I just started doing another editorial pass of the first few chapters of the book and came across a part of a biography written by Ruth Young. In it she mentions an Elder William Hyde who was the missionary who baptized our common ancestor, Richard Merchant, of Vacy Allyn (Allen) river in Australia. She also mentioned the fact that the event was recorded in Elder Hyde's journal as part of the Australian mission's history.
Something (actually, more like Someone) prompted me to search via Google to see if anyone had published those journals online. The first result revealed what I was hoping to find, and happens to be published on the web site of a man named Bill Thayer
. He apparently has repurposed a transcript written by the Church historian dating back to 1974 or earlier. Here is the telling entry from part 4 of the journal
, with the baptism noted as having occurred Monday, 18
Sunday. Held meeting again and on Monday the 18th, Mr. Richard Merchant, George Knight and Jane Smith were baptized. After baptism and suitable instructions, I administered the Sacrament.Part 5
, dated Wednesday, 22 March 1854, details the journey to Utah. Some of the entries of two months prior to their departure (beginning 29 January 1854 with a letter to Elder Farnham) are interesting to read also. The 29 January entry anachronistically references the 4 March 1854 publication of the Zion's Watchman newspaper. It establishes some interesting facts about the preparations of the "Julia Ann" to set sail for Utah.
The time is close at hand when another company of Saints will leave this land, in the fine new barque "Julia Ann", Captain Davis. Mr. Pond of California, owner of the vessel, will accompany them. They will sail from New Castle, bound for San Pedro. The company is under the charge of Elder William Hyde, who during the past year has laboured faithfully, diligently, and perseveringly in the Hunters River district. His labours have been blessed, many have obeyed the Gospel, and are gathering with him. He goes hence with the full confidence and approbation of all true Saints; and we feel to assure him that their prayers will constantly ascend to our Father in Heaven for his protection and guidance over sea and land, and that he may return safe to the bosom of his family and friends in Zion. The company is from the Hunters River district. They consist mostly of farmers and their families. They are of responsible connections, possessing firm, good, and obedient spirits. They number 63 souls. We would particularly request the attention of the Saints and the public to Elder William Hyde's farewell address.
There were a few other Google search results as well, including a site listing him as one of many missionaries who personally associated with Joseph Smith. Clicking on his name from that site, I found William Hyde's autobiography
The whole journal and autobiography are a great read if you're at all interested in how the Gospel was taught to our ancestors.
I love the Internet.