William Pratt, Hartford Founder

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Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist

WILLIAM1 PRATT, LIEUT., HARTFORD FOUNDER (WILLIAMA) was baptized 06 Jun 1609 in poss Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, and died bef. 20 Feb 1678/79 in Saybrook, CT. He married ELIZABETH CLARK bef. 1641 in Hartford, CT, daughter of JOHN CLARKE and ____. She was born abt. 1622 in England, and died aft. 1682 in prob Saybrook, CT.

William Pratt has long been supposed to be the brother of John Pratt, another founder of Hartford, thought to be the sons of Rev. William Pratt of Stevenadge, Hertfordshire, England. Later genealogists objected that the baptismal date given in prior genealogies of 9 November 1620 was far too late to be the John Pratt of Hartford. However, Matthew J. Grow, in an article in the New England Historical Genealogical Record, Vol. 149 demonstrates that the correct baptismal date for John Pratt is 29 November 1607, and the baptismal date of William was 6 June 1609, making it possible for these sons of the Rev. William Pratt to be the John and William Pratts of Hartford. Mr. Grow does not assert that these are the descendants of John and William Pratt, but does assert that strong possibility.

It is not known when William Pratt emigrated to New England, but he was in Hartford by 1637 as he served in the Pequot War of that year. His home lot was on the east side of the road from Centinel Hill to the Cow Pasture. In 1645 he sold his land to Matthew Beckwith, and removed to Saybrook sometime thereafter. He was deputy from Saybrook to the General Court from 1666 to 1678 and was Lieutenant in 1661.

Records of his will and probate which were settled at New London were destroyed by fire. He attended his last General Court 9 May 1678, and he is noted to be deceased before 20 February 1678/9.

Genealogy: “The Pratt Family: or the Descendants of Lieut. William Pratt, one of the First settlers of Hartford and Saybrook”, F. W. Chapman, Hartford, 1864 (This is a remarkably comprehensive genealogy for its era, particularly in that it follows the descents of female lines. One area in which it is lacking is that, while giving the dates of events, it fails in most cases to give the places of those events.)

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