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Horace A. Prentice of Pittsfield, MA

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Horace A. Prentice of Pittsfield, Berkshire, MA
Is he related to George, Frederick, Ben and Walter also of Pittsfield?
Winter 1999 and Revised:1 Jul 2004

Update: This article has been replaced by an article on Erastus Prentice of Pittsfield, MA which can be found in our Winter 2002 issue.

We have been working with Frederick Harold Printiss II who has provided much information about his family tree. Here is what we have so far:

1. Erastus Prentis. We don't know for sure when or where Erastus Prentis was born, but it may have been about 1785-1800. Frederick Harold Printiss II, a descendant, suggests an approximate date of 1799. Erastis d. Oct 1834. The name, Erastus, comes from the Greek language and means "beloved."

Erastus may, or may not, be the Erastus Prentice shown in the IGI who m. Betsey Rise, or Rix, on 8 Aug 1805 at Preston, New London, CT. And he may, or may not, be the Erastus Prentice who served in the War of 1812. By 1848 he was living in Pittsfield where his daughter, Frances died of smallpox, although he may have lived in Pittsfield much earlier.

We do know that Erastus married Elizabeth/Eliza Luce who was a member of the Congregational Church. Children (surname spelling provided by Fred Printiss in his email of 6 Mar 2002 based on the spelling in original records):

  1. Horace A.Prentis, b. 3 May 1825 and d. 16 Mar 1907. . . . . . . [2]
  2. Charles Printis, b. 1 Apr 1827 and d. 15 Feb 1898. . . . . . . . [3]
  3. George Printiss, b. 25 Sep 1829. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [4]
  4. Henry Printiss, b. 11 Mar 1832. He m. Mary Lowell in 1851 in Lebanon, NY. It is not known if they had children.
  5. Frances Printiss, b. c. 11 Jan 1834 and d. of smallpox on 15 Jan 1848, age 14 years 4 days.
  6. Eleazar Printiss. He served in the Civil War as a member of 27th MA. Died as a prisoner in Andersonville of starvation. Fred Printiss indicates that Eleazar did not marry

2. Horace A.Prentis, b. 3 May 1825 (the 1900 census says May 1823) and d. 16 Mar 1907. He m. Eliza Ann Wilbur in 1851 in Lebanon NY. Fred Prentiss advises that Horace was the oldest of Erastus' children. He was a machinist and lived at 8 Francis Ave. in Pittsfield, MA. Horace appears in the 1850 Pittsfield, Berkshire, MA census, unmarried, and in and 1900 Pittsfield, Berkshire, MA census with his wife.

He m. Elizabeth Ann Wilber, (called Ann E. B. in the 1900 census)in 1851 in Lebanon, NY. She was b. 3 Jul 1833, NY, had lived in Chatham, NY, and d. 18 Nov 1907. Their known children are:

  1. (infant) Prentice. Fred Printiss says she d. at birth on 10 Nov 1852.
  2. Frank Printiss, b. 12 Oct 1853.
  3. Grace Amandy Prentice, b. Sep 1851, MA and d. 28 Dec 1913. At home in 1900.
  4. Maria E. Prentice, b. Nov. 1853. She m. Bennoni Romaine Powell (called Romaine B. Powell in the 1900 census), b. Apr 1856, VT and they were living with her parents in 1900.
  5. Etta Nancy Prentice, b. Sep 1863, MA. She m. 1st Henry D. Eddy who d. 25 Nov 1893. In 1900 she was living with her parents. She later m. 2nd Ernest E. Cleveland. Buried in Pittsfield, MA. They had 5 children, including:
    1. Ester Eddy. She m. Mr. Hunt.
  6. Frank Howard Printiss, b. 10 Feb 1865 and d. 18 Feb 1887. He was a carpenter and lived on Pearl Street in Pittsfield.

3. Charles H. Printis, b. 1 Apr 1827, Dalton (per his obituary) and d. 15 Feb 1898 at the age of 71. Charles was a tailor and his family lived on Pearl Street in Pittsfield and they also had a business at 53 North St (the main street in Pittsfield). Charles served in the Civil War in the Mass. infantry, Co K 8th regiment and was at the battle of Gettysburg. Fred Printiss has artifacts that Charles brought home with him from Gettysburg.

He m. Mary Curtiss of Dalton on 14 Dec 1852 in the M.E. Church of Pittsfield by the Rev B Hauley, pastor. She was b. 1824 and d. 13 Feb 1917 at the age of 93. Mary was a seamstress. Children (per Frank Prentiss, email, 6 Mar 2002):

  1. Benjamin Bevin Printiss, b. aft. 1852. . . . . . . . . [5]
  2. Frederick Huntington Printiss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[6]
  3. Frank Printiss.
  4. Frank Howard Printiss.

4. George Printiss, b. 25 Sep 1829. He was in the Navy and died at sea. He lived at 10 Francis Ave., Pittsfield, MA. Fred Prentiss indicates George did not marry. But, if he did, for a possible son, see George L.Prentiss, below.

5. Benjamin Bevin Printiss, b. 2 Sep 1867 and d. 1 May 1937.He appears in the 1900 & 1920 Pittsfield census. He was a Reporter for the Pittsfield Journal. Members of the First Baptist Church, they lived at 4 Pearl Street. He wrote the reviews of the plays that were in the local theater. If his review was good, the play would go to Boston and NY. He and his wife attended these plays dressed in the latest fashions. Actors and Actresses vied for his attention and followed his reviews, he had many known photos and autographs on the wall of his office.

He m. Dorothea Helena Wackler of Troy NY. She was b. Apr 1868, NJ. Children:

  1. Frederick Harold Printiss, b. Mar 1888, MA and living in 1937. He is likely Fred Printiss' grandfather.
  2. Hazel Theodora Printiss, b. Jan 1895, MA and living in 1937. She m. Mr. Belfit.
  3. Lola Marie Printiss, b. Oct 1895, MA and d. at a young age.

6. Frederick Huntington Printiss, b. 30 Jan 1859 and d. 10 Feb 1934. He appears in the 1900 and 1920 Pittsfield census

He m. Sarah E. Holloran on 26 Jan 1886 in Boston. She was b. Nov 1864.

In his life, Fred was know as a survivor: being in an accident on the railroad when he was a youth which left him with his right arm and his right leg. It is said that "he never wore an overcoat! even on the coldest days". He made up for this terrible loss by turning to reading: he had amassed a library of more than 7,000 volumes, many of them rare and first editions.

Fred was the town clerk for over 56 years, title searcher and maker of abstracts at the Berkshire County Courthouse and one of the most picturesque characters in the city. He searched the titles of property all over Massachusetts, several other states in New England and New York State. He was consulted by attorneys from many distant cities. He had been retained by large Corporations, wealthy men, cities and towns, and by courts. There is hardly a piece of property in all of Berkshire County, or for the Western half of Massachusetts for that matter, which was not known intimately by Mr Printiss. In his efforts, he amassed 160 volumes of over 300 pages each. In all of this his accuracy had never been challenged. Children:

  1. Charles C. Printiss, b. Nov 1888, MA. At his father's death in 1934 he lived in Quincy, MA.
  2. Sarah/Sadie A. Printiss, b. Jun 1889, MA. She m. Mr. Conner. She appears in the 1920 Pittsfield census in the home of her parents without a husband, but with a son. In 1934 she lived in Pittsfield, MA.
    1. Paul C. Conner, b. c. 1917, NY. `
  3. Mary E. Printiss, b. Sep 1893, MA. She is likely the Ethel Printiss mentioned in her father's obituary and in 1934 she lived in Pittsfield, MA.
  4. Fred H. Printiss Jr., b. Jul 1896, MA. In 1934 he lived in Pittsfield.
  5. Margaret L. Printiss, b. c. 1913, MA.
  6. Albert E. Printis, b. c. 1919, MA. . . . . . . . . . . . [7]
Also living in Frederick's household is Mary C. Printiss, b. Aug 1830, MA. She is likely Frederick's mother.

7. Albert E. Prentiss, b. c. 1919, MA. By email of 6 Jan 2001, Paul Printiss of Gulf Breeze, FL indicates that Albert is probably Paul's grandfather. If so, Albert's children would include:

  1. Frederick Harold Printiss, II
    1. Frederick Harold Printiss, III
    2. Paul Printiss of Gulf Breeze, FL

Other Pittsfield Families

Also living in Pittsfield in 1900 is an additional family, and an additional Prentice, whose relationship to Horace, if any, is unknown. They are:

  1. George L. Prentiss, b. Dec 1858, MA. He appears in the 1900 Pittsfield census with his wife, Rose, b. Jul 1861, MA. Children:
    • William L. Prentice, b. Jul 1882, MA.
    • Minnie M. Prentice, b. May 1886
    Also living in George's household is Mary Prentice, identified by the 1900 census as George's mother. It might be that George's father is the George Printiss, above, b. 25 Sep 1829 and who lived in Pittsfield and died at sea. If true, that Mary may be the 1829 George's wife.

  2. Walter M. Prentice, b. Aug 1870, MA. He appears in the 1900 Pittsfield census as a boarder in the home of Ralph M. Dowlin.

George and Frederick might be brothers, but only if their census birth dates in error since they are only a month apart.

Correspondence:   If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

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