Born on June 16, 1834 in Clermont County, Ohio, John Griffith Prather worked on riverboats from a young age, moving to St. Louis in 1850. In 1852, he moved to California where he worked as a salmon fisherman before returning to St. Louis in 1855 to assist in his uncle’s wholesale liquor business. During the Civil War, Prather, served as an officer with the 5th Regimental Missouri Militia.
After the war, Col. Griff Prather, as he was commonly known, took over his uncle’s business and specialized in selling “Wine, Liquors, Cigars, &c.” to the many steamboats that frequented the St. Louis riverfront. He also owned shares in several steamboats throughout the 1860’s and 70’s that worked the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Red, and Arkansas rivers.
Prather, like Garesche´, was involved with the Democratic political machine in St. Louis. He was a member of the Democratic National Committee and, according to The New York Times, was “instrumental” in securing the 1888 Democratic National Convention for St. Louis.
On January 13, 1859, Prather married Marie Clementine Carriere, a member of the prominent Chouteau and Laclede families of St. Louis. He died on December 27, 1903.
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