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Descendants of --- de Presbyter (Prester/de Praers).

Generation No. 15

15. THOMAS15 PRATHER/PRATER (THOMAS PRATER14 (GENTLEMAN), ANTHONY THOMAS PRATER13, GEORGE PRATER12 (ESQUIRE), JOHN PRATER11, WILLIAM PRATER (ESQUIRE) (DE10 PRAERS?), --- PRATER (DE PREERS /9 PRAERS), --- PRATER (DE8 PREERS/PRAERS), --- PRATER (DE7 PRAERS?), --- PRATER (DE6, --- PRATER (PRETOR) (DE5, ROBERTUS PRETOR (PRATER) (DE4, WILLIAMUS PRETOR (PRATER/DE3 PRAERS), GUILLIUMUS (WILLIAMUS) JOHONNIE2 PRATER, --- DE PRESBYTER (PRESTER/DE1 PRAERS).) was born Abt. 1604 in near Eaton Water, Wiltshire, England, and died Abt. 1666 in Near Elizabeth Citties, Virginia. He married MARY (MCKAY) OR (POWELL) 1627 in Virginia. She was born in England, and died in Near Elizabeth Citties, Virginia.

The following info is by H. Martin Prather, Jr., found on his website at

Information for Thomas Prater and his ancestors was extracted (OK, copied!) from this site, and by information generously provided by one of our cousins -

Gary Benton Prather
9198 Williams Pl.
Frisco, Texas 75034

Thomas Prater was born in Eaton Water, Wiltshire, England. When he was a young man, England was expanding its control and development of the Colonies in America. The King of England knew he could not hold control of his distant domain without the allegiance of his subjects that went there. So keeping with the feudal system, he offered property to those "born of gentry" that would go there to claim it. By doing this he knew that the younger children born to those who held power and/or property by the grace of the King in England would go to the Colonies to claim land for themselves. The younger children of "the gentry" of England generally had very little inheritance, due to the practice of giving the bulk of a father's property to the first born son in the family (along with any titles). Thus, the only way a younger son could gain title, position, or property was by marriage or by the grace of the King. This new offering of the King to give property to anyone born of gentry was well accepted by the young men of England who were looking to improve their chances for success and prosperity.

Thomas Prater, being born of gentry, was also enticed to come to America. He had relatives who had already made the long trip to America. John Powell was such a person. The name Powell is a variation of the name Powelett (also spelled Paulet) which was an allied family of the Praters for several generations in England (Nunney Castle was purchased from the Paulets by the Praters in the late 1500's; Paulets were cousins of the Praters). Also, the Paulets were intermarried with the Kingstons, Carews, Delamare, and Courtney families who also had marriages with the Prathers.

Thomas Prater, being under age, indentured himself to his cousin, John Powell, and gained passage to America where he worked with John Powell for five years before getting married to Mary (Powell of McKay ?) at which time he received his property (Virginia).

Thomas was the founder of more than 90% of the Prater / Prather family lines in America today. The other 10% were founded by other members of his family that came here at a later time. most other branches continued with the spelling Prater here in America, while the lines from Thomas have been found to use the spellings Prather / Prater / Prator / Praytor / Prayter / Prayther / Pratter / Prader / Preater / Praeter / Praetor.

Most of these spelling variations occurred during the early establishment of and settlement of territories in Colonial times, or shortly after the Revolutionary War. The spelling variations came about mainly as a result of poor levels of education of clerks, census takers, and the public in general.

Thomas Prater was only 18 years old when he came to the Colonies. It must have been a major adventure for such a young man born and raised on a manorial estate in Northern Wiltshire to board a ship to a new land.

He must have experienced many hardships. It could be compared today with boarding a rocket ship to fly to a new settlement on the Moon.

He came on board the ship Marie Providence which landed at Elizabeth Citties, Virginia (near what is now Newport News). His name is recorded in various spellings (Prater, Prether, Prator, Prather), but Prather is used more often in the Colonies, while Prater was used in England. He came to the Colonies in 1622 from the Latton / Eaton Water Estates, on the Cricklade, Wiltshire, England. Thomas was one of three brothers who came to the Colonies between 1620 and 1623.

On Nov 18, 1860, there were an estimated 1200 settlers in Virginia, until 22 March, 1621 when the indians massacred 347 white settlers. Thomas arrived only a few months after this event. He is enumerated in a muster role ordered by King James I, which was conducted between 20 Jan 1624 and 7 Feb 1624. He was recorded at age 20 years, arriving Elizabeth Citties, Va., on the Ship Marie Providence in 1622.

The hardships he faced on his journey to the Colonies is something that we can not begin to imagine. In a diary found which was written by a ship passager from England to America a full 110 years after Thomas Prater came, describes the journey this way:

"From England there was great delays, the ship waited either to be passed through customs or for favorable winds." "When we weighed anchor, the real misery began for the voyage from England to the Colonies." Unless they have good winds, ship must sail from eight to twelve weeks, before they reached the Colonial coast, even with the best wind, the voyage last for seven weeks. There was much disease on board brought on largely by poor food and lack of good drinking water and aggravated by frequent storms. Our misery reached the clomax when one gale raged for three nights and days so that every one believed the ship would go to the bottom with all on board. As the gale raged so that the waves were like mountain tops one above the other, and often tumbled over the ship, one feared to go down. The ship constantly tossed from side to side from the storm and waves, so that we could hardly walk, or sit, or lie and the closely packed people in the berths thereby tumbled over each other, both the sick and the well. It will be readily understood that many of our people, none of whom haad come prepared for such hardships, suffered so terribly that they did not survive...
He continued by reporting,
"There were thirdy two children who died on the ship during this journey." (The year; 1732)

Baptism (LDS): December 25, 1606, St. mary's Church, Marlborough, Wiltshire, England
Burried: Virginia
Fact 5: Came to colonies in 1622, landed in Virginia
Occupation: Plantation

Mary's last name was probably McKay or Powell

Some members of the family (in earlier times -- 1960's) used the name McKay to gain membership in the DAR, but indications are that her name may have been Powell. Records have NOT been found that tell us her true name, research continues, another name is possible.... Mary Ara Eord Powell ???

Powell was a variation of Powelett (Paulet), a family that had been allied to the Praters in England for generations. Re: Lord St. John, William Paulet of Nunney, Somerset, England. Praters bought Nunney Castle from their cousin Wm. Paulet.






JOHNATHAN16 PRATHER, b. Abt. 1630, Elizabeth Citties Co., Virginia; d. Bef. August 01, 1680, Calvert Co., Maryland.






JOHN PRATHER, b. Bet. 1629 - 1638, Elizabeth Citties, Norfolk Co., Virginia; d. Prob. Rappahannock, Virginia.






RICHARD PRATHER, b. Bet. 1635 - 1636, Virginia, prob. near Newport News; d. February 07, 1661, Rappahannock Co., Virginia.






WILLIAM PRATHER, b. Abt. 1632, Elizabeth Citties, Norfolk Co., Virginia.






SAMUEL PRATHER, b. Bet. 1633 - 1634, Elizabeth Citties, Norfolk Co., Virginia; d. 1679, Dorchester Co., Maryland.


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