The ''Chimborazo'' and Jersey Mormon pioneer emigrants

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Chimborazo from Liverpool to Philadelphia 1855

In the early pioneering days of the Mormon Church in the mid-19th century, 148 ships crossed the Atlantic from Europe to America taking with them thousands of Mormon emigrants. The most important of these as far as Channel Islanders were concerned was the voyage of the Chimborazo from Liverpool to Philadelphia in 1855. Of the 432 passengers, about 70 were from the islands, and the great majority of these originated in Jersey.

Dates vary from one report to another but it appears that the Chimborazo, under the command of Captain Vesper, left Liverpool around 15 April 1855, and arrived in Philadelphia some five weeks later. The Channel Island contingent were led by Elder Andrew Lamoureaux, who had been president of the Mormon mission to France, in which a number of Jersey converts had participated. He died shortly after reaching Philadelphia.

Deaths, marriages and baptisms

After what passengers described as a ‘pleasant and successful passage’ the Chimborazo arrived in the mouth of the Delaware River. Two infants died on board, one of them through injuries sustained by an accidental fall from the hatchway; one child was born, three marriages were solemnised and four baptisms took place on board; four more applied for baptism on the arrival at Philadelphia, where the ship cast anchor.

Between 200 and 300 of the emigrants continued the journey to St Louis by way of Pittsburg, while the remainder found temporary employment in Philadelphia and vicinity. Those who continued to St Louis where overtaken in Pittsburg by the emigrants who crossed in the Samuel Curling, and on board the steamboat Amazon, under the presidency of Elder Edward Stevenson, the two companies, numbering nearly 600, proceeded down the rivers to St Louis, where they arrived on Saturday night, 2 June.

Two days later about 140 passengers, including about eighty Perpetual Emigration Fund emigrants, sailed on board the steamboat Ben Bolt, in charge of Elder Edward Stevenson. And on Friday 8 June about 300 passengers, sailed from the same place for Atchison, on board the Amazon, in charge of Elder Israel Barlow.

About 300 other emigrants who had crossed the Atlantic in the Chimborazo and Samuel Curling remained in St Louis, awaiting orders in regard to their further progress. Nearly 200 of them went into camp a short distance from the city in a fine open country and in a healthy location, where they lived in tents about two weeks, not knowing for some time whether they would be sent through to the Valley that season or not. When it was finally announced that they could embark, they went on board the steamer Ben Bolt, which sailed from St Louis for Atchison on 19 June, under the presidency of Elder Francis St George.

Passenger lists of Mormon Transatlantic crossings survive, including that of the Chimborazo. Reports suggest that ‘about 70’ passengers of Channel Island origin were on the voyage. We have been able to identify 58 passengers originating from Jersey, and a further family of eight from Guernsey.

Further articles

Here are links to an article listing these islanders and to the stories of some of the individual families, as well as other Mormon families who emigrated at different times.

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