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Subject: Re: [ARIZARD] PRATER [Rick L., read this]
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2009 03:53:37 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <FAE9E358B3554284936A3281540C0872@dell3000>

Seems we have discussed PRATER family on Izard List.  These two articles found on "Shoebox Clippings" link of 3 Forks Genealogical Society, Wagoner, Wagoner County, Oklahoma:

Family Claims Championship In Cheating Death

Pictured above are thirteen brothers and sisters who are laying claim to a record of having been more successful in cheating the grim reaper than any other group of the kind and size in the state.  They are the sons and daughters of Mr. and Mrs Basil PRATER, pioneers of Arkansas, and with one exception, all of them now live in Oklahoma, the family having moved into this state in 1895.
They never have lost a brother or sister by death and they all credit thier excellent health to the fact that they all, men and women alike, followed the plow in their youth.

Members of the group, standing, left to right are: Noah PRATER, Marlow, Oklahoma; Mrs. Mary Magdalene PENDLEY, Marlow; W. L. PRATER, evangelist, Sapulpa; Mrs. Camora REAMES, Erick; P. E. PRATER, Oklahoma; Mrs Dorothy LONG, Hutchinson, Kansas; S. A. PRATER, Gore, Oklahoma; C. C. PRATER, Marlow.  Seated, Left to right, are: Mrs. Sallie PRICHARD, Holdenville; Mrs. Charlotte McCARTY, Marlow; Mrs. Ada WALLS, Marlow; Mrs. Nancy Emmaline CYPERT, Shawnee; and Mrs. Mercy BENNIGHT, Marlow.
Mrs. CYPERT, 63, is the partriach of the group and C. C. PRATER is the "baby" member at 37.
As fathers and mothers, these thirteen are the parents of 67 children.  There are also 61 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  That is probably another record of some kind.

Submitters Note:  Mary Magdalene PRATER PENDLEY mentioned is my great-grandma.
Submitted by: Sandie Prater Choctaw,Oklahoma
Note:  Not sure when above was submitted so Sandie's address my not be current.

Thursday, September 24, 1998

Sergeant John L. PRATER, born in Davis, Indian Territory in 1882, was in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years.  A Newark, NJ newspaper article, probably 1923, details some of his accomplishments.
Serg. Prater, Retiring After 20 Years, Was All Over World.  Met The Kaiser And Menelik.  Settles Down for good as Guard of Bank of Newark.
"Sergt. John L. Prater of 720 Franklin Avenue, Nutley, N.J., vowed many times that if he ever doffed the uniform of the United States Marine Corps he never would get into another.  He said he was "all shut" of uniforms.  Then, just as if to play a huge joke on him, Fate stuffed his six feet of height and 187 pounds of brawn in a new bank (sic) in Newark.
Whatever may be his experience in life from now on, bank robbers and crusty patrons to the contrary notwithstanding, Sergt. Prater's life cannot be any more hazardous or more interesting than it has been the last twenty years.  Twenty years means five hitches in the Marine Corps.  In that twenty years he has done things many another man of twice his age -- he is only 42 -- has not even attempted.
He is the only one among 115,000,000 other Americans who has been personal guard of three United States Presidents, who has completed five trips around the world, who has put foot on nearly every naval ship of the United States, who has done guard duty over the body of Admiral John Paul JONES, who has visited every port of the world in which a naval ship could enter and who has stepped from the torrid zone to the temperate zone and from that to the frigid zone as easily as the average commuter boards a train for home.
Sergeant Prater has ridden a camel across the Sahara Desert and has sailed up the Congo River in a boat.  He has been reviewed by two Kings of England and has saluted the former German Emperor.  Admiral of Ship Is a Girl Now he has retired from service after twenty years, has built a California style bungalow on a wooded knoll in Nutley and is commander of his own ship.  He is not the admiral, however.  That position is left to Priscilla Louise Prater, who is 4 1/2 years old, and has her hands full attending to a large family of dolls. That is the occupation of the "admiral," while Sergeant and Mrs. Prater are reading poultry journals.
Twenty years is not long when one looks back on it, Sergeant Prater says.  He has been out of the service only a few weeks, but he says it seems almost yesterday that he was a youngster in Davis, Okla., when that was the Indian Territory and old Fort Arbuckle had recently been replaced by the newer Fort Sill.  Out there in those days there was military atmosphere in abundance.

Johnnie Prater's grandfather, Henry C. DECOURTNEY, had been a major in the Mexican war and wounds prevented him from enlisting in the civil war, so he became a government contractor.  The De Courtneys were some of the first white settlers in the Territory.
Johnnie's paternal grandfather was of a less war like career.  He was, until he died, Prof. Prater, teaching romance languages in the University of Heidelberg, Germany.
When Theodore ROOSEVELT recruited his Rough Riders for the Spanish War Johnnie was 16 years old.  He made application for the regiment and was rejected as too young.  He bided his time.  Five years later, on September 5, 1903, he enlisted in Kansas City as the first marine coming from the Indian Territory.  He was fortunate in the nature of travel in those first six months.  Almost immediately after his enlistment he was ordered to New York and went aboard the old Brooklyn, which set out for Mediterranean waters.
Twenty years ago Christmas, Sergeant Prater passed in the Holy Land.  There was trouble in that section then, as there has been in other times and seasons.  The Turks were killing the Syrians and the Brooklyn was sent to prevent bloodshed.  For many weeks, Sergeant Prater stood guard over the Presbyterian School for Syrian Girls in Beirut, visits Menelik in Abyssinia.
Following that experience there came orders to proceed to Abyssinia to make a treaty with King MENELIK.  Sergeant Prater was selected to accompany the official party, which traveled by gunboat through the Suez Canal and Red Sea to Jibuti on the Gulf of Aden, thence by camel train to Menelik's capital.  "Menelik was a rattling big ebony fellow," said Sergeant Prater, "and his style was a silk hat and a breech clout.  But he was a king all right.  Not one in the thousands of his subjects disputed that fact. It would have been intensely unfortunate for them if they had.  Menelik received us in royal style, took us hunting big game and was very courteous.  I wonder if he would have done so had our business been less official."
It was the report that Col. THORPE, then major, gave to President Roosevelt of the expedition that kindled the first desire for big game in Africa, Sergeant Prater said.  That same year, on the return trip, Sergeant Prater saw the then German Emperor. The Brooklyn visited the Kiel Canal and the Kaiser came aboard.  Full honors were done him, with officers on deck saluting and the guard presenting arms.  Sergeant Prater said the KAISER himself a tall man, was of excellent military appearance and closely inspected every six-footer he found.  But there was another mission to be done, this time the incident which gave rise to Roosevelt's remark:  "Perdicaris alice or Raisuli dead."  Raisuli, an African bandit, had captured Ian Perdicaris, a former resident of Trenton, and had held him for ransom.
President Roosevelt sent out an expedition which included Sergt. Prater in its personnel.  The expedition was unsuccessful in getting the bandit out of the wilds and the ransom was paid instead.  But the sergeant remembers well the nights in the jungle, with wild animals howling near the water holes and the awe the strange noises inspired.

It seemed that Sergt. Prater was preordained to live up to the legend:  "Join the Marines and see the world."  He was constantly traveling.  His next look at a king, after seeing Menelik was in England in 1905, when he saw King Edward driving in Hyde Park.  It was that year the United States decided to bring back the body of John Paul JONES, which had lain buried in France for 115 years.  The Marine Corps was called on for a guard detail.  Sergt. Prater his penchant for the unusual skill at work, was selected as one of six that had the honor and until the body was placed in the Naval Cemetery at Washington Sergt. Prater stayed beside the coffin.
Afterward he was transferred to the Marine barracks in Washington.  President Poosevelt needed an orderly. He remembered the youngster who had tried to enlist in the Rough Riders and had him detailed.  By that time Sergt. Prater already had been one of a party of 125 officers and men received by the Pope in Rome, had seen King Alfonso in Madrid and had been present when the Khedive of Egypt reviewed the Royal Irish Fusileers, the British troops stationed in Egypt.  He also had met Richard Harding DAVIS at Cape Town in South Africa and Jack LONDON in Sitka, Alaska.  Prater's duty with Roosevelt was continued to the Presidency of TAFT.
Three times he visited the Canal Zone with each of those Presidents, the first time viewing the ruins of the canal left by the French, and later seeing the new canal in full operation.  When marine officials were called upon to furnish a guard for President WILSON, Prater was recommended as competent and familiar with the duties.  President WILSON sent for him and it was on the European trip that Prater became well acquainted with the President, for he was ordered never to leave the President's side.
>From Brest to Paris he went with the Presidential party.  He remained with the party when President Wilson visited King George and Queen Mary in Buckingham Palace; when they visited King Albert in Brussels and Victor Emmanuel in Rome.  His services in Mexico permitted him to inspect a whole flock of Mexican Presidents -- Diaz, Huerta, Carranza and Obregon. Meanwhile his travels had taken him to Japan, where he had sailed on the Inland Sea and had seen the Emperor and Empress of Japan in Tokyo when he was an orderly to Admiral Sebree, in command of the Asiatic station.
Sergt. Prater said he was a warm admirer of Roosevelt and had great respect akin to love for Wilson.  He said Wilson had been a victim of much misunderstanding.  He viewed President Taft as less democratic toward the enlisted man than either Roosevelt or Wilson.
Sergt. Prater will tell you the world is small.  Not many years after he met Richard Harding Davis in Cape Town, he saw him again at Vera Cruz when that place was occupied by United States troops in 1914.  Again he saw him in South Africa and finally met him in on July 4, 1917, in Paris, shortly before Davis died.  After meeting Jack London in Sitka he saw him later at San Francisco, again at Honolulu, again at Vera Cruz and lastly in Mexico.  He has met many newspapermen in his travels.  Sergeant Prater speaks Spanish fairly well and knows at least a phrase or two of a score or more of languages and dialects. He speaks a bit of Chinese he picked up at the legation in Peking.
Just before the World War Sergeant Prater was appointed as military instructor at St. John's College.  When the United States entered the war Sergeant Prater was transferred to active duty on the U.S.S. Seattle, heading the convoy for transport ships.  He made serveral trips on the convoy before he was trasnferred to be guard for President Wilson. He was one of two men picked from among seventy on the Seattle to be the President's orderly.  On recommendation of President Wilson Sergeant Prater was sent to the officers' training school at Quantico, VA., where he remained four months, but he did not accept the commission he was offered, explaining that he wanted to stay an enlisted man.

It was not until the close of the war that he saw his half-brother, Thomas H. DENT of Phoenix, Ariz, who had enlisted in the Sixth Regiment of Marines.  Sergeant Prater's own regiment was the Fifth.  After the war Sergt. Prater was detailed to go with the "Roving Marines," a recruit detachment that traveled about the country to advertise the service.  He was listed as a singer and dancer.  He admitted he was a bettter marine than a singer, although he has an excellent tenor voice.  He traveled with Sergt. Dan DALEY, "grand old man of the Marine Corps," who was twice decorated with the Congressional Medal.  His last recruit duty was in Newark, and it was there he was discharged at the end of twenty years, with a substantial pension coming to him from the Government and a new position -- in uniform -- open to him.
But there was one paper to which he attached his signature that had a far different meaning to him than the scores of military papers he had signed.  One of military papers he had signed, One Students League exhibit in New York.  That was 1917.  He had seen hundreds of famous paintings in his Old World travels and he had an especial interest in art.  A picture which was marked for the first prize attracted his attention.  It was called "Antiques."  "Gosh, that's good!" said the sergeant.  "I wonder who painted that!"  "I did," said a girl at his elbow, and the sergeant said she was far from being an antique herself. "And who might you be?" he said.
Thenceforth the conversation is not recorded.  Suffice it to say that on April 8, 1918, between trips that Sergt. Prater made across the Atlantic he and Miss Priscilla Louise CATTELL, the painter of "Antiques" and winner of the first prize, were married by the minister of an uptown Presbyterian church.  She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Cattell of 212 West Eightieth Street.
Sergeant Prater's new uniform isn't near so resplendent as his old one.  So sometimes when on holidays he hangs out the American flag on the new pole over his bungalow he puts on his beloved uniform, with the gold and red chevron and the gunnery sergeant chevron that goes with them.  Across his breast are two rows of ribbons that include Mexican service, Haitian service in 1915-1916, Nicaraguan service in 1912, the Cuba pacification service in 1906, the World War service with Maltese cross for escort service in the submarine zone and the regimental decoration of the Fifth Marines.  He says he has been in virtually all the engagements the marines have entered since the Spanish-American War.
He looked all over the world for a place to settle down and he has found it at last in New Jersey.  He has chosen a high point, because of a military advantage, he says.  There is one other matter in which Sergt. Prater stands out as both a marine and a civilian.  He has never smoked, drunk liquor or gambled.  His discharge papers carry the word "Excellent" in every report for the entire twenty years.  "Probably you think I'm fit to be a parson," he grinned.  Sergt. Prater, with his body straight as an arrow and with muscles like steel that bulge under his uniform, is no namby-pamby.  You will mark him at once as a regular fellow."
Submitted by Candace Gregory

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