Prattsville History Highlights

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Pratt Museum, formerly Zadock Pratt residence Colonel Zadock Pratt of Prattsville BACKGROUND
  • Ancestors came from England in the 1630s and settled in Connecticut.
  • Born October 30, 1790 in Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York
  • Served two terms in the US Congress: 1837-1839 & 1843-1845
  • Married five times
  • Died April 5, 1871 in Bergen, NJ (The Grimm House) from a fever contracted after a fall.
  • Buried in cemetery he gave to the town next to Abigail and infant daughter.

  • Moved with his father to the Windham area (Jewett) when he was twelve; learned the art of tanning from his father.
  • Apprenticed to a saddle maker in Durham; saved his money and opened a store on his father�s tannery property. 


  • Elected to US House of Representatives in 1836 and 1842, Pratt introduced bills to:
        Reduce the cost of postage from $.25 to $.05 in 1838
        Create the Bureau of Engraving and Patents
        Construct public buildings in Washington, DC, of marble or granite, not sandstone. 
        Construct the Dry Dock in Brooklyn.
        Initiate first survey for the Transcontinental Railroad. 
  • While in Congress he began a movement to complete the Washington Monument and also started a practice of hanging the Presidential Portraits in the Rotunda.
  • Most of his public papers are in the Muger Library in the Boston University Library; other papers are in the Vedder Memorial Library (Bronck House), Coxsackie, NY.

Zadock Pratt


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Hardenburgh House FAMILY LIFE 
Married two pairs of sisters and a city tanning employee (BEAMS)
  • Beda Dickerman, sister of Esther, who died seven months later of consumption
  • Esther Dickerman who died after two years and seven months of consumption
  • Abigail Watson, sister of Mary, the mother of his two children; she died from complications of childbirth with the third child, who also died.
  • Mary Watson, raised the two children; a community-spirited woman and patron of the arts, spearheaded efforts to build Grace Episcopal Church. Ann Stephens, famous novelist of the 19th century dedicated one of her books, �The Old Homestead� to Mary Pratt. Some scholars believe that parts of this book may be set in Prattsville.
  • Susie A. Grimm, 27 years old when she married Zadock at 74. She was still alive in 1926 in Bergen, NJ (now Jersey City).


Pratt Rocks  Pratt Rocks

In 1853 the poet Ann Sophia Stephens praised Pratt in a long poem titled The Tanner and the Hemlock.  She wrote:

So the Tanner loves that stout old tree,
With its great trunk looming there,
And its light leaves dancing joyously,
As they sing in the mountain air


For well he knows that the hemlock bough
Will weep o'er his honored tomb.

Pratt marker at the Benham Cemetery

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Updated on:
21 February, 2019

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