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William Pratt Family Papers - MS 72

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


Mr. and Mrs. Fred Pratt, Hull Prairie Road, Perrysburg, Ohio donated the William Pratt Family Papers to the Center for Archival Collections in November 1979. The papers were transferred by Paul Yon, Associate Director and Rebecca Harkema, Graduate Assistant, History Department. Additions to the collection were donated by Mabel Pratt on March 17, 2000, and again by Douglas and Mary Ellen Pratt in August 2001 and May 2005.

The collection of family papers and miscellaneous publications dating between 1801 and 1978, consist primarily of the legal and financial papers and correspondence of Captain William Pratt and his descendants. Property and literary rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and scholarly research. The manuscript register was compiled by Marcia Sommerfeld, Graduate Assistant, History Department, and updated by Ann Bowers, Assistant Director.

Biographical Sketch

William Pratt was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and worked with his father in the shipbuilding business. At the beginning of the War of 1812, William owned a shipyard in Canada and facing possible impressment by the British soldiers, he and his wife Bathia fled to Rochester, New York, and left the business to be confiscated by the British. He became a captain in the New York Militia and served in the Maumee Valley during the remainder of the War of 1812.

In 1818, Pratt and his family arrived, via Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and Lake Erie, in Orleans (Perrysburg), Ohio. The schooner utilized for this trip, SALLY, was built by Pratt in New York and after the family settled on an eighty acre tract near Perrysburg, he continued to use the vessel for trading between Perrysburg and Buffalo. Pratt also farmed and served as the first Treasurer of Wood County and later as Associate Judge of the Wood County Court of Common Pleas.

William Pratt married Bathia Brown and their family consisted of eight children - Jonas, William, Hiram, Amos, Sarah, James, Benjamin, and Jane. William Pratt died on 3 February 1824 in Perrysburg. His youngest son, Benjamin Foster Pratt (1824-1914), known as Foster, married Susan Perrin (1829-1914) on March 20, 1850. To this couple were born the following children: John F., Ella (Kerr), William, Mary (May), Guy, Clifton, and Benjamin F. John F. Pratt was the father of Fred H. Pratt and grandfather of Douglas Pratt, donors of this collection.

Scope and Content

The William Pratt Family Papers mainly consist of the legal and financial papers and correspondence of Captain William Pratt and his descendants. The documents date from 1801 to 1978. Some of the early documents, those dating about 1816-1823, are most interesting as they concern the purchase of an eighty acre tract of land near Perrysburg, Ohio, which was settled by William Pratt and his family. They also document Pratt's shipping business, illustrating the use of his schooner, SALLY, for business trips between Perrysburg and Buffalo, New York. The remainder of these early Pratt documents include land agreements and patents, correspondence and business records.

The rest of the collection, dating in a very scattered manner from the 1850s-1970s, continues to document for the most part the financial and legal activities of the descendants of William Pratt. Account ledgers document the farming business and personal correspondence documents the movement of family members away from Perrysburg.

As this collection is relatively small in size and includes a variety of documents, it has been arranged in rough categories of land records, legal documents, correspondence, financial documents and personal files The early documents have been itemized in the box/folder inventory as they provide some of the earliest glimpses into the settlement of Wood County, Ohio.

Series Description


Arranged chronologically
Includes land agreements, deeds and patents involving transfer of lands in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania

1826, 1832-1879, 1913-1965
Arranged chronologically
Includes receipt of property tax paid on land owned in Wood County, Ohio


1816, 1820-1823
Arranged chronologically
Includes official appointments of William Pratt

1820, 1823, 1872 Arranged chronologically
Includes various legal documents involving the Pratt family

1846, 1903, 1922, 1935
Arranged chronologically
Includes wills for members of the Pratt family and a determination of heirship


Arranged chronologically
Includes letters documenting business activities of William Pratt

1886, 1896-1924 (scattered dates)
Arranged chronologically
Includes letters and postcards between members of the Pratt family as well as letters from friends


1816-1956 (scattered dates)
Arranged by type of record and within chronologically
Includes both documents and ledgers both of which provide details on the Pratt family farm and businesses in which members were involved. Most of the records document farming

1826-1972 (scattered dates)
Arranged by type of receipt and within chronologically
Includes receipts for loans, shares of stock, insurance, military service, ditch and road improvements, burials/estate administration, and miscellaneous activities


Arranged chronologically
Includes election and campaign documents and official correspondence of Fred Pratt while serving as Township Trustee and County Commissioner

Arranged chronologically
Includes ration books, list of bonds and war loan drive documents of the Pratt family

1857, n.d.
Includes notes of merit for Frank H. Pratt from his teacher

1899-1926 (scattered dates)
Includes diary and National Geographic membership records of Cliff Pratt

1902, n.d.
Includes obituary of Jane Hinsdale and a listing of Pratt births


Box 1

  1. Land agreement: William Pratt and Joel (Hurse), regarding oil mill, April 20, 1801
  2. Land agreement: Augustus and Peter Porter with (Gad? Pierre or Pierce?) and William Pratt, September 12, 1803
  3. Land agreement: William Pratt and (G. Pierre), regarding New York property, May 4, 1805
  4. Land agreement: William Pratt and J. B. Stuart, March 27, 1819
  5. Land patent of William Pratt, June 27, 1823
  6. Land Deed: Ambrose Rice to Nathaniel Jenison, March 8, 1828
  7. Land Deed: Nathaniel Jenison to John Hollister, September 8, 1832
  8. Land Deed: John Webb, adm. of Thomas McKnight estate to Nathaniel Jenison, December 31, 1832
  9. Land Patent to Hiram Pratt, April 15, 1833
  10. Public Sale of Land--auditor's certificate for William Fowler, December 30, 1833
  11. Land agreement: Robert McKnight and Sally Stearns, 1836
  12. Warranty Deed: Thomas Farr to Abram Walker, August 13, 1853
  13. Property Tax Receipts, 1826, 1832-1879
  14. Property Tax Receipts, 1913-1965
  15. Land Records--property owned by B. F. Pratt in Warren County, Pennsylvania, 1856-1885
  16. Appointment of William Pratt as captain in New York infantry for service during 1814, May 1, 1816
  17. Appointment/Bond of William Pratt as Wood County Treasurer, April-May 1820
  18. Official appointments of William Pratt as associate judge of Wood County Court of Common Pleas, March 2, 1822; July 30, 1822; January 24, 1823
  19. Agreement to have William Pratt act as attorney for David Wilkison, August 7, 1819
  20. William Pratt and others as arbitrators: Ebenezer Duty vs. Daniel Hubbell. Power of attorney--william Pratt to Jonas and William Pratt, Jr., May 10, 1820; September 16, 1823
  21. Extension of Hull Prairie Road to the River--record of payments for right of ways, August 12, 1872
  22. Will of Bethiah Pratt, September 7, 1846
  23. Will of Jane Hinsdale, March 1, 1903
  24. Will of Mary Pratt, June 24, 1922
  25. Petition to determine heirship (Cliff, Guy, Fred Jr. Pratt), January 9, 1935
  26. Certified copy of deed from sheriff of Champaign County, Illinois to Rachel M. Beth, November 18, 1902
  27. Business correspondence: August E. Elliot to William Pratt, January 18, 1816
  28. Business correspondence: William Letitz (?) to Capt. William Pratt, August 4, 182
  29. Business correspondence: D. (Couper) to William Pratt, March 11, 1823
  30. Correspondence from Jane Hinsdale to family members, 1886, 1896-1899
  31. Correspondence from Fred Pratt to brother Cliff, December 26, 1897
  32. Correspondence from Fred Pratt to his wife, Kate, 1901
  33. Correspondence from Will and Jo, Grand Rapids, Ohio, regarding flooding and daily life, March 7, 1904; November 27, 1918
  34. Postcards from family and friends to Mary and Benjamin F. Pratt, 1907-1914, n.d.
  35. Correspondence to Fred Pratt in appreciation for support of Magdalene Cemetery in New Mexico, October 12, 1901
  36. Correspondence to Fred Pratt from miscellaneous, 1900, 1910-1914
  37. Correspondence from John and Ann R. to Kate and J. Fred Pratt, January 5, 1924
  38. Court cost record for William (G.) Taylor, May 15, 1816
  39. Bond of William Pratt to Phineas Smith, May 27, 1816
  40. Financial account (bill)--William Pratt with Jesse Smith, November 19, 1816
  41. Schooner Sally freight to Buffalo, New York, May 18, 1820
  42. Payment request to William Pratt from Daniel Murray, December 27, 1820
  43. Schooner Sally settlement of account between Daniel Hubbard and William Pratt, March 12, 1821
  44. Account of Samuel Spafford, up to March 3, 1823
  45. Bill of goods: F. G. and J. (Palmor), June 11, 1823
  46. Contract for British government for beef barrels, June 27, 1823
  47. Account of James Wilkison (?), May 20, 1821-July 12, 1823
  48. Promissory note of Sally Stearns to Bathia Pratt, January 27, 1826
    Promissory note/receipt of Foster Pratt, October 30, 1850; May 16, 1870
    Promissory note/receipt of F. H. Pratt to William Kerr, May 1, 1928
  49. Receipt for shares in Conquest Mining Company for Fred Pratt, February 3, 1883
  50. Certificate of Indebtedness from Office of Adjutant General of the Territory of New Mexico to Private Fred Pratt for services during Apache Raids of May-June 1885, July 1, 1885
  51. Share of Mogollon Prospecting and Mining Association to Fred Pratt. Share to Clifton Pratt from Recording Devices Co. Share to John F. from International Note and Mortgage Company, n.d.; 1916, 1923; 1928
  52. Guy, Cliff, and Fred H. Pratt--Farmer's Mutual Fire Insurance, 1917, 1932, 1936, 1950
  53. Receipts--B. F. Pratt--commutation for military service fee, August 13, 1864
  54. Receipts--on farm and buildings, 1867-1968, n.d. (scattered)
  55. Ditch and road improvement financial records/receipts, 1866, 1872, 1910, 1941
  56. Burial/estate financial records/receipts
    --Benjamin Foster Pratt, 1914
    --Kate Pratt, 1931
    --Stones for John F. (1854-1925) and Kate L. Pratt (1880-1931) and Fred H. (1904-) and Mabel R. Pratt (1908-), 1972
  57. Miscellaneous receipts (cars, subscriptions, electricity, etc.), 1876, 1878, 1896, 1931-1967 (scattered)

Box 2

  1. Account Ledger, 1843-1848, 1854
  2. Account Ledger (B. F. Pratt), 1854-1878 (scattered)
  3. Account Ledger, 1860-1879, 1914
  4. Account Ledger (in back information on breeding, hay account, pear picking and W. O. W. Hall rental), 1910-1918
  5. Account Ledger, 1916-1920
  6. Account Ledger, 1923-1925
  7. Account Ledger, 1953-1956
  8. Ledger of seeds, flowers, trees, bushes purchased (Mary Pratt), 1886-1893
  9. Inventory of cash on hand and bank book of Cliff Pratt, October 1914, 1915-1943
  10. Township Trustee and County Commissioner papers of Fred H. Pratt, 1947-1978
  11. World War II documents (ration books, list of bonds, war loan drives), 1942-1946
  12. Notes of Merit for Frank H. Pratt from his teacher, 1857, n.d.
  13. Diary of Cliff Pratt (January-May and then scattered entries throughout rest of year, some account records in back dating December 1899-February 1890, 1920-1921), 1900
  14. National Geographic membership of Cliff Pratt, 1926
  15. Obituary of Jane Hinsdale and listing of Pratt births, 1902, n.d.

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