The John J. Boyd was named for an early marine merchant. It was owned by William Tyson of New York. It was a three decker with a square stern, round tuck, and billethead. It was built by S. G. Bogart at New York City, New York with a burthen of 1,311 tons and was 195 feet long and 38 feet wide. Apparently in 1860 it was damaged by fire and salvaged. In July 1863, probably because of the Civil War, the vessel was sold to foreign owners.

The John J Boyd was chartered by the church to carry return missionaries and converts from Liverpool, England to New York. They left Liverpool on 12 December, 1855 and arrived in New York on 16 February, 1855.

The following information is from the Mormon Immigration Index.

"DEPARTURE -- The ship John J. Boyd cleared on the 10th instant for New York with 509 souls of the Saints on board, of whom 437 were from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, 30 from Piedmont, and 42 from Great Britain.

The prices of passages on the Emerald Isle and the John J. Boyd were 4 5 shillings for adults, 3 5 shillings for children, and 10 shillings for infants. The age of distinction between adults and children is 8 years, instead of 14 as heretofore.

On the twenty-ninth of November, 1855, four hundred and thirty-seven Scandinavian Saints sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, on board the steamship Loven, under the direction of Elder Knud Peterson, who returned from his mission to Norway. After a pleasant voyage Kiel was reached, and the emigrants continued the journey by rail to Gluckstadt, thence by steamer to Grimsby, England, and thence by rail to Liverpool, where the Scandinavian emigrants were joined by forty-two British and thirty Italian Saints, and went on board the ship, John J. Boyd.

On the sixteenth of February, 1856, the emigrants landed in New York, and after tarrying a few days at Castle Garden, the journey was continued on the twenty-first or twenty-second by rail via Dunkirk and Cleveland to Chicago, where the company, according to previous arrangements, was divided into three parts, of which one, consisting of about one hundred and fifty souls, went to Burlington, Iowa, another to Alton, Illinois, and a third to St. Louis, Missouri. Most of those who went to Burlington and Alton remained in these places or near them a year or more working to earn means wherewith to continue the journey. The part of the company which went to St. Louis, arrived in that city on the tenth of March, and soon afterwards continued the journey to Florence, Nebraska, where they joined the general emigration that crossed the plains in 1856.

Nearly two thousand Latter-day Saints were transported to America in three voyages by the full-bodied ship John J. Boyd of New York. Her first voyage began at Liverpool on 12 December 1855, just a few months after she was launched. On board were between 508 and 512 Mormon emigrants from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Italy, England, Ireland, and Scotland. Elder Knud Peterson presided over the Saints. The shipmaster was Captain Thomas Austin. It was a well-ordered company. Rules of cleanliness and conduct were established. A trumpet called the emigrants to prayer morning and evening, and religious services were held frequently in the English, Danish, and Italian languages.

During the crossing the square-rigger encountered severe gales and hurricanes and midway in the Atlantic came upon the clipper ship Louis Napoleon in a sinking condition. The stricken craft was from Baltimore and bound for Liverpool with a cargo of flour. Her mast and spars were blown away and her leeward bulwarks smashed. Realizing the hopeless situation, her master and crew asked to be taken off their ship. They were welcomed aboard the John J. Boyd, whose own hands were suffering from sickness and exhaustion. The emigrants were also suffering. Measles had broken out, and the death rate was high among the children.

In describing the weather and health conditions, Elder Charles R. Savage, a returning missionary, wrote:

Our captain got superstitious on account of the long passage, and ordered that there should be no singing on board; the mate said that all ships that had preachers on board were always sure of a bad passage; however, the Lord heard our prayers, and in His own due time we arrived at our destination. On the evening of the 15th of February we were safely at anchor-having been 66 days out from Liverpool.... On our taking the pilot, he informed us that there had been many disasters during the months of January and February; many ships had been wrecked. We made the passage without the loss of a single spar.

A part of the passenger list of journey begun on 12 December, 1855 in Liverpool and ending in New York. The descriptions in the Mormon Immigration Index lists 16 February, 1856 as the day they entered New York but the ship manifest list it as 18 February, 1856.

Passengers # 396-401 are Jeppe and Anna Iverson from Vestbirk, Denmark, their children Elsie Marie, Martin, Christina, and Elizabeth.