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James L. Pratt


Posted By: Sharyl Ferrall (email)
Date: 7/29/2008 at 21:12:40


James L. Pratt, publisher of the Elkton Record, of Elkton, Brookings county, is one of the oldest newspaper men in his section of the state and the oldest in his county as to the management of the same sheet.

He was born in Allamakee county, Iowa, September 13, 1856, the parental home being a log cabin with a big fireplace. Indians and wolves were frequently seen, the one being almost as wild as the other. His parents were Azel and Mary (Hersey) Pratt, both of whom were natives of Maine, but in 1845 removed to Iowa, where they became pioneer settlers, won prosperity and passed to the great beyond in 1881.

James L. Pratt was reared in his native county and acquired his early education in the select, district and public schools of Waukon, the county seat, the town having received its name from John Waukon, a grand old Indian chief. During his boyhood days, when not in school, Mr. Pratt worked with his father, who was a carpenter, receiving a penny a day during his early youth and ending his apprenticeship when sixteen years of age at three dollars per day.

About that time Mr. Pratt became [illegible] in a printing office, spending six months in that way in the office of the Postville (Ia.) Review. Later he engaged with the Standard, of Waukon, where he remained for four years, and later he looked after the welfare of the Waukon Democrat for another four years. He then returned to carpentering, which he followed for some time until called to Pipestone, Minnesota, to take charge of the Republican of that city in 1882. He remained in connection with that paper until 1885, when he removed to the little town of Elkton, South Dakota, and purchased the Record, which had been launched a little more than a year before and which since 1885 has been owned and edited by Mr. Pratt.

Mr. Pratt is a true republican and has never felt that there was occasion to change his party connection. He has held many offices of trust, the duties of which have been promptly and creditably discharged. In fact, he has been a dominant factor in the republican party in his section of the state for a number of years and has served as a delegate to both territorial and state conventions. He is prominent, too, in fraternal circles and uses the signs and passwords of nearly all the best known secret organizations.

On the 31st of March, 1880, Mr. Pratt was united in marriage to Miss Edith F. Wedgewood, who was born in Castalia, Iowa, and is a daughter of the late John M. Wedgewood, a prominent Baptist minister of his day. Mr. and Mrs. Pratt are the parents of six children. Ada M., a graduate of the Elkton high school, of the Cedar Valley Seminary at Osage, Iowa, the State Normal at Winona, Minnesota, and also of the Madison (Wis.) University, has made a success as a teacher, and efficiently filled the office of deputy county superintendent of schools of Brookings county. Jesse L. Pratt was graduated from the Elkton high school, the Osage Seminary and the Mankato (Minn.) Commercial College, and is now bookkeeper and accountant with the Park & Grant Mercantile Company, of Watertown, South Dakota. Vern and Vera are twins, the former an electrician and the latter a teacher in the high school at Benson, Minnesota. Gladys is a graduate of the Elkton high school and graduated from the Madison (S.D.) Normal in 1915. Ruth is now in the eighth grade in the public schools of Elkton.

Mr. Pratt publishes an attractive paper, is well versed in every phase and form of newspaper art, has kept in touch with the trend of progress as manifest in modern journalism and through the columns of his paper has been an efficient and influential advocate of public progress in Brookings county and municipal welfare in Elkton.

~History of Dakota Territory, George Washington Kingsbury; South Dakota, It's History and It's People; edited by George Martin Smith; S.J. Clark Publishing Company; Vol V; 1915; pg 172-173


Allamakee Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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