WILSON PRALL. -- Among the attractive modern homes which adorn the pretty city of Atlantic, Iowa, is found the abode of Wilson Prall, a retired farmer and stock-dealer and one of the wealthy men of Cass county. His history is that of a self-made man and is well worthy a place in this volume. Briefly, it is as follows:
Wilson Prall was born in the State of Ohio, April 20, 1839, the eighth in a family of twelve children. When he was quite small his father moved over into Indiana, and in the Hoosier State young Prall remained until his nineteenth year. He began to take care of himself when only nine years old, at first working for his board and clothes. When he was nineteen he left Indiana and came to Iowa, making the journey hither on horseback and stopping first at Grove City, where he soon found employment, working first for David Barnett and R. D. McGinn, and one winter for Albert Wakefield. In August, 1859, he took to himself a wife, and hand in hand the young couple set to work with a will to make a home, determined to stop short of nothing but success. At that time all the money he had was $2.50. They chose for their location a place ten miles southeast of Atlantic, where they built a little shanty, 14 x 16 feet, and their furniture, of his own manufacture, was made of poles. For eight years they made that place their home, he working out at the rate of fifty cents per day to support his wife and the little ones that came to brighten their humble home. And at the end of the eight years he moved to section 26, Grove township, this same county, and bought forty acres of land, to which he added by subsequent purchase until his landed estate now comprises a fine tract of 800 acres, -- all the result of his own honest toil. On this land he carried on general farming and stock-raising until 1891, when he retired, and has since made his home in Atlantic.
Mrs. Prall, whose maiden name was Miss Mary E. Judd, was born in Jefferson county, Iowa, April 9, 1842, daughter of William, familiarly known as "Uncle Billy," Judd, one of the well-known early settlers of Cass county, he having located here in 1855. Mr. Judd was an educated man, taught school for some years, figured prominently in local politics, and for a time served as Justice of the Peace. Mr. and Mrs. Prall have six children living, namely: George B., who wedded Miss Helena J. Pearson, has a family of four children; Thomas W. and wife, whose maiden name was Callie McKissok, have four children; Mary E., wife of R. R. Bell, has five children; Eva V., wife of C. A. Morgan, has one child; John B. married Elsie B. McKnight, and they have three children; and Martha V. is the wife of James M. Darling and has two children. They have three children deceased -- Henry T. and Freddie, and one that died in infancy. All are natives of Cass county.
While Mr. and Mrs. Prall now reside in one of the most modern and convenient homes of Atlantic, lighted by electricity and supplied with water and bath, and surrounded with all the comforts of life they take pleasure in referring to their early years in the rude shanty and their homely fare which was sweetened by honest toil. The passing years, crowded with earnest endeavor and crowned with financial success did not in the case of Mr. Prall, as with many, develop anything like a hard or sordid nature; on the contrary, he is liberal and generous to a fault, is never happier than when helping others, and is, in short, one of those genial, social kind of men whom it is a pleasure to meet.
From A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, Volume I, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896, pp. 387-388. Transcribed July, 2015 by Cheryl Siebrass.