Note: Surname Saturday ~ Prescott of Lancaster, Massachusetts (Heather) PRESCOTT John Prescott was a blacksmith in Sowerby, in the parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, England. He came to Barbados in 1628, and then to Watertown Massachusetts about 1640 with his wife and first four children. In about 1645 or 1646 they removed to the Nashaway Plantation, which became the town of Lancaster, Massachusetts. He was admitted as a freeman in 1669. He built the first gristmill and sawmills in Lancaster. In 1900 a bronze marker was placed near where John Prescott’s mill once stood. Lancaster was several miles inland from the Massachusetts coast, in an isolated area of Worcester County. Because of the remote location it was attacked by the local Indians during King Phillip’s War on 10 February 1676, and the town was abandoned for several years. Eventually the Prescott family removed back to Lancaster. There are legends of John Prescott going about in his chain mail and sword to defend himself against another Indian attack. Unfortunately he was killed in another Indian massacre in 1681, along with his grandson, Ephraim Sawyer. There were many Indian raids through the years, killing many members of the Prescott family in Lancaster. One of those legends is in the book The Wheeler Family of Rutland, Massachusetts by Daniel Merrick Wheeler, 1924 : “John was a sturdy, strong man of stern countenance, and whenever he had any difficulty with the Indians he would clothe himself with his coat of mail, helmet, cuirass, and gorget, which gave him a fierce and frightful appearance. They having once stolen from him a horse, he put on his armour and pursued them; and in a short time overtook the party. They were surprised to see him along, and a chief approached him with uplifted tomahawk. John told him to strike, which he did, and finding the blow made no impression on his cap, he was much astonished… They gave him up his horse, thinking him to be a supernatural being.” John Prescott has no surviving headstone, but a memorial was erected at the Old Burial Ground in Lancaster and it reads: “Here with his children about him lies John Prescott Founder of Lancaster and first settler of Worcester County Born at Standish Lancashire England Died at Lancaster Massachusetts Dec. 1681 Inspired by the love of liberty and the fear of God This stout hearted pioneer Forsaking the pleasant vales of England And encountered wide beast and savage to secure freedom for himself and his posterity His faith and virtues have been inherited by many descendants who in every generation have well served the state In war, in literature, at the bar, in the pulpit, in public life, And in Christian homes” There are many books about John Prescott and his family history. There is an old book The Prescott Memorial or a Genealogical Memoir of the Prescott Families in America in Two Parts, by William Prescott, MD, 1870 that is fairly reliable. You can read it at Google Books. There is another book The Descent of John Prescott, Founder of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1645, from Alfred the Great, King of England by Frederick Lewis Weis, 1948 is less reliable on the English origins of this family, as is the update published in 1957. You will have better luck reading up on the descendants of John Prescott in the town histories of Lancaster, the town military annals, and in the various vital records of the town. Randy Seaver, author of the genealogy blog “GeneaMusings” www.geneamusings.com is also a descendant of John Prescott, and has written several blog posts about him. Another descendant is genealogy blogger Bill West at “West in New England” http://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/ There are many famous Prescott descendants including Colonel William Prescott of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Doctor Samuel Prescott who accompanied Paul Revere during the Lexington alarm, and William H. Prescott, historian of Mexico and Peru. My Prescott genealogy (note that at least five people named below died in massacres): Generation 1: John Prescott, born about 1604 in Standish, Lancastershire, England, died 20 December 1681 in Lancaster, Massachusetts; married on 11 April 1629 in Sowerby, Halifax, Yorkshire, England to Mary Platts alias Gawkroger. She was born 15 May 1607 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England and died after 1678 in Lancaster, England. Eight children, the first four baptized in England. 1. Mary, (see below) My 8th great grandmother. 2. Martha, bap. 11 March 1632, m. John Rugg, died after childbirth in 1656 3. John, bap. 1 Paril 1635, m. Sarah Hayward 4. Sarah, bap. 1637, m1. Richard Wheeler who was killed in the Lancaster Indian massacre of 1676, m2 Joseph Rice 5. Hannah, probably b. Barbados 1639, m. John Rugg her sister’s widower. He was killed in the :amcaster Indian massacre of 1697. 6. Lydia, b. 15 August 1641 m1 Jonas Fairbank who was killed with son Joshua in Lancaster Indian massacre of 1676. (see below) She is my 8th great aunt and also my 9th great grandmother. 7. Jonathan, b. about 1640 m1. Dorothy Unknown, m2 Elizabeth Hoar, m3 Rebecca Bulkeley, m4 Ruth Brown 8. Jonas, b. 1648 in Lancaster, m. Mary Loker 1st lineage: Generation 2: Mary Prescott, baptized on 24 February 1630 in Sowerby, died in April 1716 in Lancester, Massachusetts; married on 2 July 1648 in Rowley, Massachusetts to Thomas Sawyer, born 1616 in England, died 12 September 1706 in Lancaster. Thirteen children. Generation 3: Joshua Sawyer m. Sarah Wright Generation 4: Mary Sawyer m. Robert Converse
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