(son of James Hanson Prather/Sophia Penn)
The parents of Mr. Prather were James and Sophia Prather, who came from Maryland in their early years and were among the first settlers on the Ohio river. They settled at Chilo, Clermont county, Ohio. The first we gather of the life of Benjamin Penn Prather is when at the age of fifteen years he was entrusted with the running of a ferryboat between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Newport, KY. Here he learned to like the life of a steamboatman: for from this beginning he continued to follow the river and was for 25 years on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers as an engineer. He was married at Felicity, Ohio, September 15, 1846, to Miss Caroline M. Stevens, daughter of Silsby Stevens, of Vermont. Mr. Prather and family moved to Champaign county, Illinois in June, 1856, where he engaged in the grain business. He held the office of supervisor for Somer township for the years 1869, '70, and '71, and was a useful and influential member of the board.
Upon Benjamin Penn Prather's death in 1885, they resided on the fine farm in Somer township, which their joint labors had rescued from the wild prairie and made it one of the most desirable farms and homes in the county. He is remembered for his character, integrity, and upright conduct through his life that commanded admiration of all those who had the honor of his acquaintance.
Reference: EARLY HISTORY AND PIONEERS OF CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, 1891, edited by The Champaign County Historical Archives
Benjamin Penn Prather
State of Illinois
The last will and testament of
Benjamin P. Prather made this
10th day of January 1885 in the
name of God, amen.
I, Benjamin P. Prather, being of sound mind and memory do make and declare this my last will and testament.
1st I give and bequeath to my wife Caroline M. Prather the Southeast quarter of Section eleven (11). Also the South half of the Southwest quarter of Section eleven (11), so long as she may live and remain my widow. After her death or marriage then I give and bequeath to Speace Prather the east half of the Southeast quarter of Section eleven (11), and to Scott Prather the South half of the Southwest quarter of Section eleven (11), and to Scott Prather and Speace Prather each the equal and withheld half of the West half of the South east quarter of Section eleven (11).
The four horses, wagon and harness, topbuggy and harness claimed by Speace Prather, I acknowledge to be his, And to my wife Caroline I give all my personal property consisting of horses, colts, cattle and hoge of all kinds, all produce now on the farm, and all farming utensils, household furniture, and all personal property belonging to me of what ever name or nature.