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Orphan's Gift

by M. M. Knowles

Who knew a meager journey begun in 1622 by a young English gentleman in search of lands and fortune would end in humility and thankfulness? This journey of lifetimes is filled with adventure, intrigue, love, and hate.

The gentleman was Thomas Prater, young and without property. He quickly established his family in Virginia and, as the population grew, most of them moved into Maryland where there was more land and room for more family. One of Thomas’s sons, Jonathan, died in his barn while trying to save his race horses from the ignominy of his bankruptcy. His wife, Jane, was left to rebuild what gambling had taken away.

When she died in 1714, Jane revealed to her sons she had found a silver coin near their father’s head as he lay dead in the barn.

“He died before we knew the meaning and the cause of father’s death.” As he held the coin his hand, her son Jonathan said to himself, “If this coin could, it would sigh. A sign of the century in which it existed.”

As the family works to unravel the death of their grandfather, time goes on, the population grows again and the Praters are once again on the move, looking for land. Their name has changed as the land they find themselves in. The Praters need room and the Kentucky lands beckon. Eventually, some of them find their way to Ohio where they stay as their lives and occupations change one more time.

We are reminded that this brave pioneering family moves ever forward, yet theirs is really only in one story and only in one time. Like the first Thomas, they continue to settle this land, sacrificing themselves to wars and sickness but mostly to the land they cultivate and the land they love.