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William W. Pratz   page 599 –600 Biographical and Portrait Album Peoria County 1890

William W. Pratz, an enterprising and progressive farmer of Brimfield Township, owns and occupies one hundred and sixty acres on section 20. In the accumulation of property his efforts have been ably seconded by the prudent management and wise counsel of his wife whose loving heart and thrifty ways have made their dwelling place a true home. He himself has manifested unflagging industry, has pursued wise methods  of cultivation and exhibited good judgment in determining what crops to raise and what stock to use and breed. He divides his attention between the cultivation of his fields and the raising of live stock, in both of which branches of agricultural work he is meeting with success.

Mr. Pratz is a native of Stark County, where his birth took place March 21, 1841. He is a son of pioneer settlers in that county whence they removed to Peoria County when our subject was about sixteen years old. I n common with other members of pioneer families, he received limited school privileges and early learned the industrious and self-reliant habits which prove such strong levers in moving circumstances to one’s financial good. He grew to maturity in this county, supplying to some extent the deficiencies in his  education by attendance at a private school. During the whole course of his life he has paid great attention to the news of the day and the topics presented for consideration in good books, and is therefore well informed on general subjects.

On the 29th of February, 1864, the name of W.W. Pratz was placed upon the muster roll of Company I, Seventy-seventh Illinois Infantry, which formed part of the Union army in the Department of the Gulf. The young man bore a gallant part in the sieges of Ft. Gaines, Ft. Morgan, Ft. Blakely and Spanish Fort, in the fight at Whistler’s Station and in numerous skirmishes of minor importance. As one of the gallant band of privates upon whom fell the brunt of the struggle, he served until August 15, 1865, when he received an honorable discharge and returned to his home to again identify himself with the agricultural interests of the county wherin he has continued to reside.

A few months after his return from the fields of battle Mr. Pratz was united in marriage with Miss Mary C. Dey, a native of Warren County, N.J. born November 20, 1842. Her father, Dr. William B. Dey died in his native State, New Jersey when Mary was about seven years of age, and about three years later the widowed mother came to this part of Illinois with her family. She settled in Millbrook Township, Peoria County, and here Mrs. Pratz grew to maturity. She received a good practical education, and for a time was engaged in school teaching. Her marriage to our subject was celebrated January 17, 1866 and the union has been productive to them of eight children. The first born, Edith, is the wife of J.B. Sprowls of Elmwood. The others, who still remain with their parents, are Charles U., Fred D., Rowena H., Lois E.A., Carrie H., Clark A. and Gertie O. The eldest daughter and the two eldest sons have taught school.

In 1882 Mr. Pratz took possession of his present farm, a tract of land under excellent cultivation and bearing such improvements as make it a home of comfort and pleasing appearance. He has ever endeavored to assist in the movements which have been made to advance the interests of society and develop the material resources of this section of the fertile Prairie State, while at the same time bestowing upon his children every opportunity possible to gain knowledge and acquire habits which will fit them for honorable citizenship. He is now serving as Township School Trustee. In commemoration of his army life, he is identified with the Grand Army Post at Brimfield, and, it is scarcely necessary to say, votes the Republican ticket.

The parents of our subject were John and Sarah (Wetzel) Pratz, natives of the Keystone State, who for a time made their home in Ohio. They came to Stark County, Ill in 1837 securing one hundred and sixty acres of Government land, for which they paid the usual price of $1.25 per acre, and which they reclaimed from the raw prairie, making of it a productive, well-improved estate. In 1857 they removed with their family to Peoria County, making their home in Millbrook Township until called hence, the father, in 1862 and the mother in 1866. They had quite a large family of whom the deceased members are Elizabeth, Susannah, Mary C., Sarah and Stephen. The survivors are: Jonathan and John, who live in Stark County; Margaret, wife of G.M. hazen of Stark County; Isabella, wife of Josiah Jaques, of Millbrook Township; Sarah J. wife of A.R. Aten, of Round Rock, Tex; Emeline, wife of H.S. Jaques, of Millbrook township, and our subject. The father was a Republican in politics and a member of the Christian Church.

After the death of Dr. Dey the mother of Mrs. Pratz became the wife of A.D. Wycoff, who died several years since. The widow now past seventy years old, is kindly cared for by her children, under whose various roofs she spends such time as she desires. She bore her first husband five children, of whom the only survivors are Sarah, wife of Ezra G. Webster, of Upper Alton, and Mrs. Pratz. The deceased are Theodoric, Emma and William. The children of Mr. Wycoff are: Harriet E., wife of James Coe of Millbrook Township and Lydia A. wife of William Jaques, of Brimfield Township.

Submitted by Londie Benson.