By Carolyn Bennett
I’ve been working on and off for twenty five years now as the Director of the Zadock Pratt Museum; I’ve been the Prattsville Town Historian for about a decade. During this time, I’ve learned a lot of individual facts about the “Town that Pratt Built,” often hearing from town residents with deep roots in the community that there was already a “town,” or, at least, a well developed settlement in “Prattsville” long before Pratt arrived in 1824. That settlement was called Schoharie Kill (a/k/a Schohary Kill).
I’ve considered the scant facts and the possible locations of Schoharie Kill for over two decades. I remember reading about several “rough cabins” on the banks of the Schoharie Creek, the body of water that runs right behind present-day Prattsville. Back in the day, that is, back in the days when I was new to Prattsville, Museum board members Andy Dresser and Fran Lutz brought me to their homes at the west end of Town to show me how two of these “cabins” had been moved up from the stream bank to be joined at the back with their respective homes. Since both homes were probably Pratt “worker” homes, the move might have occurred ca. 1830 when Zadock Pratt moved the road from stream bank to its present location at Route 23. While the flood of 2011 caused by Hurricane Irene damaged many of the historic homes on Prattsville’s Main Street, Andy and Fran’s former homes are still standing. The location of those creek-side cabins made me jump to the conclusion that those cabins were the lost settlement of Schoharie Kill.
How wrong I was!