Eli H. Peirce was born in Pennsylvania in 1827. His family moved to Nauvoo in 1841, where Eli was baptized by Joseph Smith on March 27, 1842. He was ordained a Seventy in 1845, and received his endowment in the Nauvoo Temple on January 24, 1846. Eli was part of the first company that came to Utah under the direction of Brigham Young in 1847.
Brother Peirce described an interesting experience. On one occasion, he was called by one of the branch presidents to administer to the brother's youngest child. Unfortunately, the man's wife had turned against the Church, and was opposed to any kind of blessing being given; she refused to leave the bedside of the child. Brother Peirce recorded:
"Not wishing to intrude, we retired to an upper room to pray, and she, designing our motives, sent her little girl to spy upon us. In a secluded chamber we knelt down and prayed, earnestly and fervently, until we felt that the child would
live and knew that our prayers had been heard and answered.
"Turning round, we saw the little girl standing in the half open door gazing intently into the room, but not heeding our movements. She stood as if entranced for some seconds, her eyes fixed immovably upon a certain spot, and did not stir until her father spoke. She then said, 'Papa, who was that other man in there?'
"He answered, 'Brother Peirce.'
"She said, 'No, I mean that *other* man.'
"He replied, 'There was no other, darling, except Brother Peirce and myself; we were praying for the baby.'
"She shook her head, and, with perfect composure, said, 'Oh, yes, there was; I saw him standing between you and Mr. Peirce, and he was all dressed in white.'
The girl related what she had seen to her mother, but her heart remained hard. She tried everything she could think of to get the child to admit the story was fabricated: "Entreaties, bribes, threats and expostulations were alike unavailing. She knew what she had seen and nothing could shake that conviction."
The baby reportedly quickly regained its health. No word on the mother's eventual fate. Eli Peirce continued to serve faithfully. He settled with his family in Brigham City, where he served as a bishop starting in 1855. He was called to serve a mission to Europe in 1857, but in 1858 became very ill. He returned home and passed away in August 1858, only 31 years old.
(See Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, p. 413)