Chapter 1: Farewell to Utah, May 1895

Reid L. Neilson and Riley M. Moffat, eds., Tales from the World Tour: The 1895–1897 Travel Writings of Mormon Historian Andrew Jenson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2012), 13–33.

Cha​pter 1: Farewell to Utah: ​May 1895

In my travels so far I have had many interesting conversations with fellow passengers on the situation in Utah, and the history and doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. It is evident that a great change has come over the people of our land in regard to the Mormons. In my former travels as a missionary the mere mention of Mormonism would elicit enmity and ridicule; but now the knowledge of the presence of a Mormon elder in a railway car on a steamboat will simply give additional importance to the situation, and his acquaintance will generally be sought, conversation solicited, and questions asked in a respectable manner. A man always meets with people who have visited Utah at one time or another, and those of that kind, with whom I have conversed on this trip, have invariably expressed themselves as being highly pleased with what they saw and heard in the city of the Saints.

 —Andrew Jenson [1]

The Pacific Northwest, The Times Atlas (London: Times 1895), 89

“Jenson’s Travels,” May 13, 1895 [2]

Portland, Oregon, United States

(Map of the Pacific Northwest from 1895 Times atlas pp. 89.)

Saturday, May 11. I bade adieu to my family, friends, and the city “I love so well” and took my departure for foreign climes. The train on which I was a passenger left Salt Lake City at 5:20 p.m. on the day mentioned, and after traveling 171 miles, I arrived at Pocatello, Idaho, at 11:00 p.m. At this growing railroad town there has been a branch of the Church for a long time, and a few years ago it was organized into a ward, with Carl J. Cannon as bishop. He now has charge, and the ward belongs to the Oneida Stake of Zion.

Sunday, May 12. Having stopped three hours at Pocatello, I boarded the regular overland train on the Oregon Short Line and made for the Pacific coast. At American Falls, 25 miles from Pocatello, the train crossed Snake River on a magnificent bridge, after which the railroad passes through a most barren and desolate country, abounding with volcanic formations in almost every conceivable shape. As the sun rose above the horizon in the great Snake River Valley, our train was passing through the town of Shoshone, from which stages run regularly to the famous Shoshone Falls, on the Snake River, only a few miles away. We arrived at Nampa at 11:00 a.m. From this point a branch road leads to Boise City, the capital of Idaho, which lies to the northeast, nineteen miles distant. Continuing the journey down the Snake River, we at length crossed that stream into the state of Oregon; beyond the town of Ontario we recrossed the river into Idaho; thence passing downgrade through the canyon through which the mighty river wends its way oceanward, we at length cross a fourth time; and after traveling three miles further up Burnt River, we arrived at Huntington, Oregon, a small railroad town of about 400 inhabitants, which is the present terminus of the Union Pacific System.

In passing down the great Snake River, I noticed vast tracts of what appeared to be the best kind of land for agricultural purposes but yet unclaimed from the desert. While the question of irrigation is being so earnestly discussed throughout the nation, I think it would pay for some of our enterprising advocates of irrigation on a systematic and enlarged scale to turn their attention to that particular portion of western Idaho and eastern Oregon which lies adjacent to the Snake River and is susceptible of irrigation from that stream. There certainly is plenty of good land and plenty of water, which are the two main features to be considered in connection with the founding of irrigation colonies. There are already a number of small hamlets which recently have been built up on the banks of the river, indicating great enterprise on the part of their inhabitants; but they are only a small commencement of what might be. [3]

There is no change of cars at Huntington, but a stop for dinner is made. It has always seemed to me that both the railway companies and the traveling public are being imposed upon by certain proprietors of depot hotels and lunch counters who seem to think it their special privilege to charge travelers just what they have a mind to without considering the actual value of what is sold. Huntington is perhaps a good sample of this; while wheat is selling at this point for 35 cents per bushel, 25 cents was charged one of my fellow passengers for a loaf of bread.

Continuing the journey from Huntington, on the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company’s line, we pass through the heart of eastern Oregon, and I was particularly pleased with the appearance of the celebrated Powder River Valley and Grand Round Valley. In the former, Baker City is the chief town, and in the latter, Le Grande. The scenery through the Blue Mountains, whose summit we cross at an elevation of 4,200 feet, is very fine. After stopping for supper at the little station of Meacham, the journey was continued through the darkness of the night.

Monday, May 13. At 3:00 a.m. a gentle shock was felt throughout the train, which immediately came to a complete standstill. After a while one of the passengers, curious to know what important station we had arrived at, since the stop was so much longer than usual, opened a car window on the right of the train; but instead of beholding the supposed depot, a cloud of sand nearly blinded him, and for the next few minutes he was rubbing away at his eyes, to the amusement of those of the passengers in his car who were not asleep. Another passenger, who in the meantime had been on the outside to examine the situation, volunteered the information that our engine had jumped the track in trying to plow its way through the sand, which during the windy night had blown across the roadbed, and that we would perhaps not be able to move again for a day or two; the town of Dalles, however, was only one and a half miles away, and our jesting friend wisely suggested that the passengers might walk that far, if they could not afford to wait for the train. After the announcement of this news, a rather youngish looking man of unquestionable nationality but unquestionably the owner of a pair of extra long legs, at once prepared for the proposed walk, not being sufficiently wide awake to distinguish between Yankee wit and the true point of the story. A very corpulent lady hailing from the East also began to show great uneasiness by knitting her eyebrows in a significant manner, and finally remarked that it would be utterly impossible for her to pack her baggage to the nearest station. A young Danish girl, just twenty-two years old, direct from Bornholm, with whom I had conversed the day previous, finally awoke and wanted to know what had happened, as she perceived considerable restlessness among her fellow passengers. I assured her that it was nothing serious; that we were all alive, that not even the engineer or fireman was killed, and that if she would take another nap, she would soon meet her friends who were waiting for her in Portland. By the way, this lady’s name was Funk, and she had an uncle by the name of John or Johan, who immigrated to Utah from Bornholm many years ago as a Mormon. Who knows him? The young lady’s future address will be Forest Grove, Oregon.

Yes, our engine was off the track all right; and it was not till a gang of men had worked for a couple of hours shoveling sand, and after two engines with a wrecking train had been sent to our assistance, that we could proceed on our journey. But it is an odd wind that blows no good. Had this accident not happened we would have passed down the gorge of the Columbia River in the night. With this delay of nearly three hours we had the privilege of beholding the beautiful scenery along the “beautiful” river in the light of a beautiful morning. At 5:00 a.m. we rolled into Dalles City, and thence continued to Portland, where we arrived at 10:30 a.m.

Dalles City, thus named after the so-called “dalles” of the Columbia, is eighty-eight miles from Portland. It is a city of about 5,000 inhabitants. The “dalles” proper begin at Celilo, fourteen miles above this point, and are simply a succession of rapids, until nearing the Dalles station, where the mighty river for two and a half miles narrows down between walls of basaltic rock, only 130 feet across. In the floodtides of the spring the water in this chasm has risen 126 feet. The word dalles is rather misleading. Dalle is French and means variously “a plate,” “a flagstone,” and “a slab,” alluding to the oval or square-shaped stones which abound in the riverbed and the valley above. But the early French hunters and trappers call a chasm or a defile or gorge “dalles,” meaning in their vernacular “a trough.” Hence the present name.

As we left Dalles City in the morning a splendid panorama of beautiful scenery began to unfold itself to the view, and having made the acquaintance of a young, intelligent gentleman from Portland who was willing to explain to me all he knew of the various attractions, I enjoyed the sights immensely. The Columbia itself is quite a study being one of America’s greatest and most important rivers. It rises in the Rocky Mountains, in latitude 50˚20´ N, flows northward 51˚10´, receiving the Canoe River, which has its source at 53˚ N. It then turns sharply to the northward, expanding at 51˚ into a chain of small lakes, receiving the waters of Kootenai at 40˚30´. Just south of 50˚ the Pend Oreille, the great North Fork (Clarke’s) pours its waters into it; then flowing south it receives the Spokane, and turning almost due west, the Okanogan joins it from the north. Still bending south of west, the Methow, Chelan, Entiat, and Wenatchee contribute their waters. When it turns southward, it receives its greatest southern fork, the Snake, and also the Walla Walla, Hood River, the Willamette, and others.

From its birth among the most magnificent scenes on earth, in the far north and in the heart of Yellowstone National Park, down through its 2,500 miles of irresistible sweep to the western sea, it is an avenue of wealth and wonder. Inland for 300 miles from the Pacific it averages about two miles in breadth, reaching over six miles near its mouth. Engineers estimate that it carries off a volume of water but little, if any, less than the Mississippi. Its immense drainage of 395,000 square miles can be imagined from the fact that during the meeting of the snows in the northwestern mountain ranges its daily increase for days at a time has been equal to the entire volume of the Hudson. It is the only river in the United States which will receive deep seagoing vessels 120 miles inland.

Perhaps the grandest scenery found anywhere along its banks is between Dalles and Portland, where it cuts through the Cascade Mountains. The river here averages about a mile in width, and the lofty mountains which rise almost perpendicularly in places to dizzy heights, and that 100 on both sides, have so impressed tourists that residents of the East pronounce it superior to the Hudson, and Europeans say there is nothing in the old world to equal it. The railway follows the left or south bank of the river nearly the entire distance from Dalles to Portland. In this eighty-eight miles there is said to be twelve miles of trestles and bridges. All along the line there is a succession of pleasant surprises in the ever-changing scenery.

Forty-six miles from Portland we reached the upper end of the renowned “Cascades of the Columbia.” These rapids continued for about six miles, during which distance the river is said to fall eighty feet. The government is engaged in building a number of locks at this point, in order to utilize this navigable river above the cascades. Millions of dollars have already been expended, and the work is still going on.

Thirty-two miles from Portland we pass within a few hundred feet of the famous Multnomah Falls, a filmy veil of water falling 720 feet into a basin on the mountainside, and then 130 feet to the river. This is one of the grandest waterfalls I have ever seen; no pen can describe its beauty. There are a number of other falls in close proximity, of which the most important are the Horse Tail, Oneonta and the “No Wonder Falls,” either of which is grand and impressive.

Near these falls the traveler notices a peculiarly shaped rock standing out in the river some distance from the Oregon side. It is called Rooster Rock and has a history, which had better not be told.

As we proceed to the lower end of the gorge through which the Columbia passes through the Cascade Mountains, we notice across the river, in the state of Washington, the so-called Cape Horn, also called Gibraltar. This is a strange handiwork of nature, composed o[f?] solid rock of apparent bark formation, rising abruptly from the water’s edge, and so peculiarly erected on a base of perpendicular square rocks, as to have the appearance of piling. These rocks are at the upper portion surrounded by cone-shaped pillars known as the Needles. Cape Horn rises to a height of from 500 to 2,500 feet and in one of those peculiar formations, at which the sightseer can only express wonder.

Soon after arriving in Portland, I learned that there would be no train for Seattle till the next day, so I concluded to make the most of the time by “taking in the sights in and around Portland.” Consequently, after putting up at one of the hotels, I boarded a streetcar which took me up upon the so-called Portland Heights, which form a sort of a natural western boundary for the city. On my way up I introduced myself to a gentleman who gave his name as A. T. Smith, and whose beautiful lumber residence stands next to that which for several years was occupied and is still owned by Captain Willard Young of Salt Lake City. Mr. Smith spoke very highly of Captain Young as a neighbor and a military officer. From Mr. Smith’s broad veranda I enjoyed a most excellent view of Portland and vicinity. Elevated about 500 feet above the lower town, I could see all the principal buildings, trace the principal streets, and follow the winding of the Willamette River, which divides Portland into a western and eastern half. The principal part of the city, and the original town, is on the west side. Several magnificent bridges span the river at different points, two of which collect toll from all who cross. Looking away to the east the Cascade Mountains are seen to good advantage, but more particularly the grand snowcapped mountain peaks, Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens, all cone-shaped and extinct volcanoes. Of these Mount Hood, distant about seventy-five miles to the east, is the most noted. This mountain is 11,934 feet high, and is visited annually by thousands of tourists who climb to the top and there generally spend a night in Cloud Cap Inn, the mountain hotel.

Portland is the metropolis of Oregon, and its present number of inhabitants is estimated at 75,000. A few years ago its population was about 10,000 more. The hard times and a boom similar to the one which struck Salt Lake City some years ago are given as causes of this backward move on the part of Oregon’s chief city. Portland is situated almost twelve miles above the junction of the Willamette and the Columbia rivers. As a seaport it is accessible to seagoing vessels of all classes. The city has seventy miles of paved streets, one hundred and sixty-four miles of sidewalk, forty miles of sewer, eighty-seven miles of street railway, including electric, cable and horse car service. The cable car line, in reaching the Portland Heights, climbs the steepest hill in the United States onto which street car service has been extended. The city is lighted both by electric lights and gas, and, like Utah’s capital, owns its own waterworks.

The state of Oregon consists of 95,274 square miles, or nearly 64,000,000 acres. It is as large as all the New England states with Indiana added; its population is over 300,000. The Cascade Mountains divide Oregon into two unequal parts, each of which is characterized by a marked difference in topography, soil, climate and productions. The valleys of the western part have an average elevation of only a few score feet above the sea level, while those of the eastern part vary in height from 1,500 to 5,000 feet above the ocean. The western part is heavily timbered; the eastern part, like Utah contains vast amounts of arid land which can only be reclaimed through the process of irrigation. The climate in the western part is mild. There are two seasons, the dry and the rainy season; it seldom snows; but in the eastern part the snowfall is quite heavy, and the winters sometimes dreary and long.

“Oregon” is a word derived from the Spanish and means “wild thyme,” the early explorers finding that herb growing there in great profusion. According to the most authentic information, Oregon seems to have been first visited by white men in 1775. Captain Cook coasted down its shores in 1778. Captain Gray, commanding the ship Columbia, of Boston, Massachusetts, discovered the noble river in 1791, which he named after his ship. Astoria was founded in 1811; immigration was in full tide in 1839; territorial organization was effected in 1858, and Oregon became a state in the Union February 14, 1859.

“Jenson’s Travels,” May 14, 1895 [4]

Seattle, Washington, United States

Tuesday, May 14. At 9:00 a.m. I boarded a Northern Pacific train and left Portland, Oregon, for Seattle, state of Washington. Going down the left bank of the Willamette and the Columbia rivers for a distance of thirty-nine miles, we arrive at Goble, where our long train is backed out on three sections upon the immense ferryboat, 340 feet long, and we are taken across the great Columbia, which at this particular point is only a mile wide. On the Washington side stands the town of Kalama, which is partly built on the river bottom and partly on the timbered hillside. Continuing the journey down the right bank of the Columbia we soon leave that stream and pass upgrade along the banks of the Cowlitz River through the heavy timbered state of Washington. This country is but sparsely settled as yet. Openings in the timber have only been made here and there, and all the towns, villages, and farming districts through which we passed, date back only a few years. Two of the largest towns on the road are Chehalis and Centralia. At the latter town a branch railroad takes off in a northwesterly direction to Olympia, the capital of the state. As we approach Tacoma, the lofty mountain peak known as Mount Rainier becomes an object of special interest on our right. This majestic peak reaches up to 14,444 feet above the level of the sea, and is the third highest mountain in the United States. Like Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens, it is one of those remarkable peaks rising from the heights of the Cascade Range, which centuries ago belched forth lava and smoke from the earth’s interior. In other words, it is an extinct volcano. At 3:00 p.m. arrived at Tacoma, when I had my first glimpse of the salty waters of Puget Sound.

Tacoma, a city of about 40,000 inhabitants, is built upon a peninsular promontory, which runs out into the sound to a point forming a triangle. The highest point of the promontory is in its center, a moderately high ridge extending its whole length until at its extreme northern point it ends in an abrupt, bold precipice. The resident portion of Tacoma is situated upon the higher ground, and is thus lifted above the stir and noise of the business portion; the citizens continually enjoy the purest of air, the best of drainage, and the most delightful of views. The bay, with its quiet waters and green islands, is given a spirit of life by a multitude of watercraft, from the tiny canoe, pleasure boat, and noisy tug to the dignified ocean steamer and full-rigged ship moving hither and thither, or lying quietly at anchor in the bay or moored to the docks. Looking eastward a most beautiful landscape greets the eye, back of which the imposing majesty of Mt. Tacoma lifts its mighty head far into the sky. Be the soul of the observer ever so unimpressible it must be stirred with sudden wonder and awe. From the quiet pastoral beauty of the valley of the Puyallup River to this great white robed monarch of all the mountains is a contrast which has but few, if any, equals in the world.

There are higher mountains in the world than Tacoma, but not one other known peak that rises so grandly alone from the level of the sea to such a height. At the present time of the season it is covered with a complete robe of snow from the line of green foothills in which its bare is lost to the distant observer to the top where the steam of a slumbering volcano at times hovers over its crown, forming what is sometimes called the “liberty cap.” Looking to the west there are the jagged peaks and white snowcaps of the Olympic or coast range, forming another beautiful and distant horizon. In 1880 Tacoma had a population of 720; ten years later it was a city of 86,006, an increase of 5,480 percent in ten years. [5] Tacoma is 144 miles north of Portland.

Continuing the journey from Tacoma we travel forty miles to Seattle, the metropolis of the state of Washington, and boasting at the present time of 60,000 inhabitants. Situated on a gently rising slope the town affords an inviting appearance from the distance. It stands on the east side of what is known geographically as Elliott Bay, on the east side of Puget Sound, and only a few miles southeast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The land or harbor line forms a semicircle rising in terraces from the waterfront. Continuing for a mile to the east, the rising summit attains to the character of a ridge, perhaps 400 feet high. The growth of Seattle has been something wonderful. According to the United States Census, the city had, in 1870, 1,107 inhabitants; there were 3,558 in 1880, and 43,847 in 1890. Twenty million dollars’ worth of property went up in flame and smoke in Seattle’s great fire of June 6, 1889; but the ashes were scarcely cold when her enthusiastic citizens began to build anew, better, stronger, and more beautiful than before. A city of brick, stone, and iron has since arisen and notwithstanding the hard times which are felt here the same as in other places, the business part of the city presents an activity and bustle, which puts the traveler in mind of New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. The city of Seattle embraces within its boundaries thirty-one square miles; its greatest distance from north to south is eight and a half miles; from east to west six and one-fourth miles; its eastern boundary is formed by Lake Washington, a beautiful freshwater lake twenty miles long and from two to five miles wide, from which Seattle gets its supply of drinking water. This remarkable lake is at a certain point only two and a half miles from Elliott Bay; its mean level is twenty feet above high water on Puget Sound, and it runs almost parallel with the shores of Elliott Bay.

Seattle has ninety miles of graded streets, twenty-five miles of wood-paved streets; the streets vary in width from forty to one hundred and twenty feet; thirty-one miles of sewers are already completed. About five million dollars has been subscribed by its citizens toward cutting a canal through the hill eastward to connect Lake Washington with the bay. The main object of this gigantic undertaking is to be able to run the ocean vessels into the fresh water, which will kill a certain worm that engrafts itself into the bulk of a vessel and destroys its timber, but which perishes the moment it comes into contact with fresh water. The excavating of this canal will also supply the amount of dirt necessary to make a dam across the upper end of Elliott Bay, which would, by filling up, turn the extensive tide flats or mud flats into a profitable business property. Already quite a portion of the city is built upon piles extending over a mile out into the bay.

The state of Washington, of which Olympia is the capital but Seattle the metropolis, is 840 miles long by about 240 wide. It is very rich in coal and lumber and is sometimes called the “Pennsylvania of the Pacific coast.” The precious metals are also found in abundance in many districts. The yield of wheat is prodigious. Apples, pears, apricots, plums, prunes, peaches, cherries, grapes, and the different kinds of berries flourish in the greatest profusion. A large portion of western Washington is densely timbered with fir, cedar, pine, oak, maple, and alder, interspersed with small areas of prairie or open land; the area of the whole state is 69,994 square miles, or 44,776,160 acres.

The first actual settlement in what is now the state of Washington was made in 1845. Prior to this the country was known only to trappers and fur traders. Territorial government was organized in 1853, and Washington was admitted into the Union as a state in November 1889.

In my travels so far I have had many interesting conversations with fellow passengers on the situation in Utah, and the history and doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. It is evident that a great change has come over the people of our land in regard to the Mormons. In my former travels as a missionary the mere mention of Mormonism would elicit enmity and ridicule; but now the knowledge of the presence of a Mormon elder in a railway car on a steamboat will simply give additional importance to the situation, and his acquaintance will generally be sought, conversation solicited, and questions asked in a respectable manner. A man always meets with people who have visited Utah at one time or another, and those of that kind, with whom I have conversed on this trip, have invariably expressed themselves as being highly pleased with what they saw and heard in the city of the Saints.

I stop in Seattle overnight, and proceed to Vancouver, British Columbia, tomorrow morning.

“Jenson’s Travels,” May 16, 1895 [6]

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Wednesday, May 15. At 9:00 a.m. I left Seattle as a passenger on a Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway train. We followed the shore of Elliott Bay in a northerly direction, the track being built on piles driven in the water some distance from the shore. In passing out we enjoy a fine view of that part of Seattle which is situated on the hillside on our right; and looking across the bay westward the appearance of the snowcapped Olympian Mountains pleases the eye very much. The bay also is dotted with numerous vessels of different kinds and sizes. Soon we pass up Smith’s Cove, then skirt Salmon Bay on our left, Lake Union on our right, cross the state University grounds, where extensive buildings are in course of construction, and finally find ourselves traveling along the shores of beautiful Lake Washington for several miles. At Woodenville, twenty-four miles from Seattle, a branch railway takes off in a southeasterly direction (thirty-one miles) to the Snoqualmie Falls, which rank as one of nature’s greatest wonders in the state of Washington. At this point the Snoqualmie River leaps over a precipice 288 feet high. Thousands of tourists visit these falls every year. Continuing the journey we arrive at the thriving little city Snohomish, finely situated on the Snohomish River; this is the largest town between Seattle and Sumas. After passing Arlington, another growing city, we cross the Stillaguamish River; next we pass the village of McMurray, romantically situated on the bank of a beautiful lake in the woods, and then skirt the banks of several other lakes, all situated in the dense forests, the timber growing from the very edge of the water to the summits of the surrounding hills. Finally we cross the Skagit River, and just beyond Acme the two main forks of the Rappersoyle River. [7] On the south fork of this stream a Polish settlement has just been commenced. One two-story frame building has already been completed on a clearing made in the timbers for that purpose, and sixty Polish families are expected in a few days. They will commence active operations at once. It seems to me that they have a life work before them in clearing off the dense forest where they expect to make their farms; and I firmly believe that a farm in Utah is easier made by irrigation than one in Washington by clearing timbers.

As we proceeded up a narrow valley in the foothills of the Cascade Range, we found our train enveloped in dense smoke, to keep out which it became necessary to close the car windows, though the day was sultry and warm. We soon discovered the fact that a forest fire was raging in front of us; but we passed through it in safety. One of the passengers now informed me that a few months ago the train was delayed for five hours, not far from the same point and that the fires on that occasion so completely surrounded the cars that the train men could neither pull ahead nor back up, until they had cleared the track of the fallen timber, and that while doing the latter, the heat was so intense that the men nearly perished with suffocation. As we neared Sumas, the snowcapped peak of Mt. Baker came in view. This is a mountain very similar in shape to Mt. Rainier and the other peaks that I have mentioned before, and is 10,814 feet above sea level. The Twin Sisters, two other lofty mountain peaks of the Cascade Range, which from the distance appear exactly alike, is another landmark of great interest to tourists. They are seen to good advantage from the little railway station called Deming. At 3:00 p.m. we rolled into the growing town of Sumas, situated on the boundary line between the United States and Canada. A few minutes later we crossed the line into Her Majesty’s domains; and at Huntington Junction we changed cars once more, this time boarding a Canadian Pacific Railway train, and at 3:30 p.m. we were again on wheels, and traveling almost due north. A ten-mile ride brought us to the great Fraser River, which we crossed on a substantial bridge, and we next found ourselves at a station called Mission on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Our train having made connections with the east going ditto, we passed on traveling westward along the right bank of Fraser River; after a while we crossed the Pitt River, and then passed Port Moody at the head of Burrard Inlet. This place was for a short time the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway; but the water being too shallow for large vessels the port was moved farther down the inlet. From here to Vancouver the railway follows the south shore of the inlet, where the outlook to the north is truly delightful; snow-tipped mountains, beautiful in form and color, rise opposite and are vividly reflected in the mirror-like waters of the deep-set inlet. We arrived at Vancouver at 6:00 p.m.

This ended my railway journey in the land of America for this time. In order to reach this northern seaport town, I have traveled 1,266 miles by rail from Salt Lake City, as follows:

By Union Pacific Railway from Salt Lake City to Huntington............. 498

By Oregon Railway and Navigation Company line from Huntington to Portland   404

By Northern Pacific Railway from Portland to Seattle..................... 184

By Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway from Seattle to Sumas, or Huntington  

Junction, on the national boundary line............................................ 125

By Canadian Pacific Railway from Boundary line to Vancouver........... 55

Total.......................................................................................... 1,266

After putting up at the Waverley Hotel, I hastened to the wharf to look at the steamer Miowera which is destined to carry me off to strange lands. I soon learned that the ship had met with an accident on her last voyage, in the breaking of a part of her machinery; and that in consequence of this she would not sail until Monday the 20th inst.

Thursday, May 16. After visiting the Canadian Pacific Railway offices and examining the stateroom assigned me onboard the Miowera, I proceeded to post myself in regard to British Columbia, Vancouver, the Canadian Pacific Railway, etc., and I also took a walk through Stanley Park lying adjacent to the city of Vancouver.

The city of Vancouver is situated at the western end of Burrard Inlet, a deep landlocked arm of the sea, eleven miles in length with an average width of about two miles, constituting the inlet named, a magnificent harbor and enabling it to rank with the great harbors of commerce. The site of Vancouver is remarkable for its beauty, its easy gradients, and facilities for drainage. The main portion of the ground on which the city stands is peninsula in character, False Creek, a tidal arm of English Bay, paralleling Burrard Inlet near the eastern boundary of the city. The western knob of this peninsula is a military reserve, about one thousand acres in extent, and comprising the so-called Stanley Park. This reserve has been leased to the city for park purposes at a nominal rental. With the exception of a beautiful driveway around it, costing about $35,000 and paved for several miles with clamshells, and a number of bridle paths and shady bowers, this park is still in a state of nature, affording as it does one of the best living illustrations of the genuine, primeval British Columbia forest to be found in the province. Vancouver has both gas and electric lights. It possesses 7 ½ miles of electric street railways, waterworks, 70 miles of streets opened, 11 miles of graveled streets, 6 miles of macadam, 65 miles of sidewalk, 25 miles of sewers, etc. Capilano River on the opposite side of the inlet, with a dam six miles up the valley, is the source of water supply for the city; the water is piped across the inlet. A tramway connects Vancouver with New Westminster, a young city of 9,000 inhabitants situated on the Fraser River, 12 miles southeast of Vancouver.

Until 1886, the site of Vancouver was covered with a dense forest. From May to July of that year its growth was most rapid; but in July a fire spreading from the surrounding forest swept away every house but one in the place, and with this one exception, every building now seen in the city has been built since that time. The present population is about 20,000. Vancouver is the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the most important seaport town on the Pacific coast north of San Francisco. Ocean steamers leave at regular intervals for Japan, China, Sandwich Islands, the Fiji Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Alaska, etc. Locally, and coastwise, Vancouver has direct and regular communication by steamship with Victoria, Nanaimo, Portland, San Francisco, and all up and down the coast. Vancouver, or Burrard Inlet, is a concentrating point for the lumber interests of the British Columbian coast. The saw mills around its shores in 1893 had a capacity of about 700,000 daily or 210,000,000 feet per annum.

While the beautiful location of Vancouver cannot fail to please the traveler, I certainly do not admire its city plot, or general survey. The streets, though perhaps more regular than those of Seattle, Portland, and some other western towns, run in all directions, without any reference to the cardinal points of the compass, and the blocks and lots are too small. On the other hand the city spreads over so much ground leaving so many vacant lands between the occupied portions, that the expense of making roads, extending water mains, etc., etc., to the different fragments of the city and its suburbs has become almost an oppressive tax already. If every founder of a city would visit the capital of Utah before making his final surveys, he would gain some object lessons that would enable him to lay off his town site with more taste and consistency. Nor is the peculiar shape of the sites, waterfronts, or slopes of such cities as Vancouver and Seattle a sufficient excuse for making all the streets crooked and irregular, at least not according to my judgment.

While the readers of the News may be pretty well posted in regard to the building of our five United States transcontinental railways—the Union Pacific, the Northern Pacific, the Great Northern, the Atlantic and Pacific, and the Southern Pacific—I am of the opinion that most of them know but a very little about the sixth of these great continental highways, namely the Canadian Pacific Railway. Hence I submit the following:

A railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, all the way on British soil, was long the dream of a few Canadians. This dream of the few became, in time, the hope of the many, and on the confederation of the British North American provinces, in 1867, its realization was found to be a political necessity. Then the government of the new Dominion of Canada set about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Much of the country through which the railway must be built was still unexplored. Toward the east, all about Lake Superior and beyond to Red River was a vast rocky region where deep lakes and mighty rivers in every direction opposed the progress of the engineer. Beyond Red River for a thousand miles stretched a great plain, known only to the wild Indian and the fur trader, then came the mountains, range after range, in close succession, and all unexplored. Through all this, for a distance of nearly three thousand miles the railway surveys had first to be made. These consumed much time and money; people became impatient and found fault and doubted. There were differences of opinion, and these differences became questions of domestic politics, dividing parties, and it was not until 1875, twenty years ago, that the construction commenced in earnest.

The machinery of government was found to be ill adapted to the carrying on of such an enterprise; hence, after many changes and delays, it was decided in 1880, to surrender the work to a private company. Consequently the Canadian Pacific Railway company was organized early in 1881, and immediately entered into a contract with the government to complete the line within ten years.

At that time the railway system of eastern Canada had already advanced far up the Ottawa Valley, attracted mainly by the rapidly growing traffic from the pine forests; and it was from a point of connection with this system that the Canadian Pacific Railroad had to be carried through to the Pacific coast, a distance of 2,550 miles. Of this the government had under construction one section of 425 miles between Lake Superior and Winnipeg, and another of 213 miles from Burrard Inlet, on the Pacific coast, eastward to Kamloops Lake in British Columbia. The company undertook the building of the remaining 1,920 miles; and for this it was to receive from the government $25,000,000 in money, and 25,000,000 acres of agricultural land. The two sections of railroad already under construction were to be finished by the government, and together with a branch line of 65 miles already in operation from Winnipeg southward to the boundary of the United States, were to be given to the company, in addition to its subsidies in money and lands; and the entire railway, when completed, was to remain the property of the company.

The company set about its task most vigorously, and while the engineers were exploring the more-difficult and less-known section from the Ottawa River to and around Lake Superior, and marking out a line for the navvies, work was commenced at Winnipeg, and pushed across the prairies, where 130 miles of the railway was completed before the first year. During the second year the rails advanced 450 miles. The end of the third year found them at the summit of the Rocky Mountains, and the fourth in the Selkirks, nearly 1,050 miles from Winnipeg.

While such rapid progress was being made west of Winnipeg (the rails advancing at an average rate of more than three miles each working day for months in succession, and sometimes five and even six miles in a day), armies of men, with all modern appliances and thousands of tons of dynamite were breaking down the barriers of hard and tough Laurentian and Huronian rocks and pushing the line through the forests north and east of Lake Superior with such energy that eastern Canada and the Canadian northwest were united by a continuous railway early in 1885.

The government section from the Pacific coast eastward had meanwhile reached Kamloops Lake, and then the company took up the work, and carried it on to a connection with the line advancing westward across the Rockies and the Selkirks. The forces worked towards each other; met at Craigellachie, in Eagle Pass, in the Gold, or Columbian, range of mountains; and there, on a wet morning, November 7, 1885, the last rail was laid in the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The company did not confine its energies to the mere fulfillment of its contract with the government, but in order that the railway might fully serve its purpose as a commercial enterprise, independent connections with the Atlantic seaboard were secured by the purchase of lines leading eastward to Montreal and Quebec; branch lines to the chief centers of trade in eastern Canada were provided by purchase and construction, to collect and distribute the traffic of the main line; and other branch lines were built in the Northwest for the development of the great prairies.

The close of 1885 found the company, not yet five years old in possession of no less than 4,315 miles of railway, including the longest continuous line in the world, extending from Quebec and Montreal all the way across the continent to the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 3,050 miles, and by the midsummer of 1886, all this vast system was fully equipped and fairly working throughout. Villages and towns, and even cities, followed close upon the heels of the line builders; the forests were cleared away, the prairie’s soil was turned over, mines were opened, and even before the last rail was in place the completed sections were carrying on a large and profitable traffic.

The following years were marked by an enormous development of traffic, and by the addition of many lines of railway to the company’s system, and by the establishment of the company’s magnificent steamship service to Japan and China. One line of railway was extended eastward from Montreal across the state of Maine to a connection with the seaports of Halifax and St. John. And now the lines owned and operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway embrace upwards of 6,000 miles. The trunk line from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the Atlantic coast, to Vancouver, British Columbia, on the Pacific coast, is 3,662 miles. This journey can be accomplished in six days.

“Jenson’s Travels,” May 20, 1895 [8]

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

(Panoramic View of the City of Vancouver 1898)

Friday, May 17. I spent the day writing for the News and taking in the sights of Vancouver. In the evening I attended a theatrical performance in the Vancouver Opera House, where a New York company played Alabama, a meritorious representation of life in the Southern States after the war. The company is billed for Salt Lake City, and deserves liberal patronage.

I find the people of Vancouver a pleasant and obliging people to associate with. They exhibit a certain kind of politeness and courtesy which is characteristic of British subjects, but which is conspicuous for its absence on the part of many of Uncle Sam’s sons and daughters. Not that I wish to speak disrespectfully of my own adopted country; but facts are facts. And in regard to kind and affable manners and genuine politeness, the average American could learn a great many valuable lessons from his British cousins.

As this is my first visit to British Columbia, I have endeavored to post myself in regard to the country and its resources. British Columbia is the most westerly province of Canada. It extends from the 49th parallel—the international boundary line between Canada and the United States—on the south to the 60th degree of north latitude, and from the summit of the Rocky Mountains westward to the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island, and Queen Charlotte Islands being included within its bounds. The province contains the immense area of 383,000 square miles—a diversified country of huge mountain ranges, fruitful valleys, magnificent forests, and splendid waterways. It has an ocean frontage of over 500 miles, abounding in harbors, sounds, islands, and navigable inlets. Of its many fine harbors one of the best is the Burrard Inlet (a few miles north of the Fraser River), where the city of Vancouver is situated. The northern part of British Columbia is essentially mountainous, breaking on the border into numerous islands and ocean inlets, presenting a bold, rocky front, heavily timbered to the water’s edge. It can have no great future as an agricultural country.

Perez, Heceta, and Cuadra, Spanish explorers, had explored and taken possession of the Nootka country (the west coast of Vancouver Island) for Spain in 1774–9, at which time there were no signs of European occupation in this vicinity. James Cook, who touched at Nootka in 1778, and La Perouse, who visited the coast in 1786, brought to the knowledge of the world the unappropriated wealth of furs which floated in these waters, and the arrival of the Russians followed. Then followed disputes between Spain and Russia in regard to the possession of the country. Next British traders established themselves at Nootka, violent measures were adopted by the Spaniards against the British fur traders, the distempers of which reached Madrid and London, and culminated in the Nootka Convention in 1790, leaving the possession of country, still in dispute. In 1793 George Vancouver, an explorer, commissioned to act for England, arrived on the coast on the war sloop, Discovery. He explored what is now Puget Sound and named it after Peter Puget, one of his officers, while the large island was named after Vancouver himself. While he was still engaged in his explorations, he was jailed by some Spaniards, who on June 23, 1792, entered the Burrard Inlet, which they named Canal de Lagama[r?]. In due course of time, the Spaniards abandoned that part of the Northwest and left the British in sole possession.

Panoramic view of the city of Vancouver, 1898. Courtesy of the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives. 

In 1856 gold was discovered on the mainland in the bed of the Fraser River, and in 1858 an act was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain to provide for the government of British Columbia, by which name was known thereafter the domain of England in the western mainland of North America. Formerly the country was called New California. In the following year Vancouver Island was constituted a separate colony and so remained until 1866, when, on account of the enormous expense of maintaining the machinery of government among a mere handful of people, the two dependencies were merged into one. Between 1862 and 1871 gold was shipped by the banks of British Columbia to the value of more than $16,000,000, while the amount of treasure carried away by miners from the several districts was about $6,000,000. The miners brought in a lawless and turbulent element and a stronger government was much desired to the law-abiding portion of the inhabitants. This led to the confederation of British Columbia with Canada in 1871, since which the resources of the country have been slowly but gradually developed.

Saturday, May 18. Mr. E. P. Queen, the proprietor at the Waverley Hotel, invited his theatrical guests and myself for a drive through Stanley Park. When we returned we had traveled about ten miles; and we all enjoyed the ride immensely. Everything looked green and beautiful in the immense park, which affords several attractions. Among them are several big trees of which one in particular drew our attention. Its trunk near the base measured 52 feet in circumference. After my return I was interviewed by a News Advertiser reporter, the result of which was a long article on the “Mormons” in the next issue. Previously the World, the other daily paper published in Vancouver, had printed an article on Utah and the Saints, on the basis of a conversation I had with the editor. Both articles were written in our favor, though they contained a few inaccuracies. The Daily News Advertiser and the World, and a weekly paper, the Budget, are the chief press organs of Vancouver. After spending some time in the city library I talked religion to the hotel people till a late hour.

Sunday, May 19. Not having been invited to preach in any of the churches in Vancouver, I attended religious meeting in the YMCA building, and there spent some time at the city library. Toward evening I went onboard the steamship Miowera, took possession of my stateroom, and slept onboard.

Vancouver claims to be a religious and moral town. In the discussion I listened to in the meeting today, one of the speakers also declared that it would depend largely upon the work done by the Young Men’s Christian Association whether Vancouver should become like Christian Toronto or wicked San Francisco. I never knew before that the former was a type of Christian piety and the latter a sample of old Sodom and Gomorrah, as that speaker indicated; but perhaps he is right. Is it possible that Toronto has stuck to the inspired and moral teachings of the late Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor of sixty years ago, and that the good moral condition of that historic city is the fruit of their teachings? So may it be. The inhabitants of San Francisco, with but a very few exceptions, have always rejected the message of salvation brought them by our elders.

“Jenson’s Travels,” May 21, 1895 [9]

Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada

Monday, May 20. Instead of sailing today at noon, we remained stationary on the Vancouver Harbor, the broken machinery not yet being fully repaired.

Tuesday, May 26 [21]. At 3:00 a.m., the good ship Miowera left the wharf at Vancouver, and wended her way down the Burrard Inlet, thence through the so-called “Narrows” and across English Bay, and she reached the Strait of Georgia about 5:00 a.m. A few hours later we found ourselves sailing between the wooded islands of the archipelago which dots the Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound almost from one end to the other. The numerous channels and straits which separate the different islands are very deep, permitting the Miowera, which draws about twenty-two feet of water, to sail within a few hundred feet of the shores in several places. This makes the voyage very interesting. Most of the islands are inhabited, though very sparsely. One of the smaller ones called Darcey is occupied by seven Chinese and one white leper, who are doomed to absolute solitude during the remainder of their natural lives. A local steamer calls once in three months to bring them provisions; they cultivate a nice little garden, and live throughout quite comfortable.

An enthusiastic traveler who sailed over these waters some time ago, writes: “Puget Sound scenery is the grandest scenery in the world. One has here in combination the sublimity of Switzerland, the picturesqueness of the Rhine, the rugged beauty of Norway, the breezy variety of the thousand islands of the St. Lawrence, or the Hebrides of the North Sea, the soft, rich-toned skies of Italy, the pastoral landscape of England, with velvet meadows and magnificent groves, massed with floral bloom, and the blending tints and bold color of the New England Indian summer. The geography and topography of this sheet are alone a wonder and a study. Glance upon the maps. The elements of earth and water and seem to have struggled for dominion one over the other. The Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia narrow into Admiralty Inlet; the inlet penetrates the very heart of the coast country, cutting the land into most grotesque shapes, circling and tossing into a hundred minor inlets, into which flow a hundred rivers, fed in their turn by myriads of smaller creeks and bayous—a veritable network of lakes, streams, peninsulas, and islands, which, with the mountain ranges backing the landscapes on either hand, cannot fail to be picturesque in the extreme.” [10]

Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia have about eighteen hundred miles of shoreline, and all along this long stretch is one vast and almost unbroken forest of enormous trees. The forests, in fact, are so vast that although the thousands of sawmills in the country have been ripping five hundred million feet of lumber out every year for the past ten years, the spaces made by these inroads seem no more than garden patches. An official estimate places the amount of standing timber in the regions of country lying adjacent to Puget Sound at 500,000,000,000, or a thousand years’ supply, even at the enormous rate the timber is now being felled and sawed.

From 1846 to 1872 the ownership of a large number of the islands in the Strait of Georgia was in dispute. By a treaty in 1846 the boundary line between the United States and British America was run westward along the forty-ninth parallel “to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver Island, and thence, southerly, through the middle of the said channel and of Fuca’s Straits to the Pacific Ocean.” [11] The question subsequently arose: Should the middle referred to be interpreted as passing through the Strait of Rosario on the side next to Washington territory, or through the Canal de Haro, on the Vancouver side of the archipelago? Should those islands be looped into the territory of Uncle Sam, or given to John Bull? This question was finally referred to Emperor William I, of Germany, who on October 21, 1872, decided in favor of the United States. “The award,” said President U. S. Grant at the time, “leaves us for the first time in the history of the United States as a nation without a question of disputed boundary between our territory and the possessions of Great Britain.” It was a proud result for President Grant, and is said to have assisted him much in his reelection as president.

Passing on we are soon sailing in plain view of the great Vancouver Island in the waters of the Canal de Haro, and looking out toward the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The scenery continues grand and sublime all the way. The morning is cold and windy and heavy clouds rest upon the snowcapped summits of the Olympian Mountains southwest of us, as well as upon the heights of Vancouver Island on our right. As we approach the mouth of Victoria Harbor, we view with great interest the Empress of India, one of its three great steamers plying regularly between Vancouver, British Columbia, and China and Japan. The three are almost alike and were built at the same place by the same company only a few years ago. They are named, respectively, Empress of India, Empress of China, and Empress of Japan. The Empress of India has just returned from one of her regular trips to China and Japan and is disembarking passengers and unloading cargo off the harbor of Victoria. She draws too much water to go in. Another object of interest as we entered the Victoria Harbor was the wreck of the coast steamer San Pedro, which ran on a rock five years ago. Several unsuccessful attempts have been made to dislodge her; half of her hull has been washed away by the breakers, and the remainder sticks to the rock as a warning to other vessels. At 11:00 a.m. we arrived at the outer wharf of Victoria, where we remained three hours to take in passengers and freight. Our next stopping place will be Honolulu.

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and has a population of nearly 20,000. It is charmingly situated on the southern extremity of Vancouver Island, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific, and beyond the Gulf of Georgia, the mainland. Across the strait southward are the beautiful Olympic Mountains, and far away in a southeasterly direction the white cone of Mt. Baker, in the state of Washington is conspicuous. The climate of Victoria is said to be very much the same as England, and the town is peculiarly English in all its characteristics. The city has many fine public and private buildings, and large commercial houses. A railroad extends northeasterly seventy miles to the great coal mines at Nanaimo. Steamships and steamboats afford regular connection with Vancouver, San Francisco, and all American ports as well as Japan, China, Sandwich Islands, Fijian Islands, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Esquimalt Harbor, two miles from Victoria, is the British naval station and rendezvous on the North Pacific, with naval storehouses, workshops, graving docks, etc. A number of men-of-war can be found there at all times, and strong fortifications are being constructed. The harbor of Victoria is only suitable for vessels drawing up to about sixteen feet of water.

Victoria dates back to 1843, when the Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post on the site which was named Port Victoria; it was a stockade fortification. In 1849 actual colonization was commenced, and in 1852 the town of Victoria was laid out. Its growth, however, was slow until after 1856 when the gold fields of British Columbia were opened. In 1853 the place only contained 300 inhabitants, and the whole island of Vancouver 450. But there were about 17,000 Indians on the island at that time. [12]

Vancouver Island is the largest island on the west coast of America, being about 300 miles long and with an average width of about fifty miles, and contains an estimated area of from 12,000 to 20,000 square miles. The interior of the land is mountainous. The shores are exceedingly picturesque, bold, rocky, and rugged, broken on the western side into numerous bays and inlets, like those of the mainland, with intervening cliffs, promontories, and beaches; while on the northern and eastern sides the absence of ocean indentations are remarkable. The island is generally wooded, the borders with fir, back of which are hemlock, and the mountains with cedar. Between the ridges which cross and interlace are small valleys affording but moderate agricultural facilities.

“Jenson’s Travels,” May 30, 1895 [1​3]

Honolulu, Hawaii, Sandwich Islands

Thursday [Tuesday], May 21 (continued). One of the boilers of the Miowera being in need of repair, our stay in Victoria, British Columbia, was prolonged until 8:00 p.m., when our ship severed her connection with the wharf and commenced her long voyage to far-off Australia. The distance from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Sydney, Australia, is 6,985 nautical miles, with only two stopping places on the way, namely Honolulu, Sandwich Islands and Suva, Fiji Islands. The distance to Honolulu from Vancouver is 2,435 knots or nautical miles; from Honolulu it is 2,780 miles to Suva, and the distance from Suva to Sydney is 1,770 miles. It took us fully an hour to get clear of the Victoria wharf and get turned around, the channel being very narrow; but the task was successfully accomplished at last, and the ship headed for the Strait of Juan de Fuca, through which she passed during the darkness of the night, with Vancouver Island on our right and the state of Washington terminating in Cape Flattery on our left. To sail through the strait in the daytime is said to be very interesting, the sight of the Olympian Mountains on the south affording an ever-changing variety of beautiful scenery, as well as the wooded shores of Vancouver Island on the north. The night was cloudy, dark and windy, and as we passed out into the great Pacific, the heavings of the vessel began to produce that effect upon some of the passengers which is the unwelcome but sure forerunner of that common disease known as seasickness, for which no ancient or modern patented or unpatented medicine has ever proved a sufficient remedy.

Wednesday, May 22. Most of the passengers did not arise this morning for good and sufficient reasons. Those who did were rewarded for their efforts by being privileged to inhale freely the fresh ocean breeze which the heavy wind blowing from the southwest sent across the deck of the good ocean steamer. But no land and no coast vessel greeted the eye of the keenest and most long-sighted observer. We were fairly out on the broad face of the greatest ocean in the world, and nothing but its turbulent surface and high, rolling waves were to enhance the vision for several days to come. During the day, seasickness reigned supreme, only a few of the forty-nine passengers onboard showing up for meals. Fortunately, your correspondent was one of these, not because his appetite was more ravenous than that possessed by mankind generally, but because he had decided with all the resolution and willpower which he possessed that he would not yield to seasickness on his first voyage on the Pacific. At 12:00 noon the ordinary nautical observations were taken which showed that we were in latitude 47˚0´30˝ N, longitude 126˚59´15˝ W. We had sailed 183 miles since we left Victoria last night, and it was 2,172 miles to Honolulu.

Thursday, May 23. The day was windy, misty, and cold, and the increased motions of the vessel made the state of affairs among the passengers worse than yesterday. Your correspondent had interesting conversations with the captain and several of the other officers of the ship, as well as with those of the passengers who were not sick. From the first I became known to the crew and passengers as a Mormon elder, and I was kept busy answering questions about “Utah and the Mormons,” while several expressed themselves in favor of having me deliver a lecture onboard, the captain being the first to suggest it. Of course I had no objection, and so the lecture was only deferred until the weather became better. The extract from the ship’s log posted up today at noon read as follows: latitude 43˚22´0˝ N, longitude 132˚5´15˝ W; distance traveled since yesterday at noon 310 miles; distance to Honolulu 1,862 miles; distance from Victoria 493 miles.

Friday, May 24. Last night was a stormy one, and this morning the sea, now thoroughly whitecapped, rolled heavier than ever. The seasickness was the only predominant feature onboard; the excellent meals served in the stately dining saloon were but poorly patronized, and the deck, washed with spray from the heavy seas occasionally, was no longer a pleasant promenade for those who were able to walk about. The usual joke about the rough passage being caused by the presence of preachers onboard was passed by some of the ship’s officers; but I assured them that though we might have a rough passage the good Miowera would reach Honolulu in safety. The only thing of interest in or about the ship was a flock of seagulls, or a bird called by sailors mollymawks, which had followed us all the way from the American shores, feeding on the ship’s refuse as it is thrown on the water from time to time. It is very interesting to watch the quaint movements of these long-winded specimens of the feathered family, and to see them capture the articles of food as they float upon the waters. As the sea rolled high and the vessel swayed to and fro so much that the deck could not be promenaded with any degree of comfort, your correspondent spent part of the day in his little stateroom.

The Miowera (Photo of Miowera) is a modern steamer in all its details; it was built in 1892 by Messrs C. S. Swan and Hunter, of Wallsend-on-Tyne, England, to the order of James Huddart, managing owner of the ship as well as the Warrimoo, which is an exact counterpart of the Miowera and was built by the same firm, at the same time and for the same service. Both vessels are fitted with a complete system of water ballast on the double-bottom system, thus giving great stability and safety. In length they are 360 feet overall with a beam of more than 42 feet, and a molded depth of 28 feet, with a registered tonnage of about 3,400 tons, and a cubic capacity of about 5,000 tons. On trial the ships indicated 4,500 horsepower, and attained a speed of 17 knots. The dining room of the Miowera is a magnificent department extending the whole width of the ship and capable of seating 112 persons. There is a large social hall on the poop deck 50 feet in length, with an elegant ladies’ music room elegantly fitted. The staterooms are exceptionally large and are all on the upper deck; they are well ventilated, and furnished in modern style, with every necessary convenience. The ship is fitted with duplicate installation of electric lights throughout. The forecabins, for the use of second-class passengers, are also chiefly on the upper deck; the floors are tilled and the rooms are well ventilated, at least in fine weather, when the portholes can be kept open, and generally speaking, the second-cabin accommodations are very good, considering the fact that only half the amount is paid by second-class passengers of what saloon passengers pay for their passage.

The Miowera is one of the steadiest sea boats that I have ever traveled in; old sailors who have been on the sea for twenty years and upwards claim that she is one of the finest ships afloat as far as easy sailing is concerned. She plows through the water so gracefully and easy and heaves and rolls so gently that both crew and passengers must necessarily be delighted with her. There are much larger ships in the world than the Miowera, but perhaps only a few that excel her for comfort and convenience. And the same can be said of the Warrimoo, I am told.

The Miowera is chartered to carry a crew of 75, and she has accommodations for carrying 180 after-cabin and 60 second-cabin passengers—a total of 315 souls. On the present voyage she has 131 souls onboard. Of these 27 are saloon or first class passengers, 22 forecabin or second-class passengers, and 82 persons belonging to the ship. James Stott, a young man 40 years old of Scotch birth, is the captain and commander; James W. Lawrence, a good-natured, open-faced, and corpulent Englishman, born in Australia, is the chief officer; Frank A. Hemming, a pleasant man of Canadian birth, is the second officer; and Hawwell B. Sayer, a young unmarried Englishman of spare build, ranks as third officer. The fourth officer is not along on this voyage. All the officers, including the purser and chief engineer, are young men, rather good-looking, pleasant in their manner and address, and above the average of nautical officers in intelligence. Laboring directly under the command of the captain and the three officers are one boatswain, one carpenter, four quartermasters and nine ordinary sailors. At the head of the engineer’s department stands Patrick Smyth, a young Irishman of pleasant address. Under him there are six subordinate engineers and 25 firemen and trimmers. In the purser’s department there are 30 persons, namely, 28 men and 2 women. This includes cooks, waiters, barber, etc. Thomas B. Young, the purser to whom I was first introduced in Vancouver, is a young gentleman of culture and quite intelligent. Frederick Whittingham, the chief steward, is also a gentleman of note and a very important officer onboard a ship. He and the chief officer are about a standoff in point of corpulence. Independent of all departments stands the ship’s surgeon, or Doctor Douglas Corsan. Not having required his professional services, I am unable to judge of his abilities. Captain Scott carries himself with that dignity and independence which characterizes ship commanders generally, but is rather more sociable than many of his rank. I have had several conversations with him about Utah and the “Mormons,” and he says he is much interested in our people.

Among the passengers is a Mr. John Blake, who has figured prominently in connection with the great Russian overland railway, which already extends from St. Petersburg eastward over 3,000 miles far into the interior of Siberia; a Mr. Corbett, one of the leading merchants of Suva, Fiji Islands; Hugh Keith, a young English doctor, in the government service en route for Fiji; Philip T. Balls (accompanied by his wife) who goes to Melbourne, Australia, to introduce the latest improved typesetting machine in the office of one of the leading papers of that city; George A. Davis, a former New Brunswick lawyer, who is changing his residence to the Sandwich Islands, accompanied by his family; a Mr. Carter, whose brother was killed in the late rebellion of the Hawaiian nation—he is a son of ex-premier Carter, of Hawaiian kingdom fame, and was born on the islands. Among the second-class passengers is the Reverend A. McLean, a Presbyterian minister emigrating to New Zealand with his family. The stormy weather has so far prevented any great degree of sociability or acquaintance on the part of the passengers, most of whom appear to be people of considerable note and intelligence.

All the lady passengers excepting one or two have been closely confined to their berths since the commencement of the voyage. The bulletin posted today at noon showed that we were in latitude 39˚31´22˝ N, longitude 136˚48´15˝ W, distance traveled since yesterday at noon 314 miles, distance to Honolulu 1,549 miles; from Victoria 807 miles.

Saturday, May 25. Last night was more stormy than any previous night since we commenced our voyage; and this morning the face of the ocean with its immense swells and innumerable white-capped waves looked truly grand and majestic and could only inspire a God-fearing observer with awe and reverence for the great Creator who “made heaven and earth, and the sea and the fountains of water.” [14] The seasickness continued, and I was one of a very few passengers who showed up at meals; and we who did partook sparingly. During the day I had interesting conversations with several of the passengers. The usual noon observations showed latitude 36˚05´0˝ N, longitude 141˚0´0˝ W, distance traveled in past 24 hours, 286 miles; distance to Honolulu, 1,263 miles; from Victoria, 1,093 miles. The heavy headwind had impeded our progress considerably.

Sunday, May 26. The ship rolled unpleasantly last night, as the wind which had changed to the west sent the mighty waves against our starboard broadside; but in the morning the indications were fair for good weather. Towards noon the welcome rays of the sun came to us from behind the lifting or dispersing clouds, which had deprived us of sunshine since we left Victoria. Before the day had passed the weather was fine and pleasant overhead, but the effects of the heavy winds still left the face of the ocean in deep swells which pitched our good steamer about as if she were a mere boat. On this account no religious services were held or lecture given today, though both had been contemplated; but your correspondent preached “Mormonism” is a private way to his fellow passengers during the afternoon and evening, not retiring till a late hour. The extract from the ship’s log at noon read as follows: latitude 32˚30´3˝ N, longitude 144˚59´30˝ W, distance (made since noon yesterday) 292 knots; distance to Honolulu 970 knots and from Victoria 1,386 knots. It may here be observed that while an English statute mile is 5,280 feet, a knot or nautical mile is 6,080 feet.

Monday, May 27. This was the first real pleasant day of the voyage. The sun shone brightly and the weather was good and warm. Still the wind blew quite considerable, and the heaving and pitching of the ship, though more gentle than before, continued. A number of lady passengers, who had remained in “hiding” in their rooms hitherto, appeared “in public” for the first time on the voyage, and everybody’s countenance showed more sunshine and pleasure than usual. I was invited into the captain’s room, where I had a long and pleasant conversation with him and the purser. Soon afterwards the following notice was posted at the head of the main stairway: “By special request Mr. A. Jenson has kindly consented to deliver a lecture on Utah and the Mormons in the Social Hall tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 8:00. All are cordially invited.” At noon we were in latitude 28˚38´3˝ N, longitude 153˚37´45˝ W. Since yesterday at noon we had traveled 321 miles, which was the best run yet on this voyage. We were 651 miles from Honolulu, and 1,707 from Victoria.

Tuesday, May 28. The morning was fine and beautiful, but the face of the ocean still troubled, as the wind continued to blow briskly. It now came from the east. At noon, when observations were taken, we were in latitude 35˚3´25˝ N, longitude 153˚37´45˝ W. [15] During the last twenty-four hours the distance to Honolulu had been shortened 316 nautical miles, and we were now only 334.7 miles from that part, but 2,023.2 from Victoria. In the afternoon a large log or tree was observed, as we passed along, floating in the water at our starboard side. At first it was taken for a wreck, but by the assistance of glasses its true character was soon established. In conversation with one of the ship’s officers I learned that such trees are often seen as far out in the ocean as this and that those met with in this latitude are supposed to hail from either the mouth of the Columbia or the Fraser River, on the American shore. The ocean currents in the Pacific will, generally speaking, transport floating objects in a westerly direction. This certainly favors the theory based on Book of Mormon history that the Pacific Isles were peopled from America, and that perhaps some of the ships launched by Hagoth were carried by the currents to the islands lying far westward of those points on the American coast where these ships were originally built.

In the evening the announced lecture came off. Most of the passengers and officers of the ship gathered in the social hall at 8:00 p.m. The captain took charge of the meeting and introduced the lecturer, who spoke an hour and a half on the doctrines, history, and present conditions of the Latter-day Saints. The greatest attention was paid throughout the entire lecture. A vote of thanks was voted the speaker at the close, and the captain and many others expressed themselves as being highly entertained in what they had heard and regretted that my leaving the ship at Honolulu would prevent the delivering of other lectures of a similar nature. It was freely acknowledged by all who expressed their opinions on the subject that they never before had understood or conceived of “Mormonism” in the light that it had been presented to them by the lecturer; and some of them promised a further investigation. After the lecture I conversed with the captain and others of the ship’s officers, and also several of the passengers until a late hour.

Wednesday, May 29. I arose at 7:30 a.m. to enjoy the beautiful morning. Numerous coast birds, indicating that we were nearing land, fluttered about the ship. At 10:00 a.m. the mountainous outlines of the island of Molokai were dimly seen on our left, and a little later the island of Oahu forward on our right was first observed. The day was pleasant and warm and everybody onboard seemed unusually cheerful and happy. The officers exchanged their heavier outer clothing for the tropical suits of white, and the passengers also exchanged their clothing preparatory to landing or spending a few hours onshore. Most of the passengers were bound for Honolulu, a few only going on to Suva, Fiji Islands, and Sydney, Australia. Since leaving Victoria until today we have not seen a ship or vessel of any kind, or in fact any object of special interest except the floating log yesterday. When the usual noon observations were taken the instruments showed latitude 21˚2´0˝ N, longitude 157˚19´0˝ W. Knots traveled since yesterday, 308; distance to Honolulu, 33; and from Victoria, 2,331 knots or nautical miles.

By 1:00 p.m. we were sailing quite close to the rocky shores of Oahu. Makapuu Point, seventeen miles from Honolulu, was passed at 1:15 p.m.; soon afterwards we passed Koko Head, and at 2:00 p.m. we were steaming into the harbor of Honolulu. A number of native boys came out to meet the ship, swimming, and performed a number of extraordinary feats in the water, among which was the expert diving after coin which the passengers threw out to them. The wharf was lined with people, some of which had come down to meet incoming friends, but I looked in vain for someone to recognize me. At 3:00 p.m. the ship was lying alongside the wharf, the bridge was thrown out, and passengers landed. Being shown from the deck of the ship that particular part of Honolulu known in English as “Punchbowl” in which the “Mormon” Church building is located, about a mile from the harbor, I walked straight up there and was rewarded for my efforts by meeting Elder Matthew Noall, the president of the Hawaiian Mission, who had come over from Laie to meet me, but had not learned of the arrival of the Miowera till he saw me, though he had waited for her since Friday last. I also met Sister Noall, who had come over from Laie with him, and Brother Edwin C. Dibble, of Davis County, Utah, who is the president of the Honolulu Branch. These are the first of our missionaries which I have met since leaving home. Elder Noall now accompanied me back to the wharf after my luggage, and soon afterwards I found myself perfectly at home at the Honolulu Branch headquarters. After pleasant conversations, which were continued till a late hour, I spent my first night in Hawaii in comfortable rest and sleep, my person being protected from the attack of mosquitoes by the indispensable mosquito netting, and the fleas, no doubt out of due respect for a stranger, did not introduce themselves all night. I am pleased with the appearance of the Hawaiian Islands, though they are not exactly what I had supposed them to be.

Notes

[1] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, June 8, 1895.

[2] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, June 1, 1895.

[3] Jenson was an astute observer. In the next fifteen years, irrigation did allow the Magic Valley and the Boise Valley to become rich farmlands.

[4] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, June 8, 1895.

[5] Actually, the population was 1,098 in 1880 and 36,006 in 1890 (see Moffat, Population History of Western Cities and Towns 1850–1990). No one lived there in 1850.

[6] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, June 14, 1895.

[7] The Rappersoyle River is now called the Nooksack River.

[8] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, June 22, 1895.

[9] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, June 29, 1895.

[10] Many contemporary sources cite the same passage without making mention of the original author. The following is an example: The Resources and Attractions of Washington for the Home Seeker, Capitalist and Tourist: Facts on Climate, Soil, Farming, Stock Raising, Dairying, Fruit Growing, Lumbering, Mining, Scenery, Game and Fish (Battle Creek, MI: Wm. C. Gage & Son, 1890), 79–80.

[11] Lieut.-Col. Coffin, “How Treaty-Making Unmade Canada,” in The Canadian Monthly and National Review, vol. 9, January to June (Toronto: Adam, Stevenson & Co., 1876), 355.

[12] Various U.S. officials recommended to Brigham Young that the Saints, after leaving Nauvoo, settle on Vancouver Island. This proposed settlement was intended to support U.S. claims to the area in the U.S.’s negotiations with Great Britain over where the border should be. Emigrating British Saints also liked the idea.

[13] “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret Weekly News, June 29, 1895.

[14] Works of Isaac Barrow, D.D. (New York: John C. Riker, 1845), 2:310.

[15] The correct coordinates are 149˚17´30˝ W.