Tape Recorded Visit, Una P. Giles and Cora Sinclair Winkler
March 19, 1959

This is Una Pratt Giles, younger sister of Cora Pratt Winkler.

Parley P. Pratt Jr. and Brighamina Neilsen planned a wedding journey to St. George to be married in the new Temple which was just being completed.  It was a long, exciting trip for the young bride in the caravan which went down from Salt Lake and it is not surprising that she forgot her Temple recommend.  When Brigham Young learned that she was his namesake, however, he said THAT was recommend enough, for her.

Parley Jr. and Brighamina were married January 18th, 1877 by Erastus Snow the Apostle who had carried the Gospel Message to Denmark.  After three short weeks of married life, Parley Jr. answered another call for missionary service and left for the States, leaving Brighamina to prepare for the coming of her first child alone.  After her baby was born Brighamina went to Brigham City to live with her sister Christine.  Her sister’s husband, Eric Larson, was also on a mission at the time so Christine took care of the children while Brighamina went to live with her dearest friend Emma Lundgren, who was a widow with one son.  Now Brighamina became housekeeper once more while Emma carried on her millinery business and a friendship which had seen its beginning in a choir in Denmark was closely cemented for all time.

Finally, after three years absence, Parley returned to his young wife and his daughter, Cora, who he had never seen and greatly to his delight the child was now more than two years old was very shy with strangers readily went to his arms.

The little reunited family now went to Salt Lake City and secured some property for a home on Canyon Road and 4th Avenue.  Only because they were pioneers at heart, however, could they see its possibilities for it was nothing but a rocky hillside covered with sage brush, Parley first built a temporary shelter with lumber which by some magic known only to such women as Brighamina soon became very cozy.  Then by dint of hard work and infinite patience, the ground was cleared, trees and shrubs were planted and a more substantial home of cobblestone and adobe was built.  These same cobblestones once so laboriously wrested from the rocky hillside have now become a part of a solid wall of modern garages.  They soon had a very attractive home with garden, cows and chickens and they raised strawberries whose flavor spread their fame for miles around.

This is taken from an autograph album given to Cora by her parents January 19th, 1890:

“Dear Daughter Cora, Papa desires that you may be happy.  The only way to secure true happiness is to be obedient, obliging and unselfish, by being kind, to make others happy you will bring joy to your own heart and pave the way for eternal happiness hereafter.  Your affectionate Father, Parley P. Pratt Jr.

“Dear Cora, the wealth of love Mamma feels for her daughter is beyond all calculation, may the silken cord of love which now binds us together as mother and daughter never be broken in time and eternity is the sincere prayer of your loving Mother, Brighamina N. Pratt.

Cora May Pratt was born 26 October 1877 in Salt Lake City.  Cora was of a dark complexion and resembled her father very much.  She had black hair and hazel eyes and a clear complexion.  She was rather a frail child all through her life but she grew to womanhood and became tall and slender.  When Cora was about 3 years old her little brother Otto Quinn was born.  He was a rather unusual child and Cora adored him, and spent much time playing with him.

C.S.W.: Do you want to tell us about your mother and the girls she took care of and about his accident?

Una: Mother used to take emigrant girls from Denmark into her home until they found a place of their own.  It was one of these girls who was wheeling Otto in a carriage on a slanting walk that let the carriage get away from her and the carriage was tipped over and Otto’s back badly hurt.  This was the cause of his death some months later.  He suffered dreadfully during these months and Cora was very tender and loving to him and she adored him.

C.S.W. You said something about his speaking as such a mature person.

Una: He was an unusual child and he used to talk to Cora like he was her big brother rather than just three years younger.  He would tell her that he would take care of her and protect her from the naughty boys in the neighborhood when he grew up.

Father and mother had fasted and prayed for this boy’s recovery but when he was taken to a patriarch for a blessing he told them not to pray and fast any longer for him, that he was an unusual spirit that had come to this earth and that it wasn’t his mission to stay here long and so they had to give in and Otto, soon after that died.  I hope that you will record his patriarchal blessing in order to understand what I am talking about.  Otto died at the age of 2 ½ years, 11 Dec. 1882.

C.S.W.: Isn’t that unusual tho for him to speak so well and think so clearly and die at such a tender age!”

Una: When Brigham Young built his new school house on the corner of South Temple and State Street by the Eagle Gate, Cora was permitted to go to kindergarten there, and I think she attended there just one year then she went to the 18th Ward school on the corner of 2nd Avenue and A St.  The official name of it was the Independent School but we always spoke of it as the Mumford School because he was one of Cora’s teachers and she loved him so much.  This was a school where the children had to pay to go to school and she spent seven years in that school.  By that time the Lowell school was finished, which is still standing on E St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave.  The first year that the Lowell school was opened was my first year in school and it was Cora’s 8th grade and she graduated from the Lowell School.

After Cora’s graduation from the Lowell school she attended the Salt Lake High School which was over on the west side and all of Cora’s friends attended school over there also.

We had a very happy and spiritual home, father was always anxious that his children should have an education.  He was especially interested in singing so Cora was given the opportunity to have her voice trained.

She sang with the younger groups of Evan Stephans who was the tabernacle director at that time and while she was still in her teens she took vocal lessons from two of Utah’s outstanding vocal teachers.  Part of this money she had to earn to pay for her own lessons but she was very anxious to get a musical education.  Cora had a beautiful clear soprano voice and used to sing in the ward choir and other places, she sand solos all through her life and she sang duets with her friend, Aura Rogers, taking the soprano lead.

She studied under George Thatcher and I can’t remember who the other teacher was just now.

During father’s last year before he died he took a lecture course and traveled around the state and Cora went with him on many of these trips and sang.  I have before me a card that says: “Parley P. Pratt lecturer, Miss C. M. Pratt, vocalist.” That would be 1896 and 1897.

Cora attended the Salt Lake Temple dedication services on Sunday April 23, 1893 in the morning session.  I have her card before me and it is signed Wilford Woodruff.  You had to have these permits to get in.

In 1897 the Pratt family held a very large Pratt Family Reunion where many hundred friends and relatives attended and it was to celebrate the coming of Orson Pratt into Slat Lake Valley.  Orson Pratt of course was the first man to enter the Salt Lake Valley and we have always held that date, July 21st for the Pratt Family Reunion.  On this reunion in 1897 just a very short time before father died, Cora sang a solo and the program that I have before me has some very fine talent showing the caliber of the material that was used on that program.  One of them was a solo by Viola Pratt who became very famous. 

As a child, Cora sang in Evan Stevens Chorus and later on joined the tabernacle choir under the leadership of Evan Stevens.  It was during this time that she met and married Oscar Winkler December 20, 1901.  The following March the Tabernacle Pleasure Tour to California was planned.  The Tabernacle Choir planned a concert for which admission was charged to defray some of the expense of the members.  The choir members had to sell a certain number of tickets to this concert or pay the equivalent and timid Cora had to pay the full amount because she was so shy she couldn’t sell the tickets.

Oscar was working and couldn’t go with Cora and in later years they joked about Cora going on her wedding trip without her husband.

The fare being $50.00 to cover ten days and they visited S.F. and gave concerts at most of these places: Oakland, Palo Alto, Stanford University, San Jose, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Del Monte, Stockton, Sacramento and intervening places.

Oscar Winkler knew father because he used to work in a grocery store and father went in there to buy groceries and Oscar paid particular attention to father because he was tall and dignified and very particular about what he purchased, particularly butter, he always had to taste it before he would buy a pound of it to be sure it was sweet butter.

It wasn’t until after father’s death that Oscar met Cora and started to come up to our home and every one of us girls loved him.  He seemed to take the place of a man in our house, a father’s place and he was so kind and gentle and sweet to us and he used to bring nuts up and especially pine nuts and crack them on a little board with a tiny hammer and I would sit there and pick the nuts out with him and we just thought so much of Oscar, he was like one of our own family.  We all felt that way toward him.

It seems the Danish organization put on a play and Oscar was in this play and I think Cora was too but anyhow it was at this Danish play that Oscar and Cora met and I guess it was love at first sight, on Oscar’s part at least because he immediately started to come up to our house and we took him in like a brother, an own brother.  Cora and Oscar went together until he was called on a mission and Cora told him she would wait for him till he finished his mission and he went to Sweden on a mission in 1899 and shortly after his return in 1901 that they were married in the Salt Lake Temple.

Cora had planned before her marriage that she wanted a family and being 24 years of age she knew that she would start her family right after marriage but she was disappointed in this.  She didn’t have her first child until four or five years later.  Wallace was a very special child.  Cora used to call him her Temple baby because she used to spend a lot of her time doing temple work and it was in the temple that she prayed earnestly that she might have a son.

Cora was interested in a health program.  Cora went to church all the time, to Mutual and to Sunday School and she was very faithful in her church duties and I remember her taking me with her when she was mutual age and I was too young to go there and part of the program was gymnastics, the girls would get off in a room by themselves and put on a costume which consisted of a blouse and bloomers and they would do calesthenics and Maud May Babcock was teacher here in this ward.  Cora was very much interested in health and in keeping well.  She was always a frail child herself and knew that she had to live the laws of health in order to accomplish her mission in life.

After renting for a short time they built their first home on Lincoln Street on the 900 block where their next two boys were born, Richard and Virgil.

Oscar was still working for the National Bisquit Company and had been given a proposition which meant a promotion to him to go to Boise with headquarters to work for this company.  Cora was reluctant to give up her home which she loved so dearly and she wanted her children to be raised in a Mormon locality and she especially wanted her children to go to the L.D.S. College here in Salt Lake City.  So when she gave her consent to move to Boise it was with the promise that Oscar would return with his family in 8 years so that Wallace could go to the L.D.S. College.

Hale, their fourth son was born while they lived in Boise.  Oscar and Cora were in a small community up there in Boise and they were very busy and diligent in the church up there.  It was during those years that Cora was President of the Relief Society, at one time and also the President of the Primary at another time.  Oscar was counselor in the State Presidency.

Cora sang solos and duets in many of the church functions and in most of the funerals that were held in that period.

When they moved into their new home in Boise Cora became friendly with their next door neighbor and it was through her efforts that this woman was converted to the church.

Going back to Cora’s childhood days I might relate a little incident.  We lived on Canyon Road in City Creek Canyon and in the spring the stream running down by the side of the road because very heavy and swift.  Cora was trying to walk over the foot bridge and lost her balance and fell in.  She was washed down stream.  I don’t remember how she was rescued but she said those few minutes that she was in the water it seemed that her whole life went before her, through her mind, but she was rescued and lived to tell the story. 

When Cora was just a child she had a very severe attack of typhoid fever and she lost all of her hair and when it came in it was curly and it was slightly curly through the rest of her life.

She also had a very severe sickness which we call chorea, when she was little and this nervous disease came on by her watching some men kill and skin a calf in our own yard.  Father had given instructions that the men who bought this calf should take the calf away and not kill it there but he was not home at the time and Cora was fascinated by what the men were doing but it was the thing that caused this terrible nervous disease that we often called St. Vitus Dance and it took Cora a long, long time to get over that.  I believe that was the beginning of her heart trouble which caused her death many years later.  It was father’s calf.  We always used to have one or two cows in our barn and father took such good care of his animals.  We always gave them a name, we had Daisy and Buttercup and we loved those animals and they meant a great deal to us.  Father knew it wouldn’t be right for Cora to see this animal butchered but these men disobeyed his orders and Cora witnessed this.  I suppose she was just frozen to the spot and couldn’t move but that was the beginning of her heart trouble I am sure.

Our home on Canyon Road was in the 18th Ward where many prominent families of the church lived.  There were the Youngs, the Whitneys, and the Snows, Rogers and Squires.  These young people Cora mixed with and they had many good times.  They formed a club they called the Jefferson Literary Society and each member of this club had to contribute literary papers from time to time and Cora did her part and enjoyed it very much and it was a very educational group.  They used to meet together and have their literary part and then they would serve refreshments and when they came to our place mother always prided herself in giving them something dainty and extra and good and the young folks always loved to come to our place.  Mother had such a good cheerful disposition and she was such a good cook.

Mother was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and she emigrated to Slat Lake City when she was 20 years old and within the next year she married father.  Cora, being born when father was on his mission, it was natural that mother should teach Cora her native tongue before she learned to speak English.  So Cora spoke Danish with a naturalness and people often thought that she had been born in Copenhagen.

Cora used to go with mother to the Danish organization entertainments and this was how she happened to meet Oscar, at one of these entertainments.  …end…

[Parley Parker Pratt Jr. & Descendants, Cora S. Winkler, 1992]

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

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