Pvt Zacheus Cheney was born 22 April 1818 in Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York, United States to Elijah Cheney (1785-1863) and Achsa Thompson (1789-1845) and died 8 March 1898 Centerville, Davis County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Mary Ann Fisher (1822-1851) 11 July 1848 in San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States. He married Amanda Miller Evans (1833-1917) 10 January 1852 in San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States.


He was a private in Company B of The Mormon Battalion.

Life in New York

Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia - Volume 4

Cheney, Zaccheus, a member of the Mormon Battalion, Company B, was born April 22, 1818, at Semponeous, Cayuga Co., New York, a son of Elijah Cheney. His father served one year in the war of 1812. Zacheus lived in Cayuga Co for six years and then the family moved to Scott, Courtland County.

Conversion to Mormonism

Jared Carter preached, baptized and organized a branch of the Church in Onondaga County, N.Y., Elder Cheney's father being one of the number, being baptized in 1833. Elijah was ordained an elder and traveled with Zera Pulshipher and introduced Mormonism to Wilford Woodruff, the future Apostle and President. Zacheus was baptized in May, 1834.

In 1835 the family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where Zaccheus first saw the Prophet Joseph Smith. Elder Cheney worked on the Temple, attended the Hebrew School, and was a member of the Nauvoo Legion.

Move to Illinois

The family started for Far West, Missouri, but were detained in Illinois by sickness and thus avoided the tragedy there. They settled at Camp Creek, Hancock County, Illinois in 1843, near Nauvoo where they operated a farm.

In Illinois, he served in the Nauvoo Legion, and was afterwards one of the petit jury that tried the murderers of the Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-1844).

He was in Nauvoo when some of the saints crossed the Mississippi River on the ice, and soon after Nauvoo was nearly evacuated.

Mormon Battalion

Tombstone of Zacheus Cheney (1818-1898)

He crossed the river at Fort Madison May 3, 1846, and overtook the saints at Mount Pisgah, where he joined the Mormon Battalion and marched with them to California. This is his narrative of the event.

It was a day of sadenss, of mourning and of parting. The tears fell like rain. We commenced our march for Fort Leavenworth, and on arriving there received our arms and equipments and started for Santa Fe, a distance of over seven hundred miles. There Colonel Cooke took command, and we marched two hundred and fifth miles down the Rio Grande. When we left the river we were put on half rations - one half-pound of flour and one pound of beef.

Our pilots wanted us to go down to the city of Sonora and winter there, as they knew of no other route, and this was afterwards chosen by the officers in council, though the men were opposed to it. We traveled over a country unexplored for about five hundred miles, and came to a Spanish town called Tuejon (Tucson). It contained about five hundred inhabitants, two hundred refular soldiers and a large amount of government stores. The soldiers fled at our approach, and we raised the American flag.

We then marched over an eighty-mile desert, and arrived at the Pima Indian village on the Gila River. Traveling down to the mouth of that river, we crossed the Colorado. We then had a ninety-five mile desert to cross, where we were required to dig wells to obtain water. We were put on one-fourth rations of flour and very poor beef, but we soon arrived at Warner's Ranch, where we got plenty of beef, and at San Diego we rested for a short time.

We then marched to the San Luis Rey Mission, and remained there about a month. Company B, to shich I belonged, under the command of Captain Hunter, was sent back to San Diego to take charge of that place. The other companies were sent to Los Angeles. We had to live on beef and mustard greens until a vessel, sent to the Sandwich Islands, returned with provisions, which was more than three months.

Our Battalion was a very poor lot of boys when we arrived at San Diego. We had passed through the extremes of hunger, thirst and fatigue, and were nearly without clothes. I have seen some so nearly exhausted and famished that they wanted to be left by the roadside to die, but the rear guard would bring them along. Company B was afterwards ordered to Los Angeles, where all companies were cisharged, July 16, 1847.

San Francisco

After his discharge Zacheus went to San Francisco, California in the Spring of 1848 where he and James Balie made and burned 50,000 brick, claimed to be the first brick in that city.

He then went to the gold mines at Mormon Island, south fork of American River.

Also in California he married Mary Ann Fisher (1822-1851) (of Chester County, Pennsylvania) on 11 July 1848.

Zacheus returned to San Francisco and then purchased a farm in Alameda County in the spring of 1850. On Dec. 25, 1850, his wife gave birth to a daughter. The wife died Jan. 1, 1851, and was buried near the San Jose Mission.

On 10 Jan 1853, Mr Cheney marred Amanda M Evans. That same year he was ordained an Elder and Presiding Officer of the San Francisco Branch of the LDS Church. In 1856, Elder George Q Cannon called him to preside over the Alameda LDS Branch. The following year, Zacheus led a wagon company to the Salt Lake Valley.

Move to Utah

Brother Cheney came to Centerville, Utah in 1857 (Nov. 3rd) where he started a farm. In 1858 he was appointed justice of the peace. He donated liberally to help poor emigrant saints in Missouri travel to Utah and towards the building of the Salt Lake Temple.

He died at Centerville, Davis Co., March 7, 1898.


Offspring of Pvt Zacheus Cheney and Mary Ann Fisher (1822-1851)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Mary Ann Cheney (1850-1926)

Offspring of Pvt Zacheus Cheney and Amanda Miller Evans (1833-1917)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Emma Rosalia Cheney (1853-1911)
Frances Achsa Cheney (1857-1932)
Hannah Etta Cheney (1861-1950)
Zacheus Cheney (1863-1939)
William Evans Cheney (1866-1954)
Amanda Isabella Cheney (1870-1950)
Joseph Leroy Cheney (1877-1936)




Footnotes (including sources)