Notes for Ransom Marion Pruett: Ransom Marion Pruett was born January 4, 1827 near Cross Keys in DeKalb Co. Georgia, the sixth of the eleven children of Ansel Beddington Pruett and Agnes Rebecca Heaton. Ransom's father Ansel had learned the blacksmith trade from a large plantation owner for whom he had worked for about five years in Pendleton, South Carolina. The family moved to DeKalb Co. Georgia, near Cross Keys by 1823 where Ansel established his own blacksmith shop. Ransom, like his siblings, grew up working on the family farm along with the slaves owned by his father. Sometimes he helped his father in the blacksmith shop and learned a lot about that work. By 1830 the Pruett family, including Ransom's elderly great grandfather, David Pruett, lived in Gwinnett Co. Georgia.
Creek Indian lands in eastern Alabama had been opened for settlement in 1832. About 1834 Ansel and Agnes moved their family to Talladega Co. Alabama when Ransom was eight years old.
Ransom Marion Pruett was about grown in 1846, when he was curious about what was on the other side of the Choccoloco River in Talladega Co. Alabama. He rode his horse and swam it across the river and found on the other side another family by the name of Pruitt with "the prettiest red haired girl" he'd ever seen. The family of Tillman Dixon Pruitt and his wife Diannah Hillsman Farrar Pruitt had also once lived near Cross Keys, Georgia. Neither family knew enough about their heritege to indentify a common Pruitt ancestor. Ransom 19, fell in love with and married the pretty red-haired Harriett Elizabeth Pruitt 18, in October 1846.
Their marriage record reads; (Ransom M. Preut To Harret Prewit) The State of Alabama} Talladega County } To any of the Judges of said State any Justice of the Peace of said county or any other person legally au- thorized These are to authorize you or other of you to solmenize the rites of Matrimony between Ransom M. Prewit and Harriet Prewit of said county, agreeable to the statute in such cases made and provided. Given at the office of the Clerk of the County Court of said county this 5th day of October 1846. A. J. Cotton Clerk C. C. In virtue of the above license I have solumnized the rites of between the above named persons the 8th day of Oc- tober 1846. John M. Pitts J. P.
Ransom and Harriett established a home in the northeast corner of Talladega Co. near Coldwater and Oxford. They were hard workers and thrifty and soon owned their own farm in the mountains, and eventually three additional farms that they rented out.
In 1846, Harriett's sister Catherine, age 23, was widowed in Talladega Co, when her husband, John Ponder, died leaving her with six young children. Ransom's brother Elijah Wilmins Pruett, soon proposed to Catherine and they were married by 1848. Ransom and Harriett were by this time the parents of two sons, John Perry and William Andrew. Ransom's grandmother, Nancy Melinda "Linny" Pruett 80, was residing with Ransom's aunt Edna Bennett (Ansel B. Pruett's sister) and her family in Forsyth Co. Georgia in 1850.
Ransom and Harriett became parents of their first daughter, Serena Almantha in 1853, son Francis Marion in 1857, and Martha Ann in 1860, and they were all listed together in the Talladega Co. Alabama census in 1860 living on their thriving mountain farm. Eldest son John Perry Pruitt married in 1860 to Mary Jane Parrish. When the Civil War began in 1861 life changed forever for the family. Harriett endured many hardships during the war while Ransom was away serving the Confederacy, and he returned changed by his experiences.
Ransom Marion Pruett enlisted for service in the Confederate States Army on June 9, 1861 in Jackson Co. Alabama and was discharged July 1, 1864 in Talladega Co. He served with the 55th Alabama Infantry under Capt. Bouy in Talladega Co. One time while he was assigned to conscription service, a fellow southerner, who was trying to evade conscription, shot at Ransom as he rode up to the mans' place. The man then turned to run and Ransom shot him in the back right at the cross of his trousers suspenders. He fell dead. Ransom got off his horse and turned the man over whose dead eyes stared him in the face. Ransom said that killing worried him the remainder of his life. So far as he knew that was the only person he killed during the war, but in battle he may have killed others. Another tragedy of the Civil War was the death of Harriett's brother Joseph Waters Pruitt. Her brothers William Malone, Benjamin Franklin, and Jesse Carter Farrar Pruitt all served the Confederacy and fortunately survived. Harriett's sister Thurza Catlege was widowed by the war.
At the close of the war, the fences of Ransom and Harriett's four farms had all been destroyed and all of their livestock had been taken. Ransom decided to sell out and move to Texas where Harriett's brother William Malone Pruitt had been the first to move in 1858. They sold their mountain farm to Ransom's sister Olive and her husband Jack Cline. The agreement was that Jack and Olive could live there and pay it off later. Jack Cline paid the taxes on Ransom and Harriett's farm for three years and then took title to it, which was legal, but he never paid Ransom a dime. Later Ransom said of Jack he was "No account Kinfolks." Another of Ransom's farms was sold in 1866 to John Cline, father of Olive Pruett's husband Jack. Ransom was sure there was copper in the nearby mountains so he reserved the mineral rights and told his family about it.
Early in December 1867 Ransom age 41, Harriett 40, and their youngest children, Serena Almantha 14, Francis Marion 9, Martha Ann 7, Genns Anchel 4, and Thomas Jefferson 2, along with their two married sons left Alabama and set out on what would become a 27 month long covered wagon journey to east Texas. Son John Perry 20, and his wife Mary Jane with William Andrew 17, and his wife Nancy Parrish, sister of Mary Jane, rode in one wagon, while Ransom, Harriett and the five younger children rode together in the second wagon. Both Pruett sons and their wives were grieving over the recent losses of each of their first born children.
The travelers became water bound near Holly Springs, Mississippi and had to stay there a few weeks waiting for the Mississippi River bottom to dry enough for them to travel. Mary Jane Parrish Pruett related in her memoir to daughter Addie, who wrote, that: "They finally got to a place in Arkansas known as Grand Prairie, but too late to rent land and make a crop in 1868. They were all sick with malaria chills and travel was slow and only at intervals. The men got work in fields and forests as they could."
By the beginning of 1869, they stopped and rented land three miles east of the center of Little Rock, Arkansas to farm in the bottom land of the Arkansas River. While they lived there for the year, most of the sleeping was done in the covered wagons, and most cooking done outside of whatever they had in the way of a small house or houses. Harriett 41, gave birth to her eighth and final child in a covered wagon in Arkansas. The new daughter, Mary Jane, was named after their daughter-in-law, but always called Molly. Mary Jane had her second child, Alice Martin, July 28, 1869, and Nancy had her second child, Mary Elizabeth, September 7, 1869. The MARY was for Nancy's sister and the ELIZABETH was for the grandmother (Harriett Elizabeth).
"After the crops were all gathered, they (including three babies added since the beginning of the trip) traveled to the south edge of Sulphur Springs," in Hopkins County Texas arriving in the spring of 1870. William Andrew and Nancy moved south to the east side of Wood County, just across the county line from Upshur Co, where the families of Harriett's brothers William Malone and Jesse Carter Farrar Pruitt and their mother Diannah lived. Ransom and Harriett with John Perry and Mary Jane rented a farm from Curl Criss four miles northwest of Sulphur Springs. Both families lived in the same house.
During 1871 they rented farm land from Tom Gluver about 12 miles north of Sulphur Springs, on Burk's Creek, and again they all lived in the same house. It was at the time of this move in December 1870 or January 1871, that this eight to ten mile trip required the families to camp out overnight. That night Harriett dreamed about the death of Ransom's father, Ansel Beddington Pruett, back in Alabama. She claimed to have seem him die in a different corner of the room than where he usually slept, and also that all of the children but two were present at his death. She awoke Ransom to tell him of her dream, but he insisted that he was tired and wanted to sleep. Harriett went back to sleep and again the dream came to her so vividly, exactly the same that she again awoke Ransom. She then remarked that it was Ansel's 70th birthday. Later they received a letter confirming that Harriett had dreamed the exact situation of the death of Ansel Beddington Pruett, even to the place in the room and those present and at approximately the same time of night. Ransom's mother Agnes 74, lived with Ransom's sister Melinda Edna Walker in Clay Co. Alabama at the time of the June 1870 census (Ansel was not listed).
The families moved together again in January 1872 to three miles southeast of Charleston in Delta Co. Texas to another farm Ransom and Harriett bought from Van Elmore. John Perry began negotiations to buy his own little farm close by and he and Mary Jane soon moved to their first home. John Perry made a cash down payment on his land and agreed to pay off the balance by making a certain number of fence rails. With the years crop "layed by" John Perry started making the rails in the hot bottom land of Sulphur River in July and August of 1873. He was not feeling well and offered twice to pay his debt in cash, but the man refused. John Perry tried to continue the work but became sicker and lost his appetite. After two days sick in bed, John Perry 25, died with a hard chill on August 21, 1873.
Harriett and Ransom's first born child had died and Ransom was now an alcoholic. When the crops were all sold each fall, Ransom would always buy whiskey from a bootlegger and get drunk, and under the influence of whiskey he was brutal to Harriett and the children. As long as his oldest son John Perry lived with them or close by he seemed able to handle his dad in such situations. But John Perry had died. It was during cotton marketing time in the fall of 1873 after Ransom had sold his cotton in Cooper, Texas that he came home drunk and was so cruel to Harriett and daughter Serena Almantha that they left Ransom and the five younger children behind never to return.
Harriett 45, and Serena Almantha "Mantha" 20, went to the only kin they had in many miles, Mary Jane, the young widow of Ransom and Harriett's son John Perry Pruett, who had so recently buried her husband. Without money Harriett, with Mantha, soon went south to Leesburg, Texas to join her son William Andrew Pruett. Ransom's next son, Francis Marion stayed with his father for awhile but, he too soon left Ransom and went to stay with his mother Harriett's brother, William Malone Pruitt, near Leesburg, Upshur Co. Texas in 1874. Remaining with Ransom at the farm then were Martha Ann 13, who became the cook and housekeeper, Thomas Jefferson "Bud" 9, and Mary Jane "Molly" 6.
Francis Marion Pruett 17, worked for his uncle, William Malone "Red Bill" Pruitt, on the family farm and soon fell in love with the eldest daughter Caroline, his first cousin (Harriett's niece). Her parents were much oppossed to the two cousins marrying, but Marion and Caroline were determined and married in Camp Co. in September 1875. William Malone Pruitt, helped his nephew and daughter get started with a place of their own and Marion would later take his mother Harriett to live with him. Mantha was married in October 1878 to her first cousin, Perryman Lafayette Ponder, son of Harriett's sister Catherine. Son Tom also left Ransom as soon as he felt he could make it on his own, but he and Harriett were living with his sister Martha Ann Edwards family in Franklin Co. Texas at the time of the 1880 census. Harriett is listed as age 49, and as a widow, but Ransom 53, was residing, and very much alive, in neighboring Delta Co. Texas with daughter Mary Jane 10. He was still listed as married at that time.
Ransom at age 58 was remarried on August 15, 1885 to Mrs. Sevilla E. Bayley 46, in Delta Co. Texas.
Ransom's grandson, Ozie Dean Pruett 20, (son of his deceased son John Perry) came to visit Ransom near Charleston in 1893. Ozie also visited with his aunts, uncles and cousins near Pittsburg and Leesburg and was always close to his uncle (Ransom's son) Francis Marion's kids Molly, Oscar, Dora and Luna. During the winter of 1893-94 Ozie stayed with Ransom and Sevilla and attended a private business college nearby. On September 16, 1894 Ozie was married at Ransom's home to Minerva Small. In 1901 Ransom wanted Ozie to take over his fine bottom land farm, but Minerva would not agree to live with anymore relatives.
In the fall of 1902, Ransom was traveling from Sulphur Springs to Charleston, Texas and stopped near Birthright for the night to visit with his grandson, Ozie D. Pruett and family. Ozie's oldest son, Haskell 5, climbed onto Ransom's wagon to see what he had bought that was under a quilt and stepped right through the glass door of a mantle clock and broke out the glass. Haskell always remembered the cruelty of Ransom's wife Sevilla over the incident.
Ransom traded his farm for land he had never seen near Shreveport, Louisiana, and when he went to it he found that it was under water. His son Tom visited him there at Christmas 1906 and found Ransom to be a confirmed alcoholic. The next summer Ransom died at the farm at the age of 80. Tom was cutting alfalfa in front of Haskell Pruett's parents house in Reed, Oklahoma when a telegram arrived with the news of Ransom's death. Ransom was buried at a small rural church yard in Haughton, Bossier Parish, Louisiana. Francis Marion Pruett recorded the date of his father's death in his family bible as July 16, 1907.
His second wife Sevilla received a pension based on Ransom's Civil War service beginning in 1928 until her death in 1933 in Hunt Co. Texas.
CONFLICTING INFORMATION: Ransom's date of death... In son F. M. Pruett's family bible Ransom's death date is recorded as July 16, 1907. In Haskell Pruett's book Ransom's death date is given as June 1, 1907. And in Ransom's Civil War pension file, filed by his widow in 1928, she gives his death date as July 5, 1906 and the location as Delta Co. Texas.
Sources: The Pruett Pruitt Family by Haskell Pruett Ph.D. Census: 1830 Gwinnett Co. Georgia, page 352. In household of his father "Ansel B. Pruett". Listed as male 0-5. 1840 Randolph Co. Alabama, page 202. In household of his father "Ansel Prewitt". Listed as male 10-15. 1850 Randolph Co. Alabama, page 407, Family #509. Listed as "Ransom Pruitt" 25, Farmer, born GA. 1860 Talladega Co. Alabama, page 651, House #197. Listed as "R. Pruit" 33, Farmer, born GA. 1870 Hopkins Co. Texas, page 72, Family #167. Listed as "Ransom M. Prewitt" 42, Farmer, born GA. 1880 Delta Co. Texas, E.D. 21, page 527. Listed as "Ransom M. Pruitt" 53, Farmer, GA SC SC. 1900 Delta Co. Texas, E.D. 38, house #46, sheet 3. Listed as "Ransom Pruett" 77, born Jan 1823 GA SC SC. Married 14 years, Farmer, owns farm, can read, can't write.
More About Ransom Marion Pruett: Burial: Haughton, Bossier Parish, Louisiana.
More About Ransom Marion Pruett and Harriett Elizabeth Pruitt: Marriage: October 08, 1846, Talladega Co. Alabama.
More About Ransom Marion Pruett and Sevilla E. Bayley: Marriage: August 15, 1885, Delta Co. Texas.
Children of Ransom Marion Pruett and Harriett Elizabeth Pruitt are:
+John Perry Pruett, b. December 17, 1847, Talladega Co. Alabama, d. August 21, 1873, Charleston, Delta Co.Texas.
William Andrew Pruett, b. June 16, 1850, Talladega Co. Alabama, d. December 31, 1899, Perryville, Upshur Co. Texas.
+Serena Almantha Pruett, b. February 28, 1853, Talladega Co. Alabama, d. November 22, 1932, Reed, Greer Co. Oklahoma.
+Francis Marion Pruett, b. April 02, 1857, Talladega Co. Alabama, d. April 20, 1926, Mangum, Greer Co. Oklahoma.
Martha Ann Pruett, b. February 13, 1860, Talladega Co. Alabama, d. June 10, 1941, Live Oak, Sutter Co. California.