Daughter of Edmund and Sarah Ellis. She emigrated from England with her family by way of the ship Manhattan in 1867. She then continued her westward journey to Utah with her parents and siblings in 1868 as part of the Seeley Company. Her older brother, Edward, traveled in a different company. By 1870, the Ellis family was living together in Weber county, Utah.
In her autobiography, Mary Ann stated the following: "I . . . emigrated with my parents to Utah in 1868. . . I remember walking nearly all the way across the plains and how thankful we were to see Salt Lake City."
Her surname is "Cragun" on the death certificate and Find A Grave website.