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William James Prentice of Iowa

William James Prentice of Iowa
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Summer 2004 and Revised 5 Aug 2008

We are helping Mickey McMillen to trace the ancestry of her great-great-grandfather, William James Prentice. Here is what we have so far:

1. William James Prentice may have been b. c. 1850-65 and in either Michigan (per 1920 census record for his son, Clarence) or Iowa (per Clarence's 1930 census record). His wife may have been named Elsie (Signs?) (first name per Mickey McMillen and first and surname per Mitspecrks) and was b. in PA (per 1920 census, above).

The known children of Willam and Elsie are:

  1. Clarence Prentice, b. c. 1885, IA. . . . . . . . . [2]
  2. Edward Prentice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [3]
  3. Audrey Prentice.
  4. George Prentice.
  5. (perhaps a daughter)

One of Clarence's brothers, perhaps George, above, is apparently nicknamed "Butch" Prentice and has a wife, Aggie (Agatha?) and a daughter named Monie Ruth Prentice. Butch is buried in the Washington Cemetery in PA.

2. Clarence Prentice, b. c. 1885, IA, and perhaps Central City, Linn Co., IA. He d. Jun 1954 in Washington Co., PA and was a coal miner. Clarence appears in the 1920 and 1930 Cannonsburg, Washington, PA census with his wife, Sarah Mathilda "Tillie" Ball, b. 27 Jan 1884, PA. Sarah may be a sister to Mary Ball, wife of Edward Prentice father of Ezekiel Prentice discussed in our Summer 2004 issue. Children of Clarence and Sarah (per census and Mickey McMillen):

  1. William James Prentice, b. 17 Jul 1908-1909, PA. . . . . . . . [4]
  2. Thomas Richard Prentice, b. c. 1911, PA. At home in 1930 census. He may, or may not, be the Thomas Prentice shown in the SSDI as b. 17 Mar 1911 and d. 18 Feb 1990, Montevallo, Shelby Co., AL.
  3. Howard Leslie Prentice, b. c. 1913, PA. At home in 1930 census. He might be the Howard Prentice shown in the SSDI as b. 01 Jul 1912, obtained his SS# in PA, and d. Apr 1970 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., WI.
  4. Samuel Roger Prentice, b. c. 1914, PA. At home in 1930 census. He is likely the Samue Prentice shown in the SSDI as b. 26 May 1914 and d. c. Oct 1969 at an unspecified location.
  5. Hazel Leona Prentice, b. c. 1918, PA. At home in 1930 census.
  6. Helen Emma Prentice (per Mickey McMillen). At home in 1930 census.
  7. Kenneth Elden Prentice (per Mickey McMillen). At home in 1930 census. Not found in SSDI.

Also living with Clarence and his family in the 1930 census is a nephew, "E_iel"(?) Prentice, b. c. 1911. The spelling of the name is clear as to all but the 2nd letter which seems to be a "z" so as to make the name appear to be "Eziel" Prentice, perhaps a shortened spelling of Ezekiel. He just might be Ezekiel Prentice discussed in our Summer 2004 issue. If so, and since we know that Ezekiel's father is Edward Prentice, then that Edward Prentice would almost certainly be Edward Prentice, above, son of William James Prentice.

3. Edward Prentice. Although further investigation is needed for confirmation, he is likely the same person as the Edward Prentice we are helping "Mitspecrks" attempting to identify. That Edward Prentice may have been b. c. 1870-1890 and at an unknown location. He m. Mary Ball. She d. c. 1917-18. Edward and Mary had 4 or more children, including:

  1. Ezekiel "Zeke" Prentice, b. 23 Aug 1911. . . . . . . . . [5]
  2. Emmett Prentice. He might be the Emmett Prentice shown in the 1930 census in North Bethlehem, Washington Co., PA who was b. 17 Jan 1917 in PA and d. Nov 1977 (per SSDI) and is shown as a nephew living with Bert and Dora Morrison and their family. Bert was b. c. 1878, PA, and Dora was b. c. 1894, PA.
  3. William/Bill Prentice. He may, or may not, be the William Prentice, age 9, and b. c. 1911-12, OH, who is shown in the 1920 Blaine, Washington Co., PA census as a boarder in the home of A. J. Grimes.
  4. Eleanor Prentice.

4. William James Prentice, b. 17 Jul 1908-1909, PA. He lived for many years in WI before moving to central NY. He married, perhaps first, Josephine. He is shown in the SSDI as d. c. Jul 1969 in Locke, Cayuga Co., NY. Children included:

  1. Thomas Prentice. He may be deceased.
  2. Betty Prentice. She married Leroy Weber. and may live in Milwaukee, WI.

He married, perhaps second, Laura, and they may have had a child. He married, apparently third, Mary Elizabeth Satterlee, b. c. 1916-18, Mickey's mother.

5. Ezekiel "Zeke" Prentice, b. 23 Aug 1911 in PA per Paula Prentice) , and d. Apr 1970 probably in IN where he obtained his SS Number. According to Paula Prentice, his father, Edward, left when Zeke's mother, Mary Ball Prentice died about 1917 or 1918 when Zeke was about 6 or 7. After Mary died, Zeke lived with his uncle, John Ball (b. c. 1875-80, PA) and his wife, Julie, who appear in the 1920 census in Bentleyville, Washington Co., PA At some later unknown date, and prior to 1970, Zeke lived in Logansport, Cass Co., IN.

Who is William James Prentice?

The only clue we have so far is the census records for his son, Clarence, #2 above, which indicates that William was born either in MI (1920 census) or IA (1930 census).

If we assume, as a working hypothesis, that William was in IA by the 1880 census (Clarence was b. c. 1885, IA), there are no William Prentice inthe 1880 census b. in MI. There are, however, 2 men named William Prentice who were born in IA:

  1. William Prentice, b. c. 1868 and age 12, IA, single, and living in Anamosa, Jones Co., IA. He was the son of Tyler and Lizzie Prentice. We may be able to rule out this William out for 3 reasons: our database indicates his middle name is not "James", that his wife's name is Anna, and that his first known child was b. 1895 and was named Fred.

  2. William Prentice, b. c. 1866 and age 14, IA, single, and living in Grant, Polk Co., IA. He was the son of Lucy A. Prentice (no father shown). He is William Prentice, b. 17 May 1866, IA, son of Frederick Ray Prentice , discussed in our Spring 2003 Prentice Newsletter. William m. Maggie C. Johnson on 3 Jul 1887. No children have yet been identified for them. We might be able to rule out this William on the basis of his wife's name and marriage after Clarence's birth year.

We did explore 1 other possibility for William James Prentice being b. in IA but residing in some other state before returning to IA. In the 1850 census for Rushville, Schuyler Co., IL, we located a William Prentiss, b. c. 1849, IA, who was the son of William Prentiss, an "Eclectic Physician" (See Fn. 1), b. c. 1814, OH, and his wife, Elizabeth, b. c. 1824, PA. It would appear to be the same son, William Prentice, b. c. 1849, IA, who appears in the 1860 McDonough Co., IL census living in the home of James and Elizabeth Manley. Their relationship to William, if any, is not indicated. That William Prentice does not appear in the 1870 census so he was either deceased, missed, or moved to another state, perhaps IA.

As an alternative working hypothesis that William was b. in Michigan and had not yet moved to IA by the 1880 census (Clarence was b. c. 1885, IA), we did locate a man named William Prentice who were born in MI. He was William Prentice, b. c. 1864 in MI, age 16 in 1880, single, and working in a Tailor Shop in Lansing, Ingham Co., MI. He might be either of 2 persons:

  1. Wlliam H. Prentice, b. c. 1864-65, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Prentice of Odessa, Ionia Co., MI. However, the middle initial, "H.", might exclude him.
  2. William A. Prentice, b. c. 1863-64, son of William and Emma Prentice of Saranac, Ionia Co., MI. However, the middle initial, "A.", might also exclude him.

Another possibility is that William James Prentice was missed by the 1880 census.

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.

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.Footnote 1: Eclectic Physician

Plant monographs extracted from
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics
by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.

Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, and of the History of Medicine in the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio; Ex-President and Member of the National Eclectic Medical Association; Ex-President and Member of the Ohio State Eclectic Medical Association, Etc.

Cincinnati, Ohio John K. Scudder 1922

Scanned version copyright © 2001-2004 Michael Moore. Used with permission. This is the .html version. You'll find the .pdf version on Michael's site.

NOTE: This is one of several important Eclectic medical publications dating from the 1920s that represented the last, articulate, but in the end, futile attempt to stem the tide of Standard Practice Medicine, the antithesis of the model of the rural primary care "vitalist" physician that was the basis for the Eclectic Curriculum.

Founded during the 1840s as part of an immense populist anti-medical movement in North America, the American School of Medicine ("Eclectics" as they came to be known) trained physicians in a dozen or so privately funded medical schools, principally located in the midwest. The movement "peaked" in the 1880s and 1890s, and by WWI, states and provinces were adopting curriculum requirements that followed those articulated by the AMA, which effectively forced the Eclectic Medical Schools to either adopt the new model or fold...the last one closed in Cincinnati in 1939.

Throughout these monographs are references to "Specific Medicines". In some respects Specific Medicines are the single reason that Eclecticism survived so long in the face of "Organized Medicine" and were still being manufactured for the surviving Eclectic M.D.s as late as the early 1960s. Using up to eight organic solvents and the Lloyd Extractor, Specific Medicines represented the strongest possible concentration of the bioactive aspects of botanicals that would stay in a colloidal solution.

Perfected over four decades by John Uri Lloyd, each Specific Medicine was prepared according to the nature of that specific plant. You cannot translate a Specific Medicine into "tincture" or "fluidextract". The latter are generic or standard strengths applied across the board to all botanicals. A Specific Medicine represented the greatest strength, without degradation, for a particular plant, using anywhere from several to all of the solvents to achieve this. The Eclectic physician was trained to use botanicals in an oftentimes rural setting, and these medicines had to resist breakdown in the deepest winter and the hottest summer. Since they needed to contain even the most ephemeral constituents of a plant remedy, Lloyd approached each plant separately.

The amazing quality of these preparations assuredly maintained the Eclectic Movement long after others had faded. Lloydís recipes were Patent Medicines, were not "official", and when relatives finally closed down the Lloyd Brotherís Pharmacy in Cincinnati, these formulae disappeared. One of the hottest topics for many years amongst professional herbalists in North America and Europe has been "So who has the Lloyd Formulas, already?" Since we cannot access them, the best approach is the use of well made tinctures, capsules or tea. I might suggest the preparations and doses recommended in my Herbal Materia Medica 5.0 as a starting place...in many respects I am perhaps a "Neo-Eclectic" at heart, and have tended to follow the later Eclectics in my approach to plants and dosages.

-- Michael Moore.

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Regina Prentice Williamson
2016-06-03 16:33:46
William james Prentice married Elsie jane Sine. William was born in 1851 or 1854 in England. died in 1946 in richford New York. He is buried at Highland Cemetery. Elsie Jane was born in 1862 died 1911 in West Virginia
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