THE PRICHETTS OF DANA
By Gladys Y. Klesath, Dist. 5
In Haneytown, now West Union, Pennsylvania, James Pritchett was born in a
block house. The father died while James was yet an infant, leaving the son,
his mother, and the rest of the family to take care of the farm. As his
mother was poor, his grandparents, Daniel and Elizabeth Sims, raised him
near what is now known as Pleasant Valley, West Virginia.
His grandfather died when James was sixteen. His grandmother lived but a year, longer; therefore, at the age of seventeen he was forced to make his own living.
He went to Moundsville, Virginia, now West Virginia, and learned the blacksmith trade. While an apprentice during the harvest season he made enough money for clothing; but otherwise he just earned his board and room. After he was of age, he visited his mother in Ohio. On his return he married Susan Marshall, on March 10, 1842. They lived at Pleasant Valley, where he built a shop and began his trade.
In 1844 their first son who was named Wesley was born. Eight years later a second son, Robert, was born to the family.
After war was declared James answered the call for volunteers enlisting in Company B of the 7th Virginia Union Volunteer infantry. He was appointed first sergeant of the company until June, 1862 when he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. The regiment then was at Harrison's Landing, Virginia. In the following September he was again promoted, this time to the rank of first lieutenant. Many times he acted as captain, once commanding his company from Antietam to the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. It was here that he received a wound through his right foot, hindering him from continuing the march with his company then in active service with the army on the Potomac river. He resigned his commission June 30, 1863 and returned home.
Wesley though not old enough enlisted with several other young schoolmates in Company C of the 12th West Virginia infantry. He contracted typhoid-pneumonia while in active service in the Shenandoah Valley and was placed in a hospital at Cumberland, Maryland. Later he was transferred to Winchester by an ambulance with several others. He was the only one to reach there alive. His mother heard of his illness and went to his aid, where she found him in a serious condition. His discharge from service followed owing to disability.
During the year the father and son were at war, Robert went to school and learned to read and write. Later he taught his mother who had always been illiterate, to do so.
In January, 1864, James came to Minonk, Illinois, to visit former Virginia friends. It was then that he bought a farm one mile south and one-half mile east of where Dana is now. The following fall he came back again bringing his family to live. They came across the mountains in a large caravan with many other pioneers of this vicinity.
The first winter they lived on what is now known as the Grayhack farm east of Dana, with one other large family. Robert told many times later, about the snow coming in through the cracks of the attic and covering their beds, which kept them warm.
The next spring, 1865, they moved to James' own farm where they continued to reside until 1890, when they moved to Dana. They lived on the same place where his grandson C. J. Pritchett now lives.
He died with a lung disease March 23, 1893, at the age of seventy-four. Those to survive him were his two sons, Wesley and Robert.
On December 6, 1868 Wesley married Miss Texanna Clegg. Soon after they moved to Kansas where he built paper mills and sold them to different business men. He then moved to Dana where he engaged in business until his wife died November, 1876.
Not long after he went to Washington, living there several years; afterwards he located at Weiser, Idaho. He then engaged in farming with his son, but owing to bad health returned in 1914, making his home with his daughter Mrs. G. H. Bane. Two years later he died with an attack of apoplexy at the age of seventy-two.
Shortly after Robert's parents moved here he attended school one mile south of where Dana is now. Among his teachers were: C. R. Danforth, of Minonk, and Miss Fannie Grove, of Rutland. Later he taught school for a few terms before entering partnership with William Frink. Later Mr. Frink withdrew from business.
After Robert's marriage to Miss Ella C. Laughlin, November 14, 1877, he added a grocery store to his original drug store. Later he started a general store.
They were the parents of one son, Cassius J. Pritchett, Sept. 1, 1878. After he returned from school his father opened a private bank on the east side of his general store building. In 1921 they organized the State Bank of Dana.
Robert was Justice of the Peace, clerk of the high school board, and was Postmaster for twenty years, retiring ten years before his death.
He was taken to the hospital, September 12, to be treated for the after effects of the flu in the former part of that year, which he never fully recovered. He died November 11, 1924.
Those to survive him are his wife Ella, and his son, Cassius, who are still residents of Dana.