Zadock Pratt, The Man

Zadock Pratt

A Short Profile of Zadock Pratt, Jr.

Zadock Pratt Jr. (October 30, 1790 – April 5, 1871) was a tanner, banker, soldier, and member of the United States House of Representatives.

  • Pratt served in the New York militia from 1819–1826, and was Colonel of the 116th regiment from 1822 until his resignation from the militia on September 4, 1826.[1]
  • In the Catskill Mountains, Pratt built the largest tannery in the world at its time, and founded the town of Prattsville to accommodate the labor force necessary for the tannery, raising the town’s population from around 500 to over 2000. Pratt was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1836 and 1842. During his second term, in 1845 he first proposed the transcontinental railroad. In 1848, Pratt tried but failed to receive the Democratic/Hunker nomination for the 1848 New York state gubernatorial election. He was a delegate to the 1852 Democratic National Convention.
  • In 1843, Pratt established the Prattsville Bank with, which printed its own bills that were kept on par with the US dollar, but he closed the bank nine years later in 1852. Pratt financed multiple smaller tanneries in the Catskills, and also one in Pennsylvania as a joint venture with Jay Gould. In 1860 he retired from active business pursuits, and died in 1871.


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