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Your Silent Neighbors: Mary Pratt Lewis, Probate Judge, Town Clerk

April 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian 

Mary Pratt Lewis (1874-1959) had one of the most distinguished public service careers in Canton history.  She was born in Collinsville in 1874, daughter of the renowned local physician Dr. George F. Lewis.  She attended local schools and in 1895 graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  During the next ten years she taught school in Hartford and Cornwall.  Returning to Collinsville in 1905, she taught German and mathematics in local schools until an appointment as probate clerk in 1917.  In 1918 she became assistant town clerk and town clerk in 1922. She served as town clerk for 33 years until announcing in 1954 that she would not seek reelection.

One of the first female judges of probate in Connecticut, she held that position for 22 years.  She was also treasurer and agent for the town deposit for 33 years. In addition, she served as Board of Finance secretary. Although she was a Democrat, she was repeatedly endorsed by both political parties.

“What she stands for is as inspiring as the record of what she has done,” read a 1955 resolution in her honor.  “She stands for integrity of the strictest variety. She is forthright, definite, and final about her convictions.  Through the years there has been no one she was afraid to correct or contradict, if she thought him in error. Our community has benefitted generously from her faithfulness and the meticulous quality of her work.”

Pratt lived on River Street in Collinsville and was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church.  She never married.

Mary Pratt Lewis is buried in the Canton Center Cemetery near her mother and father.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net 

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