Hardin County

Biography - The Pruett Family

One of the old and honored families of Southern Illinois, members of which are well known in the commercial world, especially as the owners of large coal mining properties, is that of Pruett, which traces its history back to John Pruett, a native of Georgia, who was born in 1777. In 1803 he founded the Illinois branch of the family, settling on the Ohio River at what is now Elizabethtown, Hardin county, with four or five other families, among them the McFarlands. Soon thereafter he went to Eagle Creek, in what is now Saline county, and there spent the remainder of his life, attaining a ripe old age and becoming a prominent and highly respected citizen. His son, Benjamin Pruett, had died some time previous, and both are buried in the cemetery on the old homestead known as the Pruett family burying ground. Benjamin Pruett left one son, who was called John, born at Eagle Creek, September 4, 1826, and he was reared by his grandfather to the age of eighteen years. At that time he took up the work of flatboating on the Ohio river and for three years or more he was thus engaged. He then took up the carpenter trade and after becoming proficient in the work he devoted his time to that trade in the southern states for some time as a stage and house carpenter. The opening of the Civil war brought an end to his labors in that section of the country, and in 1863 he located in Harrisburg, Illinois, where he engaged in the undertaking business, at the same time following his trade as a carpenter and cabinet maker. When he was thirty-five years old he married one Margaret Christian, born in Christian county, Kentucky, in 1842, and coming to Illinois when a small child. She was twenty-two years old at the time of her marriage. Six children were born of their union, three of whom died in infancy, and three sons, Frank, Albert and Milo, yet survive. They are well known and representative citizens of Harrisburg and are heavy property owners, prominent among their possessions in the way of realty being the Pruett block, a handsome structure used for a store and office building. The family holdings aggregate a wide acreage of valuable lands, richly underlaid with deep veins of coal. The old homestead of the Pruett family, which came into their possesion in 1866, is now occupied by Albert, who was married in Peoria, Illinois, in 1891, to Cora Armstrong. One daughter, Margaret, has been born to them. Frank married Margaret O'Dwyer, of Vienna, Illinois, in 1900, and Milo married Lelle Howell, of Harrisburg, on April 25, 1901. She is the daughter of William H. Howell, of that city. One son, John Howell Pruett, is the issue of their union.

Extracted 05 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois by George Washington Smith, published 1912, volume 3, pages 1474-1475

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