Life and Labors of Orson Pratt

Before allowing the reader to enter upon the following sketch, it is but justly due that the writer should preface it by offering an apology for attempting to prepare a manuscript for publication upon the life and character of a man, whose noble career has not only been eminently interwoven with the history of the Latter-day Saints, ecclesiastically, but also in the affairs and human events of a great commonwealth. Realizing that the data of details and circumstances, so requisite in writing his personal history, is very meagre, without spending much more time in research than is available, and that a subject of such importance should be treated by more able and experienced writers, it is with feelings of delicacy that the task is undertaken, and especially since vivid in the writer’s mind is the following remark which he heard his lamented father—Apostle Orson Pratt—make, in reply to the question, why did he not write his own history? He said: “Should my history ever be written, it will be the result of a laborious task to the person undertaking it; for so little have I written concerning myself, that a general research through the Church records and other periodicals would have to be made, and I am quite sure that life is too short for me to write my history, even if I were competent.”

This remark was made at the Historian’s Office, and at the time when Apostle Pratt was the Church Historian. Such a remark, coming as it did from a person of no little historical ability, and, that too, concerning his own personal history, was calculated in its very nature to engender the feeling of incompetency and embarrassment almost insurmountable. And even now, the writer is almost persuaded, at the threshold of his narrative, to throw down his pen and abandon the task. However, if the reader will patiently bear and forbear, it may not be uninteresting to peruse the following sketch, which is limited as to space and whose commentations are lacking in that eloquence, which the subject of the same, in justice, more richly deserves.—Milando Pratt.

Ancestry and Genealogy

A few centuries ago, when the old world groaned under the hand of tyranny and oppression, when persecution raged against those who desired to be the humble followers of Christ, the great western refuge of the New World was discovered; to which a few hardy, brave pioneers sailed and commenced the colonization of New England. Among these humble pilgrim fathers were William Pratt, the ancestor of Orson Pratt, and his older brother John. In February, 1639, these two brothers received a portion of land, in the first distribution made to the colonists, located at Hartford, Connecticut. This colony was founded in June, 1636, which was a little less than three years before they drew their portion of land. It is supposed that they accompanied the Rev. Thomas Hooker and his congregation, about one hundred in number, from Newtown, now called Cambridge, Massachusetts, through a dense wilderness, inhabited only by savages and wild beasts, and became the first settlers of Hartford. The ancient records at Newtown show that John Pratt owned land in that town. This is the first reliable information concerning them, though it is believed, on circumstantial and probable evidence that these two brothers—John and William Pratt, were the two sons of the Rev. William Pratt, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, as the names of John and William appear in a Latin inscription on his monument, against the north wall of the church dedicated to St. Nicholas, in Stevenage, from which the following translation is taken:

“Here lies William Pratt, Bachelor of Sacred Theology, and most illustrious rector of this church during thirty years. He had three sons, John, William and Richard, and the same number of daughters, Sarah, Mary and Elizabeth, by his renowned wife, Elizabeth. At length the course of his life being run, and his age becoming burdensome, he emigrated to the celestial country in the year of salvation, 1629, aged 67.”

John and William are not recognized in their father’s will, and for the probable reason that they had left for America, or signified their intention of leaving, and had received their portion, as they were at the right age to be the settlers of that name in this country.

Rev. William Pratt of Stevenage, the supposed father of John and William Pratt of Hartford, Connecticut, was the son of Andrew Pratt, who was the son of Thomas and Joan Pratt, who resided at Baldock, Hertfordshire, England, (also Simon Pratt of London, brother of Thomas) about the time of the discovery of America by Columbus.

Having thus traced the line of ancestry of Orson Pratt, Sen., some four generations, from the time the two brothers, John and William, emigrated to America, and appeared among the first band of adventurers who settled Hartford, Connecticut, one of the oldest if not the very oldest town in the State, it may not be deemed entirely irrelevant to speak of the causes which led to the settlement, and the character of those who laid the foundations of society, and planted in the wilderness, the germ of those civil and religious institutions, whose benign influence has made New England what it is, the cradle of liberty and the pride and glory of all Protestant lands.

It was the desire to enjoy a more simple and unostentatious mode of worship, than that which was required by the majority of the English Church, which caused the settlement of New England. Forbidden to serve God in a manner which they regarded in the highest degree subservient to their spiritual welfare, the Puritans left their native land and sought for themselves a home where they might worship God, “under their own vine and fig tree,” with none to molest them or make them afraid. It was not until every expedient for the reformation of the church in their own country had failed, that they resolved on a removal. They loved their native land, and it was with the deepest regret that they bade a final farewell to the homes of their childhood, to encounter the perils of the ocean, and expose themselves to unseen dangers, in the midst of a waste, howling wilderness.

Actuated, like the ancient patriarch, by what they deemed, no less than he, the will of God, they left their own land and went out, not knowing whither. All of the circumstances attending their emigration to this western world, unequivocally demonstrate that the undertaking, from first to last, was inspired by strong religious principle. It was that unwavering steady faith in God, which was “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” that sustained the little persecuted remnant, that fled over the stormy wave to a land of religious tolerance; while their less favored brethren, unable to make their escape, were surrounded by the emissaries of ecclesiastical domination. It was the same divine principle that bound the exiled flock together in holy love, in a land of strangers, and kept them in the midst of foreign customs and habits, a distinct and separate people; and it was the same precious faith that led them to look beyond themselves and their own generation, that their children after them might remain the same peculiar people. It was faith that led them to bid adieu to the comforts and refinements of civilized life in the old world, and to seek their future abode beyond the waste of waters, in a land uncleared, untilled, and unpeopled by civilized man. We have every reason to believe that in this momentous enterprise they took no step without their eye fixed on God for light, guidance and direction. In their congregations, besides their private duties of devotion, they observed special seasons of fasting and prayer, in which they unitedly laid their cause before Him, from whom all good counsels and holy desires proceed. On these occasions their beloved pastor, previous to their embarkation, addressed them from the word of God and strengthened their faith. Soon after the congregation, of which Robinson was the pastor, led the way, other bands from different parts of England embarked for this land of promise, bringing their pastors with them.

It was in 1630 that the Rev. Thomas Hooker, whom Cotton Mather styled, “The Light of the Western Churches,” a distinguished divine and influential preacher at Chelmsford, in the county of Essex, was silenced for non-conformity, after four years’ exercise of the ministry in that place. In order to escape the fines and imprisonments, he fled into Holland. Forty-seven ministers of his vicinity, after he was ejected from the Chelmsford pulpit, petitioned the Bishop of London in his favor, and while they were conformists, they esteemed him, and knew him “to be, for doctrine, orthodox; for life and conversation, honest; for disposition, peaceable and nowise turbulent or factious.” But being a non-conformist, no personal or acquired excellencies, nor testimonies of his good conduct, nor solicitations of his friends, could save him from prosecution and deposition. Such had been his popularity that not only the people of Chelmsford, but others from all parts of the county of Essex came to hear him. The Earl of Warwick, though he resided at a great distance, was a frequent attendant upon his ministry. Great numbers of those who flocked to hear him, were savingly benefited by his instructions. When, therefore, he was driven from them, they turned their eyes to New England, hoping that when they should form a settlement there, he would be induced to become their spiritual guide. Accordingly, in 1632, a large body of them came over and settled at Newtown, Massachusetts.

Mr. Hooker, near the close of a little more than a two years’ residence in Holland, “understanding that many of his friends in Essex were on the wing for a wilderness in America, where they hoped for an opportunity to enjoy and practice the pure worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, in churches gathered according to his direction, readily answered their invitation to accompany them in their undertaking.”

He, therefore, left Holland, embarked for the New World in the Griffin, a ship of three hundred tons, and arrived at Boston, September 4th, 1633. Soon after his arrival in Boston he proceeded to Newtown, where, finding himself in the midst of a joyful and affectionate people, he was overwhelmed with gratitude, and embracing them with open arms, exclaimed: in the language of the Apostle: “Now I live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” These were the company who afterward settled Hartford, to which William Pratt and his brother John are supposed to have belonged.

Mr. Hooker was chosen pastor of the church soon after his arrival at Newtown, and Mr. Stone their teacher. On the 11th of October, 1633, the church was gathered, and after solemn fasting and prayer, the pastor and teacher were ordained to their respective offices. But Mr. Hooker and his congregation were not satisfied with Newtown as a place of residence. So many emigrants had arrived that they began to be straightened for lands, and from representations which had been made in regard to the lands on Connecticut River, they resolved on a removal. Accordingly, about the beginning of June, 1636, not quite three years after the organization of their church, “Mr. Hooker, Mr. Stone and about an hundred men, women and children, took their departure from Cambridge, and traveled more than a hundred miles, through a hideous, trackless wilderness, to Hartford. They had no guide but their compass, and made their way over mountains, through swamps, thickets and rivers which were not passable but with great difficulty. They had no cover but the heavens, nor any lodgings but those which simple nature afforded them. They drove with them a hundred and sixty head of cattle, and by the way subsisted on the milk of their cows. Mrs. Hooker, (being in feeble state) was borne through the wilderness upon a litter. The people generally carried their packs, arms, and cooking utensils, being nearly a fortnight upon their journey.” These were the men who founded Hartford, and such were the circumstances under which they began the settlement. They were men of sound hearts, firm and fixed resolution, and persevering effort. Their faith in God never wavered. They kept constantly in view the grand design of their coming to this wilderness. Their notions of religious liberty were far from being mere speculations. Their views were intelligent and rational. Their purposes were strong; their aims high; their principles were not to be shaken by any temporal consideration; their consciences were not to be swayed by flatteries or frowns. They were determined to obey God rather than man. They never lost sight of their main object, to worship God according to his word, without the dictation of man, and to train up their families in the way they should go. To carry out their designs, they brought with them their pastor, and among the first of their acts were those which made provision for the support of Christian institutions, and of universal education. They had faith in the instructions of the Great Teacher, and were resolved to obey them; to deny themselves and seek first the Kingdom of God. The fire never went out on their family altars. From their dwellings the morning and evening incense never ceased to ascend an acceptable offering to Jehovah. They followed the example of faithful Abraham, not only in leaving their native country, but in commanding their households to keep the way of the Lord; and their precepts were enforced, as were his, by their own pious example. The Sabbath was a day of rest from worldly cares and labors, and from amusements and sports which they left their native country to avoid. It was their great concern to imbue the minds of their children with sound religious instruction, and to hand down to succeeding generations those Christian principles and virtues, which sustained them in all their trials and persecutions, and rendered them cheerful and happy amidst all their hardships and sufferings. Such were the men who were the early settlers of Connecticut. Similar to them were those who settled other portions of New England. From such men none need be ashamed to have derived their origin. The pride of ancestry, so far as it relates to birth and wealth and honor, is not, perhaps, justifiable. It is of little consequence whether we are descended from a prince or a peasant; whether royal blood flows in our veins, or our origin is humble and obscure. But it is surely of no trifling importance to be descended from pious ancestors; for in addition to the divine promise, that the blessing of the father shall descend upon the children, we may rationally expect much from the prayers, instructions and examples of godly progenitors. The compiler of this work is happy to bear his testimony to the fact, that, with few exceptions, the descendants of that one of the first settlers of Connecticut, so far as his history and that of his numerous progeny is written, have been men of industrious habits. A goodly number of them have honored the learned professions, and left behind them monuments of their perseverance, their industry, and their devotion to the present and future happiness of their race. Among them all stands prominent and honored the late Apostle Orson Pratt.

His ancestor, William Pratt of Hartford, and of the fourth generation so far as his ancestry is now known, was a member of the Connecticut Legislature some twenty-five or thirty sessions: and the General Court gave him one hundred acres of land in Saybrook, Connecticut, for service performed as Lieutenant in the Pequot war. He was one of the judges of the First Court in New London County. He married Elizabeth Clark, daughter of John Clark, of Milford, Connecticut, (who was formerly of High or Great Munden, Hertfordshire, England) by whom he had eight children. The third child, Joseph, of the fifth generation, was born August 1st 1648, at Saybrook, Connecticut, married a wife, name unknown, by whom he had five children. Among them was William Pratt the second son, whom we shall call of the sixth generation. He married Hannah Hough, October 8th, 1700, by whom he had six children, of the seventh generation. Among these was Christopher, the fourth child, born November 4th, 1712, who married Sarah Pratt, June 14th, 1739, by whom he had six children, of the eighth generation. Obadiah Pratt, being the second son among their number, was born September or October 14th, 1742, at Saybrook, Connecticut. He married Jemima Tolls, daughter of Ebenezer Tolls, by whom he had eleven children, of the ninth generation. Among their number was Jared Pratt, their first child, born November 25th, 1769, in Canaan, Columbia County, New York. He married Polly Carpenter, daughter of Samuel Carpenter, of New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York, by whom he had one child. His wife having died, he married Charity Dickinson, July 7th, 1799. She was the daughter of Samuel and Huldah Dickinson, of Bolton, Warren County, New York, and Samuel was the son of Christopher and Mary Dickinson. Charity was born February 24th, 1776. Jared Pratt had five children by her. The following are the names of his six children, of the tenth generation:

1. Mary Pratt, born February, 1793. 2. Anson, born January 9th, 1801. 3. Wm. D. born September 3rd, 1802, at Wooster, Otsego County, N. Y. 4. Parley Parker, born April 12th, 1807, at Burlington, Otsego County, N. Y. 5. Orson, born September 19th, 1811, at Hartford, Washington County, N. Y. 6. Nelson, born May 26th, 1815, at Hartford, Washington County, N. Y.

Jared Pratt, of the ninth generation, died November 5th, 1839, and was buried some three or four miles north or north-east from Detroit, in Michigan. Charity, his wife, died of cholera, in the town of St. Joseph, Missouri, May 20th, 1849, and was buried in the graveyard of that town, and a tombstone erected to her memory. Her oldest son Anson Pratt, died of cholera, May 26th, 1849, and was buried by her side, and a tombstone also erected to his memory. William D. Pratt died September 15th, 1870, at Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, aged sixty-eight years. Parley Parker Pratt was assassinated by a mob near Van Buren, Arkansas, May 13th, 1857, aged fifty years.

Nelson Pratt died at the home of his son Edwin D. Pratt, of Norwich, Huron County, Ohio, May 8th, 1889, aged seventy-three years eleven months and twelve days. He was the last of a family of six children, four brothers and one sister having preceded him.

To rejoice in the happiness of others is to make it our own; to produce it is to make it more than our own.

[The Contributor, Nov. 1890]


About the Contributor Volume XII

In reference to the steel plate of Apostle Orson Pratt, which appears as the frontispiece to this number, it will be interesting to our subscribers to read the following communication from his son, Milando, who is engaged to supply for each number of the new volume the most choice selections from the sermons, lectures and writings of his distinguished father:

Editor Contributor:—The steel plate engraving you have had executed of my father, Orson Pratt, for the next volume of the Contributor, I beg leave to say is, in my opinion, almost perfection. And I feel safe in saying that those who were acquainted with him and his appearance in life, will, when they see this beautiful steel engraving, agree with members of his family and some of his most intimate friends to whom I have shown the likeness, that it is the best picture of him in existence, and bears a more “striking resemblance” than any portrait they have yet seen of the late Apostle Orson Pratt.

The engravers—H. B. Hall’s Sons, New York, are certainly entitled to great credit, and, on behalf of the family and friends, I herewith take the liberty of extending these worthy engravers congratulations.

As, also, with much gratitude to yourself, I remain,

Your brother in the Gospel,
Milando Pratt.

[The Contributor, Nov. 1890]


Life and Labors of Orson Pratt


Having traced the ancestral pedigree from Thomas Pratt of Baldock, England, of the fifteenth century, to Lieutenant William Pratt, the first Pratt settler of America, and from the latter, following the genealogical chain down to Orson Pratt, Sen., of the tenth generation, we will now give a brief sketch of his life and labors.

As stated in his genealogy, he was born September 19th, 1811, in Hartford, Washington County, New York. His parents, Jared and Charity Pratt, were numbered among the poor of the world. To procure the comforts of life, they were under the necessity of laboring for the rich. At times, bright prospects of wealth seemed to be open before them; but a succession of misfortunes kept them down in the low vales of poverty. The only occupation followed by his father was the cultivation of the soil. To this laborious method of procuring a living he was unaccustomed in his youthful days. Being the oldest among eleven children, his father, Obadiah, made him, in early life, a weaver for the family. But hand looms were soon dispensed with, and steam power substituted, to supply clothing for man. Weavers, therefore, were thrown out of employment, and however inexperienced, were obliged to adopt some other business to sustain themselves and families. Under these disadvantageous circumstances, his father, by hard labor for others, earned the scanty means of subsistance.

His brothers, when young, were sent from home to labor at farming in the service of others; after which they looked after their own welfare and education; living sometimes in one place, and then in another, without the advantages of parental instruction at a time when they most needed it. While blessed with the privilege of living at home, they were diligently taught in every principle of morality and honesty; for although his parents had no faith in the modern sectarian principles of Christianity, yet they looked upon the history of ancient Christianity, as recorded in the Bible, as something most sacred and worth possessing. These Bible doctrines they diligently instilled into the minds of their children, so far as they understood them, and often expressed themselves as desirous of belonging to the Church of Christ, if it could be found on earth.

Among his historical scraps, we find the following written by Orson Pratt himself, he says: “When I was about three or four years old, my parents removed from Hartford to New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York, where I was sent to school for several months, each year, until the spring of 1822. During this interval I often had many serious impressions in regard to God and a future state. And being very young, my parents instructed me to read the Bible, which I often did, with much interest, asking a great variety of questions, concerning what I found written. It was seldom that I attended any religious meetings, as my parents had not much faith in them, and were never so unfortunate as to unite themselves with any of the religious sects. “In the spring of 1822, being in my eleventh year, I went to live with a farmer whose name was Justin Jones; this was in the neighborhood of my parents’ home. I continued at this place until the autumn of 1823. The preceding winter, I also went to school. I next engaged to labor at farming for Mr. Church, at Canaan, Four Corners, Columbia County, New York, and continued with him about seventeen or eighteen months; three or four of which I went to school, and became quite familiar with all the rules in Daboll’s arithmetic. In the spring of 1825, I accompanied my oldest brother to Hurlgate, Long Island, about six miles from New York city. Here I engaged myself for one year to Mr. Greenock, a farmer, three months of which I went to school, and studied arithmetic and book-keeping. In the spring of 1826, I was recommended by Mr. Greenock to a large cabinet making establishment in New York city, where I intended to remain until of age; but after tarrying a few months, I was taken violently sick and brought very low, so that my recovery, for some time, was considered doubtful. When my strength permitted, I went into the country, to Hurlgate, and tarried with my brother Anson, until the spring of 1827, when I returned to Canaan, about one hundred and fifty miles north of New York city, and engaged myself to labor for seven months on a farm for Mr. Noise; at the expiration of which I accompanied my brother Parley and Nelson Pratt to Lorain County, Ohio. We performed the journey by canal boat from Albany to Buffalo, and thence by schooner up Lake Erie. I boarded with Mr. Redington during the winter and went to school.

“In the spring of 1828, I started east in search of employment, came to the village of Chagrin, now called Willoughby, Ohio, where I labored a few months at a hotel; the most of my time being occupied at farming. I also labored a few months at farming for Mr. Norris, a few miles east of Painsville. In the autumn of this year, I performed a lengthy journey of some six or seven hundred miles to the state of Connecticut, where I labored a short time; and then took a steam-boat for New York city, and thence to Long Island, and resided during the winter with my brother Anson.”

“In the spring of 1829, I again returned to Canaan, and commenced farming for Mr. Haight. The following winter I spent four months at a boarding school or academy, during which I made myself thoroughly acquainted with geography, grammar, and surveying.”

“In the spring of 1830, I engaged myself to Mr. Joshua Lord, with whom I tarried and labored on a farm, until the following October. This was in Canaan, only one or two miles from the old homestead of my grandfather, Obadiah Pratt.

“From the age of ten to nineteen I saw much of the world, and was tossed about without any permanent abiding place; but through the grace of God, I was kept from many of the evils to which young people are exposed. The early impressions of morality and religion, instilled into my mind by my parents, always remained with me; and I often felt a great anxiety to be prepared for a future state; but never commenced, in real earnest, to seek after the Lord, until the autumn of 1829. I then began to pray very fervently, repenting of every sin. In the silent shades of night, while others were slumbering upon their pillows, I often retired to some secret place in the lonely fields or solitary wilderness, and bowed before the Lord, and prayed for hours with a broken heart and contrite spirit; this was my comfort and delight. The greatest desire of my heart was for the Lord to manifest His will concerning me. I continued to pray in this fervent manner until September 1830, at which time two Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came into the neighborhood, one of whom was my brother Parley. They held several meetings which I attended.

“Being convinced of the divine authenticity of the doctrine they taught, I was baptized by my brother Parley, September 19th, 1830. This was my anniversary birthday, being nineteen years old. I was the only person in the country who received and obeyed the message. Shortly after my baptism the Elders left.

“In October, 1830, I traveled westward over two hundred miles to see Joseph Smith, the Prophet. I found him in Fayette, Seneca County, New York, residing at the house of Mr. Whitmer. I soon became intimately acquainted with this good man, and also with the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. By my request, on the Fourth of November, the Prophet Joseph inquired of the Lord for me, and received the following revelation published in the Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. LVI. [Old edition.]

“My son Orson, hearken and hear and behold what I, the Lord God, shall say unto you, even Jesus Christ your Redeemer; the light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not; who so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God, wherefore you are my son, and blessed are you because you have believed; and more blessed are you because you are called of me to preach my Gospel, to lift up your voice as with the sound of a trump, both long and loud, and cry repentance unto a crooked and perverse generation, preparing the way of the Lord for his second coming: for behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, the time is soon at hand, that I shall come in a cloud with power and great glory, and it shall be a great day at the time of my coming, for all nations shall tremble.

“But before that great day shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars shall refuse their shining, and some shall fall, and great destructions await the wicked: wherefore lift up your voice and spare not, for the Lord God hath spoken; therefore prophesy, and it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost; and if you are faithful, behold, I am with you until I come: and verily, verily, I say unto you, I come quickly. I am your Lord and your Redeemer, Even so. Amen.”‘

“On the First day of December, 1830, I was confirmed and in accordance with the word of the Lord, I was ordained an Elder under the hands of the Prophet. My first mission was to Colesville, Broome County, New York, where I commenced to open my mouth in public meetings, and teach the things of God, as the Holy Ghost gave me utterance. The same month I returned from Colesville to Fayette with Hyrum Smith.

“On the Second of January, 1831, I attended a conference at the house of Father Whitmer; and soon after Elder Samuel H. Smith and myself commenced laboring for one of the Saints, by the name of Joseph Coe, to assist him in making preparations to remove to Ohio according to the revelation given at the conference on the Second of January. And in a few weeks, Elder Samuel H. Smith and myself started on foot for Kirtland, Ohio, a distance of several hundred miles, to which place Joseph, the Prophet, had just previously moved.

“During the spring of 1831, I traveled on a short mission of about one month with Lyman Wight, going about one hundred miles west of Kirtland, preaching the Gospel wherever we were led by the Spirit of Truth; after which I united in the ministry with my brother Parley and preached some in Rome and also in Thompson, where the Saints from Colesville were temporarily located; in the latter place I tarried some five or six weeks, and labored with my hands.

“In June a revelation was given commanding many Elders to travel two by two from Ohio to the western boundaries of Missouri, among whom my brother Parley and myself were called by name, and commanded to travel together. On our way, we held about fifty meetings, and baptized five in Peru, Delaware Co., Ohio, and six in Vermillion Co., Ills.

“About the last of August I arrived in Jackson County, Missouri; the next day I was taken with the chills and fever which confined me to my bed a few weeks.

“About the first of October, though still weak and feeble, I started on foot for Ohio, in company with Asa Dodds, preaching by the way, as commanded of the Lord through the Prophet. “Brother Dodds stopped in Indiana, but I continued my journey, although suffering much from the ague. Towards the close of the year, I arrived in Hiram, where the Prophet then resided.”

[The Contributor, Dec. 1890]


Life and Labors of Orson Pratt

“About the first of January, 1832, I went to Kirtland, attended many meetings, visited disorderly members with Elder Cahoon, called church meetings and excommunicated several. I then returned to Hiram, united in the ministry with Elder Lyman E. Johnson, and started for Lorain County, Ohio, where we preached in the regions around until the general conference, held at Amherst, Lorain County, on the twenty-fifth of January. At this conference the Prophet Joseph was acknowledged President of the High Priesthood, and hands were laid on him by Elder Sidney Rigdon, who sealed upon his head the blessings which he had formerly received. I was appointed to preside over the Elders, and was set apart and ordained by Sidney Rigdon. At this conference, by the request of the Priesthood, the Prophet inquired of the Lord, and a revelation was given and written in the presence of the whole assembly, appointing many of the Elders to missions, among whom, Elder Lyman E. Johnson and I were named and appointed on a mission to the Eastern States. The next day after conference we left Amherst, and in a few days found ourselves in Hiram.

“February 2nd, 1832—On this day, by the counsel of the Prophet, I was ordained a High Priest under the hands of Sidney Rigdon. February 3rd—Elder L. E. Johnson and myself started on our eastern mission, traveling as usual, on foot, without purse or scrip, and carrying our change of clothing in our hands. We traveled in an easterly direction through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City, to Hurlgate, on Long Island; preached thirty times in towns and villages on the way, where they previously had never heard the gospel. In the town of Blakesley, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, we baptized four, and ordained one of them, namely, Asbury Secor, a priest. At Hurlgate, near the last of March, I baptized and confirmed my eldest brother, Anson Pratt. From this place we traveled north, visited Canaan, Columbia County, N. Y., and saw my parents. We then traveled north-east through the southern part of Vermont into New Hampshire, proceeded up the eastern shore of the Connecticut river to Bath, preaching wherever we were led by the Spirit; while journeying from Long Island to Bath we held five meetings.

“We tarried twenty-six days in the regions round about Bath, held twenty-one meetings, and baptized fifteen, among whom were Orson Johnson, Hazen Aldrich, Amasa Lyman, John Duncan and Daniel S. Miles.

“May 14—We traveled north, and came to the town of Charleston in Vermont; tarried ten days; preached seven times in this region, baptized fourteen, among whom were Winslow Farr, William Snow, and Zerubbabel Snow. In these parts the Lord wrought by our hands many miracles of healing.

“Oct. 8—Re-crossed the lake into Vermont; the next day preached in Franklin village; two days more brought us to the town of Jay, where we held three meetings.

“Oct. 15—Started for Bath, called at Charleston and held two meetings.

“Oct. 20—Arrived at Bath, stopped five days; held six meetings in the neighboring towns; baptized one, and ordained John Duncan a Priest; and William Snow from Charleston being present, we ordained him an Elder.

“Oct. 26—I started in company with Elders L. E. Johnson, Hazen Aldrich and William Snow and traveled west some three or four hundred miles—a portion of which we rode on a canal boat, where I preached to the passengers.

“Nov. 8—Arrived at Spafford, Onondaga County, New York, at which place there was a branch of the Church; here we tarried six days; held five meetings, one of which was a conference; eleven Elders present; baptized eight, among whom were Allen Holcomb, whom we ordained an Elder, Libbeus T. Coon and Mahew Hilman. Elder L. E. Johnson here united in the ministry with Hazen Aldrich and started for Ohio. I united in the ministry with Elder Wm. Snow and started eastward, preached in the villages of Vesper, Tully, and Fabius in the latter place tarried six days; baptized two, namely, Samuel and Jemima Newcome.

“Nov. 23—Traveled eleven miles; preached twice in Casinovia; then traveled six days to the town of Day, Saratoga County, where we tarried seventeen days; held fifteen meetings.

“Dec. 20—We started for Bolton on the west shore of lake George; here was a branch of the Church; we tarried ten days; held ten meetings, baptized ten persons.

“Dec. 31—Ordained Silas T. Gardner an Elder, held one meeting in Benson, and then pursued our Journey to Bath about one hundred miles distant.

“January 8, 1833—Arrived in Bath; I tarried nine days, William Snow having gone to Charleston; held five meetings, then visited the church at Charleston, held one meeting; then returned to Bath and held two meetings.

“Jan. 28—Started for Ohio.

“Feb. 2—Arrived in Bolton; tarried four days, held three meetings; baptized two; ordained John Taylor a Priest, and then pursued my journey several hundred miles west. Within about one hundred and fifty miles of Kirtland, I fell in company with D. W. Patten and Reynolds Cahoon, tarried and held four meetings with them, and then proceeded on my journey to Kirtland, where I arrived Feb. 17, 1833, having been absent on this eastern mission one year and fourteen days, during which we traveled on foot nearly four thousand miles; attended two hundred and seven meetings, mostly in places where they had not heard the word; baptized one hundred and four persons and organized several new branches of the Church.

“Feb. 18—Washed my hands and feet as a testimony unto the Lord that I had warned this wicked generation, and that my garments were clean from their blood, and on the same day I was admitted into the school of the prophets. During my attendance at this school, I boarded with the Prophet Joseph, from whom I received much good instruction. On the Sabbath days I continued preaching n various places.

“Elder Lyman E. Johnson and myself, having received a commandment, through the Prophet, to visit the churches and preach in the Eastern States, left Kirtland on the 26th of March to fill our mission. We arrived in Bath, New Hampshire on the 7th of June, having attended forty-four meetings by the way, and baptized thirteen.

“June 8—Met in conference in Bath; present, High Priests, four; Elders, eight; Priests, two. At this conference, Elders Willard Woodstock, Harlow Richfield, William Snow and Hazen Aldrich were ordained High Priests; Henry Herriman was ordained an Elder, and Daniel Carter a member, was ordained a Priest, the ordination being administered under my hands. During the next six days we held meetings in the towns round about.

“June 14—Elder Lyman E Johnson went to Charleston, and continued laboring in St. Johnsbury and the adjoining towns.

“June 18—I baptized six, namely; Gardner Snow, Willard Snow, Lucina Snow, Jacob Gates, Mary Gates and Emily Harvey; the last person named having been healed three days before, by the power of God. After this I held thirty-five meetings in different counties in Northern Vermont, and baptized eight; returned to St Johnsbury.

“July 6—Preached in St. Johnsbury, and baptized Sally Snow. The 28th, preached and baptized Susan Briant. After this held sixteen meetings in the towns around, and baptized seventeen, the most of whom lived in Danville. Many were healed through the ordinances, by the power of God.

“July 19—Started for Charleston.

“July 24—Attended conference in Charleston. Elders Orson Johnson and John Badger were ordained High Priests. Winslow Farr, Isaac Aldrich and Roswell Evans were ordained Elders; Gardner Snow, Willard Snow and Joseph Swasey were ordained Priests and Horace Evans was ordained a Teacher, the ordinations being under the hands of Lyman E. Johnson. After attending five meetings I left for Danville.

“Aug. 31—Ordained Jacob Rust an Elder; tarried three days longer; held three meetings and baptized three. And then went to Bath, held five meetings in the adjoining towns, and baptized three.

“Sept. 8—Held two meetings in Bath. Brother Horace Cowan was ordained an Elder under the hands of Lyman E. Johnson.

“Sept. 9—I left Bath for Kirtland; held some meetings by the way; arrived in Kirtland Sept. 28th, having been absent six months, during which I traveled about two thousand miles, attended one hundred and twenty-five meetings, and baptized upwards of fifty persons.

“I remained in Kirtland about two months, labored on the House of the Lord and printing office thirty days; the most of the time boarding with the Prophet.

“Nov. 27—Elder Lyman E. Johnson and myself started to visit some of the eastern churches, having been set apart by a council of High Priests for that purpose.

“Dec. 11—Held a conference in the evening at Elk Creek, settled some difficulties between the Elders; Amasa Lyman ordained a High Priest, under the hands of Lyman E. Johnson. From Kirtland to this place we had held seven meetings.

“Dec. 16—We went to Silver Creek, tarried eight days; held eight meetings in the adjoining towns; then left for Geneseo, where we held a conference and preached much in the adjoining regions; after which I went to Waterloo, near where the Church was first organized, where I arrived on the 17th of January, 1834.

Jan. 20, 1834—I started for Kirtland, preaching by the way.

Feb. 13—Arrived in Kirtland, Elder Lyman E. Johnson having arrived a few days before me. I had been absent about two months and a half, traveled about one thousand miles, and attended thirty-seven meetings.

“Feb. 22—I preached about four miles east of Cleveland,

“Feb. 23—Preached at Newbury Centre.

“Feb 24—I traveled to Kirtland. This day the Prophet received a revelation, wherein Orson Hyde and myself were appointed to travel together, to assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s House preparatory to the redemption of Zion. (See Doc. and Cov., sec. 101, par 7, old Ed.)

“Feb. 26—We left Kirtland; traveled eastward about two weeks, preaching by the way. Arrived in Geneseo March 15.

“March 17—Attended council held at Father Beaman’s house, in which I was appointed to travel with Elder John Murdock.

“March 20—We started westward, preaching almost every day. Baptized two in the town of Greenwood.

“March 30—Arrived in the town of Freedom; tarried in this region twelve days; held eleven meetings; baptized twenty-two, one of whom, Heman Hyde, on April 10th, we ordained a Teacher.

“April 11—Continued our journey towards Kirtland, occasionally preaching by the way.

“April 24—Arrived in Kirtland, having been absent nearly two months, during which we traveled about eight hundred miles, attended thirty-four meetings; baptized twenty-four persons.

“April 26—I copied revelations for the Prophet Joseph.

“May 1—Being appointed to take charge of twenty persons, we started for Zion with four wagons. The Prophet overtook us in a few days with a larger company and we continued our journey to Clay County, Missouri.

“July 7—I was ordained one of the standing High Council in Zion, under the hands of President Joseph Smith.

“July 19—Bishop Partridge and myself, having been appointed by the High Council to visit the scattered Saints throughout Clay County, and set the Churches in order, commenced our mission. We held eight meetings in different parts of the county.

“July 31—We reported the results of our mission to the High Council, which accepted the same; after which the council selected John Carroll, Simeon Carter, Parley P. Pratt, and myself to visit the churches throughout the county and hold public meetings, which we accordingly did.

“Aug. 21—The High Council gave their sanction for me to travel eastward towards Kirtland, preaching by the way. I accordingly united in the ministry with my brother William D. Pratt, and in a few days left, traveling on the north side of the Missouri river. Over exertion in traveling brought on the fever and ague, which continued to afflict me at intervals for months. Sometimes I laid down upon the wet prairies, many miles from any house, being unable to travel. William D. Pratt stopped at Vandalia, Illinois. At Terra Haute I preached a few times, and baptized George W. Harris and his wife; about the last of November I united in the ministry with Elder John Murdock, and continued my journey eastward, preaching in many places. In a few days we arrived at Sugar Creek, Indiana, where we found Lorenzo D. Barnes and Lewis Robbins, who had just arrived from Zion. After holding a few meetings in this region, and baptizing a few, I united with Elder Barnes to travel.

“Jan. 2, 1835—We left Sugar Creek; preached in many places for the next eighteen days.

“Jan. 20—Arrived in Cincinnati.

“Jan. 22—Crossed the Ohio River, visited a small branch of the Church on Licking river; tarried with them two weeks, preaching almost every evening; baptized a few.

“Feb. 6—Went to Cincinnati, and commenced preaching in that city and in the towns round about. Tarried one month; baptized a few.

“March 6—We started for another field of labor, and commenced preaching in Newbury, and in the adjoining towns; tarried about six weeks, preaching almost every day.

“April 20—We started for Kirtland. While in the streets of Columbus, Ohio, I saw a man passing, whom I felt impressed to speak to; he was a Saint, and the only one in the city; I stopped at his house, and there read a late number of the Messenger and Advocate; found that I had been chosen one of the Twelve Apostles, and was requested to be in Kirtland on the 26th of April.

“April 24—Took the stage, and arrived in Kirtland on the 26th, about ten o’clock in the forenoon; walked into the meeting, and learned that they had been prophesying that I would arrive there, so as to attend that meeting, although not one of them knew where I was. I was much rejoiced at meeting with the Saints.

“April 26—I was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles in this last dispensation, under the hands of David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery.”

“April 26—I was blessed under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sen.

“May 4—I left with the Twelve on a mission through the middle and Eastern States.

“June 18—I baptized Sarah Marinda Bates, near Sacketts Harbor, whom I received in marriage upwards of a year after. During the latter part of July, the month of August, and the fore part of September, I preached almost every day in New Hampshire, in towns where they had not before heard the Gospel; baptized a few, and then returned to Kirtland.

“Sept. 25—Arrived in Kirtland.

“Oct. 14—Started on a mission to the Ohio river, preaching by the way; tarried two or three weeks in Beaver County, Pennsylvania; held sixteen meetings; baptized a few and raised up a small branch of the Church, and ordained Dr. Sampson Avard an Elder to take charge of them, and then returned to Kirtland, where I arrived on the 16th of November. In December I taught an evening grammar school in Kirtland, also during the winter studied Hebrew about eight weeks; received a certificate from Prof. Seixas testifying to my proficiency in the language, and certifying to my capabilities to teach the same. This was the winter and spring of our endowments in the Kirtland Temple.

“April 6, 1836—Left Kirtland on an eastern mission, went to Canada West, preached about two months; baptized several.

“June 4.—Took the steamer for Oswego, commenced preaching in Jefferson county and the regions adjoining; baptized many, and raised up some new branches.

“July 4—I was married to Sarah M. Bates, Elder Luke Johnson officiating.
“The fore part of October I closed my mission in those parts, and started with my wife and a few of the Saints for Kirtland, where we arrived on the twelfth of October

“Towards the last of autumn I commenced the study of algebra without a teacher, occupying leisure hours in the evening. I soon went through Day’s Algebra.

“About the middle of August 1837, I moved my family, from Kirtland to Henderson. I started into the vineyard and labored during the fall and winter in the counties south-east from Jefferson.

“Early in the spring, I took my family and went to the city of New York, and was appointed to preside over a large branch of the church in that city. I preached diligently among them some six or seven months, baptized many. In the meantime I again visited Henderson, left my wife at her father’s and returned to New York; but receiving a letter from Far West, Missouri, to come to Zion, I again went to Henderson, brought my family again to New York City, and from there we departed for the west; arrived in St. Louis about the middle of November. The ice prevented our progress any farther. Stopped in St. Louis, and labored with my hands during the winter.

“In the spring of 1838, I removed to Quincy, Illinois. In April went to FarWest, from which place the Saints had been driven, held a conference with several of the Twelve on the morning of the 26th, and took our departure from the corner stone of the Temple for foreign nations, according to the revelation given through the Prophet more than a year before. Returned to Illinois.

“July 4—Was an instrument in the hands of God in delivering my brother Parley from prison.

“In the autumn visited New York City; continued preaching in the eastern churches of the Saints until the spring of 1840, when I embarked with several of the Twelve for England. In April made my way to Edinburgh, Scotland; preached there about nine months; raised up a church of over two hundred Saints; published a pamphlet entitled Remarkable Visions.

“In the spring of 1841, set sail from Liverpool with several of the Twelve, and arrived in New York City, where I republished the ‘Remarkable Visions.’ Visited Henderson, near Lake Ontario, and then pursued my journey to Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, having been absent from my family about two years.

“I remained in Nauvoo about one year, during a portion of which I had the charge of a mathematical school.

“In the summer of 1843, I performed a mission with several of the Twelve through the Eastern States; returned in the autumn; and being elected a member of the City Council, I was appointed in connection with others to draw up a memorial to Congress, which was accepted by the council, and I was appointed to go to Washington and present the same. I accordingly went and tarried in Washington ten weeks: this was in the spring of 1844. While sojourning in that city, I preached and baptized a few, and during my leisure moments, I calculated eclipses, and prepared an almanac publication for 1845. This I entitled ‘The Prophetic Almanac’: it was calculated for the latitude and meridian of Nauvoo, and some other principle towns in the United States. This was the first that I ever calculated and published. After this I visited several of the Eastern States, holding meetings, both religious and political.

“June 28, 1844—I was in New York City and wrote a letter home to my family. After hearing of the martyrdom of Joseph the Prophet, I returned with several of the Twelve to Nauvoo. From 1836 to 1844, I occupied much of my leisure time in study, and made myself thoroughly acquainted with algebra, geometry, trigonometry, conic sections, differential and integral calculus, astronomy, and most of the physical sciences. These studies I pursued without the assistance of a teacher.”

Milando Pratt.

[The Contributor, Jan. 1891]


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