Parley P. Pratt
|Parley P. Pratt|
Pratt, ca. 1845
|Quorum of the Twelve Apostles|
|February 21, 1835– May 13, 1857|
|Called by||Three Witnesses|
|LDS Church Apostle|
|February 21, 1835– May 13, 1857|
|Called by||Three Witnesses|
|Reason||Initial organization of Quorum of the Twelve|
|Reorganization at end of term||George Q. Cannon ordained|
|Born||Parley Parker Pratt
April 12, 1707
Burlington, New York, United States
|Died||May 13, 1857
Alma, Arkansas, United States
Parley Parker Pratt, Sr. (April 12, 1807 – May 13, 1857) was an early leader of the Latter Day Saint movement whose writings became a significant early nineteenth-century exposition of the Latter Day Saint faith. Named in 1835 as one of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Pratt was part of the Quorum's successful mission to Great Britain, 1839 to 1841. Pratt has been called "the Apostle Paul of Mormonism" for his promotion of distinctive Mormon doctrines.
He explored, surveyed, and built and maintained the first road for public transportation in Parley's Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah; the canyon was named in his honor. Practicing polygamy, Pratt was murdered in 1857 by the estranged husband of his twelfth wife. He had a total of 30 children, and his living descendants in 2011 were estimated to number 30,000–50,000. He was a great-great-grandfather of Willard Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate for President of the United States.
Early life and education 
Pratt was born in Burlington, New York, the son of Jared Pratt (Canaan, New York, November 25, 1769 – Detroit, Michigan, November 5, 1839) and his wife (m. July 7, 1799) Charity Dickinson (Bolton, New York, February 24, 1776 – St. Joseph, Missouri, May 20, 1849), a descendant of Anne Hutchinson. He married Thankful Halsey in Canaan, New York, on September 9, 1827.
The young couple migrated west, where they settled near Cleveland, Ohio, on a plot of "wilderness" where Parley had constructed a crude home. In Ohio, Pratt became a member of the Reformed Baptist Society, also called "Disciples of Christ", through the preaching of Sidney Rigdon. Pratt soon decided to take up the Disciples ministry as a profession, and sold his property.
LDS Church service 
While traveling to visit family in western New York, Pratt read a copy of the Book of Mormon owned by a Baptist deacon. Convinced of its authenticity, he traveled to Palmyra, and spoke to Hyrum Smith at his home. Pratt was baptized in Seneca Lake by Oliver Cowdery on or about September 1, 1830, formally joining the Latter Day Saint church (Mormons). He was ordained to the office of an elder in the church. Continuing on to his family's home, he introduced his younger brother, Orson Pratt, to Mormonism and baptized him on September 19, 1830.
Returning to Fayette, New York in October 1830, Pratt met Joseph Smith and was asked to join a missionary group assigned to preach to the Native American (Lamanite) tribes on the Missouri frontier. During the trip west, he and his companions stopped to visit Sidney Rigdon, and were instrumental in converting Rigdon and approximately 130 members of his congregation within two to three weeks.
Pratt was later assigned additional missions to Canada, the Eastern United States, the Southern United States, England, the Pacific islands, and to South America. He moved to Valparaíso, Chile, to begin missionary work there. In 1852 he and his family left after the death of their child Omner, without having had much success.
In addition to converting his brother, Orson Pratt, and Rigdon, Parley Pratt introduced the Mormon faith to several future LDS leaders, including Frederick G. Williams, John Taylor and his wife Leonora, Isaac Morley and Joseph Fielding and his sisters, Mary and Mercy.
In addition to serving as a missionary, Pratt entered the leadership of the early Latter Day Saint movement; he was one of the original Quorum of Twelve Apostles. While on a mission to the British Isles in 1839, Pratt edited the newly created periodical, The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star. While presiding over the church's branches and interests in New England and the mid-Atlantic states, Pratt published a periodical entitled The Prophet from his headquarters in New York City.
He was a noted religious writer and poet. He produced an autobiography, as well as some poems which have become staple LDS hymns, some of which are included in the current LDS Church hymnal. The writers Terry L. Givens and Grow note that Pratt may have “propounded his highly unorthodox notions to Smith, who later embraced them and confirmed them,” rather than the other way around.
After the death of Joseph Smith, Pratt and his family were among the Latter Day Saints who emigrated to Utah Territory; they continued as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) under the direction of Brigham Young. Pratt helped establish the refugee settlements and fields at both Garden Grove and Mt. Pisgah, Iowa. He personally led a pioneer company along the Mormon Trail to the Salt Lake Valley. Sometime in the mid-1850s, working with George D. Watt, he helped develop the Deseret alphabet. In 1854, Pratt went to California to preside over the Pacific Mission of the LDS Church headquartered in San Francisco.
Death and legacy 
While returning from a horseback missionary trip to the southern United States in 1857, Pratt was being tracked by Hector McLean. McLean was the legal husband of one of Pratt's plural wives, Eleanor McLean. Pratt had met Eleanor McLean in San Francisco, where he presided over a church mission. In San Francisco, McLean had joined the LDS Church and had also had her oldest sons baptized. Her husband Hector rejected Mormonism and opposed his wife's membership in the church. The dispute over the church led to the collapse of their marriage.
Fearing that Eleanor would abscond to Utah Territory with their children, Hector McLean sent his sons and daughter to New Orleans to live with their grandparents. Eleanor followed the children to New Orleans, where she lived with them for three months at her parents' house. Eventually, she and the children left for Utah Territory; she arrived in Salt Lake City on September 11, 1855. She worked in Pratt's home as a schoolteacher. On November 14, 1855, she and Pratt underwent a "celestial marriage" sealing ceremony in the Endowment House. She was the twelfth woman to be sealed to Pratt. For religious reasons Eleanor McLean considered herself "unmarried", but she had not legally divorced from Hector at the time of her "celestial marriage" to Pratt.
Hector McLean pressed criminal charges, accusing Pratt of assisting in the kidnapping of his children. Pratt managed to evade him and the legal charges, but was finally arrested in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in May 1857. Pratt and Eleanor McLean were charged with theft of the clothing of McLean's children. (The laws of that time did not recognize the kidnapping of children by a parent as a crime.) Tried before Judge John B. Ogden, Pratt was acquitted of the charges because of a lack of evidence. Shortly after being secretly released, on May 13, 1857, Pratt was shot and stabbed by Hector McLean on a farm northeast of Van Buren, Arkansas. He died two and a half hours later from loss of blood.
As Pratt was bleeding to death, a farmer asked what he had done to provoke the attack. Pratt said, "He accused me of taking his wife and children. I did not do it. They were oppressed, and I did for them what I would do for the oppressed any where." Pratt was buried near Alma, Arkansas, despite his personal desire to be buried in Utah.
Some historians view Pratt's death as the act of a jealous husband, deeply angered by a man who had "run off" with his wife. A 2008 Provo Daily Herald newspaper article characterized McLean as a man who had "hunted down" Pratt in retribution for "ruining his marriage". A 2008 Deseret News article described McLean as a man who had "pursued Pratt across Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, angry that his estranged wife, Eleanor, had become Pratt's 12th wife."
Many Mormons viewed Pratt's death as a martyrdom, as expressed in what were said to be his dying words. (According to LDS church records, his "dying" words were not recorded until 38 years after his death.) Today Pratt's defenders still characterize his death as religious martyrdom. For example, a 2007 article in the Deseret Morning News stated that "Pratt was killed near Van Buren, Ark., in May 1857, by a small Arkansas band antagonistic toward his teachings". The historian Will Bagley reports that McLean and two friends tracked Pratt after he was released by Van Buren's magistrate. Brigham Young compared Pratt's death with those of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Other Mormons blamed the death on the state of Arkansas, or its people.
Due to Pratt's personal popularity and his position in the Council of the Twelve, his murder was a significant blow to the Latter-day Saint community in the Rocky Mountains. The violent death of Pratt may also have played a part in events leading up to the Mountain Meadows massacre a few months later. Mormons killed 120 people from the Baker–Fancher party who were traveling to Southern California along the Mormon Road (a portion of the Old Spanish Trail). After the massacre, some Mormons circulated rumors that one or more members of the party had murdered Pratt, poisoned creek water that subsequently sickened Paiute children, and allowed their cattle to graze on private property.
In 2008, Pratt's family received permission from an Arkansas judge to rebury his remains in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, but no human remains were found at what was believed his gravesite. No further search efforts for Pratt's burial site have been planned.
Pratt practiced plural marriage and had 12 wives, 30 children, and 266 grandchildren. In 2011, Pratt's living descendants were estimated to number 30-50,000. His first wife, Thankful Halsey Pratt, died following childbirth in March 1837.
Within two months, Pratt married his second wife, Mary Ann Frost Sterns, a widow. Joseph Smith later condemned "marrying in five or six weeks, or even in two or three months, after the death of their companion." Pratt persuaded Mary Ann to share his bed during his imprisonment in a Richmond, Missouri, jail; but after Pratt began practicing polygamy, they became estranged. Mary Ann finally divorced him in 1853. According to the authors Terry L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow, Pratt was often “dour and humorless,” with an “antisocial bent," and he could be remarkably insensitive in his relationships with his wives.
One of Pratt's grandsons, William King Driggs, was the father of the King Sisters. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor (2003–2007) and the 2012 Republican nominee for the U.S. presidency is one of Pratt's great-great-grandsons.
- Pratt explored, surveyed, and built the first public road in Parley's Canyon, Salt Lake City, which is named in his honor.
- His escape from the Columbia Jail on July 4, 1839, has been commemorated in Columbia, Missouri, with a "freedom run" each Independence Day since the 1970s.
- A Voice of Warning (1837)
- The Millennium and Other Poems (1840)
- Late Persecutions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: With a Sketch of Their Rise, Progress and Doctrine (1840)
- Key to the Science of Theology (1855)
- The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt (1874, posthumous)
See also 
- LDS fiction
- Latter Day Saint martyrs
- Pratt family
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arkansas
- The Morning Breaks, the Shadows Flee
- Reitwiesner, William Addams. "The Ancestors of Mitt Romney". William Addams Reitwiesner Genealogical Services (wargs.com). Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Givens & Grow 2011, p. 172.
- Bagley 2002, p. 8.
- Bagley 2002, p. 9.
- Millennial Star 19:432.
- New York World, 23 November 1869, p.2
- Pratt 1975, pp. 6, 9, 24.
- Pratt 1975, p. 241
- Bagley 2002, p. 69.
- Bagley 2002, p. 70.
- Capurro, Wayne Atilio (2007). White Flag: America's First 9/11. AuthorHouse. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-4259-9565-2. OCLC 169899686.
- "No remains found in dig for Parley P. Pratt". Daily Herald (Utah). 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Smith, Robert J. (4 April 2008). "Relatives get OK to disinter, move Parley P. Pratt". Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Pratt 1975, p. 248 ("I am dying a martyr to the faith").
- John A. Peel, "Dying Remarks of Parley P. Pratt," Church Archives. "Peel was in Van Buren at the time of the murder, but his statement was not taken down by Frank Poneroy until 1895."
- Moore, Carrie A. (14 April 2007). "LDS-tied events to bisect in Arkansas". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Bagley, Will. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004. p 70.
- "Reminiscences of Mrs. A. Agatha Pratt", January 7, F564, #16, LDS Church Archives (stating that Young said, "Nothing has happened so hard to reconcile my mind to since the death of Joseph.").
- Brooks 1950, pp. 36–37; Linn 1902, pp. 519–20 ("It was in accordance with Mormon policy to hold every Arkansan accountable for Pratt's death, just as every Missourian was hated because of the expulsion of the church from that state.").
- Church leaders learned about the death on June 23, 1857 (Wilford Woodruff Journal). The murder was first reported in the Deseret News on July 1, 1857.
- Bagley 2002.
- Bagley 2002, p. 98 (identification by the widow Pratt)
- Bagley 2002, pp. 105–110
- Bagley 2002, p. 102
- "Ark. judge: Remains of early LDS leader can be moved to Utah". KSL-TV (AP). 3 April 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- "No remains found in dig for Parley P. Pratt". Daily Herald (AP). 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- "Search for Parley Pratt's remains yields nothing but Arkansas clay". The Salt Lake Tribune (AP). 25 April 2008. Article archive ID: 9050460. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Givens 2011, p. 342.
- Givens & Grow 2011, pp. 91–95.
- Givens & Grow 2011, pp. 317–18.
- Givens & Grow 2011, pp. 396, 237, 276.
- Romney is descended from Helaman Pratt, a son of Pratt's fourth wife, Mary Wood (Glasgow, 18 June 1818 – Salt Lake City, Utah, 5 March 1898). She was the daughter of Samuel Wood (baptized Dumfries, 8 July 1798) and wife (m. Mungo, Dumfriesshire, 18 July 1816) Margaret Orr (baptized Inverchaolin, Argyllshire, 15 August 1793 – 1852.)Dobner, Jennifer; Johnson, Glen (25 February 2007). "Polygamy was prominent in Romney's family tree". Deseret News (AP). Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Dobner, Jennifer (June 23, 2011). "Romney, Huntsman compete in Mormon primary". Associated Press.
- The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, Chapter 32, pp. 274–289
- Israelson, Craig (17 July 1999). "Freedom run commemorates Parley P. Pratt's escape from jail". LDS Church News. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Stroup, Megan (6 July 2010). "Parley P. Pratt memorial run". Columbia Missourian.
- Allen, James B.; Leonard, Glen M. (1976). The Story of the Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co. ISBN 0-87747-594-6.
- Arave, Lynn (5 January 2007). "Tidbits of history — Unusual highlights of Salt Lake County". Deseret Morning News (Deseret Morning News). p. S1–S2.
- Bagley, Will (2002). Blood of the Prophets, Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3426-7
- Brooks, Juanita (1950). The Mountain Meadows Massacre. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2318-4.
- Crawley, Peter L., ed. (1990). The Essential Parley P. Pratt. Classics in Mormon Thought 1. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. ISBN 0-941214-84-2.
- Givens, Terryl L.; Grow, Matthew J. (2011). Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-537573-2.
- Linn, William Alexander (1902). The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of their Origin to the Year 1901. New York: McMillan. OCLC 621583 (scanned versions).
- Ludlow, Daniel H. (1978). A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. ISBN 1-57345-224-6.
- Ludlow, Daniel H., ed. (1992). Church History, Selections From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. ISBN 0-87579-924-8.
- Pratt, Parley P. (1985) . Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt. Classics in Mormon Literature. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book. ISBN 0-87747-740-X.
- Pratt, Steven (1975). "Eleanor McLean and the Murder of Parley P. Pratt" (PDF). BYU Studies 15 (2): 225–256.
- "Tragical". Daily Missouri Republican. May 25, 1857.
- Ward, C.G. (May 26, 1857). "The Mormon Tragedy in Arkansas: Interesting Details of the Circumstances of Elder Pratt's Death". Daily Missouri Republican.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- History of Parley P. Pratt from gordonbanks.com
- Parley P. Pratt Grave Site from angells.com
- Documents about Parley P. Pratt at pratt-family.org
- Official website of the Parley P. Pratt Memorial Freedom Run/Walk
|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles|
William E. M'Lellin
|Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 21, 1835 – May 13, 1857
Luke S. Johnson