JULIUS F. PRATT. The Pratt family is widely and favorably known throughout this county, and is recognized as forming a part and parcel of its best element, representing its intelligence, enterprise, industry and virtue. The homestead of this gentleman, comprising 160 acres of thoroughly cultivated land, is finely located on section 6, township 15, range 11, and he also has 174 acres on section 5. He has been his own architect and builder, and his dwelling, barns, and outhouses furnish an admirable illustration of the character of the man. They are neat and substantial, provided with every convenience and finely adapted to the requirements of the proprietor, and for the prosecution of agriculture after the best methods.
Mr. Pratt came to this county in 1845, poor in purse, and occupied himself as a renter until he could become a land-holder. Two years later he realized his desires, securing a tract of land which had never been subjected to any cultivation, and he thereafter labored early and later for a number of years before feeling assured of his ultimate success. Appearances would indicate that he should be well satisfied at the present, for he is in the enjoyment of a handsome income and a competence sufficient to keep himself and family from want during their natural lives. Cultivated tastes and ample means have been exercised in the adornment of the dwelling both within and without, and the home with all its appointments very nearly approaches the ideal of peaceful rural life, where nature and art alike contribute to the comfort and happiness of mankind.
A native of Bridport, Addison Co., Vt., our subject was born Aug. 25, 1819, and is the son of Lyman Pratt, the son of David Pratt, the latter of whom was a native of Massachusetts, whence he removed to Vermont during the early settlement of the Green Mountain State. He located on a tract of wild land in Addison County, from which he improved a farm, and where he spent the remainder of his days, attaining to the advanced age of eighty-three years. He was the scion of an excellent old family of South Adams, Mass., and was distinguished for his kindly Christian character, his stern integrity, his high morality and Christian principles.
Lyman Pratt, the father of our subject, also a native of Bridgeport, Vt., was carefully reared and educated, and like his father before him chose farming for his life occupation. He was surrounded by all the healthy influences of the time and place, and grew to an admirable manhood, well-fitted for the future duties of life. When of suitable years and circumstances he was married to Miss Asenath Williams, who was born and reared not far from the childhood home of her husband, and was the daughter of Joseph and Polly (Gray) Williams, the representatives of a fine old family who spent the greater part of their lives in Bridport, and died there. Mr. Williams was a clothier, but being fond of rural life became owner of a farm, and also engaged in agriculture. They were people blameless in their lives, and when departing hence left to their children the heritage of an untarnished name.
After their marriage Lyman Pratt and his young wife settled down to farming near the old Pratt homestead in the vicinity of Bridgeport, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The father died at the age of sixty-seven years, and the mother when forty-five years old. They were prominent members of the Congregational Church and widely and favorably known throughout their community. Mr. Pratt was a member of the old Whig party until its abandonment, and the then identified himself with the Republicans. The parental household included seven children, two sons and five daughters, all of whom are living. Four of them are residents of Illinois and Kansas, two being of this county. All are married and have children of their own.
The subject of this sketch was the eldest child of his parents, and spent his boyhood and youth in his native county, attending the common school and developing into a worthy manhood. He was employed as a teacher some time before his marriage, which event occurred on his twenty-sixth birthday in the township of Middlebury, Vt., his bride being Miss Loranie Snow. Mrs. Pratt was born in Bridport, Vt., Jan 18, 1816, and is the daughter of Leumnim and Alice (Bennett) Snow, the father a native of New York State and the mother of Connecticut. They were married in Addison County, Vt., and began their wedded life at Bridport, where Mr. Snow pursued his trade of a stonemason. Subsequently they changed their residence to Shoreham Township, where the death of Mr. Snow took place in 1820, at the early age of thirty-eight years. The wife and mother, remaining a widow, lived to come to Illinois, and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Pratt, in 1851, at the age of sixty-seven years. She had been identified with the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches, and was a lady of rare qualities, one whose name is held in kindly remembrance by all who knew her.
Mrs. Pratt was the only child of her parents, and was quite young at the time of her father's death. She was carefully reared by her mother, and completed her studies in Middlebury Seminary, after which she occupied herself as a teacher for ten seasons in the public schools. She is a lady of fine intelligence and well fitted to become the partner of such a man as her husband. Of this union there have been born four children, the eldest of whom, a daughter, Alice, is the wife of John B. Joy, a well-to-do farmer living in township 16, range 11; Lyman L. married Miss Frances Steele, of Oberline, Ohio, and they occupy the farm of our subject, on section 6; Ellen E. makes her home with her parents, but at this writing (May, 1889) is visiting in California; Thurow H. remains at home and assists his father in the operations of the farm. Both Mr. and Mrs. Pratt are devoted members of the Congregational Church, with which their children are also connected, and in which Mr. Pratt has been a Deacon for the long period of twenty years. Politically, he is a sound Republican, and is at present the Treasurer of his school district. The family occupies a position in the front ranks among the foremost people of this county.