THIS STRANGE WOMAN DID NOT WEEP AT LOSS OF CHILD. ~ Della Pratt Was More Concerned Over Whether She Had Offended "Adam."

December 9, 1908

Della Pratt Was More Concerned Over
Whether She Had Offended

Little Feeling seemed to enter the heart of Della Pratt over the loss of her little daughter, Lulu, who was shot by the officers as the fugitives were trying to escape in a skiff, and still less over the condition of her husband, who was seriously wounded at the battle at Fourth and Main streets. Most of her concern seemed to center about whether she had met the wishes of "Adam" in not making a successful resistance against her pursuers. Yet, withal, she seemed far from a heartless woman, and her thin face showed unmistakable traces of something akin to refinement.
Undoubtedly her mind was crazed by the cunning preachments of the man, "Adam," or Sharp, had every member of the band under his thumb. They believed that they should obey his every word implicitly and, though the seemed to have freely accorded him such unquestioned leadership, he was shrewd enough not to demand too much from them, and treated them with a certain brand of consideration.

Her statement to the prosecuting attorney was substantially as follows:

"I was born in Illinois, but raised in Texas. My husband and myself got the light several years ago in Oklahoma and met Adam and Eve and Purcell in that state. We then went around together, preaching in many different parts of the country.


"On or about September 16 we left Bismarck, N. D., in our house boat, floating down the Missouri river stopping at the various towns and cities along its banks, to preach. We had more or less trouble in most of the places we visited with the local officers.

"My husband and I had five children, four girls and a boy, ranging from 4 to 14 years of age. Three years ago we met James Sharp and Melissa Sharp, or Adam and Eve, in Oklahoma, where they had got the "light." We had already got our 'light,' however, form my husband's brother, before we met the Sharps, whom we believed we should find. When I was about 13 years old I was converted as a Baptist, but later joined the Holiness sect, yet in all things did not believe as they.

"Last year we wintered in Pelan, Minn., where a man named Ed, I think his last name was Fish or Fisher, joined us. We got to Kansas City a seek ago tomorrow. The first night it was too cold to preach, and the second most of the party visited around at several missions here. On the third night we began preaching at the mission at 300 Main street.

"Several months ago Adam told us that we must arm ourselves against the 'serpents' and that we should never submit to being put in jail again. The men folks up to that time had been imprisoned a number of times, and we vowed never to submit again. A young boy named Willie Engnall came into the faith in Minnesota and brought two pistols with him. We had five pistols, two rifles and a double-barrel shotgun. All except what Willie brought with him were bought by the men folks. The men and children took these weapons with them every day when they went into a town to preach.

"The first I knew of the trouble today was when my two little girls, Lena, 12 years old, and Mary, 11, came running down the river bank and cried out to me, 'They're after us.' "

"A little after that a negro policeman came down to the houseboat and threw his gun on me. I got one of the Winchester rifles and told him not to come on the boat. I did not shoot, for I wanted them to bring Adam down to the houseboat, so that he could tell me what to do.


"I talked to some man who said he was the chief of police, and some citizens. I asked them to bring Adam down there, but they wouldn't do it, so I stayed in the tent on the deck of the houseboat. Later I took the two children and went into Ed's skiff, which was tied to the houseboat, with the intention of getting away from the noise and crowd, and with that plan that I might be able to get to talk with Adam, or, if I could not get him, I wanted to get the advice of Eve.

"When they began to shoot I thought it was just to scare me, and I wouldn't give myself up. Then I saw blood on my child Lulu's ear and knew she had been hit. At that I cried out to Mary, who was rowing the boat, and swung myself over the edge of the skiff into the water so as to protect myself form the bullets and Mary did the same. I was so numb from cold when the policemen came up in their boat that I could not climb into the boat without help."