Peter Maughan, the fifth child of William and Martha Wilson Maughan, was born at Milton, Cumberland, England, 7 May 1811. As a youth, he worked in the lead mines at Alston, England. He married Ruth Harrison 1 October 1831 and six children were born to them. Peter and Ruth were baptized members of the *Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alston in 1838 and were active in the branch. However, the contentment of the family was destroyed when Ruth died shortly after the birth of their sixth child on 26 March 1841. Following the counsel of Brigham Young, who was on a mission in England, Peter and his children set sail for America, arriving 19 May 1841. The trip also was a sad occasion for Peter, as he had to bury his baby daughter, Ruth, at sea.
The family traveled to Nauvoo, Illinois, where Peter found work as a stonemason on the temple. In the wagon train from Kirtland to Nauvoo he met a young widow, Mary Ann Weston Davis. After a short courtship they were married on 2 November 1841. To them were born eight children. When trouble developed in Nauvoo and the Saints were driven out, Peter and his sons traveled to New Diggens, Wisconsin, where they earned $800.00 in eight weeks in the lead mines. They used this money to equip the family for the long trip to the Salt Lake Valley.