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William J. Prentis of England and Monongah, WV

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William J. Prentis of England and Monongah, Marion Co., WV
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Fall 2003 and Revised 9 Jun 2013

William J. Prentis was b in 1860 in England and emigated to America at some date before Feb 1886 (perhaps 1884 or 1885) when his son, Elmer, was b. in WV.

William m. Elsie J., b. Oct 1864 in WV. The appear in the 1900 Monongah, Marion Co., WV census. Children of William and Elsie in 1900 census:

  1. Elmer Prentis, b. Feb 1886, WV. Not in 1900 and later census. Not in SSDI.
  2. George H. Prentis, b. Jan 1892, WV. At home in 1920. Not in SSDI. Not in 1930 census.
  3. Junior (William J. Prentis Jr.?), b. Apr 1894, WV. Not in 1930 census.
  4. Bula/Beulah M.Prentis, b. Mar 1897, WV.
  5. William A. Prentis, b. Mar 1899, WV. He might be the William Prentice shown in the SSDI as b. 6 Mar 1899 and who d. Mar 1981 in Rocky River, Cuyahoga Co., OH. Not in 1930 census.

William m. 2nd Hallie Mae Kiefer sometime between 1910 and before 1914 (see explanation, below). She was b. c. 1872-73 in Iowa and d. c. 1965. They appear in the 1920 Monongah census with his surname spelled "Prentice" and her first name as "Holley". By email of 12 Dec 2004, Rick Martin adds the following information:

    My great grandfather's sister, Hallie Kiefer, is never seen in any family photos and no one in the family had heard of her except for a reference in my great grandfather's obituary listing her as Hallie Prentice from New York. In a probate file I found she had married a John L Sine in 1899 and had 4 children.

    She is found in the 1910 census living in Monongah, Marion County, WV in the household of William Prentice as his Niece and they are both shown as widowed, her children are shown as his grand nieces and nephew's. William he also is shown having a son and daughter of his own. William's occupation is Enginer and he is shown to be born in Michigan with both parents being born in England.

    In the 1920 census they are still living in the same town, Monongah, however they are now married and her children are listed as his and they appear to have two children together -Ruth & Stella. It shows that he and his his parents are born in England. The ages are a bit off from the 1910 census but back in line when found in the 1930 census - William then deceased & Hallie living in the household of her son George Prentice with his sisters Stella, 17, and Ruth, 13, in Queens, New York.

      Comment by Editor: It would be quite unusual for a man to marry a woman shown as his niece in the 1910 census. One would suspect false census information; either that in 1910 she was not his niece, or that in 1920 they were not married.
Additional children of William listed with his wife, Hallie, in the 1920 census (see explanation, above):
  1. Odra Prentice (son), b. c. 1900, WV. At home in 1920. Not in SSDI. Not in 1930 census.
  2. Homer Prentice, b. c. 1909, WV. At home in 1920. Unclear whether in SSDI. Not in 1930 census.
  3. Encel Prentice (son), b. c. 1911, WV. Not in SSDI. Not in 1930 census.
  4. Estella Irene Prentice, b. c. 1914, WV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [2]
  5. Ruth Prentice, b. c. 1916, WV. She d. c. 1979.

There is a chance that he is, or may be related to, the William Prentice, b. c. 1850 in MI, who appears in the 1910 Monongah, Marion Co., WV census (see our Summer 2004 article entitled William James Prentice of IA ). No wife is shown but he had 2 daughters:

  1. Pearl Prentice, b. c. 1889, WV.
  2. Audrey Prentice, b. c. 1899, WV. That might be the same person as the "Odra Prentice" shown in the 1920 census with an erroneous sex designation, mentioned above.

2 . Estella Irene Prentice, b. c. 1914, WV and d. 1986.

She m. 1st Vincent Stolfi. Children:

  1. Vincent Stolfi Jr., b. 1933. He m. Harriet and has 4 children:
    1. Valerie Stolfi, b. c. 1957. She is a medical coder married to a real estate developer in Florida.
    2. Deborah She is married and is also a medical coder.
    3. Douglas Stolfi. He lives on Long Island and works as a climate maintenance engineer at McArthur Airport on LI;
    4. Michael Stolfi.

Estella m. 2nd, as his 2nd wife, John Christopher LaGrue in 1942. He was b. 1882, New York City, NY. He was an exporter of fruits and vegetables to the Carribean and South America. He had Italian roots and lived in a townhouse in Greenwich Village. He inherited his business from his father, Vincent. Children per Elizabeth LaGrue, email, 11 Feb 2012:

  1. Johanna LaGrue, b. 1942. She became a nurse and m. Mahmoud Karimi, an Iranian doctor in 1969 and in 2012 live in Saddle River, NJ. They have 4 children:
    1. Suzanne, b. 1969. She is a physician who is now married with two young children.
    2. Rezvanne, b. c. 1975. She is a real estate agent living in New York City.
    3. Roxanne. She is a Doctor of Environmental Biology (PhD), married with 1 son.
    4. Reza. He is a neurosurgeon.
  2. Elizabeth LaGrua, b. 1952 per her email of 11 Feb 2012. She is a former news photo editor living in Queens, New York.
  3. Vincent/Bill LaGrue. He is a retired air traffic controller and lives in Naples, FL.

Who are William J. Prentis' Parents?

On the assumption that William Prentice emigrated after 1881 and before 1891, we checked the England census to see who appeared in 1881 but not in 1891. We found only 2 men named Prentis, and both appear in both the 1881 and 1891 census.

We changed the spelling of the surname to "Prentice" in accordance with the 1920 Monongah census spelling and rechecked both 1881 and 1891. The only likely candidate in the 1881 census, not appearing in the 1891 or 1901 census, was William Prentice, b. c. 1859, London, Middlesex, who was then a Boarder, unmarried, living in Limehouse, London. A check of the 1871 discloses at least 2 men named William Prentice, and 1 indexed as William Prenter, who might be that person.

Further investigation is needed to see if the Limehouse William Prentice is the correct person.

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

Caution: If you don't use the above email link, your email to us may be deleted as spam by our email filter.


Fn. 1: By email of 8 Jun 2013, David E. McDonald adds the following information:

    I am originally from Monongah, WV and have been researching the McDonald Family for about 30 years. When I started researching my Great-Uncle Elias O. (Bob) McDonald, I was told a story that he fathered a son by the name of Homer Prentiss or Prentice. This story was confirmed by Elias's daughter and his nephew; and, it was also communicated that Elias spent a year in jail for adultry. I have attempted in the past to access Marion County WV court records to validate the story, but to no avail. Homer Prentice was supposed to have moved to New York (no location given) as a small child. My cousin stated that he did resemble my Great-Uncle.

    Until reading your entry in prenticenet (completely by chance), I thought it was just another family story with no basis.

His information appears to suggest a good possibility that the Homer Prentice he mentions (as fathered by Elias O. (Bob) McDonald and supposed to have moved to NY) may be the same person as the Homer Prentice shown in our article as b. c. 1909, WV. The 1909 Homer, who appears in the 1920 census, does not appear in the 1930 or 1940 census as either Homer Sine , Homer McDonald or Homer Prentice. He may have been missed or may have died.

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