late." So again I started for the fine house but instead of a dog meeting me out came a man about 54.
"How do you do brother? Come into the house. Mary get this brother supper." By golly said I to myself I have struck it sure. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, butter, tea, mush and milk. After supper, "Now brother walk into my parlor." After a good deal of talk. "Now brother, Mary will you show him a good bed, for he must be tired." In the morning it was cold but lovely, such a breakfast! By golly ham, chickens, pancakes and prayers to every meal. "Now brother, I will show you my farm." He was well fixed. Fat pigs, turkeys, geese, and I counted seventy five cows. How many more I don t know. The omnibus was ready with four fine fat horses ready to Start off to the meeting. "Now brother I will drive and you can sit at my side. I take seven wives to meeting every Sunday. Now brother I will show you the house I want you to live in, and tomorrow I will send down a team after your wife and two girls." "Brother" said I, "ain t you made a mistake? I have a wife and two babies. Twins, one a boy and the other a girl." "What! Great Scott, ain't you the Brother I saw yesterday on the Square at Salt Lake City with a wife and two fine girls, one sixteen and eighteen?" "No Brother you have made a great mistake." "Well, my Brother I have indeed. Well Brother I am late. Good morning you had better go and see the Bishop."
By golly, I felt now cast adrift. I could see it was the two girls at Salt Lake was his brotherly love. It was this mistake, I got a good supper, bed and breakfast. Well, by the time I got to meeting it was all out. I saw the dear brother with his seven wives with ballyhoo on the bus. I took dinner with the Bishop who had but one wife, living in a log cabin with home made furniture. A smart man but no man to build up himself, but the poor. A slave indeed for everybody.
I found the soil here very rich. In the afternoon I took a look around the Wards. Everyone seemed industrious and thriving to get rich. I went to the meeting. It was a testimony meeting. The folks were all old timers. Men and women that had passed through the trials and hardships of the past, although there were some well off. Perry Green Leshons with three wives, who like unto Don Woods living for self and getting rich. All their talk was how they were driven in the States. Well, bread and water was passed around. Then the talk began. The poor English were put down as cock robins ready to swallow anything and everything. During the meeting the Bishop informed the people that I wanted a house and work. After meeting Brother Hanson Call told me I could have a house. Log cabin, one room. Another brother offered to go to Salt Lake after my wife and twins, and give me two dollars a day if I would work for him.
Now Hanson Call had a fine house, three wives and plenty of everything, a garden. In two days we were fixed in our new home. We had no stove. Brother Call gave me some wood but I did not know how to cut the wood and in trying, I nearly cut my head open with the ax. So I had to bring it in the house and pour water on the log as it burned which filled the house with smoke. When night came we had to melt some fat, put in a wick. We were no sooner in bed and the light out than the mice and bed bugs. Great Scott, thousands. The twins were all covered. This was Zion.
We were visited by many of our neighbors. Some came to help us and to show us how to use the tools, how to act. Some came to trade, to trade for any kind of clothing, any soap and candles. No groceries. No sir. Well we got plenty of flour and vegetables. No meat or butter. Our bread was like rock. Well a call came for all the Ward to go to the canyon for wood. I went to help. I joined a man's team who was not in the Church. Before I got to the canyon my hunger was so wolfey I would eat anything. When we left, the valley was lovely. The sun shining on the lake like silver. Soon we got into the snow up to our knees, two feet deep. Great Scott to see the Mormon boys cut down the trees, haul them to the brow of the hill and jump in the pile and fly down the hill. By the time we loaded up it was dusk. Home we all went. Hanson Call left his load with me. Well here we have it, a buggy, horse, some bread and butter. We exchanged our clothes.
Our little twin boy, JOHN WOOD POULTER was taken sick with lung fever. Hanson Call made an agreement for me to dig a ditch 3 by 3, 80 rods long. The land was grass. I at this time wore black cloth clothes with cloth boots and a hat cost eight dollars. I had a new spade. On the morning I went to work. I look leave of my boy who was very sick, going now to work on the ditch. This was the first time in my life I had to work at hard labor. I began, the spade would not cut the grass. I swore like a trooper. Swore, yes. I was three hours in making half a rod. Just at this time a brother came to me, and stood looking at me for some time. At last he said, "Brother, I can see that you don't understand ditching and it is a darn piece of folly to put you to such a job as that."
Now my brother Hanson has three wives and is called a good Latter day Saint, but I am called a jack Mormon. Come home with me and have some dinner. After dinner I will give you two dollars per day and your board to help me on the farm and garden, and I will turn and show you how to handle your tools.
My first job was to get up potatoes. I never had seen the like before. It did not take many to make a bushel. At six o clock I got my supper, went home and found my wife weeping for my son JOHN dead on the bed, the room full of neighbors. These neighbors were Mormons that passed through all the dreadful trials in the States. Brother Lesley was our teacher, a good man in every way and Brother C. Loveland got the coffin and got the grave dug, not charging me a cent. I could say the Lord bless such a good men.
Now I got lots of work. I soon got furniture but the price was terrible. I had a wash tub made by the copper at Dan Woods, price eight dollars. By the help of Almighty God I will tell and write the truth of what I saw in the company of some of my neighbors. Now for it. "How do you do Brother Poulter and Sister, I will and can let you have some soap and candles and
butter and eggs. I will take it out in the way of clothing." One brother wanted one of my frock coats. I had two which cost me twenty dollars each. I had six dress coats. My pay for a frock coat was a load of maple and a pair of boots. Well so much for this. Now for something with more spice.
The Sisters, I got my wife to visit them. One of the good men said to my wife, "Sister Poulter I am a high priest and your husband is only a teacher. Now Sister Poulter if you will be sealed to me I will make you a queen." My wife told him that she didn't believe in any such stuff and would report him to the teachers. The same was done. On the Sabbath the Bishop Stoker made him stand up and take it all back, which he did.
At this time the crops of all kinds were marvelous. The grain was large, the vegetables also. We all met to worship in the Meeting House on Sunday three times, morning preaching and afternoon and evening testimony meeting. Now for a little more of the goodness. Brother Stoker, the Bishop told me to put in a garden and some wheat. Brother Holbrook let me have three acres. Brother Buckland, one acre rich black soil. I had no seed. I made know the same to the Bishop who sent me to a rich brother to get some. This dear brother was a blooded Mormon, had three wives, a fine house with lots of land barns and stables.
"Brother who sent you to me?" "Brother Stoker the Bishop". "Well Brother you can go and tell Brother Stoker that I have no seed to give away. Now my dear Brother do as I say. Get the roots, such as beets, carrots and you will have all the seed you want." "True", said I "but I want the seed now." "Well, my Brother I have none to spare." This made me ask myself, is this the boasted land called Zion? A rich brother like Don Wood nothing to give, but always ready to receive. Of course I had to tell the Bishop. On the Sunday at the Testimony Meeting the Bishop stood up and said, "Brothers and Sisters, our brother from England wants some garden seeds. You that have a mind to give some to Brother Poulter please hold up your right hand." Up went about twenty sister's hands. Yes Sisters, no dear Brothers. Well, I got enough seed to plant four times the land I had. In a short time I found weeds getting ahead of me. But the Bishop kept saying, "Cheer up, Brother, don't lose courage. Keep on trying."
Well I had to do it, but I found my next door neighbor's garden had no weeds in it. His corn fields were free from weeds. I said, "Brother, you land is rich black soil and you have no weeds. Please to tell me what you do to keep your land so clean." With a laugh and a sneer, "Well, you see Brother you English folk have to learn a good deal." But of course I knew I was green, but I knew I was in Zion and had to make my living and I was determined to turn all I could to a count, so kept quiet.
I was an early riser. One morning it rained. The next morning I was up early and I saw this dear Brother and his only son with two rakes working as if for life, raking up the ground all around the crops and in the rows of corn and so busy they that neither of them saw me watching them. Nevertheless, I had learned the trick on the weeds that destroyed the crops. If the ground was raked in time, now by doing this after every shower of rain I found it kept the land clean and made the roots grow. The reward was sure. Well at the fall I gathered in my crops of vegetables and seed. And oh such a crop of vegetables and seeds of all kinds. My reward after much labor was crowned with success. So I said to my wife, "Make me 24 small bags and I will fill them with different seeds and take them to the Bishop, so he may pay it all back with good interest."But the Bishop said, "These small sacks of seeds look nice. Take them down to Salt Lake to the tithing office. I am going to go down so jump in my wagon." I did so and upon my arrival at Salt Lake I took my seeds to the office and put them on the counter. Just at this moment in came Brigham Young and his two Counselors and Brother Wells. Brigham looked at the sacks, "Why what is in these small sacks?" "Seeds sir". "Yes I see marked and all. Where is the Brother?" I was of course made acquainted with all present. "Your name Brother?" "It is Thomas A. Poulter". Said Brigham Young, "I have preached for over ten years begging the Brethren to raise seed of all kinds and take some of them to the tithing office and to the Bishops, and Brother Poulter is the only man that filled the bill. Brother come with me." Brigham took me to the Lion House into this office where there were three clerks and asked all three if I owed anything to the Church. "No sir", was the response. "Well give Brother Thomas A. Poulter a clean bill on tithing, for he is the only Brother that has filled the bill of bringing seed to the tithing office." I got my receipt from Brigham himself with his blessing. Now I, Thomas A. Poulter, declare that I never knew that Brigham ever preached for the brethren to raise seed and to bring the same to the Bishop's but I did it because I was treated in the greedy unfeeling of Brother Leshons in refusing me a little garden seed. So much for that.
Well, I went to the meeting on Sunday. Brother Perry G. Sessions was called upon to preach and he lately had come from his mission in England. He said over again that he found the Saints in Great Britain very poor but honest, believing all the Elders told them. He said he came to the conclusion that the English Saints were like so many cock robins on a cold morning, ready to swallow all they heard preached from.the valley. Well I thought this a fine specimen of a Saint. I could see he was no friend of the English or to his own Bishop. Why is this? Well I could see that the Bishop was a good man, honest, noble in all his actions, but poor with only one wife, a log cabin with a large family, while the reverse with Sessions. Doubtless he was envious because he was not Bishop. Well I made up my mind to stick to the Bishop come what may.
Now this Ward called Bountiful was rich in land and good crops, cattle on the hills. The blacksmith wanted some coal to fix the plows. It was now Spring. As it was the Ward asked for volunteers to go for the coal. Now the coal was down in the south many miles away. In the Ward was a gentleman, "Well", said he, "I will find the cash Bishop, for the coal, but my teams are all engaged." So the Bishop said, "Well, Brethren I cannot plow till my plow is fixed, so I will go for the coal." The Bishop went for the coal and had to leave without plowing his land or anything else. Now Bountiful was a rich Ward and nearly all the Saints were rich in cash and stock. Now how was this? Why the emigration to California had come to this place and taken up the best of the land instead of going to the coast.
Now Sunday came around again. I of course must talk as I was always for progression and for improvement. The Bishop of course had two good men for Counselors. I had called on the Bishop's wife to hear about the Bishop and found he had not come home. His wife was feeling bad as no crops of any kind were in. up i jumped at the meeting, "Brothers and Sisters I called on the Bishop's wife today and Sister Stoker feels bad. The Bishop has not returned. No land plowed, no crops in, land drying out." I no sooner sat down than up jumped Brother Turner, the First Counselor to the Bishop, and said, "Brethren, it is all true what Brother Poulter has said. Come Brethren one and all, let us turn out tomorrow morning and put in the Bishop's wheat. I will find the wheat for twenty acres of his land. All you who will find teams, rollers, say I." My goodness.
Down it went, all were willing to plow and harrow, and I carried the water. Now the outsider was there too. Offered his two teams to plow and harrow. It was late in the spring and the Ward had in their crops. At the hour of 7 o'clock on Monday morning, great scott, what a sight! Fine young men plowing, the Counselor seeding the ground as it was plowed; the old men and boys harrowing. How must the angels feel at such a noble sight! All with one thought, all pulling with one accord to surprise the Bishop on his arrival home. "Well, do you believe it by 12 o'clock by the sun the land was plowed and sowed. I can say it was one of the grandest, noblest sights I had ever seen or beheld, all done in order. We had done our part. Would not the Heavens finish it? You bet it would, so we who had done it had our reward in feeling our good will towards the Bishop. On the Sunday with tears in his eyes what did he say, "Brothers and Sisters I have got the coal for the blacksmith but the roads and the creeks are so bad that it made me out on my journey longer than I expected. I cannot describe my feelings on my arrival home to find my family well and my crops put in, as you have sown, may the same blessings rest on you. May the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob bless you for this token of love." I can truly say I felt good for this noble action of the Saints.
Brother Hart at Lynn Fort gave me an offer at Brother Bartholomew would give me an offer to live with him, by me to have a fifth of the crop to assist on the work on the farm, me and my wife and child to be one of the family. The same we accepted. We found Brother Bartholomew a good honest man in every way, also his wife. Very few like them. At this time I learned what not do on a farm.
At this time the river, called Ogden River was lined with timber and lovely groves of box elder, cotton wood trees, three feet through and willows and the river full of fine trout, herring, suckers. I got acquainted with Lorin Farr, Brother Jones and family and many of the Saints. It was while here I found Mrs. Rees, another of God's noble women. She was indeed noble in all things for the good present and for the future good. Brother Samuel White was living here, I was his teacher in England. In making roads and ditches for taking water from the canyon of Ogden to supply the farms, we took a job to dig a ditch 3 by 3, 80 rods, but the Brother tried his best to swindle us out of our pay. We both took jobs. Brother White was a master of his work. He could ditch 15 by 18 rods a day. He would get up in the middle of the night when the moon was full and make dobies. Indeed he was a worker.
I now was gaining knowledge and experience in everything I undertook to do. I could dig anything that was to do. I was broken in to do. it. Who would believe it, once a steward in the Royal Navy and on shore a butler. Now I could take the team and my dinner with bread and butter and when noon came my food would be all dried up by the sun. I would have to put it in the river to soften it. Was I happy? Yes, I was happy. I was free to work or free to fish or to take a rest. True, a great contrast to my living as I had in England but for all that I was happy in my religion. I was most happy.
About this time it began to snow very bad. Hay went up to thirty dollars per ton. Food was scarce. The cattle were now starving everywhere and it was terrible. Several of my neighbors had no flour. With one family I divided my flour and shorts till it was all gone. I would go fishing. I, at this time had a nice garden but nothing ready for use. I went fishing but this day I could not catch a fish of any kind, no not one after being out all day. At other times I would bring home as much as I could pack. Now came a test. My wife said, "Why Thomas, no fish? Why how is that? We have nothing for supper but bran." I tried the bran but it stuck in my throat. We went to bed without anything. Next morning my daughter, MONTEY, a girl of four, asked me for a piece of bread and butter. Well what did I do now? Well I took from the mantle a hymn book and as I opened it the hymn before my eyes was "I Will Never Leave Thee Or Forsake Thee." I did not kneel to pray but closed the book and said, "Oh Lord, let the words in this book come to pass in my case for I need Thy help."
I took my hoe and went to hoe the corn. While doing this my next door neighbor called to me to pick some peas for my breakfast and while I was doing this I got up to look around me, and Lo what did I see? An ox team by the gate with the wagon box filled with wheat. I could not see a soul around. I jumped up and felt the sacks. Flour shorts and bran. After waiting some time Brother Martin Harris came up, "Well Brother Poulter do you want anything I have got today?" "Well", said I, "I have had no supper nor any breakfast nor my wife and child." "Well Brother, you may think it strange of me having all these sacks full, well, I got 60 bushels of wheat from my father so I took it to the mill and here it is." "Well, what do you want?" "Well this is June, soon I shall have some barley to cut." I got twenty pounds of flour, so this saved us during these times. Nearly all in Bingham Fort were hard up for food and the cattle would die being starved to death. The people would skin them and eat the flesh. Well, some would say, "Where is your God?" "Why do you Latter day Saints have to suffer so?"
Now this is true. Brother Lake an old gent over seventy prophesied Sundays and Fast days in January that snow would fall three feet deep, but he was only laughed at. Others would say they had fat beef. Yes so you have now, but before spring you will have fat dogs. All this came true and hundreds of the Saints lost all the stock they had. These were trying times for one's faith. At this time there was lots of game but we had no guns or powder or shot. The Indians at this time were very troublesome and would threaten to do so and so. A friend of mine was going to California and offered, me and my wife a free passage. My wife of course was glad of the chance. I said, "I will go to Salt Lake and get Brigham Young's permission." So I walked from Ogden to the City Bountiful to stay over night, and on my way I met three of the noted men. All three of them had their hair plaited and one of them was Port Rockwell. Yes as true as my name is Thomas A. Poulter I met them on the ridge. Well, I stopped at Bishop Stoker's, who no sooner saw me, "Brother Poulter, you are the man I have been praying about. An emigrant has stopped at Brother Buckland's house with the smallpox. Go and take charge of this house and put house and all things in order."
Of course I had to go. On my arrival at the house I found them all well. They were all well fixed. They had a fine house. They were well in everything. How did I get received? Well Brother Buckland, "Brother Poulter, we don't want you here unless it is to clean out the stables." "Well, Brother Buckland you will please to put bars across the street, and at once or I shall order it done."
The next day I told the Bishop, who got men and I stopped all intercourse with the house. But before I proceed with Jimmy Buckland I will just say that the suffering was terrible with the Saints in the County of Weber. No meat, no tea or coffee or sugar. Rose leaf for a substitute for tea, corn and carrots roasted for coffee. It was hard times indeed. Men and women who had brought in good living were brought down to the lowest dregs of poverty. At this time we found in Ogden River, hides and entrails of animals that had been killed. We, one day caught seven men with black faces, skinning all the stock. We took them to the meeting house, and all warned them on the sight of any of them ever being caught again on the plains or in the woods or brush would be shot. Several of the Brothers wanted it done at once but knowing them to have wives and children mercy was shown unto them.
We left them to go home. Now I will begin on Jimmy Buckland, was the one that had a hand for getting the gold in California, so by that means they were all well fixed which made them presumptuous, "Well?", said Jimmy, "Since I am a prisoner I will kill a good fat beef." So the beef was killed and the living was good, and I felt if there was to be any smallpox it would be or not to be. The Bishop ordered them to get a tent and camp at a spring as the weather was warm. But Jimmy was only going to do what he was compelled, so Jimmy took his tent and went to the mountains. It was only three days before he and his family took sick and sure enough the smallpox had broken out. The baby was dreadful. At last it died. After six weeks I went to Ogden for lime. Got everything all fixed up and then Green P. Sessions two wives were taken sick, so Brother Holbrook's house was turned into a hospital so all that were sick, had to go there. I got two heifers, a quarter of beef, cloth and lots of other things for my work. As good luck would attend me, no one died, but they all got well. Now judge, Mr. Holbrook was rich and well possessed in all things. He was very kind to me. He had lots of fine sheep. I bought two sheep, had two fine lambs worth twenty dollars. I now went to Ogden and found my friend had gone to California. I now had good offers for Bountiful so I moved. I got a house and three acres of land and worked at the saw mill. Brother Henry ran the big saw. I ran the small one. I sawed ax handles. I Thomas A. Poulter by this time could raise all my food.
Now about, this time Brigham Young was the Governor of Utah, and we all had two drills every month. Also at this time the President of the United States sent out a large army to Utah with a new Governor. The Mormons now one and all were determined to fight, burn and destroy homes, cities instead of letting the troops have them. Now when the United States troops were at Fort Bridger I belonged to the Fort Ranger Company. At this time I drilled with sword and cutlass. I started at the sound of the drum at daylight from Bountiful.
It was now in the month of September, about 300 of us were in the last company. We were promised a good supper at Salt Lake. The Band played. Brother Joseph Young blessed us as we passed through the gate. On our arrival at the Lion House were Brigham Young, Heber C. Wells, and J. Grant. Brigham said, "Brethren you were promised to camp and take supper in Salt Lake, but the United States troops are coming to the canyon, so brethren you will have to march for the canyon. I have sent provision ahead. Right about face, quick march away."
In passing the creeks the ice was thin, so in we went up to our knees. We were all armed with all sorts of arms. I had a United States musket with bayonet. In two or three days we got to Echo. We camped on the creek in the willows. I messed in the mess of P. Stoker, Chester Loveland and six others. All first class men. Our camp was the camp to serve out the beef. We had three meals a day, coffee, tea, sugar. The sisters sent us out socks, we drilled every day. We had lots of powder and lead. The bugle sounded every morning at seven for prayers. Every man was on his knees. It was a grand sight to see all along the road under the rocky cliffs. The brethren looked like bears, their beards grown long and smoky. They looked like devils. The hutts were built with willows and clay. When day came for us to break camp, we were not ten minutes in starting. I got home in three days and found my wife and three children well.
The bishop had orders to send all the families of the Mormons south. About this time my wife was expected to be confined. The Bishop ordered me south, I told him the way I was fixed and one of the sisters had promised to stay also till my wife got through her trouble. The Mormons from the north were moving rapidly to the south. I had this time one cow, four sheep, two young steers and heifer and a sow with young pigs, three acres of wheat, potatoes and also three seeds of sugar cane. They prospered wonderful. During this time I was working at the sawmill. I had a wagon but no cover so I got a fine log, free from knots and sawed it up into thin boards. I got some raw hide cut the same into thin strips, made them wet and laced them over the bows. I had a house, water proof, sun proof. It was fine. I got it all nicely done. The wagon at the door, two neck yokes and two chains. I was going to yoke up the cow and heifer and young steers. Well six weeks had passed by when the Bishop came with a span of mules.
"Now Brother Poulter, I want your wife and boy and the two girls to jump in the wagon and today I will drive them to Provo Bottoms so you can bring your teams along and I will place men over all you leave behind." So away they went on the gallop. On crossing a water ditch off came a tire on the fore wheel and the spokes all broke. Of course the Bishop got a wagon gear and took off the box. The next day I found my wife and children in the wagon box at the Lake of Provo, a lovely lake. I turned out the stock except the cow to milk. I made a hut out of reeds and brush and being beautiful weather we are first rate. I was now about six blocks from the main road. At this time the road was covered with sage brush and rabbits by the hundreds. I went to the river as the mouth opened into the lake where I saw Swedes fishing with nets and to see the fish it was marvelous. I took a job to clean them on shares. I soon got two barrels of fish, salted down.
At this time we had to go to Provo to the Meeting. One day in going I found in the road a valuable revolver. It was worth fifty dollars. I took it to the Bishop's tent. During the time the United States troops had marched in the valley and strange as it might seem this day we caught nothing but trout, 23 hundred pounds. Of course I ought to have had my share but I only got one. The rest were packed off to the troops. Now the Danish man that took the fish was what they call a sharper. But let us see; he sold the fish at good prices. He had a yoke of fine fat steers on his wagon and he turned them out to grass and never saw them anymore. Some one had stolen them for beef.
Peace was proclaimed and we were all ordered home. No sooner was the order given than the cattle got up from the bottoms. Then off they went and left me and my wife on the camping grounds. Of course I had no running gear so had to stay. No sooner had the camp all gone when the Indians came every evening and set fire to the reed shanties. I went as usual to the fishing ground. While standing at the mouth of the river there was on the other side a fine looking man about six feet high. The whispering of something in my right ear said, "That man will and can get you to California. Take the boat and cross and he will attend to you as you desire." There was the boat and only the stranger and I were there, but I was afraid. I thought he might be one of the Twelve Apostles and so I returned to camp. The Indians came and told me to clear out. I prayed to God to send me a deliverer and open my eyes to return home. This night a wagon came to camp by me and had a running gear. Just the thing. The Brother told me he lived at Box Elder and I could have the use of it till fall conference. I was glad of this token of God's love towards me not left alone among the savages. The Brother helped me to put the wagon box on the running gear. The next day my cow strayed off so I had to hunt her up. I went to a spring a mile off and there was a fine bull, my cow, my young steers, and fine old steer and a fine Mexican steer. I drove all to camp and strange to say they all went like lambs. I got the yoke, got the steers and the young steers all nicely yoked up, the cow at the back of the wagon, away we went for the main road. When we got to the road we found a team loaded with lumber stuck in the sand. I took my team and helped the Brother through the sand, then the Brother helped me which broke my cattle in and strange to say my steers were like lambs.
It took three days to go home. On my arrival I could see I was spotted because I refused to move south at the call of the Bishop. Previous to going to Provo I worked on the meeting house for a rich brother. My pay was twelve dollars. He would not pay me because going to Provo broke all contracts. I now got my wheat harvested. I had a splendid crop, large wheat and potatoes. I had now all my crops of the ground and under cover. One day my cow strayed off. I found her again with the bull. As I was hunting for her I came across three large wagons. By the wagons was a man asleep and spread on the grass was ham, cheese, butter, eggs, all melting in the hot sun. I soon woke him from his slumber. I asked him where he was going. He said they were taking 1,600 head of steer to California, belonging to Carlisle and Davis in charge of Mr. Dearborn, who was at Salt Lake. Now I thought the time had come, as they would have to pass me. This would give me a chance to see if this party had one of my young steers, for which I had a strong suspicion. They wanted the same to match one of theirs to make a yoke of. And sure enough my steer was in their herd. "Well", said I, "Mrs. Davis, you were going to drive off a steer." "Well Brother Poulter my boy could not help it." "No I was glad to have the good luck to be at such a time as this was another sign for me to clear out"
Now this sister had the gift of tongues and was a bigot in Mormonism so was her husband, so I took the steer home to the surprise of my wife. This lost a day as the boy at the wagon told me the train was going to Bear Lake to give the cattle a chance to recruit. Next day I got into Salt Lake.
Now where to look for Mr. Dearborn? Standing in the middle of the street, great scott to my surprise there stood the very man that I saw standing at the side of the river at Provo Lake. I made my wish known to him and my desire, namely, I wanted with my wife and three children to go to California. His answer, "My friend if you had come to me three weeks ago I could send you, for I sent seven families off with the first lot of cattle, but the cattle now at Bountiful are getting into trouble and there is no time now to get an extra wagon, but today I will see the wagon master and meet me tomorrow at the store."
On the next day Mr. Dearborn told me I could go and take charge of the wagon that held the provisions and to join when it suited me. I now told him I had a cow and two steers, I wanted to sell the steers. He gave me an order on the store for fifty dollars and allowed me to take the cow behind the wagon. My brother WILLIAM now lived at Salt Lake City. I went and told him I was going to the land of the West, and to come right away with a wagon for all my wheat and all I got as I only wanted a little flour. So I gave my brother all my winter's food, pig and all, for I could not sell a thing at Bountiful without the Bishop hearing of it and he had often preached that the destroying angles would not save all such who wanted to leave Utah.
So my brother got the team and came with me to Bountiful. Now I found the train had left Bear Lake or the river, While we were getting supper a team stopped at the door and a man asked if he could have supper. I said yes he could. He said he was going to Ogden at day break in the morning. He promised to take me there for fifty pounds of flour. Now my brother got his wagon loaded up and ready to start for Salt Lake. The moon was at this time in its full, shining down upon us, as we parted in this life, forever.
At day light we had our breakfast and tied the cow behind the wagon. At noon we stopped at Farmington. I turned the cow loose to get some grass and water with a fine chain and collar. Did she stop to eat? She ran back to Bountiful as hard as she could go so I let her run. Now what shall I do? Cow and chain gone. Just at this time two boys were passing with two bags of hops. "Boys, where are you going?" "We are going to Salt Lake." "Good. Now my boys I want you to inquire for a brother by the name of Brother WILLIAM POULTER and give him this letter."
I wrote in the letter, thus: "Dear WILL: My cow will not apostatize. So you will find her at Bountiful with a good long chain and collar on. Please give the boys one dollar, as I promised if you get the letter." Now the reader can read and see in spite of all threat how wonderfully my way was opened. The Brother took me to Brother Jones a good man in works as his wife and son, Miles Jones. They received us with real good will and love. We stopped here three days. Brother Lorin Farr came over to see us.
Now the next thing was how was I to get to the wagon. Brother Stone, son in law to Brother Jones, offered to take me. So in two days we overtook the train, three miles south of Box Elder. On our way several Mormons wanted the children. We now traveled slowly having 1,600 head of cattle and few horses, I had a mule to ride. I had charge of all the provisions. On our arrival at Bear River we stayed here for two or three weeks to rest the cattle.
During our stay here we were joined by three families. We now started. On our arrival at Goose Creek we camped. The camp grounds were in great confusion, wheels, ox bows, yokes, chains. It looked as if a battle had been fought here sometime or the other. In the evening the herd boys found a skull. I do not know what kind, but as the boys make a foot ball of the same I ran and took it from them. Said I, "The Indians may be in the bush watching you and by and by you will have to look out." I got a spade and tried to bury it but the ground was so frozen I took it to the creek and buried it under the bank in the water.
The next day we traveled twenty miles. While eating our supper out came six Indians, who stood looking around. These who had kicked the skull were scared to death. I gave the Indians a pan of flour. They mixed it up, pound the dough around some willows and roasted the same over the fire. They then went to the willows, got me some dry wood and good spring water. Just as we cleared up our things a band of Bannock Indians dressed up in fine skins, fine horses and well armed came in. The Chief got off his horse and came and demanded of me why we were going to California. He looked to see if I had on my garments by lifting up my shirt sleeves and finding I had, I told him I was going to get rich if I knew how. Just at this moment a bugle sounded. The Indians flew off like a clap of thunder. We soon found out the cause of their flight as 300 horse troops were camping close by us. We found that they were sent to protect our train as far as 300 miles. This night fifteen of our herd boys left and went with the troops. As we were now more troubled with the Indians on horse back, but strange to say I had three Indians come out of the bush who got my wood and water. They were not the same Indians. At last the troops left us.
We camped one evening on a piece of land with hot water, yes, boiling, so much so that I boiled a 20 pound piece of beef in a short time. Strange, only two blocks off was a lovely spring of water as cold as ice, clear as crystal. It ran into a small lake, and this lake was full of fish. Still the Indians every night and morning got my wood and water and helped around the wagon. At last the Indians left, all but one.
About this time we were nearing the divide. One road went across the desert of forty miles, the other to Honey Lake. This day for some reason whether jealousy or envy I do not know what, but Mr. Scott took his snake whip and flogged the Indian. I remonstrated with him and told him he might be the cause of all being massacred. The Indian took my hand and shook it, bid my wife and children goodbye and made signs that he would have revenge. He was a fine looking Indian.
Now why were these Indians so kind to me, it is a mystery. Well, this evening I had to get my own wood and water. In the morning we found ten of our best steers dead. The next day at sun down we saw bonfires on the hills and mountains. For four days and nights we lost ten steers. Every night which was forty in all. On the next five nights we camped on the divide. It was a full moon. My wife was making bread. All the rest of the camp had gone to bed. All was quiet. The cattle lying down tired, having this day made a long drive. We were camped along side of a creek, when suddenly a tall Indian jumped the creek, spoke plain English, and wanted to know which was our wagon, that we slept in and which was the wagon master. He asked if the three children were in the wagon. I told him and answered all his questions. Suddenly he jumped across the creek. I felt that Scott and his wife and two children unless something was done right away would be slain. I immediately went to Mr. Scott's wagon, woke him and told him about the Indian and for him to rouse up all hands as quietly as possible and start for Honey Lake.
When the men heard of it they were scared to death. In half an hour the cattle and the wagon was in full sway. Two men jumped on horses and went at all possible speed for help. In two days we had several men, well armed and they took us all safe into Honey Lake. Oh it was a lovely valley. The game were splendid, the grass and clover two feet high. I was offered 300 acres of land and a house and provision for six months if I would only stay, but not far from here was a fine gold mine. This ended our trip with the train.
Mr. Scott got some of the boys to take charge of the cattle and the three wagons and went ahead. Ten boys wanted to go with me. My wife would not stop in the valley and as I had made the agreement, I was to be taken to Stockton, California, so Mr. Scott took eight of the best steers with the small wagon. Now Mr. Scott did this to hold them for his pay. The next day we camped on the banks of the Lucky River. There was a fine log house, a bachelor had lots of grub and a good boat. The pine trees were beautiful and the trout splendid. Our provisions had to be left with the other boys. There was a fine log house just built with forty acres of fine land, belonged to the two miners who had left in charge of the old man who was living in the cabin. Now these two miners had gone to a mine in Vancouver many miles away and had taken sick and died. The other had made a large fortune, who wrote and told the old man to take charge and keep everything. It was a lovely spot. Trout and wild ducks by the thousands. All this was offered to me but my wife would not stay in this lovely place.
Now we had a fine breakfast of trout, ham and eggs. Just as we got ready to start a man on a fine horse was crossing the river. "Hold up boys. Where are you going?" We told him. "Now boys I am an officer sent ahead with orders to find out what has become of the cattle and horses. Now boys, who has charge of this team?" The man told him that Scott had left it in charge of Mr. Poulter and we were all going to Stockton. "Well, Mr. Poulter, Mr. Scott was told to go to Sacramento. Now sir take charge right away. What can I do for you?" "Well, sir we have no grub of any kind. We want everything."
Now we crossed the river and traveled about three miles and we came into a mining camp where the miners were taking out gold from the gravel boards. It was coarse gold. There were lots of houses and children. All looked clean, well clothed and comfortable. They begged me to stay and offered me anything I needed if I would, but my wife had her mind made up to stop only where she could see a steamer. The officer got me coffee, tea, sugar, rice, flour, beans and a hind quarter of fat beef. This spot was lovely. The trees were most wonderful. After dinner we started to cross the mountains. We traveled till we came to a Hotel. By this time we were in two feet of snow. This was the first we had seen on our journey. Well, the officer told us not to cook anything, so got supper at the Hotel and the cattle got good feed. We had breakfast, trout, deer meat, but I could see that the man who had charge of the outfit was a friend of the wagon master, but I could see that there was something wrong and time would prove all things.
Now the herd boys felt good at the change of living. After breakfast we traveled through the snow and lovely timber. At noon we came to another Hotel. A splendid dinner. We traveled till dark. Then we reached another Hotel and another good supper, breakfast. We started again. We were now going down on the other side of the mountain. Snow all gone, the timber looking lovely. Our officer seemed to have lots of cash. Told us to be sure to let the children have all they wanted. We saw about two blocks off a company of three men on horse back coming towards us. Our officer spurred his horse went at full gallop to meet them. In a few moments a well dressed man on a beautiful horse commanded us to stop. He then pulled around his revolver, and said to us, "Boys, your late boss, Mr. Scott has acted a traitor by leaving the cattle at Honey Lake."
Now at this time I was in the wagon with my wife and three children. I had a rifle loaded and two pistols waiting to see the outcome. Of course my orders were to stand by the boss. The well dressed man was Mr. Carlisle a part owner of the stock. "Boys, the cattle look fine. Are the other at Honey Lake like unto them?" "Yes sir, just the same." "Now boys, I want you to return with me to Honey Lake and bring over the rest of the stock, all but Mr. Poulter and the teamster." One of the men, a brave man who meant business, "Sir, you have eight armed men. I am armed and I am in charge of these cowboys who have driven the cattle safe to Honey Lake. The boys clothing are in rags, their shoes worn out. One condition we return for the cattle." "Name your wish", said Mr. Carlisle. "We want at the first store clothes and shoes, and a check for our pay so far." "Well, boys I will do all that. Now officer take Mr. Poulter to the next Hotel. Let him and his family stay there until I order otherwise."
So away went the brave boys and we soon arrived at the Hotel and got a good dinner. The cattle were well taken care of. Well, in ten days the same officer came back and paid the bill. We put off, the same officer seeing us safe in the Valley of Sacramento. We of course boarded at the Hotels. The sights were lovely. The trees now were all oak. The cattle, the pigs, poultry, I never saw such a sight, but I could see fine houses, everything lovely, but the farmers and their children and wives all looked yellow and shaking with the chills. Now the officer said, "My orders are to leave the wagon under one of the large oak trees by the side of the Hotel."
We had not been here long when Mr. Davis from San Francisco told us we could not go any further as some swindling was going on over the cattle. He gave us five dollars and put the cattle on a ranch and sold the wagon. We were not long here before two farmers wanted us to take their farms and horses on shares. They offered us everything on their farms, but what was all this to be having the chills every day? Now right here the farmers would meet horse racing and gambling. The lady of the Hotel came to us and asked us into the Hotel to stay a day or two as she and her husband wanted to go to the mountains for their health.
Away they went and we went into the Hotel to take charqe. I just got into the Hotel when in came an Indian dressed up, a regular dude. As he stood by the stove the Chinaman cook gave him a push, the Indian got mad and said, "You long tail rat get out before I put you out." My wife ordered him out, so it appeared to me that my wife had all charge. Dinner was ready. I was surprised to see the table loaded with all the luxuries of life and about 20 sat down to dinner and we were waited upon. My wife went out to the tree for a napkin, when a teamster came in, "Now waiter, dinner as quickly as possible." I saw my wife look strange. Well the teamster gobbled up his meal and out he walked. My wife took the children from the table, told me to follow as quick as possible. Only fancy my surprise when I went out of the house I found my wife and three children in the large schooner wagon with the bedding and boxes. Now this wagon was drawn by 16 mules. I no sooner got into the wagon, than the crack of the whip sounded and off we went.
My wife said, "Now Thomas, all this might surprise you, but while getting out the napkin this wagon drove up. The teamster offered to take me to Marysville for nothing so I took his offer and we had everything in the wagon before I returned back with the napkin." Now the wagon was empty so we traveled about ten miles, took out the mules and got supper at another Hotel. After supper the teamster asked my name. "T. A. Poulter". "Your wife has saved your life, for you have left a Hotel that is full of gamblers and desperadoes. Now Mr. Poulter I will land you in the City of Marysville, where I believe I can get you a job worth having. We were three days before we got to Marysville and passing up the street hearing organs and pianos playing. I burst out crying it sounded so heavenly.
It was about nine o clock. We fixed up the children and my wife and I went into a Hotel to get some supper. Traveling all day without food we of course were hungry. The next day I tried to hunt up a house but the rent was awful and they wanted one month in advance when I had not a cent to my name. I took a walk back of the town. I saw two fine houses, one a brick and the other a frame. I could see the houses were in splendid order. The doors were open so I went all over both houses. I found in the brick at the back had an open fireplace. This was lucky. I found lots of wood all around. Well, we had some flour. The next door neighbor called on us and asked us lots of questions. She asked me to come to her house to saw her up a four foot stick into three pieces. I had no sooner done it than she slipped into my hand one dollar. Of course I refused to take it, but I had to take it. I had also to take two chairs, table, lots of other things. A man from the store brought me a side of bacon, tea, sugar, coffee, and yeast and lots of everything. In the morning I opened the door and in doing so a sack of beautiful flour fell in, then the milk man with the milk told us to get all we wanted, as a lady had ordered it and would pay for it. Said I to my wife, "What shall I do with this dollar? Stand treat, or go to the astrologer and see what I am fit for." I went, I was told I would make a good peddler. I was offered fifty dollars to try it. I was told not to trust any man with any stock for I would be cheated and swindled. Well time will prove all things.
One morning I was clearing up the leaves around the house when a stranger said to me, "Good morning, sir. Do you live here? What is your name?" "My name is Thomas A. Poulter." "Well, Mr. Poulter I am glad to see you take such an interest in this place. I am the agent for all this property and at present it is on a law suit, and how long it will remain so I do not know. Now Mr. Poulter I will give you permission to stay till the property is fixed by law, so be kind as to take care of this house." The same I promised to do. In a few days the lady called on us and asked us if we wanted anything. She told us that her husband was the private watchman of the lower end of town and that he had a gold mine in the mountains and that he had gone to sell a share of the same for $5,000 and then they were going on a ranch, in the stock business and they had hired a man for twenty dollars a week to hold the place, and when her husband returned she would see the merchants and get us the place. Well, sure enough I got the place. Her husband's name was Mr. Fuller. He had returned from the mines and sold a part for $5,000 and got the gold, so he called on me and said, "Mr. Poulter, I am going on a ranch and I will sell you a house will all the furniture and you can pay me ten dollars per week."
I found the merchants took a great interest in me, offered me all the help I needed. I got the house next to the one I was in, two lots without owners with good stables and barns on it. By calling on folks I made 28 dollars a week. I was charged for my house $500 but I had paid $300 when Mr. Fuller told me to never mind about the other $200 but to keep it. Now in looking around me I could see that I was surrounded by several Irish families and a large grist mill. The mill threw their smut and rubbish in the street. This encouraged all the pigs and cows around. I now bought twelve Spanish hens and a rooster, for these I paid $14, one dollar each for the hens and two dollars for the rooster. I got me twelve fine ducks. I paid a high price for all these things as I was a great believer in progression in all things. Yes, in everything.
One night a man came to me saying, Mr. Poulter would you not like to have a nice cow? I am a mill wright, and I have made two wind water mills for two men. One is Mr. Webb. You can go with me in the morning and pick you out a cow at 75 dollars. Take your choice out of 300." In the morning at 5 o'clock we started to go to the place. At 6 o'clock we met Mr. Webb and sure enough there were 400 fat cows in the yard of all colors and some had bags of milk as big as barrels. Well, I went through the yard, then I went to the barn. Here I saw eight fine cows and one was a beautiful creature in every way. Well, my mind was made up, this cow or no cow this morning. Out came Mr. Webb, "Good morning, gentlemen." "Mr. Webb", said the mill man, "I brought you Mr. Poulter who wants to buy a cow and as you told me I could take my pick out of your herd at $75." "All right Mr. Poulter, go ahead an pick your cow there are 300 or more in the yard." "Well, sir my choice is made up. There is in the barn a blooded Durham cow 5 or 6 years old. It is that cow, I have made my choice." "Well, Mr. Poulter that cow you cannot have, for she is my pet COW and my family cow, and I let the Rev, wife milk that cow." Just at that time the cook came out and said, "Breakfast". "Mr. Poulter come into breakfast". "Thank you sir, I have had my breakfast". "Now Mr. Poulter while we get our breakfast go again and take your pick from the herd." I said, "All right", but I kept my seat.
Just at this moment came along a nice looking lady. "Good morning, madam, by your milk buckets I feel to say you are the lady that milks the Durham cow in the barn". "Yes sir and a splendid cow she is. Her milk is like cream." "Well, I am going to try to buy that cow, if it won't hurt you in any way." "Oh, dear no, Mr. Webb will let me have one out of the herd that will suit me just as well, and I am only too glad to be the means of letting you have such a cow." Soon after this Mr. Webb and the millwright came out. "Well, Mr. Poulter have you made up your mind?" "Yes sir, my first choice is my only choice. That cow, sir, or none." Mr. Webb and the millwright took a little walk. The millwright came to me saying, "You can have that cow on no other trade but by paying the sum of $85." "All right, sir, I will." So home we went, of course I took the cow along with me. The cow was the pet of all that saw her. A ranch man offered me three cows for her. I sold her calf for $20 in gold.
I was a policeman and prospered on my beat. I had at this time a very large bull dog. One night five large pigs came on my beat and tore the sacks and scattered the barley all over the pavement. My dogs tore the ears clean off the pigs. Now the man that owned these pigs was a gambler and a murderer. Well, the next day the man, with a double barrel shot gun loaded with buck shot and a revolver went all over town shooting every dog he came across. Yes, in a town with police, and not one dared to arrest him. He made his brags that he would that, night shoot the private watchman and his dogs. I had two dogs. Two men came to my house to warn me not to go on my beat that night. My wife cried and begged me not to go on my beat that night, but if I did, to keep in the valley and not to expose myself to the street.
On the third of November, it was revealed to me that I should live till I was sixty years of age and the 91 Psalm that no man could harm me, and by what I had passed through since that time I had faith that some power was over me tonight. I went on my beat. No sooner on my beat than a friend warned me that MacGee was on the lookout for me with his gun. I thought it was right for me to avoid trouble if I did not enter fear with duty. I walked up and down my beat until midnight, but all this time I had not my dog with me.
We passed each other. It was raining all the time about twelve o'clock the stock began to be bad on my beat, so I had to go for my dog. Now it must be remembered I had about fifty stores which I was in charge of, outside of the stores was goods of all kinds to go off in the morning to the mines was sitting down on the sacks with my dog at my side when up came MacGee, who thus spoke, "Hello, who are you?" "Me, sir? I am the private watchman". "The hell you are. Now sir I have been looking for this five hours. Mr. Poulter, I don t want you on this beat and for that dog, I'm going to shoot him." I felt now it was business. He drew his pistol, cocked it. "Sir, don't shoot that dog. It is a valuable dog." "I shall kill the brute". I immediately started to go, calling the dog after me, when MacGee called out, "Stop!", and fired at the dog but missed him. I had a small pistol with three buck shot in it and pulling it out of my pocket I now went up to the police station and reported to the Sergeant who said, "Why the hell did you not shoot him? He is the terror of the town. Shoot him when you can." Well, I went home to load up my pistol. I found my wife in a terrible way. Of course hearing the three reports, thought I was killed or had killed. I made believe that I had killed him. She was very happy that I had not been killed. The storekeeper wanted me to kill the man, so this day gave me a pistol to kill the man the first chance and an offer of $3,000.
Now my next door neighbor was a spiritualist. Mack was often afflicted with a toothache and he also was a friend of mine. Said Mack, "Why, do you want to drive Mr. Poulter off his beat?" "Look here I would not hurt a hair of his head and I would dare to kill any man who dares to insult him, but that dog I will kill. If I had wanted to kill Mr. Poulter was I not well prepared for the same? A shot loaded with two barrels of slugs and a revolver."
A few days after this at 12 P.M. I was standing at the sidewalk with my revolver ready to shoot, but he saw my dog and so he went down the street, crossed the road and in so doing got his gun ready for action. I told my dog to stay there and I crossed the road to wait and see. By the time I got across MacGee was by my dog. He fired and went home thinking the dog was dead as he never moved from his place. Of course I expected to find the dog dead. I began to feel not safe. Shall I kill him or not, or trust to providence? I concluded to keep out of his way if possible as my dog had been fired at twice but was not hurt.
Now just at this time a great change took place. The Republicans were forming for a blow with a desperate determination to put down the Democrats and to get a Republican President on the day of election. Mae as usual was boss at the polls, but one of the Republicans shot him in the hip, so he had to be carried home on a stretcher. At this time a friend of mine, well we made him welcome to our home. His name was Mr. Tucker. He had two stores and a good standing credit at the bank, a man well thought of by the people of the town. To pass a few hours I made a call on him. While in the store he knowing that I was very fond of cider said, "Poulter have a tumbler of my best cider." I took it and drank the same, and that tumbler of cider made me dead drunk so I was helpless. Well this friend, a man I had the greatest confidence in, sent his porter to my house to tell my wife I was lying dead drunk in his store. A man I treated with every respect and kindness. Nevertheless, I had many good and noble friends in Marysville. To some I told of this villain's trick on me.
About this time I fixed my house inside and out with new foundations, as I felt one day the two rivers close by me might back up and so doing I would be under water ten or twelve feet. I put up a good strong fence all around my two lots. I got some peach trees and some lovely vines and several other trees, and they all grew marvelous and bore lovely fruit. Everything seemed to prosper.
My wife was the mother of two girls. The merchants were very kind to me in several ways. This happened while I was watchman in Marysville, for five years and six months. My beat being so long and getting the chills I sold out my job. In so doing I got a span of French horses and a good wagon and hired a man and went into the wood business and had a fine trade and was doing well. I got another cow and sold my cream and butter, peaches and eggs at high prices. Everything I did seemed to prosper with me. My enemies turned to be my friends.
Now came a fresh trial. It rained steady for three days. The Feather River and the Yuba River backed up and all the country for miles around was under water. My two cows and my horses were up town, by some good luck they got on high ground. My house was twelve feet under water. My poultry were all safe and locked up. I made my hen house on a slant with roosts to go high in case of a flood. Of course the flood was dreadful. The screaming of the children, of the cows and every living thing. All around me it was terrible. I could not help anyone for I was a prisoner. It was terrible. The flood was still rising. Lumber, timber, logs of all kinds floating all around me. I had made a side door to my house in case we would have a flood. Good I did this, for the water had reached the door. It was night, dark as pitch. I put the lamp in the window. Soon I heard voices at the end of my lot crying out, "Poulter, we have a boat to save you. How shall we get you out?" I told them of the upper door at the side of the house, When the boat came I found that it was a large whale boat. We quickly got in the bedding and some clothing, took out the lower drawers and trunks and put them on the bed. The water had not reached the upper rooms. If I had not made the side door I would have had to cut through the roof as the porch was over the upper windows. We went to a Hotel. They charged me enormous prices.
At daylight I went to the lumber yard and I got three large boards and made a fine boat, went to the house, and found the water on the upper floor. Oh my the water was muddy! Oh such a mess of mud! My yard full of lumber and cord wood. My wagon, the hind wheel on the barn. In two days the water had all gone, but the mud in the house and the trees were all over black mud, but our house and barn were all right and safe only wet and muddy. I got my wagon and horses and cows and took my wife and five children into the country, and stayed there two weeks. The farmer charged me $100 for keeping my cows and family. My horses broke up his land, and this man I had once befriended when he and his family were without home or friends. So much for that.
It took me two or three months to get straight again. All this time we had good health and good luck in spite of all this flood. About this time the silver mines in Virginia were all the rage. I sold out my home, got a large wagon loaded with three months provisions. I had to leave my $100 stove behind, as it was too big and heavy. We had lovely weather but the turnpikes were terrible. One night when at camp a large team stopped by us, the owner was a fine young man. He had eighteen mules. He said to me, "Mr. Poulter, where are you going?" "Bound for the mines." "For }_____ sake go back, for it will take a mint of money to keep you and your family. Besides the smallpox has broken out and they are dying all around."
But as my mind was made up to go, I at last got over the mountain. Now I had to travel up hill to the mines. On the road we camped at a Hotel for water. We were told that the house was full of miners with smallpox. Well, we all escaped the disease. We got to the mines. We found the water like milk in color. It blowed a lot of wind. Hay five dollars a bail. Now we intended to open a boarding house. A miner offered me a house. It was a large brick house. Nine miners offered us nine dollars each week to board and to have the house free of rent. I could not move but men would offer me five dollars a day.
My wife would take the offer of the miners, so we made up our minds to go to Carson on the top of the hill. There was a stable or hay yard. The lady came out and offered us a room and a stable for our horses free of charge if we would only stop for company's sake. But we went down to Carson City.
When I got to Carson I found it the headquarters of Nevada. Governor Nye was the Republican Governor, a fine man. I found the town very dull and rent very high. Having a good team and three months provisions, I now thought it a good time to go to Utah, so I got ready to start with two Welsh families with two teams to join me. But oh my, only to think of my surprise when I was all ready to start with my wife and five children. The Magistrate, an officer of the peace told me if I wanted to go to Utah I could go, but I could not take my wife or the children, so I was now fixed to stay in Carson.
The weather now was lovely so I hired a house and stable. One of my horses took sick. During this time a large freight train, all Mormons camped on the square, and of all the wild boys! It was terrible to behold them. I offered the Captain of the train, Kimball, five dollars to come and shoot my sick horse, but he said, "Let him die of his own will".
I now hired a house close to a livery stable. The landlady occupied the rooms overhead, but she wanted me to open a bar, but my wife would not have it, so that caused a bad feeling. Our first meal was to be supper. We got supper for twenty men, all waiting for the bell to ring. Just at this time the landlady got drunk and she laid on the floor in a large room over our dining room. It was not plastered, but we had a cloth. My wife said to me, "All is now ready to call the men." I took a look at the table. All looked nice and clean, for my wife was a good cook. When, great scott, down came water from above on the table all over everything. I ran upstairs to find the cause of water all around. Of course I went over to the men who were all waiting for supper and told them of our trouble. I concluded we must try and find something else for a living.
I got a carpenter to put me up a room by the overland. The foreman of the overland offered me a job in the yard to look after the barley and the store room at three dollars a day. Now at this time my lovely daughter JULIA took sick and died. I cried like a sissy for two days. I could not help it. The boys at the overland and a ranchman by the name of Borth were very good and kind to me, by good works and deeds. Also my late landlady offered to lend me $200, but I thanked her for her kindness and refused. went to a ranchman and the team and got leave to bury my daughter on the brow of the hill that overlooked the town. There were two graveyards for the town but I refused to let my dead go there. I now took jobs in the yard and the boys treated me very good. The stage painter painted me a beautiful board for JULIA's grave. I found my house was too small so I rented a house by the overland stables.
I no sooner got in the house than good luck attended me. My wages were good, five dollars a day. I got cattle, pigs, sheep, lumber, rock shingles and paint. My children went to the best school. The foreman of the overland let me have a corner lot. I could pay for the same on time without interest. I put up a nice house, sheds and closed it in, got things around me. I rented two acres of garden land, fenced six feet high, rich good land. I grew large crops. I sold my garden truck to the miners for large prices, cabbage 10 cents per pound, beets and carrots 4 cents per pound, and everything at high. prices. Fortune once more smiled on me. Friends increasing.
My wife had another girl, a lovely darling. This jewel was not to be ours for long, for she took sick and in a few days died. The undertaker brought the coffin and he acted like a brute. I paid right away for the coffin and told him to leave the house in quick time. He did, so I swore not another undertaker should ever come again, not while I could get good carpenters.
I now prospered in all I undertook to do. The overseer, in the garden for eight hours a day for three dollars per day. There was living in town, a man who had a Hotel and a bar, a saloon. He was often sick. I would go and take charge while he was sick.
My wife was in trouble at this time, expected to be confined. She took sick, had a miscarriage. I had two doctors, both gave me no hope. My house was full of kind friends who waited on my wife day and night. Now close by I had a rich neighbor whom the town people said was a medium in spiritualism. Now this lady said to me, "Mr. Poulter, while your wife is sick I will send you three meals a day." And this she did for eight days until my wife died. On the eighth day my wife said to me, "It is now three o'clock. I can see your brother WILLIAM standing by the bedside." Now my bother WILLIAM was living in Ogden City, 600 miles away. Three hours after this my wife called CISEY, which was my oldest girl. "Where is your Father? Your Mother is dying." I was close by, but the room was full. My wife tried to talk to me, but could only say, "Keep the children by you. Let no one have them." Before I could answer, my wife had gone to the spirit land. The citizens or the people of Carson City showed kindness to me in every way. I got two first class carpenters and gave them orders to make my wife a first class coffin. I gave them orders to the stores to go and order all they wanted for the same. The ranch man gave me permission to bury her where I choose. The foreman of the quartz mill took two of his men and dug the graves. The ground was soft rock. The hearse was a private affair, kept by the livery stable for the undertakers had none at this time.
Some may wonder how I got so many friends in Carson city. I was always on hand to improve and progress and to get ahead in all things to build up the town in all things, both spiritual and temporal. Now the carpenter had got the coffin made with black velvet trimmed with the best of goods to be had in the town, a silver plated lid with name, where born and all done by a first class engraver. On the second day the funeral by the-three churches, Wesleyans, Church of England and the Presbyterians. For why was this? Because my three girls spoke and sang at all three places. No doubt it was this that caused the good feeling. The overland stage company sent a stage, free buggies from stables, all free. The people flocked I suppose in hope to see my wife as it was her wish to be dressed so and so and so. She wore a diadem of flowers on her forehead, which looked handsome. The ladies were extremely kind and thoughtful in every way. I as chief mourner was stuck with God's goodness to me, but a strange something at this time took place.
A lady that had been divorced came into the house and took charge. I went as usual to my work at the mint, getting five dollars a day. Coming home to supper I could see that CISEY had been trying to get supper. I could also see that CISEY had been crying. Her eyes were red. Of course I thought about her mother. Of course I talked and tried to cheer her up, but she said, "Father, this woman is now in the house has turned the boxes, drawers and taken out my black silk dress and ordered me to take off the scotch plaid, and I refused to do so, then she told me I would have to do it, and threatened to flog me if I told you about it." I told her to cheer up, so I went to a friend of mine, Mrs. Griffin, a noble woman and a fine friend of my wife. She said, "Mr. Poulter, go home and get your supper, and in a short time I will fix it all up." So while we were at supper Mrs. Griffin drove up to the door in her buggy. Now for business.
"Mr. Poulter, I wish to see Mrs. Morse." "Good evening I called around to give you a ride around town." "Oh this is nice." So they started. Presently, a wagon came to the door. "Mr. Poulter, I have come for Mrs. Morse's bedding and three trunks." No sooner said than done, so we were once more free and to ourselves. I now went to the bakers and made an agreement to have bread every day and four pies, and the baker let me have the same at half price. I got a woman to do the washing. It cost me three dollars a day for washing, so I was able to get along nicely. The ladies of the city were very kind to me, called to see how the children fared. It happened lucky I had plenty of clothing for the children, and CISEY was well trained how to work so I had no trouble. All went on smoothly and nicely.
Just at this time an old friend of mine, a man who had money and means wanted to live with me. "All right", said I. But I had a dream that night not to encourage him in the house, for it was shown me that he would soon get sick and die. It so prayed on my mind that I went to Mr. Rice at the bank and told him my dream. He said to me, "Poulter, I will call and take the old gent to my farm", and sure enough he took sick and died, just as I dreamed it came to pass. I now had paid for the funeral, carpenters, only the doctor now had to be paid. The bill I thought and felt would be great for the doctor came three times a day. I wished I might have some good luck in the mines to find a purse of gold. My mind was troubled for I felt bad to be in debt.
This now all happened just at this time when I left the mint, but I took charge of the bar and bed rooms, nine in number over the bar. I, this night had another dream, I dreamed that in the bed room over the bar in the bed I saw a purse, a brown purse, full of gold, so in the morning when I came to open the bar I went upstairs and looked in the key hole and sure enough the room was occupied. This was about half past six in the morning. At seven o'clock I went to the room again, and I found the room empty, the sleeper was gone, so I took off the quilt, the pillows, blankets, but no purse, I then took off the feather bed and to my surprise I saw on the mattress a brown leather purse full. I felt afraid at first to touch it, but I took it and in the purse was five twenty dollar gold pieces, all gold, a lot of loose diamonds, a diamond brooch, a diamond ring. Now at eight o'clock I was relieved by the day bar man. Mr. Wilkey was sick. These diamonds and gold now what shall I do with them? Hand them to the bar man? No sir. The sudden thought came to me, go to breakfast, and then after breakfast take the purse of gold and diamonds to Mr. Rice at the Wells Fargo Express Office and get it locked up in the vault. While getting my breakfast a gentleman knocked at my door who said, "Does Mr. Poulter live here?" "Yes sir I am Mr. Poulter." "Mr. Poulter, I have justcome from Africa and have come to Carson City to see my sister and slept over the bar and I left a purse of gold and some diamonds between the bedding. I wanted to show my sister the brooch and when not finding my purse in my pants I found it not there. I went to the bar man and he told me to go to Wilkey as his wife made all the beds over the bar. Mr. Wilkey has sent me to you sir, saying that if you have it, it is safe." "Well, sir I have the purse and I was going to take it to Wells Fargo Express Office after breakfast and give it in charge of Mr. Rice who is the President of the Express." He opened the purse and counted five twenties and five dollars all in gold coin and the rest of the valuables. "Mr. Poulter, what do you want for your honesty." "Nothing sir, but if you want you can give my CISEY the five dollars." He handed my CISEY the five dollars and shook me by the hand and poured out God's blessing upon me.
Now the ladies of Carson heard of all this, but strange as it may seem I never told of my dream, but the ladies for this good action on my part, gave me a grand ball, supper and lunch, which I got $125.00 as a present and all that was left. I got offers from some of the stores to take the places of some of the clerks, but I now made up my mind to pay the doctor and to my surprise it was not as much as I expected.
Now every Sunday, we, I mean the children and I would go to Mother's, JULIA's, and CLARA's graves and sing several hymns, then we would take a nice walk and pick wild flowers. I had made a nice long seat at the head of the graves and got a fine fence all around for these tokens of divine love. Oh give God, the glory for the same! I now made up my mind to sell out all I had in Carson and go to England and see my friends, but at this time property was down very cheap. I gave away lots of things. I got clear of Mrs. Morse nicely.
About this time the citizens of Carson and the State of Nevada had a fair and prizes for the same. I was made one of the night officers. I had charge of the silver ore. The things came in from all quarters. The tabernacle was full of all kinds of things. I took two fine lambs. I washed them as white as snow until I took part of the skin off their necks. I found a piece of lamb skin, I cut it in two. I got some tar stuck on it and stuck it on the overland harness. The harness maker made me two fine collars which made them look fine. I took them to the fair. I got the first prize--twenty dollars and a diploma. At the close of the fair I sold the lambs for twenty dollars to a farmer. The night watchman got drunk. Had a fine time taking care of the beautiful things that were in the pavilion. The fair was a grand success in every way.
About this time a great preacher, a Baptist, just turned Carson upside down. I made a speech on his ideas. My speech was to know why the gift of tongues was not in the different orders of the day. I was now in for it.
At this time we were at war with the South, and Carson City was blessed with 300 negroes. They had no meeting house nor any school for their children, but had to mix up with the different churches. One day a preacher came to me, well dressed, and not like a negro but nearly white. He said to me, "Mr. Poulter the Lord has sent me to you sir, to come and join our church." "Indeed", I said, "The Lord has sent you. Well, my friend I am joined to my church at present. Well if the Lord has sent you to me, here is what I have to say. Now sir, I wish you well and the blacks in Carson City. Now I am no scholar, I cannot write as I wish I could, and as you are impressed that Lord of Hosts has sent you to me, now do what I am about to tell you. In the first place go to my friend, Mr. Rice, who is now a God fearing man and say the Mr. Poulter has sent you to ask a great favor if you would be so kind as to draw out a paper to ask the Governor, who is a Republican Governor, to give and encourage the citizens of Carson to help the negroes with means to build a meeting house and place to worship God as class to be by your selves". "Well, Mr. Poulter I will do as you tell me to do." So off he went to Mr. Rice and that gentleman did everything in uniform. He took the paper to Governor Blesdal. The Governor thought it would be good if the negroes would keep together and their children as the whites treated them mean. The Governor headed the list with $30.00 and so did Mr. Rice and so it came to pass he got a goodly sum. Now there were two nice lots in the city belonging to a Republican, a rich man in San Francisco, who, learning why the negroes wanted the same, sent word to Mr. Rice to let them have the lots free of charge, so it all turned out well. Especially for the whites, for they did not want to sit in the meetings along side of the negroes. So the Lord did send him to me to bring to pass His divine love to all. For I declare I have no love for the blacks but I wish them well and am glad they are free from slavery.
I now made up my mind to go to England, so I sold my house with two lots and gave away lots of things. I sold my garden truck to Eardley for $75.00. The same night it came on a heavy frost and killed nearly all the garden stuff. I put my box and bedding into a big wagon and started for Sacramento. Our wagon had no cover. In the morning we were covered with frost. Our wagon was drawn by eighteen mules. The weather was lovely. The travel over the mountains was lovely on the other side. The fruit, grapes, peaches were lovely. We got a large pail full for twenty five cents. We got a first class ticket to San Francisco. On our arrival at the pier I saw Mr. Tucker who served me that mean trick at Marysville. He helped the children off the steamer, and told me he lost both his stores by going a surety for his two partners. I felt like giving him a $20 gold piece, but on thought of his treatment in making me drunk I loathed him and I felt I was avenged.
Again MacGee, who was trying to kill me got shot to death. I now hired a room to sleep in. I fell in with a lot of Mormons who had left the Church. They wanted me to go to Walla Walla, Washington. I was two weeks in San Francisco.
The steamer took me to the Isthmus. We crossed on the railroad. The trip was lovely. The flowers and shrubs were lovely. On the other side it was not good weather but lots of fruit. My three girls were seasick. MONTEY was very sick, but TOMMY felt good all the time. We were taken to New York, and to stop there one week. We went on board of the City of Paris. We had a splendid passage to England.
We landed at Liverpool. I went to the railroad and reached Birmingham. A widow lady took us under her charge. When we got to Birmingham she had her sons waiting for her. They were very kind to us, took us home to their house. It was about twelve at night. We got a good supper and good beds and they hunted up our friends who were glad to see us.
I now sent a letter to JAMES MCLACHLAN. Soon I got a letter from Clapham to say my sister SARAH would meet me at the station at Kensington. I was met sure enough by my eldest sister SARAH, who called two cabs and took us to a lodging house and left orders for us to have a good living and she would call the next day. I was here a week and no one called. The landlady asked me for some money. I gave them 20 shillings. Was this true? It was, after traveling so many hundreds of miles and going through so much danger to be treated like this. I found them all in Clapham in first rate fix. I was made sport of. My hair and beard were too long. I of course felt that they were wealthy and most ignorant of the power and goodness of the Almighty. I went back to my children. I now took MONTEY to find my sister CHARLOTTE. I found her husband was a barrister living in Lincoln Inn. I found his Lordship fixed up in fine style. He kept me standing in the room, nor offered me a chair, but tried to make sport of me and my girls. Is this true? Yes, it is, and the Lord will not forget this insult. At this time I had my pants pockets full of gold sovereigns. I was going to ask the blatted fool to take care of my money, but I left him in disgust. The next I thought I would go to Mack and get him to take charge of my money, as I felt it was not safe to have so much money on my person or at my lodgings.
So one day I made up my mind to ask Mack to take my money at Charing Cross. I was looking at the great changes when a gentleman dressed in the finest style asked me how I was and talked to me as if he knew me for years, and asked me to go and take a glass of ale. I went with him. While I was drinking my ale in walked a fine dressed man with a fine dressed lady who took a glass of wine and then left. The stranger said, "My friends, I am a Yankee come over to see the sights. Now you see I have plenty of money," pulling out of one pocket twenty and ten and five dollar pieces. Then pulling out of the others lots of sovereigns. "Now my friends, I will treat you to anything you choose to call for. I will take you to any place you may wish to go or to see." I refused all his kind offers. "Well, my friends let us have a game of cards." I now began to think I was in bad company and I was feeling giddy. I made a sudden move for the door and left my two friends. The first policeman I met told him of these two men. "You have, sir, just escaped two regular swindlers. Why, sir it was only yesterday a Yankee was treated in this way by three such men and he went to play cards. He was made drunk, robbed of forty sovereigns, and some of the United States money, his gold watch, but they did not get a ring off his finger. The Yankee losing all he had took the ring to the pawn shop to pawn it, when one of the men came into the pawn shop to pawn his gold watch. He of course grabbed him and called the police. So sir, you have escaped some of the gang."
I now jumped into a bus and got safe with my money to Mack's house. Of course Mack thought I was in good luck escaping such company and I gave him all my gold on the promise I could have it if I wanted it.
Now my brother CHARLEY was living at Moulsey where I was born. My Father and Mother had left Moulsey to live with my sister JANE at Rochdale, so I went to Moulsey to live with my brother CHARLEY, giving CHARLEY's wife 18 shillings every week to pay for my board.
Soon came down from London a carriage with my sisters SARAH MCLACHLAN and CHARLOTTE GREENWOOD with the intentions of taking my boy TOMMY, and MONTEY, EMMA and BELL. I told them I did not mean to let my children go anywhere only where I went so would be their home. Well, up speaks CHARLOTTE who was the boss, "Well, TOMMY, shall go with me. I want to knock Mormonism out of him and we will put the three girls in a boarding school." At this speech my TOM busted out in a fit of laughter. "You rascal I will take the Mormon out of you. You little Yankee." This made TOMMY laugh worse. She took to strike him. I now thought it time to stop this sort of fun. I said, "CHARLOTTE and SARAH, it is kind of you to bring your courage to take away my children, but as the Lord liveth not one of them goes from me while I have the means to keep them." All this time my sister SARAH stood with a sweet smile, not a word to say, but CHARLOTTE being the richest of course was the boss. "So dear brother, you won't let us take your children?" "No my dear sisters, I feel grateful for your kind offers, but I will with the help of Almighty God return to America the land of the brave, and free, and trust to God for the future." So with all this fuss and brag my dear sisters jumped into their carriages and drove off without saving a good word to the girls. I felt indeed bad to think of traveling all these miles to see the cursed pride and arrogance of my sisters, but I felt good to think that I was free to do as I wanted to do.
I now laid my plans to hire a room of my AUNT DAVIS in London, to show my children some of the sights. So I got a good room of my AUNT DAVIS and made up my mind to go to California if I could, and anyhow to go as far as I could. I was treated very kind by my aunts and cousins. My AUNT DAVIS was my Mother's brother's wife. It was very strange everyone thought I had plenty of money. I tried this time to get some of my prize money from China, after a little trouble from the lawyers. I went by the name of Thomas Poulter leaving Ambrose. I was owed a large sum but the swindling of this business is a mystery.
My brother CHARLEY's wife wanted to if possible for me to take her to her brother who was a spring maker in Concord, New Hampshire. So I now had my mind made up to go to New York then to Boston, then to Concord, New Hampshire. The brother was working for Mr. Palmer. I could have gone to Boston but I knew the steward in the City of Paris. I had made the arrangements with the steward for two cabins. I went to Liverpool. My children were so glad that they began to sing and felt that they were going home. My Father and sister JANE met us at the depot, took us to a lodging house where they had ham and eggs. They went home. Father came down the next day to see us off. I took the children's necklaces off their necks and I told my Father that the children sent them as a present to their cousins. They consisted of different coins. I suppose about two dollars worth in each necklace. I went about the noble steamer, City of Paris, got the two cabins. I found lots of Irish on board, several fenians on board.
We had a good and quick passage from New York to Boston. We had mean officers on board. It was bitter cold. Nearly all the time the charges were very great. We arrived in the night. We now parted. I went to one of the brothers who treated me with wonderful kindness. Mrs. Palmer offered me a home and three months provisions. I told her I wanted to go to California. Mr. Palmer lent me $10. Just as I was going to get my ticket a lady gave me a ticket to New York, first class. I had food and the best of attendance at New York. I got my ticket for California. I sent $10 to Mr. Palmer. Our passage to San Francisco, California was splendid. On my arrival I met an old friend who took me to a lodging and slipped in my hand a twenty dollar gold piece. I got into the company of some Morisites, who were I am sure led by evil spirits under the cloak of religion. Oh my God, preserve Thy people from all false religion!
I went to Gilroy. I found an old friend who gave me a good job but I found out a good man was discharged to make room for me. As soon as I found it out I left right away and went further south and took some land on shares. On the ranch were two large houses, one was empty. I took the same. The farmer in the next two got so scared and his wife also at an earthquake that they left the place and gave me the chance of what they had, namely, on shares. Another earthquake came so it so scared them that they gave me all their furniture and chickens and 16 pigs. The ranch was rich land, lots of wild ducks, swans, geese of all kinds, quail, rabbits, hares by the thousands and fruit, mushrooms, potatoes, corn, bees. It was a God send to me. The earthquake was my salvation for I got all this for nothing for fear and terror came on the man and his wife in a terrible manner. I found out the owner of the ranch was a rich man living at Saint Joe. He was very kind to me in every way. His name was William Buck. He was a gentleman in every way. I wanted for nothing. Indeed the Lord of Hosts opened my way to get what I was in need of. I had many friends all around me. My children now were growing very fast, my girls especially.
My sister-in-law, Mrs. WILLIAM POULTER, wrote to me at this time to come to Ogden. I thought it was the best thing I could do, so I sold that I had and got a free passage to Saint Joe. Told Mr. Buck I was going to Ogden City, among my friends. As I had known President Stanford, he gave me a first class ticket to Ogden City. I was treated by the railroad officers very kind in every way. I stayed with my sister in law the winter. I was offered several jobs in the City. Such I did for the time, gardening, painting, planting trees.
I got a steady job at Lorin Farr's mill where I stopped for 14 years. At this time my children had grown up and all at once a great change came over us. MONTEY got married to EMER M. HARRIS, BELL to ISAAC FARR, EMMA to W. W. WILLIAMS, TOMMY to Miss DELIA FARR. All this happened in April 1882, all married in 1882.
My children were all married in Salt Lake City in the Endowment House. MONTEY had her feast at Martin Harris, at Harrisville. Had a splendid supper and a dance. I had lots of good cider. We had a jolly time of it. BELL FARR had her supper at Mary Farr's. It was a grand turnout, had the band. EMMA and W. W. WILLIAMS had her supper and dance at her father's house. We had a granary, plenty of room and the Ogden Brass Band. This was a splendid turnout. We had over a hundred to supper. We had plenty of everything to eat and to drink of the best. My TOMMY had his supper at Judge Aaron Farr's. Had a grand supper and the Brass Band. No dance, no room for the purpose. Very peculiar all married in the year 1882. May the blessing of the Almighty rest upon all.
Now nine years have flown away like a dream or as a stream passes away. Now MONTEY has three girls and one boy. BELL FARR has three boys and one girl. EMMA has two girls and one boy and one on the stocks. TOMMY has lost his wife by death, has two boys.
I have been asked "Are the Mormon men better than those that are not Mormons?" As a proof you can only prove this answer by their works. As a clue to this I have seen some Mormons very good, yea very good, while others have made their religion to be the means of doing every kind of meanness. So to look at the Mormons as a body I can say that they are a very industrious, hard working class.