Ephraim was born on the ship Windermere as his parents and siblings were crossing the Atlantic. His father died at St. Louis Missouri in 1856. According to the death notice of Joseph Evans (Ephraim's older brother) the remainder of the family crossed the plains with a handcart company in 1857. Church ordinance records dated March 1858 provide the first documentation to place the family in Utah. In the 1860 Utah census he is listed as "Ephrm Fenn." (His mother had married William Fenn.) Additional research is needed to identify the name of the pioneer company with which the family crossed the plains.