Prosser, Jonathan Dr.
Jonathan was born at about 1730 in Dutchess County, NY. He had a known sibling named Jushua Prosser.
Marriage & Children
At about 1758 he married Phebe Russell who was born in 1742. Their known children:
- Martha Prosser born in 1759, married Sylvanus Ferris
- Mabel Prosser born about 1760, married Nathan Jones
- Benjamin Prosser born about 1765, married Catherine Wendell
- Mary Prosser married Canaday/Kanaday
- Elizabeth Prosser born May 28, 1774, married Peter Stover
- Jonathan Prosser born in 1775
- Sarah Prosser married Willse
Jonathan was a Loyalist during the early Revolutionary War era. At the First Commission For Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies in the State of New York meeting 7 Mar 1777:
"Stephen Akin appeared before the Board, and informed that he had brought prisoner Doct. Jonathan Prosser who he had apprehended pursuant to an order of this Board."
"Ordered that the said Doct. Prosser be delivered into Custody of the Guard." Akins was paid 6lb/6/8 for apprehending Prosser. "Stephen Akins being duly sworn Deposeth and saith That on Tuesday evening last being out with a party of Men by order of the Committee of Pawlings Precinct, he met on the Road two Men which he stopped & Examined, that upon Enquiry he discovered that one of them was Doct. Prosser & having before heard that there was an Order of this Board for apprehending him took the said Prosser into Custody and confined him under Guard.
An epidemic struck the camp in Fishkill on April 11, 1777. This time, “the Committee for the Detection of Conspiracies” allowed one of their prisoners, Doctor Jonathan Prosser, to be “permitted to go & remain at house of Doct: Osborn, & be under his Care & Direction, on Parol till the further Order of this Board.” During this same meeting they consigned to Osborn, for the sum of 5 Dollars, “a Number of Doctor’s Instruments lying in the Closet…lest they might be lost” [10,11].
Osborn’s other services to the Committee included the roles he played in assisting spy Enoch Crosby to perform his tasks. Osborn’s place became Crosby’s humble abode for a night or two on occasion, between his travels to and from British camps. Due to his location, Osborn’s home may have even provided a warm place to rest and a meal or two for important travellers like the Marquis making their way through these regions at times.
As for Dr. Osborn, even though he was granted his permission as a Regimental Surgeon along with numerous others, due to the location of his home, his local social status, and perhaps even his appearance and state of health, Dr. Osborn seems to have not been allocated much field responsibility. Whether or not he engaged in the recovery of soldiers from the White Plains excursions for example is uncertain. Dr. Osborn’s several orders noted in the Revolutionary War documents suggest he had some sort of administrative role, placing him in rank between the Field Surgeons and Administrators, the Quartermaster and the local town leaders. Thus his home did serve as a meeting place, and even the place to retain Dr. Prosser once he was imprisoned and subsequently in need of some specialized medical or supervisory “assistance.” (Revolutionary War Doctor, Part 2 – Hospitals: http://brianaltonenmph.com/6-history-of-medicine-and-pharmacy/hudson-valley-medical-history/revolutionary-war-doctor-part-ii-1777-1783/)
From The Settlers of Beekman Patent, Frank Doherty v. 10 p 647:
“There are other stories about Dr. Jonathan Prosser and some of them may be true, but we doubt that all are. The History of Putnam County offers one account:
"Colonel Ludington...His activity and energy were so conspicuous and successful in thwarting the plans of the tory emissaries of Gen. Howe, that a large reward was offered by that officer for his capture, dead or alive. At one time he came near being captured by Prosser and a band of tories under his command, who surrounded his house at night.
They were discovered by two of his daughters who were acting as sentinels. The family were aroused, candles were immediately lighted in all the rooms, and the inmates commenced passing and repassing the windows, giving the impression of a large number of persons in the house. The ruse was successful and Prosser and his gang retreated.
After the war Prosser, who for some reason escaped banishment, came back and lived not far from Col. Ludington. The latter, for some misdeeds of his former enemy, gave him a severe beating with a cowhide, having met him one day on horseback."
It was probably shortly after the incident with Colonel Ludington that Dr. Prosser took his family and removed to Albany County, NY. He settled in Coeymans, in what is now known as Westerlo in 1788(according to the NY State Historical marker).
He was well respected and admired by the people who came to know him in Coeymans.
His historic home and the historic marker nearby:
Phebe died on November 12, 1804. Jonathan died on March 17, 1811. They were buried in the Prosser Family Burial Ground in Westerlo, NY.
Jonathan Prosser Will
Additional Research Notes