Elijah Cheney was born 14 September 1785 in Great Barrington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States to John Cheney (1756-1793) and Elizabeth Granger (1757-1797) and died 3 November 1863 Centerville, Davis County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Achsa Thompson (1789-1845) 14 March 1811 in Scott, Cortland County, New York, United States.


Elijah Cheney (1785-1863)


Elijah Cheney, son of John Cheney and Elizabeth Granger, was born in the town of Great Barrington, Berkshire, Mass. 14 Sep 1785. When he was 3 years of age, the family moved to New York State. In 1793, John Cheney died and Elijah, then 8 years old, went to live with his Uncle, Robert Granger. Two years later they moved to the West called the Military Tract, Cayuga Co. Town of Marsellus, in New York.

Elijah’s mother moved near Lake Champlain after the death of her husband. She married a man by the name of Chapel, by whom she had 3 children. She died just 4 years from the time of John Cheney’s death, from cancer of the stomach.

1812 Veteran

Elijah Cheney served one year in the War of 1812. He was then a resident of New York and just recently married.

On the 4th of March 1811 Elijah married Achsa Thompson. They moved to his new farm. Elijah was 26 years old and Achsa was 22. On 19 May 1812 their eldest son, David was born. This same year, Elijah went into the Army and served in the war of 1812. He was stationed at Black Rock, on the Niagara River at the head of the Falls. On the 5th of Nov 1812 he was discharged from the army, but in 1813 he volunteered to go again and was in the Battle of Black Rock on 11 July 1813. In 1815 peace was declared and he was honorably discharged.

Elizabeth was born in Bethany, Genese, New York on 7 Jun 1814.

Conversion to Mormonism

Jared Carter preached, baptized and organized a branch of the Church in Onondaga County, N.Y., Elijah being one of the number, being baptized in 1833.

The conversion story of Elijah is deeply intertwined with that of his neighbor, a baptist minister named Zera Pulsipher (1789-1872). Elijah was ordained an elder and traveled with Zera Pulshipher and introduced Mormonism to Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898), the future Apostle and President.

In 1835 the Cheney family moved to Kirtland, Ohio.

Move to Illinois

The family started for Far West, Missouri, but were detained in Illinois by sickness and thus avoided the tragedy there.

Elijah and his family went through all the drivings and persecutions of the Saints. On the 5th of July 1836 he left Kirtland with brethren to go to Caldwell Co. His wife and some others members of his family were ill. They stopped in Coles Co., Ill. where they stayed the winter. In 1837 the brethren were forced to leave Missouri for Hancock Co. Ill, and Elijah continued to move his family from place to place, going from Coles Co. to Springfield, Lagamon Co. and in the latter part of the same summer, from Springfield to Mersy Co. Ill,

Here he bought 60 acres of land and established another farm where he and his family lived until about the year 1842. They then moved to Hancock Co. IL . located 15 miles from Nauvoo. They began to break ground and fence a new farm on the east side of Camp Creek, 7 miles west of La Harpe. They built a frame house 14 x 24 ft and fenced in 60 acres. Here they raised corn and wheat and were in a prosperous way until Achsa was taken sick and died on 1 Dec 1845. She was buried on the southeast corner of the farm. Elijah had lost 3 children and now his wife.

1849 Utah Migration

In 1845, Elijah's wife, Achsa Thompson died. At the time he might have taken two plural wives, Sarah Harmon and Sarah Griffith, who both appear with him in the 1849 Wagon Company Census.

In 1849, Elijah (age 63) and his family traveled west to Utah in the George A Smith / Dan Jones pioneer wagon company. At least 370 individuals and 120 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Kanesville, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs). This company combined with the Ezra T. Benson company as they traveled close together.

Elijah lived in the 9th ward (Salt Lake City) for one year, then moved to the 10th ward to his own home and farm. Later he lived at the home of his son Zacheus and died in Centerville in 1863 at the age of 78. He was buried in Centerville Cemetery.

Family Life

  1. David J Cheney (1812-1863)
  2. Elizabeth Cheney (1814-1851)
  3. James Cheney (1816-1833)
  4. Zacheus Cheney (1818-1898) - Joined the Mormon Battalion, Traveled to California, President of the LDS San Francisco Branch, before returning to Utah.
  5. Margaret Cheney (1820-1897)
  6. Erastus Cheney (1822-1822)
  7. John Cheney (1824-1875)
  8. Mary Delina Cheney (1826-1828)
  9. Sarah Delina Cheney (1829-1899)
  10. Joseph Thompson Cheney (1833-1897)


Offspring of Elijah Cheney and Achsa Thompson (1789-1845)
Name Birth Death Joined with
David J Cheney (1812-1863)
Elizabeth Cheney (1814-1851)
James Cheney (1816-1833)
Zacheus Cheney (1818-1898) 22 April 1818 Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York, United States 8 March 1898 Centerville, Davis County, Utah, United States Mary Ann Fisher (1822-1851) Mary Ann Fisher (1822-1851) Amanda Miller Evans (1833-1917)
Margaret Cheney (1820-1897)
Erastus Cheney (1822-1822)
John Cheney (1824-1875)
Mary Delina Cheney (1826-1828)
Sarah Delina Cheney (1829-1899)
Joseph Thompson Cheney (1833-1897)


Vital Records

1849 Smith Wagon Company Census

This Cheney family were in the same wagon company as another Cheney Family, (Aaron Cheney (1787-1861) and Mehitable Wells (1787-1869)) who were distant cousins.

  • Cheney, Aaron 62
  • Cheney, Elijah 63
  • Cheney, Eliza Ann Infant
  • Cheney, Ezekiel Wells 23
  • Cheney, Lucy Elzada Hardy 20
  • Cheney, Mehitable Wells 62
  • Cheney, Sarah Griffith 58
  • Cheney, Sarah Harmon 62



Footnotes (including sources)