Biography of Lorum Pratt Sr.

Lorum Pratt Sr. was the son of Apostle Orson Pratt (who was one of the first apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and Adelia Ann Bishop Pratt.  He was born in Salt Lake City in 1851.  He received his education in Salt Lake City with the other pioneer children and endured all the hardships of those days.  Often in winter he would run all the way to school to keep warm, as he had only stockings on his feet, and he said many of the other children did not even have stockings.  When he reached the School house he would huddle around the little stove with the other children.  The winters were severe and the snow deep.

When he was about 15 he worked for a man a month and the man’s wife made him a pair of pants for his pay.  He said the man’s wife was so stingy, she made the pants very tight, but he was glad to have them, and his brother Lorus and he took turns wearing them.  He said he worked two months for a shoe maker who took so long making him a pair of boots that they were almost too small.  When he was a small boy he cut wood for an old lady who gave him a biscuit, he said it tasted so good that he took it home to share with his brother, because they only had corn meal bread.

When Lorum Pratt was 16 years old Bishop Raleigh called him on a mission and when he asked the Bishop where he wanted him to go, the Bishop told him to go and help settle Dixie, so he took his team and wagon and went to Touqerville.  When he reached there he was hired with some other men to go make a road at Lee’s Ferry, over a place called Lee’s Backbone.  He said he was put in as cook, he had never cooked before but he did the best he could.  The Indians were very bad and they were afraid for their lives at night so they took turns praying.  One night one of the young men was praying and he said, “Lord bless us and our wives and children.”  All the men began to laugh because none of them were married.

While living in Touqerville he went with a girl named Eliza Ann Height; she was a sister to the first Telegraph operator at Pipe Springs, Arizona.  One night he asked her to let Frances Theobald got to a dance with them and when they got to the dance Eliza Ann would not dance with him, so he took Frances after that and later married her.

Lorum and Frances worked on the Caanon ranch for a few years and he ran cattle for Jim Andrus and Frances cooked.  Then they worked at Mogision, from there they moved to Toquerville and then to Kanab when their third child was a baby.

Lorum hauled freight for the first stores, and often a trip would take weeks.  He also cut hay at Johnson with a scythe.  While living in Kanab one Sunday afternoon he and his wife and some neighbors were in the door yard when a cloud burst up the canyon, and they heard the distant rumble and saw the flood that cur the gorge that is now the Kanab creek.  He helped build the first water ditch in Kanab and took turns guarding it to keep it from breaking through.

Later he was called with others to help settle Fredonia, Arizona, with the help of Thomas Jensen, A.W. Brown and Henry Hortt.  He made the first survey of the town.  Lorum Pratt Sr. placed the center post.

He quarried the rock and built his own home, it was the largest house in Fredonia, and all the public gatherings and meetings were held there until a meeting house was built.

Pioneer Pratt was a Counselor to Bishop Dade Stewart.  He was a school trustee for ten years, head ranger for four years and supervisor for seven years on the Kiabab Forest.

In 1933 his wife died with a stroke.  After that he was a very lonely man and went from place to place.  He bought a car which he often drove on the wrong side of the road and thought the other drivers were in the wrong.   Consequently, his son Orson tried to drive him where he wanted to go whenever he could.  In 1934 he went with his son Orson on a deer hunt and shot his own deer.

He was the father of twelve children, 3 of whom died before him.  He was a jolly old man, very determined in his way and independent, a very honest man.  He was 5 feet 8 inches tall and had blue eyes.

He drove his car wherever he went, often he would get in his car and drive from Fredonia to Kanab and have breakfast with his son Orson Pratt and family.  Often he would be sitting on their porch when they got up at 6 o’clock in the morning.

In August 1935 he sold his old car and bought a pickup, and went to the mountain, with his son Elwin, he came home on the first of Sept. not feeling well and was confined to his bed until the 7th of October, when he passed away peacefully in his sleep.  He was 84 years old when he died.

[source unknown, transcribed by David Grow, Feb. 2007]

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