Samuel Pratt


Samuel Pratt (October 6, 1807 – March 24, 1878) was an American farmer from Spring Prairie, Wisconsin who represented his region in the Wisconsin State Assembly and the Wisconsin State Senate on several occasions between 1849 and 1873, first as a Free Soiler and then as a Republican.[1]


Pratt was born in Enfield, Massachusetts on October 6, 1817. In his eighth year his parents removed to Geauga County, Ohio ; then in 1829, they moved to White Pigeon, Michigan. "the country at that time being very new, there being no grist- or sawmill nearer than 100 miles distant, and only a horse-back mail once a week between Detroit and Chicago, and no newspaper published within 130 miles". Due to the lack of schools in the frontier regions where his family had lived, he received only a limited education. He took up the occupation of farmer.

He came to Wisconsin in 1837, and settled in Spring Prairie, but did not move his family until February 1845.

Public office

He was first elected to a one-year term as a member of the Assembly from Walworth County's 1st Assembly district (Troy, East Troy, and Spring Prairie in 1848 as a Free Soiler to succeed Democrat Gaylord Graves; he was succeeded by Whig Alexander O. Babcock. As a Republican he was elected once more in 1854 for a new district (it was during this term of office that he was one of those who harbored fugitive slave Joshua Glover until he could be safely sent to Canada[2]); and again in 1863 for a new 4th Assembly district (succeeding Democrat Hollis Latham); he was succeeded in turn by Lucius Allen of the National Union Party.

He was elected to the Senate (as a Republican) from the 12th District in 1869, succeeding fellow Republican Newton Littlejohn), and re-elected from the new 8th District in 1871, receiving 3,956 votes against 2,161 for Democrat John Tuttle.[3] He would be succeeded by Thompson Weeks, another Republican.

Farming and personal life

Pratt was the chairman of the convention in the Wisconsin State Capitol which on February 21, 1849 resolved on the organization of a Wisconsin State Agricultural Society; and became a charter member thereof.[4]

He was a judge for Devon cattle for the 1861[5] and 1864 Wisconsin State Fairs.[6]

His son, Orris Pratt, would also become a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Pratt died in Racine at the age of 70.[7]


  1. ^ "Members of the Wisconsin Legislature 1848–1999 State of Wisconsin Legislative Bureau. Information Bulletin 99-1, September 1999. pp. 15, 96 Archived 2006-12-09 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Joshua Glover" Burlington Historical Society, 2007
  3. ^ Turner, A. J., ed. The legislative manual of the state of Wisconsin: comprising the constitution of the United States and of the state of Wisconsin, Jefferson's manual, forms and laws for the regulation of business; also, lists and tables for reference, etc. Twelfth Annual Edition. Madison: Atwood and Culver, Printers and Stereotypers, 1873; p. 434
  4. ^ Wisconsin State Agricultural Society. Transactions of the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, with an abstract of the correspondence of the secretary Madison: Beriah Brown, State Printer, 1851. Vol. 1, pp. 332, 336
  5. ^ The Wisconsin farmer, and north-western cultivator; devoted to agriculture, horticulture, the mechanic arts, and rural economy Madison: J. W. Hoyt and Co, 1861. Volume XIII, no. 5 (May 1, 1861); p. 149
  6. ^ Hoyt, J. W., ed. The Wisconsin farmer, and northwestern cultivator; devoted to agriculture, horticulture, the mechanic arts, and rural economy Madison: Hoyt and Campbell, 1864. Volume XVI, no. 6 (June 1, 1864); p. 234
  7. ^ State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Volume 8 (1912), p. 457.