Jesse Richardson Pratt

Pratt Searchable Database (NOT AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME)


by Ron Warren

Jesse Pratt was born in Tennessee on January 13, 1804. Little is known about his parents or his exact place of birth. He was married twice; first to Frankie Fox who died 1842 or 1843 in Missouri and second to Elizabeth Gibson. Jesse died in Warm Springs, Arkansas on August 18, 1888.

Jesse Pratt was first and foremost a pioneer. He was a religious man with true spirit of adventure. He enlisted in Captain Dunn's Company, 2nd Regiment, 1st Brigade, Illinois Mounted Volunteers as First Sergeant on June 16, 1832, in Randolph County, Illinois for service in the Blackhawk Indian War. He was discharged at Dixons Ferry, Illinois on August 12, 1832. His brother, Matthew Young Pratt, was in the same Company. I have not read of specific actions this unit participated in but did read that Captain Dunn was seriously wounded by one of his own sentries in an accidental shooting. Captain Dunn survived the war and signed Jesse Pratt's discharge.

Jesse Pratt moved to Missouri sometime after the Blackhawk War probably in 1837 or 1838. He settled in what was then Washington County but is now part of Reynolds County near present day Black, Missouri. According to James Bell, author of "History of Black, Missouri", Jesse became minister of the Black River Church in the late 1830's. Soon, his ministry was known far and wide and one great revival after another came about in the late 1830's and early 1840's attracting some of the great ministers in Southeast Missouri. He writes that people came and camped all over the river bottoms near the church often staying two or three weeks. Jesse served the Black River Baptist church from 1838 till 1842 and from 1851 to 1858. Jesse became the first minister of the newly formed Baptist church in Ironton, Missouri in 1858 and served there until the beginning of the Civil War.

Jesse Pratt, probably because of his Southern birth, joined the Confederate Army. No exact date of his enlistment has been found but we know he was active very early in the war. Ironton, Missouri was the southern terminus of the Iron Mountain railroad out of St. Louis, so the Union army occupied Ironton very early in the war. General Grant received his promotion to General in Ironton in 1861. He was only here for a couple of weeks but he may have written an order for Jesse's arrest. He stated in this order that a "preacher from this place has been taking information to the enemy camp and I have ordered his arrest upon his return." Jesse is the only minister from Ironton that I have found to have served in the Confederate Army, so I am assuming that General Grant was writing about Jesse.

Jesse was a leader of a squad of "irregulars" and harassed Union forces in the Ironton area. At some point, Jesse became Captain of Company N, 15th Missouri Cavalry which was made up of mostly Reynolds County residents. His son, Robert Gibson Pratt was 1st Lt. of the same company and his grandson, Jesse Gibson was also in this company. Jesse's Company is believed to have captured and burned the Reynolds County Courthouse on December 22, 1863, and took the entire Union garrison prisoner with no loss of life. The prisoners were taken to Ripley County closely followed by Major James Wilson of the Union 3rd Missouri Militia. When Jesse and his company arrived in Ripley County, the entire 15th Regiment was camped for a Christmas holiday with their wives and children. Colonel Timothy Reeves was the Regimental Commander and himself a Baptist minister from Ripley County. While dinner and religious services were being conducted, Major Wilson attacked and killed and wounded over 100 people many of them women and children. This became known as the "Wilson Massacre". Later, during the Missouri Campaign of 1864, Major Wilson was captured during the Battle of Pilot Knob. He was tried and convicted, then executed by members of the 15th Missouri Cavalry along with six of his troopers.

Jesse Pratt remained active till the end of the war and several mentions of him by Union Officers in official correspondence are in evidence. Jesse surrendered along with the rest of the 15th Missouri on May 11, 1865, and was paroled at Jacksonport Arkansas on June 5, 1865. He remained in Arkansas in the Warm Springs area till his death in 1888.

Grant's Order

HEADQUARTERS, Ironton, Mo., August 15, 1861.

Captain JOHN C. KELTON, Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: I have to-day to note the arrival of two regiments of infantry - Colonel Lauman, Seventh Iowa Regiment, and Colonel Thayer, First Nebraska Regiment. I have also ordered the Twenty-first Regiment Illinois Volunteers, under Colonel Alexander, forward upon the Greenville road, and Colonel Frederick Hecker, Twenty-fourth Illinois Volunteers, upon the Fredericktown road, taking five days' rations, with instructions to form a conjunction at Brunot. I expect to follow to-morrow with artillery, should any arrive, a few companies of infantry, and more provisions, if means of transportation can be procured; otherwise I shall send teams back from Brunot or Greenville for additional rations.

I purchased to-day sixteen wagons and sixty-eight mules, subject to the approval of Major-General Fremont. These teams are well adapted for our use - more suitable and more efficient than those which we have heretofore employed or found in the service of this command. I shall to-morrow purchase five more wagons and twenty mules on the same terms. The teams which I have conditionally purchased have been for some time in the service of the Government without charge if now purchased; otherwise to receive compensation.

Requisitions were made upon Quartermaster McKinstry some days since for camp equipage, & c., but as yet I have received nothing. At this time I have not a single tent for my headquarters, nor is there any stationery in the quartermaster's department.

Several prisoners now in my charge I shall at the earliest convenience send to the arsenal, with charges accompanying. Since writing the above a messenger has come in from a spy I have out, who reports the rebel force much greater than has heretofore been represented - from 25,000 to 30,000. The spy mentioned is an officer in disguise. From representations made by the messenger, the information which has caused them to retreat was obtained from a preacher of this place, who managed to get out of camp, and is now back again, without a pass. I have ordered his arrest and will have him sent to Saint Louis if caught.

I shall move with the detachments of my command, viz, the Twenty-first and Twenty-fourth Illinois Regiments, towards Brunot subject to any order from your department, and will report as often as practicable.

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

"Sounds to me like a future president of the United States didn't like our Grandfather!" ~Ronnie Warren

1. Rev. Jesse Richard Pratt, Sr. was born 13 Jan 1804 in Tennessee. Jesse died 18 Aug 1881 in Washington County, Missouri. He married (1) Frankie Fox 1828. She was born 1806 in Johnson County, Illinois. Frankie died 1843 in Potosi, Washington, Missouri. They had 8 children: 2. i. Talitha Pratt, born about 1828, died 1854. 3. ii. Matthew Y. Pratt, born 1832 in Johnson County, Illinois. 4. iii. Elizabeth N. Pratt, born 1834 in Johnson County, Illinois. 5. iv. William Pratt, born 1836. 6. v. John Bunyan Pratt, born 1 Jul 1837 in Centerville, Reynolds, Missouri, died 16 Feb 1895 in Centerville, Reynolds, Missouri. 7. vi. Jesse Richard Jr. Pratt, born 1840. 8. vii. Thomas Green Pratt, born 1842 in Centerville, Reynolds, Missouri. 9. viii. Milton L. Pratt, born about 1843. Jesse next married (2) Elizabeth Gibson 6 Feb 1844 in Washington County, Missouri. She was born 24 Jan 1821 in North Carolina, the daughter of Robert Gibson, Sr. and Martha Belton. Elizabeth died 16 Jan 1905 in Warm Springs, Randolph, Arkansas. They had 8 children: 10. ix. Robert Gibson Pratt, born about 1845. 11. x. Frances Irene Pratt, born 29 Mar 1847 in Ironton, Iron, Missouri. She married (1) Jake Hufstedler. He was born 29 Mar 1847. Frances next married (2) Jasper N. Carroll 19 Feb 1882. 12. xi. Preston Akers Pratt, born about 1849 in Ironton, Iron, Missouri. He married (1) Harriet Drake 27 Mar 1869. Preston next married (2) Delana Lomax 15 May 1874. Preston next married (3) Amanda Fondren 30 Jan 1882. 13. xii. Martha J. Pratt, born about 1851 in Missouri. She married Joseph W. Irby 29 Apr 1869. 14. xiii. Joshua Cartee "Doss" Pratt, born 13 Dec 1853. He married Tennessee Caroline "Tenn" Dawson 4 May 1876. Joshua died 24 Oct 1925. 15. xiv. Lucinda Ann "Lucy" Pratt, born 9 Oct 1855. She married Milton Drew "Mitt" Bowers 21 Jun 1872. Lucinda died 21 Jan 1934. 16. xv. Sarah Jane "Sade" Pratt, born 13 Oct 1859, died 2 Feb 1934. 17. xvi. Sterling Price Pratt, born 7 Jun 1862, died 2 Nov 1916.
2. Talitha Pratt was born about 1828. Talitha died 1854. She married Rev. Williamson Osborne Gibson, 26 Mar 1844 in Washington County, Missouri. He was born about 1823 in Tennessee, the son of Robert Gibson, Sr. and Martha Belton. Williamson died 22 Sep 1895 in Pine, Ripley, Missouri, and was buried in Pine, Ripley, Missouri. (SEE GIBSON GENEALOGY BELOW) They had 7 children: 18. i. Jesse Richardson Gibson, born 16 Aug 1844, died 28 Jul 1927. 19. ii. Frances Elizabeth Gibson, born 28 Dec 1847, died 18 Jan 1940. 20. iii. Mary Jane Gibson, born about 1850 in Illinois. She married Joseph Greenlee 17 Feb 1869 in Crawford County, Missouri. He was born about 1850. 21. iv. James M. Gibson, born about 1854, died about 1885. Williamson also married Mary Frances Glore 29 Mar 1855 in Washington County, Missouri. She was born 1836 in Oldham County, Kentucky, the daughter of Lisbon Alexander Glore and Catherine Wells. 5. William Pratt was born 1836 in Johnson County, Illinois. He married (1) Nancy Louisa Haynes 22 Feb 1860 in Centerville, Reynolds, Missouri. They had 10 children: 25. i. John Lafayette Pratt, born 1861. 26. ii. Jane(Jennie) Elizabeth Pratt, born 1864. 27. iii. Jesse Richard Pratt, born 1866. 28. iv. Sara Josephine Pratt, born 1869. 29. v. William Bunyan Pratt, born 1871. 30. vi. Nancy Louisa Pratt, born 1873. 31. vii. Fannie Cordelia Pratt, born 1876. 32. viii. Flavia Corrilla Pratt, born 1878. 33. ix. Minnie May Pratt, born 1881. 34. x. Emma A. Pratt, born 1882. William next married (2) Malinda A. Chilton. 10. Robert Gibson Pratt was born about 1845 in Missouri. He married Martha Matilda "Tilda" Russell. She was born in 1846. They had 3 children: 35. i. Dora Pratt, born 1867. 36. ii. Elizabeth Pratt, born 1869. 37. iii. Esther Pratt, born 1870.


My name is Gena Gibson Davis and I am descended from Jesse Richardson Pratt through his daughter Talitha who married WO Gibson. There are many people researching the family of JR Pratt and they have all been so kind to me in my own efforts. I know there are many more of us out there and for those who happen across this page I want to tell you where our research stands at this time on the mystery of who were the parents of JR.

Before I get into that though I must send my biggest thanks to Betty Jo Gibson Scott, the woman who has created this web site. Betty Jo is not related to the Pratt family, instead she descends from WO Gibson's marriage to Mary Glore. I appreciate the work Betty Jo has put into this Pratt page and I'm sure that all of you do too. Thanks Betty Jo!

JR Pratt left many records behind for us to study but even with the wealth of information out there the big question still eludes us--Who were his parents?! There are several ideas so I will start at the begining. JR was born 1804 somewhere in TN while his brother Matthew "MY" Young Pratt was born 1808 in Cumberland Co., KY. It has been stated that the two men were half brothers with their father from NC and their mother from VA. What is certain is that Matthew said on his military records that he was born in Cumberland Co., KY. Some reserchers think that his father most likely was Thomas Pratt who was listed in that county on the 1810 census.

Mrs. Flo Gates of OK was wise enough to take down oral history from the "old timers". One story relates that JR once took a trip to AL to visit "Uncle Bija". This is not the only clue to an AL link. This is an excerpt from the book "The Pratt Family of North Carolina and Alabama, Includes Sketches of Allied Families: Beavers, Vernon and Hampton" published in 1966 and compiled by Mrs. Marget Lofquist:

"Joab Pratt, son of Richard and Rebecca Beavers Pratt, was born about 1797 in Stokes Co., NC. He settled in Hayapple Cr in Bibb Co., AL and became a respected Baptist preacher. After some years of residence in AL he moved to TX (another account states that he moved to AR). He married Francis, daughter of Obediah Vernon, whom we believe may have been a son of Cap't Richard Vernon. His wife's brother Nehemiah Vernon came to AL and also lived in Bibb Co. From old letters kept in the family we would gather that Joab had a daughter who married a Miller and that he may have had a son Jesse who married 1) Frankie Fox and 2) Elisabeth Gibson, Jesse Pratt had children who lived in Pocahontas, AR and Ironton, MO. Note: doubtful if a son but should be investigated further."

It is a shame that Mrs. Lofquist has passed away and cannot tell us more about her research on JR. Since Joab was born abt 1797 and JR 1804 it is impossible for them to have been father and son but for their family to have letters mentioning JR, we will always be left to wonder just what was written in them. The similarites between the two Pratt men are striking. Both were Baptist ministers known for their great preaching abilites. Joab was known for his missionary work with Native Americans and his compassion for them. JR's first wife, Frankie, is believed to have been a Native American.

The book "The History of Ripley Co., MO" by Jerry Ponder says the town of Pratt located in Ripley Co. was established in 1894 by Matthew Pratt and named after either a Daniel or John Pratt who were sopposed to have moved to the area from Alabama. It is difficult to say whether this Matthew was MY, his son or the son of JR. Whatever the case, here is yet another reference to AL.

Several people have claimed that JR married Frankie (Francis) Fox in Johnson Co., IL and some of his children were born there.

There may be a connection between JR and the Gibson family further back than his marriage to Elisabeth Gibson dau of Robert Gibson, Sr. Robert Gibson married Martha Belton dau of James Belton in 1810 Rockingham Co., NC. This is the same area which the family of Joab Pratt lived. Since we do not know who the parents of Robert Gibson were either much of this is speculation but it is likely that Robert was related to old Joseph Gibson who had a dau named Ann Pratt. Again, we don't know any more information on her other than her married name. It is another strange coincidence that the family of Joseph Gibson lived near the family of Joab Pratt and even conducted land transactions with them.

Also living in Rockingham Co., NC were two brothers Jesse and Matthew Young. It has often made me wonder if these brothers were namesakes for our two brothers Jesse R. and Matthew Young Pratt.

Over in Orange Co., NC was another Gibson, Andrew Gibson. So far, all possible leads for a connection between Robert Gibson and Andrew Gibson have been exhausted but it is interesting to note that there were two men related to that family that were named Jesse Richardson, one was Jesse Richardson Thompson son-in-law of Andrew Gibson. The coincidence may be easily explained by a heroic figure in that area name Jesse Richardson but if there was he has not yet come to our attention.

JR Pratt was listed in the 1830 Randolph Co., IL census near a Robert Gibson. There were several Robert Gibsons listed in the 1830 IL census though and it has not been proven which is our Robert.

Lastly, Flo Gates believes there may have been a connection between a John Pratt who came from the northeastern tip of AL into Lauderdale Co., TN.

This is it, lots of specualtion, clues and theories but someday I believe some hardy soul will untangle this web and accurately document the parents of Jesse Richardson Pratt. And when you do, please tell me!

Contributions to this page are most welcome.

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