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Orson Pratt Brown's Namesake
Orson Pratt Brown's Relation through son Aron Brown and wife Elena Pratt

Orson Pratt 1811-1881

Orson Pratt

Born: September 19 1811 at Hartford, Washington County, New York
Died: October 3, 1881 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

This sketch is part of the series, "History of Brigham Young," published in the Millennial Star, 1863–1865. It was originally published in the Deseret News in 1858. Much of the "History of Orson Pratt" was taken directly from his journal (Orson Pratt journals).


My parents, Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson Pratt, were numbered among the poor of this world. To procure the comforts of life, they were necessitated to labor for the rich. At times, bright prospects of wealth seemed to open before them; but a succession of misfortunes kept them down in the low vales of poverty. The only occupation followed by my father was the cultivation of the soil. Millennial Star 27, no. 3 (Jan. 21, 1865): 39–40.

To this laborious method of procuring a living he was unaccustomed in his youthful days. Being the oldest among eleven children, his father, Obadiah Pratt, made him, in early life, a weaver for the family, but hand looms were mostly dispensed with, and steam power substituted to supply clothing for man. Weavers, therefore, were thrown out of employment, and however inexperienced, were obliged to adopt some other business to sustain themselves and families. Under these disadvantageous circumstances, my father, by hard labor for others, earned the scanty means of subsistence.

My brothers, when young, were sent from home to labor at farming in the service of others; after which they looked after their own welfare and education, living sometimes in one place, and then in another, without the advantages of parental instruction at a time when they most needed it.

While blessed with the privilege of living at home, we were diligently taught in every principle of morality and honesty; for although my parents had no faith in the modern sectarian principles of Christianity, yet they looked upon the history of ancient Christianity, as recorded in the Bible, as something most sacred and worth possessing. These Bible doctrines, they diligently instilled into the minds of their children, so far as they understood them; and often expressed themselves as desirous of belonging to the Church of Christ, if it could be found.

I was born September 19th 1811, in Hartford, Washington county, New York. When I was about three or four years old, my parents removed from Hartford to New Lebanon, Columbia County, where I was sent to school for several months, each year, until the spring of 1822.

During this interval I often had many serious impressions in regard to God and a future state. And being very young, my parents instructed me to read the Bible, which I often did, with much interest, asking a great variety of questions, concerning what I found written. It was seldom that I attended any religious meetings, as my parents had not much faith in and were never so unfortunate as to unite themselves with any of the religious sects.

In the spring of 1822, being in my eleventh year, I went to live with a farmer whose name was Justin Jones: this was in the neighborhood of my parents. I continued in this place until the autumn of 1823. The preceding winter, I also went to school. I next engaged to labor at farming, for Mr. Church at Canaan, Four Corners, Columbia county, New York, and continued with him about sevnteen or eighteen months; three or four of which I went to School, and became quite familiar with all the rules in Daball's arithmetic.

In the spring of 1825, accompanied my oldest brother to Hurlgate, Long Island, about six miles from New York city. Here I engaged myself for one year to Mr. Greenock, a farmer; three months of which I went to school, and studied arithmetic and book-keeping.

In the Spring of 1826, I was recommended by Mr. Greenock to a large cabinet making establishment in New York city, where I intended to remain until of age; but after tarrying a few months, I was taken violently sick and brought very low, so that my recovery for some time, was considered doubtful. When my strength permitted, I went into the country, to Hurlgate, and tarried with my brother Anson, until the spring of 1827, when I returned to Canaan, about 150 miles north of New York city; and engaged myself to labor for seven months, on a farm for Mr. Noise; at the expiration of which, I accompanied my brothers Parley and Nelson Pratt to Lorain county, Ohio. We performed the journey by canal boat from Albany to Buffalo, and thence by schooner up Lake Erie. I boarded with Mr. Redington during the winter and went to school.

In the spring of 1828, I started east in search of employment, came to the village of Chagrin, now called Willoughby, Ohio, where I labored a few months at a hotel; the most of my time being occupied at farming. I also labored a few months at farming for Mr. Norris, a few miles east of Painesville. In the autumn of this year, I performed a lengthy journey to the State of Connecticut, where I labored a short time; and then took a steam boat for New York city, and thence to Long Island, with my brother Anson.

In the spring of 1829, I again, returned to Canaan, and commenced farming for Mr. Haight. The following winter I spent four months at a boarding school or academy, during which I made myself thoroughly acquainted with geography, grammar, and surveying. In the spring of 1830, I engaged myself to Mr. Joshua Lord, with whom I tarried and labored on a farm, until the following October. This was in Canaan only one or two miles from the old homestead of my grandfather, Obadiah Pratt.

From the age of ten to nineteen I saw much of the world, and was tossed about without any permanent abiding place; but through the grace of God, I was kept from many of the evils to which young people are exposed. The early impressions of morality and religion, instilled into my mind by my parents, always remained with me, and I often felt a great anxiety to be prepared for a future state; but never commenced, not real earnest, to seek after the Lord, until the autumn of 1829. Millennial Star 27, no. 4 (Jan. 28, 1865): 30–40.

I then began to pray very fervently, repenting of every sin. In the silent shades of night, while others were slumbering upon their pillows, I often retired to some secret place in the lonely fields or solitary wilderness, and bowed before the Lord, and prayed for hours with a broken heart and contrite spirit—this was my comfort and delight.The greatest desire of my heart was for the Lord to manifest His will concerning me.

I continued to pray in this fervent manner until September, 1830, at which time two Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came into the neighborhood, one of which was my brother Parley. They held several meetings which I attended. Being convinced of the divine authenticity of the doctrines they taught, I was baptized September 19, 1830. This was my birthday, being nineteen years old. I was the only person in the country who received and obeyed the message. Shortly after my baptism the Elders left.

In October 1830, I travelled westward over two hundred miles to see Joseph Smith, the Prophet. I found him in Fayette, Seneca county, N.Y., residing at the house of Mr. Whitmer. I soon became intimately acquainted with this good man, and also with the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. By my request, on the 4th of Nov., the Prophet inquired of the Lord for me, and received the revelation published in the Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 34.

On the 1st day of December, 1830, I was confirmed, and in accordance with the word of the Lord I was ordained an Elder under the hands of the Prophet.

My first mission was to Colesville, Broome county, N. Y., where I commenced to open my mouth in public meetings, and teach the things of God as the Holy Ghost gave me utterance. The same month I returned from Colesville to Fayette, accompanied by Hyrum Smith.

On the 2nd of January 1831, I attended a Conference on the 2nd of January, and in a few weeks Elder Samuel H. Smith and myself started on foot for Kirtland, Ohio, a distance of several hundred miles, to which Joseph, the Prophet, had Joseph previously moved. No minutes are known, but D&C 38 was received.

During the spring of 1831, I traveled on a short mission of about one month with Lyman Wight, going about one hundred miles west of Kirtland, preaching the Gospel wherever we were led by the Spirit of Truth.

After which I united in the ministry with my bro Parley, and preached some in Rome and also in Thompson, where the Saints from Colesville were temporally located. In the latter place I tarried some five or six weeks, and labored with my hands.

In June a revelation was given commanding many Elders to travel two by two from Ohio to the western boundaries of Missouri, among whom my brother Parley and myself were called by name and commanded to travel together. On our way we held about fifty meetings, and baptized five in Peru, Delaware county, Ohio, and six in Vermillion county, Illinois. D&C 52:26

Jackson county

About the end of August I arrived in Jackson county, Missouri; the next day I was taken with the chills and fever, which confined me to my bed a few weeks. About the 1st of October, though still weak and feeble, I started on foot for Ohio, in company with Asa Dodds, preaching by the way, as commanded of the Lord through the Prophet. Brother Dodds stopped in Indiana, but I continued my journey, although suffering much from the ague. Towards the close of the year I arrived in Hiram, Portage county, Ohio, where the Prophet then resided.

About the 1st of January 1832, I went to Kirtland, attended many meetings, visited disorderly members with Elder Cahoon, called Church meetings, and excommunicated several.

I then returned to Hiram, united in the ministry with Elder Lyman E. Johnson (h), and started for Lorain county, Ohio, where we preached in the regions around until the general Conference held at Amherst, Lorain county, on the 25th of January. At this Conference the Prophet Joseph was acknowledged President of the High Priesthood, and hands laid on him by Elder Sidney Rigdon, who sealed upon his head the blessings which he had formerly received. I was appointed to preside over the Elders, and was set apart and ordained by Sidney Rigdon. No minutes of this conference have been found.

At this Conference, by the request of the Priesthood, the Prophet inquired of the Lord, a revelation was given and written in the presence of the whole assembly, appointing many of the Elders to missions, among whom Elder Lyman E. Johnson and myself were named and appointed on a mission to the Eastern States. (See Doc. and Cov., sec. 75.) The next day after Conference we left Amherst and in a few days found ourselves in Hiram.

February 2, 1832.—On this day, by the counsel of the Prophet, I was ordained a High Priest under the hands of Sidney Rigdon.

Feb. 3rd [1832]—Elder L. E. Johnson (h) and myself started on our eastern mission, travelling, as usual, on foot, without purse or scrip, and carrying our change of clothing in our hands. We travelled in an easterly direction through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York city, to Hurlgate, on Long Island; preached thirty times in towns and villages on the way, where they previously had never heard the Gospel.

In the town of Blakesley, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, we baptized four, and ordained one of them, namely, Asbury Secor, a Priest. At Hurlgate, near the last of March, I baptized and confirmed my oldest brother, Anson Pratt. From this place we travelled north, visited Canaan, Columbia county, New York; saw my parents.

We then travelled north-east through the southern part of Vermont into New Hampshire, proceeded to the eastern shore of the Connecticut river to Bath, preaching wherever we were led by the Spirit; while journeying from Long Island to Bath held five meetings.

We tarried twenty-six days in the regions round about Bath, held twenty-one meetings and baptized fifteen, among whom were Orson Johnson, Hazen Aldrich, Amasa Lyman (h), John Duncan and Daniel S. Miles.

May 14. [1832]—We travelled north, and came to the town of Charleston, in Vermont; tarried ten days; preached seven times in this region, baptized fourteen, among whom were Winslow Farr, William Snow and Zerubbabel Snow. In those parts the Lord wrought by our hands many miracles of healing.

May 25. [1832]—We went about thirty miles northwest to the town of Troy; tarried nineteen days; held sixteen meetings in those regions; baptized eighteen in the town of Jay, and then started back to Charleston.

June 15. [1832]—Arrived among our brethren.

Sept. 2 [1832].—Started on a return journey to Benson; arrived not five days; tarried in Benson a few days; held four meetings.

Oct. 2 [1832].—Went on board of a vessel, sailed seventy miles down Lake Champlain; landed at Port Kent on the west shore, and then travelled about thirty miles to Moerstown, New York, where we found one of our brethren, Ira Ames; held three meetings in this region.

Oct. 8 [1832].—Re-crossed the lake into Vermont; the next day preached in Franklin village; two days more brought us to the town of Jay, where we held three meetings.

October. 15 [1832].—Started for Bath; called at Charleston and held two meetings.

Oct. 20 [1832].—Arrived in Bath; stopped five days; held six meetings in neighboring towns; baptized one, and ordained John Duncan a Priest; and William Snow from Charleston being present, we ordained him an October 26 [1832].—I started in company with Elders L. E. Johnson (h) Hazen Aldrich and William Snow, and travelled west some three or four hundred miles—a portion of which we rode on a canal boat, where I preached to the passengers.

Nov. 8 [1832].—Arrived in Spafford, Onondaga county, New York, at have place there was a Branch of the Church; here we tarried six days; held five meetings, one of which was a Conference, eleven Elders present; baptized eight, among whom were Allen Holcomb, whom we ordained an Elder, Libbeus T. Coon and Mahew Hilman.

Elder L. E. Johnson here united in the ministry with Hazen Aldrich, and started for Ohio. I united in the ministry with Elder William Snow, and started eastward, preached in the villages of Vesper, Tully and Fabius; in the latter place tarried six days, baptized two, namely, Samuel and Jemima Newcomb. Orson and Lyman E. Johnson had been companions since February 3, 1832.

Nov. 23 [1832].—Travelled eleven miles; preached twice in Casinovia, then travelled six days to the town of Day, Saratoga county, where we tarried seventeen days, held fifteen meetings.

Dec. 20 [1832].—We started for Bolton, on the west shore of Lake George; here was a Branch of the Church; we tarried ten days, held ten meetings, baptized ten persons.

Dec. 31 [1832].—Ordained Silas T. Gardner an Elder, and then started for Benson, in Vermont; held one meeting in Benson, and then pursued our [72] journey to Bath, about 100 miles distant.

Jan. 8, 1833.—Arrived in Bath; I tarried nine days, William Snow having gone to Charleston; held five meetings, then visited the Church at Charleston, held one meeting, returned to Bath and held two meetings. Jan. 28 [1833].—Started for Ohio.

Feb. 2 [1833].—Arrived in Bolton; tarried four days, held three meetings, baptized two, ordained John Tanner a Priest, and then pursued my journey several hundred miles west.

David W. Patten, Reynolds Cahoon Within about 150 miles of Kirtland, I fell in company with D. W. Patten (h) and Reynolds Cahoon , tarried and held four meetings with them, and then proceeded on my journey to Kirtland, where I arrived Feb. 17, 1833, having been absent on this eastern mission one year and fourteen days, during which we travelled on foot near 4000 miles, attend 207 meetings, mostly in places where they had not heard the word, baptized 104 persons, and organized several new Branches of the Church.

Feb. 18 [1833].—Washed my hands and feet as a testimony unto the Lord that I had warned this wicked generation and that my garments were clean from their blood, and on the same day I admitted into the School of the Prophets. During my attendance at this school, I boarded with the Prophet Joseph, from whom I received much good instruction. On the Sabbath days I continued preaching in various places.

March 26 start mission with Lyman. Elder Lyman E. Johnson and myself, having received a commandment through the Prophet to visit the Churches and preach in the Eastern States, left Kirtland on the 26th of March to fill our mission. We arrived in Bath, New Hampshire, on the 7th June, having attend forty-four meetings by the way, and baptized thirteen.

June 8 [1833]. Met in Conference in Bath; present—High Priests 4, Elders 8, Priests 2. At this Conference Elders Willard Woodstock, Harlow Redfield, William Snow and Hazen Aldrich, were ordained high priests; Henry Harriman was ordained an Elder, and Daniel Carter, a member, was ordained a Priest, the ordinances being administered under my hands.

Harlow (1801–1866) joined the church in 1831. Member of the Kirtland high council, 1837, Provo's first city council.

During the next six days we held meetings in the towns round about.

Lyman to Charleston, St. Johnsbury

June 14 [1833].—Elder Lyman E. Johnson went to Charleston, and continued laboring in St. Johnsbury and the adjoining towns.

June 18 [1833].—I baptized six, namely, Gardner Snow, Willard Snow, Lucina Snow, Jacob Gates, Mary Gates and Emily Harvey, the last person named having been healed three days before by the power of God. Jacob Gates (1862–1892) became one of the seven presidents of the Seventy.

After this I held thirty-five meetings in different counties in Northern Vermont, and baptized eight, returned to

July 6 [1833].—Preached in St. Johnsbury and baptized Sally Snow. The 28th, preached and baptized Susan Briant. After this held sixteen meetings in the towns around, and baptized seventeen, the most of whom lived in Danville. Many were healed, through the ordinances, by the power of God.

July 19 [1833].—Started for Charleston.

Charleston, New Hampshire conference

July 24 [1833].—Attend Conferences at Charleston. Elder Orson Johnson and John Badger were ordained High Priests. Winslow Farr, Isaac Aldrich and Roswell Evans, were ordained Elders; Gardner Snow, Willard Snow and Joseph Swasey, were ordained Priests; and Horace Evans was ordained a Teacher, the ordinances being under the hands of Lyman E. Johnson. After attending five meetings, I left for Danville.

Aug. 31 [1833].—Ordained Jacob Rust an Elder; tarried three days longer; held three meetings and baptized three, and then went to Bath; held five meetings in the adjoining towns, and baptized three.

Sept. 8 [1833].—Held two meetings in Bath. Brother Horace Cowan ordained an Elder under the hands of Lyman E. Johnson.

Sept. 9 [1833].—I left Bath for Kirtland; held some meetings by the way;

Arrive September 28 arrived in Kirtland Sept. 28th, having been absent six months, durng which I travelled about 2000 miles, attended 125 meetings, and baptized upwards of 50 persons.

I remained in Kirtland about two months, labored on the House of the Lord and printing office thirty days; the most of the time boarded with the Prophet.

March 17 [1834].—Attended Council held at Father Beaman's house, in which I was appointed to travel with Elder John Murdock. Millennial Star 27, no. 6 (Feb. 11, 1865): 86–88.

March 20 [1834].—We started westward, preaching almost every day. Baptized two in the town of March 30 [1834].—Arrived I the town of Freedom; tarried I this region twelve days; held eleven meetings; baptized 22, one of whom, Heman Hyde, April 10th, we ordained a Teacher. April 11 [1834].—Continued our journey towards Kirtland, occasionally preaching by the way.

April 24 [1834].—Arrived in Kirtland, having been absent nearly two months, during which we travelled about 800 miles, attended thirty-four meetings, baptized twenty-four persons.

April 26 [1834].—I copied revelations for the Prophet Joseph.

May 1 [1834].—Being appointed to take charge of a company of twenty persons, we started for Zion with four wagons. The Prophet overtook us in a few days with a larger company, and we continue our journey to Clay county, Missouri.

July 7 [1834].—I was ordained one of the standing High Council in Zion, under the hands of President Joseph Smith.

Minutes of July 7, 1834 Visits Clay county Saints

July 19 [1834].—Bishop Partridge and myself having been appointed by the High Council to visit the scattered Saints throughout Clay county, and set the Churches in order, commenced our mission. We held eight meetings in different parts of the county.

July 31 [1834].—We reported the results of our mission to the High Council, which accepted the same. After which the Council selected John Corrill, Simeon Carter, Parley P. Pratt (h) and myself to visit the church throughout the county and hold public meetings, which we accordingly did.

Minutes of July 31, 1834 (actually, the minutes report the report was tabled.)

Aug. 21 [1834].—The High Council gave their sanction for me to travel eastward towards Kirtland, preaching by the way. I accordingly united in the ministry with my brother William D. Pratt, and in a few days left, travelling on the north side of the Missouri river.

Overexertion in travelling brought on the fever and ague, which contiued to afflict me at interfvals for months. Sometimes I laid down upon the wet prairies, many miles from any house, being unable to travel.

William D. Pratt stopped at Vandalia, Illinois.

At Terre Haute I preached a few times, and baptized George W. Harris and wife. Original: Hauts

About the last of November I united in the ministry with Elder John Murdock, and continued my journey eastward, preaching in many places.

In a few days we arrived at sugar Creek, Indiana, where we found Lorenzo D. Barnes and Lewis Robbins, who had just arrived from Zion. After holding a few meetings in this region, and baptizing a few, I united with Elder Barnes to travel.

Jan. 2, 1835.—We left Sugar Creek; preached in many places for the next eighteen days.

Jan. 20 [1835].—Arrived in Cincinnati.

Jan. 22 [1835].—Crossed the Ohio river; visited a small Branch of the Church on Licking river [Kentucky]; tarried with them two weeks, preaching almost every evening; baptized a vew. The Journal Feb. 6 [1835]. Went to Cincinnati, and commenced preaching in that city and in the towns round about. Tarried one month; baptized some.

March 6 [1835].—We started for another field of labor, and commenced preaching in Newbury and in the adjoining towns; tarried about six weeks, preaching almost every day.

April 20 [1835].—We started for Kirtland. While in the streets of Columbus, Ohio, I saw a man passing, whom I felt impressed to speak to. He was a Saint, and the only one in the city. I stopped at his house, and there read a late number of the Messenger and Advocate. Found that I had been chosen one of the Twelve Apostles, and was requested to be in Kirtland on the 26th of April.

April 24 [1835].—Took the stage, and arrived in Kirtland on the 26th, about 10 o'clock in the forenoon; walked into the meeting, and learned that they had been prophesying that I would arrive there, so as to attend that meeting, although no one of them knew where I was. I was much rejoiced at meeting with the Saints.

April 26 [1835].—I was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles in this last dispensation under the hands of David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery.

April 29 [1835].—I was blessed under the hands of Joseph Smith, sen.

May 4 [1835].—I left with the Twelve on a mission through the middle and eastern States.

June 18 [1835].—I baptized Sarah Marinda Bates, near Sackets Harbor, whom I received in marriage Sarah was born February 5, 1817 and died December 25, 1888. Orson and Sarah had eleven children.

During the latter part of July, the month of August, and the fore part of September, I preached almost every day in New Hampshire, in towns where they had not before heard, baptized a few, and then returned to Kirtland.

Sep. 25 [1835].—Arrived in Kirtland.

Ohio river mission

Oct. 14 [1835].—Started on a mission to the Ohio river, preaching by the way; tarried two or three weeks in Beaver county, Penn.; held sixteen meetings; baptized a few and raised up a small Branch of the Church, and ordained Dr. Samuel Avard an Elder, to take charge of them and then returned to Kirtland, where I arrived on the 16th of November.

In December I taught an evening grammar school in Kirtland, also during the winter studied Hebrew about eight weeks; received a certificate from Professor Sexias, testifying to my proficiency in the language, and certifying to my capabilities to teach the same this was the winter and spring of our endowments in the Kirtland Temple.

April 6, 1836.—Left Kirtland on an [88] eastern mission; went to Canada West; preached about two months; baptized several.

June 4 [1836]. Took the steamer for Oswego; commenced preaching in Jefferson county [New York] and the regions adjoining; baptized many, and raised up some new Branches.

July 4 [1836].—I was married to Sarah M. Bates. Elder Luke Johnson (h) officiating.

The fore part of October I closed my mission in those parts, and started with my wife and a few of the Saints for Kirtland, where we arrived on the 12th of October.

Towards the last of autumn I commenced the study of Algebra without a teacher, occupying leisure hrs in the evening. I soon went through Day's Algebra.

About the middle of August, 1837, I moved my family from Kirtland to Henderson. Henderson is 10 miles south of Sackets Harbor on the east shore of Lake Erie.

Oct. 2. [1837]—Having provided a home for my family, I started into the vineyard, labored during the fall and winter in the counties south-east from Jefferson county, N.Y.; baptized a few.

Early in the spring [1838] I took my family and went to the city of New York, and appointed to preside over a large Branch of the Church in that city. I preached diligently among them some six or seven months; baptized many.

In the mean time I again visited Henderson, left my wife at her father's, and returned to New York;

Winter 1838–1839

St. Louis but receiving a letter from Far West, Missouri, to come to Zion, I again went to Henderson, brought my family again to New York city, and from there we departed for the west; arrived in St. Louis about the middle of November. The ice prevented our progress any further. Stopped in St. Louis, and labored with my hands during the winter.

In the spring of 1838 [sic, 1839], I removed to Quincy.

Mission to England -1840

In April went to Far West, from which the Saints had been drive; held a Conference with several of the Twelve on the morning of the 26th, and took our departure from the corner stone of the Temple for foreign nations, according to the revelation given through the Prophet more than a year before. Returned to Illinois.

July 4. [1839]—Was an instrument in the hands of God in delivering my brother Parley from prison. Parley was taken prisoner with Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum, Lyman, and George Robinson on October 31, 1838. He remained incarcerated in the Richmond and Columbia jails nearly three months longer than Joseph and Hyrum, who "escaped" from the Liberty jail in mid-April 1839.

In the autumn visited New York city; continued preaching not the eastern churches of the Saints until the spring of 1840, when I embarked with several of the Twelve for England. In April made my way to Edinburgh, Scotland; preached there about nine months; raised up a Church of over 200 Saints; published a pamphlet now entitled Remarkable Visions. A [sic] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions …, a 31-page pamphlet, was published in England in September 1840 and as a 36-page pamphlet in New York in 1841. It contains the first published account of the First Vision. The wording of several key elements suggests it was a resource for Joseph's first published account, the 1842 Wentworth letter.

In the spring of 1841, set sail from Liverpool with several of the Twelve and arrived in New York city, where I republished the Remarkable Visions. Visited Henderson, near Lake Ontario, and then pursued my journey to Nauvoo, Hancock county, Illinois, having been absent from much family about two years.

I remained in Nauvoo about one year, during a portion of which I had the charge of a mathematical school.

In the summer of 1843 I performed a mission, with several of the Twelve, through the Eastern States;

Nauvoo city council returned in the autumn, and being elected a member of the City Council, I was appointed in connection with others, to draw up a memorial to Congress, which was accepted by the Council, and I was appointed to go to Washington and present the same.

I accordingly went and tarried in Washington ten weeks—this was in the spring of 1844. While sojourning in that city, I preached and baptized a few, and during my leisure moments I calculated eclipses, and prepared an Almanac for publication for 1845. This I entitled The Prophetic Almanack. It was calculated for the latitude and meridian of Nauvoo, and some other principal towns in the United States. This was the first that I ever calculated and published. After this I visited several of the Eastern States, holding meetings both religious and political. T

The Prophetic Almanac for 1845 was probably published in July 1844. It includes a calendar with the times of the rising and setting of the sun and moon, high tides for Boston and New York, locations and phases of the moon, 1845 eclipses, quotations from Joseph and Parley, the Mormon Creed ("Let every body mind their own business"), an essay on tradition, reason, and scripture, and a set of theological questions and answers that includes ideas from Joseph's King Follet discourse of April 7, 1844. Crawley's bib, item 229.

Martyrdom of Joseph Smith

Nauvoo June 27, 1844.—I was in New York city and wrote a letter home to my family. After hearing of the martyrdom of Joseph the Prophet, I returned with several of the Twelve to Nauvoo.

From 1836 to 1844, I occupied much of my leisure time in study, and made myself thoroughly acquainted with algebra, geometry, trigonometry, conic sections, differential and integral calculus, astronomy, and most of the physical sciences. These studies I pursued without the assistance of a teacher. For further particulars concerning my travels and ministry, those interested can refer to my Orson Pratt journals.


July 21, 1847 Orson Pratt was the first pioneer to stand upon the site of the future Salt Lake City.

Orson Pratt 1811-1881 Orson Pratt

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Orson Pratt/Ezra T. Benson/Ira Eldredge Company Departure: 21-22 June 1854
Arrival in Salt Lake Valley: 3 October 1854
Initially this company was the Orson Pratt/Horace S. Eldredge company. Later it became the Ezra T. Benson and Ira Eldredge Company. They left the Missouri River late in July.
Orson Pratt in 1854

Marriages and Family Life

Orson Pratt's First Wife:

Orson Pratt with wife Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt and four children c.1848
Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt holding Marinthia Altheria Pratt.
Orson Pratt Jr., Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt, Marinthia Altheria Pratt, Laron Pratt, Orson Pratt,
Celestia Louisa Pratt c. 1848. B&W reprint from DUP.

Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt (1817–1888) md. July 4, 1836 in Henderson, NY
Daughter of Cyrus Bates and Lydia Harrington Bates.

Orson and Sarah's Children:

1- M- Orson PRATT, Jr.
Born: 11 Jul 1837 Place: Kirtland, Geauga, Oh
Died: 6 Dec 1903 Place: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut
Buried: Place: Salt Lake City C, Salt Lake, , Ut

2- F- Lydia PRATT
Born: 17 Dec 1838 Place: St. Louis, St. Lou, Mo
Died: 18 Aug 1839 Place: Montrose, , Iowa

3- F- Celestia Larissa PRATT
Born: 10 May 1842 Place: Nauvoo, Hancock, Il
Died: 6 Jan 1905 Place:

4- F- Sarah Marinda PRATT
Born: 27 Oct 1844 Place: Nauvoo, Hancock, Il
Died: 26 Jul 1845 Place: Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois

5- M- Vanson PRATT
Born: 23 Jan 1846 Place: Nauvoo, Hancock, Il
Died: 22 or 28 Jul 1847 Place: Winter Quarters

6- M- Laron PRATT
Born: 10 Jul 1847 Place: Florence, Douglas, Nebraska
Died: 21 Aug 1908 Place: Salt Lake City, S-Lk, Ut
Buried: 24 Aug 1908 Place: Salt Lake City, S-Lk, Ut

7- M- Marlon PRATT
Born: 13 Oct 1848 Place: Liverpool, Lancs, Eng
Died: 4 Sep 1849 Place: Liverpool, Lancaster, Eng.

8- F- Marintha Althera PRATT
Born: 21 Dec 1849 Place: Liverpool, Lancs, Eng
Died: 24 Mar 1851 Place: At Sea

9- M- Harmel PRATT
Born: 21 Aug 1851 Place: On Platt River, East Of, Fort Laramie, Wyoming
Died: 20 Dec 1907 Place: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Buried: Place: Slc Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

10- M- Arthur PRATT
Born: 12 Mar 1853 Place: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut
Died: 20 Mar 1919 Place: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Ut
Buried: 23 Mar 1919 Place:

11- F- Herma Ethna PRATT
Born: 16 May 1856 Place: Salt Lake City, S-Lk, Ut
Died: 26 Dec 1877 Place:

12-. F- Liola Menella PRATT
Born: 22 Oct 1858 Place: Salt Lake City, S-Lk, Ut
Died: 21 Sep 1860 Place:

Orson Pratt,Jr. Laron Pratt
Orson Pratt Jr. Laron Pratt
Sons of Orson and Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt.
Reprint from Utah State Historical Society

Orson Pratt's Second Wife:

Charlotte Bishop Pratt, b. March 19, 1824, Crown Point, New York; md. fall 1844, Nauvoo by Brigham Young; no known children. Left Orson in 1845 to marry a Mr. Tyler.

Orson Pratt's Third Wife:

Adelia Ann Bishop Pratt , b. November 5, 1826, Crown Point, New York, daughter of John Fitch Bishop and Lucy Goff Bishop; md. December 13, 1844, Nauvoo by Heber C. Kimball. They had six children.

Lucy Adelia Bishop, b. September 15, 1847, Winter Quarters.

Orson Pratt's Fourth Wife:

Mary Ann Merrill Pratt, b. June 2, 1819, Southold, Long Island, New York, daughter of Valentine Merrill and Lydia Sisson; md. March 27, 1845 in Nauvoo by Brigham Young. They had five children.

Orson Pratt's Fifth Wife:

Sarah Louise Chandler Pratt, b. March 12, 1822 or 1823, Stoddard, New Hampshire, daughter of Asa Chandler and Sarah Chandler; md. 1846; d. June 12, 1846 about 50 miles west of Mt. Pisgah, Iowa on west bank of Platt river.

Orson Pratt's Sixth Wife:

Marian Ross, b. June 9, 1829, Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, daughter of Robert Ross and Margaret McBain Ross; md. Feb 19, 1852 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had six children.

Orson Pratt's Seventh Wife:

Juliett Ann Phelps, b. April 19, 1839 in Yorks, Steuben, Indiana (New York), daughter of Alva Phelps and Margaret Robison Phelps; md. December 14, 1855 in Millard, Fillmore, Utah. They had seven children.

Orson Pratt's Eighth WIfe:

Eliza Crooks Pratt, b. July 1829 in Blasslough, Monaghan, Ireland, daughter of Samuel Crooks and Jane Harrah Crooks; md. July 24, 1857 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. They had five children.

Orson Pratt's Ninth Wife:

Sarah Louisa Lewis Pratt, b. July 7, 1831 in Old Radnor, Hereford, England, daughter of Thomas Lewis and Louisa Lewis; md. June 21, 1853 at Birmingham, Warwick, England. They had one son, Willow Lewis Pratt, born September 1854, died October 1854.

Orson Pratt's Tenth Wife:

Margaret Graham Pratt b. January 20, 1852 Edingburgh, Midth,,,Scotland, daughter of William Graham and Jane Ross; md. December 28, 1868 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had three children.

"The Essential Orson Pratt"
"Several Remarkable Visions of Orson Pratt"

"Conflict in the Quorum"Orson Pratt c.1878
Orson Pratt
Conflict in the Quorum

Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith


Hardback. 352 pages. 1-56085-164-3 / $24.95

Orson Pratt and Apostolic Succession

The discussion of Orson Pratt's struggle with church authority and his original problems with polygamy which caused him to lose his seniority in the council of twelve apostles is included here. When his wife told him that Joseph Smith had approached her to become his plural wife, it caused Pratt to have a nervous breakdown. [On Page 15 begins the story of one John Cook Bennett who had ingratiated himself amongst the Mormons in Nauvoo, had quickley become chancellor of the university, mayor of the city, and acting assistant president and intimate confidant to Joseph Smith....This opportunistic man, upon being told he was not ready to enter into polygamy, devised a doctrine he named "spirtitual wifery". Using this false doctrine Bennett seduced a number of married women, one of them was Sarah Pratt. Sarah, Bennett, and others were excommunicated from the Church for participating in Bennett's doctrine. Sarah, humiliated by the experience, reported a false story to her husband which led to his breakdown.} Orson Pratt was later reconciled to Smith, but his time out of the church affected his apostolic standing. After discussing changes in various printings of the History of the Church we stated:

    It would appear from the way Joseph Smith's history was first printed that Orson Pratt did not lose his seniority and that he should have become president of the Mormon Church. The changes in Joseph Smith's history evidently were made to cover up this fact. . . . Although Orson Pratt was finally able to accept the doctrine of plural marriage, he again ran into trouble when Brigham Young announced the Adam-God doctrine." (Salt Lake City Messenger, no. 9, p. 2)

At a meeting of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve in 1860, one of the church's senior apostles, Elder Heber C. Kimball, complained that "Brother Orson Pratt has withstood Joseph [Smith] and he has withstood Brother Brigham [Young] many times and he has done it tonight and it made my blood chill. It is not for you to lead [the prophet]," Kimball continued, "but to be led by him. You have not the power to dictate but [only] to be dictated [to]."

Whenever the quorum discussed Elder Pratt's controversial sermons and writings and his streak of independent thinking, the conversation could become heated. As documented by Gary James Bergera in this surprisingly suspenseful account, Pratt's encounters with his brethren ultimately affected not only his seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve but also had a lasting impact on LDS doctrine, policy, and organizational structure.

"There is not a man in the church that can preach better than Orson Pratt," Brigham Young told the twelve apostles on another occasion. "It is music to hear him. But the trouble is, he will ... preach false doctrine."

Pratt responded that he was "not a man to make a confession of what I do not believe. I am not going to crawl to Brigham Young and act the hypocrite. I will be a free man," he insisted. "It may cost me my fellowship, but I will stick to it. If I die tonight, I would say, O Lord God Almighty, I believe what I say."

"You have been a mad stubborn mule," Young replied. "[You] have taken a false position ... It is [as] false as hell and you will not hear the last of it soon."

Not infrequently, these two strong-willed, deeply religious men argued. Part of their difficulty was that they saw the world from opposing perspectives—Pratt's a rational, independent-minded stance and Young's a more intuitive and authoritarian position. "We have hitherto acted too much as machines ... as to following the Spirit," Pratt explained in a quorum meeting in 1847. "I will confess to my own shame [that] I have decided contrary to my own [judgment] many times. ... I mean hereafter not to demean myself as to let my feelings run contrary to my own judgment." He issued a warning to the other apostles: "When [President Young] says that the Spirit of the Lord says thus and so, I don't consider [that] ... all we should do is to say let it be so."

For his part, Young quipped that Pratt exhibited the same "ignorance ... as any philosopher," telling him "it would be a great blessing to him to lay aside his books." When Pratt appealed to logic, Young would say, "Oh dear, granny, what a long tail our puss has got."

Ironically, Orson Pratt would have the last word both because Young preceded him in death and because several of Young's teachings and policies had proven unpopular among the other apostles. One of Young's counselors said shortly after the president's death that "some of my brethren ... even feel that in the promulgation of doctrine he [Young] took liberties beyond those to which he was legitimately entitled." Meanwhile, Pratt continued to hold sway with some of his colleagues. His thoughtful—if ultra-literalistic—interpretations of scripture would also influence such later church leaders as Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie.

Bergera's nuanced approach avoids caricatures in favor of the many complexities of personalities and circumstances. It becomes clear that the conflict in which these men found themselves enmeshed had no easy, foreseeable resolution.


PAF - Archer files = Elena Pratt Turley Brown < Harold Wilcken Pratt + Ann Marie Hendrickson < Helaman Pratt + Bertha Christina Wilcken < Parley Parker Pratt + Mary Wood < Jared Pratt + Charity Dickinson : parents of Parley Parker Pratt and also Orson Pratt.


The Orson Pratt Journals 1811-1838, comp. Elden J. Watson, Salt Lake City: Elden Jay Watson, 1975,
pp. 7-96.


Orson Pratt (1811-1881) Remarkable Visions (1st ed. Edinburgh, 1840)
(4th ed. Liverpool, 1848)


See also at: "History of Utah Vol. IV" by Orson Ferguson Whitney, 1903, Pages 25 -29.

Copyright 2004 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org



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... Easter 1986 through October 2005


... Published December 2007:
By Erold C. Wiscombe

... Published March 2009:
(unfortunately the publisher incorrectly changed the photo
and spelling of Phebe Abbott Brown Fife's name
after it was proofed by this author)
Researched and Compiled by
Erold C. Wiscombe

... Published 2012:
"Finding Refuge in El Paso"
By Fred E. Woods [ISBN: 978-1-4621-1153-4]
Includes O.P Brown's activities as Special Church Agent in El Paso
and the Juarez Stake Relief Committee Minutes of 1912.

...Published 2012:
"Colonia Morelos: Un ejemplo de ética mormona
junto al río Bavispe (1900-1912)"
By Irene Ríos Figueroa [ISBN: 978-607-7775-27-0]
Includes O.P. Brown's works as Bishop of Morelos. Written in Spanish.

...Published 2014:
"The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins 1875 - 1932"
By Elizabeth Oberdick Anderson [ISBN: 978-156085-226-1]
Mentions O.P. Brown more than 30 times as Ivins' companion.

... To be Published Soon:

Send Comments and Information to: 




... Lily Gonzalez Brown 80th Birthday Party-Reunion
July 14, 2007 in American Fork, Utah

...Gustavo Brown Family Reunion in October 2007

Send Additions and Information to:


...... Wives and 35 Children Photo Chart
...... Chronology
...... Photo Gallery of OPB
...... Letters


...... Biographical Sketch of the Life Orson Pratt Brown
...... History of Orson Pratt Brown by Orson P. Brown
...... Journal & Reminiscences of Capt. Orson P. Brown
...... Memories of Orson P. Brown by C. Weiler Brown
...... Orson Pratt Brown by "Hattie" Critchlow Jensen
...... Orson Pratt Brown by Nelle Spilsbury Hatch
...... Orson Pratt Brown by W. Ayrd Macdonald

- Captain James Brown 1801-1863

...... Wives and 29 / 43 Children Photo Chart
...... Captain James Brown's Letters & Journal
...... Brown Family Memorabilia
...... Mormon Battalion 1846-1847
...... Brown's Fort ~ then Brownsville, Utah
...... Chronology of Captain James Brown

- Phebe Abbott Brown Fife 1831-1915

- Colonel William Nicol Fife - Stepfather 1831-1915


- James Brown of Rowan County, N.C. 1757-1823

- Mary Williams of Rowan County, N.C. 1760-1832

- Stephen Joseph Abbott of, PA 1804-1843

- Abigail Smith of Williamson, N.Y. 1806-1889

- John Fife of Tulliallan, Scotland 1807-1874

- Mary Meek Nicol, Carseridge, Scotland 1809-1850 


- Martha "Mattie" Diana Romney Brown 1870-1943

- Jane "Jennie" Bodily Galbraith Brown 1879-1944

- Elizabeth Graham MacDonald Webb Brown 1874-1904

- Eliza Skousen Brown Abbott Burk 1882-1958

- Angela Maria Gavaldón Brown 1919-1967


- (Martha) Carrie Brown (child) 1888-1890

- (Martha) Orson Pratt Brown, Jr. (child) 1890-1892

- (Martha) Ray Romney Brown 1892-1945

- (Martha) Clyde Romney Brown 1893-1948

- (Martha) Miles Romney Brown 1897-1974

- (Martha) Dewey B. Brown 1898-1954

- (Martha) Vera Brown Foster Liddell Ray 1901-1975

- (Martha) Anthony Morelos Brown 1904-1970

- (Martha) Phoebe Brown Chido Gardiner 1906-1973

- (Martha) Orson Juarez Brown 1908-1981

- (Jane) Ronald Galbraith Brown 1898-1969

- (Jane) Grant "Duke" Galbraith Brown 1899-1992

- (Jane) Martha Elizabeth Brown Leach Moore 1901-1972

- (Jane) Pratt Orson Galbraith Brown 1905-1960

- (Jane) William Galbraith Brown (child) 1905-1912

- (Jane) Thomas Patrick Porfirio Diaz Brown 1907-1978

- (Jane) Emma Jean Galbraith Brown Hamilton 1909-1980

- (Elizabeth) (New born female) Webb 1893-1893

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Webb Brown Jones 1895-1982

- (Elizabeth) Marguerite Webb Brown Shill 1897-1991

- (Elizabeth) Donald MacDonald Brown 1902-1971

- (Elizabeth) James Duncan Brown 1904-1943

- (Eliza) Gwen Skousen Brown Erickson Klein 1903-1991

- (Eliza) Anna Skousen Brown Petrie Encke 1905-2001

- (Eliza) Otis Pratt Skousen Brown 1907-1987

- (Eliza) Orson Erastus Skousen Brown (infant) 1909-1910

- (Eliza) Francisco Madera Skousen Brown 1911-1912

- (Eliza) Elizabeth Skousen Brown Howell 1914-1999

- (Angela) Silvestre Gustavo Brown 1919-

- (Angela) Bertha Erma Elizabeth Brown 1922-1979

- (Angela) Pauly Gabaldón Brown 1924-1998

- (Angela) Aaron Aron Saul Brown 1925

- (Angela) Mary Angela Brown Hayden Green 1927

- (Angela) Heber Jedediah Brown (infant) 1936-1936

- (Angela) Martha Gabaldón Brown Gardner 1940


- Stephen Abbott Brown 1851-1853

- Phoebe Adelaide Brown Snyder 1855-1930

- Cynthia Abigail Fife Layton 1867-1943

- (New born female) Fife 1870-1870

- (Toddler female) Fife 1871-1872


- (Martha Stephens) John Martin Brown 1824-1888

(Martha Stephens) Alexander Brown 1826-1910

(Martha Stephens) Jesse Stowell Brown 1828-1905

- (Martha Stephens) Nancy Brown Davis Sanford 1830-1895

(Martha Stephens) Daniel Brown 1832-1864

(Martha Stephens) James Moorhead Brown 1834-1924

(Martha Stephens) William Brown 1836-1904

(Martha Stephens) Benjamin Franklin Brown 1838-1863

(Martha Stephens) Moroni Brown 1838-1916

- (Susan Foutz) Alma Foutz Brown (infant) 1842-1842

- (Esther Jones) August Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Augusta Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Amasa Lyman Brown (infant) 1845-1845

- (Esther Jones) Alice D. Brown Leech 1846-1865

- (Esther Jones) Esther Ellen Brown Dee 1849-1893

- (Sarah Steadwell) James Harvey Brown 1846-1912

- (Mary McRee) George David Black 1841-1913

- (Mary McRee) Mary Eliza Brown Critchlow1847-1903

- (Mary McRee) Margaret Brown 1849-1855

- (Mary McRee) Mary Brown Edwards Leonard 1852-1930

- (Mary McRee) Joseph Smith Brown 1856-1903

- (Mary McRee) Josephine Vilate Brown Newman 1858-1917

- (Phebe Abbott) Stephen Abbott Brown (child) 1851-1853

- (Phebe Abbott) Phoebe Adelaide Brown 1855-1930

- (Cecelia Cornu) Charles David Brown 1856-1926

- (Cecelia Cornu) James Fredrick Brown 1859-1923

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Sarah Brown c. 1857-

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Augustus Hezekiah Brown c. 1859


- (Diane Davis) Sarah Jane Fife White 1855-1932

- (Diane Davis) William Wilson Fife 1857-1897

- (Diane Davis) Diana Fife Farr 1859-1904

- (Diane Davis) John Daniel Fife 1863-1944

- (Diane Davis) Walter Thompson Fife 1866-1827

- (Diane Davis) Agnes Ann "Aggie" Fife 1869-1891

- (Diane Davis ) Emma Fife (child) 1871-1874

- (Diane Davis) Robert Nicol Fife (infant) 1873-1874

- (Diane Davis) Barnard Fife (infant) 1881-1881

- (Cynthia Abbott) Mary Lucina Fife Hutchins 1868-1950

- (Cynthia Abbott) Child Fife (infant) 1869-1869

- (Cynthia Abbott) David Nicol Fife 1871-1924

- (Cynthia Abbott) Joseph Stephen Fife (child) 1873-1878

- (Cynthia Abbott) James Abbott Fife (infant) 1877-1878


- (Diana) Caroline Lambourne 18461979

- (Diana)  Miles Park Romney 1843-1904

- (Jane) Emma Sarah Bodily 1858-1935

- (Jane) William Wilkie Galbraith 1838-1898

- (Elizabeth) Alexander F. Macdonald 1825-1903

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Atkinson 1841-1922

- (Eliza) Anne Kirstine Hansen 1845-1916

- (Eliza) James Niels Skousen 1828-1912

- (Angela) Maria Durán de Holguin 1876-1955

- (Angela) José Tomás Gabaldón 1874-1915












Contact Us:
Orson Pratt Brown Family Organization
P.O. Box 980111
Park City, Utah 84098-0111