William Athole Macmaster diaries [photocopies], 1851-1869  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Macmaster, William Athole, 1816-1887
William Athole Macmaster diaries [photocopies]
1851-1869 (inclusive)
1 box, (0.5 linear feet)
Collection Number
The William Athole Macmaster diaries [photocopies] (1851-1869) detail McMaster's early life, conversion to the LDS Church, his LDS mission experiences, and his family's move to Salt Lake City, Utah. William McMaster (1816-1887) was an early Mormon convert in Scotland.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections.
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT
Telephone: 801-581-8863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

William Athol McMaster was born 15 September 1816 at Greenock (?) Scotland. His father went to America in 1829 and did not return, so his mother moved her family to Paisley, where William and his brother were apprenticed to a rope and twine maker. There they worked the appointed seven years, and it was in Paisley that William was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 15 April 1840. During the next decade, he married, had a family, and moved to Dunfermline (?) Scotland. All this time he was a very active member of the church, becoming a branch president, ministering to the sick, preaching to congregations and branches all over the area, and confounding the enemies of the Mormon faith. In 1851, he moved his family to Kendal, Scotland, preparatory to moving to America. They lived in Kendal until March 1854, when William and his family boarded ship in Liverpool and sailed for America. During the voyage, they suffered some hardship in the form of storms, calms, damage to the vessel, and a number of deaths among the passengers. After reaching the mouth of the Mississippi and New Orleans on 1 May 1854, hardship continued. Many of the members of his party were felled by cholera and other diseases, and riverside burials became commonplace. In July 1854, William and his family left "the Borders of the Priries" for Utah; William was in charge of ten wagons and one hundred Saints on the overland journey. During the four month journey across the plains, the party had their share of adventures: wagon breakdowns, lost oxen, encounters with Indians, disease, and other mishaps. One of William's sons died on the journey, and was buried on the side of Platte River. The McMaster family reached Great Salt Lake City on 1 October 1854, and settled in the 11th ward of the city. After about a year of working at odd jobs, William returned to his occupation of rope and twine making and soon made a name for himself. In Utah, William joined the Nauvoo Legion, was ordained a High Priest in the LDS Church, and in general made himself at home in Great Salt Lake City. In 1868, William was sent back to Scotland to serve a mission, and stayed until the following year. William also embraced the doctrine of celestial marriage and had more than one wife, although it is not known how many wives or what any of his wives' names were, including his first one. William Athol McMaster died at Salt Lake City in 1887.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The William Athole Macmaster diaries [photocopies] (1851-1869) detail McMaster's early life, conversion to the LDS Church, his LDS mission experiences, and his family's move to Salt Lake City, Utah. The copies have been bound in two separate volumes.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library’s Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Initial Citation: William Athole Macmaster diaries, Ms 585, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following Citations: Ms 585.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Mormon Church--Missions--Scotland
  • Mormon pioneers--Emigration
  • Mormons--Diaries
  • Mormons--Missionary experiences--Scotland
  • Geographical Names :
  • West (U.S.)--Description and travel
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Autobiographies
  • Diaries