John Lee Pratt at Chatham Manor
John Lee Pratt
John Pratt was a local boy who rose from a modest beginning to become one of the wealthiest persons in America. Born in King George County on October 22, 1879, as a youth he worked in a Fredericksburg farm equipment store. He became interested in mechanics, an interest which led him to attain a civil engineering degree at the University of Virginia in 1902. After graduation, he worked as an engineer for Dupont Corporation between 1905 and 1919. He transferred to General Motors on December 1, 1919, where he rose to become a vice-president of the company on November 16, 1922. He continued in this position until May, 1937. He was elected to the Board of Directors on April 18, 1923 and served until July 9, 1968. Prior to the Second World War, Pratt was appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to serve on the War Resources Board. He later continued his public service as a member of the Lend Lease Administration, in which capacity he came into contact with important leaders of his day, including Secretary of State George C. Marshall and General (and later president) Dwight D. Eisenhower who may have been guests at Chatham.
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