Orson Pratt in Nauvoo

 By Rick J. Fish

Prepared under the direction of Robert Grow,
President of the Jared Pratt Family Association

May 1993


Jan. 16, Orson gives Joseph Smith a letter he had received written by John C. Bennett which informed Joseph of a new strategy to bring him to Missouri on charges of murder.  At this time Orson and Joseph’s relationship was strained.  This act of kindness on Orson’s part probably endeared Joseph to him again.  “I [Joseph Smith] then read John C. Bennett’s letter to Messrs.  Sidney Rigdon and Orson Pratt, of the 10th instant, and told them that Mr. Pratt showed me the letter.  Mr. Rigdon did not want to have it known that he had any hand in showing the letter, but wanted to kept it a secret, as though he were holding a private correspondence with Bennett; but as soon as Mr. Pratt got the letter, he brought it to me, which proves that Mr. Pratt had no correspondence with Bennett, and had no fellowship for his works of darkness.  I told them I had sent word to Governor Ford, by Mr. Backenstos, that, before I would be troubled any more by Missouri, I would fight.”115

Jan. 20, “In the afternoon I [Joseph Smith] attended a council of the Twelve, at President Young’s.  There were present, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Willard Richards, and Brother Hyrum Smith.  We had conversation on a great variety of subjects.”116  “This council was called to consider the case of Orson Pratt who had previously been cut off from the Church for disobedience, and Amasa Lyman had been ordained an Apostle in his place.  I told the quorum: you may receive Orson back into the quorum of the Twelve and I can take Amasa into the First Presidency.  President Young said there were but three present when Amasa was ordained, the rest of the Twelve being either on a mission or sick.  I told them that was legal when no more could be had…At three o’clock, council adjourned to my house; and at four I baptized Orson Pratt and his wife, Sarah Marinda, and Lydia Granger in the Mississippi River, and confirmed them in the Church, ordaining Orson Pratt to his former office in the quorum of the Twelve.”117

Jan. 21, Parley writes a letter from Chester, Illinois, to Bro. Ward in England, saying that Orson was still a member.  This shows how slow some news travels.118

Feb. 4, “I [Joseph Smith] returned home at about four o’clock, and was visited by Amasa M. Lyman.  I told him that I had restored Orson Pratt to the quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and that I had concluded to make Brother Amasa a counselor to the First Presidency.”119

Feb. 6, “Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Sylvester Emmons, Heber C. Kimball, Benjamin Warrington, Daniel Spencer, and Brigham Young were elected city councilors of Nauvoo.”120

Feb. 7, Parley arrives in Nauvoo after traveling 280 miles in 8 days.  Parley says that it took him “some eight days,” however, the DHC says that he arrive don Feb. 7, this would make his trip 12 days in duration.  The account of Parley’s arrival in the DHC is probably correct.  He visits his mother and two brothers Orson and William and their two families.121

February, Parley leaves his family in Chester, Illinois (Jan. 27), and travels on horseback to Nauvoo, arriving probably on Feb. 7.  For the next two weeks he visits with his two brothers Orson and William and their two families plus his aged mother.122

Feb. 10, Parley and Orson Pratt are among 9 apostles who meet with Joseph Smith about current affairs in Nauvoo.123

Feb. 25, Nauvoo City Alderman Daniel H. wells and City Counselor Orson Pratt are the only two men who object to the city ordinance regulating the gold and silver currency from taking immediate effect.124

Mar. 23, On this date, some unusual phenomena occurred in the skies.  Orson, the resident scientific observer, noticed these events and wrote about them in the Times and Seasons.125

Apr. 6-8, An annual conference of the Church convened on the floor of the temple.  There were present—Hyrum Smith, Patriarch; Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards, of the quorum of the Twelve; Elder Amasa Lyman, and a very large assembly of the elders and Saints.  Orson Pratt was one of the speakers on this day (6th) as well as the 8th.126

Apr. 10, “At 10 a.m. a special conference of elders convened and continued by adjournment from time to time till the 12th.  There were present of the quorum of the Twelve, Brigham Young, president; Heber C. Kimball, William Smith, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards.”127

Apr. 19, “At three p.m. I [Joseph Smith] met with Brigham Young, William Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, and Willard Richards, of the quorum of the Twelve, in my office, and told them to go in the name of the Lord God of Israel, and tell Lucien Woodworth to put the hands on the Nauvoo House, and begin the work, and be patient till means can be provided.”  During this meeting, Orson was assigned to go the Eastern States.128

Apr. 23, “Eleven, a.m., meeting at the Temple-stand; Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards present.”129

May 7, “…the unsettled state of my [Parley’s] large family (consisting of wife and her sister, 5 children, hired girl, and hundreds of goers and comers) all huddled into one small room [cabin on the south west corner of Wells & Young Street, Block 8 Lot 1] which we use for kitchen, parlour, dining room, bedroom and publick [public] office…Myself, family, Br. Orson and family and Bro. Wm and family are all well and living [torn page, ? near] each other.  Mother is here with us and is [torn page, ? doing] well.  [torn page] on and family will be here soon.  I wish the rest of my kindred would gather here….I am now building a two-story store and dwelling house 32 ft. by 56 near the Temple.  I hope to complete it in three months and then I am ready for another mission….”130

May 11, The Twelve met in a Quorum meeting at 10:00 a.m. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, John Taylor, and Willard Richards were present.131

May 13, Heber C. Kimball and Orson Pratt go to Ramus, Illinois.132

May 23, At 2:00 p.m. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Willard Richards and others held their Quorum meeting.133

May 30, Joseph Smith meets with the Twelve regarding Nauvoo stock, and transacting business with the Apostles.  Joseph took bonds from Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith.134

June 1, Joseph Smith gives Orson a letter of recommendation prior to his departure for his mission the Eastern States.135

July 1, “Elders Heber C. Kimball and Orson Pratt started on their mission to the east, for the purpose of attending conferences at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, where they will wait until the rest of the Twelve arrive.”136  Orson will be on this mission until probably early October.  However, he can’t be placed in Nauvoo, until Nov. 7, 1844.

July 27, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith arrive in Pittsburg, at six o’clock.  They go to the Temperance Hall and watch John E. Page preach against the sects.  They also meet with Heber C. Kimball and Orson Pratt.137

July 30, “Brothers Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith preached in the morning, John E. Page and Orson Pratt in the afternoon, and Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young in the evening, in the Temperance Hall in Pittsburgh.”138

Aug. 5, “Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith arrived in Philadelphia at 4 a.m., having traveled four hundred and thirty miles in forty-eight hours by stage, railroad and steamboat.  A very severe storm of wind and rain raged in Philadelphia in the evening, doing immense damage.”139

Aug. 6, In the evening Elder Orson Pratt preached in Philadelphia, and was followed by Elder George A. Smith.140

Aug. 10, Brigham Young writes, “In company with Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff and Geo. A. Smith, I visited the State House and the Independence Hall, where the patriots sign the Declaration of Independence.  We sat in the chair which John Hancock occupied when he signed that instrument.  We saw a statue of Washington, the portraits of La Fayette and others, and the painting presented by Benjamin West to the city corporation, representing the situation of Paul and Barnabas when they were set apart to the ministry.  This building was erected in 1733.”141

Aug. 13, Orson preaches in Philadelphia.142

Aug. 14, Orson, Wilford Woodruff, and William Muir, journey to Schuylkill.143

Aug. 21, Orson, Wilford Woodruff, and William Muir, return to Philadelphia, and learn that the other members of the Twelve have gone on to New York without them.  They decide to rest for a couple of days.144

Aug. 24, “Elders Orson Pratt and Wilford Woodruff arrived in New York, accompanied by Elders Jedediah M. Grant and James Sloan.145

Aug. 26-7, During a two-day conference in New York, Orson preaches on the second evening.  They were in the Columbia Hall on Grand Street.146

Aug. 28, The Twelve meet in New York to discuss where they should go to preach.147

Sept. 4, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson, Geo. A. Smith, and John E. Page, cross the Sound from New York to Providence, RI.148

Sept. 5, From Rhode Island, the Twelve journeyed to Boston, where they arrived on the 5th.149

Sept. 8-9, “The Twelve held a meeting in Boylston Hall, Boston.  Present—Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, John E. Page.”150

Sept. 11, “Conference met at Boylston Hall at nine o’clock, a.m.  Present of the quorum of the Twelve, Elders Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Heber C. Kimball, and Orson Hyde.”151

Sept. 20, “In the evening, Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and John E. Page visited Mr. O.S. Fowler, the phrenologist, who examined their heads and gave their phrenological charts.”152

Early Oct., By the first week of October most of the Twelve have started on their journey back home to Nauvoo.

Oct. 22, By the 22nd, some members of the Twelve had arrived back in Nauvoo from their mission to the East (New York and Boston).  “Elders Young, Kimball, and George A. Smith returned from their mission to the Eastern States, having, in connection with Elders Orson Pratt and Wilford Woodruff, visited the branches in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine; held conferences, set in order the churches collected tithing for the Temple and subscriptions for the Nauvoo House, baptized many, and stirred up a general system of gathering among the Saints in the Eastern countries.  They have been absent nearly four months, and have accomplished a good work.  I [Joseph Smith] was very glad to see them, and blessed them in the name of the Lord.”153

Nov. 7, “The quorum of the Twelve—viz., President Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards, assembled in the mayor’s office, and voted to raise $500 to get paper, to print the Doctrine and Covenants.  Also voted that Parley P. Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, and John Taylor be a committee to borrow or get the money, and that President Young go along with them.”154

Nov. 26, “Sunday, 26.—I [Joseph Smith] met with Hyrum, the Twelve and others, in council with Colonel Frierson, at the Mansion, concerning petitioning Congress for redress of grievances.  Read to him the affidavits of Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, George W. Pitkin and Sidney Rigdon, taken before the municipal court on habeas corpus, and conversed with him thereon. 

At eleven a.m., Elder Orson Pratt preached in the Assembly Room.  In the evening, Elder Parley P. Pratt lectured in the Mansion.  Rainy, muddy day.”155

Dec. 21, “At noon [Joseph Smith] met with the City Council which voted that Councilor Orson Pratt present the Memorial and Ordinance to Congress.”156

Dec. 23, Orson Pratt received his endowments at Joseph Smith’s home.  This is also Joseph Smith’s last birthday (38 years old).157




Jan. 15, “The Municipal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Francis M. Higbee, on affidavit of Orson Pratt.”158

Jan. 16, “At ten a.m., Francis M. Higbee was brought up before the Municipal Court, on complaint of Orson Pratt, for absenting himself from City Council without leave, when summoned as a witness, and for slanderous and abusive language towards one of the members of the Council.”  In the afternoon a reconciliation occurred between F.M. Higbee and Joseph Smith.  All was forgiven and the matter dropped.159

Jan. 26, Orson Pratt received his Second Anointing at Brigham Young’s home.160

Feb. 4, Orson performed the marriage for William Summerville and Eleanor Jane Davis.161

Feb. 14, It appears that Daniel H. Wells sells the south third (or south half?) of Lot 2 on Block 9 to Orson for $100.  Parley’s home and store is just north on this same lot and block.162

Feb. 21, “At a meeting of the Twelve, at the mayor’s office, Nauvoo, February 21, 1844, seven o’clock, p.m., Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Willard Richards and four others being present, called by previous notice, by instruction of President Joseph Smith on the 20th instant, for the purpose of selecting a company to explore Oregon and California, and select a site for a new city for the Saints.”163

Mar. 5, Councilor Orson Pratt was present along with many others in a meeting with the Nauvoo City Council.164

Mar. 7, “A vast assembly of Saints met at the Temple of the Lord at nine o’clock a.m., by a special appointment of President Joseph Smith, for the purpose of advancing the progress of the Temple, &c.  The Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, was present; also of the Twelve Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and George A. Smith; also the temple committee about eight thousand Saints.”165

Mar. 10, Parley and Orson attend a provisional meeting of the Council of Fifty.166

Mar. 11, A special conference is called to discuss some matters of importance pertaining to the saints.  Among those in attendance were Joseph and Hyrum Smith, most of the Twelve including Parley and Orson Pratt, and many other Church leaders.167 

Also on this day, Parley and Orson are officially inducted into the Council of Fifty.168

Mar. 12, “The brethren who were in council with me [Joseph Smith] yesterday assembled there in the afternoon and evening.  Gave the following recommend to Elder Orson Pratt.

Credentials of Orson Pratt as Agent for the City of Nauvoo, CITY OF NAUVOO, ILLINOIS, March 12, 1844.  We, the mayor and recorder of said city, do hereby certify that Orson Pratt, Esq., the bearer, a councilor in city council of said city, is sent as an agent by the authorities of said city or corporation to transact such business as he may deem expedient and beneficial for the community which he represents; and as such agent and gentleman of principle and character, he by us is recommended to the due consideration of all the executive officers of the government, both houses of Congress, and gentlemen generally of the United States.”169

Mar-Apr., Orson will leave Nauvoo, and travel to Washington, D.C. where he will work to have Joseph Smith’s petition and memorial presented before Congress.  These items seeks redress for property losses in Missouri and Illinois, and for protection from state and local militia (mobs).

May 13, “At 2 p.m. [Joseph Smith] attended a meeting of the general council, at which the following letter from Orson Hyde was read:

Letter: Elder Orson Hyde’s Report of Labors in Washington, President Smith’s Memorial for Western Movement Before Congressmen.  

WASHINGTON, April 25, 1844.  HONORED SIR:–I take the liberty to transmit through you to the council of our Church the result of my labors thus far.  I arrived in this place on the 23rd instant, by way of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New Jersey.  I found Elder Orson Pratt here, Elder Page having been called home to Pittsburgh on account of his wife’s ill health.  Elder Orson Pratt has been indefatigable in his exertions in prosecuting the business entrusted to his charge.  His business has been before the Senate, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary; and the report of said committee is not yet rendered, which is the cause of his delay in writing to you.”170

One of the Congressmen Orson spoke to was Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois.  Orson visits with several other congressmen and senators.  He also was introduced to President John Tyler too.171  Orson stays in Washington D.C. about 10 weeks prior to receiving a notice to go to New York and campaign for the election of Joseph Smith for President.

June-July, Orson will leave Washington D.C. and perform a campaign mission for Joseph Smith’s election to the presidency.  He will go to New York and New England.

June, Orson will journey to visit Parley who is editing a New York paper called The Prophet.  This periodical was advancing Joseph Smith’s goals and ideals for his candidacy.172

June 9, Orson preaches at the Marion Temperance Hall on Canal Street in New York.173

June 20, “Thursday, June 20, 1844—I [Joseph Smith] wrote to those of the Twelve Apostles who are absent on missions to come home immediately, namely, Brigham Young, Boston; Heber C. Kimball, Washington; Orson Hyde, Philadelphia; Parley P. Pratt, New York; Orson Pratt, Washington; Wilford Woodruff, Portage, New York;…”174

June 27, Joseph and Hyrum Smith are murdered in Carthage Jail.

June 29-30, During these two days the Quorum of the Twelve, viz., President Brigham Young, presiding; Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, William Smith, Wilford Woodruff, and Lyman Wight, met in a conference in Franklin Hall in Boston.175 “Elders Brigham Young and Orson Pratt were at Boston when they first heard the rumors of the massacre of the Prophets, but did not believe the accounts were correct.”176

July 1, A convention was held in Melodian Hall in Boston.  Orson and several of the Twelve were in attendance.177

July 2, A special conference was held at Franklin Hall in Boston.  Orson and several of the Twelve were in attendance.178

July 7-8, Heber C. Kimball’s journal records conferences held these days at Salem, in which several members of the Twelve were present including Orson Pratt.179

July 9, Orson and Brigham Young journey to Boston.180

July 10, “Elders Brigham Young and Orson Pratt went from Boston to Lowell, Massachusetts.”181

July 11, “Elders Brigham Young and Orson Pratt traveled to Peterboro [Peterborough], NH, for the purpose of attending conference.”182

July 16, Wilford Woodruff writes a letter to Brigham Young and Orson Pratt informing them of the deaths of Joseph & Hyrum Smith.  Wilford seems to have been waiting for their return to Boston, from Peterboro, NH, so they could all return to Nauvoo together.183

July 17, Probably on the 17th, Brigham Young and Orson Pratt were in the home of Bro. Bement when the Apostles learned by a letter from Nauvoo, that Joseph and Hyrum Smith had been murdered.184

July 18, “’President Brigham Young arrived in the city of Boston, also Elders Orson Hyde, Heber C. Kimball and Orson Pratt.  We met together in council, and agreed to counsel the elders and brethren having families at Nauvoo, to return immediately to them.’”185

July 20, “Saturday, 20.—Elders Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball spent the day together in the city of Boston.  Elders Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt left for New York, and Elder Wilford Woodruff for Connecticut.”186

July 24, “Elders Young, Kimball and Wight left Boston by railway in the morning for Nauvoo.  On their arrival at Albany, in the evening, they were joined by Elders Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff and Sister Ruth Sayers, who had arrived from New York.  They continued their journey by railway during the night.”187

Aug. 3, Orson’s 24 page Prophetic Almanac for 1845, being the first after bissextile or leap year, Calculated for the Eastern, Middle and Western States and territories, the northern portions of the slave states, and British provinces.  By Orson Pratt, A.M., Professor of Mathematics in the University of the city of Nauvoo.  New York: Published at the Prophet Office.188

Aug. 6, Orson and the Twelve arrive in Nauvoo on this day, but probably late in the evening.189

Aug. 7, All the members of the Twelve in Nauvoo (including Parley and Orson Pratt), meet at the Seventies Hall to discuss the claims of Sidney Rigdon and others about the leadership of the Church.  The only Apostle missing was John Taylor who was recovering from wounds received at the Carthage Jail.  Most of the Twelve had met with him earlier in the day to get his thoughts concerning what should be done.190

Aug. 8, Parley and Orson Pratt were present to witness Brigham Young speak and appear transformed into Joseph Smith while speaking in the Seventies Hall.191

Aug. 9, “Friday, August 9, 1844.—I [Brigham Young] met in council with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman and eleven others at my house,…”192

Aug. 10, “Councilors Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young, Alderman George A. Smith and Hiram Kimball relinquished their pay as members of the [Nauvoo City] Council, and W.W. Phelps, Orson Pratt and George W. Harris relinquished ten dollars each of their pay.”193

Aug. 19, “I [Brigham Young] met in council with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman, Erastus Snow, William W. Phelps and Jonathan Dunham….”194

Sept. 6, “Elder Orson Pratt preached in the Seventies’ Hall.”195

Sept. 8, Present, of the Quorum of the Twelve, President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, George A. Smith, John Taylor and Amasa M. Lyman, at the formal trial of Sidney Rigdon.196

Sept. 15, “Sunday, 15.—Elder Parley P. Pratt preached in the forenoon and Elder Orson Pratt in the afternoon.”197

Autumn, Orson Pratt marries Charlotte Bishop (20 years old) in Nauvoo.  She is Orson’s second wife, and first plural marriage.  She will leave Orson in 1845 to marry a Mr. Tyler.  Orson and Charlotte will have no children.198

Oct. 6, General Conference began.  Orson and Parley are both sustained in their callings.199

Oct. 13, Both Parley and Orson preached today.  Orson instructed the seventies in relation to their duties in the seventies hall.200

Oct. 14, Parley sells a portion of his lot on Block 9 to Ezra Bickford for $600.  This was some property between Parley and Orson Pratt which contained another two story home on the lot 9.  This is not Parley’s two story home, but another one on the same lot just a little further south.201  On this day Parley sells his home and barn to a Mary Wood, Parley’s third “plural” wife married Sept. 9, 1843, for $2000.202

Oct. 27, Sarah Marinda Pratt is born.  She is the fourth child of Orson and Sarah Pratt.

Dec. 13, Orson Pratt marries Adelia Ann Bishop (18 years old) in Nauvoo.  She is his third wife and sister to Charlotte Bishop Pratt, second wife of Orson.  Orson and Adelia will have six children.

Dec. 14, “In company with Elder Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, and George A. Smith, I [Brigham Young] attended city council.  An ordinance was passed organizing the Seventies’ Library and Institute Association.  The council expressed their views in relation to the illegality of the legislature interfering with the chartered right of the city of Nauvoo; when those rights had never been exercised to the hurt or the prejudice of the innocent.”203

Dec. 26-30, “Orson Pratt spoke at the dedication of the Seventies’ Hall soon after Christmas 1844.”204

Dec. 30, On the final day of the dedication of the Seventies’ Hall, Orson Pratt took the stand and gave a discourse concerning the quote, “Adam fell that man might be—men are that they might have joy.”205



Jan. 1, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Willard Richards and Amasa M. Lyman and wives, met at Hiram Kimball’s home to have a quite evening.206

Jan. 2, “Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt and myself [Brigham Young] held a council at the Tithing Office with Bishops Newel K. Whitney and George Miller, Trustees, and Alpheus Cutler and Reynolds Cahoon, Temple Committee: the object of the council was to inspire the Temple Committee with confidence and satisfaction.”207

Jan. 12, “IMPORTANT DISCOURSES BY ELDERS HEBER C. KIMBALL AND ORSON PRATT.  Elder Heber C. Kimball preached to the saints  n the Concert Hall on the subject of increase and expansion.  Elder Orson Pratt advanced an idea pertaining to the magnitude of the planetary system, illustrative of the enlargement of the saints.”208

Jan. 22, “Forenoon, Elder Orson Pratt wrote a letter, in behalf of the council, to Elder Parley P. Pratt.  Afternoon, I went to the Historian’s Office accompanied by Elders Kimball and Taylor.  The letters to Elders Grant and Pratt were read and approved.”209

Feb. 24, “[Brigham Young]  In Company with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Amasa M. Lyman, George Miller, William Clayton, George D. Grant, E.D. Woolley, John Kay and John L. Smith, I went to Macedonia; we were armed with forty-six rounds, loaded pistols.”210

Feb. 25, The brethren meet with the saints in Macedonia, and Orson Pratt, Amasa M. Lyman, George Miller and Brigham Young all preached.211

Feb. 27, “The Twelve Apostles [including Orson Pratt], Trustees, mayor, aldermen and councilors met in council.”212

Mar. 15, “Afternoon, I [Brigham Young] attended the high council in company with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and John E. Page.”213

Mar. 26, The Nauvoo Neighbor (formerly The Wasp), reports that Orson Pratt is one of three committee members who will be overseeing voting on April 5.214

Mar. 27, Orson Pratt marries Mary Ann Merrill (25 years old) in Nauvoo.  She is Orson’s fourth wife, and they will have five children.

Apr. 6-7, At the April General Conference, most of the Twelve were in attendance including Orson Pratt.  In addition, about twenty-two thousand persons were also there.  Orson prayed during one session and at the request of President Young, “Orson Pratt read the revelation, given January 19, 1841, concerning the building of the Temple, Nauvoo House, etc.  After which he read an extract from the Law of the Lord, page 240.”215

Apr. 17, Brigham Young met in council with Elders Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman, C.C. Rich, and Samuel Bent, at Elder Richards’ home.216

Apr. 20, “Elders Orson Pratt, Phineas H. Young and I [Brigham Young] preached.  Afternoon, in council with the Twelve at the Seventies’ Hall when four elders were set apart for missions.”217

Apr. 24, Brigham Young, Willard Richards, Orson Pratt, Orson Spencer, W.W. Phelps, A.W. Babbit, and J.M. Bernhisel sign a letter to President James Folk concerning the treatment of the Mormons in Nauvoo.218

May 16, Orson Pratt called on Brigham Young and reported that four hundred men had gone up the opposite side of the river (saints are starting to flee Nauvoo).219

May 18, Orson Pratt preached to the saints in Nauvoo.220

May 24, “A large number of the saints assembled to witness the laying of the capstone on the southeast corner of the Temple.  Of the Twelve there were present, besides myself [Brigham Young], Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Willard Richards, Amasa M. Lyman, George A. Lyman, John E. Page, Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt, also Newel K. Whitney and George Miller the Presiding Bishops and Trustees-in-Trust, Alpheus Cutler and Reynolds Cahoon, Temple Committee, William Clayton, Temple recorder, John Smith, patriarch and president of the stake and several members of the high council.”221

May 29, Orson Pratt met with Brigham Young and the Twelve and discussed Wm. Smith.  They also prayed that the Lord would overrule the proceedings of the mob so that they may dwell in peace until the temple is finished.222

June 1, In the evening, Brigham Young met for council and prayer with Elders H.C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, John E. Page, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman and several other Church leaders not in the Twelve.  During this meeting, it was “voted that Brother Peter O. Hanson translate the Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon into the Danish Norwegian language and that Elder Orson Pratt assist him.”223

June 20, “Elders H.C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, and myself [Brigham Young] engaged revising Church History.”224

June 22, “Meeting at the stand; Elder Orson Pratt preached, but as it rained heavily, the meeting was dismissed.”225

June 27, “Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Amasa M. Lyman, George A. Smith, Willard Richards, John E. Page, George Miller, Joseph Young and John Taylor met for fasting, prayer and counsel.”226  [It’s the first year anniversary of Joseph & Hyrum Smith’s death.]

July 21, Orson Pratt departs from Nauvoo, for his mission to the Eastern States.  He will be away from Nauvoo for about five months and will return to Nauvoo on Dec. 11.227

July 26, Sarah Marinda Pratt, fourth child of Orson and Sarah Pratt, dies of malaria while en route to New York.  She was nine months old.

Aug. 6, “Three hundred and fifty men are zealously at work upon the building [temple], which it is supposed will be finished in a year and a half, probably at a cost of half a million of dollars.  The spiritual concerns of the Mormons are governed by a Council of Twelve, composed of the following persons Brigham Young—The Lion of the Lord.  H.C. Kimball—The Herald of Grace, Parley P. Pratt—The Archer of Paradise.  Orson Hyde—The Olive Branch of Israel.  Willard Richards—The Keeper of the Rolls.  John Taylor—The Champion of right.  Wm. Smith—The Patriarchal, Jacob’s Staff.  Wilford Woodruff—The Banner of the Gospel.  George A. Smith—The Entablature of Truth.  Orson Pratt—The Gauge of Philosophy.  John E. Page—The Sundial.  Lyman Wight—The Wild ram of the Mountains.”228

Aug. 9, Orson Pratt published his 24 page Prophetic Almanac for 1846, being the first after bissextile or leap year, Calculated for the Eastern, Middle and Western States and territories, the northern portions of the slave states, and British provinces.  By Orson Pratt, A.M., Professor of Mathematics in the University of the city of Nauvoo.  New York: Published at the Prophet Office.229  Orson and Parley will also edit a Church publication while in New York called The Messenger.

Aug. 20, Orson writes a letter for The Messenger saying that Parley left New York “some two weeks since to his family and friends in the West.”230

Aug. 23, “Elder Orson Pratt has arrived in this city to take the Presidency of the Eastern Churches, in the place of Elder Parley P. Pratt who has returned to Nauvoo.  All letters for him will be addressed to this office No. 7 Spruce street.”231

Sept. 6, Orson writes about his last week and his forth coming week.  “Last week I left the busy hum and bustle of New York; crossed the Hudson into New Jersey; and having taken a seat in a car, I found myself, by the aid of a little boiling water [steam engine], suddenly transported to Patterson, some 15 miles.  There I found Br. Van Wagonen in waiting for me with his carriage.  I entered it and soon found myself with a small branch of the church, located in a beautiful valley in Pumpton, about 27 miles from New York.  Preached on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to small but attentive congregations.  On Wednesday had the pleasure of leading seven persons down into the water and immersing them for the remission of sins.  All being heads of families, and five of whom were late emigrants from Holland.  And after having confirmed them, I laid hands upon ten little children, and blessed them in the name of the Lord, according to the example given us by our Savior…”  “Notice.  President Orson Pratt intends being in Boston on Sunday the 14th inst.  Salem on Tuesday the 16; Lowell on Friday the 19; Peterboro on Tuesday 23.  Let the saints give general notice in their public meetings, or otherwise.”232

Oct. 6, During the October General Conference, both Orson Pratt and Parley P. Pratt [Parley was in attendance, Orson was on his mission] were unanimously sustained as members of the Twelve Apostles.  However, when it was moved to sustain William Smith, Parley P. Pratt arose and said that he could not conscientiously vote to sustain him.233

Autumn, Mobs recommenced their murders and attacks on the Mormons.  Hundreds of homes and farms will be burned down in the Mormon communities surrounding Nauvoo over the next few months.

Oct. 31, “LETTER OF ORSON PRATT TO BRIGHAM YOUNG ON THE MATTER OF PURCHASING ARMS AND SELLING NAUVOO PROPERTY.  ‘New York, October 31, 1845.  President Brigham Young and Council.  Dear Brethren: I received a communication relative to obtaining six-barreled pistols for self-defense, (while journeying in western wilds).  I immediately took active measures to obtain them and the present prospect is good.  I think I shall obtain several hundred dollars for that purpose.  The six-inch pistols can be obtained at retail for twelve dollars.  The wholesale price is ten dollars but by agreeing to take some thirty or forty they can be obtained at nine and one-half dollars.  As soon as I have raised most of the funds that can be raised I shall make the purchase.  I now have between one and two hundred dollars tithing subject to your order: tithing comes in very slowly since the exertions that were made for the canvass.  The recent troubles in the west have put new life and zeal into the saints in the east, they are very anxious to assist all they can, and to gather westward….I remain, dear brethren, your everlasting friend and fellow laborer, [Signed] ORSON PRATT.’”234

Nov. 8, Orson Pratt writes a farewell letter or message to the saints in the Eastern and Middle states while in the city of New York.  He tells the saints to get out of this “evil nation” [the U.S.] as soon as possible.  “We do not want one Saint to be left in the United States after that time (next spring).”235

Nov. 12, Orson Pratt is in attendance at a Conference in New York City.236

Nov. 15, Orson Pratt leaves New York, for Nauvoo.237

Nov.-Dec., The attic story of the temple is completed and an office is set apart for Parley, Orson Pratt & Orson Hyde.238  The endowment rooms are also progressing at a rapid rate of completion.

Dec. 10, “At 3:45 p.m., we completed the arrangements of the east room, preparatory to giving endowments.  The following persons were present on this occasion, viz.;–Myself [Brigham Young] and wife, Mary Ann; Heber C. Kimball and wife, Vilate; Orson Hyde and Nancy Marinda; Parley P. Pratt and Mary Ann; John Taylor and Leonora; George A. Smith and Bathsheba W.; Willard Richards; Amasa Lyman and Mariah Louisa; John E. Page and Mary;…

“The main room of the attic story is eighty-eight feet two inches long and twenty-eight feet eight inches wide.  It is arched over, and the arch is divided into six spaces by cross beams to support the roof.  There are six small rooms on each side about fourteen feet square.  The last one on the east end on each side is a little smaller.  The first room on the south side beginning on the east is occupied by myself, the second by Elder Kimball, the third by Elders Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt; the fourth by John Taylor,…

“Four-twenty-five p.m., Elder Heber C. Kimball and I [Brigham Young] commenced administering the ordinances of endowment….We continued officiating in the Temple during the night until three-thirty a.m. of the 11th.  The following were administered to: Willard Richards; Heber C. Kimball and his wife, Vilate; George A. Smith and Bathsheba W.; Orson Hyde and Nancy Marinda; John Smith and Clarissa; Newel K. Whitney and Elizabeth Ann; Brigham Young and Mary Ann; William W. Phelps and Sally; Parley P. Pratt and Mary Ann; Amasa Lyman and Mariah Louisa; George Miller and Mary Catharine; John Taylor and Leonora; Lucien Woodworth and Phebe, John E. Page and Mary; Joseph C. Kingsbury; Mary Smith, widow of Hyrum; Agnes Smith, widow of Don Carlos.”239

Dec. 11, “Elder Orson Pratt returned from his eastern mission, bringing four hundred dollars worth of Allen’s revolving six-shooting pistols (alias pepper boxes).”240

Dec. 12, “Orson Pratt and his wife, Sarah Marinda, the First Presidency of the Seventy, and their wives and others numbering in all twenty-eight males and twenty-seven females received the ordinances of endowment.”241

Dec. 19, Orson Pratt was appointed one of the 26 new temple officiators.242

Dec. 24, “All the Twelve have been absent from the Temple the greater part of this day except Orson Pratt.  One hundred twenty-two persons received the ordinances.”243

Dec. 25, Orson and Parley were among several members of the Twelve who met with Brigham Young to discuss moving the saints to the west.244

Dec. 26, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Orson Pratt were present in the temple this morning.245

Dec. 27, It seems that Orson Pratt was the only member of the Twelve in the temple, this morning, when the U.S. Deputy Marshal came inside the temple to search for the Twelve.  Somehow, Orson was able to elude the Marshal.  It appears that he hid in a little nook he had rigged up as an observatory.246

It also appears that Orson spent almost the entire day inside the temple.  The DHC says, “Orson Pratt was the only one of the Twelve present in the Temple [this morning]…[In the afternoon] Orson Pratt has been engaged in making astronomical calculations.  From several observations he makes the latitude of Nauvoo 40 o 35’ 48” north…In the evening I [Brigham Young] went to the Temple and met with Brothers Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Amasa Lyman and George A. Smith.”247



January, “In January 1846, Parley and Orson Pratt publicly argued in the newly completed Nauvoo temple over accusations Parley had made against Orson’s wife, Sarah.  Orson and Sarah had quarreled with church officials ever since Joseph Smith reportedly approached Sarah in 1842, while Orson was in England, and a proposal of plural marriage.  Shortly before Parley’s and Orson’s dispute, Sarah had informed Mary Ann of Belinda’s and Parley’s relationship.  May Ann confronted Belinda and, after learning the truth, left Parley.  They formally divorced seven years later.

“In the temple Parley accused Sarah of ‘ruining and breaking up his family,’ as well as of being an apostate.  Parley’s and Orson’s argument became so intense that Orson voted out of the temple.  The next day Orson wrote to Brigham Young, president of the Twelve, defending his attack on Parley.248  He denied responsibility for Mary Ann’s knowledge of Parley’s polygamous marriages and told Young he was willing to repent of anything that would keep him out of good standing.  But, he declared, Parley was now his ‘avowed enemy.’  The two brothers did not reconcile unto seven years later in 1853.”249

Jan. 11, Orson Pratt is disfellowshipped over the incident in the temple.250

January, Rumors spread that the U.S. Army is preparing to stop the saints from leaving the state.  Consequently, the saints hurry their preparations through this month.

January, Orson Pratt is returned to full fellowship.251

Jan. 23, Vanson Pratt is born to Orson and Sarah Pratt.  He is their fifth child and the third still living.

Jan. 27, “Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Amasa Lyman, and I [Brigham Young] officiated in the higher ordinances [at the temple].”252

Feb. 1, “Public meeting in the second story of the Temple, Elder Orson Pratt and myself [Brigham Young] addressed the meeting.”253

Feb. 4, The saints start fleeing Nauvoo across the Mississippi River.

Feb. 8, The Twelve met in the attic of the temple and knelt around an altar and dedicated the temple.254  While at the temple, Orson was given his fifth wife, a young 24 year-old woman named Sarah Louisa chandler.  She was from New Hampshire, and wasn’t in the best of health.  About fifty miles west of Mount Pisgah, on June 12, 1846, she died.  Dressed in her new temple robes, Orson placed her in a basswood coffin and buried her under a tree.255

Feb. 9, At 3:30 p.m. the roof of the temple was discovered to be on fire.  The fire raged about 30 minutes before it was put out.  It burned an area about 16’ by 10’ on the north side.  It was caused by a stove pipe being overheated while in the process of drying clothing in the upper room.

Feb. 9, Most of the Twelve take part in the disfellowshipment of John E. Page, including Parley and Orson Pratt.256

Feb. 14-15, Orson Pratt leaves Nauvoo.  Orson F. Whitney’s History of Utah, vol. 4, George Q. Cannon & Sons Company Publishers, 1904, page 27, states that Orson left Nauvoo, on Feb. 14, “accompanied by his family—four wives and three small children, the youngest a babe three weeks old.”  “Orson’s family found some temporary refuge [four days] at the home of Jonathan Harrington, Sarah’s uncle, some three miles from the Sugar Creek encampment.  Parley P. Pratt crossed the Mississippi the same day and found shelter with his family in an abandoned cabin in the same gully.”257

Feb. 17, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards meet on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River.258

Feb. 20, “Dr. Richards was sick in bed with a severe cough, and at one p.m. invited Elders Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman, and Bishop George Miller to his tent; the council voted to purchase three hundred bushels of corn of Wm. Leffingwell and one yoke of oxen of Wm. Hawkes.  The cold increased through the day, the night was very severe, at many points ice fastened on the banks of the Mississippi river.”259

Mar. 4, Orson succeeds in disposing of his $2000 Nauvoo home and lot to two men from Iowa.  He trades his deeds for four yoke of oxen, three chains, one wagon, and eight barrels of flour which were valued at $300.260

115 DHC, vol. 5, 250-2.

116 DHC, vol. 5, 254.

117 DHC, vol. 5, 255-6.

118 Millennial Star, vol. 3, 206-7.

119 DHC, vol. 5, 264.

120 DHC, vol. 5, 265.

121 Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 328-329; DHC, vol. 5, 265.

122 Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 328-329; DHC, vol. 5, 265.

123 DHC, vol. 5, 258.

124 DHC, vol. 5, 290.

125 Times and Seasons, April 1, 1843.

126 DHC, vol. 5, 327.

127 DHC, vol. 5, 347.

128 DHC, vol. 5, 366.

129 DHC, vol. 5, 366.

130 Letter from Parley P. Pratt to John Van Cott in Columbia Co., New York, May 7, 1843.

131 DHC, vol. 5, 386.

132 DHC, vol. 5, 387.

133 DHC, vol. 5, 404.

134 DHC, vol. 5, 413-4.

135 DHC, vol. 5, 416-7.

136 DHC, vol. 5, 475.

137 DHC, vol. 5, 520.

138 DHC, vol. 5, 522.

139 DHC, vol. 5, 525.

140 DHC, vol. 5, 527.

141 England, Journals of Orson Pratt, 201,

142 England, Journals of Orson Pratt, 201,

143 England, Journals of Orson Pratt, 201,

144 Watson, The Orson Pratt Journals, 201.

145 DHC, vol. 5, 541.

146 DHC, vol. 5, 527.

147 Watson, The Orson Pratt Journals, 202.

148 Watson, The Orson Pratt Journals, 202.

149 Watson, The Orson Pratt Journals, 202.

150 DHC, vol. 6, 10.

151 DHC, vol. 6, 27.

152 DHC, vol. 6, 37.

153 DHC, vol. 6, 60.

154 DHC, vol. 6, 66.

155 DHC, vol. 6, 83.

156 DHC, vol. 6, 123-4.

157 Watson, The Orson Pratt Journals, 209

158 DHC, vol. 6, 177.

159 DHC, vol. 6, 178.

160 Watson, The Orson Pratt Journals, 209.

161 NRI Records.  Nauvoo Marriages, 21, recorded on Feb. 20, 1844.

162 Historical Department, NRI Collection.  These records conflict on the amount of property each brother possessed.  Some of the records say Orson purchased the entire south half of the lot, while other records say he acquired only the south one third of the lot.

163 DHC, vol. 6, 223.

164 DHC, vol. 6, 235.

165 DHC, vol. 6, 236.

166 BYU Studies, vol. 20, #2, 195.

167 DHC, vol. 6, 260.

168 BYU Studies, vol. 20, #2, 195.

169 DHC, vol. 6, 261.

170 DHC, vol. 6, 369.

171 DHC, vol. 6, 372.

172 England, Orson Pratt, 95.

173 England, Orson Pratt, 95.

174 DHC, vol. 6, 519.

175 DHC, vol. 7, 149.

176 DHC, vol. 7, 175.

177 Wilford Woodruff Journal, July 1, 1844.

178 Watson, The Orson Pratt Journals, 216.

179 DHC, vol. 7, 169.

180 DHC, vol. 7, 170.

181 DHC, vol. 7, 177.

182 DHC, vol. 7, 183.

183 DHC, vol. 7, 194.

184 Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 111-2.  The Journals of Orson Pratt, 218, suggest it was July 16, 1844, when they first learned of the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

185 DHC, vol. 7, 197.  This quote was taken from Wilford Woodruff’s journal.

186 DHC, vol. 7, 200.

187 DHC, vol. 7, 209.

188 The Journals of Orson Pratt, 220.

189 Millennial Star, vol. 26, 359.

190 CHC, vol. 2, 414-5.

191 CHC, vol. 2, 416-420.

192 DHC, vol. 7, 246.

193 NRI Records.  See Nauvoo city Council Minutes, 216.

194 DHC, vol. 7, 260.

195 DHC, vol. 7, 267.

196 DHC, vol. 6, 268.

197 DHC, vol. 7, 271.

198 Lyon, Orson Pratt, 171, 175.

199 DHC, vol. 7, 295.

200 DHC, vol. 7, 310.

201 Historical Department, NRI Collection.

202 Historical Department, NRI Collection.

203 DHC, vol. 7, 325.

204 England, Orson Pratt, 98.

205 DHC, vol. 7, 344.


206 DHC, vol. 7, 348.

207 DHC, vol. 7, 349.

208 DHC, vol. 7, 352.


209 DHC, vol. 7, 362.

210 DHC, vol. 7, 375.

211 DHC, vol. 7, 376.

212 DHC, vol. 7, 377.

213 DHC, vol. 7, 383.

214 Nauvoo Neighbor, March 26, 1845, vol. 2, #47.

215 DHC, vol. 7, 391-3.

216 DHC, vol. 7, 400.

217 DHC, vol. 7, 401.

218 DHC, vol. 7, 404.

219 DHC, vol. 7, 411.

220 DHC, vol. 7, 412.

221 DHC, vol. 7, 417.

222 DHC, vol. 7, 420.

223 DHC, vol. 7, 424-5.

224 DHC, vol. 7, 428.

225 DHC, vol. 7, 428.

226 DHC, vol. 7, 430.

227 The Journals of Orson Pratt, 242.

228 DHC, vol. 7, 434-5.

229 The Journals of Orson Pratt, 242.

230 The Messenger, Aug. 30, 1845.  I’m not listing every letter or article Orson or Parley published in The Messenger since it would take several additional pages.

231 The Messenger, Aug. 23, 1845.

232 The Messenger, Sept. 6, 1845.

233 DHC, vol. 7, 457-9.  In The Journals of Orson Pratt, xii, it makes it clear that it was Parley who was at Nauvoo, and objected to William Smith.  The DHC says it was Orson, but Orson was in New York at the time.

234 DHC, vol. 7, 509-10.

235 DHC, vol. 7, 515-9.

236 DHC, vol. 7, 520.

237 The Journals of Orson Pratt, 312.

238 See Appendix 3 and 4.

239 DHC, vol. 7, 541-543.

240 DHC, vol. 7, 543.

241 DHC, vol. 7, 544.

242 DHC, vol. 7, 548.

243 DHC, vol. 7, 551.

244 DHC, vol. 7, 552.

245 DHC, vol. 7, 552.

246 England, Orson Pratt, 108.

247 DHC, vol. 7, 553-4.

248 “Orson soon learned in confidence that the girl who had accompanied Parley to New York the year previous was actually Belinda, a plural wife sealed to him by Brigham Young in November 1844.  The dispute was rapidly settled, and Orson returned to fellowship, for by January 24 he was presiding once again in the temple and he and Parley officiating together.”  England, Orson Pratt, 109.  Also see DHC, vol. 7, 573, 576.

249 The Essentials of Parley P. Pratt, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1990, xii.  In addition, I have searched through the correspondence between Parley and Orson and I can find no evidence of a poor of hate-filled relationship between the two brothers as late as 1847, much less a running feud for seven years.  I’m of the opinion that the brothers reconciled within a few hours or days, and a week or two at the very most.

250 The Journals of Orson Pratt, 496.

251 The Journals of Orson Pratt, 315.

252 DHC, vol. 7, 576.

253 DHC, vol. 7, 578.

254 DHC, vol. 7, 580.

255 England, Orson Pratt, 112-116.

256 DHC, vol. 7, 583.

257 Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 340.  Also see The Journals of Orson Pratt, 316, and England, Orson Pratt, 112.

258 DHC, vol. 7, 586.

259 DHC, vol. 7, 593.


260 Orson Pratt Journals, March 4, 1846.  Also see the Contributor, vol. 12, 130.