PRATT, JULIUS FRANKLIN, farmer, who resides near Chapin, Morgan County, was born in Bridport, Addison County, Vt., August 25, 1819, a son of David Pratt, a native of South Adams, Mass., and a descendant of an ancient New England family, which participated prominently in the affairs of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early period. The Williams family, of which Mr. Pratt's mother was a representative, is of old and distinguished New England ancestry, some of its members having occupied conspicuous positions in the commercial, educational and religious life of the Colony and the State.
Julius F. Pratt was reared on the farm and educated in the common schools of Vermont and the academies at Shoreham and Middlebury, in that State. After completing his education he taught school during the winters and worked for wages as a farm hand during the summer months until his marriage, August 25, 1845, in Middlebury, Vt., to Loranie Snow. She was born January 18, 1816, also in Bridport, Vt., and was a daughter of Leummim and Alice (Bennett) Snow. Her father was a native of New York State and her mother of Connecticut. Immediately after his marriage, Mr. Pratt started for the West with his wife and sister, Charlotte, who afterward married Sylvester Joy, of Morgan County. Arriving in Jacksonville, Mrs. Pratt soon afterward began to teach school, in which work she was engaged near Concord during the winter of 1845-46, her husband being similarly employed near Elm Grove. When Mr. Pratt and his wife reached Morgan County it was in the expectation of purchasing land for farming operations, but as he had but $150 capital, he and his wife agreed that it would be best to increase their resources by teaching, as there was a strong demand for educated teachers in the new country. Having accumulated sufficient money to carry out their ambition, in the spring of 1846 Mr. Pratt rented of William C. Cleary 50 acres of land on Joy Prairie, and in the little log cabin located thereon he and his wife began housekeeping. The land had been broken by Mr. Cleary, but was otherwise unimproved. After spending a year in the development of this property, Mr. Pratt rented of Mr. Chenery a farm located nearer Chapin, where he spent another year. He then returned to the original farm owned by Mr. Cleary, which he operated two or three years longer, in the meantime contracting for 80 acres of his present farm, for which he agreed to pay $7 per acre. This land he broke to the plow the year he was on the Chenery place. Soon afterward he purchased an additional 80-acre tract adjoining his first purchase; and these two parcels of land comprise the farm which he now occupies. Upon this farm he removed with his wife in 1851, and has resided there continuously since. The house in which he resides was completed in 1856, and has been his home since August 25th, of that year. It is worthy of note that most of the land surrounding the property of Mr. Pratt was unbroken prairie when he settled in Morgan County, and deer and other game were very abundant.
In 1854 Mr. Pratt and his wife united with the Congregational Church at Concord, through the presentation of a letter from the church at Bridport, Vt., of which both had been members for some time. In the spring of 1858 he was elected a Deacon of this church, and still occupies the office by continuous reelection every four years. This church was originally organized as a Presbyterian society, but as most of its members were of the Congregational faith and favored independent government, they afterward voted to affiliate with the Congregationalists.
A stanch Republican since the days of the founding of that party, prior to which he had been a Whig, Mr. Pratt has been actively interested in the success of the men and measures of that organization. His disposition to bear his full share of the public burdens and responsibilities is illustrated by the fact that he has served for many years as Township Trustee, School Director and Township Trustee for School Funds, filling the latter office for a period of thirty-two years. Mrs. Pratt, who was the daughter of Leummim and Alice (Bennett) Snow, of Bridport, Vt., was a woman of rare graces of character, devout in her Christianity and beloved by all who were favored with her friendship. Her death occurred May 22, 1892. She was the mother of four children, all of whom are still living, as follows: Alice Asenath, wife of John B. Joy; Lyman Leummim; Ellen Eugenia, who resides with her father; and Thurlow Hayward. All the children are residents of Morgan County, and highly respected by their fellow citizens.
Mr. Pratt is highly esteemed by the people of Morgan County, who, during the long years of his residence among them, have learned to appreciate the strength of his character, his integrity and straightforwardness, and his abundant public spirit. He is a man of generous impulses, kind to those who are troubled or afflicted, and a friend to all worthy enterprises. As a representative of the best citizenship of Morgan County, the record of his life is entitled to a permanent place in the annals of the county.