Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, June 19, 2011, pg. 13

Occasionally in this column we like to feature a topic dealing with early Albion history. This week we’d like to feature one of Albion’s earliest attorneys, Thomas Green Pray (1819-1889).

Pray was a native of Richfield in Otsego County, NY, the same county Jesse Crowell was from and where the Albion we were named after was located. Pray came with his parents Thomas W. and Polly (Green) Pray to Michigan in the 1830s where they settled on a farm in Jackson County. Our subject was educated there. After serving as a store clerk in Jackson for two years beginning in 1838, Pray moved to Albion. Here he was hired by Jesse Crowell to work at his mill office. Gaining experience, Pray opened up his own mercantile store here, and moved it to Kalamazoo after a time.

While he was in Kalamazoo Pray decided to become a lawyer, and studied law under the firm of Stewart & Miller. He returned to Albion and was elected Justice of the Peace beginning in the late 1840s. In 1852 he was admitted to the bar. In the 1913 "History of Calhoun County,” on page 438 following Pray’s biography, attorney Montfort D. Weeks writes, "In the early days of Albion the country lawyers had but little business in the circuit or supreme courts. Their main dependence was justice court work, and such little office business as was obtainable in those days.” Pray specialized in criminal cases.

Pray was an advertiser in Albion’s very first newspaper, the Albion Press when it debuted on December 28, 1849. He listed himself as "Attorney and Counsellor at Law.” His law office was located in the Hannahs’ Block, upstairs. This wood frame building once stood at 200 S. Superior St. which today is the site of the Subway Sandwich shop building.

Pray practiced law in Albion until 1871, at which time he moved his practice to Marshall. Pray retired in 1880 and moved to San Antonio, Texas. He died there on September 21, 1889, and is interred in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas. Also interred in the same family plot is his son, Julian Pray (1847-1915). Thomas’ parents are interred here in Albion in Riverside Cemetery, as his first wife, Amanda (Goodyear) of Springport. She died in 1859. His second wife was Lua M. Crawford of Jackson County, whom he married in 1860.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of one of Albion’s early attorneys, Thomas G. Pray.

Thomas Green Pray (1819-1889)


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