Hellen Orissa Pratt
(1842 – abt. 1925)

by Paul DeBry

Hellen was the first of two children, both girls, born to Nelson Pratt and his second wife, Azuba Spaulding. She was born September 5, 1842. It was a quiet year in history, unless you consider the invention of the sewing machine, which happened in February of that year, a significant event. Many from the eastern seaboard were looking for better farmland and a longer growing season. They were moving into the fertile country of northern Ohio. Nelson Pratt, Hellen’s father was 12 years old when he followed that movement. In 1827 he left his home in eastern New York with his brothers, Parley and Orson. Being the youngest of five brothers, Nelson was only 12 years old. Parley was 20 years old and Orson was 16. The older brothers stayed a short time and then returned to New York looking for work. Nelson remained in Ohio, worked, married eight years later in 1835 and raised a family. Interestingly enough, just a few years after the brothers left Ohio, they were back. In 1829, Parley settled in a small hut on a stream in a forest. This was near Amherst, Ohio, and only 20 miles northeast of where Nelson lived. Unbeknown to the brothers at first, William also moved to that area, living only 10 miles from Parley’s homestead. In the early 1830’s, Orson, along with Parley, was living in Kirtland, Ohio, about 100 miles east of Nelson’s farm.

Hellen was born five years after her father moved to Ohio, in the small town of Havana. Her father had buried his first wife, Finetta Delano, age 21, exactly three years to the day, before Hellen was born. He was left with one son, Edwin Delano Pratt, who was five years older than Hellen. She would have one sister, Aurilla Finetta Pratt who would be born 20 months later, in May 1844. Another brother would be born in 1853. She would never get to know him, however, as he would die after only five weeks of life. Her father would have four wives and four children. All four wives and one child would die before he was 58 years old. Hellen’s father and mother are buried next to each other in the Boughton Cemetery, near their home.

(Mother is the small white stone on the left,
Father is the tall gray stone on the right)
Azuba Spaulding
(The top part with her name is broken off)

Wife of

Dec. 31, 1847

Hellen’s memory of her mother would be near nonexistent. Her mother died on New Year’s Eve in 1847, at the age of 27. Hellen was only five years old. That year, her uncles, Orson and Parley would enter the Great Salt Lake Valley. Uncle Orson was the first of the Mormon pioneers to set foot in the valley.

She lived without a mother for two years, from age five to seven. In November 1849, her father married again. This time to Marietta Ensign, a 25-year-old girl from New York. Nelson and Marietta were married 13 years. By the time Marietta died, Hellen was married and expecting her first child.

Fairfield, Ohio

Hellen Orissa Pratt married John Wesley Felton on March 5, 1861 in Havana, Ohio, a year after the Civil War started. She was 18 years old and he was 23. John was born in Portland, New York. They settled in Fairfield, Huron County, Ohio, a small village only a few miles east of where she had grown up. They had seven children all born in Fairfield. All of the children except Edwin Morris Felton, who died at age 3, lived to maturity. Only two of the children, George and Louise ever married. Louise and her husband Raymond had no children. George had two sons, both of whom married, but neither of them had children. Thus, Hellen and John have no living posterity today. 

Their children were:

  1. Charles Holly Felton, born October 22, 1862, in Fairfield, Ohio. He died February 5 1881, in Fairfield, at the age of 18. He never married.
  2. Inez Isola Felton, born September 16, 1864, in Fairfield, Ohio. Lived to be about 70 years old. Date and place of death are unknown but she probably died after 1930 in the area of Pasadena, California. She never married.
  3. Lillie Edith Felton, born June 6, 1868, in Fairfield, Ohio. Date of death is unknown, but she probably died in Inglewood, California. She was a schoolteacher in Fairfield Township, Ohio and also possibly in California where she lived. She never married.
  4. George Kapple Felton, born November 12, 1874 in Fairfield, Ohio. He Married Leona Cline on September 30, 1896 in Galion, Ohio. He owned a motorcycle dealership. They had two sons, Donald Cline Felton and Karl Girard Felton. Both sons married but neither of them had children. George died July 6, 1931 in Hawthorne, California, near Los Angeles at the age of 57.
  5. Clarence Augustus Felton, born December 31, 1878, in Fairfield, Ohio. He went by the name of “Gus.” He lived to be 73 years old and never married. He was a stenographer and later a bookkeeper for a tea and coffee company. He also worked in the building construction business. In 1910 there are records in Los Angeles showing that he lived with his mother and sisters, Inez, age 39 and Gertrude, age 21. He was 30 years old at the time. All three of the siblings were single. They lived next door to his brother, Clarence and his wife, Leona and their two sons. This was probably very shortly after they arrived in California after moving from Ohio.
  6. Edwin Morris Felton, born November 28, 1882 in Fairfield, Ohio. He died three years later on December 31, 1885, probably in Fairfield.
  7. Louise Gertrude Felton, born October 2, 1886, in Fairfield, Ohio. She married Raymond Clarence Gockel in about 1839 in the Los Angeles area. They had no children. She and Raymond lived with her brother “Gus” for a while in Hawthorn, California, near Los Angeles.

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, the John and Hellen, with their five living children, packed up their belongings and moved from northern Ohio to California, finally settling in the Los Angeles area. It appears that they all died there.

Los Angeles around the time the Felton family moved there in 1910.

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