IRA C. PRATT, the tile manufacturer of Cropsey, is a native of the Green Mountain State, where he first opened his eyes to light, Jan. 12, 1832. His parents, Ira Allen and Asenath (Wait) Pratt, were also natives of Vermont, where they resided on a farm and passed their entire lives in their native State. The father was accidentally drowned when about fifty years of age. The mother survived her husband many years, attaining to the advanced age of eighty-one. The eight children included in the parental household all lived to mature years, and their record is as follows: Curtis, the eldest, is a resident of Milton, Vt.; Sophia married B. B. Woods, and died in Vermont in the fall of 1886; Ira C., is our subject; Charles J. resides in Gilman, Ill.; Lucina became the wife of C. S. Tolman, of Fitchburg, Mass.; Frank is a resident of Livingston County, this State; Mary, Mrs. J. C. Hyde, lives in Iroquois County, and George R. in Cropsey.

The subject of this sketch was reared on his father's farm and received a common-school education. When seventeen years old he commenced work at wagon-making, serving an apprenticeship to this and the blacksmith's trade, and being employed eight years with one man. In 1855 he came West, locating first in Tazewell County, this State, and following his trade in the town of Morton until 1867. He then settled upon a farm in Livingston County, on section 13, in Belle Prairie Township, where he first purchased 160 acres. To this he subsequently added until he is now the owner of 240 acres, all under a good state of cultivation. Mrs. Pratt is the owner, in her own right, of 332 acres.

Mr. Pratt, in the fall of 1882, began to drain his land, and for some time hauled tile from Fairbury, a distance of nine miles. He saw that it would be necessary to use a large amount, and concluded it would be the best economy to manufacture his own tile. Accordingly, in connection with George S. Cook and Frank Pratt, the former also an extensive farmer, he soon put up a steam factory and commenced operations. He has now laid tile on all their land, the three farms being well drained by this means. Mr. Cook has since died, but his widow still continues an interest in the factory which our subject operates. They have three kilns constantly in operation, and besides that for their own use manufacture a large supply for other parties.

In the spring of 1883, Mr. Pratt left his son in charge of the farm and erected a handsome and commodious residence in Cropsey, which he now occupies…. This structure is considered one of the finest in this section of the country, and in its finishing and furnishing indicates cultivated tastes and ample means. Our subject and his family are held in the highest respect in this section, and enjoy the acquaintance and society of hosts of friends.

The marriage of Ira C. Pratt and Miss Ellen H. Hathaway was celebrated in 1854. This lady was a native of the same town as her husband, and departed this life in Livingston County, this State, in May, 1879, leaving three children George W., Ida A., who died in 1880, and Henry. The second marriage of Mr. Pratt occurred in 1880. The present wife of our subject was formerly Miss Mary A. Landes. She was born in Tazewell County, being the daughter of Joseph and Jane (Mitchell) Landes, of Groveland, Tazewell Co., Ill. In earlier years Mr. Pratt affiliated with the Whig party, later with the Republican, and is now identified with the Prohibitionists. He is a member in good standing of the Congregational Church, and has held the offices of Road Commissioner and Assessor, and was eight years Justice of the Peace in Livingston, where he formerly lived, and has been President of the Belle Prairie agricultural fair for ten years.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 204-5. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards


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