Martha Abbott (1755-1842) and John Prescott (1752-1842)
Generation Five Family 392
MARTHA ABBOTT (John4, Joshua3, John2, George1), b. at Westford, 17 Sep 1755 daughter of John and Hannah (Richardson) Abbott; d. at Reading, 20 Oct 1842; m. 16 Nov 1776, JOHN PRESCOTT, b. 25 Apr 1752 son of Jonas and Rebecca (Jones) Prescott; John d. 30 Oct 1842.
Martha and John Prescott raised their family of seven children in Westford. They were married just one month short of 66 years and died 10 days apart in 1842. John was a successful farmer and the family was able to send three of their sons to Harvard. Each of those sons became attorneys.
Deacon John Prescott wrote his will 5 June 1830. The will includes bequests to his wife Martha, son Joshua Prescott, son Aaron Prescott, grandson John Samuel Prescott son of his deceased son Samuel, John Samuel’s sister Sarah (daughter of Samuel), son John Prescott (his legacy to be held in a trust for his support), after son John’s death his portion to his daughter Martha Ann Prescott, daughter Hannah Prescott (also held in trust), and son Thomas Prescott (also in trust) and after Thomas’s death his portion to his son Aaron Prescott and Thomas’s two daughters. The legacies are monetary and are to be obtained from the sale of the estate. The legacies to John, Hannah, and Thomas each specify that they are to receive an annual interest payment from the principle of the legacy which is to be paid by the executor. John Abbot of Westford was named executor. However, at the time of John Prescott’s death in 1842, John Abbot declined this responsibility and son Aaron became administrator of the estate. The personal estate was valued at $2,561.64 and the real estate at $10 (for the pew in the first parish meeting house in Westford). (1) It is not known why the legacies of three of the children were to be held in trust but this suggests that these children were having some difficulties.
Martha and John Prescott had seven children whose births are recorded at Westford.
1. JOHN PRESCOTT, b. 25 Sep 1779; d. at Westford, 25 Jul 1847; m. 20 Aug 1801, ANNA KEYES, b. at Westford, 27 Oct 1780 daughter of Joseph and Ruth (Forbush) Keyes; Anna d. 21 Jan 1802. John did not remarry after Anna’s death. They had one daughter, Martha Ann Prescott.
2. JOSHUA PRESCOTT, b. 15 Nov 1780; d. at North Reading, 1 Jan 1859; m. 5 Jan 1813, ABIGAIL EATON, b. at Reading, 3 Jan 1785 daughter of Thomas and Abigail (Bryant) Eaton; Abigail d. 4 Feb 1867. Joshua graduated from Harvard in 1807 and taught school for three years in Saco, ME. He studied law with Judge James Prescott and later established a practice in Reading. He was a representative to the State legislature in 1827 and 1828. He also had an interest in agriculture and supervised his successful farm. (2) Joshua and Abigail had five children one of whom died in infancy. Joshua’s son Thomas married his first cousin Abigail Eaton Prescott the daughter of Thomas Prescott. (3)
3. SAMUEL PRESCOTT, b. 8 Jan 1782; d. at Keene, NH, 13 Nov 1813; m. about 1806, FRANCES JOHNSON, b. at Hampstead, NH, 6 Nov 1786 daughter of Moses and Sally (Holland) Johnson. It is not known if Frances remarried after Samuel’s death. After graduating Harvard in 1799, Samuel was for one year a school teacher in Keene. (4) He then studied law and was a counselor of the Superior Court in New Hampshire in 1806. He obtained a master’s degree from Harvard in 1807. (5) For a time, he worked with his father, Moses Johnson, in New York but later returned to Keene. (6) Samuel left two children, Sara Elizabeth Prescott and John Samuel Prescott. Two other children died in infancy.
4. STEPHEN PRESCOTT, b. 29 Aug 1784; d. at Westford, 7 Oct 1808.
5. HANNAH PRESCOTT, b. 8 Aug 1786; d. at Reading, 27 Dec 1841. Hannah did not marry.
6. AARON PRESCOTT, b. 19 Nov 1787; d. at Randolph, 24 Nov 1851. Aaron did not marry. After graduating from Harvard in 1814, Aaron was the preceptor of Framingham Academy for one year. He then studied law and established a practice in Randolph. He served as a representative to the State legislature. (7)
7. THOMAS PRESCOTT, b. 30 May 1791; d. at Westford, 27 Aug 1854; m. 8 Dec 1814, SARAH “SALLY” HALE, b. at Stow, MA, 12 May 1793 daughter of Charles and Dorcas (Randall) Hale; (8) Sally d. at Reading, 15 Jun 1857. Thomas’s three children were Aaron Abbot Prescott, Sarah Ann Hale Prescott, and Abigail Eaton Prescott.
1) Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871. Probate of John Prescott, 1842, Case number 39758.
2) Palmer, Necrology of Alumni of Harvard College 1851-1852 to 1862-3, pp 234-5
3) Prescott, The Prescott Memorial, https://archive.org/stream/prescottmemorial00pres#page/n177/mode/2up
4) Griffin, A history of the Town of Keene from 1732, p 338
5) Harvard University, Quinquennial Catalogue
6) Bell, The Bench and Bar of New Hampshire, p 597
7) Palmer, Necrology of Alumni of Harvard College, 1851-1852 to 1862-63, p 7
8) The 1815 probate record of Charles Hale includes Thomas Prescott signing as an heir.