Biography of Fred S. Pratt
Will County, Il Biographies





Fred S. Pratt. - Prominent in the business affairs of Joliet, Ill., and descended from a sterling English family whose first citizen here came generations ago, and the son of a former fine citizen, Norman S. Pratt, who was interested in business enterprises in Plainfield, and who is further mentioned in another biography, Fred S. Pratt was born in Plainfield, Ill., Aug. 29, 1883.

The present branch of the Pratt family was founded in America by Thomas and Susanna Pratt. He was born in England in 1618 and sailed for the United States on a ship called the America, commanded by Capt. William Barker, on June 23, 1635. They first settled in Watertown, Mass., removing to Framingham, Mass., in 1674. He died in 1692. His son, John Pratt, also had a son, John Pratt, Jr. John Pratt, Jr., married Bethsheba Fay, a daughter of Captain John, Fay. They were married in 1716 and their son, Ensign Ezekial Pratt, married in 1740 Molly Grant. Their son, Stephen Pratt, married Hannah Billings. They had a son, Elisha B., who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He married Clara Safford. They are buried in Bennington, Vt., the town being founded by the Pratts and four other families.

Samuel S. Pratt, who was born in Bennington, Vt., was a son of Elisha B. and Clara (Safford) Pratt. He married Esther A. Beckwith. They came to Illinois in 1834 and settled in Plainfield. He was a cabinet maker by trade and established the first furniture store in Plainfield, which he conducted for many years. He died Aug. 16, 1882, and is buried in Plainfield, Ill.

Norman S. Pratt was the son of Samuel S. and Esther A. (Beckwith) Pratt. He was born in Plainfield, Ill., June 1, 1849. At the age of 21 he engaged in the furniture business with his father, at a time when it was necessary to bring furniture from Chicago by wagon. He continued in that business for 22 years, retiring in 1893. On Oct. 31, 1871, he was married to Miss Bessie Southwick. They had one son, Fred S., the subject of this sketch. Mr. Pratt died Aug. 2, 1923, and his wife died March 8, 1907. They are both buried in Plainfield, Ill. He was a Republican in politics and served for 18 years on the village board of aldermen of Plainfield, and was chairman of the committee which installed the present water system there. He joined the Congregational Church when a young boy and maintained this affiliation until his death. He was an excellent citizen and highly esteemed member of the community.

Fred S. Pratt attended the public schools of Plainfield and was graduated from the high school in 1901. He started his business career as a clerk in the general store of his uncle, A. T. Corbin. In 1905 he came to Joliet and was employed as a salesman by McHugh and Sehoenstedt, clothiers, and lived at Plainfield. From 1907 until 1916 he specialized in advertising and mercantile display, in conjunction with progressive merchandising in men's wear. In 1916 he formed a partnership with O. H. Tesdall. They purchased the L. A. Raub Clothing Company business which was located corner of Jefferson and Ottawa Streets. They remodeled the store in 1916, and again in 1924, doubling the clothing department. This store has been in operation for over 50 years as a clothing center. In 1909 Mr. Pratt took a course at the Koester School of Mercantile Display and Advertising, at Chicago, from which he graduated. Mr. Pratt in addition to buying and selling activities prepares all the newspaper and personal mail advertising copy. In 1925 a shoe department was added to the business, and this firm was the first store to adopt the "Ten-Pay-Plan" of selling fine clothing. Tesdall Pratt & Co. have offices at 230 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

On Oct. 18, 1904, Mr. Pratt was married to Miss Orva L. Hartong, a daughter of Franklin and Eliza (Sencenbaugh) Hartong, natives of Will County, Ill. Both are deceased and are buried in Plainfield, a sketch of whom appears in this history. To Mr. and Mrs. Pratt two daughters have been born: Orva Bessie, born Aug. 18, 1922; and Freda E., born Dec. 1, 1924.

Mr. Pratt, who was born in the same house his father was born in, still makes his home in Plainfield. In 1926-27 he and his wife designed and built a very modern home which is named "Pratt Place."

Mr. Pratt is a Republican and a member of the Congregational Church. His fraternal associations are those of Plainfield Lodge, A. F. and A. M. No. 536, of which he was worshipful master in 1915-1916; Joliet Chapter, R. A. M. No. 27; Joliet Commandery, K. T. No. 4; Modern Woodmen of America. He is a member of the Joliet Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Illinois Retail Clothiers and Furnishers Association.

From:
History of Will County, Illinois
By: August Maue
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1928


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