Biography of Isaac Pray
FROM: History of Livingston County, New York
By James H. Smith
Assisted by Hume H. Cole
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1881


Isaac Pray was born in Winfield, Herkimer county, N. Y. April 22, 1812. His grandfather, John Pray, left his native State, Nov. 1, and with his family, settled in Litchfleld, where he engaged in farming. Soon discouraged in this he went to Ballston, Saratoga county. His son James, father of our subject, was born in Foster, R. I., in 1782, and was about twenty-one years of age when his father went to Baliston. July 28, 1805, he was married to Cornelia Patterson, of Winfield, who died Nov. 10, 1856. Before his marriage he engaged in the manufactire of potash, that being one of the leading industries of that early day, and disposed of his potash to parties in Albany. This was a good business venture and gave him a fine start in life. With Mr. Simtilons as a partner, he built a saw and grist mill on one of the head branches of the Unadilla river, near a small hamlet which is not now remembered. A few years after he disposed of his interest there and engaged in the distilling business. He soon, however, became dissatisfied with this and engaged in farming ever after. In May, 1832, he came to Groveland and bought the farm where Isaac now resides, and where he lived till his death, which occurred Nov. 16, 1873, aged 91 years and 6 months. Isaac Pray resided witil his parents till 19 years of age, and enjoy-ed only the limited advantages of the district school of those early days for an education. He afterwards went to Ohio where he engaged in farming for five or six years, and in 1837 went to visit his parents in Groveland. when his father prevailed upon him to remain at home and assist him on the farm which he bought in 1864. and which consisted of 118½ acres of land.

February 6, 1836, he was married to Jane. daughter of Frederick Lewis Mills, of Mt. Morris. by whom he had two daughters, Harriet M. and Frances I., the latter of whom married William Wyant, of Groveland. In politics Mr. Pray is a Republican, at all times working in the interests of his party, but never wishing to hold any office. In religion Mr. Pray and his family are Baptists, Mrs. Pray having been a member of that church for more than forty years.

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