Thomas Cratty

Cratty, Thomas, attorney and counsellor at law, of the firm of Cratty Brothers, is a descendant of Irish parentage, his great grandfather having emigrated from that country in 1760, and settled in Pennsylvania. Mr. Cratty's grandfather was born in Franklin Co., Penn., and fought in the war of the Revolution. William Cratty, the father of Thomas, was born in Butler Co., Penn., June 20, 1805, but removed to Ohio in 1814. In April, 1826 he married Miss Candice Bennett, who was born in Rhode Island, Dec. 25, 1805. She was the mother of twelve children, four sons and eight daughters, two of the former and five of the latter living. Mrs. C. died in Elmwood, Peoria Co., Jan. 27, 1875. Thomas was born in Delaware Co., O. His early education was limited, chiefly to the Winter terms in the district school, while the Summers were spent in labor on the farm. He taught several years prior to 1854, made a tour of the Southern States, and spent some time there in teaching, returning to Illinois 1856; engaged in farming four years, when financial reverses compelled a change of avocation. Entered the Chicago Law School, from which he graduated in 1861, and was immediately admitted to practice. Poverty necessitated the most rigid economy during his attendance at law school, and he was compelled to give his note for tuition, payable from the first moneys earned in practice. Mr. Cratty was one of four graduates selected by the faculty to conduct a moot trial at a public exhibition given as a graduating exercise. He began practice in Elmwood with a meager outfit, and one law book as a library. In the Fall of 1863 he formed a partnership with W. W. O'Brien, then a prominent attorney of Peoria, which lasted three years and yielded a prosperous business. In January, 1872, the present law firm of Cratty Brothers was created, by the admission of his only brother, Josiah Cratty, to the profession. The business of the firm has become so large as to require the employment of several assistants, one a short hand reporter. Their offices and consultation rooms are on the first floor of their building facing the Court-house on S. Jefferson street, and are among the finest and most ample in the West.

In journalism, Mr. C. in company with Leslie Robison, published the Peoria Review, a Republican newspaper, with daily, tri-weekly and weekly editions, in 1871, '72 and '73; but finding it detracted too largely from professional duties, they disposed of their office and outfit in the latter year. He helped to organize the first Teacher's Institute in Knox Co.; the Paper Manufacturing Co., of Elmwood; the Chamber of Commerce Association of Peoria; the Merchant's Exchange and the Peoria Mercantile Library, and their success is due in no small degree to his judicious counsel and material aid. For several years he delivered weekly lectures before the students of Cole's Commercial College. Mr. C. has never married.

Josiah Cratty is the youngest of the family; was born in Delaware Co., O.; served as a cavalry soldier in the late war, part of the time as Gen. Sheridan's body guard; married Libbie M. Earing of Peoria in 1875, and has one son.

from The History of Peoria County, Illinois, Johnson & Co., 1880