Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

The Oldest Woman in Chicago Ascends

So read an article in a Chicago newspaper in late May, 1899.  My 4th great grandmother, Lucinda Silvey Pratt, lived to be 103 years old and was believed to be the oldest woman in Chicago at the time of her death.

Lucinda Silvey Pratt

Lucinda Silvey Pratt     5 May 1796 – 24 May 1899


Mrs. Lucinda Silvey Pratt, the oldest woman in Chicago, who has lived under the administrations from President Washington to that of McKinley, passed to her heavenly home, Wednesday morning at 4 o’clock, at the residence of her daughter Mrs. C.C. Bonney, in the Kenwood Apartment building, 17th Street and Kenwood Avenue.

Old age and a complication of ills was the cause of her demise. Mrs. Pratt was one hundred and three years old, having been born at Pittsfield, Mass. May 5, 1796. She married Hosea Pratt in 1821, by whom she had two children: Benoni Preston [my 3rd great grandfather], and Lydia A., who married our distinguished fellow citizen, Charles C. Bonney, August 16, 1855. Their children were Caroline L. (married to E. Marble); Charles L. (married to Margaret Ankeny of Clinton, Iowa); Florence P., and Lawton C. Bonney (married to Olive Baker of Chicago.)

Mrs. Pratt leaves three great-grandchildren: Valerian C. Bonney, Ada Bonney and Pauline Bonney, children of Charles L. Bonney. Last fall when Mr. and Mrs. Bonney moved from their old residence to their present home, Mrs. Pratt rode in a carriage from the western portion of the city to their new home in the southern portion, and took great delight in viewing the city.

Mrs. Pratt’s father was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and in the evening of her life it was one of Mrs. Pratt’s delights to recount the stirring tales of colonial days she had heard from her father. She lived in New England until forty years ago and well remembered the events of the war of 1812. Sixty years ago Mrs. Pratt’s husband died of cholera while an epidemic of the dread disease raged in the East. Coming to Chicago forty years ago, she has resided in this city ever since.

She was able to be up and about, however, until a few months ago. Much to her sorrow, she was obliged to receive the congratulations of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in bed on the anniversary of her one hundred and third birthday. She fully expected to be able to leave her bed again, but gradually sank until the end came peacefully.

Mrs. Pratt’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have grown up around her and call her blessed. Hers has been a remarkable life, not only in length of days, but in acts of loving kindness and charity extended to the poor and needy. Her funeral took place on yesterday; the Rev. L.P. Mercer of the New Jerusalem Church, officiating. The interment was at Graceland.

I find it very interesting that none of Benoni’s children or grandchildren are mentioned in this article, and I’m intrigued by the possible reasons behind that slight.  Perhaps his family wasn’t as “distinguished” as was the Bonney family . . .


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3 thoughts on “The Oldest Woman in Chicago Ascends

  1. Aunt Judy on said:

    Lynn this is great! Where do you find this stuff

    • Most of this I found in the box I “inherited” when Mom died. I have no idea how she acquired it. But I’m also starting to find more things (newspaper articles, etc.) online. I’ll be posting more of that stuff as I go! Glad you like it!

  2. Pingback: Guess who’s coming to dinner? | Bridging Generations

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