Louisa Barnes Pratt

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Louisa Barnes Pratt was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served as a missionary.

She was born November 10, 1892, in Warwick, Massachusetts. She attended school as a young girl and excelled in her studies. At the age of five, she was sent to a neighbor’s home on an errand and wanting to stay and play, she told the neighbor she was allowed two hours. The woman doubted the truth of the length of time and consequently sent her own daughter to discover the truth. Louisa was severely reprimanded for her lie and was sent to live with her aunt who lived several miles away. She lived with this aunt until 1910, when her father moved their family to Canada.

Louisa was a religious child and grew up with both her parents and aunt who were members of the Church of England. At age fourteen, Louisa was baptized a member of the Episcopal Church. She then went to live with a sister-in-law who taught her tailoring.

She eventually moved to New Hampshire where she became a teacher and met and married Addison Pratt in 1831. They settled in Ripley, New York. In 1838, they learned about the Church of Jesus Christ and were baptized. They were persecuted for joining the Church and soon moved to Nauvoo, Illinois to be with the Saints.

Louisa’s husband served several missions to French Polynesia. She spent much of their married life alone, raising their seven children and meagerly providing her own living as both a tailor and schoolteacher. She eventually took her children to the Salt Lake Valley to be with the body of the Church. Her husband joined them there in 1848. He was soon called again to serve a mission in Tahiti, but this time Louisa and their daughters joined him in his service. When his mission was cut short due to French laws prohibiting the work of foreign missionaries, Louisa, Addison, and their daughters settled in San Bernardino, California, where they joined an LDS settlement. He went to Tahiti two more times, although the government did not allow him to stay long.

When Brigham Young asked the Saints living in California to move to Utah, Addison refused to leave. Ever committed to the Church and obedient to the prophet, Louisa traveled to Utah with two of her daughters and settled in Beaver, hoping that Addison would soon join her. However, he died in California in October 1872.

Louisa became a writer for the Woman’s Exponent. She died on September 8, 1880. Her extensive journal was published as an autobiography edited by S. George Ellsworth.

External Source

Susan Easton Black and Mary Jane Woodger, Women of Character (American Fork, Utah: Covenant, 2011).