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The History of Jonah Bratt, Sr.
Compiled by:
Dr. Marvin Bratt
1790 Sheffield Terrace
Marion, Ohio 43302
(740) 389-5853
Last revision: 09/11/2005
Jonah Bratt (1743-1817) was the son of William Bratt and Lydia March who lived in Willenhall, Staffordshire, England.  Staffordshire is located in what is now known as "the Midlands".  It appears to be a subdivision of Wolverhampton which is near Birmingham.  The largest town in the county is Birmingham and Willenhall is to the north and west of Birmingham just a few miles away.
 
This area was known for its mining, manufacturing and cottage industries.  The Bratt family operated a small shop in the rear of their home in which they made locks, hinges, latches and other small items made of iron and steel.  This was very typical of the small businesses in the area.  Some of my relatives are noted in the Willenhall Directory of 1770.
 
Jonah grew up in this home at 64 Wednesfield Road in Willenhall, Staffordshire, England with five brothers and four sisters.  He was appointed along with his mother as executor of his father's will.  I guess I see this as some indication of how his father felt about him.  His father didn't leave him any property, however.  Jonah's brothers Isaac, John, Samuel and James are all older than Jonah but we don't know what happened to them.

His father, William, gave specific directions as to what to do with his possessions at his death which are rather interesting.  He left everything to Lydia as long as she didn't marry anyone else after he died.  If she did remarry, he left her one shilling.

Property described in William's will included his house and several other houses which he owned.  I quote from William's will... "First I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Lydia Bratt all and singular my house and houses that I have in the Liberty of Willenhall in the County of Stafford with a croft that I have in the Liberty of Wednesfield in the said county with all my household goods, furniture, debts, personable estate, chattels and moveable effects of what kind whatsoever for her natural life if in case she doth not marry or contract matrimony with any man after my decease for if she doth then I only bequeath unto her the sum of one shilling..."  A croft, as used here, is a tenant farm, as defined in Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary.
 
Looking further in the will, we find that on the event of Lydia's death he leaves a "mangor oven" to his son Isaac who, perhaps had taken an interest in the family business.  I sort of think that families provided for food and some sort of work to earn money to pay for extras, etc.  I checked on what a mangor oven is but could not find much.  I would imagine that it was a small oven, perhaps coal fired, that was used to heat steel rods, etc., which were then hammered into objects such as latches, hinges, horseshoes, etc.  I doubt that the family smelted iron ore in the garage.  I would rather believe that they were similar to people who work with wrought iron today.  Here in Ohio, there is a celebration of such customs known as "Prairie Peddler" where one can observe such crafts.  William leaves the house at 64 Wednesfield road to his son John, even though the house was in use by Isaac at the time.
 
The will states... "I give and bequeath unto my son John Bratt, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever the house which my father left me by will but now in the possession of Isaac Bratt with the garden and all the appurtenances there unto belonging..."  William owned another house which he left to his son Samuel as mentioned in the will as follows... "I give and bequeath unto my son Samuel Bratt, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever the house which I bought of William Jobber but now in the possession of John Wilkes with the garden and all there unto belonging..."
 
To his son James Bratt, he gives the tenant farm as follows... "I give and bequeath unto my son James Bratt, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever the "croft" which I bought of John Owen but now in the possession of William Summerfield..."  He gives another house to his son William as follows... "I give and bequeath unto my son William Bratt, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever the house which I bought of Thomas Lowe but now in the possession of William Tomkys with all these unto belongings..."
 
Later he states that in the event William would die, the house would revolve to Jonah.  It is interesting to me that he would take everything else he owns and divide it into nine equal parts, give two parts to Jonah and the remaining seven parts to the other children.  He leaves his pew in the church to Jonah as well.  This must have been quite a deal, church status that is, as is evidenced by the following...  "I give and bequeath unto my son Jonah Bratt my half seat or pew which is in the gallery in Willenhall Chapel, also I give and bequeath my seat or pew which is in said Chapel unto each of my sons as follows... one kneeling to John Bratt, one kneeling to Samuel, James, William, etc...."
 
Reading on in a document by Marge Fisher, we find the following information concerning Jonah.  He was the sixth child of ten.  He had four older brothers and one older sister, three younger sisters and one younger brother.  One of the younger sisters, Ann, born probably in 1745, died on July 31, 1746 at a very young age.  The next child, a girl, was also named Ann, a practice quite often followed at the time.  Jonah was born, probably in 1743 as his baptismal record shows April 17, 1743.  He was apparently following the trade of his father, latch making.  Now I have observed folks around here that work in iron and steel much the way they probably did back then.  It is becoming a lost art.  The folks I have seen have a small stove that looks somewhat like a charcoal grille.  The ones I have seen burn coal and the fire is supplemented with a bellows of some sort to make the fire hotter.  The worker puts a rod in the fire and then beats the rod with a hand sledge until it is the shape and size he wants.  This process can be used to make hinges, nails, wall hangers, etc.  This is what I observed at the Prairie Peddler.
 
Jonah was 28 years old when he married Mary Brett Hartill who was seven years older and had been previously married.  Together, Jonah and Mary had six children and there were some children that Mary had previously although nothing is known of them.  The eldest son they named Job, perhaps after Mary's brother.  I have traced these folks through the IGI, the Mormon genealogical index, and therefore cannot know without verification that the information is entirely correct.  For example, the IGI records indicate that Job married a lady named Mary and had two children, Ann and John.  Nothing further was found on them.
 
Marjorie Bratt Fisher employed a genealogist to collect the other information which is supported by wills, birth records, church records and so forth.  This is all that I know about Job.  The second child they named Elizabeth probably born in 1774.  In 1799 she married Thomas Pearson, an uncle of Mary Moreton Pearson.  Mary Moreton Pearson would later marry Martin Bratt, a grandson of Jonah and Mary.  This family is also recorded in the IGI and I was able to trace the Pearsons back a generation.  I know very little of Elizabeth and her family except they had two children, Enoch, who was a coal dealer in Birmingham and Eliza.  The third child was Jonah Bratt, Jr. Jonah, Jr. was born, probably in 1775 and lived in Willenhall.  He was apparently a latchmaker and did some farming too.
 
Jonah married Esther Bratt in 1806.  Esther was from London and was not related to the Bratts from Willenhall, at least not that we can determine.  He and Esther had six children including Martin, my second great grandfather.  According to Marge Fisher's recordings, Jonah was a trustee along with his father and uncle, Samuel Bratt of the first Baptist church in Willenhall.  He died before his mother did so his inheritance passed to his children.  Jane Bratt, the fourth child was born in 1777, baptized in July 27, 1777, in Willenhall and was buried on August 7, 1778.  The fifth child was Abraham Bratt, born in Little London, Willenhall, Staffordshire England on the 26th of September 1779 and baptized in Wolverhampton parish on October 3, 1779.  He and his brothers Jonah and George were the executors of his father's will in 1817.  George and Abraham also executed their mother's will in 1824.  On 21 July l8ll, in Wolverhampton Parish, Staffordshire, he married Sarah Morgan.  In England Abraham was a whitesmith, a finisher or polisher of the metal in lockmaking.
 
After their parent's death, on the l0th of April 1834, Abraham, Sarah and children, Mary, Samuel, Lydia and Jonah, along with his brothers, George, Enoch & Job Bratt, left their homes in Willenhall and on the 15th of April sailed from Liverpool, on the ship, Oneida, bound for America.  They arrived in New York, 23 May 1834.  The Oneida was a four hundred and twenty ton vessel with Henry Huttleston, master.   Abraham and family went to the London, Ontario area while George settled in Indiana.  In the 1851 agricultural census of Westminster Township Middlesex County, Abraham was listed as living in Lambeth, with 200 acres of land and a member of the church of England.  He was 72 years old at that time.  He was listed in the 1860-61 census as a farmer, 82 years of age & Sarah, as 76.  Their marriage listed in the Mormon International Genealogical Index (IGI, 1988 edition) on page 4591.  Abraham and Sarah had six children.  They were buried in the Fifth concession cemetery, sometimes it is under the name, Derwent Cemetery.  The sixth child was George, mentioned above. George was born in 1781 in Willenhall and baptized on June 24th 1781 in Willenhall, Staffordshire, England.  On January 24th, 1802, he married Nancy Jones and in 1834 left England for the United States.  George purchased 80 acres in Vigo County, Indiana which eventually became a part of the Hulman Airport.  Here he resided until 1853 when he moved to Illinois.
 
From 1840, when Martin and his family came to America, there was George, his two nephews, Enoch, and Martin and two nieces, Hannah and Jane all living in Vigo County Indiana.  The family became geographically split then, since Abraham went to Canada.  They were apparently disgruntled with taxes and the situation with the church.   There was probably also some foresight of things to come with regard to the business of making locks, etc.
 
Abraham was born on September 26, 1779 in Little London, Willenhall, Staffordshire England.  There were six children in the family, two older brothers and two older sisters and one younger brother.  His older brother Jonah died while quite young.  He married Sarah Morgan on July 21, 1811.  He was probably working for or with his father Jonah Bratt, Sr. as a whitesmith.  A whitesmith is one who polishes and finishes ironwork.  Of course, he could also have been working in a larger business.  He must have known something about farming too because on April 10, 1834, he and his children, Mary, Samuel, Lydia and Jonah along with his brothers, George, Enoch and Job Bratt left their homes in Willenhall and sailed from Liverpool on the ship Oneida, for the United States.  They arrived in New York on May 23, 1834.  It is not known whether the two families traveled together but Abraham wound up in Ontario and George came to Indiana.
 
It is very likely that they traveled the National Road and Abraham simply went north through Detroit.  Abraham settled in Belmont, Ontario on Lot 6 Concession 6, Middlesex county, where he was a pioneer farmer and sheep breeder.  I have since learned that the conditions in Indiana in 1840 were not very good.  There had been a lengthy drought lasting several years at the time.  During the 1851 agricultural census in Canada, Abraham is listed as living in Lambeth owning 200 acres of land and a member of the church of England.  He was 72 years old at the time.   In the 1860-61 census, he is also listed as a farmer.  Sarah is also listed and is 76 years old.  Their marriage is listed in the IGI. Abraham and Sarah had six children.  Harriet married Thomas Stanley and they came to America in 1834 as well.  I don't know if they came on the same ship with her father or not.  They had six children, five boys and a girl.  Mary, the second child, also came to America and went to Canada with her parents.  Marge's records show her death in 1860 in Ontario.  There is no record of a marriage.  The third child was Samuel (1816-1885) who married Mary Ann Cooper (1819-1911) Samuel's oldest son, Jesse and his family and the family of John and Harriet Carrothers left Ontario and in April of 1889 arrived in Regina Saskatchewan from Belmont, Ontario.  Harriet was Jesse's sister.   According to a Canadian publication which details the history of Saskatchewan, in 1889, Jesse Bratt and family and John and Harriet Carrothers and family moved to an area south of Regina, Saskatchewan. The area was later known as Bratt's Lake.
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