The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt

The Autobiography of a Mormon Missionary Widow and Pioneer

edited by S. George Ellsworth

Life Writings of Frontier Women Series, Volume 3, edited by Maureen Ursenbach Beecher

Winner of the 1999 Steven F. Christensen Award for Best Documentary, Mormon History Association

In her memoir, and 1870s revision of her journal and diary, Louisa Barnes Pratt tells of childhood in Massachusetts and Canada during the War of 1812, her independent career as a teacher and seamstress in New England, and her marriage to the Boston seaman Addison Pratt.

Converting to the LDS Church, the Pratts moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, from where Brigham Young sent Addison on the first of the long missions to the Society Islands that would leave Louisa on her own. As a sole available parent, she hauled her children west to Winter Quarters, to Utah in 1848, to California, and, in Addison's wake, to Tahiti in 1850.

The Pratts joined the Mormon colony at San Bernardino, California. When in 1858 a federal army's march on Utah led to the colonists' recall, Addision—alienated from the Mormon Church after long absences—chose not to go. Mostly separated thereafter (Addison died in 1872), Louisa settled in Beaver, Utah, where she campaigned for women's rights, contributed to the Woman's Exponent, and depended on her own means, as she had much of her life, until her death in 1880.


S. George Ellsworth was a professor of history at Utah State University.

Imprint: Utah State University Press

Book Details

  • Hardcover Price: $33.95
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-87421-252-5
  • Publication Year: 1998
  • Pages: 448
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by S. George Ellsworth
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-252-5