|MARCH 2003 - This
month I am going to give short bios of Jonathan Blackmore
Pratt and his wife Susannah Halbert. And their daughter
Mary Caroline Pratt and her husband Claybourne Montgomery
Elder. The Elders were the grandparents of James Mark
Nelson, Grandma Ada’s father.
Jonathan Blackmore Pratt and his wife Susannah Halbert
Jonathan Blackmore Pratt was born 18 Jan 1807 near Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee. He was the son of William and Isabella (Ibby) Hall Pratt. His mother died when he was just five years old leaving his father with four young children, Jonathan was the oldest. His father later remarried. Jonathan’s stepmother was an aunt to Susannah Halbert who would later become his wife.
Susannah was born in Williamson County, Tennessee parents were Susannah Taylor and William Halbert. They had thirteen or fourteen children and Susannah was a middle child.
Jonathan Pratt and Susannah Halbert were married on 6 January 1833 in Tennessee and settled in Hardin County. About 1838 Indian lands were opened for settlement in Mississippi and many members of the Halbert and Pratt families (including Jonathan and Susannah and family) moved to Mississippi. “In 1844 Jonathan and his brothers moved to Tishomingo (or Itawamba) County, Mississippi, where they purchased land from the Indians. They owned about 2,000 acres of land in a beautiful little valley called Pleasant Grove. Here they raised cotton, sugar cane, and tobacco. They did not have to irrigate their crops but depended on the rainfall. They were prosperous and all who lived in the community were Pratts or related to Pratts.”
It was while they were living in Itawamba County that Mormon missionaries came their way. Jonathan and Susannah listened, believed, and were baptized in 1855.
After baptism they sold their land to Jonathan’s brother, left Mississippi and crossed the plains to join the Saints in Salt Lake City. After their arrival in 1857 they settled in Grantsville, but in the 1861 conference they were called to settle Southern Utah. Many saints from the southern states were called because of their prior experience with raising cotton.
The Pratts settled Duncan’s Retreat which is now a ghost town east of the town of Virgin in Southern Utah. This was a hard place to live because the Virgin River flooded away their hard work so many times that the community was eventually abandoned and many of the residents moved into the town of Virgin. All that now remains of Duncan’s Retreat is a rock fence that can be seen from the highway and a small cemetery. Jonathan and Susannah had a forty acre farm near Virgin and battled the desert and the river for almost 25 years but in 1885 or 86 they joined several of their neighbors and moved to the town of Deseret in Millard County where they spent the rest of their lives. They are buried in the Deseret cemetery, where there is now a new grave marker to replace their upright sandstone markers that are broken and aged.
Cindy Burgess Alldredge
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