From Philadelphia to Salt Lake, 1857–60

A. LeGrand Richards, Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014), 155–200.

A hard and stormy time [faces] me across the great waters.

—Karl G. Maeser[1]

The Tuscarora was cleared on May 29, 1857, and left Liverpool early on the morning of the thirtieth, with Karl G. Maeser and his family on board. Most of the Saints on the ship were from Scandinavian countries. Richard Harper was called to be the president of the company with Joseph Stapleton and C. M. Funck as counselors. In addition to the three Sunday meetings, church services were held every morning and evening. Life on the ship was cramped and crowded, but there was great strength in traveling as a large group since unaccompanied immigrants were often the target of abuse by others, especially upon their arrival in the new land.

As early as the 1840s, the Saints had learned how to avoid some of the ways in which immigrants were commonly exploited. They were warned about the pickpockets in Liverpool and were taught the appropriate costs of the various parts of the journey so that they would be less vulnerable to scam artists.[2] Chartered ships were less expensive, and in them the immigrants were protected against undesirable companions and could be accompanied by more-experienced travelers to protect them from the “harpies” or “sharpers.”[3] In nearly every port city, hotel, and boardinghouse, runners, phony agents of transport services, and other devious individuals would lie in wait to swindle the new arrivals in a myriad of ways. Overcharging for services, false weighing of baggage, and even outright theft were common practices. It was not uncommon for these harpies to bribe ship captains or other ship personnel to give them special access to the unsuspecting immigrants. Sometimes the harpies could be held back only by armed force. They often spoke the immigrants’ native language and would use subtle tactics to lure the immigrants’ trust in them and their services.[4]

The Saints were regularly counseled “not to emigrate singly or in small companies, among Gentiles.”[5] The following article from the Millennial Star is an example of such advice:

It is impossible for us to enumerate all the advantages that accrue from the Saints going together, or all the disadvantages for their going in detached companies, but we will name a few of the most prominent. Each company of Saints on board of a ship is fully organized for the performance of the duties devolving upon them as Saints and fellow passengers, and they are presided over by an experienced Elder of Israel, with two Counselors, appointed by us. Under this arrangement prayers are held in the different sections of the ship morning and night, fellowship meetings are held three or four times a week, and the regular services on the Sabbath day. A constant watch is kept up by brethren appointed to be watchmen—to prevent iniquity among the evil-disposed, if there be such—and to prevent, what is too common upon other ships, the encroachments of the sailors in places where they have no business. Arrangements are also instituted under this organization for the daily cleaning of the passengers’ deck—by which health is promoted, and disease arising from dirt prevented. . . .

On other ships no such organization exists—no prayers are unitedly offered for the peace, blessing, and protection of Him who controls the winds and the waves. . . . Emigrants generally are imposed upon both before starting and after their arrival, but more especially after their arrival, where sharpers in abundance, aware that the people are landing in a strange country and that they are mostly inexperienced, use their most subtle arts to deceive, impose upon and rob them.[6]

The leadership of the Church advised the Saints that with experience and a strong organization, they could be protected against these abuses. Church agents would be waiting to meet them upon their arrival at each new destination and would make the most economically beneficial arrangements for the next part of the journey.

So it was with the Tuscarora: upon its arrival in Philadelphia on the morning of July 3, Angus Cannon, president of the Eastern States Conference, met it at the Walnut Street Wharf. The harpies were there by the dozens, but they were disappointed by the preparation and organization of the Saints. A reporter for the National Gazette went on board and noted in surprise that “the appearance and condition of the passengers are better than we have ever before seen in an emigrant ship.” He continued, “Their cheerfulness, too, was remarkable, but is accounted for by their immunity from care in disposing of the baggage, etc., all of which was attended to by Mr. Cannon, agent for the Mormon Emigration Society. When the ship hauled into her berth, there was a crowd of boarding housekeepers ready to extend their good offices, but all their attentions were entirely superfluous, and the Mormons saved their money.”[7]

The thirty-four-day trip across the ocean went fairly well; it was described as a “pleasant run,” and they arrived in “remarkably good health,” notwithstanding the fact that six people died en route and two infants died in port. Raymond L. Cohn estimated that, on the average, ships arriving in New York averaged fourteen deaths per thousand. Cope ships tended to do much better.[8] The ship’s captain, Captain Dunlevy, mentioned that “he would never wish to carry better people over the sea than they were.”[9]

Sentiments toward immigrants in Philadelphia, however, were not particularly welcoming in the 1850s. In February 1856, for example, Philadelphia had sponsored the national convention of the American Party, a party made up by the semisecret order of “Know Nothings,” a fierce and sometimes violent anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant political party. (It was even discovered that the mayor of Philadelphia, who had won by a landslide as a Whig, was a Know Nothing. They were given this name by outsiders because when asked about their involvement, they so often replied that they knew nothing about it.) In Philadelphia, Maeser had two strikes against him: not only was he a German immigrant, he was also a member of an unpopular new religion.

Anti-Mormon Sentiments in the States

It was a rare article in the eastern press that found anything positive about Utah, Mormonism, or “Brigham’s dupes”;[10] usually the press looked to find anything possible to criticize. Because the Saints had left the borders of the United States and gone to their remote location in Salt Lake, Church members found a few precious years of peace from outside persecution (though the stark challenges of life in a desert were anything but easy). However, in 1849, following the war with Mexico, the Utah Territory was annexed to the United States. Brigham Young quickly petitioned the government to admit the state of Deseret into the Union, but prejudice against the Church was instantly inflamed. The petition was denied and would be repeated numerous times before the relative autonomy of statehood would be granted in 1896.

Prejudice against Mormons in the United States was at an all-time high. The US government attempted to supervise the activities of the Mormons from Washington, appointing territorial governors and judges and setting the laws. When the territory was officially established, it was drastically reduced in size from the proposed “State of Deseret,” and as a compromise, Brigham Young was appointed as the first governor of the Territory of Utah. The appointment of non-Mormon judges—particularly that of William W. Drummond, who had disagreements with Young’s influence and the practice of plural marriage—led to increased tension. Drummond’s resignation letter of March 1857 made unfounded charges against the Church, arguing that only federal troops could bring order to the region.[11]

Reacting to these accusations, President James Buchanan selected a new governor, Albert Cumming, and as early as May began assembling an army of 2,500 under General Winfield Scott to accompany Cumming. They did not leave Kansas until July 18. General Scott was later replaced by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. Resentful of the federal response without a proper investigation, the Saints let out a cry of defiance that rang from the valley of the mountains. Brigham was not about to let the Saints be controlled by outsiders. He responded by declaring martial law and forbidding the army from entering:

Citizens of Utah: We are invaded by a hostile force, who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction.

For the last twenty-five years we have trusted officials of the government, from constables and justices to judges, governors, and Presidents, only to be scorned, held in derision, insulted, and betrayed. Our houses have been plundered and then burned, our fields laid waste, our principal men butchered, while under the pledged faith of the government for their safety, and our families driven from their homes to find that shelter in the barren wilderness and that protection among hostile savages, which were denied them in the boasted abodes of Christianity and civilization. . . . We are condemned unheard, and forced to an issue with an armed mercenary mob, which has been sent against us at the instigation of anonymous letter writers, ashamed to father the base, slanderous falsehoods which they have given to the public. . . . The issue which has thus been forced upon us compels us to resort to the great first law of self-preservation, and stand in our own defence, a right guaranteed to us by the genius of the institutions of our country, and upon which the government is based.[12]

Later Brigham would write to William I. Appleby, “Rather than see my wives and daughters ravished and polluted, and the seeds of corruption sown in the hearts of my sons of a brutal soldiery, I would leave my home in ashes, my gardens and orchards a waste and subsist upon roots and herbs, a wanderer through these mountains for the remainder of my natural life.”[13]

The nation condemned President Young’s defiance as rebellion. Therefore, by the time the Maesers arrived in Philadelphia, the city was filled with animosity toward Brigham Young and the country was preparing for war with the Mormons in Utah. The local press regularly published articles that were spiteful toward the Mormon people and their outspoken leader. On July 29, for example, one Philadelphia newspaper wrote: “A collision between the Mormons and the national authorities is likely to be made. . . . If Brigham Young and his mad followers should prove intractable on this score, they must all be ejected from their homes and possessions by military force, it will be seen that this involves a momentous contingency. . . . The iniquities of this system cannot be too thoroughly exposed.”[14]

Mormons were regularly portrayed as ignorant, depraved, and immoral, blindly following their tyrannical prophet; false reports and rumors about them were published as facts. The reporters were quick to point out how naive the immigrants were regarding the harsh conditions that yet awaited them in crossing the plains and settling the desert. An example of the typical opinion was expressed one year previous to the Tuscarora’s arrival in a report of the New York Times. It described Mormon immigrants as “imbruted with ignorance and dirt,—not the material dirt of a sea voyage, but the moral dirt of a life of imbecility and indolence. . . . If Salt Lake City is wholly peopled by individuals of the average intellect possessed by the newly-arrived emigrants, we should, following the law of depreciation, expect that in a century it would be merely a congregation of apes with tails.”[15]

However, one Philadelphia reporter expressed his surprise at the company of immigrants on the Tuscarora because they did not meet his low expectations: “Should the Salt Lake settlement continue to drain the old countries of their peasantry, as they are now doing the Mormons will soon become a strong people. . . . It is unfair to characterize those Mormons as unlettered, or charge them with embracing the creed for the mere sake of promised happiness in an ideal country. On the contrary, . . . they appear to be a moral and correct set of people, with no such ideas as we find existing in the land of Brigham Young.”[16]

Arrival in Philadelphia

When the immigrant Saints arrived in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation, the city was engaged in celebrations for the Fourth of July. For the Maesers, however, the joy of the arrival and excitement of the season was completely overshadowed by the death of their little Karl Gustav Franklin Maeser, who was one of the infants that died the day they arrived in the harbor.[17] Anna Maeser’s little sister Camilla traveled with them and remembered that Karl left the ship carrying the little casket under his arm.[18]

The same correspondent who was surprised by the respectable character of the immigrants may have actually witnessed the baby’s death[19]: “The light faded from the eyes of one little one, while we looked pityingly, yet not regretfully on, as it is impossible to resist the conviction that death is far preferable to the horrors of Utah.”[20]

Ironically, the City of Brotherly Love was not especially welcoming to this group that they saw as just “another herd of Mormons.”[21] Angus Cannon helped make arrangements for the emigrants, most of whom were immediately heading west (primarily to Iowa). He met with the owner of the ship, Mr. Cope, and asked if they would be allowed to stay on the ship until the coming Monday. Cope was totally unsympathetic to the request and told him, “Were it in my power to benefit them by turning my hand over I would not do it; but would rather scatter and prevent them from emigrating. They are a poor deluded people, and I believe they will be mobbed tomorrow.”[22] Brother Cannon reminded Mr. Cope of the laws that would allow them to stay aboard for forty-eight hours, but it is likely that nearly all the passengers left by Saturday, July 4. Because the Maesers were going to stay in Philadelphia, they may have remained on board a little longer than the others. Cannon later wrote of Mr. Cope, “I felt a thorough contempt for so corrupt and miserable a being, even though he professed Christianity and was dressed in the garb of a gentleman; . . . [he] would have taken three hundred people, ignorant of our language, from his vessel to scatter among men whose hearts together with their systems of Christianity are rotten and corrupt.”[23]

Likewise, the Saints were not particularly impressed with the reporter from the Philadelphia Ledger who boarded the Tuscarora. The Mormon, a Latter-day Saint newspaper, warned that he was not to be trusted: “From one or two scratches of his pen he seems a personage of very loose morality. . . . We would advise our emigrants to count ‘their spoons’ before he has gone far from them.”[24] Stories of the Tuscarora’s arrival were carried in numerous papers, including the New York Times,[25] the New York Herald,[26] the Boston Investigator,[27] the Philadelphia Ledger,[28] the Chicago Daily Tribune,[29] the North American Gazette,[30] the Mormon,[31] and the Millennial Star.[32]

When the Maesers arrived, Philadelphia was at the forefront of technology in the United States. It had embraced the advances in railroads, steel production, steam engines, textiles, paper, carpets, gaslights, chandeliers, and so forth. The latest in fashion and literature was to be found there, and it had experienced great wealth and prosperity for the first half of the century. As a result, waves of immigrants from many nations, especially Ireland and Germany, sought a home there. Perhaps it had grown too quickly, for by the 1850s there was considerable overcrowding, homelessness, sickness, and crime.

By 1860, there were more than 1.2 million German-born people in the United States, and the majority of them were in the North Atlantic states. When Emily Dickinson visited Philadelphia in 1855, it had nearly 500,000 inhabitants (approximately 30 percent foreign born) with an ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor. There were over 350 places of worship, but the attitude toward Mormonism was anything but tolerant. The Philadelphia Press condemned Brigham Young, who they claimed

has as boldly defied the laws of the country, as to his dealings with the Federal Government, as he defies the laws of decency. That such a wretched impostor should take to himself, for his authority, the lessons of the Bible, and that he should attract upright men and virtuous women to his standard, is neither more nor less than a disgrace to our age. Public opinion is as ripe to justify any rebuke of his misdeeds, as if he and his crew were so many Sepoys[33] engaged in open assassination and brutality.[34]

Though the two men had not yet met each other personally, this was the context in which Karl dedicated a poem to Brigham that was published in the August issue of the Darsteller:

A prophet of God is Brigham Young![35]

To all the world, his name we send!

By thousands, whether old or young,

Is called father, prophet and friend....

Though Satan rage with renewed furor,

And currently has war decreed

Against his great courageous valor

Nothing ill will e’er succeed.

Missionary Work in Philadelphia

After burying little Franklin Maeser in the Machpelah Cemetery in downtown Philadelphia,[36] one of the first challenges Karl faced upon his arrival was finding employment. Brother Cannon felt obliged to help. He took Karl to meet with a Brother Winters about possible employment on July 18, and the next day assigned Karl to develop a pamphlet on basic gospel principles.[37] Brother Cannon also began taking German lessons from Karl.[38] They likely traveled together to a three-day conference that was held in the woods near Homerstown, New Jersey, July 28–30. Karl was even asked to speak twice, along with R. D. Treseder, president of the Homerstown Branch; A. M. Cannon, president of the Philadelphia Conference; Jeter Clinton, an elder from Salt Lake; and W. I. Appleby, president of the Eastern States Mission. Hymns were recited and sung, speeches were offered, refreshments were sold, and an LDS brass band from Trenton even performed. The New York Times carried a lengthy story about the conference. It reported that Karl spoke on Saturday morning in broken English giving the reasons why he was willing to leave his fatherland, parents, and friends for the restored gospel. “He heard of Mormonism and scoffed at it at first, but when he examined it and came to know more of it he could not express in the English language what he felt then. His happiness, and strength, and life had increased since he had joined the Saints.” After he concluded, Brother Cannon arose to tell the people something about the brother who had just sat down, who landed in Philadelphia on the 4th of July last. His child had just died when he landed. He had papers with him from institutions in Germany at which he had been educated. He had a classical education but left his native land on account of his religious belief. His countrymen in Philadelphia offered him a position in the academies at Philadelphia, but he told them he did not want to deceive them; he was a Mormon. They would not then employ him. He was living now in Philadelphia, and the work of converting them would be commenced among the Germans there.[39]

If not at this meeting, then shortly thereafter, Karl was called as a missionary to the German people in the Philadelphia Conference.[40] However, the Saints were not able to provide sustenance for the missionaries as they had done in London, so Elder Maeser was forced to look for employment while serving as a missionary. This posed a great challenge to the entire Maeser family.

Evelyn Crandall remembered asking her Aunt Camilla (Anna Maeser’s sister) how they were able to survive such tough times in Philadelphia. Camilla replied, “Well, I just don’t know. But it seemed that when things came to a point where we hardly knew which way to turn something always happened to help us out, and we were able to go on a little while longer. Sometimes we had only white flour or mush to eat, but we were so hungry it tasted good, and we were thankful for it.”[41]

The mission work among the Germans was slow and difficult. For several years, Brother Brigham had felt strongly that there was great potential among German immigrants on the East Coast. Several missionaries from Utah had already received callings as missionaries to the German-speaking people of the United States. For example, Jacob Hoffheins and Alexander Ott had been called in 1855 and served primarily in New York.[42] In 1856, Hoffheins[43] described the difficulties of the work: “Some of the honest in heart have been baptized and some more are investigating the truth. Notwithstanding the opposition of the sectarian priests, editors, liars, and doctors, the truth will prevail. I can only say, let them do all they can. . . . The prospects are promising yet the tradition and prejudice are great. . . . The German mission is a hard one, on account of the powerful tradition and the great love they have for the enjoyment of this world.”[44]

John Snedaker had been assigned to serve the German population in the Philadelphia Conference, and Karl was called to serve with him. Snedaker noted that the negativity toward Mormonism in the American press had made missionary work among the German population particularly difficult:

For a spirit of darkness seems to envelope the whole nation, and all are equally influenced by it, no matter of what nation they are or what language they speak. This to me appears as one of the causes why some of us, who were sent to the German population of this country, have not been more successful; for they, like the balance, are influenced by the same spirit, and in some instances more so, for many of them are pretty superstitious; and being withal in a great degree unacquainted with the American Press or rather the way it is conducted, they give more credit to the scurrilous and calumniating reports concerning our people which have been and are continually circulating in the numerous newspapers of the day. Hence we have not been as successful as some probably had anticipated. Still there has been quite a number who speak the German language added to the Church in that portion of country where I have been laboring; and I feel that my labors have not been entirely in vain.[45]

The “Mormon War”

Previously, the Church had a very strong organization in Philadelphia that was prepared to assist the new immigrants with basic needs, including lodging, plans for travel, and even potential employment for those who needed to earn more income before proceeding to the valley,[46] but in 1857, much of the organizational effort of the Church was disrupted. With the threat of an American army approaching to wage war with Utah, Brigham sent out the message in August[47] that it would “be best to discontinue the Mormon, and let all come home, those who went last year as well as previous, and let the world go to the devil, while we are all defending ourselves against our enemies. Be sure to have the Elders all return from the States and Canada early in the spring, and pass the word to England for them to come home from Europe also, and bring as many good faithful men with them as they can, but not to delay their passage.”[48] The returning elders were to provide themselves with “good rifles and pistols” and to bring with them “all the powder and lead” that they could “purchase and freight through.”[49] They were also warned “to avoid the troops at Laramie, or any other point where they may be located for the winter.”[50]

Samuel W. Richards was sent east on August 13 with a special letter from Brigham Young to President Buchanan.[51] He delivered it to Colonel Thomas Kane in Philadelphia in September and then traveled to New York, where he was interviewed by the New York Times.[52] He was given the assignment to suspend the missions in the United States and Canada and to encourage the elders to return home. He then traveled to England, arriving in Liverpool on October 3. He carried with him the news of the decisions to discontinue the publication of the Mormon and to temporarily suspend immigration to Utah.

In January 1858, the New York Times proposed that the government should stop Mormon immigration to the United States: “How easy will it be to stop that emigration if managed properly, and by stopping it, stop at least one of the principal streams that water this fanatical though fruitful land. One thing is certain, that the day is not far distant when Utah and Mormondom will give a vast deal of trouble to the United States unless it is checked.”[53] But, as shown by Brother Richards’s traveling assignment, the Church had already anticipated the potential hostility toward immigrant Saints. In October 1857, a decree had already been sent out in the Millennial Star: “In view of the difficulties which are now threatening the Saints, we deem it wisdom to stop all emigration to the States and Utah for the present. We anticipate that it will not be long until the way will again be opened so that you can go home.”[54] When immigration did continue again, it was rerouted primarily through New York, avoiding Philadelphia.

Church members in Philadelphia who lacked the means to travel to Salt Lake City, such as the Maesers, were left with especially great challenges. The Church in the eastern states seemed to be losing much of its strength. The Mormon, a publication John Taylor began in New York, had been a solid support to the Saints in the East. It printed its last edition in September 1857. The Independent Republican, a Pennsylvania newspaper, carried an article from the New York Times that read into the implications of the changes in Church policy:

There is a very general apparent breaking up among the Mormons in this Eastern section of country.—We have already noticed the discontinuance of the Mormon newspaper published in this City, and the suspension of religious worship at their usual place in Broome-street. We hear also that, last Sunday, at their headquarters, at Tom’s River, N.J., where there has been a small colony for some time, it was announced that hereafter there would be no more public services there. We understand that in Philadelphia measures are in progress for closing up the Mormon Church there; public worship is to be discontinued, and all the business affairs of the sect are to be wound up forthwith. [55]

Because of the Church’s presence in Philadelphia in earlier days, the city had become a repository for former Saints and break-off groups.[56] The Strangites had grown there; William Smith, Joseph Smith’s brother, had spent time in Philadelphia attempting to dissuade the “Brighamites” from their belief that Brigham was the proper successor to Joseph.[57] In the 1850s, the Reorganized Church was quite strong in Philadelphia and took courage from the struggles of their Brighamite cousins. In 1858, for example, they wrote about the Philadelphia Branch:

1858—The Brighamite interests were looked after by Elder Samuel Harrison, but by this time the work had so far degenerated that it did not command the respect of the old members. The constant reproach of polygamy was with them wherever they sought an opening. Many families of old Saints who had gone West with this branch of the church returned disgusted and disheartened, and altogether unwilling to support the doctrines and actions of the leaders, but still firm in the belief that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and in the divinity of the Book of Mormon.[58]

As the leadership of the Church in the east made preparations to leave in the spring of 1858, the poorer Saints who could not afford to leave and those less willing to go were given temporary leadership assignments. On his return to Utah in March, Samuel W. Richards wrote to Brigham that the leaders, including William I. Appleby,[59] Angus Cannon, and Jeter Clinton, had left for St. Louis: “No emigration of importance is expected over the Plains other than the Elders who may return. . . . No general organization of the Church remains in the Eastern States. Certain men have been appointed to take charge of districts, into which the Conferences have been divided, for the purpose of winding up unsettled business; but no one has been appointed to take the general oversight.”[60]

In May, the First Presidency assigned T. B. H. Stenhouse,[61] who had not yet been to Salt Lake, to replace Appleby as the president of the branches in the East and to “do what you can for the benefit of the saints and use your pen in the defense of the saints when opportunity presents; and you will do well to make use of such organs as are willing to admit a ray of truth in their columns.”[62] Peter H. Reinsimer[63] became president of the Philadelphia Conference, Samuel Harrison remained president of the Philadelphia Branch, and the missionaries were left to fend for themselves by finding employment. Angus M. Cannon, who had been such a support to the Maesers left the East and accompanied nearly one hundred elders home to the Salt Lake Valley, only to find the city deserted;[64] they had moved south to avoid conflict with the US Army.[65]

In the meantime, Maeser had to find employment in the East. As a Mormon immigrant this was extremely challenging, and to compound this problem, Philadelphia, along with much of the world, was spinning into a financial crisis. On September 25, 1857, the Bank of Pennsylvania failed because of overspeculation, corruption, and an “insatiable thirst for profits.”[66] As the Panic of 1857 spread, fortunes were lost, credit became unstable, and unemployment surged. The Democrats argued that “the unemployed were thus ‘swindled out of an honest livelihood by the base conduct of a band of heartless money changers.’”[67] This had a huge impact on the workforce in Philadelphia, where a rally of ten thousand unemployed people gathered to protest in Independence Square.[68]

Karl in Virginia

Most accounts of Karl’s life state that he was called on a mission to Virginia,[69] but more likely he actually went there looking for employment while he was serving his mission to the German-speaking people in the eastern states. Many German-speaking immigrants had settled in the farmlands of Pennsylvania.[70] There was also a large number of Germans in Richmond, Virginia (18 percent of Richmond’s population in 1860),[71] only 250 miles from Philadelphia, where prospects of employment may have been more encouraging. It may also have been supposed that the message of Mormonism would be more welcome in the South because presumably the people of the South viewed the Mormons as having been wronged by the government. But the Mormons were not warmly received in the South either.[72]

We can gain insight into the Maesers’ experience from the lives of Joseph and Hannah Lapish, who also came to America on the Tuscarora in 1857. Hannah wrote, “This being the year of the great panic, my husband [Joseph Lapish], together with others, went to Richmond, Virginia, to obtain employment and in the meantime I took in sewing from a knitting factory which proved quite providential at the time as I was left with a three months old babe. After the elapse of three months I joined my husband in Richmond where we resided about three years.”[73] The Maesers may have had a similar experience, though they did not stay so long in Virginia.

Karl’s son Reinhard and other family members later related how they “often listened with bated breath and tearful eyes to the dramatic recital of their father’s story of the hardships endured during this mission.”[74] He reminded them of the challenges the family, and especially Anna, faced during this period of their life. “There was much, however, that rendered this experience a severe one for the good wife. Her heart was still bleeding from the memory of the tragic experience at the time of their landing. The responsibility of caring for herself, her child, and her youngest sister, Camilla, caused her much anxiety. Even while her husband was at home, their financial circumstances had been bad enough.”[75] She faced the difficulties of the home alone while he trudged with his four companions along the wearisome roads of Virginia, meeting with such reception as might be accorded to them by a people unfriendly to the cause they represented. Often at night, after a hard day’s tramping, they would stop at the gate of some hospitable-looking home and sing to attract the attention of the inmates of the place, who occasionally invited them in and conversed with them upon the principles of the Gospel. Sometimes, too, their singing brought them remuneration in small gifts of money or food, oftentimes being given with the imperative command to “move on”; the command alone, however, seemed to be their most frequent recompense.[76]

If Karl was in Virginia, he may not have heard of the closing of the United States missions. The Maeser-related stories indicate that the time in Philadelphia was excruciatingly difficult. The stories suggest that they received greater financial security one day when Karl entered a music store in Richmond where a man wanted to hear a piano played before he purchased it. The worker in the store who played was not available at the time, so Karl volunteered to play it for him. Immediately Karl was offered a position to teach the children of former US president John Tyler. This story has been retold in numerous accounts, some of which were given in Karl’s presence.[77] Finding confirming evidence, however, has not been so easy. The matter seems to be confirmed in a letter from Julia Tyler (President Tyler’s wife) to her mother. Julia wrote of a meeting with Mr. C. (Clopton), who told an anecdote of “the music master, the German who bids fair to be a fixture, having in hand so many pupils, no less than 16,” adding this:

He gives lessons weekly in singing to the Choir at the Church, preparing them for Sunday. He remarked “the young men had all such nice voices, they didn’t drink whiskey or chew tobacco,”—he said it very innocently, but those who afterward reflected probably suspected it was the height of satire. He is a gentlemanly, well educated young German, talking with a strong foreign accent. He was forced to leave Philadelphia in consequence of his classes there being broken up by the hard times. When he got to Richmond in his search of a good location, some of the book-sellers there advised him to visit this county and look around. He made engagements without difficulty to fully occupy his time, and has sent on for his wife. He is grateful for the kindness of his patrons and says he never dreamed he could ever meet with such hospitality. He never wishes to go back to Germany now, and “had he but a little house & garden spot, he would be the happiest man in the world”. He gives Julia [the Tylers’ eight-year-old daughter] her first lesson tomorrow.[78]

It is significant to note that during these times of such severe persecution of the Church, when the Church organization seemed to be dissolved in the East and perhaps annihilated in the West by the US Army, the Maesers never gave up hope or settled for the security that they might have had. Surely teaching the children of the former president of the United States and his prominent neighbors would have seemed to be a promising life, but they had not sacrificed so much to come to America to teach in Charles City, Virginia.

Back to Philadelphia

The Maesers did not remain very long in Virginia—perhaps six months[79]—but it must have been long enough to feel the tensions that would ignite the Civil War. Karl was called to return to Philadelphia to serve as the president of the Philadelphia Conference. The Maeser family has heard stories explaining how the Tylers offered Karl a regular salary and that the children begged him to stay, but he was resolved to fulfill his assignments.[80]

Unfortunately, precious little is known about the Maesers’ life in Philadelphia during the next two years. Anna took in sewing and hired out to do housecleaning. In August 1858, Karl was in Philadelphia participating in a conference organized by Stenhouse, the president of the eastern branches. This conference was reported in the New York Herald, though some details were not quite accurate. Saints gathered “for some three or four hundred miles around” in “Mitchell’s public hall” at the corner of Fourth and Vine for the two-day conference. The “President of the Eastern States Mission” (Stenhouse) there declared that “peace was restored, and Utah affairs move along now as before. The hostile feeling that twelve-months ago was very prevalent in the States had subsided.” Speakers at the conference included Peter Reinsimar and Samuel Harrison of Philadelphia, Thomas Lyon (referred to in the article as “President of the New York Conference”), A. M. Mortimer, and Richard Treseder of New Jersey, each sharing their convictions and testifying of their support for Brigham Young. An article in the New York Herald described Karl’s speech:

Elder Mainer [Maeser] next took the stand, and gave a pithy exposition of his views of Mormonism in a rather striking German accent. He had embraced the new faith in a despotic country, where the few Saints had been watched closely, and prevented from assembling for worship even in private houses. So guarded were they in their proceedings, that when brother met brother they passed each other as strangers, and had to counsel and consult each other by correspondence. He thanked God that he lived now in America, and understood the great principles of exaltation. The unity of the Saints was the terror of their enemies, but it was the certain path to dominion. Good men should prevail over the wicked, and the principles taught by Jesus Christ, Joseph and Brigham Young were the only principles which could unite and bind honorable men indissolubly. He rejoiced all the day long in his association with such honorable men, and treated with pity the deluded folks who regarded them as imposters, and regarded with contempt their vile calumniators who belched forth their own vileness.[81]

The reporter concluded that “it was evident that the Mormons have a very ex[t]ensive and thorough organization in the Middle States, whose centre and ‘power of strength’ is in the quiet city of Brotherly Love.”[82]

Believing that a new opportunity had opened for influencing the nation’s opinions, Brigham Young summoned George Q. Cannon to Salt Lake on September 7, 1858. Young told Cannon that in the past, the flood of prejudice had been so great that it seemed a waste of time to attempt to answer it, but “at the present moment there appears to be rather of a reaction in public sentiment in our favor.”[83] Cannon was not to start another Mormon publication but was to enlist the publications of others “by open conversation and fair personal representation.” He was told to “proceed immediately East to engage in this business” and to report to Col. Thomas Kane in Philadelphia. The First Presidency gave him a certificate appointing him to “preside over the Churches in the Eastern States,”[84] but Kane suggested that it would be better to keep Stenhouse as the acting president in order to allow Cannon more flexibility with the press and with representatives in Washington.

George Q. Cannon reported regularly to Brigham Young regarding the progress of his efforts in the East.[85] Upon his arrival, he noticed the vitality of the Saints who had arrived more recently, but he also had concerns about those who were more established:

It has seemed to me that the saints in the eastern states must be transplanted or they will die out. There are many who have been nominal members of the Church from three to fifteen or twenty years and they are no better prepared to gather now than they were when they first joined the Church; in fact, so far as the Spirit is concerned, not so well prepared; for then they were full of vitality and zeal, and rejoiced in the new strength they had obtained; but now they feel to some extent dead, the natural result of not keeping pace with the work. There are many, however, who have remained a short time here through pure motives, desiring only to accumulate means to gather; the experience such have gained in so doing will be beneficial to them.[86]

Sometime after the August conference, Karl was called to be the president of the Philadelphia Conference.[87] The Heiner family has recorded that during the winter of 1858 in Pennsylvania, Maeser had told them that “there was going to be a civil war and advised the members to move to Salt Lake City.”[88] They followed his counsel and left in April. In February and March 1859, Karl was intensely involved in making arrangements with J. W. Coward,[89] branch president in St. Louis, for the next season of emigration. Karl spoke with a sense of urgency, even though he would not be leaving until May 1860. His emigration may have been postponed in order to allow the birth of his and Anna’s next child, Ottilie, on August 1.

Cannon found his assignment with the eastern press to be especially frustrating. The men who claimed to be independent journalists received him well, and when speaking about the character of those sharing inflammatory claims against the Mormons, they would often recognize how unreliable they were. One editor, the proprietor of the Democrat, referred to the dishonest journalists in the “most contemptuous and condemnatory language, denouncing them as damned scoundrels, fools and drunkards and substantiating his assertions by statements of facts.” Cannon reported that one would then naturally suppose that he would discredit their reports. He continued, “Yet though he knew them so well and despised them, so thoroughly, according to his own statements, to subserve his own ends or the ends of his party he never manfully uttered his dissent against their statements, but on the contrary, endorsed them by giving them publicity.”[90]

Thomas Kane continued to give George Q. Cannon and Brigham Young the wise counsel to remain patient and persistent, and he assured them that change was occurring, though not always perceptibly. “He says though the hands on the dial may not seem to move, yet still they do move, and none the less sure of completing the revolution because the movement may be unobserved by those at a distance.”[91]

With this counsel in mind, the Church in the East kept prodding forward. October conferences were held in Philadelphia and New York on October 9. Cannon and Maeser attended both. Concerns were raised that those who remained long in the East tended to lose strength and faithfulness, but those emigrating west needed to understand “the things they will have to encounter in going to the Valley.”[92] Cannon was “particularly careful not to urge or persuade them to go. . . . It would be far better for them to stay away—save themselves much toil and expense and those who would have charge of them much care—than to go up to the Valley under the influence of persuasion or prompted by improper motives.”[93]

Because of his hymns and essays, Maeser’s reputation among German Saints had spread. Babette Künzler, a newly arrived Swiss convert, wrote of her experience at the conference in New York:

On the first Sunday we were directed to a hall, where more than 300 Mormons were assembled. Oh how my spirit and entire being was lifted by this sight, and the beautiful singing. . . . On the following Wednesday another service was held and last Sunday Brothers Cannon and Mäser came. Brother Mäser spoke to us Swiss that was very beneficial and at the same time attested to his great intellect. He also strived to speak with each individual. For a long time, I have wished to meet this man and now I have; I also enjoyed Brother Cannon very much. On Thursday evening we had a German meeting in our home; Br. Cannon spoke in English and Br. Mäser translated it into German, but I understood Br. Cannon fairly well. We all must learn English this Winter because it is necessary.[94]

Maeser traveled regularly with Cannon during this period. Neither of them knew at the time that Cannon had been sustained in Salt Lake as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to fill the vacancy left by Parley P. Pratt.[95] In November they visited the branches in Pennsylvania, and Cannon then sent Karl to Sullivan County, New York, to ordain a Swiss brother an elder and to organize a branch there.

Karl’s Publications

Meanwhile, across the ocean, Maeser’s last two publications for the Darsteller[96] were published in November and December of 1859: his German translations of the English hymns “The Time Is Far Spent” (An die Priesterschaft, later Die Zeit ist noch kurz[97]) and “The Spirit of God” (Gesang der Begeisterung, later Der Geist aus den Höhen[98]). In both cases, he felt a much stronger allegiance to the music and meter than to the actual text. A literal translation of his texts compared to the original English will readily show how much liberty he took with the interpretation:

The Time Is Far Spent (original English)Die Zeit ist noch kurz (literal translation
of Maeser’s German version)

1. The time is far spent; there is little remaining

To publish glad tidings by sea and by land.

Then hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven’s at hand.

1. The time is yet short, and the hour draws nigh

No hesitation, no delays will yet avail anything

Therefore hurry and bring everyone the news

Prepare, O prepare, for the kingdom of heaven comes.

2. Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,

But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.

Our little afflictions tho painful at present,

Ere long with the righteous in glory will end.

2. Delay not, servant of God, no matter how hostile

The world may oppose your works

A time will come when you will be thanked and greeted,

Welcomed and accepted in a better world

3. What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,

This world’s bitter hate you are called to endure?

The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!

Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.

3. If here your message is sent by God,

The world may persecute, afflict, mock

There it is certain, when everything is over

Angels will adorn you with an eternal crown.

4. Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;

The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.

Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;

His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.[99]

4. Stay faithful at your labors, for Satan is angry

And his entire effort is to destroy you

Hesitate not, though the way be dangerous and thorny

In Zion the victory you will one day enjoy

(There is no verse 5 in the original English version.)

5. Be diligent in your work of converting mankind

Though the goal may seem unreachable and far

Soon comes the day of exalted transfiguration

And you’ll stand before Jesus, your King and your Lord.[100]

Karl’s interpretation of “The Spirit of God” [101] also departed significantly from the English text. [102] The original English lyrics by W. W. Phelps had six verses, and Karl’s version had five. Two of Phelps’s verses are not commonly sung today; however, neither of those was anything like any of Karl’s verses. Maeser’s fourth verse demonstrates his awareness of the tensions between North and South that would quickly flare up in a civil war.

The Spirit of GodGesang der Begeisterung

1.The Spirit of God like a fire is burning,

The latter-day glory begins to come forth.

The visions and blessings of old are returning,

And angels are coming to visit the earth,

1. The Spirit from on high, like fire and flames,

Ignites the heart with a holy glow,

They feel together with joy and cheer,

That the power of the almighty moves them


We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven

Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb,

Let glory to them in the highest be given

Hence forth and forever, Amen and Amen.


Therefore, sing unitedly with heavenly hosts:

Hosanna, hosanna to the Father and the Son

They are and will be and eternally were

Kings on an everlasting throne.

2. The Lord is extending the Saints’ understanding

Restoring their judges and all as at first

The knowledge and power of God are expanding

The veil o’er the earth is beginning to burst.

2. It cheers the heart in unending bliss

Filled by hardly supposed powers

And clearly in the brightness of an eternal sun

Lovingly shines so many an exalted picture

3. We’ll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit

To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,

That we through our faith may begin to inherit

The visions and blessings and glories of God.

3. Filled with the prophetic spirit in tongues

Will loudly proclaim the heavenly word!

And God’s power drives out, the long struggle,

The sickness of the afflicted through blessings.

4. We'll wash and be wash'd, and with oil be anointed

Withal not omitting the washing of feet:

For he that receiveth his penny appointed,

Must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.

4. The holy truth speaks to the simple,

In spiritual words from above;

It faithfully unites the brother from the North

With the brother from the South in love.

5. Old Israel that fled from the world for his freedom,

Must come with the cloud and the pillar, amain:

Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua lead him,

And feed him on manna from heaven again.

5. O, that we could express, how deeply we feel it.

To be filled with the Holy Ghost.

To everyone, yeah, everyone, we want to proclaim,

With friendship to invite them to share with us

6. How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion

shall lie down together without any ire.

And Ephraim be crowned with his blessings in Zion

As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!

Maeser’s hymns have become a significant part of the German experience in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members have sung his words to many of the most popular hymns in the Church.[103] He knew how critical it was to strengthen the cultural experience of non-English-speaking members and investigators.

The Maesers Head West

After all the necessary arrangements had been made, Karl, Anna, Camilla, Reinhard, and Ottilie were allowed to travel west with a large group of Saints. They left Philadelphia on May 1 from the Reading Railroad station. The New York Herald published an article about Mormon emigrants arriving at Castle Gardens who would be joining those from Philadelphia and Boston to leave for Utah. They announced that in that year, “Five hundred [Mormons] are expected to leave the State of Pennsylvania alone and . . . that the emigration from that section will be greater than in any previous year.”[104] The reporter for the Herald observed this large gathering of Mormons before they embarked to Florence, Nebraska. He drew a stark contrast between “the clear ruddy, honest and healthy faces of the emigrants” and “the long row of uncouth, depraved rum-blossomed, tobacco-stained, bleary-eyed and bulldog looking individuals,” numbering nearly fifty “runners” who were “watching the beasts of prey for a chance to pounce upon some one of the unoffending emigrants and carry him off to be devoured.”[105] The boat they were traveling on was “piled from floor to ceiling” with “boxes, bundles, big and little; bags, long, short, fat, lean square, round, of all geometrical forms and dimensions; kettles, crockery, tin ware, cutlery, guns, canes.”[106] And the emigrants themselves were “as fine, hardy and substantial a body of people as ever started on a pioneer tour into the wilderness. . . . Every individual there was a worker, and no one could look upon the sturdy little throng without feeling that they would be an acquisition of which any locality might well be proud.”[107]

The Lehigh Register reported an article in the May 8 Philadelphia Ledger that described the group that Karl led to meet the emigrants from New York. A large crowd gathered at the depot on Broad and Callowhill Streets to say farewell to the 250 Saints that were departing there. “Many tears were shed, and the parting in some cases was distressing and tearful, even to the spectators, who felt no particular interest in the matter. . . . The emigrants are under the special charge of C. J. Merser [K. G. Maeser], a German, and resident of this city. His orders are supreme, and the emigrants are expected to obey them implicitly. The parties are ticketed for Florence, Kansas [Nebraska], where some of them will remain, but a large majority of them will proceed direct to Utah.”[108]

The residents of Florence, a town with only twelve permanent structures in 1860, must have thought they were being invaded. Between May 30 and July 23 of that year, 2,091 people would leave from Florence in ten different companies.[109] George Q. Cannon organized the Saints into the various companies. The Maesers were assigned to the John Smith wagon company and left on June 15. Captain Smith, the eldest son of Hyrum, had become the Patriarch to the Church in 1855. A twenty-eight-year-old man with a fair complexion and light hair,[110] he had traveled from Salt Lake in September to bring his sister’s family to the valley. After visiting relatives in Nauvoo and other places in Illinois and Iowa, Smith arrived in Florence in February, and in June, Cannon called him to lead the company of 359 people in thirty-nine wagons.

Karl was called as company chaplain; this meant that he led the daily prayers and conducted the church meetings of the company, including the funerals for those whose lives ended on the trail. The railroad fare from Philadelphia to Iowa was substantial, and the cost to travel by wagon from Iowa to Salt Lake must have taken everything the Maesers had. William G. Hartley estimated that a family of four would have paid the 2002 equivalent of $12,000 to travel from Florence to Salt Lake.[111]

The Maesers traveled with one wagon, three oxen, and 780 pounds of supplies. They brought Anna’s seventeen-year-old sister, Camilla; five-year-old Reinhard; and one-year-old Ottilie. By 1860, the roads to Salt Lake were well defined and clearly marked. There were settlements along the way and the Church had had a few years of experience in distributing supplies along the route, but in Hartley’s words, “it was still a monumental journey for men, women, children, oxen, and wagons.”[112] The companies had to face the harshness of the elements, extremes in temperatures, unrelenting wind, difficult river crossings, and constant exposure to the sun.

The well-educated and refined Maeser was not well suited for life on the frontier. His son wrote, “Imagine, if you can, how Karl G. Maeser would handle three yoke of wild, unbroken steers; how he would hitch them to a wagon; and how he would ‘Whoa-ha’ and ‘gee’ them after they were yoked up!”[113] Fortunately, they soon arranged with a young Englishman named Duke to assist them with some of these duties.[114]

Maeser had been repelled by the hypocrisy and elitism that he had experienced with the upper class in Germany, but the contrast of the “rough, uncouth, and undignified” conduct of the plainsmen was not an easy adjustment either. Eventually he learned that, “though these men presented a rough exterior, the true man was still abiding within. He learned long before the company reached the ‘valleys’ that he was associated with men of honor and integrity, men whose word was their bond, who would risk their lives in defense of their fellowmen, and who would die, if necessary, for the Gospel’s sake.”[115]

For the most part, the Maesers’ journey west was comparatively pleasant, and the weather was good, though there were some frightening moments. Around the Fourth of July, for example, the company was traveling by moonlight to obtain water. One man lit a match to light his pipe, which frightened two calves and made them bolt. This caused a commotion, and about ten yoke of oxen stampeded with the wagons. Captain Smith and another man rode to both sides of the runaway oxen, keeping them on the road until they quieted down once again, but a number of the company were injured. Fifteen-year-old Louisa Gunn was knocked over and broke her collarbone in the excitement.[116]

The pioneers on the trek became quite creative in facing the challenges of the journey. Several had to replace an ox with a milk cow. They often sent messages to companies that followed them by leaving notes in buffalo skulls along the roadside. One innovative mother discovered that the wagon ride was rough enough to turn cream into butter: she poured the cream from the night and morning milkings into a covered jar and then placed it in the wagon, where it was jostled and bounced all day to provide them with butter in the evening.[117]

Throughout the journey, reports were sent to Salt Lake regarding the pioneers’ progress. On July 27, for example, Smith sent a letter to Brigham giving him a complete list of the members of the company. He updated friends and relatives about the journey so that they could be prepared to help the travelers get settled upon their arrival. He wrote, “The health of the company is generally good and all moves on as satisfactorily as we can expect under the circumstances. The people are enjoying the Spirit of the Lord and long for the day of their safe arrival in the Valleys of the Mountains.”[118]

The company also faced the tragedy of death, common to most pioneer treks. Their first loss was eighty-year-old William Glover, who died on July 1. Whooping cough broke out among the children even before they left Florence. This eventually took the lives of several children. On August 10, for example, after a three-week struggle with whooping cough, two-and-a-half-year-old Amelia Mary Ann Gunn died and was buried near Devil’s Gate (some five hundred miles east of Salt Lake). The little body was wrapped in special linen that the Gunns had packed, and she was buried in an isolated spot along the trail in a coffin made from lumber intended for feed boxes.[119] Maeser conducted a simple graveside service for the family before they continued their journey to Salt Lake. The company had a total of nine deaths along the way, mostly resulting from children suffering complications from whooping cough.

In July, the Kimball, Lawrence & Company’s merchant train of seventeen wagons passed the Smith company. Mary Ann Adey had been traveling with the Smith company while her husband left with the merchant train. As this train passed the Smith company, the twenty-seven-year-old Mary Ann learned that John had accidentally shot himself in the arm while in Ash Hollow, Nebraska. The leaders of the merchant train did not suppose his injury was very severe, but infection set in and John died eight days later.[120] This must have been a horrible shock to the entire company. Therefore, when Captain Smith’s nephew, Hyrum Walker, accidentally shot himself on August 17, Smith put another man in charge of the company and hurried to Salt Lake with the injured fourteen-year-old. He then hurried back to escort the remaining twenty wagons into the city.[121]

The Maesers rejoiced as they entered the Salt Lake Valley on Saturday, September 1, 1860, ready to start their new lives in Zion. They came through Parley’s Canyon in the afternoon and were thrilled by the panorama that lay before them. The fields were gleaned and families were quickly preparing themselves for the upcoming winter. Their journey had ended, but their work was just beginning.


[1] Karl G. Maeser, “Londoner Correspondenz,” Der Darsteller der Heiligen der Letzten Tage, June 1857, 11–13.

[2] “Epistle of the Twelve,” Millennial Star, April 1841, 311.

[3] They were named after the Greek mythological creatures who—Zeus sent to snatch the blind Phineas’s food just as he was about to eat it.

[4] The immigration commissioners of New York reported the activities of “runners” in Friedrich Kapp’s Immigration and the Commissioners of Emigration of the State of New York (New York: Nation Press, 1870); see especially chapter 4, “Arrival in New York—Runners—Boarding-Houses—Inland Voyage,” 61–84.

[5] See, for example, “Emigration,” Millennial Star, August 29, 1857, 554.

[6] “Emigration,” Millennial Star, 554–55.

[7] “Another Herd of Mormons,” North American & U.S. Gazette, July 4, 1857, 1.

[8] See Raymond L. Cohn, Mass Migration in the Age of Sail: European Immigration to the Antebellum United States (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009) and John R. Killick, “North Atlantic Steerage Fares, Mortality, and Travel Conditions: Evidence from the Cope Line Passenger Service, 1820–1870,” paper presented at the Economic History Society Annual Conference, University of Nottingham, March 2008.

[9] Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 7, 1857, 7, CHL; hereafter cited as Journal History.

[10] “More of Brigham’s Dupes,” Public Ledger, July 4, 1857, reprinted in the Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, July 7, 1857.

[11] James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake: Deseret Book, 1976), 298–99.

[12] “Governor Brigham Young proclamation,” September 15, 1857, MSS 107, LTPSC.

[13] Brigham Young to William I. Appleby, January 6, 1858, cited in Eugene England, “Brigham’s Gospel Kingdom,” BYU Studies 18, no. 3 (Spring 1978): 34.

[14] North American & United States Gazette, Philadelphia, PA, July 29, 1857.

[15] “Our Reporter Visits the Mormons,” New York Times, March 29, 1856. This article describes the emigrants on the packet-ship Caravan.

[16] “Another Herd of Mormons,” article quoted in the Mormon, July 18, 1857. Most of it was also included in the Millennial Star, September 5, 1857, 571–72.

[17] It has generally been supposed that he died while they were at sea, but it is more likely that it happened upon their arrival. Evidence for this conclusion is provided in the Utah Enquirer at Maeser’s retirement from the BYA: “The first night on American soil one of his children died” (January 4, 1892), and during his fiftieth jubilee celebration: “The close of a long voyage, which should have occasioned joy, brought the keenest of sorrow; his second son died the first night on shore.” Karl G. Maeser, School and Fireside, illustrated ed. (Provo, UT: Skelton, Maeser and Co., 1897), 354. A postscript was added to this illustrated edition by N. L. Nelson, “Dr. Maeser’s Jubilee,” 349–59, which reported the fiftieth Jubilee of Maeser as a teacher. See also note 27.

[18] See the Camilla Mieth Cobb account cited in by Harold H. Jenson, “True Pioneer Stories,” Juvenile Instructor, September 1930, 527–58.

[19] Cannon described that two infants passed away in the port. The other deaths during the voyage did not include infants. Letter of Angus M. Cannon to William I. Appleby, Mormon, July 18, 1857, 3,

[20] This part of the article was not included in the Millennial Star account. Compare “Another Herd of Mormons,” North American and United States Gazette, July 4, 1857, 1, and “Another Herd of Mormons,” Millennial Star, September 5, 1857, 571–72.

[21] “Another Herd of Mormons,” Gazette, 1.

[22] Angus M. Cannon to William I. Appleby, letter, Mormon, July 18, 1857, 3.

[23] Angus M. Cannon to William I. Appleby, letter, Mormon, July 18, 1857, 3.

[24] “Arrival of the Tuscarora,” Mormon, July 11, 1857, 3

[25] “Arrival of the Tuscarora with Five Hundred and Thirty-seven Mormons,” New York Times, August 4, 1857, 5.

[26] “Another Shipload of Mormons in Philadelphia—the Majority of them Women,” New York Herald, July 6, 1857, 6; this was also reprinted in the Hartford Daily Courant, July 8, 1857, 2.

[27] “More Mormons,” Boston Investigator, July 15, 1857.

[28] This article was reprinted in a number of places. “More of Brigham’s Dupes,” Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, July 7, 1857.

[29] “Arrival of the Tuscarora with 537 Mormons,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 8, 1857, 2.

[30] “Another Herd of Mormons,” American Gazette, July 4, 1857.

[31] “List of Passengers,” Mormon, June 20, 1857; “Arrival of Tuscarora,” Mormon, July 11, 1857.

[32] “Departure,” Millennial Star, June 24, 1857, 376–77.

[33] Sepoys were Indian soldiers serving a European power. In May of 1857, a group of sepoys mutinied against the British East India Company because they felt unjustly treated on the basis of race. This uprising grew into full-blown insurrection and civil rebellion. The author is using this example to compare the plight and reaction of the Mormons to this rebellion.

[34] “The Mormon Complication,” The Press, (Philadelphia), November 19, 1857, 2.

[35] Karl G. Maeser, “Das Brigham Young Lied,” Darsteller, August 1857, 47–48. English translation by A. LeGrand Richards. It is not known whether this poem was sent from Philadelphia or from England before Karl left for Philadelphia.

[36] I was able to find a death record for “Carl Maier July 4, 1857 Machpelah, Debility, John McCrystal,” Registration of Deaths Cemetery Returns, 1803–1860, Lyell-McLauglin, XR 499:9, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. McCrystal would have been the attending physician. Machpelah Cemetery was not far from the harbor but was moved to the outskirts of the City in 1895, and it is now called “Graceland Cemetery,” where 1600 Civil War veterans and an unknown number of civilians are buried—most in unmarked graves.

[37] Angus Munn Cannon, journal, CHL, MS 1200, July 18, 1857, and July 19, 1857.

[38] Cannon, journal, September 1857. He mentions studying German with “Elder Maser” on September 3 and says that “Maser” did not come on September 4.

[39] “A Mormon Woods Meeting: Three Days in a Jersey Wilderness,” New York Times, August 31, 1857, 5.

[40] His appointment was announced in the Mormon, September 5, 1857. John Snedaker was appointed to assist him and they were to report regularly to the presidency in New York. The article also announced that Alexander Ott was appointed as a missionary to the Germans in the New York Conference.

[41] Evelyn Crandall, oral history, interview by Evelyn Crandall, OH 64, 1964, LTPSC.

[42] See Journal History, September 29, 1855, and Deseret News, January 14, 1857, 5. Wilford Woodruff also wrote in his journal, “August 5, 1855: I attended the prayer circle in the evening. Several missionaries were chosen to go to Texas and some German, Swiss, Norwegian elders to go to those of their nations in the states.” See Wilford Woodruff’s Diary (Salt Lake: Kraut’s Pioneer Press), 69.

[43] After completing his mission, Hofheins led a handcart company in June 1857.

[44] Jacob Hofheins to John Taylor, Journal History, October 26, 1856, 4, CHL; printed also in the Mormon, November 29, 1856, 3.

[45] Letter from John D. Snedaker, MS 3371, folder 2, 3. Snedaker returned with a group in March 1858 and arrived June 20, 1858. See Journal History, June 20. 1858, CHL.

[46] See, for example, Fred E. Woods, “‘Pronounced Clean, Comfortable, and Good Looking’: The Passage of Mormon Immigrants through the Port of Philadelphia,” Mormon Historical Studies 6, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 5–34.

[47] Brigham Young to William I. Appleby, August 8, 1857, Brigham Young letterpress copybook, CHL.

[48] Brigham Young to Samuel W. Richards, August 5, 1857, letterpress copybook, CHL.

[49] Brigham Young to William I. Appleby, September 12, 1857, letterpress copybook, CHL.

[50] Brigham Young to Jeter Clinton, September 12, 1857, letterpress copybook, 839, CHL.

[51] See Arthur Delmar Slater, “Man of Integrity: Samuel Whitney Richards,” manuscript, CHL. He arrived back in Salt Lake City on May 8, 1858.

[52] “Very Late from Utah,” New York Times, October 12, 1857.

[53] “The Mormons,” New York Times, January 6, 1858.

[54] “Emigration to the States Stopped for the Present,” Millennial Star, October 17, 1857, 668.

[55] “Mormon Movements,” Independent Republican (Montrose, PA), October 8, 1857, 3.

[56] For a well-developed review of the early history of the Church in Philadelphia, see Stephen J. Fleming, “Discord in the City of Brotherly Love: The Story of Early Mormonism in Philadelphia,” Mormon Historical Studies 5, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 3–27. However, he claims, “With the Utah War of 1858, Brigham Young called everyone home; and the Eastern States Mission was shut down. Efforts were revived again immediately after the Civil War, but Young’s followers had a difficult time reestablishing themselves” (23). This overlooks the efforts of Stenhouse and George Q. Cannon as well as those who couldn’t afford to come in 1858.

[57] See David W. Whittaker, “East of Nauvoo: Benjamin Winchester and the Early Mormon Church,” Journal of Mormon History 21, no. 2 (1994): 31–83.

[58] Walter Wayne Smith, “Philadelphia Branch,” in Journal of History (Lamoni, IA: The Board of Publication of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 1919), 527.

[59] Appleby left via Washington and did not return with the main group. The manuscript history of the Church in the eastern states lists Appleby as the last president until the end of the Civil War. This overlooks Stenhouse’s temporary appointment and his replacement by George Q. Cannon in the fall of 1858.

[60] Journal History, March 9, 1858. Samuel W. Richards letter to Asa Calkin, also printed in “Foreign Correspondence,” Millennial Star, April 10, 1858, 234.

[61] Stenhouse remained strong until the late 1860s, when he fell out with Brigham and turned bitter toward the Church. His wife, Fanny, wrote a book documenting their struggles and severally criticizing the practice of polygamy titled An English Woman in Utah.

[62] Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Daniel H. Wells to T. B. H. Stenhouse, in Journal History, May 11, 1858.

[63] Parley P. Pratt stayed with Reinsimer (also spelled Reinsimar, Rensiemer, Riensimar) in 1857 in Philadelphia. Reinsimer eventually came to Salt Lake. He hosted the visit of Joseph Smith III to Salt Lake City in 1876 (see Salt Lake Tribune, November 23 and 24, 1876). In the 1869 Salt Lake Directory he is listed as a blacksmith in the Ninth Ward.

[64] Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Memorial Association, 1901), 1:292.

[65] An article in the Agitator began to show impatience with the way the “Utah War” was being handled by the administration: “The Mormon War is one of those things which never had a beginning, yet is now credited with an end. . . . Could all this trouble and expense have been avoided? Most certainly. Mr. Buchanan proceeded upon a supposition. Rumor said that the Saints were rebellious and murderous. The President ordered a military occupation of the country. Then came the letting of the contracts for supplies and a grand swarming of hungry Government contractors. Numberless men struggled and lied for the privilege of furnishing beef which a civilized dog would not eat, at fabulous prices. . . . It will be found that every dollar expended on this farce of a Mormon war, is so much money taken from the people’s purse to advance the private schemes of the Administration.” “The Mormon War Ended,” Agitator (Wellsboro, PA), June 24, 1858, 2.

[66] James L. Huston, The Panic of 1857 and the Coming of the Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 1987), 41.

[67] Huston, Panic of 1857, 41.

[68] Russell F. Weigley, “The Border City in Civil War, 1854–1865,” in Philadelphia: A 300–Year History, ed. Russell F. Weigley and others (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982), 381.

[69] See, for example, Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 30–31; and Alma P. Burton, Karl G. Maeser: Mormon Educator (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1953), 12.

[70] For example, Valuska writes, “By 1860, the descendants of the first German immigrants occupied much of the best agricultural land in Pennsylvania and composed a large minority within the greater anglo-American population, estimated by some historians to be as high as 600,000 persons, or almost a third of the Keystone State’s population.” David L. Valuska and Christian B. Keller, Damn Dutch: Pennsylvania Germans at Gettysburg (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2004), 4.

[71] Michael Everette Bell, “Regional Identity in the Antebellum South: How German Immigrants became ‘Good’ Charlestonians,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 100, no. 1 (January 1999): 12.

[72] See, for example, Heather M. Seferovich, “Hospitality and Hostility: Missionary Work in the American South, 1875–98,” in Go Ye into All the World: The Growth and Development of Mormon Missionary Work Ted. Reid L. Neilson and Fred E. Woods (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2012), 317–40.

[73] They left Richmond in 1860 and came to Salt Lake with the Robinson handcart company. “Lapish, Hannah, [journal] in Handcart Stories, 37–40,” CHL,,18016,4976-5930,00.html, accessed October 26, 2010.

[74] Maeser, Karl G. Maeser, 33.

[75] Maeser, Karl G. Maeser, 31.

[76] Maeser, Karl G. Maeser, 33.

[77] Many of Tyler’s records were destroyed after the Civil War. Tyler had two families. His first wife was Letitia Christian Tyler (1790–1842). They had six children together. She died while they were living in the White House. John then married the much younger Julia Gardner Tyler (1820–89). They had seven more children. Three of the children from the first wife were older than his second wife. One of his sons from his first wife was living in Philadelphia when Karl went to Richmond. The Tylers had six children in 1857, ages eleven, nine, eight, six, four, and one. The Daily Enquirer published a short history of Maeser at the occasion of his retirement from the BYA, “Dedicatory Exercises at the B.Y. Academy,” January 4, 1892, 1, stating that “he accepted a position as music teacher in Charles City, Virginia, where he became intimately acquainted with the late President John Tyler, whose younger children he instructed on the piano.” Another account was published regarding this experience while Karl was still alive, at his fiftieth jubilee as a teacher: “Brother Maeser was placed in charge of four Elders who, like himself, were driven to seek employment or perish. Afoot and in mid-winter, they set out for Virginia, supporting themselves from place to place by singing glees. All found employment in Richmond, Brother Maeser as music teacher in the family of ex-President John Tyler and others.” N. L. Nelson, “Dr. Maeser’s Jubilee,” School and Fireside (illustrated), 354.

[78] Julia Tyler to Juliana Gardiner, April 12, 1858, 65 T97 Gr., box 8, folder 5, Tyler Family Papers, Special Collections, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

[79] C. D. Fox, They Came in ’60, ed. Kate B. Carter (Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1960, repr. 2004), 28.

[80] See, for example, Georgia Maeser, A Biography of Karl G. Maeser (Maeser family record, printed by Eilene Thompson, 1959), 9.

[81] “The Mormons: Mormon Conference at Philadelphia,” New York Herald, August 29, 1858, 3.

[82] The Deseret News printed a short statement about the conference (using the same spelling as the Herald) “A Conference,” October 20, 1858, Brigham commended Stenhouse for doing his “duty faithfully.” Brigham Young Letterpress copybook, September 14, 1858, 403, CHL.

[83] Brigham Young letterpress copybook, September 7, 1858, CHL, 399–401.

[84] Brigham Young letterpress copybook, September 15, 1858, CHL, 403–5.

[85] They regularly complained that someone seemed to be screening their letters. In one letter, Brigham Young wrote, “P. S. Mr. Postmaster and Postmaster’s clerks:—When you have perused this letter, please enclose and forward it to its destination.” Brigham Young to George Q. Cannon, August 18, 1859, Brigham Young copybook, CHL, 213.

[86] George Q. Cannon to Brigham Young, Brigham Young incoming correspondence, January 26, 1859, CR 123411, 51, CHL.

[87] Georgia Maeser claimed that when the Maesers lived in Philadelphia they resided in a cellar. Georgia Maeser, “Reinhard Maeser (1855–1926),” MS 1841, box 1, folder 9, LTPSC.

[88] “A Brief History of the Heiner Family”; heiner_his.htm (accessed March 14, 2013). The Heiner family started for Utah on April 11, 1859.

[89] Maeser’s letter to Coward was dated March 10, 1859 and sent from “T. O. Kensington, Phila.” MS 1210, box 3, folder 15, LTPSC.

[90] George Q. Cannon to Brigham Young, March 18, 1859, CR 123411 51, Brigham Young Correspondence, CHL.

[91] Cannon to Young, April 14, 1859, CR 123411 51, CHL.

[92] Cannon to Young, October 14, 1859, CR 123411 51, CHL.

[93] Cannon to Young, October 14, 1859, CR 123411 51, CHL.

[94] Letter published in the Darsteller, November 1859, 6, written October 14, 1859, translation by A. LeGrand Richards.

[95] He was sustained on October 23, informed in December, and set apart when he returned to Salt Lake in August 1860.

[96] The fourth and final volume of the Darsteller continued as a monthly periodical from June to December of 1857, but then it became quite erratic, with editions in August and September of 1858; then November and December of 1859; June, July, September, and October of 1860; and finally January and February of 1861, after which it was discontinued.

[97] This is the hymn ridiculed by Bauer because it was put to the tune of the German student drinking song Krambambuli. Later, the title was changed to Die Zeit ist noch kurz (The Time Is Far Spent).

[98] The title was changed for the 1861 hymnal to Der Geist aus den Höhen.

[99] Eliza R. Snow, “The Time Is Far Spent,” Hymns (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 266.

[100] Translation by A. LeGrand Richards.

[101] William W. Phelps, “The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning,” Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate, March 1836, 280–81.

[102] Translation by A. LeGrand Richards.

[103] Chapter 8 will explore more fully Maeser’s contribution to the German Gesangbuch.

[104] “Arrival of Mormon Saints: Their Departure for Utah,” New York Herald, May 3, 1860, 4.

[105] “Arrival of Mormon Saints,” 4.

[106] “Arrival of Mormon Saints,” 4.

[107] “Arrival of Mormon Saints,” 4.

[108] “Departure of Mormons for Utah,” Lehigh Register, May 16, 1860.

[109] Fox, They Came in ’60, 31.

[110] Richard F. Burton, The City of the Saints, and Across the Rocky Mountains to California (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1862), 180. Burton, a British geographer and cartographer, described a trip he made to Utah. He passed the Smith company in August just outside of Fort Bridger on his way to Salt Lake.

[111] William G. Hartley, “Brigham Young’s Overland Trails Revolution: The Creation of the ‘Down-and-Back’ Wagon-Train System, 1860–61,” Journal of Mormon History 28, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 12. The Maesers were not a part of the “down-and-back” wagon train, but it was started in 1860.

[112] Hartley, “Brigham Young’s Overland Trails Revolution,” 6.

[113] Maeser, Karl G. Maeser, 35.

[114] No “Duke” is listed in the log of the company, but there was a thirty-two-year-old named William Tuke listed. The Tukes, a family of four, did not have a wagon, so they probably made arrangements to share wagon space in exchange for William’s help with the oxen.

[115] Maeser, Karl G. Maeser, 36.

[116] Kate B. Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1961), 4:59.

[117] Sarah Evans Rutherford and Ann Hughes Treharne, “Reminiscences,” reel 11, box 14, fd. 11, item 9, 1–2, in Mormon Biographical Sketches Collection, CHL.

[118] John Smith to Brigham Young, July 27, 1860, Journal History, supplement, CHL, 38.

[119] George A. White, “Biography of Benjamin Gunn,” History of the Gunns and Houghtons, MS 12445/12446, 5–6, CHL.

[120] “Accidentally Shot,” Deseret News Weekly, August 29, 1860, 208.

[121] A number of the wagons departed to other parts of the territory.