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Search 124.7 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search:

Steve Dayman-Johns' Fine Art of Nunney.....click here


Our Major Progenitor (click here-->): Thomas Prater,
ca. 1604 - ca. 1666

! ...To see this web site at its best, please download the unofficial font and install it  from CONTROL PANEL, FONTS.  (You may need to FIND the file "Caligula" if you aren't given the option to save to a specific folder.)


It is with a heavy heart that we announce author and Prater historian John William Prather, Jr., 98, of Hendersonville, NC, died Thursday, April 15, 2015....

 For more details, see the Find A Grave link HERE.


Study to Determine Aaron Prather's Middle or Nickname (see "Studies" in upper left corner of screen)


Exploring our Cross Manor Roots; a Trip to St. Mary's County Maryland  

By Linda Stone 

As many of you know, descendants of John Smith Prather (1706-1763) are also descendants of John Nuthall IV (1615-1667) of Cross Manor. His great granddaughter, Elizabeth Nuthall, was the wife John Smith Prather.  While still a youth, John Nuthall, of a noble English family, came to Virginia as an indenture to 21 year old Hugh Hayes. John ran away at age 15 from Hugh Hayes, and ended up near the eastern shore of Virginia near Maryland as early as 1629. He was captured and returned to Virginia, after having lived with the Indians for some time, and after having learned their language and ways. As an adult, he became a very successful trader and merchant, gaining much wealth and political recognition in both Virginia and Maryland. 

In Virginia, he was one of six men, all Royalists, to author the “Northampton Protest”. He was, therefore, somewhat instrumental in helping initiate our American independence. In 1661, he went to live in St. Mary’s, Maryland. He purchased Cross Manor and St. Elizabeth’s, each 2,000 acres, plus 200 more acres on St. Inigoes Creek from Thomas Cornwaleys (Cornwallis). Cornwallis’ red brick house situated at the head of St. Mary’s River, where it branches off from the Potomac River, was the original manor house. John then served as Commissioner of St. Mary’s County and Justice of the Peace. In 1664, John’s court testimony related to the “Pocomoke River” on the eastern shore of Virginia was instrumental in helping determine the boundary line between Virginia and Maryland. John Nuthall died at Cross Manor in 1667. Newscaster Ted Koppel presently (2014) owns the Cross Manor estate with its many building additions over time, and is selling the remaining 800 of the 2,000 acres for about $4,000.000. The original Cross Manor house is believed to be the oldest house in Maryland. 

Manor of Cornwaley's Cross - Sign.jpg

The sign (above) is posted at the edge of State Highway 5 going south, in St. Inigoes, St. Mary’s County. 

Click this graphic for a map: 

Directions to Cross Manor: Take freeways 210 south to 228 south to 5 south to St. Inigoes. Turn right at on Villa Rd.; right on Grayson. Property is on the corner of Grayson and Cross Manor Road. 

Our descent from John Nuthall begins when his descendant Eleanor Nuthall, married Thomas Sprigg in 1668. Thomas’s daughter, Martha Sprigg, married Thomas McKay Prather, whose son, John Smith Prather, married Elizabeth Nuthall, John Nuthall’s great granddaughter. 

Thomas Cornwaleys (Cornwallis) was the grandfather of General Cornwallis, the general defeated by General George Washington at the Battle of Yorktown during the Revolutionary War. 

These are pictures taken by Linda and Phil Stone on their trip to Maryland in September 2014. Cross Manor is hidden from view by large trees, but some of the estate grounds and out buildings are seen. The St. Mary's River can be seen between the structures. Going up the gravel driveway off Cross Manor and viewing to the right of the entrance, then returning back down the driveway, the pictures reveal the beauty of the area. Cross Manor is included in the National Registry of Historic Homes.  




IMG_0259 (2).jpg

To view Cross Manor as it is today, see the Real-Estate photographs at: http://www.weichert.com/51457143/

To read more from resources used to develop much of the narrative above include

Cross Manor 

The Arch and the Dove, Thomas Cornewaleys 

Old Prather Family Cemetery



In recent weeks I started listing grave information of recently departed friends and relatives on http://findagrave.com. This perked my curiosity as to how many of our oldest PRATHER/PRATER ancestors from the 17th and 18th centuries have their graves identified.  I found little on Find-A-Grave (FAG).  So, I searched most of the MD cemeteries listed on http://www.interment.net/US/md/index.htm .  But what burials I found were, for the most part, more recent ones.  I tried a similar search of VA cemeteries with a similar result.

As the genealogist, Gary Benton Prather, pointed out, a lot of the graves were on private property, unrecorded, and perhaps weren’t even formal burials.  And what were burial sites might have been since destroyed.  So I tried a different search to find old grave sites and to my surprise found this document from the Maryland Historic Trust, Inventory of Historic Sites: 


And PRESTO!!!  I found the site where Aaron Prather (II) and some of his family are buried!  The report stated that at that time (mid 1970's):

There are 35-45 upright stones, many without inscriptions. A single large monument (obelisk) approximately 4'9" was erected in 1866 by the Prather family in memory of deceased family members. Stones arranged in a circular shape.

See the pics taken in 1973 at the end of the document, shown here: 



With this information at hand, I posted the first of a series of Find-A-Grave memorials.  First for Aaron:  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=127197347  By the rules of FAG, I couldn’t use any photos without permission, so seeking fresh photos and information did some more digging.  Surprisingly, I found the Prather Cemetery is on the Meadowside Nature Center property (part of the Montgomery Co Parks Dept, MD).  I found their FACEBOOK page and contacted them to see what info is available and whether they might be able to take some pics: 



One of the Meadowside employees, Julie, went to the site, took some pictures (colored pics here), and sent them and a 70’s genealogy report on the cemetery done by a student (send me an email if you would like a copy of the PDF).  The open spaces pic shows some of the individual markers that are standing, but deteriorated and unreadable. With these data in hand, I have created more FAG memorials.  There are links in each memorial, starting with Aaron’s above that take you to others buried there.

On March 12 investigator Andrew Slaten visited the cemetery after a mile hike into the woods.  He took 45 pictures of the vicinity...see HERE.

If anyone has found any other older PRATHER/PRATER cemeteries or burials, please let me know!


H Martin Prather, Jr

martin (at) prather.net







Thomas Ivye'’s Will - 1592.  

Nancy Magnuson and Carolyn Postgate have taken on the unenviable task of translating Thomas Ivye's Will, prepared in 1592!  And the result is posted here!  The abstract is below.  To see the full text of the translation, click on STUDIES in the upper left corner of this web site:

ABSTRACT:  Thomas Ivye’s Will is dated 12 December 1592.  It is rich in detail regarding his home and its furnishings, his family and friends, his servants and tenants, and his livestock.  His main heir is his son George; bequests are also provided for his other children, servants, friends, and a number of other acquaintances. There is no mention of his wife, who may have preceded him in death.  He made significant provisions for the poor of the village of West Kington and the parish of Castle Combe.

-- Nancy Magnuson and Carolyn Postgate 2014

Prater's Mill

...picture and description from a postcard...

by Gary Benton Prather

I discovered Prater's Mill about 28+ years ago and have visited it many times since.  Actually, I was there last year.  It looks a little more run-down today, more than it does in the photo, but they still have a Prater's Mill Fair there every year.


Just across the creek on the south side of the road is the home that Benjamin Prater built about 1859.  He also built a store (which is still there) but not in operation.  Benjamin Prater's home was built of the same type of brick which his father used to built his two story plantation home which is located east of Lenoir City, TN. and still stands today (built 1799). (The last time I visited the plantation home a young doctor and his wife lived there.)
There is another plantation home built by Baruck William Prather in Fayette Co., KY. that was built from the same plan about the same time, but Baruck Prather and Thomas Prater were so distantly related it is unlikely they knew each other.  Fayette Co. owns the property and have created a nature park and the house can be seen by walking up a trail.  Fayette Co. replaced the roof several years ago but the house still needs major renovation.
The last time I stopped to check on Benjamin's house at Prater's Mill, a family by the name of Hart lived there.  I do not know if they still live there today, as I did not stop at the house the last time I was there. The house at Prater's Mill is a one story house and (very large for the time when it was built) with a wrap-around porch.



Prater's Mill is managed by the Prater's Mill Assoc. and is considered the oldest business in the county.


See: http://www.pratersmill.org/ ..... a very interesting history of Prater's Mill and family.

The Cedars Plantation

 Located in Talladega Co., AL


The Cedars plantation, Sumter County, Alabama. Owned by the Praytor family.

Photos above taken about 1998 by James W. Praytor


The Cedars Plantation  home is located in Talladega Co., AL, was built, as you see above, in 1838 by Middleton Adkins Praytor (Prater) who was the grandson of William Prater and Mary Middleton.  (William Prater a son of Phillomen Gettings Prater) Middleton Adkins Praytor born in 1793 Greenville, Laurens Co., SC migrated to AL. in 1832 and finely settled in Sumter Co., AL.

"The Cedars Plantation", as it became known, was named for the cedar trees that the Praytors planted lining the road to the home. This home is still owned by descendants.

Gary Benton Prather

THANKS! ...to Carol Bullard Huff for suggestions and corrections

Prathers Covered Bridge

 Located north of Toccoa, GA.

 The first Prather Bridge was a swinging bridge built in 1804 by James Jeremiah Prather.  The first bridge was washed away during a freshet (an overflow caused by heavy rain). A more substantial bridge was built in 1850, but was burned in 1863 during the Civil War to keep the enemy from crossing. James Jeremiah and his son, James Devereaux rebuilt the bridge in 1868. This bridge was also washed away in 1918 and was rebuilt in 1920 by James D. Prather. It was replaced by a concrete bridge, but was kept as a landmark until burned by vandals in 1978. The pillars still stand, made from rock quarried by Mr. Prather from a nearby hillside. <1>

Prather's Covered Bridge - NC

click picture for an enlarged view

 Gary Benton Prather’s Account of Visiting the Prather Plantation Near the Prather’s Covered Bridge

 “Prather Bridge stood about 1/2 mile north of the Prather plantation called "Riverside Plantation" which was built in 1810 and still stands and is owned by the same family for all these years.  Joseph and Ruby Prather were living there when I visited the plantation back in the 1970's.  Joseph's daughter (by his first marriage) built a new house just down from the old plantation house and she will most likely inherit the place.  

Robert Tombs, Sec. of State of the Confederacy, was hidden there and smuggled out of the country by the Prathers.  He is the only high office Confederate person who did not sign the surrender documents. 

The story goes:

They kept a horse saddled and ready for Robert Tombs, day and night, as he stayed at the Prather plantation. Tombs plantation was located about 50 or so miles south and the Union Soldiers almost caught him there.  But he escaped and came to the Prather plantation for protection.  Robert Tombs was setting

on the porch when he heard the Union Army horses coming across the old Prather Bridge down the road.  He put a pistol in each hand and hid in the closet of his bedroom (The Prather plantation home was the first in the region to have closets.)  When the Union Soldiers came into the house one entered each bedroom.  They thought that the door to the closet led into the next bedroom and did not open the it.  When they left they were very upset not to find Robert Tombs.   They knew he had been there because of his horse and saddle.  They thought that the Prathers had supplied him a fresh horse for his escape.  After the Soldiers left the Prathers smuggled him to the coast and put him on a ship to Cuba and then to France.  Robert Tombs never surrendered.   (this story was told to me by Joseph Prather). 

The plantation house still had some of the old furnishings, including a desk which was a gift from the first Gov. of NC.  This desk had several Confederate documents including the list of slaves that were freed at the end of the war, and many of the "house slaves" used the last name "Prather". (these were the more educated slaves.... (per Joseph Prather). 

Joseph Prather has since passed away but the last time I was there (re; 2001) Ruby was still alive.”

 Homer Silsby Prather's Bible Found

April 15, 2010

The bible of my 2nd-great grandfather (HERE in the DB), Homer Silsby Prather, has been found in the Estate of Virginia Hartford Saharov in Warsaw, VA  and sent to me by Sandy Weir!  He died in 1905 in IL.  The bible is not in the best of shape, but is a great piece for my collection and even has his signature (though unproven that he wrote it) in a couple places.  I love the metal catch used to hold it shut.  The bible is dated 1870 in Roman Numerals and all chapter numbers are in RN.


Read the interesting Will and family accounts of Henry Pawling Prather and wife Martha Watson of PA/MD  ca. 1800's... click HERE

"FINDING AID" for Lillard-Bonner Genealogical Collection: developed by Richard A. Stowe...will soon be placed on the Kentucky Historical Society library  website - Get details by clicking: NEWS

VOL I sold out 1/15/00, but a reprint is available:  by John W. Prather, Jr. See "Book I" and other books above for status.

See ... Video clips of Nunney Castle and vicinity... click on the Nunney Castle picture below to get to the video clip selection button!

Avery PratherNunney Castle

Benjamin Penn PratherMagnolia Steamboat


*...including the surnames PRATER / PRATHER / PRAYTHER / PRATOR / PRAYTOR / PRAYTER

Since December, 1996 this page has been accessed this many times: counter


                                         Webmaster Marty:

If you find the information and support on this site useful and care to make a small donation to help pay the ongoing costs, please click the following:


We would like to acknowledge the generous support of this site by the following:

Jeanette Campbell

Steve Skellerman

Thanks again!...Marty



&nbsout of print....


              (including Prater/Prather Families)

Click HERE to see the details.

John W Prather, Jr's books Sold Out Sept 2015

Now Available - Praters in Wiltshire 1480-1670 Volume 1 Reprint

Revision 1 - 2010 !

October 8, 2014 ------------STILL AVAILABLE!

Good news!    John W. Prather, Jr. has authorized the reprint of his 1987 Volume I which has been out of print and unavailable for years!! He asked me to spread the word to fellow researchers.  For details and order options, click   HERE!. 

This "Revision 1" includes updates and corrections, as well as information for accessing John’s works in the Maryland Archives. 

See ordering instructions for email, CD, and/or soft-bound.

H Martin Prather Jr

Massive Prather/Prater Database is Now Available Here!!

April 13, 2010

Dear Cousins, 

I want to inform you that my database on the Prather / Prater / Prator / Praytor, etc., family genealogy is now available here... a database that has taken me 46-48 years to collect........... some 120,000 people.  It has been a work of love for our family and my need to share information with those in need. 

This database is a collection of the work of many people.  There is no way that I could personally research and prove the collected data on 120,000 people.  I have done a great deal of research during all of these years and have added that to this database, including what I have found while living in England, Australia and the USA.  I have also included my findings on the family while researching in a few other countries such as New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, etc.  Some information came from the 41 Prater / Prather / Praytor family reunions of which I was a guest speaker and collected information that those families had gathered.  Through these years many others have also supplied me information that I added to the database...  so as I stated before, this is a collective work of many. 

PLEASE consider this database as a GUIDELINE to doing your own research.  I have not personally proven all data that was collected and given to me by others.  There ARE mistakes in this database, which one could only expect in such as large collection.  I continue to update my database as mistakes are found and correct data has been documented and proven. 

I expect to provide an updated database at least once a year to be posted on our family website.

A number of years ago H. Martin "Marty" Prather contacted me, asking for help with his family genealogy...since then Marty has been a great help to all of us........ creating and managing a Prater / Prather family website since 1996, first with information I sent him, and later to be a website where many others contributed to.  It has grown and grown until the website became too small to hold the graphics and data that was coming in from so many members of the family wanting to contribute. So, www.Martin.Prather.net has been replaced by a NEW WEBSITE: http://PratherGenealogy.com ...where you are NOW!  

With the new Prater / Prather family website there is space to put my complete database (900+ mb in html format).   Due to the exposure the website has had over the years we have been able to reach more members of our family who are interested in our families genealogy than any other website.........So, THANKS EVERYBODY WHO CONTRIBUTED !   

Go take a look and enjoy; click above.

Your Texas/Oklahoma Cuz,

Gary Benton Prather

PS Be sure to read the disclaimer on the opening page

 Prather Coat of Arms - Embroidery - STUNNING!

January 24, 2010

Some months back I received a solicitation from a company who does hand embroidery of emblems, patches, and the like.  I emailed them a graphic of the coat of arms created by Jennifer Prater, not expecting much in return, and last week I received the following 4" embroidery in the mail:

Really Neat!!

H Martin Prather Jr

PS  I have lost contact with Jennifer from Galveston...if she is out there still, please have her email me.


Author John W. Prather, Jr. Moved to Care Facility

July 29, 2009

John's health has been deteriorating in recent months and has moved out of his apartment to the medical center at the same Carolina Village complex in NC.  I called him today and generally he is in good spirits.  He turned 92 on his last birthday.

It would be really grand if we could flood him with get well cards to show him our appreciation for the genealogy work he has done for our benefit over the years!

His current address is:

Carolina Village Medical Facility

John W. Prather, Jr.

600 Carolina Village Rd, #137

Hendersonville, NC 28792


H Martin Prather, Jr.

John W. Prather, Jr.'s Books Vol I-III Materials Now at the Maryland Archives "Special Collections"

June 2008 (Updated April 2010)

Hello Cousins and Prather/Prater researchers,

John's 22 boxes of research materials related to his 2 published books (vols I & II) and the unfinished work on vol III are now at the Maryland Archives for checkout (so I am told).  In a letter to John from the archives Special Collections Director, Robert W. Schoeberlein, Ph.D. states "A request slip for MSA SC 5764, with an appropriate stack location for a certain box (or boxes), given directly to a member of our References Services Department should (present) no problem for retrieval."  

An inventory of the materials is available by clicking the link HERE.  The Archives requires a user name and pw to access the materials and gave me permission to share it, as long as users abide by the Archives copyright rules: user name aaco, pw aaco#

See a sample of the Box inventory you can view from the MD Archives by clicking HERE (in PDF format).  Beyond this, you need to submit a request of visit in person.

Please note, the Archives have changed the ID of John's Special Collection from 5097 to 5764, so the former number no longer applies.

For those unable to go to the archives personally, the Maryland Archives offers a list of researchers who may be willing to take on specific tasks on a pay basis.

John is eager to hear what successes you may have in reviewing these materials, so please email me and I will pass on your constructive thoughts!

I live on Oregon, so will be a while before I can make it to MD to check it out.

H Martin Prather, Jr.


John W. Prather, Jr.'s Addendum to Vol I & II Available for Download

Hello Cousins and Prather/Prater researchers,

John gave me permission to release the Adobe Acrobat PDF file of his Addendum to volumes I & II, so here it is (the link is below)!!!!.  Essentially, it is the shell of what would have been the volume III with the Addendum added, which was his original planned format.  Because of his health at age 90, he will not be completing volume III.

I will save the details for your reading, but have a few things I want to mention up front.

If you don't have either vol I or II, the Addendum will make little sense to you.  The addendum is primarily in the format below I provide here as an example:

-----------------------example format----------------------------------

Page 20. 3.007.07- JANE PRATHER
Delete:- --- first line --- JANE PRATHER (3.007.07) was b. ca.
1710 ---¬
Add in lieu of above:- --- JANE PRATHER (3.007.07) b. ca.
Source:- John W. Prather, Jr.

Page 22, 3.012.01- JOHN MULLIKIN. SR
Delete:- --- first line --- JOHN MUUIKIN, SR. (3.012.02) was b. 9 Mar. 1716 --¬
Add in lieu of above:- --- JOHN MULLIKIN, SR. (3.012.02)
was b. 29 Mar. 1684 There is confusion about the year John was born. If we agree that his mother was born ca. 1664 and was eighteen years old when she married she married ca. 1882. If we assume she was married two years when JOHN was born then he was born in the year 1684. We have no proof that this is true.
Source:- Linda Peper (93) (L.63).

---------------etc., etc.-----------------------------------------------

As you can see, it isn't meant to read like a novel, but more like an errata sheet.

The file is searchable by any keyword you enter by clicking on the "binoculars" in Adobe Reader, and there is also an index of surnames and their page numbers, as printed at the bottom of the pages.

As an assistant to John, here is what I can and can’t do for those who have questions-

What I can do:  If there are inconsistencies or seem to be typos, I can look at John’s originals and see if the electronic copy is consistent.  I can be contacted at martin@prather.net

What I can’t do:  If there are issues about the content or changes shown here, you will need to contact John at his mailing address indicated in the PREFACE.

I also included information toward the back of the document on the Maryland Archives and also an internet link.  What is unclear are the current procedures and costs to obtain copies of the materials from the Archives.

To view the file, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.  Then click on the link below or paste it into your internet browser address bar.


If there are any changes, I will make them, change the file v-date and repost it, informing all.

Hope this helps some of you who have the book(s).

John W. Prather, Jr.'s Volume II Sold Out

For NEWS on John W. Prather, Jr.'s Volume III and Addendum to Volumes I & II... click on the BOOK III Info link at the upper left!

Other Interesting Tid-bits:

  • Prater / Prather Coat-of-Arms UPDATE

Exciting NEWS!!  Jennifer Prater; the one who created the C-O-A depiction used on this site since 1996 and "borrowed" by many others, has sent me an update that I have incorporated here....enjoy!