ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Parley P. Pratt Grave Site, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Parley P. Pratt Grave Site, Arkansas
Grave Site of Parley Pratt
A stone monument marks the grave site of Parley P.
Pratt,  member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Parley Parker Pratt
A leader in the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints, Pratt was murdered in
1857 near Alma, Arkansas.
Parley Pratt Grave Site
The memorial stands near
the site of Pratt's murder, just
off Interstate 540 in Crawford
County, Arkansas.
Last Wishes Unfulfilled
A recent attempt to relocate
Pratt's remains to Utah in
accordance with his last
wishes failed when no trace
of his body could be found.
Parley Parker Pratt Grave Site - Alma, Arkansas
Assassination of an LDS Leader
A stone memorial on the outskirts of Alma,
Arkansas, marks the grave site of Parley
Parker Pratt, a noted apostle of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon)
and member of the church's Council of the
Twelve Apostles.

Pratt was murdered here on May 13, 1857, by
a group of men led by Hector McLean, the
estranged husband of one of his (Pratt's)
twelve wives. The brutal execution ended a
dramatic series of events that began in
California and ended in the foothills of the
Boston Mountains in Arkansas.

Born on April 12, 1807, in Burlington, New
York, Pratt moved to Ohio in 1830 where he
obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon. The
message being taught by Joseph Smith,
founder of the LDS Church, so moved Pratt
that he became a convert and follower.

Over the years that followed he became a
dedicated LDS missionary, traveling the
world to help spread his beliefs. A noted
author, he penned a number of publications
supporting his faith. Also active in politics,
Pratt served on the Legislative Council of the
Utah Territory.

Like many in the early LDS Church, Pratt
engaged in the practice of plural marriage or
polygamy. One of his twelve wives was a
woman named Eleanor McLean. The two first
met in San Francisco where Pratt found the
unfortunate woman alone and wandering in
the streets. She was estranged from Hector
McLean, who she accused of brutal behavior.

After several failed attempts at reconciliation
with her first husband, Eleanor learned that
her two children were with her parents in
New Orleans. She went there in hopes of
reuniting with them, but was rebuffed. Alone
in the world, she set out alone for Utah where
she arrived in 1855.

She returned to New Orleans the following
year and managed to secure her children,
but the move ignited the outrage of Hector
McLean who now began to pursue her
across the Old West. Because Parley Pratt
had been advising her by letters, McLean
swore out a writ against him and others.

The chase came to an end in the Cherokee
Nation of what is now Oklahoma where Pratt
had instructed Eleanor to meet him at
Fort
Gibson. The two were arrested separately on
their way to the fort and were taken to
Van
Buren, Arkansas.

Appearing in court there, they were released
five days later on May 13, 1857. Knowing that
McLean and his comrades were actively
trying to incite the people of Van Buren to
lynch him, Pratt set out alone on horseback.
He apparently hoped to escape by riding
north through the mountains to the main road
leading from Northwest Arkansas back into
the Cherokee Nation. It was a hopeless effort.
Surrounded on the Wynn farm in the vicinity of
the present memorial and grave site, Parley
Pratt was murdered by Hector McLean and
six associates. Accounts of the time indicate
that McLean stabbed Pratt twice with a Bowie
knife then shot him with a derringer.

Members of the Wynn family witnessed the
incident from their nearby home and tried to
help the mortally wounded man. He lived for
about two and one-half hours, giving details
of what had happened and explaining how
he wished to be buried.

Elder George Higginson arrived on the scene
the next day, accompanied by Eleanor and a
number of concerned citizens of Van Buren.
They buried Pratt on the Wynn farm. A recent
attempt to move him to Utah in compliance
with his last wishes failed when no trace of
his remains could be found.

It has been speculated - without proof -that
Pratt's murder was one of the factors that led
to the killings of scores of Arkansas
emigrants at the Mountain Meadows
Massacre in Utah a few years later.

Pratt is memorialized today by a monument
and memorial grounds. His legacy is widely
remembered in the LDS Church. He was the
great-grandfather of former Massachusetts
governor and Presidential candidate Mitt
Romney.
Please click here to visit an
outstanding website on Parley Pratt.

The Parley Pratt Parker Grave Site is located
just off Interstate 540 near Alma, Arkansas.
To reach the memorial, exit via Highway 280
East and immediately turn left (North) on the
A-282 Link. The grave site is immediately
ahead on your left. There is no charge to visit
the site.
Grave of William Wynn
Members of the Wynn family,
who also died during the 19th
century, rest in graves near
the LDS Apostle.
Photographs by Rebecca Friddle
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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