Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PRATT, Zadock, manufacturer, born in Stephens-town, Rensselaer County, New York, 30 October, 1790; died in Bergen, New Jersey, 6 April, 1871. His father, of the same name, had served in the Revolutionary army, and was a tanner and shoemaker. The son was employed in his father's tan-yard, and, while he was a boy, invented an improved pump for raising liquid from the vats, which is still in use. He was apprenticed to a saddler in 1810, began business on his own account a year later, and in 1815 formed partnership with his brothers in the tanning business, in which he was very successful. In 1824 he built what he intended to be the largest tannery in the world, around which grew the present town of Prattsville, New York He was also interested in eleven similar establishments. In 1837 he received from the New York institute the first silver medal that was ever awarded for hemlock sole-leather. He was elected to congress as a Democrat in 1836 and in 1842, serving one term each time. During his congressional career he was active in his efforts for the reduction of postage, established the National bureau of statistics, and as one of the committee oil public buildings advocated the use of granite or marble in their construction, instead of sandstone. The post-office buildings in Washington were erected according to his plans. He was also one of the earliest advocates of a Pacific railroad, and in 1845 offered a resolution for the distribution of engravings of patent devices through the country for the benefit of mechanics and the stimulation of invention. In 1836 and 1852 he was a presidential elector, He founded a bank in Prattsville, and contributed largely toward the growth of that town. Ire was a colonel of militia in 1823, and was generally known by his title.--His son, George Wat-so, , , soldier, born in Prattsville, New York, 18 April, 1830; died near Manassas, Virginia, 21 July, 1861, was educated in Poughkeepsie, New York, and in Europe, receiving the degree of Ph.D. at the University of Erlangen, Bavaria. He engaged in banking, took an active interest in politics, and served in the state senate. At the beginning of the civil war he became colonel of the 20th New York regiment, and at the time of his death, at the battle of Bull Run, he was acting brigadier-general. Colonel Pratt was the author of an elaborate review of General George B. McClellan's report on the Crimean war.
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