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Martin Horton Peck - Biography

By Vernice Peck Gold Rosenvall

Martin Horton Peck Biography by Vernice Peck Gold Rosenvall
Added to by jlscott1965 on 12 Apr 2008

Biography of Martin Horton Peck

By Vernice Peck Gold Rosenvall


Taken from - Need to Request Permission for Publication

Martin Horton Peck was born May 27, 1806 at Rehoboth, Bristol Co.,
Massachusetts, the son of Ebenezer Peck and Nancy Horton. While still a
child he was taken by his parents to Vermont, where he grew to manhood.
He was known throughout his life for his physical strength, being six
feet tall and weighing 180 pounds.

The following is taken from his own diary, written about his early youth.

"When about 7 years of age my father obtained a farm in Kirby, Vermont,
and taking a load of household goods, started in company with his
brother James Peck for that place. He took me along with him as far as
his brother's who then lived in the town of Montpelier, Vermont, where
I was to stop until the next fall when my Father should bring on the
rest of his family. There I remained with my Aunt Abigail and my
cousins until the next winter when my father came after me. The summer
season following we worked on the farm and raised considerable wheat.
Father worked part of the time in a blacksmith shop on the farm. The
next season also the farm was carried on, but snow falling to the depth
of 6 or 7 inches in the month of June and it being a cold season, there
was but little raised to live on, and Father left home and went to the
town of Lyndon and worked at the blacksmithing for a man by the name of
Ezra Ide. I remained at home and was taken sick with a swelling in my
left side, which was about 3 months in gathering sufficient to be
operated upon. When it was opened it discharged so much that my life
was despaired of, and for several years I remained very weak. The next
spring following the fall, I with my Father and his family moved to
Lyndon where Father had carried on the blacksmithing business, and I
commenced at the trade about the year 1818, being then about 12 years
old. I continued to work with my father with the exception that when
work did not hurry in the shop, I would work at haying and harvesting
with different neighbors until the spring of 1824, when my father
purchased a blacksmith shop in the center of the town where he put me
to carry on the business there for him until January, 1826 when he gave
me the shop and lot and the remainder of my time which would have been
out the 27th of May.

I commenced to carry on the work for myself from the 1st of 1826. In
June following, on the 18th day, I married Susan C. Clough and
continued to work at my trade at this place until the winter of 1829
when my father-in-law, Joseph Clough, was taken ill at North Danville.
I sold out and went to take care of him, arriving there the 15th of
March, where I put up a shop and worked in it, and on the farm. I took
care of my father-in-law until he died about July 1830."

His conversion to the church came about in a very interesting manner. A
number of his neighbors were assisting him in a "house raising". He
suggested to them that in the evening when the day's work was done they
go in a body and break up a meeting which he had heard the young
Prophet Joseph Smith was holding in the nearby woods. Intending to
cause a disturbance, he found himself converted instead.

Many times after he was heard to testify that before the Prophet had
spoken five minutes he had received a thorough assurance of the
divinity of his mission, which testimony remained with him all his
life. He was baptized in 1833 by Lyman E. Johnson.

From Vermont he moved to Kirtland, Ohio. In 1836 a great apostasy
affected the church, and by 1837 had become so bitter that the lives
and property of those who remained faithful were exposed to great
danger. Many leading men, including Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and
Brigham Young found it necessary to leave Kirtland quietly and go to
Missouri where some of the Saints at that time were building Far West
and other settlements which had been designated as gathering places for
the Saints. After the departure of the Prophet, the desire to emigrate
to Missouri became general among those who had kept the faith in
Kirtland, and on March 6, 1838, the Seventies assembled in the Temple
for the purpose of devising ways for moving according to a revelation
which had been given on the subject. On March 10, it was manifested by
vision and prophecy that they should go, pitching their tents by the
way. On the following Saturday they started at noon to move south, and
in thirty minutes the whole camp was moving. It consisted of 529
people. Martin Peck and his family were among this band of faithful
Saints. They suffered many privations and hardships and much sickness.

He was a man of great faith and witnessed many remarkable healings. The
following is taken from a little book called "Early Scenes in Church
History", one of a series of books published in the early days of the
Church called the "Faith Promoting Series".

"Brother Martin H. Peck, of Salt Lake City, relates a series of cases
of healing that occurred in his family and under his administration.

He joined the Church in Vermont, in 1833, and about two years later,
while on a visit to a place about nine miles from where he lived, he
received word from his wife at home that their child was lying at the
point of death, and she desired him to come home immediately, and bring
an Elder with him. He was not more surprised at knowing of his son's
dangerous condition, than of the faith in the ordinances of the Gospel
which his wife manifested, by wanting an Elder to lay hands on the
child; for she had not then joined the Church, or manifested much
interest in the Gospel. He was therefore, almost as much pleased on his
wife's account, as he was pained on account of his child, on receiving
the news.

Taking Elder James Snow with him, he hastened home, and found the
little fellow lying helpless and in a very low condition, in his
Mother's arms. Brother Peck only held the office of a Priest at the
time, so Elder Snow administered to the child alone, and while doing so
the little fellow dozed off into a quiet slumber and when he awoke he
was as well as he ever had been.

Soon after, Brother Peck was taken ill, and to all appearances seemed
about to die. He even lost his sight, and was in the greatest agony,
but Elder John Badger was called in and rebuked the disease, and
blessed him and he was healed immediately. On describing his symptoms
afterward to a friend who was an experienced physician, he was assured
that this was an extreme case, and it was doubtful if medical skill
could have saved him.

Near the same time his son, Joseph, was troubled with a couple of
swellings on the glands of his neck, which threatened to choke him.
After various remedies had been tried without avail, a physician was
consulted, who declared the boy could not live long if they continued
to grow, and recommended that a surgical operation be performed to
remove them, although that, he admitted, would be very dangerous.
Brother Peck concluded not to act upon his advice, and sent for some
Elders instead, and had them anoint and lay hands upon him. The result
was that in a few days the swellings had completely disappeared.

From Vermont, Brother Peck removed to Ohio, and while there, a great
deal of sickness prevailed, and many deaths occurred in his
neighborhood. The doctors seemed to be entirely baffled in their
efforts to cope with the disease. Among others stricken down was
Brother Peck's son, William. He lay unconscious all day, with his eyes
turned back in his head, and apparently in a dying condition. A number
of neighbors called to see him and urged Brother Peck to send for a
doctor. He told them, however, that he could not have much confidence
in the doctor's skill after seeing the children which they attended die
off, as they had done, like rotten sheep. He preferred to have nothing
to do with them, nor did he feel like administering to the boy while
unbelievers were in the house. His wife happened to be away from home,
and he felt confident that when she returned, their united faith would
result in obtaining a blessing from the Almighty. Some of the neighbors
stayed with the boy all day, and doubtless thought Brother Peck an
unfeeling wretch, as he would not send for a doctor. On the return of
Sister Peck, she, too, refused to have a physician and so the neighbors
left in disgust. As soon as they had done so the parents called
mightily upon the Lord to spare their child's life and Brother Peck
rebuked the disease and he was healed instantly. But a few days elapsed
when their son James was taken suddenly very ill, and a neighbor
hastened to Brother Peck's Blacksmith Shop to inform him if something
were not done immediately for his relief, he would die. He, also,
offered his services to wait upon him. Brother Peck thanked him for his
kindness, but declined accepting the offer. On reaching his home and
seeing the condition of the child, which was truly alarming, he and his
wife referred the case to the Lord, with the same result as in the
previous case.

There was a doctor by the name of Harvey Tate, living neighbor to
Brother Peck in Ohio, who became somewhat interested in the doctrines
of the Latter-day Saints, and for the purpose of learning more
concerning them, made a visit to his house.

While he was there Brother Peck's son, James, was brought home with a
broken arm, cause by his falling from a tree. The fracture was about
three inches above the wrist joint, and so complete that his arm formed
a right angle at the place where it was broken. The doctor set and
bandaged it and the boy was put to bed. The pain was so great, however,
that he could scarcely endure it, and after the doctor had left he
begged his Father to "Bless" him, saying he knew that would cure him.
Brother Peck accordingly administered to him, and the pain immediately
ceased. He slept well during the night, and on getting up the next
morning played about with his fellows as if nothing had ever been the
matter with his arm, not even having it in a sling. The next day he was
sent to the doctor's to show him his arm. When he entered his house,
the doctor noticed to his surprise that the boy took hold of a chair
with his lame hand and lifted it forward to sit down upon. Taking the
little fellow by the hand, he then asked him if he had any pain in his
arm or hand, and the boy answered frankly that he had none whatever.
The doctor bent his fingers and saw that he had free use of them, then
examined his hand and wrist and saw that there was no sign of swelling,
and declared that it was the power of God which had healed the broken
limb, for nothing else could have done it in so short of time. This
incident probably influenced Dr. Tate in favor of the Latter-day
Saints, as he soon afterwards joined the Church. He was baptized by
Elder John E. Page, and ordained an Elder, and for some time was quite
a faithful and efficient member, but he subsequently lost the faith. He
had abundant evidence, however, while he remained in the Church, that
the power of God was with the Saints, as he saw it manifested on
several occasions so plainly that he could not deny it; but he may have
been like some others of whom it has been said that they joined the
Church through seeing a miracle performed and apostatized because they
could not see one every day.

On one occasion, he and Elder Peck were called upon to go a distance of
ten miles to see a sister in the Church, who was thought to be dying.
They traveled with all possible speed, and on arriving at the place,
found the woman in a very critical condition. The doctor, although used
to scenes of sickness, allowed Brother Peck to take the lead in
directing what should be done for the relief of the patient, and he
proposed to anoint and lay hands upon her. They accordingly did so, and
she was healed immediately and arose and prepared supper for them.
While returning home the doctor remarked jocularly that the experience
of that evening presented a new phase in his medical practice. He had
never taken that course before to cure patients, nor was he in the
habit of going that distance to visit them without charging for it.

While journeying to Missouri with the "Kirtland Company", Brother
Peck's son, Edwin, had his leg accidentally run over by a heavily
loaded wagon on a very hard road. When he was picked up, the limb
appeared to be flattened as if almost crushed to a pulp, and the flesh
was laid open. Brother Peck had seen the power of God manifested so
many times, and he had such confidence in the Almighty hearing and
answering his prayers, that he never thought of summoning a surgeon,
but immediately administered to the boy, and then placed him in the
wagon. In an hour afterwards he examined his leg and found that it was
entirely well, the only sign of the injury left being a slight scar
which had the dry and scaly appearance of an old sore, long since
healed up. The place was not even discolored. There were numbers of
witnesses to this miracle, many of whom are living today."

At one time a mob was going to attack Martin H. Peck and because of his
faith, courage and physical strength he was able to say, "Go ahead, but
some of you will receive as a result a mark, which you will carry with
you all the rest of your life". The mob decided to leave him alone.

On Thursday, September 4, 1838, the "Kirtland Camp" arrived in
Adam-ondi-Ahman, Davis County, Missouri. "This is a day," writes the
Prophet, "long to be remembered by that part of the church called the
Kirtland Camp #1". They arrived there at the time the persecutions were
raging against the saints in Missouri and about a month later the whole
Mormon population including the Saints from Kirtland were forced by the
mob to vacate Adam-ondi-Ahman and go to Far West. (This information
found on pages 593 to 603 Church Encyclopedia Book #1).

Martin Peck having already known what it was to have his home
destroyed, possessions stolen and his life endangered, was now once
again compelled to leave with the Saints and seek a new home. Here
again at Far West the mob forced them to leave, and this time they left
for Illinois.

Under the leadership of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young a large tract of
swampy land along the banks of the Mississippi was bought. The
beautiful city of Nauvoo was built here. The Saints drained the land to
make it healthful and before long lovely homes were built along wide
streets. To have built so beautiful a city by a people who had been
robbed until they were almost penniless in so short a time was truly a
miracle. When work was commenced on the beautiful Nauvoo Temple, Martin
Peck gave many hours of his time as well as his means. He came to
Nauvoo in the fall of 1842.

His first wife, Susan Caroline Clough, whom he married June 18, 1827,
at Danville, Vermont, died in Nauvoo November 6, 1843. She had been the
mother of seven children, all born during the persecution and migration
of the Church. These children were Edwin M., born at Lyndon, Vermont;
Joseph A., James F., William P., born at Danville, Vermont; Eugene H.,
born at Kirtland, Ohio; and Hyrum and Henry, twins born at West Milton,
Ohio. The last three children died in infancy.

He was ordained a High Priest on February 18, 1844.

He married his second wife, Mary Thorn, in Nauvoo, Illinois, on March
30, 1844. She was the mother of five children and helped raise the
children of the first wife. Her children were Hezekiah H., born in the
City of Joseph; and the following born in Salt Lake City: Susan, Mary
Anna, Sarah E. and Horton T. The last two died as infants.

During the early persecution of the Church Martin Peck was called on a
mission to the States to help organize branches of the Church. He was
especially instrumental in organizing the branch at West Milton, Ohio.

After the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith when the body of the
Church met to decide who would be the next President, Martin Peck was
present at the 2:00 p.m. meeting August 8, 1844, when the mantle of
Joseph fell upon Brigham Young. In the book, "Essentials in Church
History" Brother Joseph Fielding Smith says this about the meeting.

"At the appointed time a great multitude of Saints assembled. The
various quorums of the Priesthood were arranged in order before the
stand, and after the opening exercises President Brigham Young
addressed the congregation. He spoke with great power and the people
were convinced that the authority and power of presidency was with the
apostles. When he arose to speak the people were greatly astonished,
for President Young stood transfigured before them and they beheld the
Prophet Joseph Smith and heard his voice as naturally as ever they did
when he was living. It was a manifestation to the Saints that they
might recognize the correct authority."

This was an added testimony to Martin Peck who remained steadfast in the faith all his days.

Having some musical ability, he became a member of the Nauvoo Legion
Brass Band. He played the clarinet well but his singing ability was
poor, although he often made attempts at singing his favorite song,
"How Firm a Foundation, Ye Saints of the Lord". He always had to finish
the song by whistling. At the laying of the capstone of the Nauvoo
Temple, May 24, 1845, the Band played during the exercises.

Because of still further persecution the Saints left the beautiful city
of Nauvoo for the Rocky Mountains. Here they hoped to find a place
where they could worship God and raise their families without
interference. When the first company of Saints left, Martin Peck was
called to stay at Winter Quarters. By profession he was a blacksmith
and his services were needed to make ready the outfits of the early

He left for the Salt Lake Valley in 1848, coming in Heber C. Kimball's
Company, 2nd Division, 3rd Co. Heber C. Kimball at this time was first
Counselor to Brigham Young and Leader of the Second Division.

On June 6, 1848 as Martin Peck's own group approached the Heber C.
Kimball Co. they caused much excitement, for the Company had just a
short time before been attacked by Indians. They were soon assured by
the scouts that this was a group of Saints. During their attack by the
Indians one of the members of the Heber C. Kimball Company, Brother
Thomas Ricks had met with a very serious accident, and was lying on a
blanket under a wagon. Dr. Bernhisel, who was traveling in the same
Company of Saints had examined him and found that he was wounded by
three large buck shots having penetrated the small part of his back.
The doctors dressed his wounds but it was generally believed that he
could not long survive, that his life was only a matter of moments.
Martin H. Peck, being told of this, walked over to the man and taking
him by the hand said, "Do you have faith to be healed?" The man
replied, "I am pretty sorely hurt, brother, but I have faith it will be
as you say." At that, Brother Peck said, "I command you to arise in the
name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to finish your work here
upon the earth." He arose immediately and came with the Saints to the
valley and lived a long and useful life.

At Fort Laramie, on July 24, 1848, a son was born to his third wife,
Arlytia Carter, whom he had married January 20, 1846. They named him
Lucius Augustus. She was the mother of four children and crossed the
plains with the second wife and her family as well as the children of
the first wife. Arlytia Carter's other children were: Martin Horton,
Arlytia Carter and Emily C., all born in Salt Lake. The last two died
as infants. The mother died June 4, 1854 in Salt Lake City.

Martin Peck arrived in the valley, September 24, 1848 and made his home
in the 17th Ward, building the second house built outside of the Fort
on city lots. It stood on the Southwest corner of First North and First
West. This home was a landmark of the city for many years, and well
remembered by many for the good times that were enjoyed there. As early
as December 24, 1849, we find an account of a dance being held at the
Martin H. Peck home. Many remember a bake oven in the back yard which
was used to cook food for parties, entertainments and dances.

His fame as a blacksmith was widespread throughout the intermountain
territory. As a young man he would get up at four in the morning and
make the horseshoes and nails for the day's work. In the fall of 1849
gold dust had been brought to the valley by the Mormon Battalion boys
and coins were made at the Deseret Mint in denominations from $2.50 to
$20.00, and since they were for local use only they had no resemblance
of United States coins. Martin H. Peck forged the drop hammer for these
coins. In "Heart Throbs of the West", compiled by Kate B. Carter we
read, "This coin was of perfect workmanship, unexcelled by the federal

Martin Peck was the second blacksmith in Salt Lake City, a man named
McBride being the first. In the History of Brigham Young we find the
following: "Fall 1859 the 1st Annual Fair was held in the storehouse of
the Tithing Office at Provo. A very respectable display of agriculture,
art and manufactures were exhibited to the credit of Utah Territory.
Among the exhibits were an ax and a razor made by Martin H. Peck." His
father, Ebenezer Peck, was a neighbor to Mr. Fairbanks and Mr. Morse,
and the original idea for weighing scales which later was adopted by
Fairbanks Morse and Co., one of the leading manufacturers of computing
scales, was first of all suggested by Ebenezer Peck.

On June 28, 1854, a special General Conference was held in the
Tabernacle at which time Martin Peck was called to go on a mission to
the Eastern States to accompany John Taylor. His son, Edwin, also went
on this mission.

In his diary written during this period tells of visiting many
relatives living in this mission, this being the place where he was
born and spent his early childhood.

He was successful in baptizing some of them into the Church. Also he
tells of making many fine razors and giving them to friends and
relatives. He returned from this mission on the 30th of December, 1855,
along with his son Edwin. They were in good health and spirits and had
not been molested by the Indians on their return trip. They brought
with them some mail from the East, which was very welcome.

Upon his return to the Valley he was sustained as Second Counselor to
Bishop Thomas Callister, who was the second Bishop of the 17th Ward.
This was on August 26, 1856.

On February 22, 1857, he was called to go with the First Presidency to
the Salmon River Valley Mission. This mission had been opened for a
number of years but had not been very successful because of trouble
with Indians. This trip was made to determine the real conditions of
the mission. They left April 24, 1857. All of the 1st Presidency, some
of the twelve apostles and about 100 other brethren and sisters went in
the party, going 381 miles from Salt Lake City. The headquarters of the
mission was at Ft. Lemhi, near the present site of Salmon City, Idaho.

This mission was discontinued soon after. Nothing pleased the Indians
more than to get a scalp of a Mormon. From a journal written during
this visit we find the following: "We saw a grave being dug for an
Indian. His two squaws were present with their hair cut off and blood
running down their legs from wounds made by themselves. They were
weeping bitterly." The party returned to Salt Lake City May 26, 1857.

When Johnston's Army came to Utah in July, 1857, Martin Peck left with
his families for Provo, along with the rest of the Saints. He had
married a fourth wife, Charlotte Amelia Van Orden, December 2, 1851,
who was the mother of my grandfather, Everett Peck. He was only a baby
when they left for Provo, having been born April 6th of the same year.
This wife had seven children. They were Arthur, Everett Van Orden,
David Horton, Dorr, Charlotte Amelia, Cyril and Heber, who died Lewis
and Edith.

In 1862 Martin Peck was called to go to Hoytsville in East Weber
Canyon. He settled along a creek they called Peck's Creek but later
called Cotton Wood Creek. His wife Charlotte Amelia and family went
with him. He was sent there by Brigham Young to recondition the ox
teams after their long journey across the plains and mountains. It is
said that so many Saints were coming west at that time that it kept ten
men busy putting new shoes on the oxen and fixing broken wagon wheels.
One of the pleasures Martin Peck had during this time was making "raw
hide whips" and showing the emigrants how to "crack" them. Many of the
emigrants, especially the Scandinavian people, had never seen such
whips. Two of his children, Charlotte Amelia and Cyril, were born there.

This settlement of Hoytsville was at that time called Unionville, a
name which was suggested at a Priesthood meeting as a compliment to the
early settlers who seemed to be well united in all their undertakings.

Martin Peck stayed on the East Weber for seven years, returning to the
city in 1869. He served for the second time as a counselor in the 17th
Ward, being sustained May 12, 1870, as First Counselor to Bishop Nathan
Davis, the third Bishop of the Ward.

In the fall of 1883 he was ordained a Patriarch.

An important civic position with which his name will be identified by
old residents was that of Territorial "Sealer of Weights and Measures",
also City and County Sealer, a position which he held for many years.
It is said that the scales were so perfected that he could weigh a hair
of the head; also, that the writing on a piece of paper would throw his
scales off balance.

He died in Salt Lake City June 17, 1884, survived by three wives,
fifteen sons and five daughters and a large number of grandchildren.

The following is an account of his death and funeral as found in the
Deseret News: "June 17, 1884 Brother Martin Horton Peck of the 17th
Ward, an aged and respected citizen, died at noon today. He has been
afflicted for some time with cancer in the face, and has been confined
to his home for several months, the latter part of the time in a very
precarious condition. His death is a grateful relief from much

"He was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, May 27, 1806, and joined the
Church at an early date. At the time of his death and for a number of
years previous he held the office of Territorial Sealer of Weights and
Measures, and was universally regarded as an honest and upright man,
and a faithful Latter-Day Saint. Peace be to his ashes. The funeral
will be held at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon."

"June 19, 1884, The 17th Ward was filled yesterday afternoon with
the relatives and sympathizing friends of the family of Father M. H.
Peck, whose funeral was solemnized at 12:30. The opening prayer was
offered by Elder George B. Wallace and the choir was led by Brother
John Lewis.

"The speakers were President Angus M. Cannon, Bishop L.G. Hardy and
R.T. Burton; Elders John Pack, G.B. Wallace, Nathan Davis and Bishop
John Tingey."

"All the brethren united in testifying of the integrity, uprightness
and peaceable disposition of the deceased, of his good works on earth
and his reward in Heaven. Elder George Reynolds dismissed the assembly
by prayer, and the remains were then taken to their last resting place."

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