Relationship=2nd great-grandfather of James Monroe Dobbs Jr.
Last Edited=4 Oct 2009
He relocated about 1800 to Orangeburg District, South Carolina.1 There is evidence that the operation of ferries fascinated members of the Prothro family during later periods. During the early 1800s either Nathaniel Prothro or another Prothro relation operated what was called Prothro's Ferry. It crossed the Savannah River on or near what is now Route 72, the road leading between Elberton, Georgia, and Calhoun Falls, South Caroline. Another operation, also called Prothro's Ferry, was owned probably at a later time by George Prothro (1796-1875). It operated on the Flint River in Pike County, south west of Griffin, Georgia. Several old mill sites exist on the tributaries of the South Branch of the Edisto River in Aiken, Edgefield, Orangeburg Counties, South Carolina and near Charleston, South Carolina.2 He relocated about 1810 to Elbert County, Georgia.1 In Feburary 1817, James and Anna Prothro sold to Nathaniel Prothro 540 acres on the banks of the north fork of Cedar creek in Elbert County, Georgia. This land was adjacent to land owned by the Dobbs family. The deed was witnessed by Evan Prothro and his wife Elizabeth.3 He was named an heir in the will of Evan Prothro dated December, 1822 in Elbert County, Georgia.4 He left a will in 1823 in Elberton, Elbert County, Georgia. Named as heirs were Zilphia Morgan, Mary Prothro, Joshua Prothro, William Prothro, Nathaniel , Jr. Prothro, Lydia Prothro, Elizabeth Prothro, Massie Prothro and Nancy Gardner. Nathaniel's will, recorded in 1823 at Elbert County, Georgia, is as follows:
In the name of God,amen. I Nathaniel Prothro of the State and County aforesaid, being weak in body, but strong in mind and memory, do make and ordain my last will and testament. First, I commend my soul to God who gave it, and my body I consign to earth to be buried in Christian decency.
Secondly, I will and direct that all my funeral expenses and just debts be paid after my death.
Thirdly, I give and bequeath unto my well beloved wife Zilphia Prothro, twelve Negroes, Uz, Jack, Rachel, Thene, Peter, Moses, Ginny, Sarah, Mims, Harper, Pompey and Lewis, together with all my land and houses, horses and cattle and stock of all kinds, plantation tools, household and kitchen furniture, ready money, debts dues and demands, &c, except such as is otherwise bequeathed in this said will, during her natural life or widowhood and after death or inter-marriage, the whole to be equally divided among my children except a reasonable allowance for boarding and educating all such as used it.
Fourthly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary, one Negro woman Aggy and all her future increase and 1 bed and furniture.
Fifthly, I give and bequeath unto my son Joshua, one Negro boy Herrod and a horse bridle and saddle.
Sixthly, I give and bequeath unto my son William, one Negro boy Isaac and a horse bridle and saddle.
Seventhly, I give and bequeath unto my son Nathaniel one Negro boy, Ezekiel, and a horse, bridle and saddle.
Eighthly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Lydia one Negro girl, Sharlette and all her future increase and 1 bed and furniture.
Ninthly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth one Negro girl, * Hester, and all her future increase and 1 bed and furniture.
Tenthly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Massie one Negro boy Daniel and 1 bed and furniture.
Eleventhly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Harriett one Negro girl Viannus and all her future increase and 1 bed and furniture.
Twelfthly, I give and bequeath unto my granddaughter Nancy Gardner three hundred dollars to be paid to her when she shall marry or come to the age of twenty one years.
Thirteenthly, I will and direct that Mariah a Negro woman shall be sold and if either of the Negroes bequeathed to either of my children shall die before said children shall marry, or come of age, his or her part must be made up equal to the rest of the property left to my wife, and as to my four children Evan a son and Solomon a son and Rachel Corbett a daughter and Mehetabel Jones a daughter, they have received a portion equal to what I have herein bequeathed to the rest of my children.
Lastly I constitute and appoint my wife Zilphia Prothro and John Dobbs, executors to this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills and testaments made by me, in testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 26th day of February 1823.
Nathaniel Prothro (seal)
Recorded the 10th of Sept 1823
Recorded in book 1822, page 196
Will book M, page 196, at Elberton, Ga. Copy of this will is also recorded in Aiken, SC.
There are a number of points to note in both wills. The first and perhaps strangely disturbing is that both wills detail the bequeathal of human beings as property. These people, mentioned by first name only, were of course slaves. I was not shocked when I first learned about a year ago of my family's slave-holding past; numbed is a better expression of the emotion that I felt.
I can sympathize with Edward Ball the author of Slaves In The Family as he expressed his feelings regarding his ancestors and the fact that they had owned slaves:
"The subject of the plantations stirred conflicting emotions. I felt proud (how rare the stories) and sentimental (how touching the cast of family characters!). At the same time, the slave business was a crime that had not been fully acknowledged. It would be a mistake to say that I felt guilt for the past. A person cannot be culpable for the acts of others, long dead, that he or she could not have influenced. Rather than responsible, I felt accountable for what had happened, called on to try to explain it." (Ball, Edward, Slaves In The Family, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, New York , pg 14)
The second point to note - a minor one, but a segue into the next chapter on the Dobbs family - is that one of the designated executors of Nathaniel's will ( and a witness of Evan's will) was John Dobbs and the will is witnessed by Jesse Dobbs, both sons of Josiah Dobbs, a 4th great-grandfather of mine.
From Evan and Nathaniel onward the record becomes clearer. That fact that ties were maintained with the mid-country of South Carolina and up north in Pennsylvania is made evident by the fact that Nathaniel married his wife Zilphia Morgan in Craven, St. Davids Parish, South Carolina in 1786 and that his sister, Catherine, married James Hughes on October 8th, 1785 in Pennsylvania (according to Judy Hughes, a Prothro and Hughes researcher).
The following details what I have learned regarding the children of Evan Prothero:
All of the children were born in the 1760's probably in Prince George Parish, South Carolina in what is now Chesterfield county.
Nathaniel, Catherine, and Rachel died in the late 1810's/ early 1820's in Elbert county, Georgia.
According to the notes that I have, James Prothero was a physician and that he married a woman whose first name was Anny. He has been traced into Chambers county, Alabama.
William Prothero died in 1845
Catherine Prothro married James Hughes. According to Judy Hughes, a Prothero and Hughes researcher: "apparently James Hughes left the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia with his wife and children enroute to Indiana. The children and their mother arrived in Harrison Co., Indiana but no trace or mention of James has been located. Either he died en route or abandoned the family during this move. Some sources indicate that James was dead by 1812."
Rachel Prothro married Daniel Myers. MYERS or MIRES is a name that shows up in both the Prothero and Dobbs lineages.
The narrative of the Prothro family as it pertains to my family (that is the descendents of Nathaniel Prothero) will continue in the following chapter on the Dobbs family, but the Prothro story does not end here.
I received e-mails from two Prothero researchers, Judy Hughes and Fran Bundy. Judy's husband is a descendant of Catherine (Caty) Prothero. John and Catherine Hughes, whose story is told above, had seven children: John, Mary Edward, Nathan, James, Jr., Nancy May, and Evan (Judy's husband's 2nd great grandfather).
Fran provided me with information regarding Hepsibah, the youngest daughter of James Prothero. Hepsibah (or Hepsey) was born about 1810 and her mother's maiden name may have been Morgan. Fran informed me that Hepsibah Prothro married James Head Merritt. Their daughter, Ann Elizabeth Merritt was born in 1837 in Chambers County, Alabama and is buried in Williston, South Carolina of Barnwell County. Ann Elizabeth Merritt was Fran's great-grandmother. She married Captain William Hamilton Kennedy of Williston, South Carolina. Their youngest son, James Edward Kennedy, Fran's grandfather, was named for James Prothro and James Head Merritt. According to Fran it was after Hepsibah's father death that she and James Head Merritt returned to South Carolina to live. She believes that the other descendents of James Prothero remained in Alabama.
For more information see article The Prothro Family.
Children of Nathaniel Prothro and Zilphia Morgan
- Evan Prothro+ (1790 - 1864)
- Mary Prothro (1792 - )
- Solomon Prothro (1794 - 1861)
- Abigail Prothro+ (1796 - c 1811)
- Rachel Prothro (1798 - 1871)
- James Prothro (1799 - )
- William Prothro+ (c 1801 - 1853)
- Mary Prothro+ (1801 - a 1860)
- Mehitabel Prothro (1803 - a 1850)
- Joshua Prothro+ (1805 - )
- Zilphia Prothro (1809 - )
- Nathaniel , Jr. Prothro (1811 - )
- Lydia Prothro (1815 - )
- Elizabeth Prothro+ (1815 - )
- Massie Prothro (1818 - )
- Harriett Prothro (1821 - )
- [S353] "More Comments", e-mail message from George Prothro Coulter to Mike DeBacker, 3 Mar 2008. Hereinafter cited as "More Comments."
- [S18] Shelly Dobbs Dooley, Descendants Of Josiah Dobbs (Descendancy Report with Notes), 1999.
- [S414] Neil O. Myers, Myers and Neighbors of Jefferies Creek, SC (Aiken, South Carolina: Neil O. Myers, 2007), page 82 - cites: Elbert County Deed Book T pg 17.
- [S414] Neil O. Myers, Myers and Neighbors of Jefferies Creek, SC (Aiken, South Carolina: Neil O. Myers, 2007), page 40 - Cites: Elbert County Will Book L, pgs 456-457.