Family Stories

Ritchey’s Prather Line to His 9th Great-Grandfather!

Baruch Prather house, Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, Fayette County, Kentucky.

If you remember I worked last week and part of this week on Ritchey’s Prather family.  Baruch William Prather, October 20, 1742-December 2, 1810, and Sarah Jane Higgins, August 23, 1761-January 10, 1844, of Prince George’s County, Maryland, are Ritchey’s 5th great-grandparents.  Baruch was in the Revolutionary War.  After the war Baruch moved his family to Fayette County, Kentucky, where he bought property.  That property is now Raven Run Nature Sanctuary.  The brick home that the Prather’s lived in is still standing, with the cemetery at the back of the house where family members are buried.  Baruch has a war memorial attached to his stone.

Revolutionary Soldier Baruch Prather, 1st Sergeant & Patriot of Maryland, October 20, 1742 – December 2, 1810.  Prather Family Cemetery, Raven Run, Fayette County, Kentucky.

I believed Baruch’s father’s name was Aaron, and with the research I’ve just finished, I now know it is.  Aaron Prather, Ritchey’s sixth great-grandfather, was born October 10, 1710, Prince George’s County, Maryland, died in 1777.  He married his cousin, Jane Prather, the daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Prather.  Aaron and Jane had nine children:

  1. Aaron Prather, Jr., born 1739, married Mary Swearingen, daughter of John Swearingen of Frederick County, Maryland. Aaron was a Revolutionary soldier.
  2. Samuel Prather, born 1740, died 1785 Frederick County, married Elizabeth.
  3. Basil Prather (twin), born October 20, 1742, died October 7, 1822, Clarke County, Indiana, married in 1765 Cholrenda Robertson, daughter of Lloyd Robertson, 1748-July 27, 1842.
  4. Baruch Prather (twin), born October 20, 1742, died December 2, 1810, in Fayette County, Kentucky, married November 16, 1775, Prince George’s County, Sarah Higgins, daughter of James and Luraner Beecraft Higgins, August 29, 1761-January 10, 1844. Baruch served in the Revolutionary War, Maryland Militia.
  5. Barbara Prather married a Mr. Williams.
  6. Ruth Prather
  7. Mary Prather
  8. Zachariah Prather
  9. Walter Prather, married April 9, 1778, in Washington County, Maryland, Ann Higgins (sister to Sarah Higgins, married to his brother Baruch), July 1, 1764-June 10, 1816. He was a Revolutionary soldier from Montgomery County, Maryland; moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky.
  10. Elisha Prather
  11. Linny Prather
  12. Elizabeth Prather

Aaron Prather left no will, but in his inventory on page 98 of Montgomery County, Maryland, Inventory Book 1, it reads, ‘Representatives Aaron, Samuel, Basil, Barbary, Ruthy, Molly, Walter, Elisha, Barruch, Zachariah, Linny and Elizabeth, children to the deceased.’  This was dated September 15, 1778, with Walter Prather as administrator.

Back one generation to Aaron Prather’s father – Thomas Prather:

Thomas Prather, Ritchey’s 7th great-grandfather, was born before 1681, in Calvert County, Maryland, and died between December 30, 1711 and March 15, 1711/12, in Prince George’s County, Maryland, at his property Orphan’s Gift.  He married, by 1704, Martha Sprigg, the daughter of Thomas and Eleanor Nuthall Sprigg, Sr.  After Thomas’ death in 1711/12, Martha married, as her second husband, Stephen Yoakley.  Children of Thomas and Martha Sprigg Prather:

  1. Thomas Prather, Jr.
  2. John Smith Prather
  3. Philip Prather
  4. Eleanor Prather
  5. Rachel Prather
  6. Aaron Prather

Will of Thomas Prather

Prince George’s County Wills, Will Book 1, Pages 57-58

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Thomas Prather, of the Province of Maryland and County of Prince George’s, being very sick and weak of body but of perfect sense and memory, praised by almighty God for the same, do make this my last will and testament.

First.  I commend my soul to God who gave it hoping through the meritorious death and passion of my Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to receive full and free pardon and forgiveness of all my sins.  My body I commit to the earth from whence it came, to be decently buried by my executrix hereafter named and for what worldly estate it hath pleased Almighty God out of his bounty to bestow upon me, I give in manner following:

I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Martha Prather one hundred and fifty acres of land with the plantation that she now lives on, it being part of a tract of land called Orphan’s Gift, also fifty-six acres adjoining unto the said one hundred and fifty acres being part of a tract of land called St. Andrews, during her life, but after her decease said lands and tenements to fall unto my son Aaron Prather and his heirs forever.  Also, I give unto my said wife one Negro man called Jack and one Negro woman called Esther, during her life, and after her decease to her heirs forever.

I give unto my son Thomas Prather one hundred sixty-six acres of land, being part of a tract of land called Sprigg’s Request to him and his heirs forever, also one Negro woman named Sue to be delivered

to him at the decease of his mother, or attain the age of twenty-one years which shall happen first, also two cows and one sow to be delivered him by his mother when he shall attain the age of eighteen years.  Also, to be put in possession of his land at the aforesaid age of eighteen years.

Item.  I give unto my son John Smith Prather one hundred sixty-six acres of land, it being part of a tract of land called Sprigg’s Request to him and his heirs forever, also two cows and a sow to be put in his possession at the age of eighteen years.

Also, I give unto Philip Prather one hundred sixty-six acres of land, it being the remaining part of the aforesaid tract called Sprigg’s Request, to him and his heirs forever, also two cows and a sow, to be put in his possession at the age of eighteen years.

Also, I give unto my son Aaron Prather, two cows and one sow to be put in his possession at the age of eighteen years.

Also, I give unto my daughter Eleanor Prather, one Negro girl named Sarah, two cows and one sow to her and her heirs forever and to be delivered unto her at the day of marriage.

Also, I give unto my daughter Rachel Prather, one Negro girl named Betty, two cows and one sow to her and her heirs forever, to be delivered unto her at the day of marriage.

Lastly, it is my will and desire that my loving wife should have all the rest of my personal estate that remains unbequeathed to do withal as she shall see fit, also she should keep my children until they arrive at the age aforesaid.  Also that she should be whole and sole executrix of this my last will and testament and I do hereby revoke and cancel all other testaments heretofore made by me or caused to be made by me and do acknowledge this to be the true intent and meaning of this my last will and testament.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of December 1711.

Thomas Prather

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us John Banks, Phillip Gittings, Jr., Weldon Jefferson

On the back of the foregoing will was endorsed as followeth:

March the 19th day 1711/12.  Then came the within named John Banks, Phil Gittings, Jr., and Weldon Jefferson, witnesses to the within will and made oath upon the holy Evangelist of almighty God that they were present and did see the deceased Thomas Prather sign and acknowledge the within will and that he was at that time in his perfect senses to the best of their knowledge.  Sworn before me, Benjamin Berry

Back one generation to Thomas Prather’s father – Jonathan Prather:

Jonathan Prather, was born c. 1630-1680, Calvert County, Maryland, died in Prince George’s County, Maryland, in 1713, Ritchey’s 8th great-grandfather.  Jonathan married Jane, who, after his death, married a Mr. John Smith, a Scotsman.  Children of Jonathan and Jane Prather:

  1. Jonathan Prather, Jr., married Elizabeth Bigger, children Jonathan, John, Thomas, Rachel, Anne, Martha, Jane, Susanna, Elizabeth and Sarah Prather.
  2. Jane Prather m. James Mullikin, Jr., children James, Eleanor, Mary, Jane, Thomas, John and William Mullikin.
  3. George Prather, died 1698. Married Mary, no issue.
  4. William Prather married Ann Yates, children William, Jane, Priscilla, Margaret, Joseph, John, Sarah and Elizabeth.
  5. Thomas Prather married Martha Sprigg, children Thomas, John Smith, Philip, Eleanor, Rachel and Aaron.
  6. John Prather, daughters Mary and Elizabeth Prather.

Calvert County records burned, therefore there is no record of the will of Jonathan Prather.  There is a notice in the land office that ‘We do therefore hereby grant unto him the said John Smith all that tract or parcel of land called Orphan’s Gift, lying in Calvert County, on the west side of the Patuxent River in the fork of Western Branch of the said River on the North Side of The Beaver Dam branch and the north side of a parcel of Land called St. Andrews . . . containing five hundred acres more or less, the sixth day of May, One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Nine’ [Land Office, Liber WD, ff. 28-9]

John Smith patented the above land for his Prather step-sons – Jonathan, Jr., George, William, Thomas and John Prather, and later deeded the land over to them.

Jonathan Prather’s widow, Jane Smith, lists her children in her will dated July 27, 1710, probated December 7, 1713.

Jane Prather Smith’s Will

Prince George’s County Will Book 1, Pages 74-75

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Jane Smith, widow and relict of John Smith, late of Prince George’s County, Planter, deceased, being sick and weak in body but through the infinite mercy of God, of sound and perfect memory, calling to mind the uncertainty of this transitory life and knowing it is appointed for all men once to die, do make ordain, constitute and appoint this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following.  That is to say, first and chiefly I give and bequeath my immortal soul into the hands of almighty God, my creator, who gave it with true and hearty sorrow for all my sins committed against him, hoping and trusting that through the death, resurrection  and ascension and mediation of my dear Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, I shall receive pardon and remission of my sins and at the last day be received up into glory and the temporal estate which was left me by the last will and testament of my dear husband, deceased, I give and bequeath in manner and form following, as is hereafter expressed.

Imprimis.  I give and bequeath to my sons William, Thomas and John Prather and to the two sons of Jonathan Prather, viz. Jonathan and Thomas Prather, all my part and dividend of the household goods, to be equally divided between the sons and the eldest son, Jonathan’s part between his two sons before mentioned.

Item.  I will that my son Jonathan Prather have one English woman servant named Prudence Blyth, five years to serve, aged 25 years.

Item.  I will that the oldest daughter of John Prather (called Elizabeth Prather) have one negro man named Jack, aged 25 years.

Item.  I will that Priscilla Prather, daughter of William Prather, have one Negro female child Peg and that she will continue with her mother until she is one year old.

Item.  I will that my son William Prather have one Scotch servant, a Taylor called George Dunbar.

Item.  I will that Thomas Prather have one Negro man named Cook.

Item.  I will that the eldest daughter of my son Thomas Prather to have one Negro woman named Peg.

Item.  I will and bequeath to my son John Prather one Irish boy called Thomas Daniel.

Item.  I will that my son Jonathan Prather’s eldest daughter, Mary, have one Negro boy named David.

Item.  I will that James Mullikin’s daughter, Jane, have one Negro boy named Jerry.

Item.  I will that the three sons of James Mullikin, viz., Thomas, William and John have each of them a heifer, a two-year-old.

Item.  I give and bequeath to my grandchildren Ann, Martha, Jane, Susannah – children of Jonathan Prather; and to Thomas, John, Phillip, Eleanor, Rachel – children of Thomas Prather, as also to William, Priscilla and Margaret – children of William Prather, as also to John and the youngest next to John Prather – children of John Prather, all the residue of my estate, but it in money, goods, cattle, horses, hogs or of what nature or kind so ever – it be in England or in any part of her Majesty’s Dominions, or on the seas or wheresoever it be, and its further my will that if any of my grandchildren should be called from this life before they have received their proportions of the residue of my estate, then his, her or their part or parts be equally divided among the children of the family or survivor if but one.

Item.  I will that Mr. Thomas Brooke, Junior, and Mr. Philip Lee, if they will be pleased to favour me so far as to see an equal division among the said grandchildren and said children who will be capable to receive their proportions at the following years, viz., both males and females at the age of seventeen but if the females should marry before at the day of marriage and I do hereby request and desire my well beloved sons, William, Thomas and John Prather, to the executors of this my last will and testament and I do hereby fully and absolutely revoke and make null and void all or any other will, testament or codicil by me formerly made or in my name made or pretended to be made and do make, constitute and ordain and publish this to be my last will and testament, witness my hand and seal this 27th day of July Anno Domini 1710.

Jane Smith

Signed, sealed and declared to be the last will and testament of the above-named Jane Smith in presence of us – Philip Lee, George Dunbar, John Bryon.

On the back of this will was endorsed December the Seventh Day Anno Domini 1713

Then came George Dunbar and John Bryon, witnesses to the within will and did make oath upon the holy Evangels of Almighty God that they were present at the time that the deceased Jane Smith did sign, seal and acknowledge the within will to be her last will and testament and that at the same time she was in her perfect sense, sworn before me, Benjamin Berry, Deputy Commissioner Prince George’s County

Back one generation to Jonathan Prather’s father – Thomas Prather, the immigrant:

Thomas Prather, Ritchey’s 9th great-grandfather, the first of this line in America, was born in Wiltshire England in 1604.  He arrived in Elizabeth City, Virginia, in 1622, aboard the Marie Providence, Captain Richard Shephard, Master.  He married Mary? in Virginia before 1630.  For his passage to the new world Thomas Prather became an indentured servant to John Powell.  At some point Thomas moved to Maryland.  The known sons of Thomas Prather – Jonathan, William, Richard, and John.

3 replies »

  1. I have a Mary E Prather, 1849–1915, born in Wayne County, Kentucky, married to Joseph D Bobbitt my 4th cousin 4x removed. She died in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Her parents were G H Prather and Leah W Higginbotham.

  2. Greetings:

    I have done some research on this line and wish to provide a piece of additional information. Jonathan Prather, son of immigrant Thomas, was certainly born in Virginia, not Maryland. In 1658, he assigned 100 acres of land to Geroge Reade for transportation to Maryland for himself and another, probably his wife Jane. Sharon Doliante notes this on page 652. I have a copy of the original assignment and would be happy to share.

    Sandra Ashton Annapolis, Maryland

    /2020 6:00

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