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Beeland Prather Verdery

Obituary of John S. Prather, Atlanta, Georgia.

Thy life shone bright with good deeds manifold;
Soul true as steel, heart thrice refined gold;
Light lies the grave turf on thy many breast.
God gives thee love, peace, and eternal rest.
-Charles W. Hubner.

Col. John S. Prather died, at the age of eighty-five, at his home in Atlanta, Ga., March 12, 1920. He was a native Georgian, but lived the first twenty-five years of his life in Lafayette, Chambers County, Ala. When the War between the States began he was conducting the Chambers Tribune, the county paper; and as he was an ardent secessionist, he entered promptly into the military service of Alabama, was commissioned lieutenant of cavalry by the Governor, was then transferred to the Confederate States army and became a member of Gen. Leonidas Polk's division. After the battle of Shiloh he reported to Gen. Joseph Wheeler, chief of cavalry, in June, 1862, taking part in all of Wheeler's great battles and in many minor engagements, and he was repeatedly complimented by him for bravery and soldierly conduct in battle. He rose to the rank of colonel and of brevet brigadier general. He was with General Bragg at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge; with General Johnston at Dalton, Resaca, Kenesaw; with General Hood in the severe fighting in and around Atlanta; with General Beauregard at Macon, by whose orders he engaged Sherman's right from that point to Savannah, inflicting much damage on the invaders and capturing many prisoners, for which he received high praise from General Beauregard in his reports. He was with General Johnston at Columbia, Averysboro, and Bentonville and surrendered his sword to General Sherman at Hillsboro N. C., in May, 1865.

Soon after the war Colonel Prather went to Atlanta and established the New Era, a Democratic paper that stood boldly for Southern rights and ideals in the trying days of the Reconstruction period. Afterwards he was connected with the Franklin Publishing Company and later with the Byrd Printing Company, in which connection he was actively engaged until his last illness and death.

He was married in April, 1862, to Miss Susan Hampton Verdery, a member of a prominent Augusta family, who has been his devoted life companion. The children who survive Colonel Prather are Mrs. Robert Beeland, of Greenville, Ala., and Misses Emily and Eva Prather, of Atlanta, Ga.

When quite youth Colonel Prather became a member of the Baptist Church at Lafayette, Ala. When he went to live in Atlanta he and Mrs. Prather became members of the First Baptist Church in 1866. They never placed their membership elsewhere. Both of them became students of Emanuel Swedenborg's writings and enjoyed the wonderful spiritual and intellectual uplift which such study gives to a seeker after true religion.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, June, 1920.

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