Hon. Zadock Pratt
Retyped from Beers "History of Greene County" by Annette Campbell
Extracts from his chronological biography.
"Zadock Pratt was born at Stephentown, Rensselaer county, New York, October 30th 1790."
"1802---Removed to Windham, since Lexington, now Jewett, Greene county, New York, and there worked at tanning in his father's yard."
"1807---Was one of the passengers on board the Fulton, the first steamboat that navigated the North River."
"1811---October 30, was twenty one years of age. Had $30."
"1812---Commenced business on his own account, at Lexington, in one of the store-houses, working from 14-16 hours a day; keeping a debit and credit account, and each year an inventory, which he has practiced ever since."
"1814---Caused to be made 100,000 oars, and transmitted them to New Tork from the Catskill Mountains."
"1816---Joined the Masonic order at Windham."
"1817---Was married to Miss Beda Dickerman. (She lived 6 months and eleven days.)"
"1820---April 25, unanimimously chosen captain in the 5th Regt., NY S. Artillery, and uniformed the company consisting of 100 men, at his own expense."
"1821---October 2, married Miss Esther Dickerman."
"1823, July 12---was unanimimously elected colonel of the 116th regiment of infantry of the State of New York."
"1824, August 16---was present at the landing of LaFayette and his son in New York; during same year was at the completion of the Erie Canal."
"1824, October---located and began to build on the Schoharie Kill, now Prattsville, carrying all in onehorse wagon, $14,000. He said to the people, "I came to live with them, not on them." November 17, finished the tannery dam and swam it---ice making fast."
"1825, March 14---began to build this great tannery on the banks of the Schoharie Kill. Same year commanded the escort of General LaFayette into Catskill; also laid out the village of Prattsville, gave the turnpike company $150 to improve the turnpike."
"1826---Mansion house built, and the hickory, maple and elm trees planted in front of his house and on each side of the street throughout the village (nearly 1,000, and as many on his farm); same year resigned the office of colonel of 116th regiment to the commander-in-chief, governor of the State of New York."
"1827---was elected supervisor of the town of Windham."
"1829, January 12---married his third wife, Miss Abigail P. Watson (she lived 5 years)."
"1832, November 20th---gave notice that an application would be made to the Legislature of the State of New York, at their next session, to divide the town of Windham."
"1833, March 8th---the town of Prattsville was set off from Windham, with a population of about 1500, and named after the founder."
"1835, March 16th---married his fourth wife, Miss Mary E. Watson, sister of his late consort; same year built a parsonage and carriage-house, and gave a deed to it to the Methodist-Episcopal society, also gave the ground of the Methodist, and paid one-third the expense of both the Dutch Reformed and Methodist churches---gave the bell of the Reformed church."
"1836, March---built a bridge 130 feet long over the Schoharie Kill in 11 days, without the use of ardent spirits---snow 3 feet deep on the level. November same year, was elected a Representative in Congress from the 8th Congressional district, composed of the counties of Greene, Schoharie and Columbia, by over 2,800 majority; was chosen one of the electors of president and vice-president, for the State of New York, met with the electors, and cast his vote for VanBuren and Johnson at Albany."
"December 4th---met at the regular session in Congress."
"1838, March 19th---moved a resolution in favor of the reduction of postage---7 years later had the pleasure of voting the postage down to 5 cents a letter from 25 cents."
"1839, September---was elected member of the American Institute; same year tannery located at West Kill, town of Lexington burnt, loss $10,000, insured for $7,000."
"1842, November 8th---was chosen a Representative in Congress from the 11th Congressional district, New York, composed of Greene and Columbia counties."
"1843, October 30th---established the Prattsville Bank. December 4th, was present at the meeting of the 27th Congress."
"1844---elected president of the Greene County Agricultural Society."
"Moved the survey of railroad route from the Mississippi to the Pacific."
"February 28th---was on board of the Princeton at the time of the explosion of its great gun, in the harbor of Alexandria, when Messrs. Upshur, Gilman, Gardiner, and others were killed, and was the first to aid the wounded."
"May 25th---was appointed on a select committee consisting of Messrs. Winthrop, Pratt, C.J. Ingersoll, Slidell, and Marsh, to report a place for the permanent location of the statue of Washington."
"August 9th---12 M., Windham tannery burnt; loss $12,000, insured for $9,000."
"December 4th---met with Congress."
"1845, February 20th---caused to be put up, the marble jet d'eau fountains in the Capital Square, Washington."
"March 3rd---Congress adjourned sine die; was glad---tired of legislating and doing business with others; in the 5 sessions of Congress was never absent one day."
"June 10th---Grace Church (Episcopal), Gothic architecture, built at Prattsville; was trustee, builder, and vestryman, gave one-third the cost and the land. (During this year had the carvings done on the rocks.) Also closed the Prattsville tannery."
"1847, January---elected an honorary member of the Louisiana State Agricultural and Mechanical Association."
"August 28th---addressed a letter to the people of the United States on the importance of a railroad across the continent to the Pacific Ocean."
"1848---bought the Palen Tannery; remodeled and built the Samsonville Tannery, in partnership with Henry A. Samson, where 60,000 sides of oak leather were tanned yearly."
"July 23rd---received the honorary degree of master of arts from Union College, Schenectady, New York. (This is the first instance in the State of a similar honor being conferred upon a self-taught mechanic.)"
"September 6th---received a respectable vote for governor, at the democratic convention, met at Syracuse, New York. Same year in company with Julius F. and Levi H. Alden, built the Aldenville Tannery at Aldenville, Wayne county, Pennsylvania, where 60,000 sides of leather were tanned yearly with hemlock bark."
"1851, July 8th---appointed a delegate to the World's Fair, by the Mechanic's Institute of the city of New York. Same year was at the celebration and completion of the Erie Railroad."
"1852, January 10th---joined the Tammany Society, at Tammany Hall, New York."
"November 30th---closed the Prattsville Bank."
"1853, June 8th---Windham Tannery burnt at 12 o'clock at noon the second time; loss $12,000, insured for $10,500."
"Same year received a diploma and medal and 3 elegant gilt bound volumes with a likeness of Prince Albert, for six different kinds of sole leather and butts, sent to the World's Fair, London, from as many tanneries, received by letter from Millard Filmore, president of the United States."
"June 7th---Elected president of the Six-Penny Savings Bank in the city of New York, one of the first of it's kind in the State. Gave his son and daughter on their coming of age, each $50,000, and each one-half of a tannery---George, the Samsonville; Julia, the Aldenville."
"1854---Appointed by the Legislature of the State of New York, director in the United States Inebriate Asylum."
"March 31---Saw Estrampes garrotted at Havana for high treason."
"1857---Elected a member of the Geographical and Statistical Society of New York City."
"1858---Received an honorary diploma from the New York State Agricultural Society for the best dairy farm---365 acres---keeping 50 cows."
"1861---Gave to the town of Prattsville the grounds for a cemetery (about 8 acres) and laid it out in terraces with ornamental mounds. Same year made a full report to the U.S. Department of the Interior and the the New York State Agricultural Society, of his dairy farm, consisting of 365 acres, on which he kept 50 cows, for each of the years 1857,58,59,60 and 61, showing the following satisfactory results:
Butter made from each cow:
1857-- 130.16 pounds; 1858--161 pounds; 1859--166 pounds; 1860--182.86 pounds; 1861--217.20 pounds.
Net income from farm:
1857--$460.20; 1858--$964.60; 1859--$938.00; 1860--$1,558.62; 1861--$1,716.95."
Col. Pratt has been chosen chairman of five democratic county conventions. Has entered into some 30 partnerships. Has been director of several banks. Has executed more than 200 warrantee deeds---not a title doubted. He has traveled through Europe, twice through the United States, and four times to the West Indies. Twice elected to Congress. As a soldier he has been a private, corporal, sergeant, captain and colonel. He built the village bearing his name---having erected over 100 houses. Was the cause of the erection of the town. He has received at different times 20 premiums from agriculture and mechanical associations, including five at the World's Fair, London. He has set over 1,000 shade trees along the streets of the village and built 1 1/2 miles of sidewalk. Been a member of 50 societies and associations. Has lived under the administration of every president of the United States from Washington to Grant. He has been president of one bank, one savings bank, and of the Mechanic's Institute of New York; has been offered the presidency of four banks and of one railroad--only one of which he accepted. He has contributed largely in aid of the fine arts, having had nearly 100 statues, paintings, engravings, etc., executed. Has twice been chosen the elector, and once president of the electoral college. He has been chosen a delegate to the National, State, Congressional, Senatorial, Judicial, and County Democratic Conventions. Col. Pratt died at the ripe old age of four score years, April 5th 1871. A large and costly monument has been erected to his memory in the village cemetery."
Sources for this page:
Green County Genealogy