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January 27, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Dr. W.E. Pratt

Slate River Ramblings_Pratt_Dr.-W.E.

 Dr. W. E. Pratt, Courtesy of Mary Carolyn Mitton

In May of 1901, Dr. Whitcomb Eliphalet Pratt was buried in Buckingham County.  He died in Richmond, after a lingering illness.  His impressive obituary appeared in the Richmond Dispatch on May 17th and in other papers across Virginia.  It described his important career and the tragedy of his death at the comparatively young age of 52.


Dr. Pratt had not been well for many months, though he continued in active practice up to within the last two months. His trouble was valvular heart disease, complicated with enlargement of the liver.  Just one month ago yesterday Dr. Pratt, accompanied by Mrs. Pratt, came to Richmond for medical treatment and remained here, under the care of Dr. Stuart McGuire for two weeks, when he returned to Buckingham.   He remained at Buckingham Courthouse, trying to recuperate, until Wednesday, when, on account of developments of alarming symptoms, he determined to return to Richmond and again seek the treatment of Dr. McGuire.   With his wife he arrived in the city over the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad at 6:20 o’clock Wednesday, and immediately went to the Alhambra Hotel, where he engaged a room.   He was quite ill at the time of his arrival at the hotel, and Dr. McGuire was immediately summoned.

The physician pronounced his case hopeless, and told Mrs. Pratt that he could not live longer than a few days.   He promised to return to his patient early in the morning, and bring with him Dr. Gordon, to consult with him about the case.   The patient, however, got worse as the night wore away, and he died at 6:40 o’clock in the morning, no one being present except his wife, who was devoted to him.”

For more about Dr. Pratt, see Martha Louis’ article, “An appreciation of the beloved Dr. Pratt” (Buckingham Beacon, January 2013).

Slate River Ramblings_Pratt_Whitcomb-Eliphalet_Obituary

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