By Rick J. Fish
Prepared under the direction of Robert Grow,
President of the Jared Pratt Family Association
June 9, 1847, Parley’s agent, Ezra Bickford sold the Parley home on the corner of Wells and Young Street for $850 to William Quarter.
1848, “The first resident pastor, Father James Griffith, secured the store of Parley P. Pratt in 1848 for a purchase price of $900 to use as a rectory and church building. Not until 1873 was the first Catholic church completed in the traditional style.”1
1867-1915, Father Reimbolt lived in Parley’s former home.2
Oct. 1885, Andrew Jensen visited Nauvoo in 1885 and recorded, “Among these were the residence of the late Parley P. Pratt, standing on the corner of Young and Wells Streets. It is a fine two-story brick building, one of the largest in Nauvoo, and is now the residence of the Catholic priest. Until the church building lying immediately south of it was erected, the Catholics used to hold their meetings in it [Parley’s former home].”3
May 18, 1907, The Independent reported, “The Catholic stone school house east of the parsonage was torn down Wednesday. The little building was built in 1856 and used as a school until a few years ago [This stone school house was build on Parley’s former property after the Pratts were the long gone]. The residence of Rev. Father J.H. Reimbold has been all but razed. What remains is but a mere skeleton [perhaps they were referring to the frame?]. The new residence will be built facing [the] west and north sides of the street and will be a fine structure of modern style and convenience. (The residence razed was the home of Parley P. Pratt in Mormon days.)”4
1909, Reporters for the Improvement Era returned to Salt Lake City and reported their experience visiting Nauvoo a few months earlier. They said, “At the corner of Young and Wells Streets, we stopped a few minutes before the Parley P. Pratt property. The Pratt home was torn down about a year ago and a modern structure has been built on the foundation. The place is owned by the Catholic Church.”5
The Improvement Era took a picture of the “supposedly” new home built on the Parley Pratt foundation. This is probably the most published picture of the Parley Pratt home. This picture shows the addition running south along Wells Street that the Catholics added probably in 1907.
1915-1938, Parley’s home stood vacant and unmolested.6
Aug. 14, 1920, “Journeying by automobile over the well-laid-out city we first came to the old residence of Parley P. Pratt. Here we also observed what formerly formed the first store in Nauvoo [the Pratt and Snow store was not the first store in Nauvoo].”7
The Deseret News ran a photo of the Parley Pratt home which had been taken in 1909 by the Improvement Era.
1939, Parley’s former home was sold for $2,349.46 in back taxes.8
1 Nauvoo Panorama, Janath Cannon, Nauvoo Restoration Inc., 1991, 64.
2 Information provided by Rebecca Pratt Tollefson during a conversation on May 27, 1993. She has access to the Catholic Archives.
3 Autobiography of Andrew Jensen, Deseret News Press, SLC, Utah, 1938.
4 The Independent, May 18, 1907.
5 Improvement Era, June 1909, vol. 12, no. 8, 607.
6 Information provided by Rebecca Pratt Tollefson during a conversation on May 27, 1993. She has access to the Catholic Archives.
7 The Deseret Newx, August 14, 1920.
8 Information provided by Rebecca Pratt Tollefson during a conversation on May 27, 1993. She has access to the Catholic Archives.