Article Number Nine - 
Utter and Pratt Families 

Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on June 14, 1879, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy provided by the Durham Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell



I notice that your types make me say that Adoniram Skuls lived where Judson Cleveland now does---it was Adoniram Skeels who lives there; he owned a large farm, up east of Oak Hill, on the road to "Saybrook Hill."  This hill was settled immediately after the Revolutionary war, by James Utter, Capt. Jonathan Pratt, and Abijah Pratt, Sr.,  and Ethan Pratt, who came at a later date.  These Pratts were brothers, and their native place was Saybrook, Conn.  James Utter and Capt. Pratt were soldiers in the war of 1776; Pratt being a captain in the war.  James Utter was evidently the first settler, coming in 1783, and clearing a piece of land and building a hut near the location of Mr. Addison Utter's house, after which he was joined by his family, consisting of wife and one child, accompanied by Capt. Pratt  and Abijah his brother. They lived and worked together and built their first log houses near by, and their families grew up like brothers and sisters. Mrs. Utter's maiden name was Hannah Spencer, and it is said that she became so homesick, the first year, that she went back to Connecticut on horseback, carrying her child in her arms. She burned out the upright end of a log in such a way as to make a very respectable mortar of it, in which she pounded corn for her family bread. They had six children, viz., James, Dan, Stephen, Bani, Hannah and Ruth.  James Utter, Jr., lived on the farm afterward owned by Isaac Utter, his son, and now by James Utter, his son.  Mrs. Maria Tripp, of Oak Hill, is a grand daughter of James Utter, Sr. and daughter of James Utter, Jr.  Bani,  the youngest son, kept the old place, and it is now owned by Addison, his son. Isreal, another son, lives on the farm that was originally settled by the Egbertson family.  Dan lived and died in Bushnellville, and Hannah in Oswego. Stephen lived for a time where Wesley Brown does, and Ruth became the wife of "Honest" John Peck.  The fifth generation of the original Utter family is now represented in the town, and Mrs. Hannah Spencer Utter, the great-great grandmother lived to be 94 years of age.  Capt. Jonathan Pratt was a very active, spry man, and very courageous withal.  On one occasion he had received quite a sum of money from Connecticut, and on his way home, when going up through the pine woods that were on the high ground east of Oak Hill, it being after dark, a man suddenly sprang out of the thicket and demanded his money.  The captain bounded out of his wagon and applied his "blacksnake" whip so vigorously that the rascal ran for dear life. He had an idea who his intended robber was, and, in a few days after, he saw him in the village and with one arm in a sling, and his face and his other hand badly marked up. He rallied him about his appearance, but the man claimed that it was caused by the limbs of a falling tree which he was chopping a few days before.  Upon the formation of the Presbyterian church he became a member of the board of trustees, and Betsey, his wife, became a member of the church. They had three children, Jonathan and two daughters.  Jonathan, Jr., inherited the old farm, but it was sold after a time and he went to live with his sons, Cole and Solomon, who bought a large tract of timber land between Livingstonville and Franklinton, where they carried on a large lumber trade for a number of years.  About 23 years ago they both sold out and went to Michigan, since which both have died.  Eunice, their sister, married Elizur Benjamin, and lives near the site of their original sawmill.  Abijah Pratt, Sr., first settled near James Utter's and Capt. Pratt's, but in time bought a farm just over the line, on the Van Rensselaer Patent, where his grandson, Ezra Pratt, now lives. He married Priscilla Shipman. They had two sons and three daughters, but comparatively few of their posterity now live in the town.  Isreal married Charlotte,  a sister of Mr. Lyman Stannard,  and their daughter Rosella married James Jennings, and now lives in Freehold.  Synthia married Gideon Barker, and their son, William P. Barker, became a missionary to India, continuing in that work 14 or 15 years, until his health failed.  He is now laboring among the Tuscarora and the Cattaraugus Indians in this State. Abijah Pratt, Jr., married Polly Post, a niece of Col. Ezra Post, of whom we hope to write more fully in the future.  They had nine children, Emogene, Azubah, Mary, Priscilla, Philo, Norman, Eveline, Ezra and ElectusAzubah died in youth, and Norman passed away just in the vigor of manhood. Electus graduated from Yale College in the class of 1858; taught in the State of Georgia and also in his native State until the breaking out of the Rebellion, when he enlisted Nov. 9, 1861, as a private in the 93rd NY Infantry.  On the 25th of November, 1863, he received a commission from President Lincoln as Captain of Company G, 8th Reg U.S. Colored Infantry, was wounded at Alusta, in Florida, and in a skirmish at Darby Town, VA., lost his left arm. Since the war, to the present, he has been in the employ of the Government, connected with the pay department.  Abijah Pratt, the father, became a member of the Presbyterian church January 5, 1834, and Elder Dec. 29, 1840, and died Oct. 5, 1861, greatly respected by all who knew him. His widow still survives.  Ethan Pratt, a brother of the above, settled about half a mile east of Oak Hill, married Mabel Skeels, a sister of Adoniram Skeels.  They had 7 children, viz., Daniel, John, Ethan, Sally, Deborah, Eveline  and Edmund.  Daniel married Sylvina, a sister of Daniel and Eben Booth, and lived and died in Chemung county. Ethan became a minister of the Gospel in Bainbridge, where he died. Deborah was said to be the handsomest young lady in town, married Ira D. Smith, and her son, Thomas Smith, now lives near Cairo. Sally married Henry Chittenden, and was highly esteemed as a mother in Isreal..  She died May 21st, 1872.  Eveline married Zina Whittlesey, of sainted memory, who died in Rochester, June 9, 1877. She still survives. Edmund married Eunice Hull, and after her death Rebecca Chittenden.  By his first wife he had three sons,  Elizur, Ezra and Theodore.  Elizur graduated from Williams College, in the class of 1867, and from Union Theo. Seminary in 1870---has spent the most of his ministerial life thus far at Cape Vincent, near the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River.  Ezra became a doctor, and is practicing at Brownville, Jefferson county. Theodore died in early life. Their father became a member of the church Sept. 4, 1831, and an elder June 10, 1857.

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