Absalom Pratt House - Brierfield, Alabama
Absalom Pratt House
Built in 1835 around an even older home, the
Absalom Pratt holds a unique place in the history of
Alabama and Wilson's Raid of 1865.
Absalom Pratt House
Arriving in Alabama just after
the Creek War of 1813-1814,
Absalom Pratt was head of a
large family.
Civil War Landmark
The Absalom Pratt House
survived General James H.
Wilson's Raid during the
closing days of the Civil War.
Historical Marker
A marker on the grounds tells
the story of the historic home
and its restoration in 1998.
Absalom Pratt House - Brierfield, Alabama
175 Years of Alabama History
Absalom Pratt House
Like many Southern homes of
its day, the house is long and
narrow. This allowed breezes
to blow through easily on hot
days.
For 175 years, the Absalom Pratt House has
been a landmark in the rolling hills of central
Alabama.

Built in 1835 around a section that was part
of an even older home, the beautiful old
frame structure originally stood eight miles
west of its current location. It was moved to
its current location at the entrance to
Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park and
restored in 1994 by the Cahaba Trace
Commission and restored by the Alabama
Ironworks Commission. The joint effort
assured the preservation of one of the state's
most important historic landmarks.

The builder of the house, Absalom Pratt, first
moved to Alabama during the years following
the
Creek War of 1813-1814 and signing of
the
Treaty of Fort Jackson. He and his
brothers Hopkins, Josiah and John Pratt
were present in the River Bend area of the
Cahaba River as early as 1816-1818.

The area was then still a wild wilderness,
recently taken from the Upper Creeks as a
result of their involvement in the was against
the whites. Behind they left scattered village
sites and cleared fields and it was to these
that early settlers like the Pratts flocked.

The brothers were soon followed into the
area by their parents and by 1822 the family
was well enough established that Absalom
maried Mary Dickerson. The couple would go
on to parent twelve children. One of their
sons, Richard Hopkins Pratt, was a noted
figure in the early history of education in Bibb
County, Alabama.

The current house was built in around 1835
to provide space for the growing family. In the
time and place that it was constructed, it was
a remarkable structure and the quality of its
construction shows through in the fact that it
still stands today.

Like many Southern homes of the day, it is
long and narrow with a wide veranda. This
design captured breezes, allowing them to
easily flow through the house on hot days.
The design allowed natural light to enter the
home and a central hallway improved the
flow of air. In addition, the front veranda
provided a shaded and comfortable place for
family members to sit and talk at day's end, a
Southern tradition that is fading but continues
to this day.

It is believed that in addition to his farming
interests, Absolam Pratt operated a ferry
across the Cahaba River. He was elected to
the rank of regimental colonel in the Alabama
militia in 1841 and was an active officer in the
Schultz Creek Baptist Church. Like many
early settlers he lost his life to disease, dying
in a typhoid outbreak in 1845.
Upon Absalom's death, his wife and sons
took over the operation of his farming and
business interests. Mary Dickerson Pratt
continued to live in the house and operated
her late husband's ferry over the Cahaba
River.

It was this latter enterprise, according to local
legend, that brought her into contact with the
soldiers of
Major General James H. Wilson's
army during the spring of 1865.

Wilson was moving south through Alabama
from the Tennessee River, destroying farms,
ironworks, public buildings and anything else
that might support the Southern war effort.
His men often seized ferries, using them for
their own purpose and then destroying them
as they road away.

Determined to do her part to delay the Union
army and give Confederate General Nathan
Bedford Forrest time to oppose Wilson's
movements, tradition says that Mary Pratt cut
loose her own ferry and set it adrift before the
Federals could use it to cross the Cahaba.

Members of the Pratt family continued to live
in the Absalom Pratt House until the 1980s. It
now stands at the intersection of Alabama
Highway 25 and Furnace Parkway at the
entrance to
Brierfield Ironworks Historical
State Park. The grounds are open daily at no
cost.


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County, Alabama
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Last Updated: March 29, 2014
Historic Sites in Alabama