Tuesday, March 27. I walked to Rangiora, then Sister Norfolk and I walked to Fernside to see Sister Agnes Doak's family. Soon after our arrival Mrs. Doak commenced asking questions about our people. I sat down and gave her a complete history from the time Brother Joseph the Prophet saw his first vision, followed along through their persecutions to Nauvoo; building temples and founding the most beautiful city in the West; the driving from that city across the river on the Ice in the most bitter and inclement season of the year out on the prairie amongst savage Indians. The call for the noble and the brave volunteers or the Mormon Battalion; the journey to the mountains, and the founding of Salt Lake City by President Brigham Young, not forgetting the martyrdom of the brothers Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage Jail. The cricket and grasshopper war, the trial of our people with poverty and distress, the discovery of Gold in California by some of the Mormon Battalion; the immense travel across the plains; the prophecy of Brother Heber C. Kimball and its very remarkable fulfillment relative to goods being sold cheaper in Salt Lake City than in New York City. The big move South and the great army under General Johnston in 1857-58 and its glorious results to our people; how the Lord sanctified and controlled events to advance His kingdom and its interest. It all passed along like a beautiful panorama before my mind's eye. I felt humble and thanked the Lord for the testimony of His Holy Spirit. All present were deeply interested.
We took a walk in the garden and ate peaches and apples. While at tea Mr. Doak came in and he commenced asking questions on polygamy, Joseph Smith the Prophet, etc. I had quite a job to leave. As it was it was past 6:00.
They gave us a large box full of beautiful peaches, and Sister Agnes accompanied us over a mile on our journey back to Rangiora. We found Sister Miles very anxious for me to return as there was a lady there who had been waiting all the afternoon to talk with me about the Gospel. She had had a severe shock of fright and they had already spent [£?] 130 on doctors, but in vain, even a Jalumie Battery had no effect on her in the least. I preached to her until after nine o'clock and I hope the future will prove good news. After she left, Mr. Ford and I had a long talk till a late hour.
Wednesday, March 28, 1877. After reading several chapters in the Bible to Sisters Miles and Norfolk and explaining them I walked over to the Ashley, rode all over what is called Grey Mountain down with Brother Stephenson.
Thursday I wrote to Mother, Mrs. Wiley, and Mr. Lewis Brown Jr., then took the noon train to Kaiapai. Saw Brother and Sister Burnett just starting to Christchurch. They told me they had sold out to a Mr. Benee (?) of Kaiapai.
I went down and changed my clothes and worked till 11 o'clock at night papering and screening a room for Brother George Brant.
Next day, Good Friday, Brother Boysen and wife came up and we all went to the Lea Beach. Had a good bath in the surf. Had a good time in general. We found some very pretty seaweed in great abundance. It was truly a lovely day.
Saturday, March 31, 1877. Wrote to Salina. I forgot to state we received a letter from our sister Amelia Goltz, Society Islands, written in a most abusive and rabid style.
Sister Miles gave me 4 shillings, and Sister Stephens 5 shillings. Brother James Burnett, Jr. spent Good Friday with us.
Wherever I have been this last week the Saints appear very anxious to gather up to Zion. The Lord has helped me in a remarkable manner. I have not lacked for the testimony of His Holy Spirit. I believe I have done more talking this last week on the principles of the Gospel than I have any week since I have been on this mission. May the Lord bless my feeble efforts to do good and comfort all who have entered into covenants with him, and reward all who have shown kindness to me.
I took the 2 o'clock p.m. train to Papanui where I was rejoiced to meet my brother Charlie. We had a good time for 2 or 3 hours. Administered to Sister Mortenson after which I went around and saw Charlie off on the cars for Kaiapai. Spent an agreeable evening with the Saints here. Rain set in in the evening.
Sunday, April 1, 1877. Cold wind from the South with heavy showers of rain. I spent the morning until after dinner at Brother Boysen's, lettering a board for them in these words: "This house and land for Sale".
Read the Journal of Discourses, etc. Brother Walker, Ellen and Elizabeth came to meeting. Sister Walker was very sick. All the Saints prayed for her. After real good meeting I accompanied them home. We experienced a very cold wind from the South. Found Sister Walker up and a great deal better. We had a very pleasant evening sing.
Saturday, April 7th at Kaiapai. I spent a very agreeable week at Brother Walker's. Been down to the Halswoll, round through Prebleton, did some drawing and painting for the girls. The week has passed like a very pleasant dream.
I met Charlie at Christchurch, he had seven letters for me; from my wife, son Willie, Riego Hawkins, Miss M. Blair, E. M. Curtis, Thomas R. Jackson, also one from my sister Salina stating her husband was dead.
He died on Sunday the 11th of March about 10:00 a.m. and I heartily wish I could think of some redeeming quality in his character as a tribute to his memory, but alas I cannot. My prayer is that my sister may embrace the Gospel for the love of the truth and gather up to Zion.
I heartily thank my God that my family are all well and in very high spirits. They have heard it rumored that we are released but could not find out for certain. They do not appear to have any idea that we knew it long ago. My wife says the children were wild with delight. My dear little Lillie made herself sick with excitement.
Brother Curtis writes kindly ever giving a very interesting account of visiting the 5 Sunday Schools in Logan. Also an account of the dedication of the new tabernacle in Logan.
Willie also writes both interesting and affectionately, in fact all of the letters are full of love and respect, and kindly feelings.
I came to Christchurch with Sister Walker and Ellen but the day turned out dreadful stormy with a pouring rain from the South. Charlie and I went over to the Library and stayed till after 3:00 p.m. then walked to Papanui where I bade him farewell and took the cars for this place, Kaiapai. Brother J. Burnett and family had all been to town in the trap and of course all drenched with the rain. I had to change my clothes.
Sunday, April 8th. Storm and rain all day. Held meeting in the evening. I spoke freely on family government, prayer, etc., showing the necessity of order. Brother James Burnett feels better than I ever saw him.
Tuesday, April 10th. Just got ready to start for Rangiora when Sister Norfolk arrived, and at noon Sister Agnes Doak, to help Sister Burnett with her sewing. I stayed until Wednesday when Brother Foulkes lent Brother Burnett his trap and we went to Rangiora.
Saw James, Jr. at the flax mills where he is working. He had not sold out yet but is very anxious. Sister Miles was delighted to see me. She gave me a Pound note to help me get a few necessities. God bless her.
Spent the evening as usual reading the scriptures and explaining them till a late hour. Next morning I walked to the Ashley but Brother Stephansen's had moved but where was the question. Returned to Mrs. Miles and spent the evening talking on the Gospel to Mrs. Goldin and her daughter, Mrs. Dale. Was up till a very late hour talking to Mr. Ford and Mr. Dale. Their minds were so full of false ideas they could not see the truth.
Friday I walked back to Kaiapai. Sunday we held a District Meeting and had pretty good attendance. C. C. Hurst presided, prayer by Elder James Burnett. Elder C. C. Hurst made the opening remarks but owing to a severe cold on his lungs he gave way and called on F. W. Hurst who occupied one hour in a spirited and instructive manner, followed by Elder J. Burnett. Adjourned until half past two p.m. Singing, prayer by F. W. Hurst. Speakers were Elder John Walker, James Burnett, Jr., C. C Hurst and F. W. Hurst. I never saw a better spirit prevail since I have been in this mission. All the remarks were listened to with deep attention and interest.
In the evening we had a testimony meeting. I feel to thank the Lord for my mind appears to be fruitful and I certainly enjoy the Spirit of God in demonstration and power. I feel humble and ascribe to God the Glory and the thanks for all of His benefits.
Monday, April 16th. Charlie baptized Mrs. Golding and Mrs. Marian Dale. Mrs. Golding was born in Patta, Bolton, England in 1812, and Mrs. Dale, 29 May 1844 in Broosley, Shropshire, England.
In the afternoon Brother J. Burnett and I accompanied Brother and Sister Walker home where I spent another agreeable week till Saturday. (Sister Doak just gave me five shillings.)
I was sick for a few days and nothing could exceed their kindness and sympathy to me for which I feel like saying, "God Almighty bless them."
Sister Walker and Agnes brought me to town. I bought me a large trunk 7/6, and a pair of Elastic side boots for 22/8. Stayed at Papanui all night.
Although it was storming and raining showers Brother and Sister Walker and Agnes and Harry Foster came to meeting. I occupied near an hour instructing the Saints, followed by Brother Walker. Then nearly all of the Brothers and Sisters bore testimony to the truth and experienced great sorrow at our near departure.
In the evening I baptized Miss Annie Christensen, an orphan girl living with Sister Mortensen. Annie was born in Salling, Denmark. They think in June, 1864. Her father's name is Christian Christensen and mother's Annie Christiansen. I also confirmed her in Sister Mortensen's house where the Saints had assembled to sing and chat, etc.
Monday, April 23, 1877. Took the cars to Kaiapai in hopes that the mail would arrive but it didn't. Spent the evening at Brother George Brant's. Read several discourses, sang, etc.
Tuesday, April 24th. Took the cars to Christchurch and according to previous arrangements met Sister Walker and Sister Preble and Sister Mary Buckridge. We all went to Port Lyttleton beach, about 2 1/2 miles, but it set in cold and threatened rain but we enjoyed ourselves pretty well. Returned early and Ellen and I went around among the shipping. This was her first trip to Port and had never seen a vessel before.
We all returned by train to Christchurch and then they returned home in the trap and I walked to Papanui.
Soon after I got there Charlie arrived with our mail, and such a mail I shall never forget. I received letters from my wife and sons Willie and Harris, and Brother Curtis. Thank the Lord they are all well. They are all looking anxiously forward when we will return home to Zion.
I scarcely know how to describe my feelings when I read my letters. I was truly a baby so far as tears were concerned, and no wonder, for instead of brethren in Logan lending us the money to go home as we requested, they concluded it would be better for all to help so that we would have no debts to settle after we got home, and there is not one in a thousand who would have done as Brother E. M. Curtis did.
He got Brother Moses Thatcher to head the list which he did handsomely with $25.00. He does not state how much he did himself but states that in 2 hours he had collected $100.50; but it took three days traveling through the mud to get the balance. $300.00 in gold was finally raised by dint of his (Brother Curtis's) persistence and faith, and the unexampled liberality of our Brothers and Sisters in Logan. And then he says he actually tried to raise more, but time would not permit. I am glad he didn't for I have faith to believe we will have sufficient through the kindness of our Brethren and Sisters here in New Zealand.
When I thought of such kindness I felt very humble and asked myself the question, "Am I worthy of so much kindness and solicitude?" My wife says that dear little Reigo says he cannot wait but that she must let him come to San Francisco to meet me. Well, it looks now as though we will be going home soon at any rate, and I heartily thank the Lord and my Brothers and Sisters, and more especially Brother Curtis. May God Almighty bless him on every hand, and his family and all that pertains to him.
Wednesday, April 25. I took the cars for Rangiora. Stayed at Sister Miles. Sister Norfolk spent the evening. We sang hymns and talked about the Gospel until 11 o'clock p.m.
Next day, Thursday, I walked to Fernside to see Sister Agnes Doak and her folks. Had quite a long talk about Utah. I walked back and in the evening we had a good spirited meeting. Sisters Miles and Norfolk bore a splendid testimony after I got through speaking, but no one appeared anxious to go to bed as they said it was to be my last night there.
Next morning at breakfast Mrs. Miles gave me a half sovereign and 10/2 (10p). I bade them all a sorrowful farewell and took the cars for Kaiapai where I stayed till half past one p.m., then went on to Addington and from there on foot to Brother Walker's, where as usual I met with a cordial welcome. The weather is both cold and wet and very disagreeable. We had a good time singing, etc.
Saturday, April 28. I worked all day and until 11 o'clock at night trying to finish some flowers I was painting for the girls.
Sunday, April 29th. Rained in the morning. Several heavy showers but the folks, nothing daunted, got ready as follows: Brother and Sister Walker, John, Ellen and Agnes. John rode horseback and we rode in the trap. The weather cleared up for a while.
Soon after we arrived at Papanui, here came Sister Miles and soon after that Brother James Burnett and family. James Burnett Jr. and Charlie had commenced meeting. There were 2 baptized members present and seven or eight children. I might mention who were present of the Priesthood: 2 Seventies, 3 Elders, 1 Priest.
President C. C. Hurst made the opening remarks followed by F. W. Hurst on a variety of subjects pertaining to the duties of the Saints, after which we held a Priesthood meeting from half past 12 to half past 1:00 pm. In meeting again at half past 2:00 p.m. After the Sacrament was administered, Brother James Burnett Jr. was put in President of the New Zealand Conference, and Brother John Walker his first counselor. Brother James Burnett Sr. released from the presidency of the Kaiapai Branch to go to Zion. Brother Charlie gave them some excellent counsel relative to their duties. Elders Burnett Jr. and John Walker addressed the meeting, followed by F. W. Hurst, a good Spirit prevailed. The Saints felt to rejoice.
In the evening we had a general testimony meeting. One and all expressed their great sorrow for our near departure for Zion, many shed tears. All bore a good testimony or sang a hymn. We had a good time of rejoicing the whole day.
Brother Walker and family, and James Jr. stayed till after the evening meeting. If the Saints take heed to the counsel they have received they will do well, for I know they have been talked to by the Spirit and power of God, and so far as I am concerned I feel clean and grateful knowing that I have tried to do my duty.
Sister Boysen bought me a pair of blankets, made us each a pillow and put up two nice bottles of pickled onions. Sister Norfolk gave me 4/6 cash
Tuesday, May 1st. C. C. Hurst went to Kaiapai and Brother Nordstrand and Brother Mortensen helped me take our trunks round to the Papanui Station. Brother Nordstrand gave me five shillings. They bade me a sorrowful farewell. I took all our baggage down to the Christchurch station to have them in readiness to make our final start after which I walked to Brother Walker's. They were all delighted to see me. Next day Mrs. Walker, Ellen, Elizabeth and the rest of the children and I rode in the trap to Prebleton and I baptized Elizabeth Walker, born at Halsawell. C. C. Hurst also came out. Had a good time at Sister Preble's.
Thursday, May 3rd. Ellen and I rode to town. Last Sunday, Brother John Walker gave me a one pound note, and I bought a flute 25p, and a precepto as well. We did a little marketing and then drove out Lincoln road as far as the Halsawell Road to Sister Mary's to bid her goodbye, and she gave me a shell box and a cup and saucer for C. C. Hurst.
Poor Mary, I felt sorry for her. God bless her. After a painful goodbye we returned up the Halsawell Road to Brother Walker's.
In the evening Sister Prebles, J. Burnett, Jr. and wife and two children, and Brother John Burnett came to stay all night as this was our last day here. We had a real jolly time in the evening until after one o'clock playing Blind Man's Buff, etc., etc., besides singing and dancing.
Next morning, May 4th. This has been the most sorrowful day I have experienced since I left home in Utah. Brother Walker left us in tears to go to his work. Then about half past 8 o'clock we had a real trying time to part with Ellen, Elizabeth, Fannie, Isaac, and Joseph, Sister Walker and Sister Preble and Agnes, James Burnett Jr. and wife. John accompanied us to Christchurch, the sisters all rode in the trap and we walked perhaps a couple of miles, then I got to drive. The other Brethren got a chance to ride in another trap. The horse got so lame he could scarcely walk.
Agnes had made us a sack of crackers but by some means or other in the hurry and bustle of starting they were left behind, much to Sister Walker's horror, however, Brother James Burnett Jr. gave me 5p to buy some more. Sister Walker and Sister Isabella brought some toys and beads for the children; oranges, apples, and a comforter, one white and 2 colored shirts. Sister Preble made two large plum cakes and gave me a china cup and saucer.
I sold Harry Foster a picture, The Mexican Girl, for three pounds and he by some misunderstanding sent me two pounds. I was sorry for I have barely enough money to take me to Utah. Charlie felt very bad about it, said he was real mean, but time will tell.
While in Christchurch Sister Mary came in to the couch [coach?] to see us off although she was crying bitterly. Sister Walker and Agnes accompanied us to Lyttleton and James Burnett and wife and five children who are going with us to Utah, and quite a number of their friends.
About one o'clock we reached the wharf where the steamer RATOANA lay. We secured our births, got our trunks, etc. on board and found we would not sail till 7:00 p.m. instead of 3:00 p.m. Shortly before 3 o'clock the folks bade us a truly heart rending sorrowful farewell. I really felt sorry for them. They all wanted to accompany us to Zion. I'll never forget parting with Sister Walker and Agnes, and Agnes Preese (Sister Fannie Burnett's sister). Take it all together it was the hardest parting I ever saw away from home. May God our Heavenly Father bless and comfort them and may they soon follow us to Zion.