Sunday, October 14, 2012




Wednesday, October 20, 2010


In researching at the Protestant cemetery in Istanbul, I found everything way too interesting, so I had to set definite parameters for the future book: AMERICANS BURIED in the Protestant Cemetery. While their families who weren't buried with them were important because I wanted that information to help link them up to a place in America, in the Pratt case I barely knew that there was such a child as Albert Pratt. I was really researching the details of his father and mother, Dr. Andrew and Sarah Goodyear Pratt, and the names of their dead children on Dr. Pratt’s tombstone were my focus. So more than 10 years later coming upon the name of one of their children who lived in Redlands, California after leaving Istanbul was, well, just a shock and too good not to continue researching! If you are a genealogist, you know that the more you need to research, the happier you get!

So in 2002 I went over to the Redlands library - Redlands being a small town next door to San Bernardino - and looked in the old Citrograph newspapers of June, 1889. Sure enough, there was a BIG article on the wedding. This wedding was the social event of the year.

Madeleine was from a well-to-do family originally from Kewanee and Chicago, Illinois. A big chunk of the Sloan family had moved to Redlands. Madeleine had lots of aunts, uncles and cousins there. Madeline’s grandfather, Seymour Sloan, had not moved here but he visited often. The newspaper, which actually has been indexed, announced that on one of those visits he died and his body was shipped back to Illinois for burial.

One of Seymour’s sons was Dr. George Sloan of Chicago who financed the building of the Sloan House in Redlands, a three-story brick hotel, which opened in 1888 with Horace, Madeleine’s father as proprietor. Another of Seymour’s sons was Junius Sloan, a well-known Midwest “prairie painter,” who also lived for a while in Redlands. He was married to Sara Spencer, daughter of the man who developed the Spencer writing style. In August of 1900 Seymour was in Oak Glen, near Redlands and known locally as apple-growing country, and while he was climbing a tree searching for a scene to paint he fell out of the tree and was killed.

But lest you think Albert married “up” – that he was just a poor missionary’s kid from Turkey – as a wedding gift he gave his bride six lots in the city of Redlands. Albert’s father had a pretty impressive background too. His bio, taken from the book Genealogy of the Goodyear Family by Grace Goodyear Kirkman (Albert’s mother was a Goodyear) says:

Andrew Tully PRATT, eldest child of William T. and Eliza H. (Steele) Pratt, b. Feb. 22, 1826, at Black Rock, near Buffalo, N. Y.; graduated at Yale College, 1847. Dr. Pratt taught for a few months after graduation in Southport, Conn., and spent the next year in the Union Theological Seminary, New York City.

He then began the study of medicine in New Haven; was also connected with the Yale Theological Seminary for two years, and graduated as a M. D. at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, N. Y., in 1852.

In pursuance of the plan which had been in his mind from the time when he began to study, he was ordained as a missionary and physician of the American Board, at New Haven, Aug. 8, 1852; and, having been married on the same day to Miss Sarah Frances Goodyear, of New Haven, sailed with his wife Dec. 22d, for his mission field in Syria. His first station was at Aintab, but he removed to Aleppo in 1856, and to Marash in 1859. In 1868 he was transferred to the Western Turkey Mission and stationed at Constantinople, where he was engaged on the revision of the Armeno-Turkish Bible until his death in that city, Dec. 5, 1872.

After their honeymoon Albert and Madeleine returned to Redlands, where he became manager of the Windsor Hotel and Madeleine’s mother the proprietor. In 1892 he leased the Seven Oaks resort in the mountains north of Redlands and began a 6-year venture of managing and upgrading this resort. Ultimately the resort was sold and Albert and Madeleine, now the parents of a daughter, Rosamond, moved to San Francisco, where he became an insurance agent.

Unfortunately, Madeleine Pratt’s life was cut short by tuberculosis, dying on Monday, September 22, 1902. In June of 1903, a Citrograph article said her body was reinterred at Hillside Cemetery in Redlands.

I finally had to tell myself to stop researching. I did NOT need to know everything in the whole world about this family. But before I quit, I did learn, however, that his mother and at least his sister Fanny ultimately moved to California. Albert died in 1933 and his daughter Rosamond (I think) died in 1957.

The Goodyear Genealogy book, which I found on Google, has other details on the birth and death dates of the Pratt children for the researcher. I grew very fond of this family, and it’s hard to let go of friends. You can see that here in almost 2011 I’ve still got them on my mind.

I was never able to find a photo of either Albert or Madeleine, nor of Albert’s parents. But here for the record a picture of “Uncle Junius Sloan."

So ends the tale of my venture “Chasing a Turk.”




Tuesday, October 19, 2010


As many of you may recall, when I lived in Istanbul I discovered a Protestant Cemetery with lots of Americans buried in it. Burials began around 1856. Many of the people were missionaries. Some were connected to the American Consulate and other were educators, servicemen, Near East Relief workers, some who had married Turks and a few tourists. I spent my nearly two years in Istanbul documenting these burials and ultimately in 1995 published a book of my findings.

I am not related to any of these people, except that once you have them touch your life in a way these did, it is hard to let go of them. Here’s an example:

1992 – Researching in Istanbul:

In the cemetery there is a large tombstone upon which is written the name of

Rev. Andrew T. Pratt, M.D.
Died 5 Dec 1872
Afer 20 years of labor in Turkey
Aged 46 years

This stone also had on it “In Memory of his children” and then showed the following:

An infant son
Died Aintab April 2, 1852
3 days old

Ellen Maria
Died Aintab 23 July 1856
11 years 8 months

Robert W.
D Killis 3 August 1858
1 year

Clara Eliza
Died Aintab 27 Oct 1867
8 years 9 months

Helen Jeanette
Died Constantinople 20 October 1868
1 year 11 months

Andrew Goss
Died Constatinople 22 Nov 1871
3 years 6 months

My goal in this research was to find 1) who these people were, 2) where in the United States were they from, and 3) what were they doing in Turkey. My intent was to get this information into a book first. Later I put them on the internet.

While I was in Istanbul I was lucky enough to meet and become friends with the Secretaries of the American Board of Missions and from old files they held in their headquarters I learned that after Rev. Pratt’s death, his wife Sara left Istanbul with her three children and returned home to America.

1995 – Researching in Maryland, still trying to identify some of the people buried in Istanbul:

In the College Park, Maryland Branch of the National Archives, in Record Group 59, Microfilm #T194 Roll 10 in the Consular Dispatches there is a “List of Citizens of the US Residing in Constantinople on July 1, 1871” showing the family composition to be Andrew and wife Sarah, children Albert-9, Fanny-7, Andrew-3, and Eliza-2. From the tombstone I knew that Andrew died. But in that same Consular Dispatch collection there was also a form indicated William Tully Pratt’s birth in June of 1871, six months after the census was taken.

So then I knew that one of these four children died before Sarah Pratt took them back to the US. But I didn’t know which one it was.

Getting into the Consular Dispatches was an exceptionally fruitful time. I was there for 5 days and I could have used more time, but I had to be back to work on Monday!

All during this period of time after returning from Istanbul I had focused on adding to my knowledge of the people in the cemetery. It was amazing how much information I had found in the Los Angeles Public Library! But after coming home from Maryland, I decided it was time to publish what I had and then get back to researching my own family.

I did, but Istanbul wasn’t ready to let go of me.

2002 – Researching in San Bernardino, California

I the early 2000s I became the editor of the San Bernardino Valley Genealogical Quarterly, and for inclusion in some issues I transcribed some of the San Bernardino County marriage records. One day I came across this entry:
Albert H. Pratt, age 26, born in Turkey, resident of Utsalady, Washington Territory, and E. Madeline Sloan, age 24, born in Illinois, resident of Redlands [California] were married in Redlands on 13 June 1889.

I was shocked. Surely this had to be the same Albert Pratt that I knew of in Istanbul. How many Albert Pratts born in Turkey could there have been? Of course the first thing I did was to look on the 1880 census for a Pratt family. Sara could have remarried but surely some of her children were still single. And sure enough, there she was in Amhurst, Massachusetts, still a Pratt and with children Albert aged 17, Fanny aged 15 and Eliza aged 10. So then I knew that it was little William Tully Pratt who was the last Pratt to die in Istanbul.

And now what I found was that nine years later, this same Albert appeared in San Bernardino County, California and married a local girl, Madeline Sloan of Redlands.

To Be Continued