Written by her daughter– Sarah Rust
March 1933

 Julia Pratt Gardner, daughter of Parley P. Pratt and Sarah Houston, was born at Winter Quarters Nebraska, April 1, 1847.

 Her parents were numbered among those faithful Pioneers, who had been driven from their homes by the ruthless mobs, and were now on their way to the Rocky Mountains.  During the winter of 1847, they had encamped at this place to wait for the springtime.

 It was during this time of waiting that the subject of this sketch was born.  Soon after her birth she was blessed by the Elders of the Church and given the name of Julia.  At the same time she was told that she would be blessed with life and health, would live to reach Zion in safety and become a mother in Israel.

 As to her lineage, she was the first born of her father’s large family.  Parley P. Pratt was the third son of Jared and Charity Pratt.  Jared was the son of Obediah and Jemima Pratt.  Obediah was the son of Christopher and Sarah Pratt.  William was the son of Joseph Pratt.  Joseph was the son of Lieutenant William and Elizabeth Pratt who were among the first settlers of Hartford, Connecticut Legislature, for some twenty-five or thirty sessions and the general Court gave him one hundred acres of land in Saybrook, Connecticut, for services performed as lieutenant in the Pequot War.  He was also one of the Judges of the first court in New London County.

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Thus was Julia Pratt a lineal descendent in the eighth generation from that distinguished Pilgrim and Humble Pioneer to the New World. 

Her father was reared to hard work on a farm, and though his opportunities for an education were extremely limited, he was brought up in the strictest school of morals.  In his early youth he gave evidence of having a deeply religious nature, and while yet in his teens he joined the Baptist Church.  He later became identified with the Mormon Church and from that time on his whole life was consecrated to the service of the Lord, preaching the Gospel, and helping lay the foundation of the work at home and abroad.

His mission to the Indians beginning in October 1830, (103 years ago) being the first of his many missionary experiences. 

His wife, Sarah Houston, was a strong and noble character, being large in stature and of a very kindly disposition.  She was full of faith and always optimistic.  After the birth of her babe at Winter Quarters, and as soon as she was able to travel, the little family started on the long and tedious journey. 

Their progress was necessarily slow and sometimes frought with danger, yet they traveled on undaunted.

 At one time there was a stampede of the oxen and the wagon in which Julia and her mother were riding was overturned.  The baby was thrown out among sacks of flour and other supplies, and later was found lying unharmed between two sacks of flour.  Thus was her life preserved, and the promise of the Elders fulfilled, in which she was promised that she should be preserved and reach Zion in safety. 

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 After many days of hardship and trial, the Company reached the valleys of the mountains late in September, 1847, about five months from the date of their departure from Winter Quarters.  They were with the 2nd Company to enter the Valley of Great Salt Lake.  Here they found cabins and Forts and growing crops, the work of the first company of Pioneers. 

They immediately began to apply themselves to the work of procuring tents and fuel, and to exploring the surrounding country for food, fish or game, or for making roads and bridges.

Julia’a childhood was spent in poverty and seclusion, without opportunity for schooling or education.  She was taught by her mother to do all kinds of work, housework, sewing by hand, knitting, spinning, embroidery, darning and mending and caring for the younger children. 

She was naturally very neat and particular about all of her work, and when she undertook a certain job it had to be done absolutely the best way possible, no half way or makeshift about it.

At the age of fourteen, she met and became acquainted with John Gardner, a recent convert to Mormonism, who had heard the Gospel in Scotland, and being attracted by Julia’s natural charm, and delicate retiring manner, they became engaged and later were married in the Salt Lake Endowment House, June 1, 1860.           

Their two first children, a boy and a girl, were buried in infancy.  At this same time she had a little brother born and her mother became very ill with Milk Leg, so they arranged with Julia to take the little brother and nurse him at her breast in place of her own babe who had died.  After this her mother’s health continued so very poor, and her milk being gone, Julia kept the babe and took care of him.  He grew up in the home,

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 being called by the name of Gardner, and calling his sister by the name of Mother, and was known by the other children as brother Will.  The family resided at Payson, Goshen, Spring Lake, Salt Lake City, and finally moved to Sevier Valley in the year 1873.

 They first located in Prattville, a little place at the point of the mountain between Richfield and Glenwood.  This town was named for her two brothers, Heleman and Teancum, who were among its first settlers.  These brothers started the United Order at that place, and were the first to organize schools, stores, etc.  It was mostly on account of the Indian troubles that the family had made so many moves, and many times the husband and father was called on to act as guard at night with others, to insure the safety of the wives and children of the neighborhood.

 The journey from Salt Lake to the Sevier Valley was made by ox team and took about three weeks.  Here was another terrible struggle with poverty, mineral farms and hostile Indians, as they never knew when they might be surprised by the fiendish war hoop.

 Sister Gardner’s entire life was given over to the raising of her family, and the teaching of them the principles of honesty, truth, virtue and Godliness and never did she miss an opportunity to teach a lesson either by precept or by example.  She often helped in a financial way with the expenses of the home.  She gleaned wheat in the fields, thrashed it out by hand, and carried the grain to town which was five miles distant, exchanging the grain at the stores for groceries, cloth or other household necessities.

 She was a wonderful spinner and knitter, and her hand sewing was as perfect as anything could be.  She had a fine musical voice and as quilting

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 was another fine accomplishments, she sat at the fire knitting or stood at the spinning wheel she sang the songs she loved:  Annie Laurie, Cottage By The Sea, Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, etc.

 She would wash the wool herself, card it into bats, spin it into yarn, and then knit it into the most beautiful stockings and socks, which were the pride of her family and her many friends.

 She was the mother of fourteen children besides the brother whom she raised.  Six daughters and eight sons.  Five of her sons and two daughters have gone to the other side, three grown children having followed since her death, 30 years ago.  She died April 17th, 1903, aged 53.

 As a member of the Relief Society she was ever loyal and true.  No teacher ever visited her and went away empty.  No matter how poor she was she could always find something to give to the poor.  Some home-made soap, a bit of molasses, a skien of yarn, or a piece of her own butter.

 She had a keen sense of humor—her jokes and funny stories always amused and interested her friends.  She would walk to town to attend meetings and look after her duties as a member of the organization.

 Her testimony of the Gospel was unshaken by trials or hardships and she never failed to respond if called upon by her Bishop, or those in authority over her.

 As a mother and wife, she set a wonderful example of industry, frugality and devotion, and no sacrifice was ever too great for her if it meant benefit or advancement for her children.  Her great ambition was to keep the commandments of the Lord, to do His will and to fulfill her earthly mission.  In these things she was absolutely successful.

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 The privations and hardships she was called on to endure no doubt shortened her life, yet as the great poet said, “We live in deeds, not Years.”

 Sister Gardner attended the Pioneer Jubilee in Salt Lake City, 1897, 50 years from the time the Pioneers entered the Valley.  On that occasion she, along with the Pioneers honored, were presented with a beautiful gold medal, beautifully engraved with name and dates, etc.

 After this her health failed rapidly and she was obliged to remain at home most of the time.

 Her death occurred at Richfield, Utah, April 17, 1903, 56 years old.  She died a very quiet peaceful death, and was buried with loving care and the simple and impressive ceremonies befitting the noble and faithful Latter Day Saint and honored Pioneer.

 Into her short life was crowded so much of motherhood with its attendant cares and responsibility, so much of Pioneering, with its accompanying privation and suffering, that hers can indeed be called a great life.

 Of her children eight are still living, six daughters and two sons. Her children are all talented and firm in their testimony of the gospel and have all been leaders in the communities in which they reside.  (Her 14 children were John Shields, Julia Ann, Agnes Craig, Ann Eliza, Sarah, Parley Alexander, James Teancum, Joseph Angell, Lizzie Belle, Thankful Halsey, Orson Leo, Mary Pratt (Maida), Verne La Mar, and Martha Cleo.)

 Some of her children have the gift of poetry.  There are also 76 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

 Her husband died in October 1895.

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Weep not that her toil is over
Weep not that her race is run.
God grant we may rest as calmly
When our work, like hers, is done
‘Til then, we yield with gladness
Our Mother to Him to keep
And rejoice in the sweet assurance
He giveth His loved ones sleep.

 -Sarah Gardner Rust


                  Name                                       Birthdate                                      Birth Place

Father:       Parley Parker Pratt                  12 April 1807                  Burlington, Otsego, New York
Mother:     Sarah Houston                           3 August 1822                 Canton, Stark, Ohio
Children:   Julia Houston Pratt                 1 April 1847                     Winter Quarters, Nebraska
                      Mormon Pratt                           8 January 1850               Salt Lake City, Utah
                      Teancum Pratt                          15 November 1851        Salt Lake City, Utah
                      Sarah Elizabeth Pratt             31 May 1856                     Salt Lake City, Utah 

[transcribed by Cheryl Brawn, Nora Fowers, Dick Grigg, Sylvia Hill, Erin McAllister, and Pete Pratt; Feb. 2010]