Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Pratt Migration-Travel and Transport IV

William Bond Pratt said he was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont at Rutland in 1824. At age 19 he removed to New York and then Philadelphia. His father died in 1839 and the 1850 Census showed his mother as a resident of the Vermont Asylum at Brattleboro where she died many years later.
He must have found himself for practical purposes to be an orphan, with his father gone and his mother incompetent, when he emigrated from Vermont in 1843. When he left he had a 17 year old younger brother Ithamar, who emigrated to California; and two younger sisters, Mary Ann 14 and Alpha E. 11. I imagine Alpha's family must have taken them in. Alpha's home was in Norwich, about 35 miles to the east of Bridgewater.
Now I want to figure out how William Bond got from Rutland to Philadelphia via New York:
There are two ways to get to New York from Rutland. One way would be to go back east to the Connecticut River and go down that river to Long Island Sound and west to Manhattan via the East River. The better way, and I think the way William Bond took, would be to go southwest by land about 50 miles to the Hudson River where it changes from an easterly flow to flowing south. Then take a boat on the Hudson all the way to Manhattan.
To follow his path from Rutland to the Hudson on today's roads take US 4 west and south through Fair Haven and Hudson Falls to Fort Edward. Fort Edward is on the south end of "The Great Carry", the 11 mile portage between the Hudson and Lake Champlaign. He could have done this on horseback since horses were no longer scarce by then, but what would he do with the horse when he boarded a boat? I'll bet he hiked it. It would have taken two or three days on foot.
If he could not find a boat to take him on board at Fort Edward he would have to walk downstream until he encountered one. We know from the account of the 1818 Bartram migration by water from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Oriskany, New York, that the Husdon River sloops went upstream at least as far as the mouth of the Mohawk River. Whenever he subsequently passed the mouth of the Mohawk by boat he was crossing the path of the Bartram migration. The two paths ended together when the Bartram sisters arrived in Hagar Township.
It probably would not have mattered what kind of craft William Bond boarded for going down the Hudson. He didn't have a family or household goods or tools like the Bartrams so he didn't need to be on one of the large Hudson River sloops. Besides, they charged $2 per person. A shallop or a bateaux or canoe would have been fine, I beleive. Even going down on a log raft ala Huckleberry Finn would have worked for a single teenager.
                                                                                                                                   Getting from Manhattan to Philadelphia would have been no strain, given that he was travelling between the country's two biggest cities. I imagine it would have been a ferry ride from Manhattan to Jersey City and hitch-hiking on wagons with friendly teamsters through New Brunswick, Princeton and Trenton to the Deleware River and then by toll bridge across the river and on to Philadelphia. I'll bet he was staring around taking it all in like ths country bumpkin he was. Old US 1 is probably the best route to use to follow his trail today.
I wish I knew how he got to Germantown and how he met and courted Elizabeth King. He learned the carpenter trade in Philadelphia, became a successful contractor and builder of many houses in Germantown and became a part owner of a lumber mill in South Carolina before his health problems led him to migrate again, only this time with family..
NEXT: The Pratts head west.

Emailed Oct. 31

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