Pratt Families of Mercer County, Illinois

Pratt Families

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Alternate Spellings - Pratt, Prat, Prats, Pratts. The Mercer County families consistently used Pratt.

Links - Long, DF Noble, Essley, Rooth, Sims, Taylor, Woodward, LeviWillits, Wolfe, Blaisdell, Ferguson, Dungan (Delabar), Keithsburg Chronicles Web Site for family of Jonah and Elizabeth Jackson Pratt, also see our Jackson page under Dempsey Jackson , Rezin and Mary Long Pratt, Welch

Contacts - Web Master Nadine Holder {email on About Us Page} is a descendant of the Long Family that married into the Pratt family. Also see Keithsburg Chronicles Web Site above. Jerry Nesvold has researched the Oliver and Avarilla Pratt Essley family and tells us that they lived in Adams County, Iowa.

Betty Lou Boysen is researching the Pratt family and tells us the surname traces back to the late 1600's in Massachusetts. By the 1790 census there were 520 heads of household with 2,408 related individuals. The surname was found in all the states censused in that year but the majority were concentrated in Massachusetts.

There was more than one Pratt family in Mercer County so care must be taken not to mix up the families. We will briefly cover the John Pratt family of England so that descendants of that family can be separated from the John Pratt family of interest to us in Eliza and New Boston Townships.

John Pratt Family of England and Greene Township, Mercer County

This John Pratt family immigrated from England to Canada, then to Michigan, and to Illinois about 1860. They are first found in Mercer County in the 1870 Greene County census: #9 John Pratt (Sr), 46, farmer, born England; Jane S., 44, En; Charles H., farmer, 21, En; Mary H, 17, Canada; William F., 12, Mi; Francis H., 10, Il; John, 8, Il; George, 3, Il; John Harrison (father of Jane), 73, shepherd, born England. They had an additional daughter Lucy Elizabeth Pratt who married Luman Chase on 12/3/1867 in Mercer County. They also had an additional daughter, born about 1864 and died Oct 30, 1866. She is buried in Norwood Cemetery, Suez Township: S. Jane, daughter of J. R. and J. S. Pratt. Son Charles H. Pratt married Laura J. Henderson 12/25/1873 in Warren County, Illinois. Son William Pratt married Mary Sutcliff 9/27/1882 in Mercer County.

Luman Case and Lucy Elizabeth Pratt Case are found in 1880 in Atlanta Township, Saline County, Nebraska: Luman Case, 34, farmer, born Con, father born NY, mother born Con; Lucy E. Case, 27, born England, parents born England; Fanny, 10, Il; Charles, 8, Il; Sarah, 6, Ne; Mary, 2, Ne. We have heard from descendant Pamela Coleman who tells us they raised seven children. Luman and Lucy are buried in Fairmount Memorial Park, Spokane, Washington. Washington.

Charles Pratt and Laura J. Henderson Pratt are found in Alexis, Warren County, Illinois in 1880: Charles H. Pratt, 31, laborer, born England, parents born England; Laura J., 30, born Va (1920 census says W. Va.), parents born Va; Arthur H., 4, Il; Melissa, 3, Il. Son A. H. Pratt is buried in Alexis Cemetery in Mercer County (1874-1933). He was living in Greene Township in Mercer County in 1920 with his family. Daughter Melissa evidently never married as she is also buried in Alexis Cemetery as Melissa Pratt, daughter of C. H. & L. J. Pratt, March 8, 1877-July 2, 1900. Widow Laura J. Pratt was living with another daughter Fannie, born about 1885 in Warren County in 1920.

John Pratt Family of Maryland and Eliza and New Boston Townships, Mercer County

There is a brief biography of John Pratt, son of John and Avarilla Pratt in History of Mercer County 1882, page 297. It tells us that his father, John Pratt was German by descent, a native of Maryland, and moved with his parents to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in a very early day, where he was married to Mrs. Avarilla Boner (implies she was a widow). Eleven children resulted from this union, all born in Pennsylvania. The family moved to Union County, Indiana, in 1830, where they remained until 1838, at which time they moved to Mercer County, Illinois, first settling in Eliza Township on Section 29, where he lived until they moved to his son Jonas' house in New Boston Township. Here he died [1854], his wife following seven years later. His oldest daughter Eliza, died in 1839, and was the first death in Eliza Township [we suspect the township was named for her but have not found proof]. They all repose in the Eliza Creek Cemetery. [See photo of Eliza Creek Cemetery on our Cemeteries page.]

We know the family did reside in Union County, Indiana, for a time as there were interactions with the Long family of Union County. Son Benjamin Pratt bought a pair of steelyards at Andrew Long's probate sale in 1837. Son John Pratt bought a large kettle. Son Rezin Pratt also bought several items. The Long and Pratt families had probably migrated together from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, as son Rezin Pratt had married Mary Long, daughter of Andrew Long in 1828 in Fayette County, Pa.

The 1838 arrival date of the family may be about right. We know that John and Rezin Pratt were in the county earlier but it was usual for the men to go west in those early days to scout out land and then return to bring their families out. John Pratt purchased the W2NE Sec 29, T15NR5W [Eliza] for $1.25 per acre on 1/26/1837. Son Rezin Pratt purchased the E2NE Sec 30; SESE Sec 24; E2SE and E2NE Sec 25 T15NR5W, all for $1.25 per acre on 5/2/1836. The locations of these parcels can be seen on the 1875 Township Plat of Eliza but none were still in the Pratt name. While people purchased good farm land in T15NR5W and T14NR5W it was also customary for them to purchase parcels nearer the River in T15NR6W and T14NR6W where there was good timberland as a source of lumber and firewood. In the 1875 15N6W Plat of Eliza one can see land owned by son Jonah Pratt in Section 35. One can also see land of Jonah Pratt on the 1875 New Boston Township Plat in Section 8. This may be the location where John Pratt moved as mentioned in the Mercer County History above. In 1876 Jonah Pratt bought additional timberland along the Mississippi from Sarah Eikenbary (relative of Web Master Nadine Holder and Site Owner Jill Martin: N/2 NW/4 NW/4 Sec 11 T14NR6W.

That the entire family was in Mercer Township by 1840 is seen in the 1840 census for T15NR5W: John Pratt, 1 male 15-20, 2 males 20-30, 1 male 60-70, 1 female 10-15, 2 females 20-30, 1 female 50-60, Rezin Pratt, 1 male under 5, 3 males 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 15-20, 1 male 30-40, 1 female 20-30, 1 female 30-40.

The two families in 1840 consisted of: John and Avarilla and children Benjamin, Nancy, John (Jr), Lacey (m), Jonah, Anna, and Tamar(f) ; Son Rezin and Mary and children John, Benton and Elmore. Daughter Eliza was deceased [1839]; daughter Sarah had married David Fruit Noble in Union County (more below); daughter Avarilla had married Elisha Essley in Union County (more below).

In 1850 John and Avarilla Pratt were listed in T15NR5W [Eliza] #609: John Pratt, Sr., 70, farmer, farm valued $235, born Md; Avarilla, 67, Pa; Nancy Pratt, 40, Pa; Jonah Pratt, 25, farmer, born Pa; Henderson Jackson, 14, Ind. We gather from this record that it was after 1850 then that John and Avarilla moved to New Boston Township with son Jonah. In 1850 Rezin Pratt was still living nearby. There had been more marriages and new families which we will cover below under children of John and Avarilla.

John Pratt died March 6, 1854, age 77 years and is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery with family surrounding him.

We do not find Avarilla Pratt listed in the 1860 census, though we suspect she may be the "unknown Pratt" listed with Jonah Pratt based on the History account that John and Avarilla went to live with Jonah. Avarilla died February 12, 1862 and is buried beside John Pratt in Eliza Creek Cemetery.

Children of John and Avarilla Boner Pratt

(1) Benjamin Pratt

was born 4/30/1802 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. There is no evidence that he ever married. He is not found in Mercer County in 1850 or 1860 but he is with the family in 1837 in Union County, Indiana where he attended the probate sale of Andrew Long. Benjamin died May 15, 1868, age 66 ys, 15 ds and is buried next to his father, John, in Eliza Creek Cemetery.

(2) Rezin Pratt

was born 4/22/1804 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Ann Long, daughter of Andrew and Jemima Santee Long, on 11/5/1828 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. They had children: John Pratt, born about 1829, Union Co, In; Andrew Pratt, born about 1832, In; Benton Pratt, born 3/4/1834, Union County, In; Mary Ann Pratt, born about 1842, Mercer County; Rebecca Elizabeth Pratt, born about 1844, Mercer County; Harvey Hallet Pratt, born about 1847, Mercer County. We have a lot of information on this family and have made a separate page for them (linked above).

(3) Elizabeth [Eliza] Pratt

was born 4/26/1806 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. She died 7/15/1839 in Mercer County and is buried in the family plot in Eliza Creek Cemetery. According to the History of Mercer County she was the first person buried in Eliza Township. We strongly suspect that Eliza Township and Eliza Creek were named for her. Her brother Rezin operated his mill on Eliza Creek.

(4) Nancy Pratt

was born 12/5/1808 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. She married Wesley Weeks on 9/22/1850 in Mercer County. They are found in Eliza Township in 1860: #2607 Wesley Wick, 50, farmer, born Ohio; Nancy, 50, Pa. They are next door to her sister Avarilla Essley and family. They are in New Boston Township in 1870: Wesley Wicks, 65, farmer, born In; Nancy, 55, born Pa. Wesley Weeks is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery (June 18, 1809-June 21, 1876). Nancy is buried beside him (December 5, 1808-January 18, 1899). In 1880 Nancy was living with her sister Sarah Pratt Noble and family. Nancy is listed as mother-in-law in 1880 but was actually sister-in-law.

(5) Sarah Pratt

was born 4/17/1811 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. She married David Fruit Noble, son of Daniel Fry and Barbara Fruit Noble, on 1/26/1836 in Union County, Indiana. They had children: Avarilla Margaret Noble, Ira Noble, David Noble, Barbara Elizabeth Noble, Thomas Jefferson Noble, Laben Noble, and Edmund H. Noble. Sarah died 10/29/1881 and is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery. We have considerable information on this family but it will be included in the Noble pages.

(6) Avarilla Pratt

was born 10/1/1813 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. She married Elisha Essley on 8/23/1833 in Union County, Indiana. Elisha was son of John and Martha Hurd Essley, born 20 August 1815 in Kentucky. Elisha and Avarilla came to Mercer County with the Pratt family in 1838 and Elisha joined Rezin Pratt in building a saw mill on Eliza Creek. Avarilla and Elisha had children: Benjamin Pratt Essley, John Franklin Essley, Nancy Essley, Avarilla Essley, Martha Ann Essley, Elmer Essley, Elzma Essley, Sarah Elvira Essley, May Essley. Daughter Sarah Elvira Essley married Wiley Edward Welch , gr-gr uncle of Jill Martin and Nadine Holder who manage this Web Site. Sarah kept a scrap book of photographs of the family including photos of Avarilla and Elisha. The family went to Kansas in 1878 and Avarilla and Elisha are buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Newton, Kansas. There is a copy of Avarilla's obituary on the Essley page.

(7) John Pratt, Jr

was born 10/7/1815 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Ferguson, daughter of Samuel and Sarah Ferguson, on 11/5/1846 in Mercer County. There is a brief biography of John Pratt, Jr., in the History of Mercer County 1882 but it includes much incorrect information about wife Mary Ferguson Pratt. John and Mary are buried side by side in Eliza Creek Cemetery: John Pratt (Oct 7, 1815-Oct 11, 1888, age 73 yr, 4 dy) Mary Pratt (Aug 28, 1825-Mar 14, 1897) so we know that Mary was the correct wife. Photo of John and Mary Pratt's Tombstone (courtesty Tom Fitch)

John and Mary Ferguson Pratt had children: Sarah M. (about 1848), Avarilla (about 1849), Lewis (about 1851), Mary (about 1855), Harvey (1/24/1857), Nancy (about 1859), Melissa (about 1862), Ruth (about 1866), and Nettie (2/1872).

John and Mary Pratt are found in the 1850 census in Eliza Township: #601 John Pratt, 34, farmer, farm valued $1200, born Pa; Mary, 24, NC; Sarah A., 2, Il; Avarilla, 1, born Ill; William Malaby, 17, laborer, is with them. William Malaby was nephew of Rezin Pratt's wife Mary Long. (This census record also disproves the Mercer County History article which says John Pratt married Nancy Ferguson in 1852.)

John and Mary are still in Eliza Township in 1860: #2686 John Pratt, 45, farmer, born Pa; Mary, 35, NC; Sarah, 12, Il; Avarilla, 11, Il; Lewis, 9, Il; Mary, 5, Il; Harvey, 3, Il; Nancy, 1, Il. In 1870 they are #152: John Pratt, 55, farmer, Pa; Mary, 45, NC; Avarilla, 20, Il; Lewis, 19, assisting on farm, Il; Mary, 15, Il; Harvey, 13, Il; Nancy, 9, Il; Melissa, 7, Il; Ruth, 4, Il. Daughter Nellie was born in 1872.

Daughter Sarah M. Pratt married Joel N. Woodward, son of Joel and Keziah (we will be putting up a Woodward page), on 3/24/1868 in Mercer County. They are found in New Boston Township in the 1870 census: Joel Woodward, 25, farmer, born In; Sarah, 22, Il; Mary, 1, Il; Susan Jackson, 32, domestic, Il. They were living just two farmilies from Sarah's uncle, Jonah Pratt. The History of Mercer County 1882, page 297 tells us that Sarah and Joel Woodward resided in Adams County, Iowa. We found them there in 1880 with children: Mary, 11, Il; Hugh, 9, Ia; Allie, 7, Ia; Alonzo, 5, Ia; Lewis, 3, Ia; and Frank, 1, Ia. Since they moved out of the area we have not followed this family further.

Daughter Avarilla Pratt married Oliver P. Essley, son of John and Rebecca Mickey Essley, on 2/27/1873 in Mercer County. Oliver Essley lived with the Elisha and Avarilla Pratt Essley family, but was born in Iowa so was perhaps a nephew. Oliver served in the Civil War. Jerry Nesvold has researched this family and tells us that they too lived in Adams County, Iowa. They had children: Jennie; Mary; Ruth; and Martin.

Son Lewis Pratt is found in Adams County, Iowa, with Joel and Sarah Pratt Woodward. He is a farmer, age 30. The Mercer County History tells us he married M. Molinger in Iowa.

Daughter Mary Pratt married Henry J. Taylor 3/19/1874 in Mercer County and they too went to Adams County, Iowa.

Son Harvey Pratt married Minnie Sims, daughter of Robert and Rachel Cloke Sims on 9/7/1884 in Mercer County (we will be putting up a Sims page). From an obituary sent by Jerry Nesvold we learn that Harvey and Minnie had children Mrs. C. I. Lunz, Mrs. Dale Field, Mrs. Otto Schuessler, all of Muscatine Iowa, and Mrs. Leslie Mardick of Joy, Mercer County. In addition they had a daughter Nellie, born and died in 1897 and buried in Eliza Cemetery. They also had a son, Lewis Pratt, of Muscatine, Iowa. Harvey died in 1925 and Minnie died in 1928. They are buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery.

Daughter Nancy Pratt married John Jones, probably in Adams County, Iowa as the marriage is not found in Mercer County. The information comes from the Mercer County History.

Daughter Melissa Pratt may be the one who married Edward Rooth on 9/18/1894 in Mercer County. There is some small discrepancies in Melissa's age to know for sure if she is the one.

Daughter Ruth Pratt married Andy Henderson Thomason on 8/17/1887 in Mercer County.

Daughter Nellie Pratt married Sherman Albert Blaisdell, son of O. David and Martha Hillmon Blaisdell, on 3/26/1892 in Mercer County. They lived out their lives in Mercer County and are buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery. The 1900 census gives children Ruth M. Blaisdell, born 5/1895 and Ralph M. Blaisdell, born 8/1897.

(8) Lacey Pratt

was born 1820 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Baker 9/2/1847 in Mercer County, Ill. Elizabeth was born about 1828 in England. We do not know her father's name but we do know that her mother was Elizabeth Baker, born 1801, died 1844, and buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery. In 1850 they were living two doors from John and Mary Ferguson Pratt in Eliza Township and Mary Ferguson Pratt's brother, Ransom Ferguson, age 23, born NC was working for Lacey Pratt. In 1860 they are living in New Boston Township next to Lacey's sister Annie Pratt Dungan and family and next door to brother Jonah Pratt: #1741 Lacy Pratt, 40, farmer, born Pa; Elizabeth, 33, En; Reson L., 11, Il; Fiora, 6, Il; Warren, 1, Il. They also had a daughter Florinda, born 1850, died 1852; a son Clarence Pratt, born 1856, died 1858; an infant daughter born and died 1864 and all three buried Eliza Creek Cemetery.

Lacy Pratt died in Mercer County in 1869 and is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery. Widow Elizabeth was living in New Boston Town in 1870: #03 Elizabeth Pratt, 41, keeping house, En; Rezin Pratt, 20, Il, carpenter; Fiora Pratt, 15, Il; Warren Pratt, 10, Il; Flora Pratt, 7, Il; James Pettee, 23, fireman on railroad, born Vt. In August of 1875 Flora (actually Fiora due to age) Pratt of New Boston was listed as attending Teachers Normal School according to the Aledo Weekly Record.

Son Rezin Harvey Pratt married Orpha Miranda Willits, daughter of James Monroe and Sarah Prouty Willits, on 7/2/1875 in Muscatine, Iowa. They had children: Neta Mae Pratt (5/1876); Lacey R. Pratt (12/1879 d. 1880); Hortense Pratt (10/1882). They were living in New Boston Town in 1900 taking in boarders. A niece, Winifred Willits, born 9/1895 was living with them. Rezin Harvey died in 1916 and is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery; Miranda is buried in New Boston Cemetery (1849-1923).

(9) Jonah Pratt

was born 2/24/1824 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of Dempsey and Mary Ferguson Jackson, on 3/12/1854 in Mercer County. We have reason to believe from the History of Mercer County 1882 that John and Avarilla Boner Pratt may have spent their final days with Jonah in New Boston Township (see New Boston Township plat, Section 8), though Avarilla is not listed with them in the 1860 census (actually she is not listed at all in the 1860 census). Jonah and Elizabeth are found next door to Lacey Pratt in 1860: #1740 John [Jonah] Pratt, 37, farmer, born Pa; Elizabeth, 28, In; John, 6, Il; Douglas, 4, Il; unknown male, 1, Il [died 1861].

Jonah and Elizabeth are found in New Boston Township in 1870: Jonah, 46, farmer, born Pa; Elizabeth, 38, In; John, 15, Il; Stephen, 13, Il; Ada, 9, Il; Avarilla, 6, Il, Rezin, 3, Il. They were living a few doors from David Honeyman, ancestor of Jill Martin and Nadine Holder who manage this Web Site. Jonah was one of the executors of David Honeyman's will in 1874. The Pratts, Honeymans and Longs had a long history together, traveling from Fayette County, Pa, to Union County, In, and finally to Mercer County, Il.

Jim Jones has much about this family, including obituaries, on his Keithsburg Chronicles Web Site.

(10) Tamar Pratt

was born about 1825 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. She married Aaron Dungan, probable son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Delabar Dungan, on 11/2/1843 in Mercer County. There is more on this family on the Dungan/Delabar page. (11) Anna Pratt was born about 1826 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. She married John B. Dungan, probable son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Delabar Dungan, on 8/31/1848 in Mercer County. There is more on this family on the Dungan/Delabar page.