Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parley P Pratt Jr. Part 1

Elder Parley P. Pratt Jr. served more than one mission for the Church. In 1878 he was serving alone in the north western states (Iowa and Missouri) when he learned that Elder Edward Stevenson Jr. was also serving his mission alone in Tennessee. So in May he headed south to join him, thinking they would be better off serving together.
Taking steamer for 200 miles up the Cumberland river, I arrived in Nashville, the state capital of Tennessee, which contains 35,000 people. Laying over for a day, I called upon the Mayor, who received me kindly. He had many questions to ask respecting our people and doctrines, and even expressed a desire to hear me preach. He opened the federal court room to me, and according to announcement, on the evening of the 12th of June, I addressed a very respectable and attentive audience on the subject of the gospel.

Pratt wrote a few letters to the Deseret News with updates to his service. His letters are a pretty good substitute for a journal, since he gives wonderful detail, even if his spelling was not perfect.

Passing on some 65 miles southwest, by rail and wagon, I joined Elder E. Stevenson at this place [Shady Grove] on June 16. He and I labored together in the counties of Hickman, Murry [Maury] and Louis [Lewis] for some 35 days, holding in the meantime 27 meetings, with an average attendance of 58 strangers.
This was not the earliest reference to work in Lewis County I have come across. Elder Stevenson’s diary says much the same thing but gives greater detail about the people to whom he preached. In particular they preached at the home of Sherriff John Carroll who was the brother of Malinda Carroll Conder. In attendance was Tom Garrett who invited the Elders to his home on Cane Creek.

We have, in this district, two branches of the Church, numbering 33 members, all in good standing, six of whom have been added during the last six months, by baptism.
I can only assume the two branches he means are Shady Grove and Totty’s Bend, the only two branches of the Church I know of at the time in the area.

[Next Time: Pratt in East Tennessee]

3 comments:

Clark Herlin said...

Your posts are always enjoyable. Keep it up.

Ardis said...

Yet another example of how your knowledge of local history and conditions lets you draw connections and understand incomplete/incorrect references that would be opaque to most of us.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks, Clark.

Ardis, What's that old definition of a specialist? Someone who know more and more about less and less until they know absolutely every thing about nothing. Well, I don't know everything about nothing yet, but I'm working on it.