Capt. James E. Pratt

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James E. Pratt

Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Abbeville, Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States
Death: August 31, 1911 (80)
Abbeville, Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Pratt and Mary Pratt
Husband of Mary Julia Pratt; Susan A. Pratt and Sophronia Clinkscales Pratt
Father of Helen Pratt; Mary Pratt; Carrie Pratt; James Lawrence Pratt; Sarah Louise Pratt and 6 others

Managed by: Jacqueli Charlene Finley
Last Updated:

About Capt. James E. Pratt

ID: I156913 Name: James E PRATT , C.S.A Surname: Pratt Given Name: James E Suffix: , C.S.A Sex: M Birth: 11 Dec 1830 in Abbeville County, South Carolina Death: 13 Aug 1911 Burial: 13 Aug 1911 Abbeville County, South Carolina


   Notes downloaded from rootsweb.
   He was the eldest son of Mary Kay and John Pratt, and was a great grandfather of President Jimmy Carter. General Robert E Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, serving under Stonewall Jackson and later Ambrose P Hill. He was born December 11, 1830 in the northern part of Abbeville District, SC, near the confluence of Hogskin Creek and Little River.
   The Pratt's were among the early white settlers on Little River, but where they came from has never been determined. Captain Pratt's great grandfather, William Pratt, had operated a gristmill at "Pratt Shoals" on Little River, and by family tradition the mill had been burned by Tories and Indians during the Revolution. It is evident from his Revolutionary War claim that William Pratt had been involved in the battle at Pratt's Mill, having lost his horse and saddle during the fight with the infamous Tory, "Bloody Bill" Cunningham.
   On another claim, a George Miller testified, "on that memorable night at Pratt's Mill that 500 Indians and Tories headed by William Cunningham broke them up and they lost all their horses, saddles and bridles. They burned the mill and went about one mile and burned a house, but the people were out of it, then the next place they came to was our old Uncle John Johnston's. There they caught seven girls, four of them young women and three that were not grown. The Tories would not let the Indians kill them, but they stripped them naked as they were born and turned them loose. Amongst them, five came to my father's naked and two of them was driven out the other course.
   The Indians set fire to the house and burned my uncle in it. They burned every house and barn on the place and destroyed all his living. Then we were moved about one mile off, my father's house was taken as a station."
   From the above evidence one can conclude that the Pratt's were an early resident of this area. Among William Pratt's neighbors during the 1770s were the Lindsay's, Ellis's, Webb's, McAdams', Stuckeys' and Branyon's, all of whom had immigrated from northern Ireland during the late 1760s and claimed bounty land along Little River, Hogskin Creek, and Chickasaw Creek. These families were well established there by the time of the post-Revolution migration from Virginia and Maryland, when the Kay's and Clinkscales' moved to the area in the 1790s.
   It was natural that the children of these neighbor families should intermarry. William Pratt's son James married Mary Kay, whose mother was Elizabeth Clinkscales and father was Reverend James Kay, pastor at nearby Little River Baptist Church.
   It is not known where John Pratt and Mary Kay lived, but apparently near Lindsay Cemetery on Chickasaw Creek. Their oldest child, James Pratt (the future captain), named no doubt after his two grandfathers, grew up around Pratt's Mill and attended Little River Church where his Grandfather Kay pastored.
   Captain James Pratt was thrice married and had children by all three wives. He first married a neighbor girl, Sophronia Cowan, born October 5, 1835. They likely married in about 1853 as their first child was born in 1854. Sophronia bore perhaps seven children, among them a daughter Nina, the future grandmother of the 39th President.
   It is not known where James and Sophronia lived during their 12-year marriage, but apparently he farmed part of the Pratt land just outside the village of Due West. Due West was the home of Erskine College, which had been established in the 1830s by the Associate Reformed Presbyterians. When war erupted in 1861 a neighbor, George McDuffie Miller organized a military company composed of local farmers, merchants and Erskine students. Miller served as captain of the company, with 30 year old James Pratt as his lieutenant. Miller would eventually be promoted to colonel of the regiment, and James Pratt became commander of Company G upon his promotion to captain.
   Leaving Sophronia at home with young children, James Pratt trained with his regiment at Sandy Springs, just north of Anderson. Their company was one of ten in the Rifle Regiment, organized and named for James Lawrence Orr. Orr himself was a cousin through the Clinkscales family, had grown up in nearby Craytonville, and had become a US Congressman before the war. He would later become Governor of South Carolina and the US Minister to czarist Russia.
   From Sandy Springs, the 1000 man regiment went by train on the Blue Ridge Line to Belton, where they switched trains for Columbia, and on to Charleston by way of Branchville. They spent the winter of 1862 in camp on Sullivan's Island. Many of the men got passes into Charleston, where they had photos made in their new uniforms at Quinby's Studio on King Street. In April 1862 the regiment again "boarded the cars" for Virginia, where they would soon suffer great losses at the Battle of Gains Mill. Many others died that summer of fever.
   Although there were many Kay's in Companies K and L of Orr's Rifles, there were none named Kay in James Pratt's Company G; however, there were several with Kay ancestry, whose mothers or grandmothers were born Kay? boys named Clinkscales, Latimer, Ellis and Pratt, Some had been students at Erskine College, and other just off the farm.
   In the book, A PLACE CALLED DUE WEST by Dr Lowry Ware, a young soldier named John Simpson is quoted, describing the deaths of some of the "Kay" boys in Company G, Regarding the death at Gains Mill of Dr Frank Clinkscales, nephew of Rev James Kay's wife, John Simpson wrote in part "? Frank Clinkscales, a classmate at Erskine was assistant surgeon and he and I drove the ambulance into a grove of pines. It
   turned out to be a most dangerous place? frank found shelter behind a pine tree. I thought my place was safer than his and said to him, 'Frank, come to me.' He said, 'No, I'll stay here.' These were his last words? I could hear nothing but the whizzing of shells. Captain Miller told me to lie down for the enemy were just a little distance up in the field. He asked me if I knew that Dr Clinkscales was killed."
   Simpson further stated in the letter that he found and temporarily buried four boys from Due West. Quoting from his letter, "?I went to Richmond and got four coffins and secured a wagon to take the coffins to the battlefield, I took up the bodies of the four brave men, Pruitt, Richey, Lindsay, Grier. On Monday I took the remains to Richmond and had them in boxes for transportation. Thursday evening, July 3rd, I reached Due West and delivered my precious charges to their relatives."
   Simpson brought back two more bodies to Due West in November of 1862. Private Willie Ellis, son of Joseph Ellis and Grace Edna Kay, died of fever in Richmond on July 14. The previous day, his cousin Lieutenant Milton Latimer had died, either of fever or of wounds he sustained at Gains Mill two weeks earlier. Milton was a grandson of Catherine Kay.
   Both Willie and Milton were initially buried at Richmond, but young John Simpson apparently disinterred their bodies four months later and transported them by train to Due West. Simpson wrote, "?Called at my old home (R C Grier's, where he had boarded as a student), left my baggage and went to the funeral in the graveyard (Lindsay Cemetery) near Mr. Joseph Ellis? I slept in my room (where he had stayed at Erskine). Those happy days are gone!"
   Both Willie Ellis and Milton Latimer were buried at Lindsay Cemetery near Due West, and their engraved stones have survived the years.
   Professor Ware's book states that John Simpson's sad journeys from Virginia battlefields continued in 1863. In May he brought the body of Lt. W W Higgins who was killed at Fredericksburg and that of Jimmie Wilson, the son of John R Wilson, neighbor of John Kay, who was killed at Chancellorsville. In August Simpson returned when he brought the body of James Mattison to his family at the Donalds depot. Company G continued to suffer losses, but by 1864 Simpson was no longer able to continue his journeys of mercy. Through the war, Company G of Orr's Rifles lost 30 in battle and four more died of their wounds. Many more suffered wounds, some of which were permanently disabling; and according to James Pratt who was the company's captain, only he and William Fisher escaped untouched. Regimental records, however, state that Captain James Pratt was wounded at the battle of Jones Farm on September 30 1864 and was furloughed home to Donaldsville, the nearest train stop to Due West, on October 21, 1864. Perhaps it was during this furlough that Sophronia's last child was conceived.
   James Pratt and the survivors of Company G returned to Due West at war's end to find Abbeville County in a state of turmoil. A Yankee regiment, made up primarily of ex-slaves, was garrisoned in Abbeville and few families in the county escaped their vengeful raids. Sophronia lost her infant on September 8, and she herself died some eight weeks later, on November 11, 1865. Captain Pratt buried his 30 year-old wife at Lindsay Cemetery near the grave of her grandfather, Colonel Isaac Cowan. James Pratt was left with small children to care for. Both his parents and his wife's parents lived nearby and surely gave support.
   Captain James Pratt married secondly Susan Sharpton of Edgefield County. Susan was born in 1843 and had been a student at Due West Female College. James and Susan lived in the village of Due West, presently #7 Abbeville Street, and like most everyone in town, boarded college students. The October 26, 1871 issue of the Abbeville newspaper reported, "?Captain Pratt has added to the beauty and comfort of his residence by the erection of an additional story, and has builded a commodious building, adjoining, for the accommodation of boarders." Susan was a popular matron in Due West, but died at the age of 31, in 1875. Captain Pratt buried her at Lindsay Cemetery, beside his first wife Sophronia. Susan was the mother of perhaps three.
   Captain Pratt married a third time, on December 1879, to Mrs. Mary Julia Keller Mabry, widow of Dr James Fletcher Mabry. "Julia" was born in 1842 and would have been 37 at the time of their marriage. They lived in her large country home, some six miles from Due West and along the Hodges-Abbeville Rail Spur. She and Captain James had one child, Helen, who remained single. A photo (in file) of James, Julia and Helen was made sometime between 1905 and 1910.
   Several of James Pratt's children ended up in southwest Georgia. Apparently one of the daughters met and married an Erskine student from that area of Georgia and on a visit to her sister; Nina Pratt met and married William Carter. In his book, HOUR BEFORE DAYLIGHT, Jimmy Carter elaborates on his grandmother Nina Pratt Carter and how she came to Georgia. In the book he also remembers visiting his step great grandmother, Julia Mabry Pratt, and Helen Pratt, the half-sister of his grandmother Nina. Captain James Pratt had died in 1911, well before President Carter was born.
   Captain James Pratt remained a well-known citizen of Abbeville County and the Due West area, participating in civic and social events. He took a very active role in Democratic party politics, especially in the elections of 1876 and 1878 when he served as a box manager and as the grand Marshall of the Due West Red Shirt parade. James Pratt died on August 13, 1911 and was buried at Ebenezer Methodist Cemetery in Abbeville County, in the Mabry Plot with Julia's first husband. Julia Mabry Pratt continued to live at the Mabry homeplace with her daughter Helen. Miss Helen Pratt lived to the age of 92, living until 1980. In the 1960's when Mrs. Marion Horton Shook of Dallas, Texas was compiling her book, CAROLINA ROUNDUP, about the Kay / Clinkscales / Pratt families, she visited with Helen, who provided her with a great deal of verbal history of the Pratt family.

Father: John PRATT b: 12 Jan 1808 Mother: Mary KAY b: 30 Nov 1809 in Abbeville Co, SC

Marriage 1 Sophronia COWAN b: 5 Oct 1835


   Has No Children James Lawrence PRATT b: 27 Oct 1854
   Has No Children Sarah Lula PRATT b: ABT 1855
   Has No Children Cowan PRATT b: ABT 1856
   Has No Children Mary PRATT b: ABT 1858
   Has No Children James Alexander PRATT b: ABT 1860
   Has No Children Jeff PRATT b: ABT 1861
   Has Children Nina PRATT b: 12 May 1863 in Abbeville County, South Carolina

Marriage 2 Susan A SHARPTON b: 18 Jan 1843


   Has No Children Carrie PRATT b: ABT 1867

Marriage 3 Mary Julia KELLAR-MABRY b: 1 May 1842

   Married: 16 Dec 1879


   Has No Children Helen PRATT b: 31 Dec 1887
view all 16

Capt. James E. Pratt's Timeline

December 11, 1830
Abbeville, Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States
October 27, 1854
Age 23
Abbeville County, South Carolina
Age 24
Abbeville County, South Carolina
Age 26
Age 27
Abbeville County, South Carolina
Age 30
December 5, 1863
Age 32
Abbeville, South Carolina, United States
Age 33
South Carolina
Age 36