R O M A N I A  B U N N E L L  P R A T T
(Esther Romania Salina Bunnell Pratt Penrose)
Age 65 when this was published
Pages 600, 601 & 602

H I S T O R Y  O F  U T A H
In four Volumes – Vol. IV



DR. ROMANIA B. PRATT, for many years and at the present time, holding a prominent place among the women of Utah, is a native of Washington, Wayne County, Indiana, where she was born on the 8th of August, 1839.  Her father was Luther B. Bunnell, of Warren County, Ohio, and her mother as a maiden, Esther Mendenhall, of Guilford County, North Carolina.  When Romania was about seven years of age her parents, who were Later-day Saints, “gathered” with their people in Nauvoo.  She distinctly remembers the Nauvoo Temple, then in an unfinished state, and her rambles over it from basement to belfry.  She also recalls the journey to Winter Quarters and the enlistment of the Mormon Battalion.

The mother’s health being very poor, the father felt that he could not risk the exposure and hardship of a winter on the frontier, and although President Young, who was loth to part with him, offered to have a house built for him if he would remain, he could not overcome the fear that if he did so he would lose his wife; consequently he departed with his family and settled at New Market in the State of Missouri. Subsequently, he went back to Ohio, where he purchased a fine farm.  In 1849, when the California gold fever was raging, Mr. Bunnell caught the contagion and went with a number of others to the Pacific Coast, where he was successful in the mines, but was taken with typhoid fever, died, and was buried at Volcanic Diggings.  He had previously cached his gold from time to time, and only a portion of it was recovered, the dying man being unable to indicate to a nephew who reached him before he breathed his last, all the places where his wealth was buried.  The Portion of it recovered was sufficient to supply the needs of his family and educate his children.

Romania attended the Western Agricultural School, a Quaker institution of which the learned Barnabas Hobbs was principal, and which was situated fifty miles from her home.  She afterwards attended the Female Seminary at Crawfordsville, Indiana, which was then her home, and where, in addition to the general branches of education, she studied, German, music and painting.  She was now nearly sixteen, and her mother, who still retained her faith in the latter-day work, fearing that her daughter might form an attachment outside the Church, resolved to sell her home in Crawfordsville and come to Utah.

She effected the sale, and in June, 1855, started with her four children across the Great Plains, traveling in an independent company of fifty wagons under the direction of Captain John Hindley.  The journey was full of delights to young Romania.  She dwells upon the pleasure she experienced in running ahead of the wagon train with her little sister, climbing the highest points attainable, “viewing the landscape o’er,” tracing the course of streams, plucking wild flowers, and watching the creeping white line formed by the covered wagons as they slowly wound their way along the dusty road.  In some parts there was danger from Indians, and the captain would send her an occasional word of warning, lest she might be captured by them.  The evenings were special times of pleasure, young and old gathering around the campfires, telling stories, passing jokes, and singing the songs of Zion.  There were no quarrels, no profanity, no ill-natured remarks, no improper conduct or conversation.  All was peace and harmony, everyone seeming desirous to promote the happiness of others.  The journey ended September 3, 1855, when they camped on Union Square, Salt Lake City.

It was a time of famine; the grasshoppers had devoured nearly every green thing growing, and the provisions were exceedingly scarce.  Flour sold at twenty-five dollars a hundred, and other articles in proportion.  Mrs. Bunnell was an excellent manager, very economical, and assisted by Romania, who taught school, she succeeded in sustaining her family through that trying time.

In the spring of 1857 the mother went East to collect means due the family from the Bunnell estate, which, when they departed for the West, was in the hands of an administrator, who excused himself for not giving them more at that time, with the plea that Brigham Young would take it away from them.  During her mother’s absence, which covered a period of about six months, Romania cared for the older children who had been left in her charge.  When her mother returned she brought with her, among other household comforts, a piano for the daughter who had so well and faithfully performed a mother’s part while she was away.  It was one of the first pianos brought to Utah.  Needless to say the gift was highly prized by the one who received it and was a great acquisition to the family home.  At the time of “the move” when, at the approach of Johnston’s army, the people of Salt Lake City prepared to put the torch to their property if the troops attempted to molest it, this instrument was dedicated by its owner to the flames, not, we may rest assured, without some sighs and tears, which were perfectly natural under the circumstances.  After peace was declared–the threaten conflagration having been averted–Romania, returning with her mother and the family from Provo the following winter, found the dearly prized instrument intact.

On the 23rd of February, 1859, Romania Bunnell married Parley P. Pratt, the eldest son of Parley P. Pratt, the Apostle.  They had seven children, six sons and one daughter, the daughter and one of the sons dying when very young.  The young wife and mother passed through many scenes of toil and privation, and when her youngest child was a nursing infant it was decided that she should go East and study medicine. She left her five sons in the care of her faithful and devoted mother, and although it wrung her heart to part with them she was sustained by the conviction that it was for their sakes, in order to provide means for their support and education.

For more than a year after entering upon her medical studies in New York City–where at first she spent some time in reading the proof-sheets for the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt–she pursued the course with unremitting ardor, and then returned home for the summer.  From President Young she received express counsel to go East again and complete her medical education.  Upon explaining her financial situation, lack of means, etc., she was still advised to go and complete her studies.  President Young told Eliza R. Snow Smith, the leading spirit in the women’s organizations of the Church, to see that “Sister Romania” carried out his counsel.

The ensuing two years she studied at the Woman’s Medical College in Pennsylvania, and was graduated as M.D. in the class of 1877. She spent the vacation between the winter terms at the Hospital for Women and Children in Boston.  There she made a mark among the students, and was spoken of as a candidate for courses of instruction in the great medical centers of Europe, to be sent there after graduation, and to compensate for expenses by spending a certain time in the hospital as resident physician.  This, however, would have required a longer stay than she contemplated.  She returned home in September 1877, and entered upon the practice of her profession.

Dr. Pratt is the first woman who went from Utah to an eastern college and graduated in medicine and surgery.  After practicing for two years she again went to New York City, where she took courses of study at the Eye and Ear Infirmary, under Dr. Henry D. Noyes and other eminent physicians.  In these, as well as the ordinary branches of medicine and surgery, she became very proficient.  She has performed many delicate and successful operations on both eye and ear (having removed a number of cataracts) and has cured various diseases of those organs.  She has also achieved a high reputation in obstetrics, both as teacher and practitioner.  Soon after returning from the East she was urgently requested by Mrs. Zina D. H. Young and other prominent women to take up classes in obstetrical science, because of the need of such knowledge among women in the outer settlements.  This request she complied with, and since that time she has taught hundreds of students who have been very successful in their practice.

Dr. Pratt has taken a deep interest and generally an active part in all the woman’s movements of her place and period.  She was the first president of the Young Ladies Retrenchment Association of the Twelfth Ward, and resigned that position to go East and study medicine.  She is recognized by Mrs. Susa Young Gates, ex-editor of the “Young Woman’s Journal,” as the mother of that periodical, having suggested to Mrs. Gates, its founder, the starting of just such a magazine.  She was assistant secretary of the central board of the Relief Society for ten years and is still an active member of that board.  She is also a charter member of the Utah Women’s Press Club and of the Reaper’s Club, and in 1897-8 was president of the former organization.  She has been a delegate to several political conventions, active in committee work, and is associated with prominent ladies in social and literary circles.  In the decade of the “eighties,” when it was suggested that ladies might speak from the platform in the interests of the People’s party outside of Salt Lake City, Dr. Pratt, with Mrs. Emmeline B. Wells, pioneered this movement, making her first political speech at Ogden.  In the midst of her multifarious duties she found time to accompany the Tabernacle choir on its famous visit to the World’s Fair, 1893.  (Known as the “Colombian Exposition,” the World’s Fair of 1893 was held in Chicago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.)

Dr. Pratt is a firm believer in all the doctrines and principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she shows her faith by her works.  Her charities are numerous and wide-spread.  Many times the poor have been treated professionally at reduced prices, often without remuneration, and her hand and purse have been open to relieve the needy; but her aid to those in want, like her ready sympathy, has not been proclaimed on the house-tops nor paraded in the public prints.  The fact that through all the years of her active practice she has amassed no great amount of property tells the tale of her generosity and self-sacrifice.  She is well preserved, and still has a good practice as physician and surgeon.


  • “MEMOIR OF ROMANIA B. PRATT M.D.” – SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – March 19, 1881.  (Original given to Edna Romania Pratt Sutherland, 19 MAR 1930.)
  • “TO BRAVE THE WORLD:  ROMANIA PRATT PENROSE,” by Christine Croft Waters.  (Copies of both available from Bill Sutherland)


C H A R L E S  W I L L I A M  P E N R O S E
Age 72 when this was published
Pages 333, 334, 335 & 336

H I S T O R Y  O F  U T A H
In four Volumes – Vol. IV



Synonymous with rapid thought, ready utterance and untiring activity is the name of the veteran editor of the “Deseret News.”  A scion of well known Cornish families, who were stockholders of tin mines, he was born in Camberwell, London, England, on the fourth day of February, 1832.  Studious and inquiring, apt and quick to learn, he speedily mastered at school the common rudiments of education. He read the scriptures when only four years old, and was well versed in the doctrines, sayings and predictions of the Savior, the prophets and the apostles.  This paved the way for his acquaintance with and subsequent acceptance of Mormonism, which attracted his attention while a mere lad, and in due time, after he had thoroughly investigated and compared its teachings with the Bible, numbered him among its converts.  He joined the Church in London May 14, 1850; the only member of his father’s family who has ever become a Latter-day Saint.

In January, 1851, when not yet nineteen years of age, he was ordained an Elder, and sent by the authorities of the British mission from the London Conference to Maldon, in Essex, to preach the Gospel, break new ground, and build up branches of the Church.  This was much in opposition to the wishes of his friends and to his own pecuniary interests.  He had been offered, on condition of remaining at home, a life situation in a government office.  He started upon his mission early in March, on foot, without a penny in his pocket, and without even a change of clothing.  With bleeding feet but undaunted heart he reached Maldon, having slept out of doors, for the first time in his life, during the chilly night previous.  He was an utter stranger in the town, and the first Mormon missionary to visit that part.  He met much opposition, but steadily worked his way, and succeeded in raising up branches in Maldon, Danbury, Chelmsford, Colechester and other places, baptizing a great number of persons of both sexes, many of whom are now in Utah.  He possessed the gift of healing to a remarkable degree.  For seven years he labored in poor agricultural districts, suffering many hardships and trudging between three and four thousand miles every year.  Everywhere his labors were eminently successful. It was during this period that he married Miss Lucetta Stratford, of Maldon, sister to the late Bishop Edwin Stratford, of Ogden, who with the rest of the family was brought into the Church by Elder Penrose.  The date of his marriage was January 21, 1855.

Next he was called to preside over the London conference, and subsequently was placed in charge of the Cheltenham Pastorate, consisting of the Cheltenham, Monmouthshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire conferences.  Later he presided over the Birmingham pastorate, comprising the Birmingham, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire conferences.  His brilliant pen was almost as busy at this time as his ready tongue.  He wrote many theological articles for the Millennial Star, and out of the silken and golden threads of his poetical thoughts and emotions wove the fabric of his beautiful songs of Zion, which have gladdened so many hearts and inspired so many souls on both hemispheres.

In the year 1861, he immigrated to Utah, crossing the sea in the sailing ship “Underwriter,” assisting in the charge of 620 passengers, living with them in the steerage during the thirty days passage from Liverpool to New York, and helping to care for them on the journey through the States to the Missouri river.  He crossed the plains with his family and his wife’s relatives, driving his own ox team, and was eleven weeks on the way.  Arriving in Utah, he settled in Farmington, where for the first time he went to work in the fields, climbing the mountains for fire wood, and laboring at the hardest kind of physical work, for which he was naturally unfitted. During the winters he taught school.  He made headway and acquired a small home. In the fall of 1864, at the solicitation of Ezra T. Benson, one of the Twelve Apostles, he moved to Cache valley, where he again labored for a home and taught school.  He had barely secured some land and a log cabin when he was called to take a mission to England.  He now held the office of a Seventy, having been ordained one of the presidents of the Fifty-sixth quorum during his residence at Farmington.

In company with some forty other missionaries, in charge of Elder William B. Preston, he set out in May, 1865, upon his second journey across the plains; this time with mule teams, but walking most of the way.  The Indians were very hostile, and people were killed before and behind the little band of missionaries, but they got through in safety, and sailed from New York for Liverpool.  In his native Land Elder Penrose labored with success among the Lancashire colliers, and on the first of February, 1866, was sent to preside over the Essex conference, which he had built up several years before.  In the following June he was made president of the London conference.  He traveled all over the British Isles, and visited Paris during the great exposition.  The last two years of his mission he labored in the editorial department of the “Millennial Star,” and otherwise assisted the president of the mission, Franklin D. Richards, in and out of the Liverpool office.  At the close of the emigration season of 1868, he was honorably released and sailed for home, landing at New York, proceeding by rail to Point of Rocks, and there taking stage to Salt Lake City.

At Logan, where he continued to reside, he now engaged in mercantile pursuits with William H. Shearman.  The firm of Shearman and Penrose did a fine business until the great co-operative movement was started, when the whole stock was turned over to the new institution.  On May 1st, 1869, Mr. Penrose became secretary and treasurer of the Logan co-operative concern, and was also bookkeeper for the store.  He was home missionary, a member of the High Council, and took active part in all Church movements in Cache Stake.

January, 1876, witnessed his removal to Ogden, and simultaneously the beginning of his extended career as a journalist.  The “Ogden Junction” had just been started, and by invitation of President Franklin D. Richards, one of it founders, who was the editor, he took sub-editorial charge of the paper, which was then a semi-weekly.  After a year of such service he was made editor-in-chief, and subsequently business manager as well.  In September, 1872, he started the daily “Junction,” and much of the time was its editor, local reporter, business manager and traveling agent, all in one.  The “Junction” became noted for the “snap and ginger” of his pungent writings, but the strain was heavy upon him, and during this period he was terribly overworked.  Having acquired American Citizenship, he was elected to the Ogden city council, and from February 13, 1871, served through four consecutive terms, or eight continuous years.  Whenever there were two parties in the field his name was found on both tickets.  In the Church he advanced to the grade of High Priest, and at the organization of the Weber Stake of Zion was made a member of the High Council; likewise acting as a home missionary.

He was also a live worker in all political movements.  He sat as a member from Weber country in the Constitutional Convention of 1872, helping to frame, not only the Constitution of the State of Deseret, but the memorial to Congress, asking for admission into the Union.  The same year he represented his county in the Democratic Territorial Convention, composed of both Mormons and Gentiles, and nominated for his wing of the party George Q. Cannon as Delegate to Congress. He was secretary of the People’s Country Central committee.  In August, 1874, he was elected to the legislature, and while serving in that capacity wrote all the editorials and legislative reports for the “Ogden Junction.”  The following year, finding himself over-worked, he resigned the business management of the paper, but continued as its editor, and did all the literary work, local and telegraph included, for both the daily and semi-weekly issues; at the same time continuing to be active in church and municipal affairs.

In 1877, by request of President Brigham Young, he removed to Salt Lake City and became connected with the “Deseret News,” then under the general editorial management of George Q. Cannon and Brigham Young, Jr.  The “Junction” company keenly felt his loss, and offered to give him the paper entirely if he would remain, but a wider field was opening up for his activities, and his services were needed in the larger sphere.  Upon the organization of the Deseret News Company, at the first meeting of its board of directors, September 3, 1880, he was made editor-in-chief of the pioneer journal.  In 1878 he was chosen to represent Salt Lake County in the Legislature, being specially elected to fill a vacancy caused by the death of member-elect Albert P. Rockwood.  Among many bills introduced by him during the session that followed was one to take away all political disabilities from women.  He battled stoutly for it, and it passed both houses, but was vetoed by the Governor.  Mr. Penrose was re-elected and served in the legislature of 1882.  He was also a member of the Constitutional Convention of that year, rendering similar service as before.  All this time he was performing editorial work of the “Deseret New.”

In August, 1884, he became one of the presidency of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion.  He was chosen at a Stake conference held on the 2nd of that month to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Elder O. Calder, first counselor to President Angus M. Cannon.  Joseph E. Taylor now became first counselor, and Charles W. Penrose succeeded him as second counselor in the stake presidency.  He was already acting as a home missionary, traveling and preaching in many places, and his voice was often heard in the Tabernacle and in other large congregations of the Saints.  In the fall of 1883, in order to recuperate his overtaxed energies, he took a trip over the Denver and Rio Grande railroad in company with C. R. Savage, the photographer; proceeding first to Denver, thence southward through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and returning to Utah over the Central Pacific route.  In the fall of 1884 he delivered in the Twelfth Ward assembly hall Sunday evening lectures on “Blood Atonement,” the “Mountain Meadows Massacre” and other themes, refuting the common stories in relation to the same, and answering objections to and charges against the faith and practice of the Latter-day Saints.  His continued defense of the Mormon cause, politically and religiously, by press discussions, public speeches and private interview with strangers, caused him to be singled out, when the Edmunds law began to be enforced, as a conspicuous target by the anti-Mormon crusaders.

In January, 1885, he was sent on a brief mission to the States.  During his absence his legal wife and family, down to a boy eight years old, were compelled to go before the grand jury.  His wife refused to testify, but the evidence desired was extorted from the children.  While in the States the husband and father was appointed on a mission to England.  He forthwith bade farewell by letter to those whom he held most dear, and again crossed over to his native land.  By President Daniel H. Wells, then at the head of the European mission, he was appointed to preside over the London conference and to assist editorially upon the “Millennial Star.”  He revived the work in London, wrote articles for the metropolitan press, helped to ship emigrants from Liverpool and attended conferences with President Wells all over England, Scotland and Wales.  He also visited Ireland, preaching in the open air in the city of Belfast to three thousand people.  A great uproar ensued, followed by a spirited discussion in the local papers.  He went to Dublin, to the Isle of Man, and from there to the lake district of England.  He accompanied President Wells on his continental tour through Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Switzerland, and preached in Copenhagen, Christiania, Stockholm, Berlin and Bern, returning to England by way of Paris.  He made a stir in several English towns and brought many people into the Church.  While abroad he corresponded with the “Deseret News” over the nom de plume of “Exile.”

He returned to Utah and resumed the editorship of the “News” in the summer of 1887, having been released from his mission by cable message from President John Taylor.  He spent two winters in Washington and other eastern cities, and in company with Mr. F. S. Richards visited President Cleveland and all the members of the House and Senate in the interests of the Mormon question and Utah Statehood.  He also wrote articles for the eastern press.  In Utah he took an active part as a leader of the People’s party in its closing contests with the Liberals.  He wrote the history of the Ogden and Salt Lake City campaigns of 1889 and 1890.  As a witness in the proceedings before Judge Anderson, in November of the former year, when Mormon aliens were denied citizenship on account of their religious faith, he was in prison for about a week in the Utah penitentiary for refusing to answer the irrelevant question “How many wives have you?”  After the disbandment of the People’s party in 1891 he became a member of the Democratic party, and in 1892 attended the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

In the fall of the same year he left the “Deseret News,” which had passed temporarily under another management, and became assistant editor of the “Salt Lake Herald.”  Subsequently he was editor-in-chief of that paper, but left it in 1895, and became an assistant to the Church Historian, Franklin D. Richards.  During this period he wrote many magazine articles and published a series of tracts entitled, “Rays of Living Light,” also a pamphlet on “Priesthood and Presidency,” the former on the first principles of the Gospel, the later in refutation of “Josephite” claims.  These with other pamphlets written by him, including “Mormon Doctrine Plain and Simple,” and his lectures previously named, have been numerously published and widely circulated.  He was professor of theology in the Bright Young Academy at Provo, and lectured there for two and a half years, discharging meanwhile his various other duties.

At the opening of 1899 he was called by President Lorenzo Snow to take his former position as editor-in-chief of the “Deseret News;” associated with Horace G. Whitney as business manager.  Under their joint labors the success of the paper has been little short of phenomenal, justifying the News Company in its latest and most important venture–the erection upon the old Council House corner, diagonally across Main Street from its former place of business, of a splendid modernly equipped six-story building, as a new and fitting home for the pioneer journal of the Rocky Mountains.

In the intervals of his almost incessant labors, literary and ecclesiastical, Mr. Penrose is continually interviewed by newspaper men, clergymen, tourists and others, seeking information or advice on Utah and Mormon affairs.  During the summer of 1902 he was absent from home for several weeks, touring California, Oregon and other parts of the Pacific Coast with his fellow members of the Utah Press Association.  His first trip to the West had been taken under quite different circumstances.  It was in the fall of 1876, while he was still editor of the “Ogden Junction.”  He then went to California to represent Thomas and Esther Duce, mother and son, in the adjustment of a monetary issued.  The Duces had been shot by a Wells Fargo and Company’s guard, who dropped his gun, a double-barreled weapon loaded with slugs, the whole contents being fired into them.  The son was literally riddled, and the mother shot in the throat.  The Duces were residents of Hyde Park, Cache country, and were at the Ogden depot on their way to attend conference at Salt Lake City, when the accident occurred.  Mr. Penrose assisted to dress the wounds.  Both patients recovered.  The Wells Fargo people disclaimed responsibility in the premises, but Mr. Penrose met with the managers in San Francisco and prevailed upon them to the extent of obtaining five thousand dollars as compensation for the injured ones.

In his seventy-second year, Mr. Penrose is still active and may be found daily at his desk in the “News” office, performing the regular work of an editor.  The Sabbath finds him at the Tabernacle or elsewhere, preaching or otherwise officiating in his sacred office.  As one of the Salt Lake Stake Presidency he is frequently in session with the High Council in the adjustment of difficulties and the adjudication of cases that arise from time to time within this jurisdiction.  He life, it is needless to say, has been a very busy and withal a very useful one, and it bids fair to abide so to the end.  “Better to wear out than rust out,” says the adage, and no career exemplifies the proverb more strikingly than that of Charles W. Penrose.  He is the husband of three wives, two of them still living, and the father of twenty-eight children, many of whom are married and have families.

Footnote by WCS:

Charles William Penrose died May 16, 1925, at the age of 93 & four months when I was six years old.  I can remember as if it were yesterday standing on my tiptoes beside his coffin and staring in amazement at the new copper pennies that had been inserted under his eyelids to keep them closed.  He was active in church affairs until just a few months before his death. While Mark Caslin Pratt, my grandfather was working for the Dinwoody Furniture Company as a night watchman, Augusta Pratt, my grandmother did a magnificent job as overseer and house keeper for Charles W. Penrose and Dr. Romania B. Pratt Penrose at their residence at 1145 South 9th East.  After they returned from Europe where Brother Penrose had been President of the British Mission, he became Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Mormon Church and for many years conducted his church affairs from his home.  A constant stream of Mission Presidents, Church Officials and friends paraded though the house. This entailed entertaining and feeding many official and unofficial church visitors and national and international dignitaries almost daily.  Grandmother Pratt coordinated the activities and functions of the household with rare grace and charm and almost effortlessly, it seemed, served five fantastic “sets” (meals) a day:

Once when Brother Penrose was offered a Napoleon, he asked, “Where’s the bony part?”  He was world renown for his charm and wit and never lacked for a suitable story for any occasion.  He was brilliantly educated and was hailed by a leading New York newspaper as “The finest editor west of the Mississippi.”  It was true and to top it all off, he and great grandmother Penrose really loved each other.

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