Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And the Saints Go Marching... In My Family Tree?

I was researching my for now, theorized 4th great grandfather Joseph Chicken Sr. in hopes of finding some illusive clue on why I think my 3rd great grandfather Joseph Chicken Jr. changed his name to Joseph Baker. Well other than the obvious that nobody in their right mind would want to be called Chicken Jr because that sounds like some sandwich from a fast food joint.

Part of that research led me to a write up on the ship that Joseph Chicken Sr. sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans in 1849. I copied the words into a word document and saved it onto my computer for later reading since it was quite long and now, several weeks later, just read it. The writings are from a half dozen journals of people along on the ride and what amazed me more than anything, they describe everyone on board, except for the crew as being members of the Church of Latter Day Saints and they were on their way to Salt Lake City.

Since Joseph Chicken Sr. obviously didn't make it out to Salt Lake City, I don't know if he was actually a Saint or one for convenience to get passage to America. Whatever the case, the voyage was pretty interesting. The ship Hartley set sail from Liverpool on the 5th of March 1849 after being dragged out into the harbor by a steamship. She made good time though had to stop in the Bahamas for a few days to wait for favorable winds. I'm guessing perhaps drink a few Mai Thai's down on the beach too. Other than almost everyone getting sea sick on the first three days out of port, most described it as a pleasure cruise. The pulled into New Orleans on the 28th of April with the same number of people as they started with. However this was just a sleight of hand since they had one birth and one death along the way.

After a couple days in port, they set sail on a steamer called the Mameluck up the Mississippi bound for St. Louis. Unfortunately, their pleasure cruise turned into a modern day cruise ship story and somewhere between 30 and 60, depending on who wrote the account, Saints died of cholera before they reached port. Fortunately for me, Joseph Chicken Sr. was not one of those people.

From that point, most of the stories go different directions. Some of those who lost large parts of their families settled in St. Louis. Others made their way to Salt Lake City where their ancestors would save the Olympics with the help of some guy named Mitt. Still others made their way up to the lead mines of Lafayette county, Wisconsin where they would raise a family, fight in the Civil War, change their name from Chicken Jr. and whose descendants would go on to create a terribly incredible blogger named Ed. I love it when a story has a happy ending.


Vince said...

The blame for the pandemic between 48-56 was laid on those that came from the port of Liverpool and other English ports. And it certainly seemed to be the case, but I suspect something nearer home.
In London once a handle was removed from a wellhead pump the recurrence of illness halted instantly. But I expect it's caused by a rising water-table coupled with poverty and horrendous hygiene.
Oh, the disease was lessened in the wealthy for they didn't drink any water only wine.
As to your relative, it is very very likely he as a young child drew antibodies from whoever nursed him.

Ed said...

Vince - Could be that or he was just lucky since 4 out of every 5 passengers ultimately survived. Another reason was that he left his family at home and traveled alone which allowed him to segregate himself a bit. His family came over the following year.