Milson R. Pratt’s Mission to India


Milson Pratt, of Z.C.M.I., who has lately returned for a mission to Mexico, has been notified to leave for the East Indian mission on Tuesday next. The young gentleman who is a son of the late Apostle Orson Pratt, is making the necessary hasty preparations of his departure.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, June 8, 1884, 3]
[Deseret News, June 8, 1884]

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


On the Way

The missionaries to the East Indies, Elders William Willis, Henry McCune and Milson Pratt, with Dr. George H. Booth, left for the East Indies yesterday afternoon by the 3:55 train. They go by way of the Central Pacific to San Francisco, and thence take passage with the Pacific Mail Steamship Company to Calcutta. The brethren are in good health and spirits, full of hope for the important mission to which they have been called. Our best wishes for their safety, happiness and success go with them.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, June 11, 1884, 2]
[Deseret News, June 11, 1884]

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


Our East India Missionaries Described

Four Mormon missionaries are domiciled in the American Exchange Hotel. They will leave tomorrow on the China steamer, en route for Calcutta. They intend to found a permanent mission in the Indian capital, and are hopeful of garnering an abundant harvest there. A reporter of the D.R. called on the Mormons and was very courteously received. The missioners are by no means the ordinarily concerned types of the Latter-day Saints. The leader of the party, William Willis, is an intelligent looking man past middle age. He has a benevolent aspect and wears a long white beard. He is willing and anxious to impart information on Mormon topics to all inquirers. Dr. George H. Booth, who has been in the church for thirty years, is a resident of Calcutta. He looks like a typical attaché of the British Consulate in San Francisco. His hair is black, slightly tinged with grey, and is parted in the middle. His beard is worn rather long, and altogether he suggests the British possessions in Saucelito.

Elder Henry McKewen is more aggressive in his talk than the other members. He is younger, intelligent in appearance, and quick and sharp in his manners. He is of dark complexion, and wears a closely cropped black beard. Milson Pratt, a son of Orson Pratt is the fourth, and apparently the youngest member, of the party. He is a long man, with a smoothly shaven round face. He talks in a low tone of voice, but is evidently intelligent and well informed. The missionaries all profess themselves as delighted with San Francisco, though not impressed with the climate. They deprecated the attacks which had been made on the Mormon Church, and charged that they were made by persons unacquainted with the faith. The Mormons, they said, were making converts steadily and did not in the least feel the attacks made upon them by the Gentiles. As far as polygamy is concerned, they were willing to let time show whether or not it was right. “Our greatest article of faith is in our children,” said Elder Willis, and he handed the reporter the following “little gem” which he had dashed off in an idle moment.

(A short poem about children in Utah)

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, June 20, 1884, 8]
[San Francisco Report, June 20, 1884 ]

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


Arrival of the Elders in Calcutta

Wellsley Street, Calcutta
East Indies, Aug. 7, 1884

Editor Deseret News:

Myself and Elders McCune, M.R. Pratt and Dr. G.H. Booth arrived in this city all well, on the 1st inst., 53 days from home, stopping at Yokohama, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Penang, a few days at each place, and had the pleasure of seeing the orientals at their homes—a new and strange sight to us.

The steamship City of New York carried us to Hong Kong, where we embarked on board the Tat Sang, Captain T.L. Davis, who with his officers, Messrs. Payne and Bradley, and the engineers Davies and Stuart, behaved like kind brothers, read our books and were favorably impressed with them.

On my arrival in this city I saw nothing changed from 33 years ago, except street-cars, railroads and bicycles, and the rains less profuse during the southwest monsoon.

We are kindly entertained by Dr. Booth and his benevolent lady and family, who have assigned us an apartment to ourselves.

We have began to distribute tracts and Articles of Faith cards among those who are willing to receive and read them.

Yesterday evening we commenced our outdoor public meetings on Wellington Square, a beautiful grassy evening resort, and had a quiet and numerous audience of natives and Europeans, who were attentive and orderly. We expect to be engaged in this way every evening for the present, until we get a room to hold meetings in.

The people to whom we have been introduced are polite, refined and deferential; all the isms, and unbelief of new revelations are in full force but they have implicit confidence in ancient orthodoxy.

We are thankful for the receipt by Elder McCune and myself of copies of the weekly News, and hope many of our friends will favor us in the same way, and keep it up.

The prayers of the Saints are very earnestly desired, and will be reciprocated.

All public preachers here are under the protection of the police in open air preaching. Yesterday we held our first Fast meeting in our private apartment, and had an excellent good time, but there was the absence of one of the most interesting items, the blessing of children.

For time to time we will keep you posted on all matters and occurrences of interest. If you will send us several specimens of faith tracts (Morgan’s) by mail, it will be a favor conferred. Also “A Voice from the Mountains” and the “Modern Prophet” by J. Nicholson.

I am desirous of sending my kind greetings to my brethren and sisters of the Sunday schools. Although Brother Goddard and myself are far away from each other, we are closely and often visited by our correspondence. How grateful and refreshing it would be to get a line from some of them. If they were Mormons I could reply by the press, and it would be a high gratification. I am not homesick, and never wish to be, but I cannot hide from myself the great all-absorbing fact that “There is no place like home.”

Some earnest enquirers attend our public meetings in the open air and visit us at our residence, being at present engaged in reading the standard works of the Church.

As the mail leaves in the evening I will close, with prayers and best wishes to all.

Your brother in the truth,

Wm. Willes

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Aug. 7, 1884, 3]
[Deseret News, Sept. 18, 1884]

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


Oct. 6, 1884, 2 — listed as serving in the "Hindoostan" mission in the General Conference report

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 6, 1884, 2]


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