ARIZARD-L Archives

Archiver > ARIZARD > 2009-03 > 1236627979

From: "Betty McCollum" <>
Subject: Re: [ARIZARD] PRATER [Rick L., read this]
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2009 14:48:38 -0500
References: <>

Hi Peggy:
Was there a picture with this? These are relatives of mine.
Thanks for sending.
Betty McCollum
----- Original Message -----
To: <>
Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 5:53 AM
Subject: Re: [ARIZARD] PRATER [Rick L., read this]

> 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
> ~~~~~~~~~~
> -------------------------------
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
> with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
> quotes in the subject and the body of the message

This thread: