Archibald Anderson came to Utah from Scotland in 1855.  His wife, Agnes Adamson Anderson, and her three sons, Archibald, John, and James made the long trip to America a year later.  This is the usual story of the beginning of our family in the new world.


How, however, a journal kept by Alexander Adamson that has come to light reveals the dramatic story of the trip to America of Agnes Baird Adamson and her two sons Alexander and Dougal in the year 1848.  This places one of our direct ancestors in Utah only about a year after the first settlement and eight years before the other members of the family arrived.


We have known of the help of Alexander and Dougal extended to the family of their sisters, but here is part of their own story, and even more important, the story of their mother.


The original journal is the property of Mrs. Reed Prince of New Harmony, Utah.  Her daughter made me a copy from which these extracts are taken.  The most obvious mistakes in spelling and construction have been corrected, but otherwise no effort has been made to change the copy.


H. Reese Anderson

Vernal, Utah

July 1, 1956






I, Alexander Adamson, journeying to the camp of Israel in the far west of America.  That being baptized for the work of God and the testimony of Jesus.  And I and Mother and Bishop Dougal commanded by God to gather with them and left Balliston Toll Barney Parish our national land Scotland accompanied with Bishop Archibald Anderson and Sister and Bishop Ramsay and Sister Blith on February 12, 1848.


Then we took the parting hand with them and many more friends and brethren and sisters who were also anxious with us to be delivered to excape the latter-day plagues.  We then sailed for Liverpool in the Admiral Steam Boat.  We had a very rough passage on the morning of the 13th from nine until about two and three in the afternoon.  We were very sick, And though we landed in Liverpool about six in the evening President Richards who was President of the Glasgow Conference accompanied us to a very respectable lodging house and we received good treatment by paying ninepence each, each night we remained till the nineteenth when we went on board of the Carmatic Ship for New Orleans.  Our passage was three pounds 5 each.


But on Wednesday the 16th we had our berth marked and our luggage in the Eliza 3 at the side of her, when some means or other occurred that prevented us from going on board of her, I cannot give no account of.


Sunday 20th.  We were drawn out into the river by two steam boats with a band of music with them and played along the side of us till we stopped and cast anchor then played most beautiful upon the water.  We then put all unuseful luggage below and the saints assembled together for prayer, numbering one hundred and twenty and 54 of them came from Scotland with us.


Monday 21st.  We are still laying in the River Merez and no appearance of fair wind.  We had prayer from Brother Wheelock.


Tuesday 22nd.  No appearance of fair wind but the Captain thought best to sail and make the best he could of it.  The steamer came up the side of us and towed us away a few miles.  The ship Eliza sailed about an hour before us.  A strong head wind arose.  In the evening we are called together on deck for prayer by A. Cahoon.  I was sick and throwing, also my mother and brother Dougal.


Wednesday 23rd.  Still head winds.  Our Captain told us he was afraid the ship Eliza was lost last night.  Her lights were seen about 8: O’clock in the evening and in a sudden disappeared.


Thursday 24th.  Head winds.  Little or no progress made in sailing.  The Captain’s weather glass standing lower than he had seen it for 16 years.  He said it to Brother Wheelock and said to him that is was low indeed for a complete hurricane.


Friday 25th.  Strong head winds, the weather glass still low.  Yet in the channel our meeting came together about 9.  Our president spoke a little about the way we were tossed about.  He told us that the prince of evil was working well to destroy us but it would be in vain so long as we were united.  A. Cahoon spoke to us and called upon the saints to pray the winds would be more travelable for us and that we be hastened on with more speed to our distant port.


Monday 28th.  We are still tossed about in the channel.


Friday 3rd.  The air was cold but the sun shining made it pleasant.  Sailing 10 knots and hour.  The wind abaited in the afternoon and arose a head wind and tossed us about all night.  We again lifted our hearts to God that the adverse winds might cease but apparently in vain.


Sunday 5th.  It was pleasant all day with the sun shining until evening.  The wind was a little contrary again.  We met in the evening and were addressed by Elders G. H. Wheelock and F. D. Richards.  We were much refreshed and agreed to have a fellowship meeting on Tuesday night.


Friday 9th.  The weather fair and beautiful.  The wind still the same till the afternoon when it grew stronger and blew us 7 knots an hour.  We met again in the evening for prayer.


Monday 13th.  This morning the winds still the same till the afternoon we made little progress.  We met in the evening for prayer by Andrew Cahoon then h encouraged us to be clean in all things also many more good things which caused my heart to rejoice to hear him speak.


Thursday 23rd.  Wind is hard about 5 knots an hour.  Nothing has transpired this day only something stolen from some of the strange passengers by two of the ship’s apprentices.  They were looked for and a board put on their backs with the word “thief” on it.


Tuesday 28th.  Still little wind.  This is about 8 days that we have been tossed about by adverse winds.  The captain said he expected rather a confusion of winds for 3 or 4 days by the sun crossing the line but for us to be tossed so long with adverse winds he had never heard tell, read, or experienced such a thing.  Where we should have the trade winds he seemed to be perplexed and confused.  We see the word of God fulfilled both by ancient and modern prophets that there should be perplexities in the latter-days both by land and by sea.  Meeting came together about 2 o’clock in the afternoon and we were addressed by Brother Wheelock upon the duties of children to their parents also the duties of husbands to their wives and the duty of women to their husbands.  He spoke in a very plain manner that caused the hearts of the saints to rejoice.


Thursday 30th.  A pleasant morning.  Sailing between 4 and 5 knotts and hour.  This evening Father James Young died at a quarter past nine.  Age 66 being very sick for nearly a week.


Friday 31st.  This morning about half-past six o’clock Father Young was entered in the misty deep.  We came together in the afternoon and were addressed by F. D. Richards upon the death and burial of Father Young as some may have thought it strange that no service nor prayer was previously to putting his corpse in the water.


Wednesday 5th.  This morning we are sailing 11 knots an hour and sometimes 10 and 9 and 8 ½ and 7 ½.  Our president was telling us that we were blessed with a strong breeze of wind.  If it were not so we would be lying on the deck panting with the heat.  Prayer by A. Cahoon.


Saturday 8th.  We have passed out of sight of Jamaica.  We met at evening and our president informed us that we meet 3 times tomorrow.  Prayer by A. C.


Sunday 9th.  Came close by some small islands.  Three men came over in a small boat with some turtles and shells.  The captain bought the turtle.  Some of the brethren bought a few shells.  We met three times this day and addressed by our President, Franklin Richards.


Wednesday 12th.  The breeze still continues.  Good sailing from 7 to 9 knots and hour.  Meeting at evening opened by Elder Crinthers after which our president spoke a little to us as we were about to land at our port and there would be no opportunities of coming together to be told of the things required.  He therefore encouraged us to be faithful in keeping the great purposes of God at heart and we should get along amidst these wicked men we were about to be among.


Thursday 13th.  The breeze still keeping good sailing from 6 to 9 knots and hour.  Our Captain was expecting to see a port but at 12 o’clock he found he was by and into the Gulf of Mexico.  Our meeting came together in the evening.  A. C. spoke to us some time desiring us to be as one and keep the spirit of God at all times as we were about to separate and go amongst the enemies to the trou_h.


Friday 14th.  Almost there!  Sailing from 2 to 3 knots and hour.  One ship passed close to the side of us.  The Captains spoke to each other.  They were from Marseille bout for New Orleans 40 days out or 30 from Gibralter.  Our meeting came in the afternoon about 4 o’clock.  There were some things brought against one of the brethren, one in not attending meetings.  This is the 4th case since we came on board the Carmatic.


Saturday 15th.  Fair winds, sailing 4 knots an hour.  The same ship that was so close to us is no in the distance behind us.  We this day were engaged in carrying some of the ship’s cargo forward to one of the hatches in preparation for landing.  Our meeting came together at 3 o’clock.  They who were accused for neglect of duty came forward and confessed before the saints and reserved their fellowship and good feelings.


(This is the final entry in the journal.  No doubt the rush of the landing prevented Alexander from continuing with his writing as he would have liked.)  From the Journal History of the Church, material was published in the “Millennial Star”. Volume X, pages 74, 169, and 204 which not only confirms our story to this point, but also carries it a little further:


“Thirty-Third Company – Carmatic – 120 Saints.”


“The ship Carmatic.  Captain McKenzie, obtained its clearance papers on the 18th of February 1848 and sailed on the morning of the 20th with a company of 120 Saints on board, nearly 100 of whom were adults.  The company which was made up on short notice of Saints with ‘cheerful hopes, buoyant feelings’, went under the superintendence of Franklin D. Richards, assisted by Cyrus H. Wheelock and Andrew Cahoon.  Samuel W. Richards, another American Elder who returned with the Carmatic, acted as clerk for the company.”


The same reference also states that the Carnatic arrived at New Orleans on the 19th of April 1848.  It also states that this company left New Orleans Sunday Morning the 23rd on board the steam-boat “Mameluke”, and after a pleasant trip arrived in St. Louis, Sunday April 30th.  A little later in this reference we also read: “A contract was made with Captain Patterson of the steamboat ‘Mustang’ to take the ‘Carnatic” company (as well as other emigrating Saints who had arrived in St. Louis from different parts of the United States), on to Winter Quarters.  They sailed from St. Louis about May 9th and arrived in Winter Quarters the middle of the month.”


At this point we lose track of the Adamson brothers and their mother.  Several major companies arrived in the Salt Lake Valley during the summer of 1848 as well as many smaller ones.  They could have been in any of these or even made the trip across the plains in a later year.  We do know that they did come to Utah.  Some of the descendants of the sons are still living in homes on the sites of the original homesteads taken up by Alexander and Dougal Adamson.  The obituaries of both men are in the files in the Church Historians Office.


Agnes Baird Adamson lived to greet her daughter Agnes Adamson Anderson and the three boys Archibald, John, and James when they arrived in Salt Lake with the Daniel McArthur Handcart Company on September 26, 1856.  She died November 12, 1856—only about 45 days after the happy reunion with her daughter and her three grandsons.


Prepared by:

H. Reese Anderson, Historian


Distributed by:

Your Genealogical Committee

July 28, 1956


Anderson, H. Reese. Extracts from the journal of Alexander Adamson and other notes giving an account of the trip to America of Agnes Baird Adamson and her sons Alexander and Dougal Adamson.