This venerable citizen of Raccoon township, Marion county, has been a
very active man in the development of this part of the Union, having spent
his long life in this and her sister state on the east. He has seen the
wonderful growth of the country from its wild prairies, dense forests,
inhabited by red men and wild beasts to one of the richest and best
countries in the world.
Joseph A. Prather was born in Clark county, Indiana, January 31, 1824, the son of Sihon and Elizabeth (Williams) Prather, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Virginia. The subject's father grew up in the Tar Heel state and moved to Clark county, Indiana, where he lived on a farm and where he and his wife both died. He was a Democrat and held the office of Justice of the Peace several years. He was a member of the Methodist church, well known and influential. They were the parents of the following children: Louisa, deceased; Samantha, deceased; Thomas, deceased; John, deceased; Joseph A., our subject; William, deceased; Margaret lives in Clark county, Indiana. Several children died young.
Joseph A. Prather, our subject, had few opportunities to become educated, however he attended subscription schools for a time and lived at home until he was twenty-one years of age, when he went to Floyd county, Indiana, and in 1844 married Sarah Ann Patrick, a native of Clark county, that state, where she was born December 3, 1827, the daughter of William and Nancy (Harris) Patrick, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Virginia. They lived and died in Clark county, Indiana, on a farm. There were twelve children in their family as follows: Jeremiah, Rebecca, John, Elizabeth, Mary, William, Solomon, James, Nancy, Lewis, Sarah Ann, and Eliza. They are all deceased except the wife of our subject.
Mr. and Mrs. Prather became the parents of nine children, three deceased, namely: Nancy, who married Roland Warren, lives in Centralia, Illinois, and is the mother of eight children; Margaret, who is now deceased, having died January 24, 1908, Married Lewis Patton, having become the mother of ten children, one of whom is deceased; John, who married Belle Oldfield, is a farmer and teamster at Centralia, and has for children; Eliza J., who married Thomas Shaw, of Centralia township, is the mother of eight children; Emmons R., a farmer in Raccoon township, first married Mollie Gaston and later Lillie Blair, of Raccoon township, having had four children by his first wife and two by the second; Etha is the wife of Charles Bundy, of Raccoon township, a full sketch of whom appears in this work; Orville, who is living on part of the old home place in Raccoon township, married, first Laura May, and his second wife was Annie Howard, had three children by each wife; William died at the age of seven years; George died when two years old.
The subject has fifty-three grandchildren and thirty-four great-grandchildren. After his marriage our subject lived in Floyd county, Indiana, having come to Marion county, Illinois, in 1854, where he purchased two hundred and twenty acres of land in sections 29 and 32. He made all the improvements on the place, there having been but very little when he took charge, but being a good manager and a hard worker he soon developed a most excellent farm and established a comfortable home. He carries on general farming, raising all kinds of grain, fruit and stock and making a success of all that he undertakes. He is a Democrat in politics and has held some of the offices in Raccoon township always taking much interest in the affairs of his township. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Walnut Hill. He has always been a hard working man and is still very well preserved for a man of his rears having a good business mind and able to manage the many details of his fine farm with profit from year to year. He is a very well read man, keeping well posted on all current topics. As a result of his life of industry, honesty and kindness he has scores of warm friends and if a single enemy he does not know it. Everybody in this part of Marion county knows "Uncle Joe" Prather, as he is familiarly called and everybody respects him very highly.
Extracted 11 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 286-288.