Shirley and Jack McVey of Mt. Sterling, KY traveled to Magoffin County recently to research her Prater line of ancestry. Mrs. McVey’s grandfather John H. Prater is buried in Lewis Co. KY. He was the son of James M. Prater b. 23 Jan 1846 Morgan Co. KY and died 22 Apr 1932 Lewis Co. KY. James M. married in Lewis County to Sarah E. Brown. James M. and Sarah E. are buried in the Mineer Cemetery, Lewis Co. KY. A double marker has James’ dates and has Sarah’s birthdate as Jan 1, 1849 but her date of death was not recorded on the stone so it is presumed that she outlived her husband.
We first find James M. Prater listed by name in the 1850 Morgan Co. KY census where his age was given as 4 in the household of his parents Samuel Prater b. 1811 Floyd Co. KY and Lucinda Wells. Samuel and Lucinda were married in 1837 Morgan Co. KY and they appear in the 1840 Morgan County census with two sons under the age of 5. In May of 1837 Samuel Prater had received a 200-acre land grant on the waters of Caney Creek.
We used the census records to determine the names of their children, their first child was William Prater b. 1838, (2) Robert Prater b. 1840, (3) Sarah Elizabeth Prater b. 1842, (4) Mariah ("Rosan" in 1860) Prater b. 1844, (5) James M. Prater b. 1846, (6) Isaac Prater b. 1848, and (7) Samuel L. Prater b. 1852.
Sometimes we have seen the name "Mariah" transcribed as "Margaret". We have also seen her listed as Rose or Rose Ann.
Lucinda Wells Prater was head of household in 1860. Apparently her husband had died by 1860. We found no mention of Lucinda after 1860.
We did discover that their daughter Mariah Rose Prater married Milton William Lykins (1840-1920), son of Peter Dial Lykins and Eveline Stacy.
Peter D. Lykins (6 Feb 1820-3 Jan 1901) and his wife Eveline Stacy (6 Mar 1821-10 Dec 1894) along with many family members are buried in the Esham Cemetery at Petersville, KY. Eveline Stacy was born in Virginia, a daughter of Meshack Stacy and Violet Barker.
We have a good accounting of the family in our Lykins family book with info coming from Dorothy C. Whitehouse of IL, Orville H. Lykins of West Chester, OH and from Garnet Cisco Brammer of Greenfield, OH. Garnett related the family stories that told of the Lykins family moving from Caney of Morgan County to Lewis County in 1861 because of family difference brought on by the Civil War.
Peter D. Lykins was a blacksmith in Morgan County and a large land owner. He and his wife Eveline had the following children: (1) Isaac W. Lykins b. 1839 (Union soldier) m. Margaret Prater, (2) Milton W. Lykins b. 1840 m. Mariah Rose Prater, (3) Silvaney Lykins b. 1842 died as in infant, (4) Peter D. Lykins III b. 1844 d. 1913 m. Eliza A. Ramkins in Lewis Co. KY, (5) Mason Lykins b. 1846 m. Arminta "Minnie" Plummer in Lewis Co. KY, (6) Nancy Lykins b. 1848 d. 1854, (7) John Lykins b. 1852 m. Nancy Stacy, (8) Dial D. Lykins b. 1855 m. Sarah Mitchell, (9) Eva Lykins b. 1857 m. John May, (10) David J. Lykins III b. 1859 m. Lurana Stamper, (11) Caroline Lykins b. 1862 m. John William Layton, (12) Susan Lykins m. Jack May and (13) George W. Lykins b. 1864.
We have been told that Petersville in Lewis Co. KY was named for Peter D. Lykins.
We were not able to determine the parentage of Shirley’s ancestor Samuel Prater who was born in 1811 but it is likely he was related to James Wesley Prater (1782 VA d. 1855 Morgan Co. KY) and his wife Phoebe Griffith. James Wesley’s family can be found in the Morgan County and Lewis County records.
James Wesley Prater’s death date is recorded in the 1855 Morgan Co. KY Vital Statistics and his parent’s names are given as Johnathan Prater and Elizabeth (Musick).
We would certainly welcome any help with this family. If you would like to share info, please write to Magoffin County Historical Society, PO Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email:
As the fall weather is now upon us, we would like to suggest it may be a good time to visit family cemeteries and do some repairs and clean-up. With the amount of rainfall we have had through spring and summer there seems to be a greater than usual amount of vegetation this year.
We want to extend our condolences to the family of Leola Bailey Cole (7 Oct 1933-18 Sep 2015), a long-time friend, contributor and visitor to our historical society. Leola was a daughter of the late Sherman and Dora (Miller) Bailey and the wife of the late Oscar Cole.