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Autobiography of Dr. Wm. M. Pratt
The Baptist Argus, 1898
      William M[oody]. Pratt, the youngest son of Dr. Daniel Pratt, was born in Madison county, New York, January 13, 1817, and is now in the 71st year of his age. At fourteen years of age he made a profession of religion and joined the Baptist church, of which his parents were members. He commenced his studies for the ministry within six months after his conversion, and graduated from the collegiate department in 1837, and from the theological department of what is now Madison University in 1839. He went West in the fall of 1838 to explore his future field of labor and was elected pastor of a small and newly-formed church, worshipping in a school-house, at Crawfordsville, Indiana. His only brother, the recent Hon. D. D. Pratt of Logansport, Indiana, having gone West after his graduation, and entered upon the practice of law in that place, persuaded him to locate in that state, while his intention was to go to the unorganized territory of Iowa. The day after his graduation he married the youngest daughter of the venerable Elder John Peck, of New York, and after four weeks of overland journey the young couple reached their destination. The wife, attacked by malaria, within two weeks after their arrival, was in her grave.

      Mr. Pratt engaged in his life work immediately in preaching in Crawfordsville and vicinity. The churches were few, feeble and poor. For self-support he taught a female school for two years and preached on Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes thirty miles distant. He labored seven years in Indiana, organized six churches, got up subscriptions and had built five meeting-houses and baptized 454 converts. Crawfordsville, Covington, LaFayette, Delphi, Fort Wayne and South Bend and vicinity was [sic] the main field of his labors. He rode his horse further than around this world in the ministry to this people.

      In 1845, while on a trip to the springs of Virginia, to get rid of the malaria of the "Sickly Wabash," he had an appointment at Great Crossing [Baptist Church, Scott County, KY].

      The church at Lexington being in great trouble, sent Col. Henry Payne, a man of high standing and deacon in the church, to request him to spend a week with the church. The result was a pressing call from the church to become her pastor. He only consented to do so for one year, and that after he had spent two months in Virginia. August1, 1845, he entered upon his labors in that city, fully intending at the end of the year to return to Indiana and minister to the people so dear to him. In March, 1846, he married the eldest daughter of Dr. R. T. Dillard, and that fixed him in Kentucky.

      He was pastor of the First Baptist church in Lexington for seventeen years, and during that time peace and prosperity was the portion of that Zion of our God.

      About thirty-two ago his alma mater conferred on him, unsolicited, and to his surprise Doctor of Divinity. He has been oppressed with a sense of his unworthiness to bear that title ever since.

      He resigned, during the [American Civil] war, the charge of the church in Lexington to manage the various missions of the Board of the General Association, then removed from Louisville to Lexington [? - these cities are reversed - jd.], which was an laborious task, and preached to various churches in the vicinity. After the war he preached to the church in New Albany [IN] for two years - supplied Broadway in Louisville until she elected a pastor, and Walnut street during the interim between Pastors Spaulding and Wharton; then six years in Shelbyville, two years at Midway, and some eight years ago returned to Lexington to spend the evening of his days in the midst of old much-loved friends.

      Having been measurably prospered in his worldly circumstances so as not to be dependent upon a salary for support, he preaches regularly to churches in the country that are unable to contribute any large amount.

      It is fifty-three years since he was licensed to preach, and he is now in the 50th year of his ordination. He has never sought or had a vacation, nor even sought a pastorate. In the providence of God the churches have sought him and not he them. He has done as much work with his hands as with his head, and only relied on his God and himself and endeavored to keep a conscience void of offence toward God almighty, and man, and woman kind


[From The Baptist Argus, Louisville, KY, January 13, 1898, p. 3. Document from on-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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