Lynne Cheney's ancestors

Wife of v.p. finds her roots deeply entrenched in the LDS migration

Published: Sunday, Jan. 22 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

Biographies say George was guarded by six English soldiers anytime he took gold to the docks. But maybe he didn't need that much help. They say George was a champion heavyweight boxer in Sydney.

One day in Australia, the Elliotts heard an LDS missionary playing a violin on a nearby hill. The mother, Eliza Vinton, said, "There is a young man who is homesick. Go tell him to come for dinner." The missionary helped convert the family to his faith and brought the Elliott family with him to Utah in 1862.

Edwin worked in Utah as a freighter and met Fannie Peck, who was a cook for freighters. Biographies say Edwin did not attend church much for a time. Fannie, however, wanted them eventually to be worthy to be married in an LDS temple. Church members believe that temple marriages are valid beyond death.

A biography says Edwin "loved his pipe, and this was hard for him to give up." LDS members cannot enter temples if they use tobacco. Biographies say Fannie fasted and prayed one day a week for 40 years hoping Edwin would someday go to the temple with her.

"He so loved his dear Fannie that he prepared himself and on the 18th of April 1902, they were united in marriage in the Salt Lake Temple," a biography says. "(Fannie) later said this was the happiest day of her life."

Edwin was the chief engineer at the Utah State Mental Hospital in Provo and also worked for a time as a miner in the Tintic area. He also fought in Utah's Black Hawk War.

Fannie had many tough times besides walking across the Plains. She wrote that at one point as a young girl, she was given only one slice of bread a day. She tried to wait until bedtime to eat it so she would not go to bed hungry, but hunger would always force her to eat it early. She said she remembered asking her mother if she would ever be full again, and her mother could merely say that she hoped so.

Edwin and Fannie reared nine daughters. Fannie later took in male Brigham Young University students as boarders, and at least one daughter met her husband that way.

Fannie wrote in a letter in 1892, saying, "I have always had to work hard and had a great deal to do. I have tried to raise my children to be good women and to believe in The Church of Jesus Christ, which they all do now. I hope you will all get good Mormon men for husbands and go to the temple."

• Great-great-great-grandfather Daniel Vincent. He was born in England in 1798. He married Elizabeth Mills in Cardiff, Wales, in 1822. They immigrated to Utah in 1851. They settled in Provo, where he was a farmer and an LDS high priest.

• Great-great-great-grandfather Harrison G.O. Peck. He was born in Massachusetts in 1811 and married Margaret Reed Angier there in 1836.

In Massachusetts, he was a successful carpenter and cabinetmaker, and his family was considered well-to-do. However, biographies say they gave up or lost almost everything when they joined the LDS Church and immigrated to Utah in 1852. In hard times, their children gleaned harvested fields for left-behind wheat kernels to have enough to eat.

Biographies say that when the family was becoming comfortable again, Harrison and his family were called by Brigham Young to St. George in 1861 to help settle that area. Because of trouble from flooding during their trip, they again lost all their seed grain, chickens, cows, pigs and most of their furniture. "Father and Mother Peck never complained but went to work all over again," a biography says.

Peck became a farmer. He fought in Utah's Black Hawk War. He was also an LDS high priest.

E-mail: lee@desnews.com

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