Cyrus Cornelius Pratt to Ruth Fletcher, 1886 September 12

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OFFICE OF THE-LINCOLN ASSURANCE COMPANY.Lincoln, Kansas, Sept 12th 1886Mrs Ruth A. FletcherWaterville Vt.Dear Aunt,

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your favor of the 6th just came duly to hand yesterday, and I take the liberty to do an unusual thing for me, ie, open my office and seat myself to write you on Sunday.- business letters must lie over until business hours.- This however is an exceptional case and as my time is fully occupied week days for fear I would postpone writing I for once break the fixed rules of the Office.- I trust you will pardon me for so doing.- Your letter finds us in comfortable health, in the main, Mrs Pratt is not entirely well, and neither am I.- she is slightly malarious, and I am simply overworked.- and all I need is rest.- Our Children are well, The Oldest Clark Auriel, was

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born at Dallas Texas, Sept 11th 1878, hence your letter arrived on his 8th birth day.- He is a nice bright Boy, is almost an exact picture of me at his age.- he takes no pleasure in play with Boys of his age, but rather prefers to stay with me, run erands &c. he doubtless inherits all the musical talent of his [mother] and me.- and his Mother comes of a high Musical stock.- She being a full Cousin of Christine Neilson the noted vocalist, and Mrs Pratt really possesses greater natural talent than her Cousin.- I shall never think of educating Clark for a Professional Musician, that profession being too precarious, and uncertain, Clark takes to Drawing and I shall no doubt if we live educate him to follow up the inventions I have perfected, The next child is Mary Carolena.- Named for sister Mary and

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my Wife.- Matilda Carolena Neilson. Mary was born at Iowa City- Iowa May 29th 1880. hence is six years old past. She is a smart child. takes after me in disposition & tastes. hers like me, a violent. temper.- quick to get angry & quick over it.- She somewhat resembles Aunt Wyatt, in shrewdness, and looks like her daughter Mandana, and has considerable resemblance to Aunt Lydia. It is too soon to work out her course of studies.

The youngest is Elmer Cornelius.- Named for Mrs Pratts Grandfather, in Sweden and for myself.- He is almost 4 years old - was born Nov 10th 1882, at Ks.. Elmer is an exact picture of me, except he will be more of a Blond, in complexion.- So you see I am well provided with Children, and of course I am like all other parents.- think them all very nice children.-

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We have for the past 3 1/2 years had a wonderful trying experience.- My [Ins] Co, the "Vigilant-" antagonized the interests of the [     ] Stock Fire Ins Cos, and they combined to crush me.- They bought up the Papers & officials and in 1883, got a Supreme Court decision against the Co. which compelled the Co to stop - I got it Chartered by Special Act of the Legislature in Ga. the very week the Courts of Ks. went against me, & was thus enabled to protect Policy holders in all parts of the U.S. except Ks.- I at once set about remoddeling the Laws of Ks. so it would be possible to form such Cos- it took lots of Wire pulling, and 3 years time, but I triumphed.- See circular herein with my Rooster on the top rail of the fence.- The "Vigilant" is now on deck to stay, and will soon be a powerful organization.- See Leaflet herein for [     ] &c.- also note it is fully covered by U.S. Copyrights.- owned

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by me.- In 1884 I started a Life Asso here- it was a success, but the Stock [loss] got into the & got a law passed requiring such Associations to put up $100,000,- this we could not do & I transfered it to Dalton Ga.- and am still Secy of it there, as well as of the "Vigilant Ins Co" of Dalton Ga.- My interest are in Ks. and although I was boss in the Ga Office, yet I prefered to stay rite here and fight the great fight for my rights- happily I triumphed. To enable me to get even with the enemies of the People, I started this Co The "Lincoln"- Insuring property against Fire Lightning, Tornadoes, Cyclones and Wind Storms.- See Leaflet herein, and it is making a substantial growth and in due time will be The fire Co of Ks. and as a consequence will crush out the Ins monopolists.-

So to-day I am Secy,, of two Live Stock Ins

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Cos. One Life Asso., and one Fire Co. being in effect the champion of the Mutual idea of Insurance.- As great as these interest are they are however only secondary with me.- years ago I invented what is known as the "Pratt Truss Bridge".- Later Invented the "Pratt Double Tubular Arch Bridge".- A little later I invented the "Pratt Latice Truss Bridge".- The "Pratt Truss Beam Bridge".- later on the "Pratt Steel Arch Bridge." and last and greatest of all the "Pratt Suspension Bridge."- The last was the result of the invention of the "Pratt Land Anchor"- Designed originally to anchor Warf Boats, and by nice accident I learned I had a fortune in the Anchor to secure Buildings against Tornadoes & Floods.- &c. &c.- See circular herein.- of "Pratt's Steel Bands & Expansion Land Anchor"__Later on I discovered I could use the Anchor to secure the Cables of Suspension Bridges. and I now

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can erect Suspension Bridges made entirely of Steel, for less money than any one can buy the raw materials for an Iron Bridge.- During the persecution brought against me in the "Vigilant" I was reduced to poverty, my little family & myself suffering at times for the neccessaries of life.- during these trying times these great inventions were perfected.- I now am arranging to form Companies in various parts of the US. & Canada to manufacture all these things, At length having learned I could interest vast capital &c.- While still not rich yet I am on the high-way, to riches, as City after City offers royal donations of Lands Buildings &c for such works.- One City--Chatanooga Tenn. offers shops of Bricks worth $50,000, 5 Acres of Land 1/4 miles from [Union] Depot worth $15,000.- The Citizens offer to form Stocks Co with $500,000, capital and insure to me 1/4 the capital stock = $125,000, making

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the donation in effect the handsome sum of $190,000,- Topeka Ks. offers me $100,000, as a Donation &c.- I shall form such Cos_ all over the US. Candada. & in many portions of Europe, I shall change my plans & sell the Bands & Anchor for Buildings by Counties & States.- and from present appearances I think I will get a handsome fortune out of it alone.- Recently I sold New Mexico for $4,000, in trade.- I sold Washington territory for 36 sections of wild Land, in that [Ten,-] Counties sell at $50, for each 1000, Inhabitants.- hence the U.S. is worth $3,000,000 - I allow Agents .50% for selling, and should I only sell 1/3 of the territory can leave the Wife & Babies something for a wet day.-

With all these things on hand I have no time but what i can find, and I too am getting old hence I must

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do all I can to get these things into shape to benefit my family & kin folds.- At the present time I am too full of business to think of going on a visit, but during the coming year, when a few of these Cos are in shape I propose to take the time to visit all of my people.- Had the Stock [Ins Cos] let me alone in 1883, I would have been in condition long ago to have spent the time - but they did not and as a consequence I was crippled to such an extent that at times I did not know where the next sack of flour was coming from.- Had it not been for this privation this great invention would never have seen day-light,- so the fight on me has turned to my advantage, although at the time we were at times disposed to grumble at our lot.- It is all well that ends well and we now have nothing to fear - except over-work.-

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I am sorry to hear of the trials of Aunt Lydia & Uncle Daniel. I heard from Sister Mary something about it.- but at the time was in no condition to help them, as I could barely help myself.- I hope Henry will bring the offending party to time.- if he does not the relatives aught to combine & make him do right.- In a few years I will not allow any of my kin to suffer thus.~ Sister Mary is not in good health, she is worked too hard,- I saw her at her home last spring.- Caleb had a great raft of his folks there for Mary to cook for and she was then nearly worked to death.- Clark writes me every week, & I am expecting Mary to see me soon & will jog her memory about writing to you.- By the way her Son Clark is a very nice young man.- well educated &c. and is my partner in the Anchor & Bridge matter in British North America.- I can hardly wait until next year I

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want to see you all so bad.- but now is my time. I must fix things as fast as possible - 1st the Ins Cos_ I have to educate men to do my work, also show men how to make my Bridge Drawings. I learned these things (ie. Drawing) in self defence.- and am something of an Engineer & Draftsman.- In fact I make all Drawings myself- I want to see Uncle Lemuel; and the Relatives in Ind.- and I want to see Old VT. and fish for Spickeled trout in the Little Brooks, as I did when a Boy.- If you live one year more I will certainly do this- and I trust you & Uncle Andrew have many years yet in store. Now Dear Aunt I must bring this to a close for fear of wearying you.- It is not often I write long letters, but today I thought I would & would tell you of a few of the many things that

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have conspired against me & for me. Wishing you and all the dear ones in my Mountain Home happiness long life and prosperity-

I am now as ever your Affectionate NephewC.C. Pratt