Posted at: 05/26/2012 6:58 PM
| Updated at: 05/27/2012 8:27 AM
By: Dan Levy
PRATTSVILLE - There was an extraordinary celebration of Memorial Day in Prattsville Saturday afternoon, as Greene County residents were allowed to take a step back into history while at the same time look into their future.
The people of Prattsville have an incredible story to tell; a story of service and sacrifice, and of pride and perseverance.
That the Memorial Day celebration in Prattsville this year falls on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is more than significant, it is fitting and proper.
"Prattsville has always had a strong sense of history and it lost one of its favorite sons," said Greene County Legislator Jim Hitchcock.
That favorite son of the community name sake, was Colonel George Watson Pratt, Commander of the 20th New York State Militia, mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
His boyhood home, an 1820s mansion on Route 23, was turned into a museum half a century ago but late last summer the flood of the century nearly wiped that building from history.
"The flood waters rose almost five feet up on the walls on the first floor of the museum," said John Quinn, a Pratt Museum board member. "Much of the furniture which was original to the house suffered damage."
Even though many artifacts were lost, many other historic documents were saved. The museum's resurrection this Memorial Day, which coincides with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, marks the first public ceremony in Prattsville since the flood.
"I think it just shows people that Prattsville is coming back," said David Dorpfeld, the Greene County historian. "At the same time it's not forgotten the people that went before those veterans that served in all the wars."
"The people of Prattsville are industrious," Hitchcock proudly stated. "They know how to put their sleeves up and go to work and they have done a lot of this on their own and this is coming back to life again."
"This community is committed to bringing the town back," Quinn said, "and with a spirit and brining the town back even better then it was before Aug. 30,"
Residents of Prattsville will never forget that date, August 30th, the day of the flood. It also happens to be the date, Aug. 30, 1862, when Col. George Watson Pratt was shot and paralyzed while leading a charge against the men of General Stonewall Jackson at the Second Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Va.
Colonel Pratt died a few weeks later at his mother-in-law's house in Albany and is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.
The weekend long celebration of Memorial Day in Prattsville culminates with a parade down Main Street at 1 p.m. Monday.