Eleanor McLean and her husband, Hector, first encountered Mormonism in San Francisco. Though Eleanor was interested in joining the Church in 1851, Hector threatened violence if she did; she finally received his written permission and was baptized in 1854.
Later that year, Parley P. Pratt arrived in San Francisco, having been called to preside over the Pacific mission. The Pratts and Eleanor became acquainted when Eleanor helped care for Elizabeth Pratt, and in turn the Pratts helped Eleanor as Hector made her domestic life difficult, which included sending their children to live with Eleanor's parents in New Orleans.
Eleanor eventually separated from Hector and later married Parley as a plural wife in Salt Lake City. She tried to regain custody of her children from her parents, but Hector managed to entangle them in legal issues and ultimately murdered Parley outside of Van Buren, Arkensas.