Lettice Eckersall Redford, was born 22 Feb. 1814, at Pilkington, Lancashire, England. She was the daughter of Joseph Eckersall and Betty Brown. Her Mother died at the time of her birth leaving six children, four boys and two girls, Thomas, John, Alice, David, James and Lettice, the youngest.
The family were very poor and the two little girls endeavored to keep house for their father and brothers, but at an early age, in connection with the male members of the family, the girls were forced to work in a cotton factory to enable the family to obtain the bare necessities of life.
Her Father married again, and Lettice kept her place in the factory, although she lived at home with her Father and Stepmother, who were kind to her. They were Spiritually-minded Christian people and taught their children honesty and thrift. Lettice with expressive brown eyes, dark hair, grew into a beautiful young woman, and married William Crossley. They had a baby girl named Betty. Shortly after the birth of their baby, her husband died of consumption. Heart broken, she returned with her baby to the home of her Father.
One evening, sometime later, as she was returning home from work, two Mormon Missionaries were holding a street meeting. Her attention was attracted by their singing. She, herself, was a beautiful singer, having been the soloist for the Charity sermons of the Methodist Church of which she was a member. When she heard the Elders singing, she paused on her journey and listened. This was surely different from anything she had ever heard. There was spirit and hope in this singing. Still she tarried, for at the close of the songs, they began to preach. This also had a different ring in it. She was riveted to the ground where she stood. Surely, this was an experience she would never forget. And this singing and preaching, how unlike anything she had ever heard. She could not shake off the feeling she had received at the Meeting. Their message had found a resting place within her heart and gave solace to her confused mind. In few days later, she was secretly baptized. 30th May. 1840, by Walker Johnson. She attended the Meetings in secret also, for she feared her Father’s wrath if he should find out. One night as she was preparing to leave for a Meeting, her Father having heard that she had affiliated herself with that much despised religious sect, asked where she was going? As she hesitated to answer, he denounced her and her religion. He demanded that she forsake it or leave home at once. She asked, “Whether shall I go?” “Go anywhere, Ye shall not remain here.” This also meant that she must suffer the heartache and separation from her baby, for her Father kept the little girl who lived to be twenty-three years of age, and also died of consumption.
Snow covered the ground, and a raging blizzard was at its height, but she didn’t hesitate to take her choice, preferring to face the terror of the elements, than to denounce her newly found Religion, for it gave her such a Faith and Peace of mind such as she had never known before. She took her few belongings in a bundle, bid her little girl Goodbye, and started down the street, not knowing where to go or what to do. She had traveled only a short distance when the door of a cottage opened, throwing a light like a Halo about her. She was recognized by a neighbor who called, “Lettice whither are ta’ going?” I don’t know, she returned. “Father has turned me out because I am a Mormon.” Thou must come in and stop with us tonight, remarked Maey Mather, the neighbor, Thou can not stay out in such a night as this. How thankful she was. Surely there was a God in Heaven, and indeed this was His Gospel. She went in and made her home with them for a time. Throughout her life she was the only member of her family to join the Church.