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Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt (born January 14, 1809, Groton, Vermont; d. August 24, 1891 in Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory) was a wife of Parley P. Pratt who was one of the original twelve apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She is also considered by some to have been one of the plural wives of Joseph Smith the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Her life paralleled much of the early history of the church.

Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt
Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt.jpg
Personal details
BornMary Ann Frost
(1809-01-14)January 14, 1809
Groton, Vermont, United States
DiedPleasant Grove, Utah, Utah Territory, United States
Resting placePleasant Grove City Cemetery
40°22′09″N 111°44′27″W / 40.3691°N 111.7409°W / 40.3691; -111.7409 (Pleasant Grove City Cemetery)
Spouse(s)Nathan Stearns (1832–1833)
Parley P. Pratt (1837–1853)


Early lifeEdit

Mary Ann Frost was born in Groton, Vermont and was the daughter of Aaron Frost, a farmer, and his wife Susanna Gray Bennett Frost. When Mary Ann was young, her family moved to Bethel, Maine (then a province of Massachusetts).

She married Nathan Stearns, her first husband, on April 1, 1832. She gave birth to her first child, Mary Ann Stearns, on April 6, 1833. Nathan Stearns died on August 25 of the same year leaving Mary Ann a widow.

In the late summer of 1835 Brigham Young, and a number of other Mormons came to Bethel, Maine. Mary Ann and her sister, Olive Grey Frost – who would later marry both Joseph Smith and, after Smith's death, Brigham Young – converted to the Mormon faith and were baptized by Mormon Apostle David W. Patten.

Marriage to Parley P. PrattEdit

In late 1836 Mary Ann and her sister moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where the church gathered and built its first temple. While in Kirtland, she met the recently widowed Parley P. Pratt, one of the original twelve apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They were married in Kirtland on May 9, 1837.

In July 1837 Parley P. Pratt left on a mission trip to New York City. During this trip Pratt published the second edition of the Book of Mormon and his book A Voice of Warning defending the Mormon faith.

In April 1838, as a result of the Mormons being expelled from Ohio, Pratt and Mary Ann moved to the town of Far West in Caldwell County, Missouri. Their first child, Nathan Pratt, was born there on August 31, 1838.

Pratt participated in the Battle of Crooked River, near Ray County, Missouri on 25 October 1838. He was apprehended after the battle and was jailed at Richmond in Ray County and later in Columbia in Boone County from late 1838. In December Mary Ann joined her husband in jail but departed on March 17, 1839 to join other Mormons in Far West, Missouri before moving to Quincy, Illinois. On July 4, 1839 Pratt escaped from jail and reunited with Mary Ann and his children at Quincy on July 11.

In August 29, 1839, Mary Ann and Pratt left for New York City before going to England on a mission trip. Pratt sailed from New York on March 9, 1840 and arrived in Liverpool. Mary returned to her parents in Maine for a few months and arrived in Manchester, England in mid-October, 1840. Their daughter Olivia Pratt was born in Manchester, England on June 2, 1841. They left England with 250 converts on October 29, 1842 and arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois, the new headquarters of the Mormon Church, in April 1843. [1]


It is supposed by some that Mary Ann became a plural wife of Joseph Smith in 1843. However, there is no documentary evidence to support this hypothesis. In the summer of 1843, Mary Ann's sister, Olive Grey Frost (1816–1845), was married to Joseph Smith.

On July 24, 1844, Pratt married Elizabeth Brotherton as Pratt's first plural wife. Pratt would marry four more women later in the same year. All of these marriages were without Mary Ann's knowledge or consent.

On November 7, 1844 Mary Ann's sister Olive was married to Brigham Young as his 16th wife. She died in Nauvoo on October 6, 1845.

On December 10, 1845, Mary Ann, along with Parley P. Pratt and his brother Orson Pratt, received the temple endowment in the Nauvoo Temple.

Sometime after January 1, 1846 Mary Ann found out about Pratt's polygamous marriages, which dated back to 1844. The couple estranged after this. On February 6, 1846, following the advice of Brigham Young, Mary Ann was sealed, by Apostle Heber C. Kimball, to Pratt for time and was sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity in the Nauvoo Temple. (Note that Smith had been dead for a year and a half at that time.) [1]

On February 13, 1846, Mary Ann, Parley and children left Nauvoo with the bulk of the Mormons living there. Mary Ann returned one week later to stay with her parents, who were still in Nauvoo but planned to leave when work on the Temple was complete.

On September 18, 1846 Mary Ann left Nauvoo with the last group of Mormons and arrived, in June 1847, at Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Upon rejoining Parley she told him she is returning to Maine with the children. Parley left on a mission trip in late 1847. In March 1848 Mary received money from Parley and returned to Maine.

Later lifeEdit

After living in Bethel for about three years, Mary Ann left on March 10, 1851 and stayed for some time in St. Louis, Missouri and Kanesville, Iowa. She and her children left Kanesville on June 10, 1852 and arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah with the Harmon Cutler Company on September 10, 1852. Pratt returned from an eighteen-month mission trip to California and Chile on October 18. Mary Ann did not reunite with him but allowed their children to visit him. On March 5, 1853 she was granted a divorce from Parley P. Pratt by Brigham Young. [2]

Mary Ann lived the rest of her life in Pleasant Grove, Utah. She never remarried. She worked as a midwife and is reputed to have delivered hundreds of children without losing a single one.

In 1880 Mary Ann authored an article in the Salt Lake City magazine Woman's Exponent entitled "Give to those Rights to Whom Rights Belong", which advocated that women be given more legal and political rights.[3] Her authorship of this article can be interpreted[who?] as placing her among the earliest of American feminists.[citation needed]

Mary Ann died in Pleasant Grove in 1891, at the age of 83. She was buried in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery.


Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt was the mother of five children by her two husbands. Two of the children died while young.

Child with Nathan Stearns –

  • Mary Ann Stearns (April 6, 1833 – April 4, 1912) m. Oscar Winters (1825–1903)

Children with Parley Pratt – [4]

  • Nathan Pratt (August 31, 1838– December 12, 1843)
  • Olivia Thankful Pratt (June 2, 1841– June 12, 1906) m. Benjamin Woodbury Driggs (1837–1913)
  • Susan Pratt (April 7, 1843– August 1844)
  • Moroni Llewellyn Pratt (December 7, 1844– April 18, 1913) m. Caroline M. Bebee (1852–1913)


  1. ^ a b "Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt – Nauvoo, England and Back to Nauvoo". Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt – Nauvoo, Bethel and Across the Plains to Utah". Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  3. ^ Pratt, Mary Ann (1880-04-01). "Give to those Rights to Whom Rights Belong". Woman's Exponent. 8 (21). p. 165.
  4. ^ Givens, Terryl L.; Grow, Matthew J. (2011). Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism. Oxford University Press. p. 401. ISBN 9780195375732. Retrieved 24 July 2017.

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