By Rosemary Pollock
Local History Book Includes Mormon Battalion Diary
FREMONT, CALIFORNIA -- Mormon diary entries from one hundred and
fifty years ago are featured in the book, "Let This Be Zion". The
book includes compelling stories of sacrifice and adventure come
alive as the life experiences of Zacheus Cheney, a private in Company
B in the Mormon Battalion, Amanda Evans and Mary Ann Fisher,
travelers on the ship Brooklyn, are told first hand.
"I am alone without a relative in this country. I have none to see to
now but myself and my little girl, (who) is quite a comfort to me.
She is now very smart and healthy. She has learned to suck the bottle
and is doing finely. She is not only smart, but is pronounced by good
judges pretty. That is boasting, but she is a very nice little girl.
I call her name Mary," he wrote. Mary was born on January 1, 1851 on
Christmas day. Mary Ann Fisher and Cheney were married in January
1848, during the gold rush and had to travel to the gold mines to
find someone to marry them. Mary Ann died from complications from the
"I had several applications for giving her away, but it seemed like
tearing my heart to pieces. I could not consent to do so if there
was any other chance. So I offered Mrs. (Letitia) Marshall $500 a
year for three years if she would take her. She said that she would
do it for nothing before she would see her given away," he wrote.
Earl and Letitia Marshall arrived in California on July 31, 1846 on
the ship Brooklyn with their adopted son, Simeon Stivers and other
members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their
dairy farm was near the present-day BART station in Fremont.
Cheny and Battalion member James Baily, constructed a kiln and fired
some of the first bricks used in San Francisco. Cheny married Amanda
Evans on January 10,1853 two years after Mary Ann's death. They moved
to the Territory of Utah when Brigham Young issued a call for members
to establish this new area. Cheney captained 14 wagons, 16 men, seven
women and fifteen children. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley on
November 3, 1857.
Their journals portray some of the most exciting years in California
history. The book, "Let This Be Zion," is available at the Museum of
Local History or by calling (510) 797-8547.
Volume celebrates the will to persevere
Fremont CA Argus 1Jan01 A2