Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gen-5: Cornelius Prall, Sr. - Part I


Fifth Generation

1.  Cornelius Prall Sr.19 was born about 1732 in East Amwell, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. Between 1757 and 1813 he was a Farmer and miller in New Jersey.. He died about 25 Mar 1813 at the age of 81 in East Amwell, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.5 Cornelius had his estate probated on 4 Feb 1819 in Amwell Twp., Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.5 [Estate inventory proved] He had his estate probated on 10 May 1821 in Amwell Twp., Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.10 [Settlement of estate of Cornelius Prall, dec'd.] [Researching the life and family of Cornelius Prall has been a challenge. The lack of documented church or family records - births, marriages, etc. -  has led to a great deal of confusion about this family. Birthdates are estimates unless sources are available, as they were for Cornelius Jr. and Rebecca. Sorting through the Marion C. Prall notes, assorted deeds, mortgages, inventories, court records and the like has given us the story of Cornelius Prall and has established his rightful place in the direct line of his immigrant ancestor, Arent Jansen Prall.]

Cornelius Prall, born in the early 1730s, was the son of Aaron Prall [1698-c.1756] and Marytjen [Mary] Whittaker [1700-1760], who was the daughter of James and Lysbet [Titsoort] Whittaker. Cornelius was reared on the family farm in Amwell that is now part of present-day Raritan Twp., Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. The farm was located on the west side of Neshanic Creek about 1 mile southwest of present-day Reaville. He may have been named for his Uncle Cornelius who died in 1733 and named Aaron as his executor.
Cornelius married Rebecca Garrison [surname based on frequency of use of Garrison in naming chidren in next generation] around 1757. It is likely that she was the daughter of John Garrison who lived a couple of miles down the Neshanic Creek, next to the Somerset Co. line. [The will of John Garrison, Staten Island Wills & Letters of Administraion, Richmond Co., New York 1670-1800, names daughter, Rebecca.]

Cornelius and Rebecca lived on the family land on Back Brook about a mile southeast of Larison's Corner in present-day East Amwell Twp. from their marriage until Rebecca's death in the late 1770s. On 18 April 1772, Cornelius purchased 19 3/4 acres along Back Brook from John Williamson and built a grist mill. This land adjoined the homestead, received from brother James, where the children were born.

Although the family was Presbyterian, Rev. William Frazer, an Anglican minister, baptised daughter Rebecca on 23 June 1771. The Presbyterian community was without a minister at the time of Rebecca's baptism. [From George Scudder Mott's
"The First Century of Hunterdon Co.",p. 40: During the war, Frazer, whose church was supported by a British missionary society, refused to eliminate prayers for the royal family from his services. This enraged local patriots. Frazer entered his church one Sunday to find a hangman's rope dangling over the pulpit. Public sentiment against Frazer grew and he was forced to suspend services. Frazer's conduct and character were such that, with little fanfare, his church was reopened after the war and services resumed. ] Four years later they saw their eldest, Garrison, off to serve in the Revolutionary War.
Rebecca died around 1780, possibly in child birth with her youngest daugther Jemima. Cornelius was left with at least 7 minor children. Only Garrison and possibly Elizabeth were of age at the time.

Over the years, Cornelius was beset with legal problems with family members and others. Brother Benjamin and Reading & Prall [brother Edward's trading company] took him to court at various times from 1764-67.

By 1782, Cornelius had remarried. His second wife was Sarah Sutphin. Sarah was the daughter of Jan/John Sutphin and his first wife, Peternella [Stout.] Sutphin's land adjoined the Prall land. [Sarah was named in her father's will, written 7 August 1782 and probated 27 April 1784. The will also named her brothers, Stout, Derick and John, and sister Paternela.] John was the son of Jacob Sutphin, a tanner, of Freehold, Monmouth Co. and of Amwell.

Cornelius sold the home on Back Brook 10 June 1784 to Abraham Williamson and moved to Tewksbury Twp., where the family resided near New Germantown [Oldwick.] From the tax ratables it appears that Cornelius farmed and operated a sawmill and a gristmill at various times over the next few years.

In 1791, Cornelius moved his family to Kingwood Twp. Here he saw son Cornelius marry Elizabeth Rittenhouse, daughter of Isaac Rittenhouse and Susannah Baker. Isaac was an innkeeper at Rosemont. His father, William had moved to the area from near Germantown, Pennsylvania around 1716. William's grandfather was Wilhelm Rittenhouse, who built the first paper mill in the colonies and became the first Mennonite minister in America.

Garrison, who had married Mary Stout in 1779, moved to Kentucky in 1791 with brother James in tow. James returned to New Jersey in 1793, following Garrison's death. In addition to Cornelius Jr. marrying in 1791, John and Elizabeth also married and moved to Bernards Twp., Somerset Co.

In 1797, Cornelius sold his 175 acres in Kingwood to Thomas and Rachel West and acquired 90 acres in Amwell from John Strickland on the north side of the Neshanic about a mile east of Copper Hill. He sold the land in 1799 to Aaron and Anna [Prall] Stout and reacquired it in 1800.

The land deal in 1799 was apparently to avoid arrest in a lawsuit brought against Conelius Sr. and Jr. by Aaron and James Warford. Senior probably moved in with Junior in Somerset County until things settled down.

Cornelius's second wife, Sarah died during the late spring or summer of 1800. Cornelius remarried in 1803. His bride was Christiana "Lucretia" Provost ___ Catterlin [c1756-1837], also twice widowed. Christiana was the daughter of Jonathan Provost and Adriana Springsteen. Provost was the son of David Provost and Christina Praa, the daughter of Pieter Praa. [The same Pieter Praa who was often confused with Pieter Prall, the grandfather of Cornelius.]

The couple was married 6 March 1803 at the 1st Presbyterian Church at Cranbury. They settled on the Catterlin farm near Bentil's Brook in East Windsor Twp., Middlesex Co. until the land was sold by Catterlin's children in 1809.

Cornelius and Christiana returned to Amwell where Cornelius died intestate in March of 1813. The estate was inventoried on 25 March 1813, but not submitted until 1819. At that time John and Mary Prall were residing in Freehold, Monmouth Co., Cornelius and Elizabeth Prall were in Chester Twp., Delaware Co., Pennsylvania, James and Phebe Prall and Ambrose and Anna Rice were in Amwell, while Enoch and Rebecca Dey and Henry and Mary Huffman were in Middlesex Co. Garrison's family was in Kentucky. Elizabeth and William Mc Elwaine were in New York City. The children of Jemima Emmons were in Hunterdon Co. These heirs [excluding the Emmons children] sold the family home and the tract east of Copper Hill to Elisha Sharp in 1813 to settle their father's estate.

Christiana moved back to East Windsor in 1814. Cornelius's estate was finally settled in 1820-21 when grandchildren, Isaac, Cornelius and Tunche Emmons [children of Jemima and James Emmons] were granted their shares. Christiana died in 1837, naming her daughters Mary Hartman and Catharina Fardon in her will.

Cornelius Jr. apparently had fond memories of his mother Rebecca and his second step-mother. He named his second eldest daughter Rebecca Garrison and the youngest Lucretia.

Cornelius Prall had been a farmer and miller in his days in Hunterdon Co. He also acquired a good deal of land over the years. Perhaps the most important legacy he left his children, whether of his own mind or his wives', was to see to it that most of the children, daughters included, had some degree of
During the colonial period of American history, Hunterdon County, New Jersey was the "breadbasket" of the colonies, producing more wheat than any county in the 13 colonies. Hunterdon Co. farmers sold thier produce in New York and Philadelphia. [
America the Beautiful Series: New Jersey, by Ann Heinrichs, 1994.]  It is satisfying to note that Cornelius and other Hunterdon Co. Pralls made their contribution in that area.
Cornelius Prall, Sr. was tracked through the court cases, tax and land records listed as follows: [All records are from the Hunterdon Co. Court House in Flenington, New Jersey.]

Law Suits:

[1] Benjamin Prall vs. Cornelius Prall:
  debt of £55.5.10 from 8 Mar 1764 July 1764, Feb., May & Aug. 1767
[2] Reading & Prall vs. Cornelius Prall: £50: Aug 1765, May & Aug 1766
[3] Cox Wickliff, assignee vs. Corn. Prall: £60: May 1766
[4] Peter Schenk vs. Cornelius Prall: Oct 1773, Feb 1774: debt, discontinued
[5] Cornelius Prall vs. John Henley: Oct 1775: debt, discontinued
[6] Exec. of Peter Young vs. Cornelius and James Prall: £60 debt
[7] Cornelius Prall vs. Tunis Hoppock: Aug & Oct 1785, Feb 1786: £15
[8] Jonathan Higgins vs. Cornelius Prall: Feb 1790: £50 debt, discontinued
[9] John DuPuy vs. Cornelius Prall, Sr.: May & Aug 1791: debt
[10] Cornelius Prall vs. Gabriel Cooper & Henry Wannamaker: May 1794: £46 debt
[11] Gabriel Cooper & Henry Wannamaker vs. Cornelius Prall: Aug 1794: £46 debt
[12] Jonathan Higgins vs. Cornelius Prall: Aug 1795: £49.6.4 debt
[13] Aaron & James Warford, exec. of James Warford, dec'd vs. Cornelius Prall Sr. & Jr.: Sheriff unable to "find him in his balliwick"

Tax Ratables:
[1] 1780: Jan-Feb: 75 a, 6 horses, 7 horned cattle, 1 hog
              June:      75 a, 6 horses, 7 horned cattle, 1 hog, grist mill [2] 1781/2: 75 a, 6 horses, 4 horned cattle, 4 cows

[3] 1784 June: 200 a, 5 horses, 6 cows, saw mill, 10 in household
[4] 1785 July: 120 a, 4 horses, 5 cows, saw mill
[5] 1786 Jul-Aug: 120 a, 5 horses, 4 cows
[6] 1789 Jun-Aug: 60 a, 4 horses, 8 cows, grist mill
[7] 1790 Jun-Aug: 100 a, 4 horses, 8 cows, grist mill. pleasure sleigh

[8] 1802: 90 a, 3 horses, 3 cows, single man living in household

East Windsor
[9] 1808 Jun-Aug: 100 a valued @40, 3 horses, 4 cattle, not listed as householder

Mortgages and Deeds:

[1] 18 Oct 1757: Received 163 acres from brother James. [Est. in 10 June 1784 deed]

[2] 18 Apr 1772: Of Amwell Twp., bought 19 3/4 acres from John Williamson [adjoining the 163 a] [mentioned in DB 39:435]

[3] 10 June 1784: Sold 84 3/4 acres and 8 perches [rods] to Abraham Williamson for £848. [DB 39:435-437]

[4] c 1785: Bought 98 acres in Kingwood Twp. from Jonathan Wolverton. [ref. 1794 deed]

[5] c 1791: Bought 175 acres where "great road crosses Amwell/Kingwood line. [ref. 1797 deed]

[6] 10 Apr 1793: Deeded 98 acres to son, Cornelius Jr. [DB 30:412-414]

[7] 15 Dec 1794 Quit Claim: Sarah Prall relinquishes dower to 98 acres to John Bray of Salisbury Twp. Bucks Co., Pennsylvania [DB 30:412-414]

[8] 1 Apr 1795: Of Kingwood, bought "old McFerson Farm" 143 acres from David McPherson, innkeeper in Kingwood Twp. [could be Jr.] [DB 2:117]

[9] 1 Apr 1797: Of Kingwood, bought 3 adjoining tracts of land from John and Mary Strickland of Pennsylvania The 3 tracts of 103 total acres were on the north side of the Neshanic Creek in Amwell Twp. [DB 2:215]

[10] 11 Sep 1797: Of Kingwood, sold 175 acres in Kingwood to Thomas and Rachel West. The land was on the Kingwood-Amwell border. [DB 2:260]

[11] 7 Aug 1799: Sold 9 34/100 acres and 6 acres to Aaron and Ann Stout. [DB 2:311]

[12] 13 Jan 1800: Bought from Aaron and Ann Stout 2 tracts of 50.07 and 39.8 acres in Amwell Twp. for $2396.52. [DB 2:423]

[13] 8 Apr 1800: Mortgaged the above 89.87 acres to Thomas West of Kingwood Twp. for $2000. [DB 2:423]

[14] 8 Apr 1800: Of Amwell, sells to James Stout 15 acres of the Strickland land. Choice land along Neshanic Brook with water rights. [DB 2:434]

[15] 14 Sep 1801: Of Amwell, buys 4 1/4 acres from James Stout. [DB 6:31]

[16] 18 Dec 1802: Sheriff John Phillips sells the 15 acres purchased by James Stout at auction. Stout owed Cornelius $2039.79. Cornelius Prall bid $2000 and reclaimed the land. [DB 8:265-69]

[17] 20 Dec 1802: Of Amwell, sold same land to Henry Bake of Penn. for $2000. [DB 8:269-72]

[18] 2 Sep 1811: Of Amwell, borrowed $450 from his niece, Elizabeth Prall of Amwell mortgaging 50 of the Strickland purchase. Deed stated that the party of the first part "now lives" on this land. [DB 5:178]

[19] 2 Apr 1812: Bought 50 acres [with money borrowed from Elizabeth Prall] for $450. [DB 5:178]

Estate Settlement and Heirs:

[1] 6 Sep 1797: Cornelius and Sarah Prall are listed as heirs of Benjamin Prall's estate. [DB 2:262-265] [Benjamin's children are named as his heirs in his will which turned up later.]

[2] May Term 1808 Orphans Court: Citations sent to heirs of Benjamin Prall's estate. [Office of the Surrogate, Docket 04531 1/2]

[3] 18 Aug 1812: Heirs of Edward Prall of
  Harford Co., Maryland, dec'd: Cornelius Prall and Christian his wife, Asher Atkinson and Agnes his wife, Aaron Prall, Thomas Prall, Ann Prall, Elizabeth Prall and Mary Moore, all of Amwell, Hunterdon Co., NJ; Edward Prall and Sarah his wife, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phineas Ely and Deborah his wife, of Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. [MD DB HDW:413-414]
[4] 25 Mar 1813: Inventory of estate Cornelius Prall Sr.,dec'd. £694.87. Submitted 4 Feb 1819.

1813-14 Estate Settlement:

[1] 6 Apr 1813: Widow Christiana gave up claim to 90 acre tract in return for household items, furniature, 1 cow and a Negro girl named Aby, about 18, [valued at $100] and $500. [DB 21: 115-116]

[2] 9 Apr 1813: Heirs sell 89 acres to Elisha Sharp for $3150 for 9 1/13th parts. Heirs: John & Mary Prall of Lower Freehold, Monmouth Co., Ambrose & Anna Rice, James & Phebe Prall of Amwell, Henry & Mary Huffman, Enoch & Rebecca Dye of Middlesex Co., Cornelius & Elizabeth Prall of Chester Twp., Delaware Co.,Pennsylvania. [DB 21:482]

[3] 27 Sep 1813: Mary Prall, widow of Garrison, sells share of property to Elisha Sharp. [$700] [DB 23:79]

[4] 13 Mar 1814: William & Elizabeth McElwaine of Co. & St. of New York sell share to Elisha Sharp for $350. [Daughters received $350, sons received $700.] [DB 23:81]

[5] 10 May 1821: Thomas Prall, Jacob J. Young and Abraham Sutphin arrange for sale of two tracts of land 89 87/100 acres] to Stephen Stryker to settle the estate of Cornelius Prall, dec'd. The proceeds go to awarding the children of Jemima Emmons their 1/13 share of their grandfather's estate. [DB 32:77-80]

1820-21 Records from Orphans Court of Hunterdon Co., New Jersey [Docket 04537]:

[1] May Term 1820: Admin. James S. Manners acknowledges report of estate of Cornelius Prall. dec'd had been published as required by law. [p. ???]

[2] Aug Term 1820: Richard Lowe, guardian of Isaac, Cornelius and Tunche Emmons, grandchildren and heirs of Cornelius Prall, dec'd, petitioned for heirs share of the estate. Court orders Thomas Prall, Jacob J. Young and Abraham R. Sutphin to divide estate. [p. 327-328]

[3] Oct Term 1820: Division to be made according to an Act of Assembly passed 21 May 1780.
  1/13 interest in the land is to be sold at public auction. [p. 3??]
[4] May Term 1821: Announcement was made that a public auction was held at John Prall's inn and the interest was sold to Stephen Stryker for $200.50. [p.345-346]

[5] Accounting of Cornelius Prall's estate, 1823: 13 unequal divided parts: 9/13 sold to Elisha Sharp. [ James & Phebe Prall, John & Mary Prall, Cornelius & Elizabeth Prall,
  Ambrose & Anna Rice, Enoch & Rebecca Dye], 2/13 to Elisha Sharp [Mary Prall], 1/13 to Elisha Sharp [William & Elizabeth McElwaine] and 1/13 auctioned to Stephen Stryker [Emmons children] = $3000.
The crucial document in proving Cornelius Prall Sr.'s link to Aarendt Jansen Prall [Pieter and Aaron were already established as descencants and the line-unproven-jumped to Cornelius Jr.] was Hunterdon Co. Court of Common Pleas #33166: Peter Schenk, Esq. vs. Cornelius Prall. Debt. Ret. Oct. Term 1773. Bond dated 28 March 1771, 13.18.4: "Defendant is son of Aaron Prall...."
Cornelius Prall Sr. and Christianna Lucretia Provoost were married on 6 Mar 1803 in Cranbury Prebyterian Church, Cranbury, Middlesex Co., New Jersey.11 Christianna Lucretia Provoost1213, daughter of Jonathan Provoost and Adriana Springsteen, was born about 1756 in Brooklyn, Kings Co., Long Island, New York.12,14 She signed a will on 23 Feb 1818 in Middlesex Co., New Jersey.13 She had her estate probated on 10 Aug 1837 in Middlesex Co., New Jersey.12 Christianna died about Aug 1837 at the age of 81 in Middlesex Co., New Jersey.12 She was also known as Christianna Lucretia Unknown.12 Christianna, the third wife of Cornelius Prall, left a very confusing research trail. She was called both Christianna and Lucretia in the New Jersey deeds. This led to the supposition that Cornelius Prall, Sr. had four wives!
Christianna was the daughter of Jonathan Provost and Adriana Springsteen. Her grandmother was Christina Praa, a descendant of Captain Pieter Praa.

Nothing is known about Christianna's first husband. That marriage produced two daughters, Christianna and Mary Praa. Christianna married a man named Fardon and Mary married Joseph Hartman, according to Christianna's will.

Sometime between February and July of 1782, Christianna married Vincent or Vinson Catterlin. He paid the householder's tax at that time. Catterlin apparently was a widower and somewhat older than Christianna. He owned a large plantation with slaves and land in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties. His will listed a daughter [two others evidently predeceased him] and seven grandchildren with the surnames Davis, Dey and Cook. The will was dated 18 October 1798 and the inventory was taken on 3 November 1798. Christianna was given some household items and forty pounds to be paid a year after her husband's death in lieu of her dower.

Christianna married Cornelius Prall, Sr. in 1803 at the Cranbury Presbyterian Church. It is probable that Cornelius and Christianna lived on the Catterlin plantation, which had been left to Vinson Davis, Catterlin's grandson, effective ten years after his death. It is possible that the executors of the estate, William Mount and Joseph Riggs, knew Cornelius and asked his to oversee the management of the land until young Davis inherited in 1808. This would account for the statement in the Isaac Prall account that his grandfather [Cornelius Jr.] owned a considerable amount of property. Cornelius Jr. bought the property next to his father and step-mother. Cornelius Sr. died in 1813, leaving Christianna a widow for the third time. Prior to 1816, Christianna filed a law suit against Joseph Grover who had purchased the Catterlin property. Christianna was attempting to get a payment for the release of her dower. Her inventory lists "one bond against Joseph B. Grover, doubtfull, $884.70." Grover sold the land to Charles Butcher on 5 April 1816.

The inventory of Christianna estate was taken in
  August 1837. She did not appear on the 1830 census, so her exact year of death is not known. Christianna requested in her will that administrator David Provost wait a year to sell the estate. He did not wait, and sold the land in November to Anthony Applegate. Applegate purchased 9½ acres for $181.50.
Middlesex County, New Jersey - East Windsor Twp. Tax Ratables:

August 1797 - Joseph Hartman - single man - 1 dog [appeared on the 1797 Military Census indicating that he was at least 21 years of age]

June - August 1802 - Joseph Hartman - 6 acres - 2 cows

June - August 1802 - Widow Castestin - 33 acres - 2 cows

June - August 1808 - Cornelius Prall - 100 acres - 3 horses - 4 cows - paid $5.95


2 September 1811 - Cornelius Prall and his wife Lucretia sell 50 acres to Elizabeth Prall. [perhaps the daughter of James] [Middlesex Co. Deed Bk 5, p. 78]

2 January 1814 - Christianna Prall purchases 9 1/2 acres [10] in East Windsor Twp. that had been willed to Catterlin's grandson Stephen Davis [Middlesex Co. Deed Bk 10, p. 350]

2 April 1818 - Charles Butcher appeared before the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in New Brunswick to offer Christianna Prall, late Catterlin, an unspecified amount in order to get her to release any claim, right, or title of dower. She signed with an 'X'. [Deed Bk 12, p. 879]

4 May 1829 - Lucretia Prall sold 78/100 of an acre to Anthony Applegate for $35. [Deed Bk 21, p. 227-228]

Cornelius Prall Sr. and Sarah Sutphin were married about 1780 in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.3 Sarah Sutphin, daughter of Jan \ John Sutphin and Pieternella Stout, was born about 1745 in Monmouth Co., New Jersey.15 She died in 1800 at the age of 55 in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.15 She was also known as Sarah Prall.15

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