Biography of Nathan Pratt

Died in this place, on the 21st of December last, Nathan Pratt, Son of Parley P. Pratt, aged five and a half years.

As his life has been rather extraordinary, perhaps the following sketch may be worthy of publication.

He was born in Caldwell Co., Missouri, A.D. 1838. The honoured place of his birth, was not a stable, like his Redeemer’s of old, but a small house belonging to Mr. Isaac Alred.

At the age of two weeks, he was removed into a new house, without a floor, door, window, or chimney. This being soon demolished by the rage of persecution, he removed nine miles, to the town of Far West, being then six weeks old.

Here he lived in a house nine feet square, built of logs; but even here, the rage of his enemies soon searched him out, and when he was three months old, his father was torn from him and confined in a Missouri dungeon, leaving him and his mother, who lay sick of a fever, exposed to the wrath of a band of savage murderers, who at that time over ran and ravaged the whole town; they fired several rifle balls into the house, and scores of them were afterwards picked up in the door yard.

Soon after this he came with his mother and spent much of the winter in prison with his father, where he sometimes served as a shield, to guard his bosom from the threatened violence of the angry guards.

At the age of nine months, the exterminating order of the modern Nero, (L. W. Boggs) was so far enforced as to banish him and his mother from the state at the point of the bayonet; leaving his father still in prison.

They fled to Quincy, Illinois, a distance of two hundred miles; where they lived till the following July, without the assistance of a husband or father.

On the grand anniversary of the American Independence, the glorious 4th of July, his father being instructed and warned, by an Angel of the Lord, in a vision of the night, burst his chains, threw open his prison doors, and emerged forth from the prison; and after wandering for near a week, night and day, almost without food, he avoided all pursuit and arrived at the residence of his family; this closes the first twelve months of the events connected with the life of Nathan Pratt.

The second campaign opens with a removal from Quincy to Nauvoo, a distance of 50 miles, where he and his parents took up their residence, in a small log cabin, consisting of one room, already occupied by another family.

After a stay of about one month, he started on a mission to England, in company with his father and mother. The first part of this journey was performed in about four weeks by land distance 600 miles. This brought them to Detroit, from thence they journeyed by water to New York, about 800 miles distant. Here he took up winter quarters, and thus closed the second year of our young hero.

The third opens with a journey to the State of Maine and a return to New York; making twelve hundred miles travel. In September followed he sailed with his parents for England. After a long and tedious passage they landed safe in Liverpool, he resided in England, and visited most of the principal towns.

In October 1842, he sailed for New Orleans where he arrived in safety, after a voyage of ten weeks. From thence he sailed up the Mississippi, as far as Chester, Illinois, where he again took up his winter quarters. In April following he arrived at Nauvoo, having been absent about three years and six months, during which he had traveled near twenty thousand miles.

From this time he attended school, and was rapidly advancing in knowledge, when falling from the stairs of his father’s new building into the cellar, he broke his thigh.

This accident confined him for several weeks, but recovering, he continued his studies till he was seized with his last illness, which was very severe until his death.

He has often requested singing and prayer, and dwelt with great delight on the lines of Wesley, which commence as follows:

“The morning flowers display their sweets,
And gay, their silken leaves unfold.”

He has often while in perfect health enquired of his mother if he should die, and concerning death, and the resurrection, and whether, if he died he should see Sister Harrington and other friends who were dead. He has often solicited the laying on of hands and prayer, when sick and has many times been healed.

He has had the gift to discern both good and evil spirits, who sometimes visited him; and on one occasion a kind angel ministered to him, and told him things for his comfort and instruction.

He has fought the good fight and finished his course, and now rests in paradise.

He died an infant, but he can say with Paul, in prison oft, in stripes more abundant, in tribulation, in persecutions, in perils by sea and land, in perils among robbers, and among false brethren, and in travels more abundant.

His remarkable life of little more than five years, has won him thousands of friends, and acquaintances, both in Europe and America, in whose memory he will long live. While his faith, and his suffering for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s will be had as a sweet memorial through all succeeding ages.

[Times and Seasons, Jan. 15, 1844]

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


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