Tuesday, August 14, 2007


My Dad's parents were William Edward Prescott and Erma Ruby Morrow Prescott. My grandmother, b. 1904 in Missouri, is pictured wearing the navy blue and white polka dot dress that I remember her wearing when I last saw her. She died in 1958.

My grandfather, b. 1904 in Colorado, was the oldest of four children born to William Addison Prescott, b. 1866 in Wisconsin, and Cora Bubb Prescott, b. 1876 in Illinois. William E., Charles A., Lyman S., and Mildred E. Prescott were orphaned in Denver in 1910. Mildred was adopted. My grandfather hated life in his Catholic orphanage and was placed in the George W. Clayton College for Boys in Denver in November 1911. He was discharged in 1922 when he entered the Army. In the Army he took up boxing and fought under the name "Soldier Prescott." In 1926 he was honorably discharged from the Army and began to box professionally under the name "Billy Bubb." Once a sparring partner to Jack Dempsey, they were friends until death. When he gave up boxing, my grandfather moved to Pueblo, Colorado to work in the steel mill. When he retired, he moved to California. He died in 1983.

The names of my great-grandfather's parents have been a mystery to my family until last week when I managed to track down some genealogical information on the web.

William A. Prescott, age 14, born in 1866 in Wisconsin is listed in the 1880 U.S. Census Records from Lima, Pepin, Wisconsin under the household of George Coles, age 50, born in New York and Sarah Coles, age 56, born in Canada. In the same household is a Laura E.(Elvira?) Prescott, age 22, born in Wisconsin and a George H. Cole, age 9, born in Wisconsin. The father's birthplace for the children is listed as Vermont. The mother's birthplace is listed as Canada. That suggests that Sarah is the mother of the Prescott children, but George is not the father.

If the sources I've discovered are correct, the 1860 U.S. Census Records from Wisconsin must show a Sarah Barnard Prescott, age 36, born in Canada listed as the wife of a Lyman Prescott, age 40, born in Vermont with a daughter named Laura Alvira Prescott, age 2, born in Wisconsin. William A. Prescott (my great-grandfather) was not born until 1866. By the time of the 1870 Census, Lyman and Sarah had split up.

Here's a link to Lyman Prescott, b. 1820, in Richard Prescott Bale's online family history. From there you can follow the lineage of fathers in my family tree all the way back to William De Prestcote, b. before 1195.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Roots are important. Some of mine have been hard to track down--records destroyed in fires. Also, some of my ancestors came to the U.S. fleeing situations elsewhere and changed names or avoided as many official documents as possible. So, there are gaps.

I'm glad you are managing to fill in some of yours. I have often thought that at least some of the problems afflicting African-American youth was a loss of roots. Very few families were able to be as successful as Alex Haley in finding their connections back to Africa.
While it is very true that where we are going is more important than where we have come, knowing our roots can very much shape our paths to the future. Your discoveries may help not just you, but future generations of Prescotts.

vhutchison said...

Bruce: Yes, roots are both important and interesting. However, going back as far as 1195 is mostly meaningless from a genetic standpoint. Likely descendants of that ancestor today have no (or very, very few) genes based on the math involved of how genes are passed down through many generations. Indeed, it is said that one-half of the population of the earth today can claim Charlemagne (742-814 AD) as an ancestor based on genealogy!