Obit: Pradt, Louis A. (1851 - 1934)

Contact: Sheri D. Graves

DEATH OF LOUIS A. PRADT - Wausau, Wisconsin, June 27, 1934

Another of Wausau's leading citizens has been called to his eternal home and again the people of the city, especially the elder ones, are called upon to mourn.

Louis A. Pradt had been a resident of this city for more than fifty years, except for the time he was occupying an important position as assistant attorney-general in Washington, and during all that time has stood for the very best things in life. He was active in every movement, which had for its aim a better Wausau and a better country; he was a pioneer and a prime mover in many organizations, which have helped to make Wausau the city, which it is. He achieved and maintained a very enviable position as an attorney-at-law. He was for thirty-two years the senior warden of St. John's Episcopal Church; a charter member of the American Red Cross, when it was organized at Washington, and its first counsel; He was the organizer of the Marathon county Chapter of that organization during the World War and its first president; he was the founder of the Wausau Country Club; and one of the founders of the Rotary Club of this city; he was a natural leader of men.

To the Record-Herald his death, following so closely that of B. F. Wilson, secretary and treasurer of the Record-Herald Company, comes as a great shock. For more than eighteen years he has been the vice-president of the company, and much of the success of this paper has been due to his kindly advice. The people of Wausau and Marathon county will miss him, but not so greatly as those of us who were thrown in daily contact with him in business and social life.

Wausau can ill afford to lose him. He was also one of the founders of Wausau Hospital.

Editorial: Louis A. Pradt, former assistant United States attorney-general at Washington, and since 1872 a resident of Marathon County, Wisconsin, died shortly before noon to day while seated in a chair reading at the family home, 501 McIndoe Street. He was apparently in good health and had been active in legal and other affairs.

Mr. Pradt was born in Coudersport, PA, November 11, 1851, a son of Charles R. and Esther (Emmons) Pradt. The family located at Plymouth, Sheboygan County, where the father developed a farm and where he joined the 14th Regiment of Infantry. He fought in the Battle of Shiloh and was injured while in service. He returned to Sheboygan County at the conclusion of his term of enlistment and in 1872 he located in the western part of Marathon County where he took up government land and cleared and operated a farm. In the early 80s he retired from farming and made his home in Wausau where he spent the remainder of his life.

Mr. Pradt acquired his rudimentary instruction in the rural schools of Sheboygan County and after attending the Racine College entered the University of Wisconsin where he received the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He taught school at the age of sixteen years and for twelve years taught in the rural schools in Sheboygan and Marathon Counties. He completed his law course with the earnings he derived from teaching and after his admission to the Wisconsin bar in 1881 he opened a law office in Wausau. With the exception of his service as U.S. Attorney-General at Washington, he practiced law in Wausau ever since.

One of his early partners was the widely known Neal Brown. In 1884, in association with Mr. Brown, O. H. Holway, who afterward served as state adjutant general, Howard Hoyt and B. J. Pulling, he formed the Wausau Law and land Association. C. S. Gilbert and Fred W. Genrich were later members of the association. In February, 1932, Mr. Pradt withdrew from the association and with his son, Louis A. Pradt, Jr., who had been practicing law with his father since his service as lieutenant in the World War, formed a law firm with offices in the First American State Bank Building, where he practiced up to the present. In 1890 he became city attorney and was appointed assistant attorney-general of the U.S. by President McKinley and was placed in charge of the work in the court of claims with which he was identified until 1906, when he resigned. He also served under Pres. Roosevelt.

Among the noted cases defended by Mr. Pradt as government counsel were the insular claims growing out of the Philippine Islands procedure as an aftermath of the acquisition of that territory. Another important case was the double prize claim in behalf of Admiral Dewey and his officers and crew, resulting from the battle of Manilla. Mr. Pradt successfully defended the government as a matter of duty, despite his personal good wishes for the Admiral and his gallant seamen. He also defended the Indian claims in the case of the Cherokee tribe of Oklahoma versus the United States, opposing Senator Owen for the plaintiffs.

While in Washington he participated in many noted events. His name appears in the Act of Incorporation of the American Red Cross in 1905, serving as first counsel for that organization. At the time of the World War he was an organizer of the Marathon County Chapter.

For thirteen years his practice has been confined largely to the affairs of the Employers Mutual Liability Insurance Company and workmen's compensation cases. Was for many years counsel for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway and also for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad.

Was vice-president and director of the Record and Herald Company and senior warden of St. Paul's Episcopal Church for thirty-two years, in which office he was serving at time of his death. He lectured before law students of the University of Wisconsin on procedure of the court of claims. He was a staunch Republican and chairman of the Republican Committee for Marathon County from 1890 to 1896. Was vestryman of St. Paul's Episcopal Church while at Washington and a member of the Chevy Chase Club and the Cosmos Club. Was founder and first president of Wausau Country Club and was for two years president of the Wisconsin State Golf Association.

In 1887 was a member of the Light Guards, in which he was second sergeant, and which military company that year won first place in the international drill competition at Garfield Park in Chicago, as the best drilled organization.

Was member of Forest Lodge, F. and A. M. and of Wausau lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

He was married in 1890 to Miss Charlotte Atwater, a native of Newton, Iowa, and a member of an early colonial family who survives him with their three children, Louis A. Pradt, Jr., of Wausau, Alan Pradt of Menasha, who was formerly private secretary to Senator Irvine Lenroot, and Mrs. marshall Smith of Menasha.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed.

----Sources: Early Obituaries of Potter County, PA Obituary files copied from a book at the Potter County, PA Historical Society with their permission.

Transcribed by Sheri D. Graves.



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