Pratt Ancestors journey to Michigan in 1880
Written by Norleen Pratt Hicks, Oct. 2013

My ancestor originally were from Stevenage Hertfordshire, England were my 6th great grandfather the Rev. William Pratt a Cambridge trained Anglican priest served as a parish priest. His death was in 1629. He had 3 sons Richard, and a set of twins William and John. William married Elizabeth Clark in England and they had 3 children Elizabeth, and a set of twins named William and John. William and Elizabeth & children left England to escape the religious persecution and came to America in 1636, landing in Newton, Connecticut. The Pratt’s resided in Connecticut for four generation until Deacon Elisha Pratt and family moved to Spencertown N.Y. around 1770. His son Joshua Pratt moved with his sons Joshua, William and Frederick in 1779 to Sherburne N.Y, where he became a prominent banker. His son William and Fredrick moved to Cortland County N.Y. where they were offered 2 acres of free land.
William Pratt my Great Grandfather married Mary Jane Bush and resided in Mc Graw N.Y. until their deaths. William Pratt’s son my grandfather, John Pratt was born in 1856.
In 1880 my grandfather John Pratt married Emma Jeanette Cole who was born in 1863.
Soon after their marriage in 1880, my grandparents traveled to Michigan with my great grandparents Loren and Phoebe Cole to care for her aging and ill Great Uncle and Aunt, Cardinal and Mary Woolsey, who resided in Saline Mi. My Great grandparents died in 1905 and are burried along w/ my great, great Aunt and Uncle in the cemetery between Clinton and Saline.
My grandparents, John and Emma Pratt had 3 children Julia (Maude)born in 1889 and a set of twin sons Robert and Rudolph born in 1901.`
My Grandmother Pratt’s three brothers George, Francis, and Charlie Cole traveled from McGraw to Michigan in 1880 on their way to Dakota, for the free land that was being offered. They stopped in Clinton where my grandparents the Pratt’s were then residing to raise enough money to continue on to the Dakota’s in 1881.
Times were tough and there was no work to be had, so my Grandfather Pratt left Clinton in the winter of 1903 for North Dakota to join his brother in laws to look for work. Soon after finding work he wrote my grandmother Pratt to have his family join him. My grandmother Pratt was illiterate and could neither read or write and my Aunt Maude intercepted the letter and wrote to her father telling him that they did not want him back and never wanted to see him again. So grandfather John Pratt returned to McGraw N.Y. Ashamed & never telling his family their that had any children. My grandfather died thinking his family did not want him. My grandmother was very bitter and died thinking that her husband had deserted his family. My father Rudolph Pratt died thinking his father had never wanted him.
In 1915 my great Uncle Charlie, after selling his 150 acres to his brother George in Hope, N. Dakota returned to Michigan and bought a farm on Macon Rd. from my Aunt Maude Pennington’s family in 1916. My grandmother then moved in with her brother who would help raise the twins. In 1920 my great Uncle Charlie died and my A. Maude inherited the farm. My Grandmother Pratt died in 1936 and my grandfather Pratt died in McGraw, N.Y., sometime around 1936 and is buried there with his brother.
The Pratt family business in McGraw was a coal mine and store where the town’s people would buy their coal to burn. In the 1930’s, during the great depression, the Pratt family gave the coal free to the local area town people. There is no longer any of the Pratt’s family name left in McGraw, N.Y., but there are cousins. After the depression a town park was named after the Pratt family. And although the business is no longer in the Pratt family, the name on the coal store still remains Pratt.