John Prescott was born May 1604 in Shevington, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom to Ralph Prescott (1569-) and Elene Prescott (1569-) and died 20 December 1681 Lancaster, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. He married Mary Platts Gawkroger (1607-1688) 11 April 1626 in Sowerby, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom.

Biography

John Prescott was a founder of Lancaster, Massachusetts. He was born around 1605 in Shevington, England and died 20 Dec, 1681 in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He is buried in Old Settlers Burial Yard, Lancaster, Worcester Co, Massachusetts.

John Prescott left England to avoid persecution. In 1638 he landed at Barbados, where he bought land. In 1640 he came to New England and settled in Watertown. In 1643, with Thomas King and others, he purchased 'Nashaway' (a part of which is now Lancaster), and became one of the earliest settlers.

At the time of his death, in 1683, his family had become one of the wealthiest and most influential in Massachusetts.

Lancastershire Ancestry

Parents: Ralph Prescott b. before 16 Jun, 1569, d. 24 Jan, 1608/1609 and Elene (?) b. circa 1580, d. 18 Nov, 1643. Of John Prescott's ancestry much has been written but not all with proof. He was of a Lancashire family.

According to societies like "The Order of The Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America", John Prescott's father was Sir Ralph Prescott and his mother was wife Ellen.

Watertown Founders Monument

Watertown Founders Monument

He is listed on Watertown Founders Monument, commemorating the first settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. The town was first known as Saltonstall Plantation, one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements. Founded in early 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and George Phillips, it was officially incorporated that same year. The alternate spelling "Waterton" is seen in some early documents.

Founder of Lancaster MA

Memorial plaque and gravestone for John Prescott at Lancaster's Old Settlers Burial Yard.

John and Mary were in Watertown, MA in 1640 and moved from there to the Nashaway Plantation in 1643 which was later to become Lancaster. Jonas was born here before Lancaster was incorporated so his birth was registered in Groton.

Nourse, in his 'Annals of Lancaster' says the town would have been named 'Prescott' had its founder been a freeman; but he had never given public adhesion to the established church covenant, and was therefore incapable of voting or holding office. In 1669, however, he was admitted freeman. He was a farmer, blacksmith and millwright.

John Prescott was a heroic figure in the early history of Lancaster and Groton. He brought with him a metallic coat of mail, which he sometimes wore when dealing with the savages; this served to impress them, as his force, capacity and judgment did his white neighbors. Nourse calls him an 'ideal pioneer' a 'true builder of the nation.'

King Philip's War

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King Philip's War (1675-1678) was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day New England and English colonists and their Native American allies. The war continued in the most northern reaches of New England until the signing of the Treaty of Casco Bay in April 1678.

He distinquished himself for bravery and leadership in King Philip's War. He served in the garrison at Lancaster and in the defense of the town against the Indians on August 21, 1675 and February 10, 1676.

Marriage and Family

Marriage: Mary Gawkroger (alias Platt) (b. 7 Feb, 1607, d. 20 Oct, 1688) Apr 11 1629 (ALT date: 21 Jan,1629) in Wygan, Lancashire, Sowerby, England. She was the fourth child of James and Martha (Ainsworth) Gawkroger, and was baptized at Sowerby, Halifax parish, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 15 Mar, 1607.

John and Mary (Platt) Prescott had eight known children. The first five of their children were born in England except their child Hannah, who was probably born in Barbados, West Indies, 1639.

There is a son Joseph in some records (probable there was no son & his existence is due to clerks error in early history of Concord MA). There may have been two other children who died in infancy in England.

They were:

  1. Mary Prescott (1630-1716) - Born in Yorkshire England
  2. Martha Prescott (1632-1656) - Born in Yorkshire England
  3. Lydia Prescott (1633-1634) - Born in Yorkshire England
  4. John Prescott (1635-1710) - Born in Yorkshire England
  5. Sarah Prescott (1637-1727) - Born in Yorkshire England
  6. Hannah Prescott (1639-1697) - Born in Barbados
  7. Lydia Prescott (1641-1723) - Born in Watertown MA
  8. Jonathan Prescott (1643-1721) - Born in Watertown MA
  9. Joseph Prescott (1645-1732) - Born in Concord MA
  10. Jonas Prescott (1648-1723) - Born in Lancaster MA, birth listed in Groton MA records because Lancaster was not a registered township in 1648.



Children



Offspring of John Prescott and Mary Platts Gawkroger (1607-1688)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Mary Prescott (1630-1716)
Martha Prescott (1632-1656)
Lydia Prescott (1633-1634)
John Prescott (1635-1710)
Sarah Prescott (1637-1727) 1637 Halifax, England 25 August 1714 Massachusetts Richard Wheeler (1611-1676)
Hannah Prescott (1639-1697)
Lydia Prescott (1641-1723) 15 August 1641 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts 21 December 1723 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Jonas Fairbanks (1625-1676)
Jonathan Prescott (1643-1721) 1644 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts 5 December 1721 Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Dorothy Heald (1649-1674) Dorothy Heald (1649-1674) Elizabeth Hoar (1646-1697)
Joseph Prescott (1645-1732)
Jonas Prescott (1648-1723)










Siblings

Notable Descendants

John Prescott had a numerous family of descendants, many of whom have been persons of great ability and distinction.

  • His great-grandson, Colonel William Prescott, was chief in command at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  • Another descendant was William H. Prescott, the famous historian of the 'Conquest of Mexico,' 'Conquest of Peru.'

Famous Descendants are President George HW Bush, President George W Bush, Senator Prescott Bush, Governor Jeb Bush, Poet Robert Frost, and Samuel Prescott (Completed Paul Revere's Midnight Ride)

Vital Records

Lancaster Gravestone

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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 TOOK UP HIS ABODE IN THE UNBROKEN FOREST AND ENCOUNTERED WILD 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

References


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Footnotes (including sources)

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