History of the Upper Ohio Valley
Brant & Fuller, 1890; Vol. I, page 335.
Isaac D. Prager, a prominent merchant of Wheeling, W.Va., is a grandson of John Prager, who came to America from Amsterdam about 1797, accompanied by his brothers, Mark and Levi. They settled at Philadelphia and engaged extensively in foreign trade, exporting and importing vast quantities of goods, and ranking as one of the foremost firms of the county in that business. They had branch houses in various ports in all parts of the globe, owned between twelve and fifteen vessels, and were owners, shippers and underwriters. During the French and English war the Pragers were completely ruined in business and bankrupted by the depradations of the French privateers, losing all their vessels and cargoes. From such losses as these arose the French spoliation claims, about to be paid by the government, and among those who will receive some compensation for the ravages of that war are the descendants of the famous firm of the Pragers, of Philadelphia. John Prager died in New Orleans in 1806, during an epidemic of yellow fever, being then engaged in the service of the government. His children living at that time at his home in Philadelphia were Charles, Susan and Harriet, and their half-brother and sister, George and Charlotte. Charles, the father of the subject of this mention, was born in Philadelphia in June, 1799. In childhood he was bound out, but being ill treated ran away and returned home, after which he was apprenticed to a gilder. About the year 1840 he left for Philadelphia and removed to Pittsburgh, where he was soon afterward married to Elizabeth Morrison. This lady was born in March, 1821, of a family that was prominent in the pioneer history of Pennsylvania. Her grandmother, Mrs. Smea, was scalped by the Indians during one of their raids upon the settlements, but survived the injury. During his residence at Pittsburgh, Mr. Prager followed his trade. In 1843 he removed to Wheeling and found employment with the firm of Harbour & Mendel, furniture dealers, who then did business where the Grand Opera House now stands. He continued to reside in the city until his death in June, 1881, and his widow is still living there. To their union were born ten children: John, who was born at Pittsburgh, enlisted in Company I, First regiment West Virginia infantry, and was killed at New Market, Va., May 15, 1864; Mary, born at Wheeling, died in 1853; George, born at Wheeling, enlisted in the First West Virginia infantry and served three years; Charles, now a job printer of Wheeling; William; Isaac D., born April 4, 1850; Andrew B., Michael, James H., and Daniel L., all residents of Wheeling. Isaac D., the subject of this sketch, was reared at Wheeling, his native city. At sixteen years of age he embarked in the business to which he has since devoted himself, starting as a paperhanger and decorator. He worked at this until 1875, when he opened an establishment on Main street, beginning on a small scale. His business increased from year to year until he became one of the foremost in his line of trade. In 1885 he removed to his present place of business, No. 17 Eleventh street, where he conducts an extensive wholesale and retail business in wall paper exclusively. Mr. Prager was married October 27, 1881, to Mary E. Bigelow, of Wheeling, and they have four children: John Elwood, Austin B., Andrew B. and Elizabeth E.