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Reuben T. Prentice of Marion, Ogle Co., IL

Reuben T. Prentice of Marion, Ogle Co., IL
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Summer 2004 and Revised 10 May 2004

Update of 3 Jul 2004: Although additional investigation is needed for confirmation, Reuben T. Prentice is likely the son of Joseph and Wealth Prentice discussed in our Summer 2003 issue, and a descendant of Robert Prentice of Roxbury, MA.

1. Reuben T. Prentice (aka Reuben R. Prentiss) was b. c. 1836-1838 in PA. He may have moved to Ogle Co., IL before 1865. Civil War records indicate that Reuben T. Prentice served in the 8 Illinois Cavalry, inducted as a Private and discharged as a Sergeant.

One of our correspondents told us about a collection of 94 letters at the Illinois State Historical Libray in Springfield, ILwritten by Reuben T. Prentice, as a soldier, during the Civil War. All are to a Miss Lovinia Eyster with no address given.

In an exchange of email with Connie Butts, Librarian, at the Springfield library, she very kindly examined the letters for us. Her email of 24 Aug 2000 includes the following information:

    I did look through several letters for names, but since there are three folders of letters containing 4 years of correspondence, I can't look at many....

    I found, skimming a few from several years, that the only family member he mentions often is his sister Hattie "my pet sister". Dec 1, 1861, he refers to her and "my sister in PA. Feb. 13 1864 he refers to Alice. Mar. 14, 1864 to George. Mar 11, 1864 to Joseph Thompson. Mar 1864 to Delia and John. Mar. 2, 1864 again to his sister in PA "having a hard time with small pox". April 2, 1864 "answering letters from (?)ing and Hattie".

    When he speaks of his parents, he usually says "my folks" or "my Parents". These letters are fascinating and are really love letters even though they tell much about his day to day life in the army. I wish you could read them.

Reuben's reference to his Hattie, his "sister in PA," seems to suggest that at the time of his military enlistment, Reuben lived in a state other than PA.

In checking our database for a "Hattie" or Harriet Prentice living in PA, we did find Harriet (Prentice) Heath who is shown in the 1860 census as living in Oakland, Susquehanna Co., PA. She is the daughter of Daniel and Salome Prentice. We do not have a complete listing of Daniel's children, so there is a chance that Reuben might be a member of his family.

We have asked the Librarian to send us an order form to obtain copies of the letters. The fee is $.25 per page and the total cost of $23.50 for the letters must be prepaid. The address is:

    Illinois State Historical Library
    Old State Capitol
    Springfield, Il. 62701

Reuben eventually married the person to whom he addressed those letters; he married Lavina/Lovina Eyster on 30 Sep 1865 in Ogle Co., IL. She was b. c. 1839 in IL and d. 15 Mar 1929 in Oregon, Ogle Co., IL. She was the dau. of John B. (Oyster) Eyster and Susannah Barto.

Reuben and Lavina appear, without children, in the 1870 Marion, Ogle Co., IL census. He apparently was deceased by 1878 at the time his wife applied for a Civil War Pension.

At the time of the 1870 census he lived in Marion, Ogle Co., IL with his wife, Lovina Eyster, b. c. 1838. Her parents, John and Eliza Eyser, appear 2 residences away. Lavina, but not Reuben, appears in the 1900 and 1920 Ogle County census. Children (per 1880 Ogle Co. census and 1900 census):

  1. Henry W. Prentice, b. 16 Aug 1873. He may, or may not, be the Henry Prentice shown in the 1930 census in Dekalb, DeKalb Co., IL as b. c. 1873, IL, with his wife, Bessie, b. c. 1874, IL. No children shown.
  2. Helen L. Prentice, b. 3 Oct 1875
  3. Charles G. Prentice, b. Sep. 1883. and d. 28 Aug 1920 in Oregon, Ogle Co., IL. Charles Living with his mother in 1920 Oregon, Ogle Co., IL census. He may, or may not, be the Charles Prentice who m. Jelys Jeanette McCoy. She was b. 16 Jul 1884 in Mt. Morris, Ogle Co., IL and d. 13 Jan 1966 in Mt. Morris, Ogle Co., IL. She was the dau. of Archibald Swingley McCoy and Laura Belle Neff.

Perhaps related to Reuben Prentice are:

  1. Jonas A. Prentice who m. Mary Slaughter in Ogle County on 10 March 1873. Jonas is a descendant of John-3.
  2. Clarisa E. Prentice who m. Thomas W. Hill in Ogle County on 3 Feb 1874. She is Jonas' mother.

Correspondence:   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.

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Comments:  Only registered members can add comments or contact contributors. (Register now?)
Nancy Mess
2014-02-04 18:51:48
Paragraph iii. --> The mentioned Charles G. (Grant) Prentice is indeed the one who married Jely Jane McCoy, parents: Archibald McCoy and Laura Neff. The comments are incorrect regarding Reuben "Thompson" Prentice, and his sister Hattie in PA. Harriett Heath, daughter of Daniel and Salome Prentice of Oakland, Susquehanna Co., PA couldn't have been his sister. Daniel and Salome had 2 known children: Harriett and Sarah Jane. The youngest, Sarah Jane, was my great-grandmother.
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