ARIZARD-L Archives

Archiver > ARIZARD > 2009-03 > 1236719989

From: "Candy Lawrence" <>
Subject: Re: [ARIZARD] PRATER [Rick L., read this]
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 16:19:49 -0500
References: <>

Thanks Peggy...I enjoyed reading this! Esp the one abt Sgt. Prater!!!

Rick Lawrence - Tulsa

----- 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

Submitted by: Sandie Prater Choctaw,Oklahoma


Note: Not sure when above was submitted so Sandie's address my not be


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: