History of Lorum Bishop Pratt

submitted by Mone’ Christensen Jones

Lorum Pratt was a son of Orson Pratt and Adelia Ann Bishop Pratt. On December 13, 1844, in the beautiful city of Nauvoo Illinois, Orson and Adelia were sealed together for time and all eternity, Adelia becoming one of Orson’s first plural wives.

Soon afterwards the trek to Salt Lake City began. Orson was sent ahead of the saints to scout out the land and it was in the late spring of 1851 that Adelia joined one of his wagon trains and made her way with the saints to the new valley.

Adelia gave birth to two daughters in route to Salt Lake and four more children were born to her in Utah, two sons and two daughters. Lorum Pratt, the oldest son, was born Dec 18, 1852.

Times were difficult in Salt Lake City for Adelia and many others of the polygamous wives. Orson was sent on extensive missions to the British Isles, thus leaving the wives and children to fend for them selves as best they could. Adelia took her little family to Tooele to live. Here in this dusty little town she was literally without shelter, living off charity. Adelia said, "We have lived several weeks by borrowing. We have survived on pig weeds, dandelion roots and sego lily bulbs. I expect we well remain in Tooele City, if we do not perish with starvation first."

Adelia Ann and her children did survive the poverty and famine suffered in Tooele and the children grew and became successful adults. Lorus Pratt, the fourth child, became a well-known painter in Utah. He studied in Paris. His work was exhibited in France and he produced murals and landscapes for the Salt Lake Temple. One of Adelia’s daughters, Orthena, married into the John Aske Silver family. It was at the Silver Bros. Iron works that the twelve oxen that hold up the baptismal font in the Salt Lake Temple were fashioned, as were the iron gates on the North and South ends of Temple Square. Also the iron fence around Brigham Young’s grave. Orthena was one of the wealthiest women in Salt Lake.

(The following is an excerpt from History written by Emma Pratt Camp Cleome, Kanab)

Lorum received his education in Salt Lake with the other pioneer children and endured all the hardships of those days as well. Often in the 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 have stockings. When he reached the schoolhouse he would huddle around the little stove with the other children. The winters were severe and the snow was deep.

When he was about 15 he worked a month for a man. The man’s wife made him a pair of pants for his pay. He said the woman was so stingy that she made them very tight, but he was glad to have them. His brother Lorus and he took turns wearing them.

When Lorum Pratt was a small boy he cut wood for a neighbor lady who gave him a biscuit for pay. He said it tasted so good he took it home to share with his brother because they were only used to cornmeal.

When he was 16 the Bishop of their ward called him to go on a mission. When he ask Bishop Raleigh where he wanted him to go he was told to go help settle Dixie. So he took his team and wagon and went to Toquerville. On reaching there he was hired with other men to go make a road at Lee‘s Ferry over a place called Lee’s back bone. Here he was put in cook. The Indians were very bad there, and the men were afraid they would come and kill them any night.

One night one of the young men was praying and he said "Lord bless us and our wives and children." The other men began to laugh and he saw his mistake because none of them were married.

While living in Toquerville he went with a girl named Eliza Ann Height, a sister to the first telegraph operator at Pipe Springs. One night he asked her to let Frances Theobald go to the dance with them. Eliza Ann did not like this so he kept on taking Frances and [married her on May 17, 1876].

(The following is an excerpt taken from History of Lorum Pratt, Sr. by Neva Pratt and Shirley Swapp, History of Fredonia, Arizona 1185-1985)

Lorum and Frances moved to Canaan Ranch where they both found employment—Lorum as a ranch foreman and Frances as a cook. From the ranch they moved to Moccasin, then back to Toquerville. They had three children before they moved to Kanab: Estaella, born March, 1877; Ernest, born February, 1879; and Ada, born May, 1881. [1900 Census] When Ada was a baby, they moved to Kanab, where Lorum hauled freight for some of the first stores in the area. He was also a witness to the flood which cut the gorge which is now known as Kanab Creek and, along with the other residents, helped build the first irrigation ditch in Kanab.

In September, 1883, Lorum Jr. was born, followed by Orson in August of 1885. In the spring of 1885, Lorum was once again called to undertake a mission for the Church. This time he was to help settle an area about seven miles south of Kanab.

In early 1885 Lorum built a corral near which his twelve-year-old daughter Stella, lived in a wagon box with a cover stretched over it. She cooked for him while he built the corral. This corral, located near the spot which now holds the Grand Canyon Motel, was the first structure of its type in the area and was used by all the other settlers that first year.

Land was cleared of brush and crops were planted, but, unfortunately, they were destroyed the first year by chintz bugs. The next year they raised a good crop of corn and cane. They found that the cane grew well. In time, they made molasses in a mill constructed for that purpose.

Lorum, A.W. Brown, and Lawrence Mariger did the first survey of the town site. Each two-and-a-half acre lot was numbered and the corresponding numbers placed in a hat. The men then drew numbers to ascertain lot ownership. Several trades were made after the drawing so the men could obtain some adjoining pieces of land.

The Pratt’s built a large rock house from stone which Lorum quarried himself. Since their home was so large, Lorum and Frances hosted most of the public gatherings and meetings were held there until a meeting house was finally constructed. This house is the center of the Grand Canyon Motel Office.

Six more children were born to Frances and Lorum at Fredonia: Frances Adora, February, 1889; Mildred, May, 1891; Hermoine, June, 1893 (My Grandmother); Roxey, April, 1895 (died of chicken pox at age two); Elwin, July, 1897; and Glen, March, 1901, who contracted and died from spinal meningitis at age fifteen when he jumped off a truck, scraping the skin off his spine.

Lorum served as the first Sunday School Superintendent under Bishop Thomas P. Jensen with A.W. Brown and James Hortt as counselors. Lorum was also called to be a counselor under Bishop Dave Stewart. Along with Fred Tilton, Lorum was the first school trustee in Fredonia. One of the duties involved with this job was boarding the out-of-town school teachers. During the ten years that Lorum held this position, he boarded many teachers—including Florence Foremaster from St. George, Utah.

Lorum was also appointed the first Forest Supervisor of the Kaibab Forest. His summer headquarters were located at Quaking Aspen Canyon. While on the mountain, Lorum planted potatoes in what is now known as Pratt Canyon or Tater Canyon. The potatoes were harvested and brought to town by wagon loads.

After retirement, Lorum and Frances enjoyed traveling whenever the opportunity presented itself. In 1933, Frances passed away; Lorum became a very lonely man and moved from place to place. He purchased a car, which he sometimes drove on the wrong side of the road—blaming others for not following the proper rules. (His reasoning was that the left hand side was smooth when the road was "washboardy"). Due to this habit, Orson tried to take him where he wanted to go whenever he could. In 1934, at the age of 83, Lorum accompanied Orson on a deer hunt and shot his own deer.

Lorum was the father to twelve children. (?only 11 are mentioned in this history?) He was a jolly old man, very determined in his way and independent—a very honest man. He was five feet eight inches tall and had blue eyes.

A granddaughter, Frances Pratt Isaacson, and his grandson, Elwin Harold Pratt, remember how precise and immaculate he was about his log tack room and livestock. He would spend hours working and cleaning his tack. In his tack room, everything had its place and was put away. He took pride in his matched teams which were used to pull his wagons. When one horse would die, he would go all over the country looking for another matched team. He used the wagon to ride out for oose root (cactus) for his wife’s shampoos and joyrides—even after he had a car.

In August of 1935, he sold his old car and bought a pickup truck. He drove to the mountain with his son, Elwin, and returned home on the first of September, not feeling well. He was confined to his bed until the seventh of October, when he passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was eighty-four years old.


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