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Q: Picture of Sr. William Prout ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Picture of Sr. William Prout
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: stephenh-ga
List Price: $35.00
Posted: 13 Jul 2006 09:38 PDT
Expires: 12 Aug 2006 09:38 PDT
Question ID: 745957
I am looking for a picture of william Prout.  He lived between
1753-1823. I am also looking for his obituary and a 1 page bio about
his life.
You WILL Get A Bonus IF YOU Find a picture of him...  He had a son
with the same name who dieded in 1850.  That is not the person I am
looking for..

Request for Question Clarification by crabcakes-ga on 13 Jul 2006 15:47 PDT
Hello Stephenh,

    I have been able to find:

    -An obituary
    -Some biographical information, which, except for his birthplace,
covers his adult life only.
    -A publication and archive that may have some illustrations/pictures
    -What I consider to be a fair amount of information on Mr. Prout

    - But, I have found no sketch or illustration, and it's even
possible that none exist.

    Will you accept my findings without the picture? I'm not sure
there even IS one to find! I know I don't qualify for the bonus!

   Regards, Crabcakes

Clarification of Question by stephenh-ga on 14 Jul 2006 04:35 PDT
I accept it !

Since I know that you worked on this for an extremely long time and
made a great effort to find what I was looking for me, I accept the
information which you found for me.  However I really can't pay you
$55.00 dollars for your work.  Since the photograph of him was never
found.  Nor can I give you the bonus.  But I will give you $35.00
dollars for your hard work which I know you deserve.  Is this OK with
you..  Can you accept it.  Please do let me know.
Subject: Re: Picture of Sr. William Prout
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 14 Jul 2006 10:21 PDT
Hello Stephenh,

  Thank you for accepting my findings as an Answer. Of course I
understand your lowering of the fee... I should have asked that you do
so! I continued searching for a picture before I posted this answer,
with no luck. Here is what I found, and I found it very interesting,
as my family comes from the area near Prout's land!:

William Prout b. 1753 ? d. 12 Oct 1823 70 yrs.
?	Born in England, settled in Baltimore.
?	Acquired 500 acres on Capitol Hill from his father-in-law (Slater).
?	Met with Pres. Washington to agree on land to be sold to the
government to meet the needs of the Federal City.
?	Donated the land for Christ Church, Navy Yard.
?	Founded the Eastern Market.

Mr. Prout is interred in the Congressional Cemetery

?Congressional Cemetery
Saturday, 11 am ? 12:15 pm 
Meet at E and 18th streets, SE.
Begin outside the historic wrought iron gates and step back into the
earliest days of the Federal City with the tombs of city founders such
as William Prout and Griffith Coombe. The tour includes tombs of noted
Americans from the 20th century as well, such as John Philip Sousa and
J. Edgar Hoover, in addition to the newly planted 9/11 Memorial Grove.
Led by Patrick Crowley, vice chair of the Association for the
Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery, and presented by
Congressional Cemetery?

?Prout, William d. 12 Oct 1823 R56/33
Prout. Near the Navy Yard, yesterday, about 1 o'clock, after a short
illness, William Prout, Esq. one of the oldest inhabitants of this
city. His funeral will take place this afternoon, at 3 o'clock, from
his late residence.
"He was the noblest work of God."
The Navy Yard Section During the Life of the Rev. William Ryland
Columbia Historical Society, Volume 4

In the very earliest days of the city, William Prout was one of the
most conspicuous of our citizens. Besides being one of the original
proprietors of the land constituting a large portion of the Navy Yard
section, he was a gentleman of high character, and thoroughly
identified with the advancement of his section of the city. He was
born in 1753, was married to Miss Sarah Slater, of Prince George's
County, Maryland, and died in Washington in 1823, leaving three
sons--Jonathan, William and Robert, a clergyman, and two
daughters,Mrs. Martha H. McKnight and Mrs. Henry Bradley. The dwelling
of Mr. Prout is no longer standing. It was near the Eighth Street
entrance of the Navy Yard.

William Prout gave the land where the present Christ Church stands.
One of 19 landowners who signed the March 31, 1791 agreement to convey
land for the federal city.

   ?In 1791 Slater sold his farm to Baltimore businessman William
Prout. Prout would soon marry Slater's daughter Sarah and the couple
took up residence at Slater's farm in 1793. A map of the farmhouse
site drawn by Nicholas King in 1796 indicates Mrs. Prout (Slater's
daughter) as the owner of record. King shows nine structures spread
over a ten-block area located between 7th and 9th Streets, and I and O
Streets, SE [Fig. 25]. In addition to a large brick house that stood
at what is now the northeast corner of 8th and M Streets, SE, also
depicted are two of large barns, three slave quarters, several service
buildings, and a family graveyard. Given its proximity to the Navy
Yard, the former Slater farm was quickly parceled out into house lots
for a rapidly expanding force of shipwrights and other maritime

   ?Today the site of the Slater/Prout house is occupied by the former
Blue Castle Deli, an impressively turreted building that has recently
been transformed into a charter school [Fig. 26]. One of Slater's
slave houses previously stood right in the opening of the M Street
gate entrance to the Navy Yard. A bus stop stands on the former site
of the family graveyard.?

   ?Christ Church, the city's first Episcopal parish, is a Gothic
style church extraordinarily rich in both cultural heritage and visual
beauty. Several early Presidents worshiped here such as James Madison
and James Monroe, as did the U. S. Marines who lived at the nearby
Marine Barracks. Thomas Jefferson regularly attended services at the
old tobacco warehouse church where services were held until 1807, when
the present site near the Navy Yard was donated by William Prout.?

P  age 24 of this document has a copy of a newspaper clipping mentioning Prout.

   ?In the first half of the 19th century, Martha Prout McKnight was
the largest landowner in this area. She had inherited her properties
from her father William Prout, whose early land speculations and
enterprises supported the development of a community around the Navy

?Much of the land, that is now Capitol Hill,including portions of the Navy Yard
Yard ? once belonged to William Prout, who lived in a large house on
land now covered by the ?castle? (the former Navy Yard Car Barn). In
1799 and 1801 he sold and traded land to the U.S. government for both
the yard and the Marine Barracks.  Arriving in America from England in
1790, Prout heard rumors that President George Washington would be
choosing this area for the new federal city. In 1791 Prout contracted
for some 500 acres here from his future father-in-law, Jonathan
Slater.  Weeks later,Washington announced his selection, and Prout
became one of 19 landowners contributing land to the new capital. Like
the others, Prout donated some land and kept some to sell, hoping to
make a fortune in real estate.  Because the new city developed first
to the west of the Capitol, and not in this direction, Prout never did
make his fortune in land sales. But unlike many early investors, he
did well, setting up a fishery, selling dry goods and bricks, and
renting lots.

  Prout seeded a community, working with partners to build the first
Eastern Market (1805) near here at Sixth and L streets, donating land
for Christ Church, and serving on the City Council. His heirs would
eventually profit from local land sales.  Some of the buildings here
are from Prout?s time.
The unusually tall four-story building at 1003 Eighth Street was built
before 1824, as was the two-story, dormered restaurant across the
street at 1102. In 1833 the buildings with small attic-level windows
were built as dwelling/shops serving the Navy Yard.

William Prout: Community Builder - Eighth Street businesses flank the
Navy Yard entrance, 1966.
Kiplinger Washington Collection

   There exists a publication with some biographical information (and
perhaps an illustration) - ?Ruth Ann Overbeck and Lucinda P. Janke,
"William Prout: Capitol Hill's Community Builder," Washington History,
12, no. 1 (2000), pp. 122-139.?

?Ruth Ann Overbeck and Lucinda P. Janke, ?William Prout: Capitol Hill?s Community
Builder,? in Kenneth R. Bowling and Jane Freundel Levey, eds., Coming
into the City: Essays on EarlyWashington, D.C. (Washington History
spring/summer 2000).

    ?Ms. Janke showed an array of photos and other brewery
memorabilia, and introduced about a dozen members of the audience who
are direct descendents of Washington?s 19th century brewers, most of
whom were German immigrants. A former curator of the Kiplinger
Washington Collection and board member of the DC Historical Society,
Ms. Janke is a longtime explorer of the city?s past and co-author,
with Ruth Ann Overbeck, of a groundbreaking study of one of Capitol
Hill?s founding landowners, William Prout. She also serves on the
steering committee of the Overbeck Project.?

   ?Overbeck: Divided. George Washington, once he determined where he
was going to have the city ? because it was left up to him by Congress
to do this ? and once he decided where he was going to do this, he
then sent some emissaries out to buy land as if they were buying it
for themselves.

Franzén: To pretend they were buying it for themselves? 

Overbeck: Yes, but to, in fact, be buying it for the government. 
That didn't wash very well. Too many people in town knew too much. And
a man named William Prout came down from Baltimore who had recently
arrived there from England, and Prout had the land that had been
originally Walter Houp's and two or three other people's. They
combined them over time, they had been combined. He bought the whole

Prout had a different idea about his land, in that several years
earlier he had tried to find land in England that would be
income-producing property ? an estate that would have a village, that
would have industry, et cetera, similar ? far-flung, but similar,
though certainly not on the scale of one of the villages or estates
that Prince Charles owns. It's self-contained.
He understood that kind of use of property. I don't think Daniel
Carroll ever understood that kind of use of property. This Mr. Prout's
ideas about land use were much more realistic than virtually any of
the other proprietors in the Federal city in that he knew what it
took. Because he had gone through years of this in England, watching
how small communities built up, how estates built up, how they
functioned, what kinds of things it takes to make them run.?

?Anyway, with all of these plans and things that were going to go on,
it turned out that virtually everything except the Capitol and the
congressional buildings ? which weren't planned for because they
didn't think they would need them ? and part of the Navy Yard had been
platted on Mr. Prout's land and not Mr. Carroll's land. So the real
city of Capitol Hill, our real hometown, was not Daniel Carroll's of
Duddington; our real city was Mr. Prout's city.?

?Franzén: So, it was Prout, more than anyone else, who owned the land
that is now Capitol Hill.

Overbeck: Almost every school, almost every public school is on Prout
land, what was Prout land, including the natatorium, the market, the
new Eastern Market, going right on up.?

?Overbeck: Back on the canal. It made great sense. Mr. Prout lobbied
throughout the 1790s to the city commissioners to build a market in
the eastern section. There is a wonderful petition from people who
lives and worked east of the Capitol in 1798, I believe, and for the
most part it lists their occupation, their country of origin. There
are even women on it ? I thought, great! ? and they wanted a "flesh
and fowl market." Remember, this is that 10-hour workday, six days a
week, and if they're going to go shopping ? there is no refrigeration,
it's hot in Washington, and if everybody and their family are trying
to pull their weight working, then they are off down to Central
Market. That is a long way to walk up and down that bloody hill and
come all the way back down to the river area.

So finally, in 1804 or 1805, Mr. Prout and a couple of his buddies
down by the river send a letter to President Jefferson and he okays
it. They start building the market immediately.

Now, whether or not it was anything more than a covered shed
arrangement initially ? we do not know because we do not know yet
which floor we found. It is a beautiful brick floor. We don't know if
we found the 1823 addition floor or if we found the original floor.?
There are many more mentions of Prout in this interview. Please check
the site for further information.

   ?An English emigrant named William Huston, according to his uncle
William Prout who owned much of the land north of the Navy Yard,
drowned in the melting pot. Prout owned a store and to prevent
robberies was loath to leave it unattended. He and his nephew
alternated sleeping there. To Prout's shock, Huston "used to take a
mulatto woman with him into the store and his wife at the same time
slept... in my house" 200 yards away. Huston never told his side of
the story but when he had come to the city in 1792, he had marveled at
L'Enfant's plan and the promise of 10,000 workers building a
magnificent city. Instead only the north wing of the Capitol was
finished and it was surrounded not by gardens but by tangles of
blackberry bushes, pits where clay had been dug and paths that became
quagmires when it rained. The president's house, where work had begun
so auspiciously in 1793, had remained nothing but a shel1 from 1796 to
1800 when workers feverishly tried to finish enough of the interior to
house the president.?

   You may be able to glean some information by contacting the
University of Maryland:
Contact Information
Archives and Manuscripts Department
Hornbake Library
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: 301-405-9058
Fax: 301-314-2709
Contact Us 

Maryland Manuscripts Collection
Title:Maryland Manuscripts Collection 
Author/Creator:Maryland Manuscripts 
Collection No:various accessions 
Size:5144 items 
Inclusive Dates:1664-1981 
Bulk Dates:1664-1981 

Repository:Archives and Manuscripts Department, University of Maryland
Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel:
301-405-9058, Fax: 301-314-2709,

   Abstract:Included in this collection are approximately 5,200
individually cataloged letters, diaries, military and court records,
ledger books, and printed ephemera (broadsides, handbills, etc.)
related to the Maryland region--principally dating from 1750 to 1900.
Individual items of significance are cataloged in the University of
Maryland Libraries' Online Catalog.

?Item 2171Roger B. Taney, William Prout's attorney: Bail bond,
document signed, July 1, 1803, Charles Robertson and Jacob Ramsberg
are special bail for Robert Brown [Frederick County],

   Try contacting the owner of this book, by using the second link and
filling out the form. There may be an illustration in this volume.This
seems like a very active site.

?Calvert Co. -  "A History of Calvert County, Maryland." Charles
Frances Stein; Scheiderath & Sons 1960, 1976. This book contains
genealogical narratives of many Calvert County families; it also
includes some Prince George's County families since the latter was
part of Calvert County until 1696.?  ?Prout?  VCT?

There you go. Further searching turned up only repetitive information.

Please ask for an Answer Clarification, if any part of this asnwer is
unclear, and allow me to respond, before you rate.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms

William Prout 1753 1823
William Prout  +  1753  + navy + congressional
illustration + "William Prout" + Navy
picture + "William Prout"
drawing + "William Prout"
William Prout + Maryland 
William Prout + Maryland + 1753
"William Prout" + obituary + 1753 or 1823 + Maryland

Request for Answer Clarification by stephenh-ga on 14 Jul 2006 11:46 PDT
I was extremely impressed with the work you have done for me.  If it's
not to much more of a problem, I might like to have a few more
resources I could use to maybe to continue my quest to find his
portrait or picture.  I know that it might be unsuccessful but I
thought that maybe you could try to provide me some resources which
would allow me to search on my own.  Please do let me
know if this possible.  Thanks again for all your fantastic and outstanding work.

Clarification of Answer by crabcakes-ga on 14 Jul 2006 17:26 PDT
Hello again Stephenh,

   I'm glad you were pleased with the information I found. I have been
unable to locate any more information for you. I suggest you contact
the University of Maryland archives,and the Rootsweb site as mentioned
in the original answer. If anyone has an illustration, the University
of Maryland will. I wish I could have found more for you.

  Sincerely, Crabcakes
There are no comments at this time.

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