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Below is a sample of a family biography included in the History of Knox County, Tennessee published in 1887 by Goodspeed Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

W. H. B. Prater, farmer of the Eleventh District, was born July 4, 1842, in Blount County, Tenn. He is the second of four children born to William and Mary Blair (Leeper) Prater. The father was born July 22, 1811, in Roane (now Loudon) County, Tenn. He was a very enthusiastic farmer, as well as a very enterprising and successful one. He was killed by being thrown from a horse. Benjamin Prater, grand-father of the subject of this sketch, was born and reared near Lynchburg, Va., and afterward moved to North Carolina, and from there to Tennessee, settling on French Broad River, where he married Miss Nancy Lane. He began life by splitting rails, and by his remarkable energy, enterprise and excellent practical ability accumulated quite a fortune. He and wife were of Scotch descent. The mother of our subject was born August 7, 1815, and is the daughter of Hugh B. and Malinda (Saunders) Leeper, natives of Pennsylvania and Georgia respectively. She is still living, is quite active, and enjoys excellent health. She has a remarkably good memory for dates and historical facts, reads considerable, and carries on quite an extensive correspondence. After the death of her husband she married John W. Lee, a native of Virginia, and a relative of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Our subject secured his education at Knoxville University, at the University of Lexington, Ky., and Ewing and Jefferson College. He enlisted in Hugh L. McClung's battery in the spring of 1862, and was discharged at Loudon in 1863. He was in part of the siege at Vicksburg, Miss., and took part in all the battles and severe skirmishes in which his regiment was engaged. He married Miss M. G. Lee in 1867. She was born August 6, 1850, and is the daughter of John W. and Elizabeth (Akers) Lee. The result of our subject's marriage was the birth of seven children: Mary Ellen, William Walter, Hugh Leeper, James Gaines, Roddy Clifford, Ernest and Bessie Lee. Mrs. Prater died June 16, 1886. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Prater has always followed agricultural pursuits. He now owns a fine farm of 700 acres of land, on the Kingston Pike, and 100 in Blount County. He is a Democrat in politics, and cast his first vote for Horace Greeley.

This family biography is one of 265 biographies included in the History of Knox County, Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Knox County, Tennessee History, Genealogy, and Maps


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