Bio: Pradt, Hon. Louis A. (1851 - 1934)


Surnames: Pradt, Stewart, McKinley, Brown, Genrich, Atwater

----Source: History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens, by Louis Marchetti, 1913.

Pradt, Hon. Louis A. (1851 -1934)

Besides Hon. Alexander Stewart, who for six years represented the ninth congressional district of Wisconsin, which included Marathon County, this county had another representative in the city of Washington, in the person of Hon. Louis A. Pradt, not in the halls of Congress, but in another and very important position of assistant attorney general connected with the Department of Justice, appointed to that place by President William McKinley in 1897 and reappointed in 1901. His official duties required him to represent the government in all cases brought by claimants against the United States in the Court of Claims, the only court where a private party can sue the government. Claims for overcharges on tariff duties against the revenue department; for spoliation, and all sorts of claims against the government, are litigated and disposed of in this court, and not a few seemingly preposterous claims are coming up for adjudication, and as an instance of this sort of claims made against the government only one need be mentioned, although claims of that kind are not over rare. In his term of office there was a claim filed by the heirs of a deceased person for millions of dollars. The curious part of it was that the original claimant had made his will, disposed of all his property to his heirs, and never mentioned this claim against the government. Thousands of claims are filed every year and the office was and is no sinecure, but requires thorough knowledge of law and application to dry legal work, and diligence to dig out the real facts in each case, which are mostly hidden by claimants to the best of their ability.

Appeals from this court are directly taken to the highest court in the land, and it became the duty of Mr. L. A. Pradt, the assistant attorney general, to represent the government in the Supreme Court of the United States. Nevertheless while at Washington he was always glad to meet and extend a friendly hand and welcome to any of his old neighbors and acquaintances, a true, faithful representative of the hospitable spirit of Wausau.

L. A. Pradt may well be numbered with the distinguished citizens and able members of the bar at Wausau, to which city he came as a practitioner in the law, immediately following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin, at Madison. He was born in Pennsylvania, and is a son of Charles and Esther Pradt.

In 1856 the parents of Mr. Pradt came to Sheboygan Co., Wis., where he was reared and received public school training, and in 1872 he accompanied them to the western part of Marathon County. For twelve years he occupied his time mainly in teaching school, both in Sheboygan and Marathon counties, and then entered the law department of the University of Michigan, where he was graduated in 1881, in the same year being admitted to the bar and his first law office was opened at Wausau. In 1884, with others, he organized the Wausau Law and Land Association, four of the original members subsequently retiring, but Mr. Pradt and Hon. Neal Brown remaining and, with Frederick W. Genrich, who was admitted to the firm in 1899, continuing the old organization under the present firm style of Brown, Pradt & Genrich. This is a very influential body, made up of veteran lawyers, and its connections with important litigation cover all this section.

In 1896 Mr. Pradt was elected city attorney of Wausau and served as such until 1897, when he was appointed by the late President McKinley, assistant attorney general of the United States and his home was in the city of Washington during the succeeding nine years. In 1906 he resigned this office and went into private practice in the capital, all this time continuing his association with the firm at Wausau. In the summer of 1909 Mr. Pradt returned to Wausau and this city continues to be his home. His public services were in every way creditable and during his many years of Washington life he formed many permanent friendships with other able and prominent men from all over the country. During his long absence from this city he never forgot, in all the stress of great public business, the interests of Wausau and in every way possible to him advanced its enterprises. He organized the Wausau Country Club, of which he was elected president and still serves as such. In his political affiliation Mr. Pradt has always been a Republican and from 1891 until 1897 served as chairman of the Marathon County Republican Committee.

In 1890 Mr. Pradt was married to Miss Charlotte Atwater, of Milwaukee, and they have three children: Louis, Alan and Charlotte. Mrs. L. A. Pradt, herself an accomplished musician, is the president of the Ladies' Tuesday Musical Club, and delights in receiving at her home the literary and music-loving people of Wausau.



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