Alvan Pratt, ca. 1865.Sarah Marble Pratt, ca. 1865.Left:
18. Alvan Pratt, ca. 1865.  From a mounted albumen print (source undiscovered).

19. Sarah Marble Pratt, ca. 1865.  From a mounted albumen print (source undiscovered).

Gunsmith Alvan Pratt was one of a number of skilled craftsmen who operated businesses along Concord's Mill Dam during the 1820s. Born in Sherborn, Massachusetts in 1790, he was apprenticed to the Whittemore Gun Manufactory in Sutton in 1806. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, he entered into a brief partnership with his older brother Nathaniel in Watertown, then returned to Sutton. In 1815, he went into business for himself and married Sarah Marble, a local girl. When fire destroyed his business (1821), he came to Concord to make a fresh start in the thriving commercial and artisan community here.

The Pratts took their place in town life. Alvan was a fine workman with a reputation for producing well crafted guns, and his business flourished for some time. A Mason, he became a member of the Social Circle in 1837. The couple had three children (a daughter born in Sutton, a son and another daughter in Concord). They lived on Lexington Road, near the town center.

Alvan and Sarah Pratt were dealt their share of hardships as well as blessings. They outlived all three of their children. Moreover, the demand for Pratt's handcrafted guns eventually declined. Reluctant to adopt new, more efficient methods of production, in the final years of his working life he spent most of his time on gun repair, locksmithing, and less specialized work for which there was a steady market.

Alvan and Sarah Pratt—solid middle class Concordians—had been married for half a century when these photographs were taken. Alvan died in 1877 at eighty-seven, Sarah in 1883 at eighty-five.

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