Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Pratt Migration-Phineas & Aaron

This series will follow the migration of our Pratt ancestors from Phineas in the Plymouth Colony on Cape Cod Bay in 1622 to Wilmer in Hagar Township on Lake Michigan in 1881 and on to Watervliet in 1912.
In previous messages I have told the stories of Degory Priest, our ancestor who came over on the Mayflower and died that first winter, and of his daughter Mary Priest who followed to Plymouth and later married our immigrant ancestor, Phineas Pratt. I have also covered Phineas' heroic story of the run through the snow from Wessagausett to Plymouth to warn the Pilgrims. Now I take up the story of Phineas and Mary and their descendents and the family migrations.
Phineas and Mary were married in Plymouth in 1630. They had eight children, Aaron, our ancestor, being the youngest. They moved from Plymouth to Charlestown, I don't know when or why, but Aaron was born there in 1654. Phineas died in Charlestown in April 1680. Here is his headstone inscription:
                                                   FUGIT HORA
                                      HERE LIES ye BODY OF PHINEHAS
                                      PRATT AGd ABOUT 90 Yrs DECd APRIL
                                      Ye   19    1      6    80
                                       & WAS ON OF Ye FIRST ENGLISH
                                       INHABITANTS oF Ye MASSACHUSETTS COLONY
There is a footstone also:            PHINEAS PRATT
Charlestown, the site of Bunker Hill, was founded as a Puritain Colony in 1628. It is now part of Boston. Phineas was an early settler who was later referred to as an "Old Planter".
Mary survived him by about nine years.
Aaron grew up in Charlestown and married Sarah Pratt, daughter of Joseph Pratt of Weymouth ( I haven't found anything to indicate that she was a cousin). About 1683 he purchased land in Hingham, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He had eleven children by Sarah Pratt, and after she died in 1706, four more by his second wife Sarah Wright. Our ancestor Henry was Aaron and Sarah Pratt's first born in June of 1685. All of the children were born in Hingham which is located  on Hingham Bay southeast of Boston Harbor. It was settled in the 1630's by people from Hingham, England. The location was originally known as Bare Cove. Histories of the Town of Cohasset also claim Aaron as an early resident but as Cohasset was a part of Hingham until 1770 we will stick with Hingham as his home town. 
One of these histories says: "The earliest recorded burial in our town is rhat of Sarah Pratt, first wife of Aaron Pratt, who died July 22, 1706, aged forty-two years. She was buried in the public land which lay in front of Daniel Lincoln's lot next to Little harbor. This burial place has since been named Central Cemetery..." I looked at that location on Google Maps and Microsoft TerraServer. The Satellite view on Google Maps is extaordinary. One of the best I have ever seen. Likewise flying in on Google Earth, I can see the gravestones, one of which marks the last resting place of my greatx6 grandmother. Amazing.
About Aaron an 1897 history says: "He was a man of more than ordinary natural endowments---hardy, industrious, prudent, enterprising, persevering and frugal....beginning life as a poor man, he supported comfortably and respectably a family of fourteen children, and left his heirs a valuable estate, the result of his own unaided efforts".
An 1898 history says: "His family of fifteen children gave him sufficient motives for an energetic career of farming...and...His home according to tradition, was a house two stories high with a gable roof, the lower story of stone, the upper of wood. The windows were of a small diamond pattern of glass inserted in lead sashes. But such a house could not have been his first one, for it was quite beyond his needs until his family had increased". About the Pratt women the history says: "The two spinning wheels shared in the prevailing energy of that household, and must have been set whizzing many a day while the daughters of Aaron Pratt held the rolls of wool to the spindle, making yarn from the fleeces of Cohasset sheep to clothe Cohasset farmers. It is doubtful if any other household accomplished so much of the ordinary business of living as did this family..."
Aaron was also  part owner of an iron smelting business. I dont know any more than that. He died in what is now Cohasset in February of 1735. I assume he was buried in Central Cemetery with Sarah.
NEXT:  Henry Pratt
Emailed Oct. 9

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