Thursday, March 9, 2017

Misinterpreting Evidence 1B: Cornelius Prall [cont'd]

One of the first problems in identifying Cornelius Prall Sr. was resolving the "two different people" issue. It would take a combination of deeds, the estate settlement, court cases and deciphering the previous research.

In defense of early researchers, the deeds offered a special problem unto themselves. Many of the deeds made during the 1750s - 1780s were not filed for 15 - 25 years. When I ordered the deeds from the New Jersey deed index, most of the dates were 1795 or later. I gambled and ordered them anyway. It paid off big time.

The names of Cornelius Jr.'s children helped to determine the identity of Sr,'s 1st wife. A son was named Garrison and a daughter Rebecca Garrison. Cornelius Sr. also named a son Garrison, a daughter Rebecca and another son John. John Garrison was a neighbor and had a daughter named Rebecca. She is believed to be Cornelius' wife.

Wife number two was identified as Sarah Sutphin. Sarah's named appeared in at least one deed. Cornelius and Sarah were named heirs to Benjamin Prall in 1797. There were no children from this marriage.

A marriage record from 1803 exists for Cornelius and 3rd wife Christiana Lucretia Provost Catterlin. Christiana's middle name appeared in some documents. Fortunately, researchers didn't latch onto that and give Cornelius a 4th wife. The couple was named as heirs to Edward Prall in 1812.

The real find, and stumbling block, in he Cornelius research was the estate settlement. Cornelius died in 1813, but probate was not filed until February 1819.

A pair of deeds from April 1813 got the ball rolling: In the 1st, Christiana Prall was named. In the 2nd, John Prall [wife Mary], Anna [ husband Ambrose Rice], James Prall [wife Phebe], Mary [husband Henry Huffman], Rebecca [husband Enoch Dye] and Cornelius Prall [wife Elizabeth] were named as heirs.  A September deed named Mary, widow of Garrison Prall as an heir.

In a May 1814 deed, William and Elizabeth [Prall] McElwaine were named as heirs to the estate.

Finally, in May 1821, Isaac, Cornelius and Tuenche Emmans, the children of Jemima [Prall] Emmans, deceased, were named as heirs.

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