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The Pruiett Family

Part 3

Zachariah Pruitt, son of Samuel Pruitt II and Lucy Owen, was born in Frederick, Md. in 1758. He served in the Revolutionary War in Virginia and North Carolina. On October 18, 1785, he married Jane Burgess in Pittsylvania Co., Va. Their children were:

John Pruitt, Jr., son of John Pruitt, Sr. and unknown, had the following children:

The name of John Pruitt, Jr.'s wife is unknown at this time. Many researchers have identified his wife as Elizabeth Day, but she seems to have married another John Pruitt who lived in Henry Co., Va. in the late 1700s and early 1800s. She is also sometimes identified as the wife of the John Prewit, Jr. who was born in Goochland Co., Va. to John Prewit, Sr. and Alice Addison. It's possible the Henry County and Goochland County John Pruitts are the same person, but it's very hard to imagine that these John Pruitts were the sons of our John Pruitt, Sr. We have identified a possible second marriage for John Pruitt, Jr. in Pittsylvania Co., Va. marriage records. On Sept. 9, 1793, a bond was posted by John Prewet and Henry Rawlings for the marriage of John Prewet and Sarah Thomas. Looking at 1793 tax records, it appears that Henry Rawlings lived fairly close to John Pruitt, Jr. since the enumerator visited their homes just a few days apart. In addition, most of the Thomas's who lived in the county were also visited by the same enumerator including one man, William Thomas, just a few days before John Pruitt, Jr. While circumstantial at this point, it would appear that John Pruitt, Jr.'s first wife died before 1793 and he took Sarah Thomas as his second wife.

According to the 1840 census, Absolum Pruit was between 60 and 70 years of age and his wife was between 50 and 60 years of age. This suggests a year of birth for Absolum of around 1780. That would have made his father, John Pruitt, Jr., around 18 years of age when Absolum was born and it would have made Absolum 60 years of age at the time of the 1840 census.

The 1789 personal property tax lists for Pittsylvania Co., Va. showed that the number of Pruitt family members was increasing. The lists were sorted alphabetically, so the date processed may be the best indication as to how close individuals lived to each other. All of the Pruitt family members were enumerated by the same Commissioner.

1789 List of Taxable Personal Property - Pittsylvania County
ListProcessedChargeableWhite Males (+16)BlacksHorses, etc.Relationship*
BMarch 24John Pruitt, Sr.1-4Son of Samuel Pruitt I
BMarch 24Joshua Pruitt1-2Unknown
BMarch 24Joseph [Japheth] Pruitt1-2Son of Samuel Pruitt II
BMarch 24John Pruitt, Jr.1-1Son of John Pruitt, Sr.
BMarch 24William Pruitt1-1Son of John Pruitt, Sr.
BApril 11Joseph Pruitt (Bannister)1-3Unknown
BApril 18Samuel Pruitt, Jr.1--Son of Samuel Pruitt II
BMay 1Samuel Pruitt2-4Son of Samuel Pruitt I
BMay 1Zachariah Pruitt1-3Son of Samuel Pruitt II

* Relationship was not a part of the original tax list. This is a best guess based on this and other sources.

By 1800, Samuel Pruitt III (Samuel Pruitt, Jr. in the 1789 tax list) had moved to Georgia. Otherwise, the list of known family members on the tax rolls stayed the same, with the exception of the addition of John Pruitt, Sr.'s youngest son, Elijah. Also, they seem to have made a decision to change the spelling of their name to "Prewett." Family members were enumerated by two different Commissioners, noted by the A or B under the column heading "List." It's interesting to note that nearly 2300 individuals appeared on the tax lists as "Persons Named" and that the average tax was around 79 cents. All Prewett family members were significantly below this average except Japheth Prewett.

1800 List of Taxable Personal Property - Pittsylvania County
ListProcessedPersons NamedWhite Males (+16)NegroesHorses, etc.Tax ($)Relationship*
AMarch 17Joshua Prewett1-3.36Unknown
AApril 4John Prewett1-2.24Son of John Pruitt, Sr.
AApril 4Joseph Prewett111.56Unknown
AJuly 22John Prewett, Sr.1-1.12Son of Samuel Pruitt I
AJuly 22William Prewett1-2.24Son of John Pruitt, Sr.
BApril 5Elijah Prewett1-1.12Son of John Pruitt, Sr.
BApril 5Mary Prewett1-1.12Unknown
BJune 14Japheth Prewett2211.00Son of Samuel Pruitt II
BJune 14Samuel Pruitt1-3.36Son of Samuel Pruitt I
BJune 14Zachariah Prewett1-3.36Son of Samuel Pruitt II

* Relationship was not a part of the original tax list. This is a best guess based on this and other sources.

Asa Prewett (son of John Pruitt, Jr.) was born in Pittsylvania Co., Va. about 1786. He married Tabitha Ferguson in Pittsylvania County on March 14, 1809. Tabitha Ferguson, being over age 21, wrote her own consent. Along with Asa, Charles Seal ensured the bond. Reverend George Dodson officiated. Tabitha was the daughter of Robert Ferguson. Asa and Tabitha Prewett had the following children living with them in 1817 when Robert Ferguson was appointed guardian of their children:

We are not sure of the parentage of John A. and Robert Prewitt. One possibility is that John A. Prewitt was born in an earlier marriage of Tabitha Ferguson. The fact that Tabitha had the same last name as her father when she married Asa likely rules this out. The other possibility was that Asa was married to someone else before he married Tabitha. Some have speculated that he married Rebecca Branson in 1793, but Asa was only around 7 years old when that marriage took place and it's clear that Rebecca Branson married Abraham Prewett, not Asa Prewitt. It's of interest, however, that the informant in John A. Pruitt's 1876 death record indicated that his parents were Asa and Rebecca Pruitt. Was Asa married to a Rebecca before he married Tabitha or was this just a mistake by the informant? We are not sure when Robert Prewitt was born, so we cannot determine if he was Asa and Tabitha's son or if he was born in an earlier marriage of Asa. As discussed in Pruiett, Part 4, it is clear that Zachariah Prewitt raised the younger Thomas and William while Robert Ferguson raised the older John and Robert. This separation of the four sons complicates our assessment of their parentage. Why would Robert Ferguson raise two children who were not born to his daughter and give up to Zachariah Prewitt the two who were her natural children? We're sure there is more to this story that requires further research.

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