As ancestors of the James J. Prevatt family, we trace our lineage back to Pierre Prevot: a French Protestant Huguenot refugee who, in 1700, sailed to America to escape religious persecution, and landed at the Virginia colony south of the James River at Manakintown. Here, Pierre and his wife, Catherine, raised a family. A son named Peter along with his wife, Elizabeth, having received a land grant in 1739 from the King of England, migrated to Craven County, N.C. near New Bern. They settled along the Neuse River where they raised several children. A daughter, Elizabeth, married Moses Taylor and migrated to Kentucky; a son, James, journeyed to South Carolina; while a second son, Thomas, remained in Craven County and where he fathered three sons: Thomas Jr., Peter and James. Thomas Jr. and Peter along with spouses, Sally West, and Eleanor Clements, came to Robeson County in 1797 and it is believed, the Prevattes in Robeson County descend from Thomas’ six boys and five girls and Peter’s children who first settled along Old Field Swamp near Fairmont, N.C.
One of Thomas, Jr.’s sons, James J. Prevatt born November 2, 1798, in Robeson County, NC was my great great great grandfather. James first married Mollie Moore March 3, 1822, and they had two children, Henry and Mary Susannah. Mollie died and James married her sister, Orra, November 22, 1830, and they had twelve children.
On December 2, 1854, James Prevatt deeded four acres of land to Raft Swamp Baptist Church which included lots for both a church and a school. At Raft Swamp Baptist Church, you will see a marble marker with the following inscription: “This tablet is erected in honor to the memory of James J. Prevatt who founded Raft Swamp Baptist in the year 1854. He gave the land on which the church was built and paid the pastor's salary the following year. He died n 1862 but his good work still lives in the hearts of the people of this church.”
The Prevattes of Robeson County by A. C. Prevatte records: “From the minutes of the Raft Swamp Baptist Church of Robeson County, NC it is evident that James and his family played a prominent part in organizing that church in September 29, 1854. The Prevatts that were charter members by letter were James Prevatt, Henry Prevatt, Orra Prevatt, and Sarah Prevatt. Those received by baptism were Eli (Elias) Prevatt and Clarissa Prevatt. Also by baptism was Mary Ann Tyner whom we believe was Mary Ann Prevatt. Benjamin Tyner was received by baptism … James was elected and ordained as one of the first deacons. His brother Furney was called as pastor in 1855 and served there for many years.”
Family legend indicates that James was a very industrious blacksmith. The September 5, 1862, church minutes indicate that he accepted Jesus as his Savor when he was thirty-five years old. Later he went astray and was excluded from the church but was eventually restored to the church and became a faithful church member and it was said that he loved his church better than he loved himself. The minutes also indicate that during the Civil War years James was absent at the church meeting because he had been called for state reserves.
One of James and Orra’s twelve children, James Pinkney Prevatt (1833–1907) was my great great grandfather who married Penelope Baxley (1838–1902). He served in the Civil War as a Private in Company E. 51st Regiment of the NC Troops. The 1880 Census indicates that he was a farmer, 45 years old, living in Burnt Swamp with his wife Penny (43) and children Rabon (17), Alf C. (13), Emaline (12) and Alvin (10).
His son, Alfred Colon (1866-1910), married Henerietta Minerva Martin (1855–1942) and they reared six children including my grandmother, Ida Prevatt.
1. Ida (1889-1966) married Jacob “Jake” R. Baxley (1882–1956) on February 11, 1913, in Robeson County and they had six sons including my father Thomas Franklin Baxley (1922–1977).
2. Edna (1891–1957) had polio as a child and was confined to a wheelchair. She never married.
3. Ottie (1892–1963) married Ida Mae Phillips (1882-1961), widow of Robert Adam Rozier, December 23, 1920.
4. Daniel W. (1895–1966) married Sudie Mae Davis (1905–1988)
5. Marvin (1917–1979) married Julie Tressie Hardin (1907–?) November 25, 1922 in Dillon, SC.
6. Raymond (1901–1953) married Fannie Scott (1899–1950)
The 1900 and 1910 census shows them living in Raft Swamp Township on Red Springs Road and the 1920 Census indicates that Henrietta was a widow and living on Carthage Road next to Jake and Ida Prevatt Baxley. The 1930 Census shows that she was 71 years old living in Wisharts with son, Raymond, 28, and daughter, Edna 38.