Samuel Fletcher Pratt - Table of Contents
Biography - Samuel Fletcher Pratt
Geneological and Family History of Western New York, ed. by William Richard Cutter, 1912, Vol. I, p. 400 (online)
Samuel Fletcher's grandparents: Captain Samuel and Esther (Wells) Pratt
Samuel Fletcher's parents: Samuel, eldest son of Captain Samuel and Esther (Wells) Pratt, was born at Westminster, Vermont, in 1787. He was seventeen years old when his father emigrated to Buffalo, but he did not immediately accompany the family, being then employed in a store at Townshend, Vermont. Here, in 1806, he married Sophia Fletcher, born in 1788, daughter of General Samuel Fletcher, of Townshend, a distinguished revolutionary soldier, legislator and judge. Samuel followed his father to Buffalo, in 1807, bringing his wife and infant son, Samuel F.
Samuel Fletcher's siblings:
- Lucius H.
- Sophia C.
- Pascal Paoli
Samuel Fletcher, born at Townshend, Vermont, May 28, 1807; was brought to Buffalo when an infant and educated in private schools here.
When twelve years old he left school to join his father at St. Thomas,Canada, where he remained in the employ of Bigelow & Goodhoe until after his father's death. Returning to Buffalo he secured employment in the hardware store of George and Thaddeus Weed. He received eight dollars a month, of which he gave six dollars to his mother.
In 1826, when only nineteen, he was taken into partnership. After various changes in the firm, Mr. Pratt, in 1836, bought the Weed interests. As Pratt & Company (1859 ad in the Buffalo Directory), this house became one of the most famous business establishments in Buffalo. He joined William P. Letchworth to form the firm of Pratt & Letchworth (1859 ad in the Buffalo Directory), for the manufacture of saddlery hardware, in 1848.
In 1844 he became the first president of the Buffalo Gaslight Company and continued to hold that position until his death in 1872.
He was one of the founders of the Buffalo Female Academy (Buffalo Seminary) in 1851, serving as its first president and remaining on the board of trustees until his death.
He was a very thorough and careful business man and very highly respected. While he refused several times to become a candidate for mayor, he consented in 1844 to serve as an alderman from the second ward.
During the civil war he was treasurer of the citizens' committee of three. He joined the First Presbyterian Church when eighteen years old, and sang in its choir until a few years before his death.
He married, in 1835, Mary Jane Strong, of Paterson, New Jersey.
He died April 27, 1872.
Shortly before his death he provided for the following public bequests:
- Buffalo General Hospital, $10,000
- Buffalo Orphan Asylum, $10,000
- Building fund of the Young Men's Christian Association, $10,000
- Home for the Friendless, $5,000
In addition he gave $30,000 to found a professorship at Hamilton College.
Samuel Fletcher's Children:
- Jeannie, born 1841; married, 186o, William J. King, of Providence, Rhode Island; died September 24, 1872, leaving three children.
- Helen, married, February 27, 1872, Frank Hamlin, of Buffalo; died in Paris, January 17, 1873.