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Prather, Stephen (1782–1832)

Shirley Brittain Cawyer Biography Entry

Stephen Prather, early colonist, merchant, and soldier, was born on June 18, 1782, in Mercer County, Kentucky, the son of Thomas and Mary (Philips) Prather. He was married in Natchez, Mississippi, on January 19, 1809, to Tamora Elizabeth Plowden, daughter of William Plowden of Concordia Parish, Louisiana. Stephen and Tamora had six children. Prather was a merchant in Harrisburg, Louisiana, from 1810 to 1820. He served as a colonel under Gen. Andrew Jackson at the battle of New Orleans. He moved in 1820–21 to the Ayish Bayou District, now San Augustine County, Texas. He owned and operated an Indian trading post at the forks of the Angelina and Neches rivers, but was a resident of the Ayish Bayou District. In December 1826, when all the other settlers of the area fled during the Fredonian Rebellion, Prather, Edward Teel, and Alexander Horton, with Prather's two sons, Stephen E. and Thomas Freeman Prather, Ross Bridgers, James Bridgers, Sr., James Bridgers, Jr., Peter Galloway, John McGinnis, and sixty Indians took the Fredonians' fort and 200 soldiers by surprise without firing a shot. A bronze marker on Highway 21, route of the Old San Antonio Road, in San Augustine commemorates Prather's actions in the "battle of Fredonia." He died in San Augustine County on December 19, 1832, and is buried in the Wood-Snell Cemetery near Broaddus. Mrs. Prather died in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, the next year.

George L. Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas: Southwest, 1932; facsimile reprod. 1962). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Shirley Brittain Cawyer, “Prather, Stephen,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 14, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995