During this year, as we commemorate the great influence and foundation laid by Joseph Smith the prophet, I feel that the story of my ancestor demonstrates the divinity of the call of Joseph and the effect that the Prophet had on others.
Martin Horton Peck is my great-great-great-great-grandfather. I remember hearing his conversion story when I was young.
Martin was born in 1806 in Bristol County, Mass. When he was young, his family moved to Vermont where he learned the trade of a blacksmith.
In 1833, his neighbors were assisting him in a house raising. Martin had heard of the preacher Joseph Smith and suggested to his friends that they go and break up a meeting that the young Prophet was holding in the nearby woods.
After their work was done, Martin and his neighbors went to the meeting intending to cause a disturbance. But the Prophet Joseph Smith had not spoken more than five minutes when Martin received a thorough assurance of the divinity of his mission. He was converted on the spot and baptized by Lyman E. Johnson. Martin traveled with the Kirtland company and helped to build the temple in Nauvoo, Ill. He had some musical talent and played in the Nauvoo Legion Brass Band at its dedication. As the saints moved west, he was called to stay at Winter Quarters to help as a blacksmith. Later, Martin arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September of 1848.
There his fame as a talented blacksmith spread throughout the territory. He formed the drop hammer for coins made at the Deseret Mint and held the office of Territorial Sealer of Weights and Measures for many years. Martin served several missions to the states and to the Indians. He took part in several miraculous healings and served his fellow men without expecting any return. Martin was known to be upright and honest in his trade and a faithful servant of the Lord.
Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Martin Horton Peck could sense that truth, and his testimony has carried on through the generations. I am grateful for his witness and example. It is a privilege to honor the Prophet this year and to celebrate the wondrous Restoration in which he played the key role. — Heather T. Silver, Syracuse, Utah