Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Cyrus Hubbard Wheelock Week

Cyrus Hubbard Wheelock Week

By: Amy Tanner Thiriot - November 26, 2012

Hundreds of recently-baptized European emigrants boarded the ship Horizon in Liverpool in 1856 and “the captain ordered to weigh anchor. All hands were alert and the order obeyed. Soon the rattling of the huge anchor chains were heard and the beautiful Horizon floated away from its mooring place. The Saints were mostly on deck and above the voices of the sailors the familiar sound of, ‘My Native Land Farewell’ was heard.” In his account of the sailing of the Horizon, one of the emigrants noted that Elder Cyrus Wheelock wrote the hymn “My Native Land Farewell” which is better known as “The Gallant Ship is Under Way.”

Cyrus Hubbard Wheelock, a native New Yorker, had finished his mission so he sailed for home with the emigrants.

After helping the pioneers get organized at Florence, Nebraska, Cyrus and about a dozen others traveled to Utah in an advance party. The men arrived in Salt Lake City on October 4 and immediately notified Brigham Young that the companies of emigrants were still on the plains and were in desperate need of help. Winter had come early that year. Brigham Young stood up in General Conference and organized a massive relief effort to aid the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies and the wagon trains stranded on the plains.

Cyrus H. Wheelock turned right around and set back across the plains to rescue his beloved British converts.

The story of the 1856 handcart pioneers is too long and too tragic to tell here, but Wheelock was among the first to reach the Willie Handcart Company and was one of a heroic handful of men who helped the Martin Handcart Company cross the Sweetwater River.

While researching the details of the story, which turns out to be a little more complicated than what I related here, particularly regarding the authorship of “My Native Land, Farewell,” since he didn’t write it although he did write “Ye Elders of Israel,” I found, to my surprise, that little has been written about Cyrus H. Wheelock, a man who played an important role in early Church history. So, it’s going to be Cyrus Hubbard Wheelock Week at Keepapitchinin. Along with these posts we’ll get to read some poetry by Hannah Last Cornaby, a member of Cyrus’s 1853 pioneer company.

Today: Did Cyrus Wheelock Really Write “My Native Land, Farewell” (“The Gallant Ship Is Under Way”)?

“Crossing the Atlantic Ocean” by Hannah Last Cornaby

Tuesday: Four Short Stories About Cyrus Hubbard Wheelock

“A True Story” by Hannah Last Cornaby

Wednesday: “Ye Elders of Israel”

“To Elder Geo. W. Wilkins” by Hannah Last Cornaby

Thursday: The Many Marriages of Cyrus Wheelock

“To Mrs. Mary Isaacs” by Hannah Last Cornaby

Friday: The Dramatic Tale of Mary Ann Broomhead Wheelock Rattenberry

Cyrus Hubbard Wheelock: I Go Devoted to His Cause

“Lead Me To the Rock” by Hannah Last Cornaby



  1. Terrific! Should be a great week.

    I looked for a picture of the “beautiful ‘Horizon'” but haven’t succeeded yet. Does anybody know where to find one?

    Comment by Mark B. — November 26, 2012 @ 7:25 am

  2. Sounds good to me! Do we still get Bright Treasure episodes too? 😉

    Comment by Julia — November 26, 2012 @ 8:04 am

  3. Julia, I wouldn’t leave you hanging! Afternoon fiction and poetry will be posted as usual.

    I’m going to enjoy the vacation from posting just like Mom enjoys having someone else do the cooking and dishwashing on Mother’s Day! Amy has some wonderful stories in the hopper.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 26, 2012 @ 8:20 am

  4. Mark, someone at this family history site has posted an image, but I can’t guess whether the artist had anything to go by beyond his imagination.

    [Later: The more I look at that image, the less I like it. The sails and ropes look like they’d have trouble sailing a toy boat across a bathtub.]

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 26, 2012 @ 8:23 am

  5. Hmm. That picture looks like a redo of Ken Baxter’s lovely “Embarkation of the Saints at Liverpool,” with the Horizon substituted for the Ellen Maria.

    Mark B., if anyone has a picture, it would probably be the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The Horizon isn’t listed in the online catalog, but the museum notes that only 10 percent of the maritime collection is cataloged.

    Comment by Amy T — November 26, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  6. Ardis–I’m with you on that drawing of the “Horizon.” Whoever drew it had never seen a sailing ship, or if he had, he wasn’t paying attention.

    For starters, it’s really helpful to have standing rigging running abaft from the masts.

    Amy, so you’d suggest a trip to Salem to look through 90% of their collection? :)

    Comment by Mark B. — November 26, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  7. Now who would turn down a trip to Salem?? (Even in the late fall.) But a phone call would probably do just as well. (They used to sell prints of the ships in the collection, but I can’t see where you would order them on the current website.)

    Comment by Amy T — November 26, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  8. Heeey… I was promised gun running… On Facebook you promised gun running!

    Comment by quantumleap42 — November 26, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  9. The week is just gettin’ started, quantum …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 26, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  10. […] Elders of Israel,” CH Wheelock, LDS #305, p 359, Psalm. 281; Clark, 1900 Aug 20 Mon; Clark, 1901 Jan 31 Thu (as, “O Bablond”); […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » Southwestern States Mission: Songs of Zion — April 27, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

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