Pratt Family Genealogical Association
Salt Lake City, Utah
March 1, 1918
To the Descendants of Anson, William D., Parley P., Orson and Nelson Pratt:
We take this opportunity to inform you that on April 22, 1917, pursuant to a published call, a meeting of members of the Pratt family was held at the residence of Milando Pratt, Salt Lake City, and the Pratt Family Genealogical Association was formed by the adoption of Articles of Association and the election of the following officers.
Milando Pratt, President, Historian and Custodian of Records.
Parley P. Pratt, Vice-President.
Mathoni W. Pratt, Secretary-Treasurer.
Valton M. Pratt, Recording Secretary.
Amy Pratt, Officer at Large.
According to the articles, the above named officers constitute the Executive Committee.
From reports made at the above mentioned meeting it was shown that very much valuable personal work had been done by our illustrious ancestor, the late Orson Pratt, Sr., in the way of securing and compiling genealogical information and beginning work for very many of our dead ancestors and relations.
We are in possession of a Pratt Family printed record published in 1864, prepared by a Pratt descendant, Rev. F.W. Chapman, of East Hartford, Conn., at the instance of Julius Pratt, Esq., of Meridian, Conn., assisted by the late Col. George W. Pratt, of Prattsville, N.Y., and Orson Pratt, Sr., each contributing funds and personal assistance in gathering data for the work.
This record contains thousands of names, and reaches back to Lieut. William Pratt, the first member of the family to settle in America. This settler came from England and located in Newtown (now Cambridge), Mass., in 1633. And through the efforts of Orson Pratt, Sr., we have records three generations prior to Lieut. Wm. Pratt, to a common progenitor, Thomas Pratt, of Baldock, Hertfordshire, England, and the names of many Pratts, farther back than this, with whom direct family connections have not yet been traced.
The late President Francis M. Lyman, shortly before his demise, called Mathoni W. Pratt into his private office and charge him emphatically with the responsibility of seeing to it that the Pratt Family Records were put in proper shape and that the same be continued as a complete family record from generation to generation.
In compliance with this charge, Milando and Mathoni began a comprehensive examination of the records of our dead, and undertook to do some posting of work already done, but found that the records were in such shape, through lack of a proper system and attention of incompetent recorders, that it was next to impossible to complete them in their present form. After consultation with an expert in this line, it was decided that it would be absolutely necessary to establish a system of family groupings and numbering and to completely transcribe the records so that they could be brought down to date and placed in condition that they work already begun might be complete in an intelligible manner.
Milando, since before his father’s death, has had in charge a fine large family record of the living branches of the Pratt Family. Upon careful examination of this record it was found it would not be large enough to contain later than the grandchildren of the five Pratt brothers, and that new records would have to be provided for later generations.
The late Apostle Orson Pratt, who, by his works had manifested such deep interest in the family, both living and dead, left a letter of instructions which was to be incorporated in his autobiography, and we quote the same as follows:
“Instructions to Those Who May Hereafter Be Entrusted With This Record.
“This record is written, to be handed down to future generations, not only to preserve the genealogy of my forefathers, but to collect and register therein, from generation to generation, the dates of Births, Marriages, Places of Residence and Deaths of all the descendants of my four brothers and myself. This registry should be full and complete as possible, embracing sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc., including the Christian and surnames of all males and females intermarrying among these generations, and their descendants.
“When the time and expense of collecting and writing the necessary information, suitable to be embodied in a complete genealogical work, shall become too great to be borne by the possessor of the Records, let others of the descendants contribute liberally in carrying out this desirable object.
“It is to be hoped that all our posterity of whatever branch or name, will be sufficiently interested to preserve their genealogy to the latest generations.
“And I now ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to bless all our descendants, who desire with honest hearts to serve Him; as also those who shall intermarry among them, who shall cleave with all their hearts unto His covenants, and have respect unto His word. May they be multiplied exceedingly, and their names become great in the earth, and among the righteous of all generations.
“Orson Pratt, Sr.
“Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, October 1st, 1874.”
The task of transcribing and putting in proper shape the records of our ancestors is a great one, as it is estimated that it will take the whole time of one expert at least six months to complete this work. Then there is much work to be done in bringing the records of the present generations down to date. This, together with the necessary expense of procuring proper record books, blanks, postage, etc., will require the united and generous efforts of each member of the family.
The articles provide for an annual meeting of the Association, to be held at Salt Lake City on the 21st day of each July (the anniversary of the entrance of Orson Pratt into the Great Salt Lake City valley). They also provide for an initiation fee of fifty cents for membership in the Association and a further fee of fifty cents annually thereafter, from each member, payable on or before the date of each annual meeting.
It is thought if all living descendants of the five Pratt brothers shall become members and are prompt in the payment of the dues thus provided for, that this will probably take care of the current expenses of the Association, but it will not provide the necessary funds for reconstructing and bringing our records down to date. To meet this necessary and immediate need, the Executive Committee urge upon each person connected with the family the necessity of seeing to it that the membership fee of fifty cents each is forwarded to the Secretary-Treasurer without delay, and that in addition thereto, a voluntary contribution be sent in from each, of as liberal a sum as conditions will possibly permit, so that the means may be on hand to prosecute this work, which is already under way, and must be paid for.
We have a line of noble ancestry of which we may well be proud, and the Executive Committee feels assured that not one living descendant will want to shirk their individual responsibility in this great work, but that all will be anxious to cooperate and take earnest and prompt steps to see that the names and required data of each one connected with the family be furnished to the Secretary, and that means be provided so that this information may…
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[transcribed from original and proofread by David Grow, Dec. 2006]