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Thomas (Prather)  Prater

Thomas (Prather) Prater

Male 1604 - 1666  (60 years)

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  • Name Thomas (Prather) Prater 
    Born 26 Dec 1604  Eaton Water, Wiltshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 26 Dec 1606  St. Mary's Church, Marlborough, Wiltshire Co, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Immigration 1622  Recorded at age 20 years, arriving at Elizabeth City Colony, VA, on the ship, Marie Providence Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation Plantation 
    Died 1666  Near Elizabeth City Colony, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I28461  Lucius
    Last Modified 27 May 2007 

    Father Thomas Anthony (Gentleman) Prater,   b. 6 May 1573, Stanton, St. Bernard Parish, Wiltshire Co., England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1628, Eaton Water, Wiltshire Co. England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years) 
    Mother Margaret Quintyne,   b. 1578, Nushton Manor, Wiltshire Co., England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1628, Wiltshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years) 
    Married 4 Jun 1599  Clyffe Pypard, Parish, Wiltshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F11751  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary McKay Powell,   b. 1606, St. Mary's, Chruch, Marlborough, Wiltshire Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 1627  Elizabeth City, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. William Prather,   b. 1632, Elizabeth City Colony, Norfolk Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Jonathon I (Prather) Prater,   b. 1633, Elizabeth City Colony, Norfolk Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aug 21 1680, Calvert County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Samuel Prather,   b. 1637, Elizabeth City Colony, Norfolk Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1679, Dorchester Co., Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 42 years)
     4. Richard Prather,   b. 1641, Elizabeth City Colony, Norfolk Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Feb 1661, Rappahannock Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 20 years)
     5. John Prather,   b. 1643, Elizabeth City Colony, Norfolk Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 24 Aug 1664, Rappahannock, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 22 years)
    Family ID F11750  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Documents
    Thomas Prater.jpg
    Thomas Prater.jpg

  • Notes 
    • The following info is by H. Martin Prather, Jr., found on his website while it was up.

      Information for Thomas Prater and his ancestors was extracted 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 passenger 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 climax 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 had come prepared for such hardships, suffered so terribly that they did not survive...
      He continued by reporting, "There were thirty two children who died on the ship during this journey." (The year; 1732)