Memorial record of Alabama

Biography of Hon. Daniel Pratt

Hon. Daniel Pratt (deceased), the founder of the Pratt Gin factory at Prattville, Ala., was born at Temple, N. H., July 20, 1799. His father, Edward Pratt, was a son of Daniel Pratt, a native of Reading, Mass., whose wife was Asenith, daughter of Ebenezer Flint, of Wilton, N. H. Hon. Daniel Pratt was educated at the common schools of his section, and at the age of sixteen was apprenticed to learn the carpenter’s trade. At the end of his apprenticeship of three years, in 1819, he went to Savannah, Ga., thence to Milledgeville, and worked at his trade in that vicinity until 1831, when he went to Clinton, Ga., and there associated himself with Samuel Griswold in the manufacture of cotton gins until 1833, when he removed to Autauga county, Ala., and built a dam on Autauga creek, a few miles below the present site of Prattville, and there ran a factory for about two years, when he purchased a tract of land, built the present mill and began the erection of the present town of Prattville, so named in his honor. The gin manufacturer is the most extensive in the world, and the product the most popular in the market, having been improved by Mr. Pratt time and time again, where he saw room for improvement. These gins are used in every cotton-growing region on the earth — over one hundred of them having been sent even to Russia in 1891. In all there are about 33,000 in present use. The works employ about 125 men, with a payroll amounting to $7,000 per month. Mr. Pratt was a very energetic man, and, as a result, amassed one of the largest fortunes in the south. He owned thousands of acres of fine mineral land in north Alabama, and was one of the first to develop the coal and iron mines in the state or in the south. He built the furnace at Oxmoor, near Birmingham, and the Pratt mines were opened up by his son-in-law. H. P. DeBardeleben, and named for Mr. Pratt. Mr. Pratt continued his activity until his death in 1872. He was a man of great prominence and popularity, and served the people of his district in both branches of the Alabama legislature. He held rank in the Masonic order, the Daniel Pratt chapter being an evidence of his exalted standing in the fraternity. A man of noble impulses, generous and kind to the poor, he was a true and devoted Christian, and always foremost in rendering assistance to charitable work, as is witnessed by the fact that he erected a large two-story brick edifice, with store-rooms below and auditorium or meeting-room above, and donated it to the Methodist congregation, of which he was a consistent member. In 18 —, he married Miss Esther Ticknor. They reared but one child — Ellen, wife of H. P. DeBardeleben, now a resident of Birmingham, Ala.

Source: Brant & Fuller, et al. Memorial Record of Alabama: A Concise Account of the State’s Political, Military, Professional And Industrial Progress, Together With the Personal Memoirs of Many of Its People. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

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