Pratt Family In Reunion
Descendants of Worthy Sires Gather at Granite Stake Hall Monday
Gov. William Spry Speaks
B.H. Roberts Suggests Erection of Public Memorial in Honor of Orson Pratt
To commemorate the life work and achievements of Orson and Parley P. Pratt, 409 descendants of these men gathered at Granite stake hall yesterday afternoon in family reunion. The exercises consisted of a memorial gathering, commencing at 2 o’clock, when eulogies on the lives of the two great men were delivered by Gov. William Spry, Col. A.P. Kesler, a descendant of Anson Pratt, one of the five Pratt brothers who were prominent in the early history of the Church, President Francis M. Lyman and Elder Charles W. Penrose.
The large auditorium of the stake hall was beautifully decorated for the occasion with flowers and pictures, and oil paintings of Parley P. and Orson Pratt, executed by Lorus Pratt, son of Orson Pratt, had conspicuous places on the stage. Prominent among those present were two surviving widows of Orson Pratt and the widow of Anson Pratt, eldest of the five brothers.
The musical numbers rendered were taken from the writings of Parley P. Pratt, the opening song being “Let us Rejoice.”
Prominent on the stand, in addition to several sons and daughters of Parley P. and Orson Pratt, were President Francis M. Lyman, Elders Heber J. Grant, Charles W. Penrose, George F. Richards and A.W. Ivins of the council of the twelve; Brigham H. Roberts of the First council of seventy; Gov. William Spry, and others.
Milando Pratt, son of Orson Pratt and president of the Pratt Family association, presided at the meeting an delivered an address of welcome. He gave a brief sketch of the life of Orson Pratt, and said that the descendants of the great pioneer, churchman and philosopher numbered 376, of whom 306 are living. These are divided into 45 children, 25 living; 170 grandchildren, 130 living, and 161 great-grandchildren, 151 living, the last born in Oregon on Oct. 3 of this year. The family trace their ancestors back to Thomas and Joan Pratt of Hertfordshire, England, and all the Pratts, he said, had been Godfearing people, of industrious habits and many of them in the learned professions. He said the occasion was not only to commemorate the works of the Pratt brothers, but for the present generation of the Pratts to become acquainted with each other, and he urged those present to keep ever green in their memories the great achievements of their illustrious ancestors.
“Falls the Dew from Heaven Descending,” another of Parley P. Pratt’s songs, was rendered by a mixed quartet, consisting of grandchildren of Parley P. and Orson Pratt, as follows: Mrs. Pear Kimball Davis, Miss Josie Hinckley, Mrs. Claribel Wallace, James Morgan and Lorus Pratt Jr. A vocal solo was given by Miss Josie Hinckley.
President Joseph F. Smith was to have been present but was unavoidably detained. His place on the program was taken by Col. A.P. Kesler, who eulogized the Pratt brothers, whose descendants, he said, no number 2,000.
Willard Weihe gave a selection on the violin, which was heartily encored.
Gov. William Spry
Gov. William Spry was introduced and said he felt it a great honor to be present at the gathering of the Pratts, and that such occasions should be of annual occurrence in the Pratt family. It was a distinction, Gov. Spry said, to have a sire who was the “original pioneer,” the first man of the original company of pioneers, to set foot in the valley. Orson Pratt and the work he did, said Gov. Spry, belong to the people of Utah, and he would be ever honored in the history of the state.
Vera Eldredge gave a piano solo, followed by a reading, “Orson Pratt,” by Clomenia Pratt Larson, while Claribel Ridges Pike gave a vocal solo, all of which were well received.
After brief eulogistic remarks by President Lyman and Elder C.W. Penrose, adjournment was taken until 7 o’clock, when the banquet was served in the hall below.
Milando Pratt introduced as toastmaster for the evening, Joseph Kimball. Mr. Kimball said he considered it the greatest honor of his life to preside at such a gathering, which had been called to do honor to such noble men as Orson and Parley P. Pratt, whose works, he said, would live forever.
Brigham H. Roberts responded to the toast, “The Illustrious Brother and the Apostle-Poet.” In a masterly effort Mr. Roberts summed up the attributes of the two men, Parley P. and Orson Pratt, designating the former as the author, the poet, and the latter as the man of science: both different in characteristics and methods of reasoning, but irresistible in reaching the conclusions sought. Parley P. Pratt spoke and wrote in poetry, the speaker said, while Orson Pratt spoke and wrote with the exactness of the scientist. Orson Pratt, he said, in addition to being the first man of the pioneer train to look upon the site of Salt Lake City, laid the city out in lots, blocks and streets with such accuracy that the government engineers, coming afterward with modern scientific instruments and learning, had not found it necessary to change his lines. Orson Pratt, he said, also laid out other cities in Utah, including the city of St. George. Orson Pratt, he said was not only a benefactor to humanity by his religious writings, but he had earned the gratitude of the people of the city and of the community for his work in its behalf, and that it was his opinion that it would be eminently fitting and proper, and the time would come when there would be erected to his memory in a public place in this city, a monument of bronze in recognition of his great services to the people.
To illustrate the poetic nature of Parley P. Pratt, the speaker read an extract from his leading work, the Key to Theology.
At the conclusion of Mr. Roberts’ address, President Francis M. Lyman told an incident in connection with the book, the Key to Theology, in which an educated Englishman after reading it several times, told the speaker that the only criticism of the book was that it was too good to be true.
“Orson Pratt, the Apostle-Pioneer,” was responded to by Prof. J.H. Paul, of the University of Utah; and “Orson Pratt, as Scientist and Philosopher,” was responded to by Dr. J.E. Talmage. That Orson Pratt was thoroughly imbued with the scientific spirit—the spirit of search and research—was the tribute of Dr. Talmage. Orson Pratt, he said, knew no dogma nor dictum; he considered proposition, analysis, demonstration, and his conclusions are all set forth with all their steps plainly marked. “Such a one was the man whom we honor, whose achievements we respect, whose memory we revere.”
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 9, 1911, 4]
[Deseret News, Oct. 10, 1911]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]
1811 September 19th, 1911
To the descendants of Anson, William D., Parley P., Orson and Nelson Pratt
Greeting: You are cordially invited to attend a Pratt Family Reunion
In commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the late Apostle and great Pioneer, Orson Pratt
Under the auspices of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Memorial Services will b e held at the Salt Lake Tabernacle at the Sunday morning session of the General Conference, Oct. 8th, 1911. Seats will be reserved for the Pratt relatives, and it is requested that all in attendance will be in their respective places early and promptly.
The following day—on Monday, Oct. 9th, at 2 p.m.—a Pratt Family Reunion will be held at the Granite Stake Tabernacle, corner Fourteenth South and State Streets, where old acquaintances will be renewed and new ones formed. There will be a banquet, addresses and an interesting program, and in the evening dancing, etc.
It is especially desired that all relatives, both old and young, both near and far, attend. Bring picnic.
Very cordially yours,
Milando Pratt, President.
Lathilla P. Kimball, Chairman Invitation Committee.
Valton M. Pratt, Secretary.
Sept. 15, 1911
Salt Lake City, Utah.
It was the intention to have held the Family Reunion on the 19th of September, the one hundredth anniversary of Apostle Pratt’s birthday, and also the unveiling of his monument at the Cemetery to have taken place at the same time, as announced through the press; but an accident happened to the monument in its manufacture, rendering the date of its completion and shipment indefinite.
As soon as this was learned a committee meeting was immediately called, at which a postponement of the Reunion and Memorial Services was advised. It was decided to hold the Reunion on October 9th, as many of the relatives residing outside the city could take advantage of the Conference rates to visit Salt Lake City and be present at the Family Reunion.
The unveiling of the monument was postponed to a still later date—July 21st, 1912—which will be the sixty-fifth Pioneer anniversary of Apostle Pratt’s entrance at the Valley of Great Salt Lake.
To meet the general expenses, contributions will be gratefully received, and may be sent to Mathoni W. Pratt, Treasurer, 778 Ashton Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah.
A Genealogical Record is being kept of the ancestors and descendants of the Pratt family, which is intended to be published in pamphlet form in the near future, so that the descendants many have a complete pedigree of their ancestry. Therefore, it is requested that the descendants of the five foregoing named Pratt brothers send me the names of all marriages and children born since the last Pratt Family Reunion, held on the occasion of the Centennial Anniversary Celebration of the birth of Apostle Parley Parker Pratt, April 12, 1907. Also those who have neglected to send their genealogy prior thereto will please do so.
The information should state names in full, when and where born; when, where and to whom married, and by whom; date of birth and place, of husband or wife; date of death and place.
Address: 565 So. State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.
[transribed from original and proofread by David Grow, Dec. 2006]