Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Traveling to America

On the ships that crossed the oceans, coming to this country, people were stacked in bunks, with no privacy of any kind.  People had to bring enough food to last for the voyage or go without. After West had left, his brother, John Wilson, who had married Jean McCosh in Scotland, decided there was not room on a small rented farm for his ever- increasing family and made plans to join his brother in America.  On the only available sailboat, at that time, the Carolyn, John stored barrels of oatmeal and soup ingredients, and during the seemingly endless six weeks’ journey did most of the cooking on the community stove.  His wife was sick the entire voyage.  He got up at 4 o’clock every morning to make the porridge, so many were wanting the stove later on; then he got the soup kettle ready to put on as soon as the others finished breakfast.  His daughter, Jean, was 11 yrs. old and was nursemaid for the little ones, Agnes, just a toddler, was nearly swept off the deck by a huge wave; Jean just managed to save her as she was slipping under the flimsy railing.  A burial at sea made a lasting impression on little Jean.  She always remembered the white-wrapped figure sliding into the water.  This same boat brought many of the Tama county friends and relatives to America, but finally went to the bottom on another voyage.     
West had arrived at Norwich, New London, Connecticut in 1846, rented some land, raised and sold vegetables; bought some cows and sold milk; got control of a sawmill and sawed lumber.  Norwich was an outlet for all kinds of products.  Everyone was enthusiastic over a dollar per bushel for peas picked before the Fourth of July, and the Wilson’s prospered during the years in Connecticut.  After reading the enthusiastic letters of his friend John Connell, he decided to follow his friend to North Tama.  He came with his brother, John and George Sloss.  The first night they put up with the Connell’s.  West entered a section in Crystal Township, the beginning of the Tranquility church neighborhood some four miles southwest of Old Buckingham.  John and George both entered land and they went back to get their families. settled up their affairs, and then came back again in 1856 to stay.  

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