From his own handwriting:
"When twelve years of age, I engaged to learn the book-binding trade at the James Larnsden & Co., Glasgow. For three years another boy and I took turns to...get the key of the workshop and be there by seven a.m. in summer, at 7:30 a.m. in winter, rain or shine, warm or cold; make paste, melt glue, sweep floors and do needed chores for the men when they arrived a half hour later. Step by step I moved ahead until I was 20 years of age, when I became a journeyman and become so efficient that I soon received the second highest wages of any in the shop.
At this time, a man by the name of Robert Brown, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sought and received employment at the shop, and soon thereafter privately taught me the Gospel, which I gladly received, and on August 19, 1857, I received baptism at his hands...I never was ordained a deacon, but was ordained a Teacher, and acted in that office for some time...I labored [in the mission field] from Lanarkshire to Ayrshire for about eight months...While in the Glasgow conference, I remember the late President Joseph F. Smith, then on a mission to Scotland...I met my first wife Susan McIntyre [there], to whom I was married Apr 14, 1864, by Hansen Walker of Pleasant Grove, Utah...Two weeks later we started for New York on board the "Monarch of the Sea", the trip being an exceedingly rough one. Some 900 passengers aboard, about half of them being Latter Day Saints...Over 75 died on shipboard; a few adults, the balance children. At one time the wind blew so hard that the sails were torn to shreds and the safety of the ship was held in doubt. During this period, at the break of day, when objects could scarcely be seen, John Smith, the Church Patriarch...was seen to go to the prow of the vessel and petition God for his protection. Half an hour later all was quiet. We arrived in New York after exactly five weeks voyage, where sister Margaret was waiting; and a week's visiting before starting West.
Arrived at Florence, Nebraska, in June 1864, which was the starting place of emigrants to cross the plains. Found the chest will all of our belongings intact. Accepted a job with Mr. Hall to drive an ox team from there to Sale Lake City for $40.00 per month...My wife Susan and little James came with the church train. A large band of splendid masculine Indians had a camp near to the starting point, but were on friendly terms with the white people. No Indians were seen by our company on the trip. Neither did we see a buffalo.
...When we came to the Platt River we had to cross several times by doubling teams, 4 or 5 yoke of oxen to the team. We got all across early in the afternoon and camped for the night...On starting on the journey at Florence, I had two pair of shoes; but with wading through mud, water, and sand, and hot dry travelling, I had only one shoe left. With the other men I went up to the plateau where the herd was, but when I got about one-quarter mile from camp, I stepped upon a bed of prickley pears with my bare foot; they hurt badly. I stopped and picked them out, but had not gone much further when I stepped again on prickley pears...[I] camped there alone for the night. At daybreak I started for camp, but not knowing the location, I landed on the edge of the plateau about a mile from camp. But fortunately I espied a pair of horses that had wandered out of sight the night before. Each had a halter; I got them, rode one and led the other, a racing mare...So all were glad to see me. I told them about my foot troubles so the boss promised me a pair of new boots at the first trading post. I told him to get No. 9's, as my feet were swollen badly. He stopped at the post to make purchases, but forgot my boots... I asked for my boots, he said he forgot, and at once wheeled to go back...he soon returned with the boots, but upon examination I found one to be No. 9 and the other one a No. 11--but with sufficient padding they were better than bare feet. All the riding I had on the trip was one half day. The train my wife was riding in and the one that I was driving for met together two days before reaching Salt Lake City.
On arriving at Salt Lake City, we stayed for a few days with the wife's brother, Thomas McIntyre. Not being able to find employment, I went to Tooele where Eli B. Kelsey was employing help. Wages at $3.00 per day, but flour was $12.00 per 100 pounds. Store goods were very dear, but beef was very cheap. Lived in Tooele until 1869; could get no land with water right.
...Moved to Manti in 1869, got a lot in east-center of town, built an adobe house. Owing to the impossibility of getting land in Manri, and no way of making money, only by occasional labor, we moved to Monroe in 1872, then being resettled after the Indian warfare. A good deal of hardships were encountered in pioneering and making new homes. There were days of trial, yet happy days.
In the early days of Monroe I taught school, clerked in a store, acted as County Superintendent of Public Instruction...and for many years was Justice of the Peace...and 4 1/2 years as Postmaster. I was representative at the convention to petition the United States government for statehood for Utah. Was Ward Clerk 30 years, Town Clerk 15 years, and school trustee for many years.