Washburn Co. WIGenWeb

People Histories

Thomas A. Pratt
 (03 Sep 1858 - 06 Jun 1928 1)


by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, IL, 1905

pages 103 - 104

Thomas A. Pratt, a successful merchant of Spring Brook, was one of the pioneers of Washburn county, locating in Veazie township in 1881, when there were very few settlers in that part of the State.  Little attention was paid to agriculture in the county at that time, most of the settlers devoting their time to lumbering.  The Omaha railroad had been built through to Cable the year previous to Mr. Pratt's coming to Washburn county, but the country was very wild and full of game of various kinds.  There was no school int he township until two years later, when a log schoolhouse was built on Mishler's lake, the first teacher being Alvin Hayfer.  A second school was built at Spring Brook in 1894, with Miss Maud Ferguson as teacher (she is now Mrs. Pratt).  The only other remaining resident who was in the county when Mr. Pratt came is A. J. Trepania, township trustee and railroad ticket agent.  Mr. Trepania was the first resident of Spring Brook, which was settled in 1880, the postoffice being at first known as Nemakagon, but later named for the stream on which the village is situated.

Thomas A. Pratt was born Sept. 3, 1858, in Barrie, Ont., son of Jesse and Mary Ann (Caldor) Pratt, natives, respectively, of England and Ontario.  Mr. Pratt was brought up on a farm, and educated in the public schools, remaining in Canada until he was twenty-three years old.  On coming to the States, he went first to Iowa, and after a short time came to the wilds of Washburn county, where the first winter he worked in the woods for Elm Greeley, a lumberman.  The following year, 1883, he put up a small log house at Stewart Station, now called Stinnett, six miles east of Spring Brook, where for four years he kept hotel.  This primitive hotel proved a success, and in connection with the profits of a big potato field gave him his first start in life.  In 1886 he closed this hotel and opened one at Superior Junction in connection with which he carried on a general store, managing both store and hotel for eight years, the last four of which he was also postmaster.  In 1893 he sold out at Superior Junction, and later coming to Spring Brook established himself as a general merchant, still conducting business as such.  He carries a large line of agricultural implements in addition to the ordinary stock of a country store, and also buys and ships produce.  Mr. Pratt has filled several public offices in Veazie township, serving two terms as assessor, and one term as justice of the peace.  He is a Democrat and takes an active interest in politics, having an influential voice in local affairs.  Fraternally he is a charter member and past master of the Mystic Workers of the World, an order established in 1900.

In 1882 Mr. Pratt married (first) Margaret Robinson, who died in 1894, leaving two daughters, Maude E. and Gertrude.  He married in 1901 Maud Ferguson, daughter of William S. Ferguson, of Veazie township.  Mrs. Pratt was educated at St. Mary's Institute, Prairie du Chien, Wis., and was the first teacher in the township, teaching eight years in all, and walking three miles each way to one of her schools.  For four years she has been postmistress at Spring Brook, Wisconsin.

1 - Editorial Note -  Thomas A. Pratt's death date was derived from the Washburn Co. Register of Deeds Death Index. The death record is on file at the Register of Deeds Office in Shell Lake, in Volume 8, page 386.  His burial location is unknown.


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