Daniel Pratt

DANIEL PRATT The Biggest Influence One who cant be overlooked in any study of the south, Alabama, Autauga County or Prattville is Daniel Pratt, a powerful influence on the south and the biggest on Autauga County. Daniel Pratt was born in Temple, New Hampshire on July 20, 1799. His parents wernt rich, but lived comfortably. They were religious and devoted members of the Congregational Church. At the age of sixteen Pratt was a carpentry apprentice to a man named Putnam. During his fourth year of service, Putnam fell into financial trouble and was forced to mortgage his home.

Pratt asked if he could be released and go to work in the South. If he were successful he would return and pay Putnams debts. Daniel Pratt borrowed money from his grandfather and sailed to Savannah, Georgia in 1819. After working as a carpenter and building homes in Savannah and Milledgeville, Pratt returned to New Hampshire in 1827. In New Hampshire, Pratt saw Putnam and paid the remaining debt.

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Pratt was married to Esther Ticknor while he was still in New Hampshire. After a couple of months at home, Daniel Pratt and his wife returned to Savannah and later, in 1831, moved to Clinton, Georgia. In Clinton, Pratt worked as controller for Samuel Griswold, a manufacturer of cotton gins. At the end of one year Pratt became a partner and, during the companys growth, they thought about building an extension in Alabama. In 1833, Daniel Pratt loaded a team of wagons with material enough for fifty gins and took his wife and two Negro slaves to Alabama.

His first stop in Alabama was at General Albert Elmores plantation in what was then Autauga County and now Elmore County. Here he built a blacksmith and gin shop and built the first cotton gin in Alabama. The new gins sold easily. Daniel Pratt wanted to use water power for his next gin shop. The location he chose was at McNeils Mill.

(later known as Montgomery Mill) on Autauga Creek. Pratt established a factory and was soon producing 200 gins a year. On December 18, 1835, Daniel Pratt purchased 1000 acres of land two miles northwest of McNeils Mill. After clearing the land, he established a saw mill, then a grist mill, and later a flour mill. In 1838, he also established Pratt Gin Factory in its permanent location. His operations produced gins, cotton clothes, sash doors and blinds which were to be carried by a mule team to Montgomery. Pratts operations were very successful. From the success, Pratt used money to develop the small. Growing tow sometimes referred to as Pratts Mill. Amos Smith was to contruct mile posts reading “Pratts Mill,” but Shadrack Mims suggested “Prattville” and Daniel Pratt agreed.

Autauga Creek reminded Pratt of his New England home. This may be the reason he modeled Prattville after a New England village in physical setting and background. By 1860 Daniel Pratts leadership had helped establish gin factories, including those in Indian Hill and Autaugaville. Also in 1860, Alabama was the leading state in the country in the production of cotton gins. Daniel Pratt also helped in the establishment of the churches in Prattville.

Pratt helped to organize the Methodist-Episcopal Church in 1845. He also built the Methodist Church building in which apartments, stores and offices were located on the lower floor of the two-story structure. The first store in Prattville was located in this building. Daniel Pratt built a beautiful home in Prattville in 1843. The mansion was very large but his family was very small.

He had three children; Mary, born on December 5, 1842; Ellen, born on March 27, 1844; and Maria, born on August 22, 1847. Mary and Maria died as infants. Although Daniel Pratt was a very busy man, he gave some of his time to politics,,. In 1855, he was a candidate of his party the Democratic for the Senate, to serve Montgomery and Autauga counties and was defeated. In 1861, he was elected by 98% of the voters (176 of 177) to serve as Intendant of Prattville, a position which has more responsibility than that of Mayor. In 1870, he became within a few votes of being nominated for Governor.

It is believed his age prevented the nomination. Located in the heart of Alabama, Prattville is also at the center of the Universe in the Cotton Gin Manufacturing Industry. Machinery designed, manufactured, sold and delivered from the banks of Autauga Creek literally covers the cotton producing areas of the world. Prattville named for the founder of our cotton gin manufacturing company will always share in our 160 year history, but can take special pride in its own achievements a combination of attractive features that make Prattville one of the fastest growing cities in Alabama.


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