Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review: The Mormons in California

The Mormons in California by William Glover  Foreword, Notes and Selected Bibliography by Paul Bailey
Glen Dawson, Los Angeles, 1954  I checked this out from our Manteca Library, fromthe Stockton Library.  It looks like a book that should be in special collections.
This book tells the story of the Brooklyn Saints.  It starts with a foreword and is copyrighted by Paul Bailey.  He gives a history of Sam Brannan before the voyage on the Brooklyn.  He thanks the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, who must have let him use the original memoirs.  It then presents Brother Glovers narrative, who wrote this account thirty-eight years after the voyage, from Utah where he had joined the Saints.  He mentions there were 170 emigrants but Bailey corrects him to say 238, 70 men, 68 women and 100 children.  They left new York on February 4 and encountered a storm February 8 which last to February 12.  He described the scene:
“--to hear the dismal howl of the winds, and to see the ship with helm lashed pitching, rolling, dipping in the troughs of the sea and then tossed on the highest billow….I was only by realizing the Lord has said He holds the waters in His hand, that we could have faith to be delivered from our perilous condition….[Those] that were not quite sick as others were singing the song ”We are going to California” when Captain Richardson came below to tell us to prepare for the worst, as he had done all he could, and there was but little hope of saving the ship.   He thought it was marvelous that any could sing while in such peril, and that we ought to be praying and preparing for death; but we felt and knew our Father was at the helm.  He stared at me when I answered and told him I was going to California.”  When the storm had past the Captain could see the Cape Verde Islands off the Horn of Africa.
After passing to the Pacific Ocean, they hoped to stop in Chili for resupply.  However the storms kept them from gaining the port at Valparaiso.  Instead they resupplied at Juan Fernandez Island.  In this they were lucky as they did not have to pay.  “Here we got all the wood, water and fish we wanted, without price, whereas, if we had gone into Valpara[i]so it would have cost us hundreds of dollars; thus showing to us the hand of the Lord and His overruling Providences and care for His people.”

After leaving Juan Fernandez Island their next stop was Oahu, Hawaii.  While on the way they did some military drill, until the Captain of the ship became alarmed and forbid it.  They were in Hawaii for a week, and preached the first Mormon sermon on the island.  They actually took on 150 stands of arms at Hawaii, provided by Commodore Stockton.  However when they arrived at Yerba Buena [now San Francisco] they arrived under the flag of the Portsmouth Sloop of war under Captain Montgomery of the U.s. Navy.  There was no resistance to their arrival.  They tried to make due in the some 9 buildings in San Francisco, and tents they had brought.  Some went to stay at Mission Dolores.  Some of the pioneers went to Sausalito to harvest wood to pay off the $1000 debt they owed the captain.  Food was scarce.  The community was not bothered by the “Spaniards” although they kept up guard.  Col. Fremont asked some of the men to go with him South to fight the Mexican government, but most declined.    This is because of the Missouri mobbers in the group.  They improved the city almost from the day they arrived.

Part of the company went to San Joaquin Valley, “to make preparation for the coming of the Church.  We bought a lounch [launch], oxen and seed wheat to send with this company that cost a good deal of money.  They went up there and put in grain, built some houses and did all they could to provide for the wants of the Saints when they would come.  There was a few  that withdrew from the company, but nearly all clung together till the Spring of ’47 when Brannan was fitted out with mules, provisions for himself and a man by the name of Charles Smith to go and meet the Church and pilot them through. 

…When Brannan returned and told the Company that the Church would stop at Salt Lake, you can imagine our disappointment.  The Company was broken up and everyone went to work for themselves, to make a fit out to go to the Valley, as best we could.

The author also talked of the finding of gold, attributing the find to members of the Mormon Battalion.  He mined on Mormon island for a season and the set the size of a claim as eighteen feet wide.  He saw the price for goods go up in price because so many people had come to the fields.  “Flour sold for a dollar a pound and everything else in proportion.  Clothing was not to be had, hardly, at any price.  He pointed out this situation only lasted a short time until supplies reached them via ship from Chile and Oregon.   Brother glover immigrated from California to Utah in 1849.  He went with a group of Mormons, who had done well in the mines.  They were followed part of the way by a group they felt wanted to rob them of their gold.  However they met so many companies heading towards California, generally three a day, that the group of men never had the opportunity and finally gave up their desire.  
This book concludes with a section listing most of the Brooklyn Saints and their current status in the church.  Those who had settled amongst the Mormons, and those who had stayed in California area.

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