Death of Mrs. Pratt
Early Settler and Faithful Church Worker Passes Away

Mrs. Mary Ann M. Pratt, widow of the late Apostle Orson Pratt, and a resident of this city for the past 52 years answered the final summons at 6:15 this morning, at the ripe age of 84 years and six months. Two years ago Mrs. Pratt fell and broke her right arm between the elbow and the hand and a day or two ago she broke the same member between the elbow and shoulder, which injuries caused her great pain and were no doubt the means of hastening the end.

The deceased was born June 2, 1819, at Southhold, Long Island, and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an early day, later becoming acquainted with and marrying Elder Orson Pratt, the ceremony being performed in the Nauvoo Temple. At the time of her conversion she was living in South Norwalk, Conn., but gradually moved westward and came to Utah in 1851, where she has been a resident ever since.

Mrs. Pratt was an active Church worker and was a frequent contributor to the columns of the Woman’s Exponent, a paper published in the interest of the Relief society. She leaves four children, they being Milando, her oldest son; Mrs. Vianna Eldredge, wife of Joseph U. Eldredge, Sr.; Mrs. Lathilla Kimball, wife of Joseph Kimball, and Prof. Valton M. Pratt; also numerous grandchildren and several great grandchildren. An only brother in the person of Capt. Henry B. Merrill, lives in Connecticut.

The funeral will take place from the residence of her son, Milando Pratt, 565 South State street, on Monday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m. Friends are invited.

[Deseret News, Dec. 12, 1903, 1]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Jan. 2006]


Good Woman Laid To Rest
Some history in the Life of Mrs. Mary Ann Merrill Pratt

One of the Old Pioneers
She Leaves a Veteran Brother Who Also Made a Name for Himself in the Community

With the passing of Mrs. May Ann Merrill Pratt last week another pioneer was gathered to her long rest. The deceased was truly a pioneer, having come with her husband, the late Apostle Orson Pratt, from Nauvoo, Ill., from whence the Saints were exiled in the winter of 1846, to the Missouri river, where she remained while her husband accompanied that noble band of path riders of 1847 to the Salt Lake Valley.

It was the intention of Mrs. Pratt to join her husband upon his return from the long trip across the plains to Utah and with him return to the valleys of the mountains. This was not to be, however, for some time. Apostle Pratt returned to Winter Quarters but it was for the purpose of making arrangements to go to Europe as president of the mission, he having been called for that work by President Brigham Young. Apostle Pratt accordingly left his wife with others of his family on the Pottawatomie grounds, Iowa, until his return from Europe. Mrs. Pratt then immigrated with her husband to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, arriving here in September, 1851.

She was the mother of five children, viz.: Milando Pratt, Mrs. Vianna P. Eldredge, wife of Joseph U. Eldredge, Mrs. Oradine P. Kimball (deceased), wife of Samuel Kimball, Lathilla P. Kimball, wife of Joseph Kimball, and Valton M. Pratt, all of this city; and by whom she has had 33 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren.

Mrs. Mary Ann M. Pratt was born June 2, 1819, at Southold, L.I., N.Y., died Dec. 12, 1903, aged 84 years, 6 months and 8 days.

The story of the life of Mrs. Pratt is best told perhaps in the following synopsis which was written by herself in connection with her genealogical record and sent to Gen. Lewis Merrill of Philadelphia, Pa., June 8, 1885, and which was read at the funeral on Monday:

“My father, Valentine Merrill, and his brother Marvin were potters. Marvin invented the first sugar loaf molds for making loaf sugar, made of clay, for which they got the patent right, and manufactured many thousand dollars worth, which they shipped to the New York market by a sailing vessel. Their business they carried on at Norwalk village, which was pleasantly located and had a commanding view of the water as it ebbed and flowed. Their vessel came in at high water mark, up a narrow creek. They unloaded the clay for making their ware at the right side of the vessel, and reloaded the ware from a warehouse at the left.

“My father was in the war of 1812. He was a staunch Whig and was always on the side of equal rights and religious freedom.

“I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February, 1842, at Norwalk, Conn. I emigrated to Nauvoo, Ill., in August, 1843, where I married Prof. Orson Pratt, who was one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church. The latter part of February, 1846, I was exiled from Nauvoo, I had to leave my home with the rest of the people, to seek a home among the savages in the far distant west; and as my forefathers and mothers fled from persecution, so did I, that here in my mountain home I might breathe the air of freedom of thought and action and enjoy that patriotic feeling that courses through my veins, inherited by my ancestors–the “Merrill blood”—who rather suffer privations away from the land of their birth, than dwell with the unjust. Bust our enemies have followed our footsteps and are trying to bring us into bondage, depriving us of our political and religious rights by inducing Congress to enact and pass expost facto laws contrary to the constitutional laws of our country.”

Out of a family of nine, six brothers and three sisters, only one brother survives in the person of Capt. Henry B. Merrill of Green Point, L.I., N.Y. The accompanying picture is reproduced from a cut in the Brooklyn Daily Times, which paper in a recent issue under the date line of Greenport, L.I. , has the following to say:

It is doubtful if there is any one on the eastern end of Long Island who has led a more eventful and varied life than Capt. Henry B. Merrill, of this place.

Capt. Merrill was born at South Norwalk, Conn., Feb. 16, 1824, and commenced his seafaring career at the early age of 13 years, on the sloop Lady Washington, which hailed from Sag Harbor, but laid up at East Marion. After three years in the coasting service, then being 16 years of age, he shipped on his whaling voyage as a common seaman, but from which he afterward worked his way up to second mate. During his voyages he passed around the world three times, landed on the coast of Alaska, on the eastern coast of Russia, stopped six different times at the Sandwich Islands, crossed the equator 16 different times, rounded Cape Horn four times, saw seven burials at sea and helped to kill 150 whales.

Capt. Merrill was also a Forty-niner, going to the California gold fields as second mate in the good ship Huron from Sag Harbor, which made his fourth trip around Cape Horn. Capt. Merrill had an interest in the cargo, which consisted of pine lumber and brick. Mill-worked boards, which had cost $16 a thousands home, were sold for $325 a thousand. The bricks which had cost them $5 a thousand at home, were sold for $75 a thousand.

After spending seven and one-half months in the gold fields, during which time each one made an average wage of $5 a day, Capt. Merrill came home and once more engaged in the coasting trade, being master of different vessel for 46 years, during which time lost only one vessel. Capt. Merrill has a record of 59 years of continual sea service, not a year passing in that time but what he was at sea.

The latter part of Capt. Merrill’s seafaring life was passed as masters of two different yachts—the Sea Witch and the Viking. Capt. Merrill has a good memory and states that when he first went to New York there was not a house within half a mile south of Bellevue hospital. Not one of Capt. Merrill’s companions, who went with him to the gold fields is now alive, he alone remains to tell the wonderful stories of the experience of the Forty-niners.

Capt. Merrill is now 80 years of age, but he looks so hale and hearty that one would not think him over 65. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of this place, which he joined in the fall of 1848.

The captain lives in a beautiful little house on First street, which was built in 1844, and which was, in reality, the first house on that street. Although a seaman all his life Capt. Merrill has never used either liquors of tobacco.

The funeral services over the remains of Mary Ann Merrill Pratt were held on Monday at the residence of her son, Milando Pratt, 565 south State street, this city, commencing at 1 o’clock p.m.

The exercises were conducted by the Bishopric of the Eighth ward. In addition to these the following were present:

President Angus M. Cannon, Elders John W. Taylor, Golden Kimball, Joseph Kimball, A.M. Musser, William White and others, including Bishop E.F. Sheets, who were intimately acquainted with the deceased. The first five foregoing named were consoling and appropriate remarks eulogistic of the beautiful character of this noble woman.

Elder William White made the opening prayer and Elder J.D.H. McAllister the closing. The sweet strains of music were beautifully rendered by the following voices: Mr. Fred C. Graham, Miss Emily Grimsdell and Miss Nettle Raleigh, and piano accompaniment by Prof. Frank Merrill. The followings songs being sung: “O My Father, etc.” Mr. Graham, soloist; “Angels Ever Bright and Fair,” Miss Grimsdell; “I Need Thee Every Hour” and “Nearer My God To Thee.”

At the conclusion of the funeral services her son, Milando Pratt, received the following telegram from five of her grandchildren:

“New York, Dec. 14, 1903. Our deepest sympathy and love. Wish we could be there. George, (H. Gillett,) Viola, Miley, Leone, Ruth, Frank.”

Many old friends who knew Mrs. Pratt reaching a period ranging over 50 years, attended the services and accompanied the remains to the “city of the dead,” where they now rest beside the remains of her husband, the late Apostle Orson Pratt.

Elder Lorus Pratt offered the dedicatory prayer at the grave, which was finally profusely decorated with emblematic flowers contributed by relatives and friends.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec. 14, 1903, 4]
[Deseret News, Dec. 17, 1903]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]


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