Saturday, June 11, 2011


Fanny is a daugter of William Eckersely and Hannah Hardy Eckersley Crompton.  Her sister married William Walker Robinson, and her niece married Edward Wrigley.


By Mildred Bradford Sorensen, Gladys Ballinger Jones, and Delta Draper

History obtained from DUP Museum History Dept. by Carolyn Christensen

Fannie Eckersley, daughter of William Eckersley and Hannah Hardy, was born 18 July 1840 at Oldham, Lancashire, England. She was the 3rd daughter and 3rd child. The family were converted to the Mormon Faith in 1841 and on Friday, 17 January, 1845 with four children, Ann, Mary, Fannie and Sarah, they set sail from Liverpool, England in the ship “Palmyra” for America. The route across the ocean took 16 weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. In crossing the ocean the ship sailed by wind. Some days they made good progress; then the wind would turn, driving the ship back. This happened many times during the voyage. ( Note-CJC: The baby sister, Sarah fell ill during the voyage, and as a result, became deaf for the rest of her life. See History of Sarah Eckersley Robinson) Their route was by way of New Orleans and up the Mississippi River.

They debarked at St. Louis, Missouri, about 1 Mar 1845 to seek employment for family support and to create a fund to pay their way to Utah. Misfortune overtook them; another child, a son James, was born and died in 1840, living only about six weeks. The next year, the father died, leaving his wife and four small girls with no support. (Note-CJC: Other sources indicate the father was murdered while in town one night for the money they had saved which was sewn into his coat See history of William Eckersley.) The mother took employment at the largest hotel, “The Planters”, in St. Louis and there earned enough money to get the family to Council Point, Iowa, the taking off place for Utah.

Here the mother married John Crompton in 1850, giving the children a step-father who was a great help at this time. (Note-CJC: John Crompton was 15 years younger than Hannah, the mother, at the time of marriage. See history of Hannah Hardy Eckersley Crompton.) A daughter was born to this couple in 1851. She died and was buried at Council Point.

In the spring of 1853 the family left for Utah with an independent Company of which Edward Pugh was the captain. Misfortune again dogged their footsteps. Another daughter was born at North Platte, Nebraska. Like many other saints, they suffered the trials and troubles of pioneers crossing the plains. The weather was very bad with terrible storms. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, and it seemed the elements were no longer under control. The wind was so strong the wagons had to be chained to the ground. The mother was so sick she begged to be left by the wayside. (Note-CJC: According to the history of Hannah, it was under these harrowing weather conditions that the daughter was born in or under a wagon chained to the ground.) So we see these pioneers suffered much for the sake of the gospel. They had many harrowing experiences with the Indians; but with all their trials they continued westward.

One time Fannie (Note-CJC: about age 13) went with others hunting a new campground. Her saddle turned and she was dragged some distance by the horse, but was still able to continue with the family.

They reached Salt Lake Valley during September 1853, where food and rest helped restore their weary bodies. Food was scarce, however, and prices were high so they thought themselves fortunate to get employment harvesting potatoes on shares. They harvested enough to save them from starvation for the winter months.

In the spring they started out in search of a home. They tried to make a home at Little Cottonwood; but failing to get a foothold there, they tried their luck at Cedar Valley. They were frightened from there to American Fork by Indian depredations. During this time they were in dire poverty and compelled to subsist largely on thistles, edible weeds, wild berries, roots, rabbits and any wild thing they could find or capture.

Their first planted crop was barley. They chose this because it would mature earlier than other grain. When it ripened, they began grinding it in a coffee mill to make bread. They were wholly without sugar so they raised beets and carrots, out of which they made a sort of molasses in an attempt to appease their gnawing hunger for sweets. Many times during their hardships, when they would arise before sunrise, the ground would be covered with manna. It was thin like sugar cakes. Brigham Young told them to gather only what they needed for the day or it would spoil. Fannie and her sisters Ann and Mary often gathered the manna and it helped appease the pangs of hunger for sweets. Getting clothing to cover their bodies was even harder. As a girl, Fannie was taught economy, thrift, faith and love. No doubt they all worked hard each day doing their share in the home and preparing themselves for homes of their own.

One night Fannie and a girl friend went to meeting to hear John Weaver Brown, a returned missionary from the Sandwich Islands. She said she would like to have him for her husband. According to the accounts from his missionary diary and journal, he returned from his mission on 9 May 1859. It is not known where the marriage took place. Fannie received her endowments and was sealed to her husband 18 April at the endowment house in Salt Lake City.

They were married about six months when John was killed 3 May 1960 while digging a canal to bring water from Dry Creek to the Draper settlement for irrigating purposes. His body was crushed and mutilated by a large granite stone falling on him. He was laid to rest 6 May 1860, leaving his 19 year old wife a widow and an expectant mother. Her child, John Eckersley Brown was born January 1861. Fannie remained a widow about 3 years living with her husband’s folks.

In 1864 she married her sister’s husband, William Lathrop Draper being his third plural wife. They were called to southern Utah to settle that part of the country. Fannie had two children born at Rockville. After a few years of rugged pioneering, William brought his families back to central Utah and lived in Juab Co. for about a year. Then he moved to Sanpete County and established homes for his three wives, Ann, Ellen and Fannie. All three women had large families. Fannie had six more children born in Moroni and neighboring towns.

All the pioneer women were subjected to great hardships along with troublesome times with Indians, and Fannie was the first white woman to live in Freedom Utah. Her husband was anxious to take up new land and probably moved his youngest wife to pioneer the new settlement. But they had their good times and amusements along with life’s problems. At their home they had parties and dances. William, a man of many talents, loved music and played the violin well. He was an accomplished dancer and his wives and daughters enjoyed him as a dancing partner. He and his three wives made a good singing quartet and enlivened their parties with vocal numbers. The Virginia Reel, and Quadrille were favorite dances. While William called the quadrille, he played his fiddle and beat time with his foot.

Fannie, with her sister Ann, and Ellen (second wife) shared the triumphs and defeats of a united family. Great sorrow was brought to them when their husband, William Lathrop Draper, was dragged by a horse and killed 3 May 1887 at Freedom Utah. Again she was left a widow with children to support, the youngest being three years at the time.

After her husband’s death, she lived in Moroni and neighboring towns until about 1900. Then she started living with her children, most of the time with her youngest daughter Zoe Sorensen in Centerfield. She helped care for Zoe’s children, mending their clothes and helping with the house work.

As she grew older, Fannie loved to sew and make patch work quilts, which she sewed by hand, for her children and grandchildren. Even after her 90th birthday she did a lot of crochet work and knitting and liked to read.

She loved her grandchildren and took a lot of joy in doing little things for them. Perhaps it was a cookie she had slipped into her apron pocket or a piece of candy from her trunk, she would give to the children.

Fannie had fairly good health until she suffered a stroke. She was the mother of six sons and three daughters. Three of her children, Laura, Leigh and Zoe survived her. She died at her daughter Zoe’s home in Manti, 12 January 1933. She was ninety two and one-half years old and had lived a rich life. She was buried 15 Jan 1933 at Freedom, Utah on her own farm land, the cemetery being part of her homestead.

The obituary found in the local newspaper said this of Fannie:

“She died of general debility. She was the oldest woman in Manti. She had three children living at the time of her death – Leigh Draper of Centerfield, Utah and Mrs. Laura Peterson, Ely, Nevada and Mrs. Amy Zoe Hoyt, Manti. She had three sisters still living at the time of her death – Mrs. Emma Smith and Mrs. Mary Erickson, both of American Fork and Mrs. Elvira Steel of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Services were held Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Moroni West Ward chapel, Bishop Ephriam Nelson officiated. Her body was at the Deseret Mortuary in Manti. Internment was at Freedom, Utah.

History written by Audrey Livingston adds the following:

Of her first marriage:

According to his journal, he (Brown) returned from his mission 8 May 1859. They courted about six months and she was 19 and he was 23. They were married in 11 Nov 1859. It is not known where the marriage took place.

Of her second marriage:

William Lathrop (Doc) Draper married her sister Annetta and was living in Rockville, Kane, Utah.

William Lathrop Draper made a trip to Draper in 1854 and called upon the widow Fannie. On the 13 Aug 1864 he married Fannie who was the sister to William’s first wife, Annetta, and Fannie is his 3rd wife and they had ten children.

The following is taken from the book, “Women of Faith and Fortitude”.

BIOGRAPHY: Fannie Eckersley Brown Draper

BIRTHDAY: 18 Jul 1840 Oldham, Lancashire, England

DEATH: 12 Jan 1933 Freedom, Utah

PARTENTS: William Eckersley & Hannah Hardy

PIONEER: Sep 1853 Edward Pugh Wagon Train

SPOUSE I: John Weaver Brown

MARRIED: Nov 1858 (sld. 18 Apr 1860, End. House)

DEATH SP: 3 May 1860 Draper, Salt Lake, Utah

CHILDREN: John Eckersley Brown Jan 1861

SPOUSE II: William Lathrop Draper


DEATH SP: 3 May 1887 Freedom, Utah

      Joseph Heber 9 Sep 1865

     Riley James 11 Nov 1867 d. 1868

     Elizabeth Ethel 10 Oct 1869

     Wilford Lowell 10 May 1872

     Laura Dame 16 Se0p 1874

     Melvin Hardy 3 Apr 1877 d. 1877

     Wilmot Leigh 1 Apr 1879

     Amy Zoe 1 Jan 1884

Fannie Eckersley was born in England in 1840. The family was converted in 1841, and in 1845 sailed on the ship “Palmyra” for America. They stayed in St. Louis for a time to earn money for the trip to Utah. However Fannie’s father and a brother died leaving the mother with 4 little girls to support. Her mother remarried, and in 1853 the family left for the Salt Lake Valley in an Independent Company captained by Edward Pugh.

They tried eking out a living in several different t areas; Little Cottonwood, Cedar Valley, and American Fork, but were in dire poverty and forced to eat thistles, wild berries, rabbits, etc. At times they would get up before sunrise and gather “manna” covering the ground. President Young told them to gather only as much as they could use that day. It was thin like sugar cakes. As a girl Fannie was taught thrift, economy faith and love.

Fannie married John Weaver Brown in 1859, but he was killed while digging a canal in 1860. A huge granite boulder fell on him and crushed him. Fannie was a widow before her first son was born in 1861. She remained a widow for about 5 years, living with her in-laws. Then she married William Lathrop Draper as his 3rd wife in 1864. She had 8 more children.

The family was called to settle in Rockville, then Chicken Creek, then Moroni, Utah. William was a man of many talents. He played the violin was an accomplished dancer, and with his 3 wives made a good singing quartet. They enlivened the parties in the area. In 1887 he was dragged by a horse and died from the results. Fannie was left a widow again, her youngest child only 3 years of age. In her later years she lived with different children, but mostly with Amy Zoe, where she died at the age of 92 years in 1933. All of her children were sealed to her first husband.

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