The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
Joseph Jarvis Crossley was 19 years old when he and family members boarded the ship Horizon bound for America in May 1856.
Trained as a clerk, Crossley wrote about the monthlong voyage across the Atlantic in a pocket-sized journal, sometimes using shorthand to describe the events and people aboard the ship.
For whatever reason, Crossley stopped writing after he and the other Latter-day Saint passengers disembarked in Boston. Records show his family reached Winter Quarters, Nebraska, then continued across the plains with the ill-fated Martin handcart company. The young man died somewhere near Martin’s Cove in Wyoming.
More than 165 years later, his small journal — passed down through his family and lost for a time — was recently found by descendants and donated on March 1 to the Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It’s pretty old and in pretty bad shape,” said Ben Smith, who participated in the donation. “We gave it to the Church because they can hold on to it better than we can.”
Finding Joseph Crossley’s journal
A century after the voyage, Crossley’s journal was translated from Pitman shorthand to English in Logan, Utah. Pitman shorthand is phonetic system of rapid writing based on the sounds of words rather than on conventional spellings.
A transcript of the journal was circulated, and his story was told at family reunions, which helped keep his memory alive.
The family member who possessed the journal died in 2009, and nobody could find it.
“We thought it was lost,” said Hayden Smith, a family member who participated in the donation.
Nearly 15 years later, the journal was unexpectedly discovered at the bottom of a box in the basement closet of the family member’s Texas home. Many consider finding the journal a miracle.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.