THIS DIARY WAS WRITTEN WHILE
ON A MISSION TO NEW ZEALAND
IN 1875 - 1877
October, 1875. I ought to write up a little of the past. In 1865 we moved to Logan, April 29th. At that time we had three children; namely, Willie, Samuel Harris, and Lucy. 9th of April, 1867, Nora was born. October 28, 1869, Aurelia (we call her Lillie) was born. March 29, 1872 Riego was born. March 27, 1875, we were blessed with a fine pair of twins, son and daughter, we named them Leo and Leoline.
In the month of August, 1868, I met with a very serious accident. I was run over by a load of hay and nearly killed. My left arm was paralyzed, and for the next two years I earned but very little; after which I quit farming entirely and turned my attention to house painting, graining, etc. And I had gradually worked into a good business, in fact, had a great deal more work than I could possibly do.
My brother, Charles C. Hurst
and myself were called, October 11, 1875, to go to New Zealand on a special mission to the Maoris. I felt at once to drop everything pertaining to my business and fix up my family as well as possible and be prepared to start with the rest of the missionaries. Means, I had none, and no property to dispose of, however, as soon as I heard the news, I went up to the President's Office and had the pleasure of not only seeing Brother Brigham Jr., but also his father, President Brigham Young. They both talked very kind to me and gave me some very good council relative to my friends in New Zealand; and also expressed a great regard for my family. And President Young informed me that he had instructed Bishop W. B. Preston to look after my family and see that they would be provided for while I was away.
I got a recommend to Brother Wells to get baptized for my Father and brother who were dead, which I attended to on the 12th, and returned home to Logan on the 13th of October.
Aurelia had heard of my appointment, and though in one sense she felt very bad, she bore up bravely, and tried to make the best of it. When I came to look at my family, and considered their circumstances, it pulled on the heartstrings, but I tried to shake it off and leave my family as well provided for as possible.
The Brethren and Sisters were all very kind to me. I'll relate a few instances: I went to Brother Neilson to get measured for a pair of boots. He told me he would make me a pair of heavy calfskin and would not charge me for them, but would give them to me to help me on my mission (price $15), he also gave me a pair of fine shoes ($5) and I owed him two dollars and he called that square. Sister Martinas gave me two pair socks, home made, linen towels and pocket handkerchiefs. The Ward raised $614 and several Sisters did sewing; namely, Eliza A. Cluff, Mrs. Jayshaw, Mrs. Curtis. I can truly say that I never saw people feel better or kinder.
Lucy had been sick with the sore throat and fever, and soon after all the children but Lillie took sick. I had a bad cold and the chills but Nora and Harris were the worst. My brother and I administered to them on Wednesday. Strange to relate, Nora objected, but at last acquiesced. Harris got better immediately and got up and dressed on Thursday. We all thought Nora was much better but at one o'clock noon, she died very suddenly without a moment's notice; she talked up to the last minute. Here was a blow, I about to start on a long mission in three days. My brothers and sisters were extremely kind. My poor dear wife! What a blow to her, or doubly so? I tried to comfort her as much as possible.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday were mournful days indeed, but we put our trust in the Lord, and acknowledged his hand in all things. Everyone was full of sympathy, especially for Aurelia and the children. I felt thankful that I had not yet left home. Much better for it to have happened before I left.
Sunday evening at the meeting my brother and I were called upon to occupy the time. I had great difficulty in controlling my feelings, but felt well. At the close, Bishop Preston blessed us. He prophesied we would go and do a good work and return in safety. The elements would be in our favor, the angels of the Lord would be with, and round about us; we would have friends raised up unto us, and the Lord would bless us on every hand, etc.
After the meeting was dismissed the Choir sang, "Go Ye Messengers" most beautifully. The Brethren and Sisters and Sunday School children all gathered around us, and a great many left money in our hand while giving the parting shake. Mine amounted to $17.50. Some fairly broke down and could not give utterance. Brother Bell and wife, Charles Barrett, a Brother Graham and others. As it was the last night they stayed till after midnight.
Next morning Bishop Preston came with his carriage, also Dave Cranney, to take my family down to the depot. My dear wife
did not dare trust herself, so all the children went except the twins. I will hasten and drop the curtain on our parting scene, suffice it to say a great many saw us off at the depot, and quite a number gave us money.
We started at 10:40 a.m. amid sobs and cries of good cheer and best wishes of the community, for which I feel thankful, and I want to live worthy of it.
At Ogden we met with Elder Joseph F. Smith and Charles C. Rich. We had a pleasant chat, and stayed all night at Brother Joseph's. Next morning we went to the Historian's Office; Brother Orson Pratt set us apart for our mission. The following is as near as I can remember:
I lay my hands upon your head to set you apart to travel in the Islands of New Zealand, wherever the Spirit of the Lord may direct. The angels of the Lord will go before you, and the hearts of the people will be prepared to receive your testimony, and thou shalt do a great work, the Lord working with you. You shall have great wisdom and be comforted with dreams and visions; you shall have great power to heal the sick by the laying on of hands; and in as much as thine heart shall be right before the lord, thou shalt be wonderfully blessed and preserved. The Elements shall be in thy favor, for thou shalt reach thy field of labor in safety, and shall be preserved in traveling from Island to Island and in due time thou shalt return home to thy family in safety, etc."
I do not remember more at present; however, we went over to the President's office and got our certificates. Had the pleasure of seeing Brother George Q. Cannon
, and Brother Brigham, Jr. and conversing with them about our mission, etc.
Had dinner at Brother Jackson's, a young man I had worked with for over six years at painting. He bought us each a Book of Mormon, and a Hymn Book, besides various other Church Works, and also the Deseret News Weekly to be sent after us.
In the evening we went to the First Ward and stayed at my wife's mother's (Mrs. Hawkins) and had a pleasant time. Riego gave me a Compendium, Joseph Woodmansee, my Brother-in-law, gave me five dollars.
November 3rd, Wednesday. After bidding the folks a long and last farewell we took the 3:40 train for Ogden, where after getting our tickets, which cost us $55.00 each to San Francisco
, we bade a final adieu to the home of the Saints on the C. P. R. R. bound West. It was too dark to see conveniently, but we howled along at a rapid rate.
November 4th. We passed quite a number of mining towns, such as Elko and others, some dry looking places. I could not help thinking the pictures looked far better than the originals.
Humbolt Station, where we arrived in the evening is a very pretty place; shade trees and a beautiful large fountain in full play in front of the Hotel.
We passed Truckee in the night, and the Summit and all through the tunnels just before daylight. This is the highest part of the track, being 7,017 feet above the level of the sea. The scenery in places almost beyond description; to call it grand and sublime seems to fall short of the mark. It is truly wonderful that a railroad could be built across such a looking country. One moment we are dashing through a tunnel, next across a trestle built over an abyss of immense depth, next crossing the top of a mountain, Cape Horn for instance, where it appeared we were in the heavens, and it is truly appalling to look down far, far below, where we see a little tiny stream and to our astonishment we are told that it is the American River. Immense pines appear in miniature. The train was stopped a few minutes so that we could have time to contemplate the truly sublime, yet awful grandeur of the scene. We now took the downward grade, breakfasted at Colfax. We were continually passing through new pretty little towns.
Arrived at Sacramento at 10:35, where the din and confusion from Hotel Service, News boys, Fruit Vendors is distressing and very strongly suggested the idea we were once more in what is termed Civilization. The old landing looked natural.
On to Stockton, then to Oakland, passing through numberless small towns; the last 30 or 40 miles were exceedingly pleasant, our road treading through most beautiful farms, orchards, and vineyards; passed splendid mansions. Even when we got to Oakland our road still lay stretched on piles over the salt water for several miles across the bay toward San Francisco.
We got on the Steamer, Terry
, just before sunset. The wind was blowing from the South, the sky looked wild, the smell of the salt water was truly refreshing to me, and the sight of the shipping brought back the recollections of other days long gone by. However, we are speedily reminded by the noise and confusion that we have at last arrived and are glad to take refuge in the Omnibus and make our escape to the Hotel. We put up at the International.
We soon learned that the Colima Steamship
for Australia would not sail until the 10th.
We spent our time sightseeing. Sunday we went to the Woodward Gardens, which comprised an extensive menagerie; Aviary and Aquarry Exotie, Trees, Flowers, Museum, Fine Arts Galerie, etc., etc., too numerous to enter in detail in a journal. We also visited the Anatomical Museum.
Our tickets to Australia and New Zealand cost us each $150.00 in gold. The following names were chosen to go to New Zealand: F. W. Hurst, C. C. Hurst, John Rich and William McLachlan. The rest of the Brethren as follows to Australia: Elder David Cluff, P. Hoagland, Swan M. Croxall, _______ Burton, Isaac Groo, and John Young; Brother Isaac Groo to preside over all the mission.
November 8th. We spent a very agreeable evening at Mrs. Lincous; there were quite a number present, some we had not seen for a great many years. The time was spent in music, singing and conversation. I wrote to my wife and Riego Hawkins, my Brother-in-law, and to Thomas R. Jackson.
November 10th. We bade adieu to San Francisco. Sailed at 10:40 a.m. As we steamed around the Bay toward Golden Gate, San Francisco presented a pretty appearance; it is almost incredible how extensive it has built up. What a few years ago was nothing but a barren sand hill is now covered with beautiful residences and charming gardens.
Lone Mountain, the Cemetery, is well worth one's time to see, well filled with the most lovely ornamental trees and flowers, and very costly monuments. As seen from the Bay, Lone Mountain and vicinity form a beautiful and picturesque background and has a view of all San Francisco, across the Bay to Oakland, and the surrounding country for miles in extent.
We had a smooth sea, and a fine breeze from the North. We speedily passed a Frire Bank under full sail off starboard, and a full rigged ship on our Port; they were soon left far behind and before sunset were entirely out of sight.
This steamer is a beautiful vessel; the finest kind of Clipper; very narrow in the beam, built of iron, sharp at the bows, only 42 feet in breadth and 312 feet long, tower masts, square rigged, and skims over the water like a bird. She is beautifully fitted up, splendid accommodations and everything kept clean as a new pin. Quite a large number of passengers. Brother McLachlan and I occupy a stateroom together; furnished with nice comfortable beds, washstands with marble tops and all the accompaniments; hair brush, scented soap, combs, etc.
I was fortunate in getting a New Testament in the New Zealand language, and also a dictionary, and I devote a great deal of my time studying the language.
November 11th. By noon today we had made 259 miles. The wind had increased during the night and shifted to the northwest. Sea Sickness was the order of the day, I actually vomited once myself, but soon got over it. The weather is very cloudy.
November 12th. Wind still ahead. Made 254 miles. Some of the Brethren are still very sick.
November 13th. Made 234 miles. The wind still adress, and the weather cloudy.
November 14th, Sunday. Much pleasanter. Made 256 miles. Attended services in the cabin, the Captain officiated, although quite a number of missionaries on board. Didn't get an invitation to take part in the meeting. The old threadbare and worn out English Church Service was read and it sounded so hollow and empty that I thought to myself: "Oh, for five or ten minutes to tell this congregation a few words of truth just to show the contrast between truth and error."
There are so many courses at dinner, and style, that it took us one hour and twenty-five minutes, which appeared to me to be a waste of time.
November 15th. Made 250 miles. The weather is getting clearer and the wind shifted to the Southwest, but very light.
November 16th. Squally with a little rain. Made 246 miles.
November 17th. Such a lovely sunrise, the sky and clouds were most richly tinted with the rarest and most beautiful colors; such as carmine, rose pink, and gold, and amber blended into deep blue. The sea was very smooth and partook of the rich colors of the sky. The effect was truly magnificent beyond description. A fair taste of heaven. Never in my past experience did I see such a sunrise; such scenes as these seem to fill my soul with inspiration, and awakens within us the reality of a glorious future.
I am very sorry to state that Charles, my brother, is troubled with a very distressing cough, in fact his health is very poor. As for myself, I don't remember when I had better health, and although very temperate in my diet, I am steadily increasing in weight. Now we are getting into warmer latitudes, I have quit eating meat, drink nothing but cold water. Although the table affords a rich variety, such as: Mock Turtle Soup; 2nd, broiled meats such as Mutton, Corned Beef, Pork, Chicken, Ducks, and Roast Beef, Turkey, Pork Sausages, Mackerel; 4th, Entries, Kidneys and Curries, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Limas, and Curried Rice, Chicken Pie and Stuffed Hearts; 5th Pastries, English Plum Pudding, Peach Pie, Apple Pie, Cranberry Pie, assorted Torts and cakes; 6th, Desert, Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Walnuts, Almond nuts, Dried raisins; 7th, Tea and Coffee, Crackers and Cheese.
The way I do is call for 1st, Potatoes and corn bread, or potatoes and sometime a little white bread, a little soup and crackers, then I wait till desert and have a little Tapioca pudding or Pie. I don't know how they can stand it, but I sit along with some gentlemen who partake of every course as the waiters bring them on. Pardon me for saying it, but I have too much respect for my belly, or too much regard for the Word of Wisdom.
We made 253 miles.
November 18th, Made 243 miles. At sunrise we sighted the Island of Hawaii, Sandwich Islands, then Maui, Lanai, Molokai (where I was twenty years ago this time studying the language in company with Elders Eli, Bell), next Oahu.
We arrived at Honolulu at ten o'clock at night. We worked in alongside of the wharf, where we found a large concourse of whites, Kanakas, Chinamen and Negroes; the place was lit up with torches. Everybody regretted very much arriving at night, as the darkness precluded our seeing the beautiful scenery around Honolulu.
It seems hardly possible to me that eighteen years have elapsed since I left these Islands. Everything seems so natural, except the trees have grown and comparatively few natives to be seen around. I inquired after a great many of the Brethren and Sisters, but invariably the answer would be (noi muke) they're dead. The natives were wonderfully pleased to find that I could talk with them; wanted to know where I was going. I told them that all our company were going to New Zealand and Australia to preach the Gospel.
Our Captain was in such a hurry that they hired a lot of Kanakas and commenced forth with to unload and discharge cargo and taking in ballast, as they wanted to start at eight in the morning. I was very sorry to hear this for I would have liked at least one day to hunt up old friends, but there was no time.
We took a stroll uptown a little way, but being night we could not see as the lights were all out and the inhabitants in bed, and we concluded to return and follow suit until daylight did appear.