Pratt, KS - Coach Wallace Makes a Bad Example in The Wide Dark Yonder

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Welcome to Pratt, Kansas, Gateway to the High Plains! The town was founded in 1884 on a site that was once hunting grounds for the Kiowa tribe. The town is the county seat of Pratt County. Both the town and county were named after Caleb Pratt, a Union officer who was killed during the Civil War. The officer has no known connection to the area. While naming the counties, the State Legislature of Kansas, at a loss for names for the 105 counties, resorted to naming counties after Civil War officers who had no connection to the counties that were named for them. The railroad came to Pratt in 1887 and helped spur growth in the area. There are a number of interesting people who were born in Pratt. We discuss a few in our town tidbits, but "Skunk" Johnson holds a special a special place in town lore. Johnson was an early fur trapper who built a cave near the Ninnescah River as his home. In 1874, a band of Native Americans on an expedition happened upon Johnson and chased him into his cave. Johnson, a skilled marksman, killed several of the band who tried to enter the cave. They tried to smoke him out, but were unsuccessful. The gave up the siege after 15 days. Unfortunately for Johnson, he was compelled to eat a number of skunk carcasses he had in the cave during the seige, earning him the nickname "Skunk." We hope you enjoy our visit to Pratt!

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