Thomas Vaughan, born 1850 in Llanfoist, Wales, son of John and Maranah Vaughan, arrived in New York City, 1 June 1886. He arrived in Salt Lake City by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad on June 8 and settled in Ogden. His wife, Isabella, and seven children, the youngest, my Great Grandfather, George Robert Vaughn, arrived the next Spring, also through New York and on the same steamship, the S.S. Arizona of the Guion Line.
The Arizona was built in 1879 and had some fame attached to it as a passenger had murdered the first captain, it set the Atlantic West to East speed crossing record, and it survived a head-on collision with an iceberg all in its first year of service.
|The bow of the Arizona after collision with an iceberg.|
Amazingly no one was injured or lost at sea.
And fortunately repaired before the Vaughans embarked.
|Unveiling of the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World (1886) by Edward Moran|
They were among the working poor. As Mormon converts in England they would have lost what little status in society they might have had and possibly had conflict with extended family and neighbors. They would have likely been less favored for job opportunities and may have been subject to harassment or even persecution based on the negative press coverage and sensationalized fiction of most things Mormon or LDS in those days.
They came in Church-organized companies even that late in the 19th Century. The official Church reports of Thomas's voyage listing the Mormon passengers include reference to "about 200 Russian Jews." They were clearly fleeing the persecution of Czarist pogroms (think Fiddler on the Roof).