Biography of George H. Pratt
Adams County, NE Biographies





George H. Pratt is a retired merchant, banker and capitalist of Hastings whose identification with the development and upbuilding of the city dates from earliest days. In fact, he and his partner, Charles K. Lawson, erected the second store building in' Hastings and were the owners of one eighth of the town site. Their business block was erected before the city was platted and from that period to the present Mr. Pratt has borne an active and helpful part in all that has pertained to the city's development and converted it from a tiny hamlet into a metropolis of twelve thousand population.

He was born in Lewis county, New York, December 7, 1849, and in 1859 accompanied his parents on their removal to Oneida, Knox county, Illinois, where he was educated in the public schools. At the age of thirteen years he began clerking in his father's drug store, in which he spent three or four years, and when he was about seventeen years of age a friend opened a dry goods and clothing store in Mr. Pratt's name and he took charge as manager, continuing active in that business until, in connection with C. K. Lawson, he purchased the store, for which they agreed to pay six thousand dollars, although their combined capital at that time amounted to but three hundred dollars. They were both ambitious, energetic young men, however, and they recognized the fact that success is won through earnest, persistent effort, close application and honorable dealing. They continued the business at that point until 1872, but early in that year Mr. Lawson came to Nebraska to look for a favorable location and decided upon Hastings. Mr. Pratt then disposed of their store in Illinois and joined Mr. Lawson at this point. They had only one predecessor in a business way and he was conducting his trade in a little pioneer shack. The partners, however, erected a two story business block, occupying the lower floor with a stock of groceries, hardware, stoves, implements and other commodities needed by the pioneer, while the upper story was used as their home and was shared by their clerk as well. The partners bent their energies to the development of their trade, which grew with the growth of the county, their patronage coming to them from a very broad territory. In fact, it was not long before they were conducting a very extensive business and their large patronage made their enterprise a profitable one. The relation between them was maintained until 1876, when the partnership was dissolved.

Mr. Pratt afterward became connected in business with Mr. Hamot for a few months, at the end of which time he sold out. In 1877, in connection with A. L. Clarke, he purchased the Adams County Bank from J. S. McIntyre. This is now the First National Bank. Mr. Pratt entered that institution as cashier and so continued for a quarter of a century, or until January, 1902, when he sold a part of his stock and retired from active connection with the bank, although he is still one of its directors. He has since devoted his time to the supervision of his land and other investments. He is the owner of large tracts of land in Nebraska, Colorado and Idaho, having placed his money in the safest of all investments real estate. On the 2d of January, 1879, Mr. Pratt was married to Miss Harriet E. Wikoff, a native of Knox county, Illinois, where she was reared and educated. They have become the parents of four children: Homer and Gertrude, both of whom died when twelve years of age; Katherine, who died when but ten months old; and Howard G., now attending Hastings ings College.

In his political views Mr. Pratt is a liberal republican and has never sought public office, preferring that his public duties be done as a private citizen. He belongs to Hastings Lodge, No. 50, A. F. & A. M., also to the chapter and commandery, and has been treasurer of the Masonic Temple Craft for the past twenty eight years. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church, to the teachings of which they loyally adhere, and their influence has been a potent element in the moral progress of the community. No history of Adams county would be complete without extended reference to George H. Pratt, so closely and actively has he been identified with business interests and with the general development and progress of the community. In working for the public good he has looked beyond the exigencies of the moment to the opportunities of the future and in the conduct of his private business interests he has closely adhered to those principles and lines of activity which lead to honorable success. His worth is widely acknowledged, his courage and industry have never failed and his course has demonstrated the truth of the saying that success is not the result of genius but is the outcome of clear judgment and experience.

From:
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago, 1916


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