On January 7, 1852, five-week-old, Omner Pratt died in Valparaiso, Chile, and was buried in a private cemetery. He was the infant son of Parley P. and Phoebe Pratt. When the ship "Dracut" sailed away from the harbor on March 5, 1852, the Pratts gazed sadly on the hill of the cemetery where their infant son was buried.
More than 138 years later, in 1990, local Saints in Valparaiso, Chile located the grave site through research. Funds were donated for a plague and grave marker. The cemetery plaque reads: "Son of Parley P. Pratt, Apostle of Jesus Christ and first missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to South America, who dedicated this land for the preaching of the gospel." The "Cemetery of the Dissidents" (for foreigners), is cared for by the Union Church.
Elder Waldo P. Call, at the time a member of the Seventy, unveiled the plaque. He also dedicated the infant's grave site. Elder Call, who is a direct descendant of Parley P. Pratt, prayed during the dedication of the gravesite: "Wilt thou bless those who govern; and bless us as members of the Church that by our living the gospel worthily thou mayest bless this people, that there may be peace, that there may be food on the tables of all the Chilean families, and that they may listen to the gospel message and feel that it is true."
Regional Representative, Elder Romelio Narvaez said on this solemn occasion: "The little grave left on a lonely hill in Valparaiso in 1852 has been as a dormant seed planted by an apostle of the Lord to bear fruit in the flowering of the gospel a century later."
While sailing back home in 1852, Elder Parley P. Pratt wrote a letter to President Brigham Young:
"We stayed till all our means were exhausted and sought and prayed diligently for our way to open; but we could neither speak the language sufficiently to preach the Gospel nor find any way to earn our living, so we found it necessary to return....
"I feel as though the Book of Mormon and some cheap publications should be translated into Spanish and printed, and then the key be turned to these nations while a living priesthood is accompanied by something for them to read, even those writings which have the promises of God, the prayers and faith of the ancients, and the power and Spirit of God to work with them in restoring the House of Israel....
"I hope I shall not be counted a slothful servant, for I assure you that I did all in my power, with all diligence, and with all prayer of faith I possess; and my earnest desire is to be counted worthy to labor for the restoration of Israel until it be accomplished...."
Elder Pratt continued to carefully study the Spanish Language during the voyage home.
"I study the language all day and think of it, and even dream and talk it aloud in my sleep, in which I sometimes learn more than in the day. But it is no small work to become familiar with the entire grammar, words and style of a language."
Parley P. Pratt passed this interest on to his descendants, and several became great missionaries and mission presidents, including his son Helaman Pratt, who served a mission to Mexico in 1876 and as mission president in 1884. Helaman's son, Rey L. Pratt helped open missionary work in Argengina while also serving as the president of the Mexican Mission in 1925. Many other descendents have helped spread the gospel in Latin America since that time.
Rodolfo Acevedo, Church News, November 24, 1990
Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 396-402
Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:347