Milson R. Pratt’s Mission to Mexico


For Mexico

Among the missionaries who will start this morning for their fields of labor in various parts of the world are Milson Ross Pratt, of this city, son of the late Apostle Orson Pratt, and Anthony W. Ivins, of St. George. The destination of both these young men is Mexico. They will proceed by rail to New Orleans, where they will take passage on a steamer for Vera Cruz, and from that port make their way by rail or otherwise to the City of Mexico, which point will probably be the base of their missionary operations.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 9, 1882, 2]
[Deseret News, May 9, 1882]

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


The Mexican Mission

By permission of the lady to whom it is addressed, we are enabled to publish the following letter, descriptive of Ozumba and surrounding country.

Ozumba, Mexico, Feb. 16, 1884

Dear Mother:

Your welcome letter was received on the 31st ult., etc. Ozumba is nearly south of the city of Mexico, about 40 miles distant, and is the centre of several villages overshadowed by the lofty and noted Popocatepetl. It is situated at the southern extremity of the valley of Mexico, which sweeps around and among the hills and mountains like the bed of some large lake, which undoubtedly the greater part of it was, in times gone by. This region has been terribly disturbed by volcanic eruptions, as extinct craters seen in every direction, abundantly testify. The Book of Mormon tells us that the time these disturbances took place was when the Son of God was upon the cross and this part of central America seems to have been especially visited. The “gran volcan” Popocatepetl, rising in a cone 17,852 feet above the level of the sea, still emits a small column of smoke, which can be plainly seen on a clear morning from the village of Aclantia, but later in the day it is quite difficult to distinguish on account of the heavy atmosphere.

The Hot Country

The descent from Ozumba to the hot country, or a lower valley just south, called the “tierra caliente,” is very rapid, being nearly 2,000 feet in ten miles, and the valley is still over 4,000 feet above seal level. Aclantia lies on the eats of Ozumba, San Jose de Guadelope on the northeast with its large plantation, Tecalco on the north by west.

Indian Towns

Between it and Tepaelcspa on the west are two fine plantations extending to the summit of some low, but densely timbered mountains. Chimal, a village of pears and flowers, lies on the south. These settlements are in the immediate vicinity of Ozumba, and what makes them more interesting to me than anything else is that they are all Indian towns, the inhabitants of which are actual Lamanites, Israelites, as there is very little white blood diffused among them, except here in Ozumba. In the other settlements they usually speak the Mexican instead of the Spanish language, although they understand and can speak both. Cousin Helaman and myself have arranged to meet with the people of Chimal, and Tecalco on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, respectively, for the purpose of learning to sing sacred hymns, and our effort in this direction is proving quite a success. In this way we are creating an interest in the hearts of those who come, not only to learn ot sing, but also to learn the principles of life that we have been sent to present to them; and we feel well when we have them around us and happy in teaching them. The feeling that was so bitter against us when we first came is giving place to a better one, and those who were most bitter are becoming more friendly.

Progress of the Good Work

We held a reunion at Tecalco on New Year’s afternoon, and some of the brethren expressed themselves as desirous to begin the New Year well and to endeavor to live more in accordance with the principles of the Gospel. They have shown their sincerity by voluntarily paying their tithing from that date. We have also two congregations in the “tierra caliente,” one in Coahmistia, and the other in San Andres de la Cal. In these and many other places a spirit of inquiry is being manifested, and there are also some applications for baptism, which we shall attend to soon.

Appearance of the Towns

The towns of Mexico that I have visited are nearly all alike, and, when one is seen, it is easy to form an opinion of the others, although position, climate, etc., may make some changes. The low adobe buildings seem huddled together somewhat promiscuously, on account of the short, narrow and irregular streets. Almost without exception the imposing cathedral fronts on the “plaza,” with its substantial domes towers high above all else. “Plaza” is the Mexican name for market place, and usually it is no more than a hollow square, like that of Ozumba, which has a few stingy looking trees upon it. Some, however, have little parks in the centre, very neatly arranged into walks and gardens, with choice varieties of flowering trees and plants, shrubbery, cactus, statuary and fountains, and not infrequently is encountered an elevated stand for the band, for the Mexicans are as passionately fond of music as they are lovers of flowers.

We are well and enjoying our labors immensely.

Your affectionate son,
Milson H. Pratt

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Feb. 16, 1884, 3]
[Deseret News, Mar. 20, 1884]

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


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