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Robert Prentiss of Moreton, Washington Co., VT

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Robert Prentiss of Moreton, Washington Co., VT
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr.
Fall 2002 and Revised 15 Dec 2008

Update of 15 Dec 2008: This article is now replaced by our Spring 2009 article entitled William Prentice of Moreton, Washington Co., VT .
Note:   This is an update of an article which first appeared in our Summer 1997 issue.

Note:   Robert Prentice, #1 below, is almost certainly connected to the unpublished "Hoggs as Prentices" article in our Summer 2001 issue because of frequent letter exchanges between the wife of Robert's son, Austin, and Luther Prentice. Robert's father has not yet been identified with certainty, but he may be William Prentiss, #3ii, in the Hogg-Prentice line who has a son, Robert, with an as-yet unknown birth date.

1. Robert Prentiss, a farmer, born c. 1794 and either in MA (per 1850 census) or NH (per 1860 census). His wife, Mary/Polly Luce (per IGI), was b. c. 1799 in MA. She is described by Luther Prentiss in his letter of 22 Jun 1818 as "a clever girl but very homley." They appear in both the 1850 & 1860 Moreton, Washington Co., VT census. Their children, all born in Vermont, include:

  1. Austin Gaylord Prentiss, b. c. 1821. . . . . . . . . . [2]
  2. Esther Ann Prentiss, b. c. 1826.
  3. Augustus Prentiss, b. c. 1829. He m. Mary, b. c. 1832, VT. In 1860 Moretown census. He appears in the 1880 Moreton census with his wife and a daughter:
    1. Jennie L. Prentiss, b. c. 1869, VT.
  4. Elizabeth Prentiss, b. c. 1832.
  5. Norman G. Prentiss, b. Sep 1834. . . . . . . . . . . . [3]
  6. Mary S. Prentiss, b. c. 1839.
  7. William Prentice, b. c. 1841. . . . . . . . . . [4]

2. Austin Gaylord Prentiss, b. c. 1821. He m. Lucy A., b. c. 1834, VT. For a copy of Lucy's letters to Luther R. Prentice, see Appendix A . According to the 1880 and 1900 Moreton census, Austin's family is as follows:

  1. Katie B. Prentiss, b. c. 1861, VT.
  2. Georgiana Prentiss, b. c. 1864, VT.
  3. Roger Gaylord Prentiss Jr., b. 23 Sep 1869, VT. He m. Gene/Genie A., b. Feb. 1879. Children (per 1900 and 1920 Johnson, Lamville Co., VT census):
    1. Catherine C. Prentiss, b. Aug. 1897, VT. Living in 1920.
    2. Roger Gaylord. Prentiss Jr., b. 6 Mar 1904 and d. 13 Dec 1961. He served as a Brig. General in the US Army and is bur. at Sec. 3, Site 4580-ES, ArlingtonNatl. Cem., Arlington, VA.
  4. Robert W. Prentiss, b. Nov 1872, VT. In 1900 Moretown census living with parents. In 1920 Middlebury, Addison Co., VT census living alone. He is probably the Robert Prentice described in the following obituary even though his father is identified as "Alonzo".
      Rutland Herald--May 31,1933

      MIDDLEBURY, May 30.--Dr.Robert Prentiss, 61, physician in Middlebury and vicinity for more than 30 years, died suddenly today at the boarding house of Mrs. Mary Church of Cottage street. His body was found four hours later in his room by Mrs.Church.

      Dr. Prentiss was born in Moretown, son of Alonzo and Lucy Bulkeley Prentiss. He was educated in the schools of Moretown, Montpelier and Barre and was graduated from the University of Maryland. After receiving his degree from Baltimore Medical college, he began the practice of medicine in Vermont, having served in several small communities.

      He has no near survivors. He was a member of several Masonic organizations. The body was taken to the Blackmer Undertakng rooms.

3. Norman G. Prentiss, b. Sep 1834. He does not appear in the 1880 census and was either missed or deceased. According to Lucy A. Prentiss' letter of 24 May 1893 in Fn. 1, below, Norman and his family moved to New Jersey where his wife had family. Norman appears in the 1880 Franklin, Gloucester Co., NJ census (where his name is spelled Printes), and in the 1900 Landis Twp., Cumberland Co., NJ census (where his name is spelled Prentis) with his wife, Nellie, b. Dec 1844 in VT, and children:

  1. William Printes, b. c. 1868, VT. He is probably the William R. Prentice, b. 18 Jan 1869, VT, who appears in the 1900 and 1920 Harvard Vineland, Cumberland Co., NJ census as a house carpenter with his wife, Nellie (Lamb?), b. Sep 1869, NJ, and daughters:
    1. Cornelia Prentice, b. Aug 1895, VT.
    2. Anna Prentiss, b. c. 1906, NJ.
    Also living with the family is Alice W. Lamb, a sister in law.
  2. Albert Printes, b. c. 1869, VT.
  3. Mary E. Printes, b. c. 1874, VT.
  4. Mattie E. Printes, b. Dec 1876, NJ.
  5. Rufus Prentis, b. Sep 1880, NJ. He appears in the 1920 Millville, Cumberland Co., NJ census where he spells his name Prentiss, with his wife, Eva, b. c. 1873. No children are shown.

4. William Prentice, b. c. 1841. He may be the same William Prentice who m. Martha Liscomb, dau. of Charles Liscomb and Mary Ann Clark, on 6 Jan 1866 in Moreton, Washington Co., VT. They may be the same couple who appear in the 1880 Dunlap, Harrison Co., IA census. William was b. c. 1844 in VT and his wife, Martha (perhaps erroneously called Nat), was b. c. 1845 in VT. Their children shown in the 1880 census are:

  1. Minnie Prentice, b. c. 1870, WI.
  2. Myrtle/Myrtie Prentice, b. c. 1873, IA. She might be the Myrtle B. Prentice who m. William G. Hartshorn on 2 Apr 1891 in Marion Co., IA.

Also shown in the 1880 census as living with William's family were:

  1. Matilda Hopkins, b. c. 1852 in VT, called a sister in law.
  2. Mary Hopkins, b. c. 1871 in WI, called a niece.
  3. Gertie Hopklins, b. c. 1875 in WI, called a niece.

Who are Robert's Parents and Kin?

Robert Prentiss may be a brother of William Prentice who is also in that same Moreton census.

A review of the VT census records provided by Barbara Stephenson shows no families where the husband was born in MA and the wife in MA.

The 1850 Bennington, Bennington Co., VT census does, however, show an unmarried Nathaniel Prentiss, b. c. 1820 in MA who is living with his brother, George I.(?), b. c. 1823, VT. Nathaniel was a teamster and might have married soon after the census was taken. Nathaniel might, or might not, be #382/40i in our PRENTICE book

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com.

Appendix A: [Editor Note: We have inserted notes and added Comments to clarify relationships. Some of the notes refer to our unpublished Summer 2001 article about the Hogg family.]
Subject:            Re: Fran Rose re Austin Prentiss
      Date:            Sun, 12 Jan 2003 18:07:45 -0500
      From:            "Fran Rose" 

Joe, Thanks for replying to my message re Austin & Lucy Prentiss. My (Fran Rose's) husband's great-great grandfather was Luther Prentiss, b. July 20, 1803 in Acworth NH and d.Nov. 24, 1897 in Twinsburg. July 20 is really his birthday according to relatives who knew him and of course since passed on and according to letters to him from his children.

His father was John Hogg who married Mary Brown.

John was the son of Robert Hogg (#3) and Margaret Gregg. According to my records Robert and Margaret had as one of their 11 children a son names Robert (#3ix) who changed his name to Huntley and married Elenor Clark.

I don't think Austin was a son of this Robert as you may be able to tell from a copy of one of Lucy's letters to Luther R. Prentiss. [Comment: Agree, birth dates are c. 1771 vs. c. 1794]

I have much more information, more letters from Lucy and many from Luther's sister Sarah Prentiss Ayers (6ii). In these letters many folks are mentioned and I haven't been able to make the connection. I am also interested in sending copies of letters and in a few cases documents relating to and sent by these folks to their descendants. Your spelling is different from ours.

I do know that Luther's brother John (6iv) (who moved to LeRoy, OH and whose children wrote letters to Luther also which I have) may have at some time or another spelled his name Prentice. At least in the marriage record in Cleveland his marriage to Mahala Huntoon had it spelled Prentice.

I am enclosing [letters] I transcribed and was written by Lucy.


Letter 1:   Letter to Luther Prentiss from cousin Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown, VT dated May 24 1893. [Editor Note: We have inserted notes and added comments to clarify relationships.]

Moretown May 24-93

Dear Cousin [Luther]:

Yours received and for various reasons have neglected to answer till now. One of the reasons was Austin's sickness [Comment: he was then about 72]. He has had another siege with grippe, or LaGrippe, but is now well and hurrying to put his crops in to the ground. We have had such a late spring that everyone is in a hurry.

Comment: The letter is from Austin's wife, Lucy, who would be a "cousin in law." Austin would be Luther's cousin. We do not yet know whether he is a 1st cousin.

In your [Luther's earlier] letter you wanted to know about Paul and Anna Masons family.

Comment: Who are they? .

They had two children, Margaret (Mason) married Erastus Foster, she died about three years ago (c. 1890) leaving a husband and three children with families.

William [Mason?] is living, he has a house in Waterbury where his son's wife and child live and I think he makes his home there but works in a shop at Montpelier. He is a very good man and a smart man. He is foreman in the shop and get great wages. He visits us occasionally and we think much of him. His only child, a son, died a year ago. He was in the army and lost an arm and got a great pension but died of diphtheria, leaving one child.

Now I'm going to tell you of some more relations. I don't know whether you know of them or not.

One of our [Austin and Lucy's] sons [either Robert or Roger] was assistant Sergeant at Arms last fall and Summer Andrews a member (of the Legislature?) from Johnson came to him to inquire after the Prentisses here. He said his grandmother, I think it was, was a Hogg and was always anxious to hear from the family here.

This Summer Andrews has a brother, I believe it is, living at Montpelier whose name is Walter. He came to my daughter's husband last week saying he had just found that they were related now. I feel interested and would like to know who we sprung from.

Austin thinks this surname is a descendant from Abner Hogg who once said "he was born a Hogg and would die a Hogg" and that you [Luther] started from John Hogg that had his name changed [Comment: correct].

Then one had his name called Huntley [Comment: Robert, #3 & 3ix]. Uncle William's wife [born a Huntley?] descended from him and I've heard there was another had his name changed to something and Austin can't remember what it was. What in the world did they want to take so many different names for? I can't see.

In regard to Barnabas,

Comment: Who is he? Presumably they are connected with Austin's line.

he sold his farm well and the man paid down quite a sum but the opinion of some is that he will pay awhile and then have to give it up. But Barnabas has done well. He had hired a house in Middlesex and he and his wife live there.

About Norman's going to New Jersey, his wife had relatives there and that drew them there. I don't know much about them. The picture you sent, some of the family say looks natural but I don't remember your looks enough to tell and they say by all means ask you to send the one you spoke of if you can spare it. And if you shouldn't like to let me keep it I could return it. I would very much like to see it.

Comment: Norman is probably Norman G. Prentice, b. 1834, , brother of Austin.

Luther Woods is your (Luther Prentiss') nephew I believe.

Comment: A son of Luther's sister?

He visited us just before his wife died and I have not seen him since. But when he is in Montpelier he calls on our daughter and we hear from him through her. He was there lately and told her he was going to Chicago to the World's fair, how smart and well he is for a man of his age. I don't blame anyone for going that can.

The family here are all well as usual. Mother is just as smart as a trap. She was knitting her some stockings the other day when I was up there, almost 94 (b. c. 1799-1800).

Comment: Robert's (#1) wife, Mary (Austin's mother?), b. c. 1799. Or Lucy's mother?

It is wonderful. Her senses are all good excepting her hearing. Sne has to speak a trifle louder in talking with her. She is very much pleased to hear your letters read and I hope we shall have the privilege of gratifying her again. She is quite fleshy and heavy and they don't feel safe to have her walk around much without someone is near to steady her in case she stumbles.

Now about yourself [Luther], I hope this will find you well and happy or at least as happy as we can be here. You are almost to the end of your journey. Perhaps no nearer than I, yet it always seems that the old must go first. Though we know it isn't always so.

Mother [may be Lucy's mother] is living at 94 and William's only child has just died at 20. She was married last Dec. We have only just received the news. I should like to see and visit with you very much. I would ask you how all these long years seem to you and at what time in your life you was happiest. And if the day grows brighter and brighter as you near the end. Mother is just as happy. Says she is ready to go any time but is happy here. Her faith and trust is strong in the Lord.

Now cousin, I don't want to write till you get tired of reading it. But if I could see you I think I could say many things that I won't write

Austin has his potatoes all in and is planting corn today. I expect you western farmers would laugh to see our little pieces of corn. But where you have 80 acres of corn you don't plant it with the hoe. I expect you haven't anything to do but read and write and rest. So we shall expect a long letter from you with our genealogy all traced out. Accept kind regards from Austin and I

Your cousin Lucy A. Prentiss


Letter 2:   Letter to Luther R. Prentiss from Luther Angier folded letter with 10c postage written on address side. Return address is from Westport, NY

Westport November the 14th 1847

Mr. Prentiss sir I received a few lines from you last June requesting me to write you but at that time we had not heard from New Hampshire for about one year and I was a contemplating to go to New Hampshire therefore I waited untill this time

Sally and I visited that place in September Found all well and alive but Mother Huntly she died the fifth of July last but we had not heard of her death untill we had got to Andover. VT where Dana Dodge lives that married Clarisa Huntly

you requested me to write all about Fathers Huntly family As for Robert Clark Huntly he left Westport eighteen years ago last September and we have not heard from him since or nothing that we could depend upon he was seen in Troy a few days after he left here He said then he was going to Rochester in this state and this is all I know about him

Allen is married and lives in Alstew (?)

Levi the youngest is married and lives at the papermill in Alstew (?)

Lucy the youngest girl married George Watts and lived at Drewsville (?) in Walpole

John Chandler that married she that was Eleanor Huntly is dead he died the tenth of October a few days after we left there

Uncle Samuel Prentiss lives in Walpole Aunt Liddy is not very well

William and Lucinda Prentiss was well a few weeks ago,

now I will tell you about my family we have had six children four sons and two daughters the oldest was daughter She married a man by the name of Samuel Mather My daughter she did not live but about eighteen months after she was married. She left one child and she lives with me She died with the throat ail she died five years ago last March

my oldest son is married and lives in this town he has two children my next oldest son is deaf and he lives with me he was sick when he was six years old and he has never heard since he is now twenty eight years old I would now give all that I am worth if it would be the means of making him hear

my next son is married and lives in this town

my next is a daughter she is not married and lives at home

my next was a son he died when he was ten years old he died with a tumor in his bowels he has been dead eight years

my childrens names are as follows with Emily, Luther, Aaron and George and Margaret and Allen. I was very glad to receive a letter from you and hope it will not be the last and should be very great to have a visit from you and if not a visit I hope you will write again we are all well at this time I shall now close by wishing you well and piece and prosperity in this world and in the world to come life everlasting

Yours in the best bonds of friendship
Luther Angier

Luther Prentiss N B Your cousin Sally sends her best respects to and your family and my daughter Margaret also send her respects to all I should be glad to know where your sister Betsey is please write


Letter 3:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from his cousin Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated March 5 1893

Moretown March 5 1893

Dear Cousin

Your letter of the 3rd is at hand. We were greatly surprised and gratified to receive it and as you asked for information about the "Prentiss breed" I will endeavor to tell you.

Uncle William & Aunt Lucinda died several years ago leaving one cihld (Amelia) and a nice property by mismanagement the property was wasted and she died a few weeks ago on the town. The farm has gone into strangers hands.

Barnabas and Martha are all there is left of that family. Barnabas wife has been unwell for the past year and he has sold his farm and moved from it this spring. He has four children, all away from home.

Now I come to father Prentiss's family. Father died of cancer on his face, fourteen years ago. Mother is living yet and will be 94 years old next August. It is wonderful how she retains her faculties. She reads and keeps up with all the topics of the day. Understands everything as well as she ever did. Is but slightly deaf. She doesn't go out of doors but walks around in the house. She was very much pleased to hear from you.

Augustine (#1iii) died five years ago. His widow is married again.

Esther (#1ii) (Mrs. Hathaway) is a widow, her husband died two years ago leaving her property in the vicinity of twenty thousand dollars. She is living with her son and his wife (she has only one child)

Elizabeth (#1iv) is married, lives next door to Esther.

Mary (#1v) is married and mother lives with her. All three of the girls live near together in the village. Mary and Elizabeth never had children.

Norman is living in New Jersey. Has several children.

William (#1vii and 4) died in Dunlap, Iowa four years ago.

Austin was out there six years ago. I think you was here in 1860 the year we was married. We have three children living

our oldest, a girl (Katie) is married. Lives in Montpelier,

the next, a son (Roger, #2iii), he is studying medicine. Is now in college this is his second year.

The youngest son (Robert) is a clerk but we have no grandchildren. Though we are old enough to have some.

Austin is most 72 and I most 59. Mother has no great grandchildren and but eight-grandchildren and they have all come here since you was here.

Now I want to compliment you on your smooth plain written letter. It makes me feel ashamed to write to you. I write so uneven. Mother (apparently referring to Mary Luce) hasn't as much as written her name for thirty years. She is cared for just like a baby which is as it should be for after a person has lived ninety years of toil, care and trouble the remainder should be made pretty smooth for them.

You will see by this that there is only two of Austin's generation that bear the Prentiss name. And three of the next. I remember you very well and should like to see you. I think we might have a good visit for old people like me pretty well. There is an old gentleman living next neighbor to us that will be 93 this summer that visits me half a day at a time and he says I cheer him up when I call in to see him.

I haven't told you that Austin lost the sight of his right eye about two years ago. It was a terrible shock to him and he has never been as well since. I do all his writing now. He and I live here alone. The children spend their vacations with us. How we should like to have you visit us but I suppose that is impossible.

Where is Ethan Prentiss? (Apparently referring to Ethen Prentiss, son of Luther's brother John. Ethen is #6(iv)(c)/ Won't he ever come east again? I hope you have not got tired of reading this and if we get an answer we shall think it is acceptable and if we never meet here on earth, I hope we shall live so we shall meet in heaven.

Austin wants me to write that the old place where we lived when you were here is deserted. And the buildings gone and says I have given you a general description of us here and would like the same of you. Send us a photo of yourself if you have a late one. We should be pleased to get one. I fear I have tired you so will close.

Your cousin Lucy A. Prentiss

I am afraid you won't know who it is writing if I don't sign Mr. & Mrs. Austin C. Prentiss instead of Lucy A.


Letter 4:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown, VT dated Aug. 13 1893

Aug. 13- 1893

Dear Cousin

Yours rec'd, I begin to feel afraid you will think I don't mean to send your picture back. But I have number of good excuses for my seeming neglect. Three weeks ago today Mother was taken very sick. So we thought it was not possible for her to live through the days for several days. But strange to say she is living still, such vitality; it seems wonderful, we think she can not live long. She has her mind perfectly dear and is ready when the summons comes. It is a great care for the girls. But they are all three in good circumstances to do it not having any other cares to keep them away. And I do what I can, three weeks ago I stayed with her from Sunday till Wednesday and go up as often as I can.

Austin is having a slight attack of neuralgia in his stomach so he has been under the weather for several days. These are some of my excuses.

Now cousin, did you wish me to send both of the photos & if so I will do so, but I didn't so understand it so have not sent but the one of four generations. I don't blame your daughter for wanting to keep it for they are both very rare pictures and we are very glad to have seen them.

We have had a very warm summer but no drought. The crops are all good. It seems pretty hot to enjoy traveling but our children start tomorrow for Chicago to the Fair. I couldn't be lured to go. I think you are pretty smart to go away from home if only 40 miles for Mother has not stepped on the ground for a long time.

I saw Barnabas a short time ago. His wife was here on a visit to us two days. They seem quite pleasantly situated and contented or at least when I asked if they was, they said they had to be. For the last five years they run behind on the farm and they thought best to get rid of it. So they tried to be contented.

I want to say once more that I thank you for sending the photos for us to see and if I misunderstood you about the one I have, will send it when I hear. I have friends in Nebraska that complain of hard times and tell how the miners are flooding the city. But whether the times have always been hard with us we don't see any differences or what the reason is. We seem to jog on in the old way. No great prosperity or adversity and try to be content when the change comes to Mother as it seems it soon must. I will write to you, with kind regards from Austin and I. I remain your cousin

Lucy A. Prentiss


Letter 5:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown, VT dated Oct. 18 1893

Dear Cousin

Ever since I got home and found you had been here I have meant to write. I want to tell you how sorry I was that I was away. It seems as though everything here at home went wrong.

Austin got sick and Mother had seemed just about the same for so long I didn't think but she would live till I got home and perhaps for several weeks longer and then you came. And I never should have thought it possible. If I hadn't had such a wonderfully good time while I was away I should have thought my visit was a failure but I did enjoy it so much.

Presume you know that I have always been a "home body" always thought I must "hold the fort" but this time the children persuaded me till I went and I enjoyed it all. The Fair, I won't say anything about for I dare say you hear enough about it but I want to tell you how the country looked to me. It was wonderfull, earth and sky meet in all directions and so flat, and such a sameness.

My (Lucy's) brother lives two miles from the city and I told him it was a road, a cornfield and a house and then commences a road again, a cornfield with 95 acres looks rather larger than our three quarters of an acre, then a pasture with horses, horned cattle and such a lot of hogs. Hundreds of hens, ducks, turkeys. Oh I think I never enjoyed myself so well in my lie. I expect you know how it looks but poor me that have always seen nothing but hills and rocks was perfectly delighted.

So much for my visit, now I want to know if you was coming why you didn't let us know about it? I should certainly not have gone if I had known you were coming. I didn't once think you could come. Almost 90 years old too, and Katie says I never should think it to see you, now you have come to see the rest you may come again to see me.

Aside form your sister, I believe I should have been the most pleased to have seen you of any of them. How did you stand the journey? Austin says you had an awful cold. I hope you got over it all right. I can't help telling you again that I was awful sorry not to have seen you. Katie (probably Lucy's daughter, Katie, so it must be Georgiana who died earlier) said you looked just like your picture and was just as spry as a young man. She said she was glad to see you but I have corresponded with you till I feel pretty well acquainted with you. Now don't you believe you will come another year? If you keep well I mean. Now I have been away I wonder that people have the means don't travel more. I know I should if I could.

Austin has got quite smart again. He has his work well along. You know I never thought of his being so sick untill I got home again. It scared me to think what a sorry coming home it might have been to me but we have more blessing than we think of if we would only stop to count them.

Now cousin I want you to know I was sorry not to have seen you and would have tried to have made it pleasant for you and hope it will be so you can come again.

Your cousin Lucy A. Prentiss


Letter 6:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated Jan. 14 1894

Moretown Jan. 14 1894

Dear Cousin

I was very glad to receive yours dated the 9th. I had felt quite sure you was sick from not hearing from you.

When I read your letter I had a hearty laugh. I appreciate every bit of your experience here that eve. The "big woman" as you call her sat in her dignity-and Austin with his "ain't going to live five minutes" look on his face (for he didn't feel very well and Lucy had gone way off west)- sat there to be entertained, instead of trying to entertain while you, who had traveled twelve or fifteen hundred miles had to entertain yourself as best you could.

It was too bad. I don't know whether it is characteristic of the Prentiss breed to be low spirited and ready to die if anything ails them or not. But I know it is of this branch of it. I am pretty noisy and sometimes laugh louder than is genteel. But Austin and I are pretty well matched. For if I was as gloomy and blue as he is the house would be pretty lonely, but when the children and I get to making fun we stir up his pure mind pretty thoroughly, And if we don't get a hearty laugh out of him we get some broad grins.

By the way he is quite well now and I will tell you what has helped him and I do wish you would try it. The remedy is Scott's Emulsion of Cod Liver Oil. Then every night before going to bed he drinks hot milk. I think you need something to assist nature. It might have done when you were 30-40-50 years of age but at 90 you need a little stimulant and there is nothing better than milk taken hot. Don't say you can't drink milk till you have tried it hot as you can sup it. Then the cod liver oil will just put new life into you,

Now I shan't allow you to say I'm a funny old woman ready to give my advise without its being asked but I think you have had what we call LaGriipe or grippe and it leaves one so weak and feeble, they need building up and I want you to try the remedy I have prescribed.

Our eldest son (Roger) is at home now. He goes back to college next week.

The families are about as usual. Mary (#1iv)is having a little neuralgia trouble, nothing serious.

The times are good for the masses. We have just bought our sugar (granulated) for $4.50 per hundred. Could have got it five cts. cheaper if we had taken 400 instead of 250 lbs. Can buy best snow flake flour, best in market for $3.90 & $4.00 . There is a new merchant come to town and the old ones are trying to under sell him. Let them do so, it is good for us who buy. But I had a letter from friends in ILL saying corn was so low, they were giving the Democrats a scorching because everything was selling so low, but for those who buy it is good times and really for farmers here it is pretty good. Horses are cheap, but there is an over supply. Every man has been raising horses for a few years back, but beef is 6 cts. per lb. by the side, pork was 6 cts alive a while ago it is now 4 ½ , out butter I sell for 25 cts per lb. Creamery is 27, eggs 28 per doz.

We have considerable snow and very cold weather- we have not put in our ice but shall this week. You said in your letter that when you got back home you were no more exhausted than when you started. I was astonished for every one said I had grown poor, but I couldn't drink the water that fell in May in Sept. Their cistern was filled in May and not a drop of water fell till over 100 days.

William Mason (son of Paul and Anna Mason, per earlier letter) was out here about three weeks ago and spend a night with us. He is lonely. Misses his wife and son very much.

But about yourself, I think you might well be proud and thankful too, that you have your senses so clear. I feel proud of you- my son read your last letter and we voted you the smartest old gentleman we ever knew. I am not a bit afraid of making you vain when I tell you that I prize your letters and lay them away to show in future years. Why when I am ninety I shan't know anything. I mean if I go on as I have done, my next birthday (May 20) I shall be sixty. It don't seem possible. Only when I see the big boys & Katie I begin to realize it.

I dare say you feel as though you had lived till all the old friends of your youth were gone and it won't be long before you will go to join them. Dear Cousin put your trust in the Lord. You need Him to lean upon in your old age. You say you have been through toil, poverty, and disappointment. I trust and hope at evening tide there shall be light. It has been a great comfort to me to have a Savior to go to in time of trouble. It has seemed as though my heart would break if I could not have gone to God in prayer and I know He answers prayer.

I don't remember whether I ever told you that we buried a lovely daughter (Georgiana, #2ii) aged 20 nearly ten years ago. She had a lovely disposition, was a very good musician and singer and I'm afraid my idol. All through her sickness she was out of her head, it was terrible and I thought I couldn't bear it but God helped me-—do you care to know that I remember you in prayer?

Take all the comfort you can. If I thought you would care for them I would send you one of our papers occasionally. I am afraid you will get tired before you get through this rambling letter. But when I get to writing to you I feel as though I wanted to talk to you so my pen keeps going. People about us are having hard colds and grippe. One family of nine people below us are all sick with grippe. Accept my best wishes for your health and happiness… your cousin

Lucy A. Prentiss

Austin sends his love and best wishes.

L.A. P.

(NOTE: Daughter she speaks of could be Georgiana Prentiss b. c. 1864 from the article I found at the site you sent me- from fr) Comment: Agree.


Letter 7:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from cousin Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated Jan. 27 1895 Moretown Jan. 27 1895

Dear Cousin

I believe I owe you a letter and have been waiting to have something to write that would interest you. But we are such a slow going people that I'm afraid I'll have to wait too long so will try and write even if I do not interest you so very much.

I was glad to get yours as I always am glad if you were pleased to receive my uninteresting letters. I suppose they take up a little of your time in reading and I would be glad to help make even a little of your time pass pleasantly. We have had a very pleasant winter, just snow enough for teaming and sleighing but yesterday and today we have had a big snow storm.

Last Wednesday Barney and Wm. Mason came. Barney spent the day but Wm. stayed here till Friday then went up town to visit Austin's sisters intending to go home Sat. but the storm prevented and he is there today. He has lost his job at Montpelier and has gone to his home in Waterbuy. He is rather low spirited. It is strange isn't it? The Prentiss' are such a cheerful people. I think Wm. has enough of this worlds goods to make him comfortable the remainder of his life but he takes care of his son's wife and her son and I suppose would like to leave something to them. I asked him what I should say to you for him. He said to give his regards to you and ask you to remember him as he did you.

You will want to know whether Barney mentioned anything about his son-in-law. We were in the sitting room alone and he began about not expecting much help in old age from children, when he burst out and said "I presume the nigger would do as much for me as any of them "

just then Wm. (the Nigger?) stepped into the room and there was no more said. But Wm. said that they are getting reconciled to it.

Jennie and husband are in Bermuda and Barney thinks they will stay there. Jennie's husband has written to Barney saying that it should be the aim of his life to make Jennie happy that they were very much alike with the exception of a difference in the tint of the skin.

Wm. was trying to trace the Hoggs so I just got one of your letters as an authority and I showed him but couldn't tell him about your family.

I believe you have two daughters and one son certain. Have you any more? And is the one that came to Vermont with you a married man?

Our oldest son (Roger, 2iii) is practicing medicine in Johnson and he wrote me that a Mrs. Andrews had claimed a relationship with him. It's pretty well drawn out isn't it?

Our other boy (Robert, #2iv) has been very sick at Katies. Was taken in Nov. and has only just gone back to work. He is clerking in Barre.

We don't see Luther Woods (Luther Prentiss' nephew). He visited Katie one day last fall but it appears he has seen enough of us for he don't come here. I wish he would for I always liked Luther Woods and I've got the impression he is unhappy. I'm sorry for this life is not long enough to spend in sorrow. It's our duty to be joyful and happy as we can be. After our daughter died I thought I couldn't bear it and I must have made every one unhappy for I was. But I don't mean ever again to forget what I owe to others, don't you think Cousin that it is our duty to make all around us just as happy as we can? I do.

I've just been thinking of some of our children's cute sayings. My niece has two boys that tease for stories so she told them of Elisha and the children calling "go up thou bald head" the boys asked all the questions about it and then run out, by and by they came in with a disgusted look and said there is nothing to that Bear story for we called go bald headed and there didn't any bears come --and one of Katie's neighbors have three little girls the oldest being five. They expect she had heard regrets that baby Margaret wasn't a boy for one day she was all animation, said she had thought of a beautiful thing. "Wouldn't it be funny if when Margaret grew up she should be a boy after all" her mother told her she thought it would--- now I am afraid you will think this an awful silly letter for when you get sick of reading just put it in the fire.


Letter 8:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from cousin Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated Jan. 27 1895 continued

You wrote of having a visit from your youngest girl that you had not seen for several years. It must have been pleasant for you.

We expected Katie to come yesterday but the storm prevented her.

The children have not been home for several months. Three or four. But sent us a Christmas box and write every week. Dr. has just commenced practice so he can't leave, and Robert was sick and since he got well Katie went to visit Dr. so we had to wait for the visits.

Austin has been very well all winter but he is beginning to sneeze and I'm afraid he is going to have the distemper that is around. I have just got over it. Was sick for two weeks, not sick in bed but just able to get around. Up some days and down some days.

Now how are you and yours? I hope as comfortable as possible for one of your years. I can't help thinking how thankful you have reason to be for your wonderful mind and memory. You are one in a thousand.

I have just thought that I haven't said anything about the girls. Esther, Lizzie & Mary, (Austin's sisters) but they are all well and they three are sufficient unto themselves. Esther has money enough and she does a great deal for Elizabeth. Mary's husband is doing very well and so they are all prospering.

I hope this will find you well but I always think every letter I write that perhaps you have passed over the river. Now good by for this time and let us commit ourselves unto Him who has said. Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden etc.

Accept this silly uninteresting scrawl from your cousin

Lucy A. Prentiss

(NOTE: In some of Luther's sister, Sarah Prentiss Ayer's letters, she mentions a Jenny who married a black man and moved to Bermuda) Have so many, many letters from Sarah all the way up to the time Luther died- from fr)


Letter 9:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated June 23 1895

June 23rd 1895 Moretown VT

Dear Cousin

Have you begun to think I have forgotten you? I have not, but there have been so many things to hinder. I was taken sick very early in the spring and had just got so I could walk around the door yard when there was a big fire up town. It burnt two saw mills, box factory, two farms, two houses and lots of other things.

Austin went never thinking we were in danger it being nearly half a mile away. I went out to see the fire, when the burning cinders and shingles fell all around and set the roof of our house on fire. I can assure you I was thoroughly frightened. Every neighbor had gone to help fight the fire. I ran and got a ladder but I lost my head and just stood and screamed. Of coarse it was foolish and silly for no one would have left the fire up town for they expected it would burn the whole village even if our buildings burnt all down. But fortunately a man came along and put it out and I sent after Austin and he had to work lively to keep the buildings from burning as it caught near the barn.

Well the excitement and all didn't help me and I have been very miserable till now. I begin to feel like myself again.

Now how are you? Did our hard cold winter use you most up? I have thought of you many times and spoken of you.

Wm. Mason (son of Paul and Anna Mason) came here about a week after the fire to see the ruins and spent the day here and two weeks ago and brought his son's wife and spent the day. He feels pretty lonely. He inquired if I had heard from you lately and I let him read your last letter. He said he sympathized with you in regard to being willing to leave this world. Wm. is a very good man. I wish you could have seen him more when you was here. Barney has bought a house in Northfield and moved there. He visited here last winter and I have not seen since.

You remember the "Narrows" as it is called at the bridge near where Barney lived—well a man has bought all the water privilege about there and is blasting out the rock so to let the water go to the other side of that high positioned rock. And is to dam the river to send it that way. And is to put in electric light works. He will have such power that he can light all the adjoining towns. It's a great thing.

I must tell you how well Austin has been. He has planted and hard about an acre with only one days work of a man and he is feeling very well. It's about haying time again but I think with a man, Austin will do it.

Austin's sisters are well and seem to take a great deal of comfort. Our children are well. Robert and Katie's husband visited us yesterday and brought Austin a dog. I expect its for company as we certainly don't need one for its help.

I don't feel as though I could write you one thing interesting. I wish I could. And if you feel able I would like to have you write to me. Since I was sick I begin to feel old and here you are thirty years older. If you are able to write, tell me if you walk out of doors this summer and if you read the papers or does it tire you.

Although you are no near relation to me (emphasis added) I feel proud of you and if you can only write a few lines I shall be glad and pleased to get them. And I will try and write you a more interesting letter next time.

Oh do you remember of sending me a paper with an account of a wonderful cure by celery compound that Mrs. Clark had? I knew the lady well but she had been dead several months when you sent the paper. It may have helped her at first but it appears it didn't save her life. I will close this as there is nothing I could write to interest you. Accept my kindest wishes. Austin also wishes to be remembered to you.

Your cousin

Lucy A. Prentiss


Letter 10:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from cousin Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated Oct. 29 1895

Moretown Oct. 29 95

Dear Cousin

Once more I will try to write to you but I'm afraid it will not be very interesting. I hardly know what to tell you but will try and tell you of our visit at Montpelier at the Legislative Reunion. When the Legislature closed its session 11 years ago they voted to hold a reunion (of all who had been members) once in ten years. They held one ten years ago at which Austin and I went—also this year. We went Tuesday, came home Friday and I think I never enjoyed anything better. It was just a jolly good time. I will send you a paper so you can see the fuss, you will see there were present Governors (we attended the Governors reception) members of Congress, Senators etc. They were all men, however, but pretty full of fun. If I could I would like to explain some of the hits, what is meant about Roxbury was last year the members of the Legislature voted prohibition. They went to Roxbury where the fish hatchery is located and it's said some of the members took a drop too much. When you read the paper you will see how funny it all was. I got punished for following it so much, for I came home sick and could not go to our son's wedding.

Dr. (Roger, #2iii) was married the 17th and I was not able to go. He married a Johnson girl. Our children attended the wedding. We are very much pleased with our new daughter though we have only seen her once. I felt sorry to have disappointed you by not finding out about the Andrews but Dr. hardly writes half a sheet to us. So I knew it was no use to ask him about them. He does not doctor in their family he told me. I've only seen him once since he went there. He met us at the Reunion, but I could not remember who I was to inquire after so I lost that chance to find out. Dr. is doing a good business.

We are both well. Austin has his fall work most all done. It is sure dry, people are beginning to worry about being short of water but I guess we will get rain enough before winter.

Now Cousin, how do you get along & do you take all the comfort you can? You ought to for time is short. It makes me feel bad to have people sad in this beautiful world of ours. I do wish you had Mother Prentiss's hope. She always seemed so happy. She was ready to go or willing to stay and you can't think she didn't know in whom she trusted.

You told me in your last that you thought I wouldn't write again on account of something you had written before, now don't flatter yourself. You are to have such good luck fall to you. For I have written and intend to keep at it as long as you can read my poor scribblings. And as for your agnosticism as you call it, I don't believe there is anyone but what has at sometime a feeling that they ought to give their heart to God. And I do wish you had faith to do so. As the world is slipping away from you don't you feel the need of a stronger arm to lean on? I love old people and it's a beautiful sight to see them waiting and trusting.

I have always regretted that I was away when you was here. After you had come so far I would like to have helped entertain you and I am splendid company and you will never find it out.

In your letter you wrote of picking potato bugs. We used to do so but now we put paris green & plaster on and that kills them. Austin raised 46 bushels from land eight rods less than quarter of an acre but they rotted some.

I must tell you how I showed your penmanship to a man that used to be a merchant, not the letter but a little of it. He said it was never written by a man 90 years old. O but I said it was. He said I might think 80 but a man 90 or over could never write like that. I just got Austin to back me up that you did write it and was 92 years old.

His mother was about 90 when she died.

I haven't said one thing about Wm. Mason but he has visited us three times this summer. He is out of work and uneasy. The last time he brought a widow. It was a relative but I wanted to touch him up only didn't get a chance.

The girls, Esther, Lizzie & Mary are all well. Norman has got to be grandpa here. Austin and I are gray old people and not a grandchild to our backs.

I am cleaning house but tonight I thought I would write. For if I didn't I thought you might be looking for an answer to yours. I am not conceited enough to think you would feel very bad if you didn't get this but we don't any of us want to look for the letter that never came. Now cousin you have my heartiest wishes for your happiness and hoping this scrawl written after a hard days work may find you in your usual health is the wish of your

Cousin Lucy A. P rentiss

Austin wishes to be remembered.

(NOTE: Per this letter it sounds as if her son Roger [the Dr] did get married.- from fr)


Letter 11:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from cousin L.A. Prentiss (Lucy A.Prentiss) in Moretown, VT dated Sept. 8 1896

September 8 1896

Dear Cousin

I had given up hearing from you when your letter came. I had said to Austin that I guessed I never should get another from our old cousin but was very glad to get at last and glad and wonder at your great vitality. I will compliment you right now on your elegant penmanship, it makes me ashamed of mine.

You will want o hear from your friends so will commence on Wm. Mason, he has visited us several times the last year, twice he stayed a week. He get lonesome and then starts out, we enjoying his visits.

We have not seen Barna since last winter but hear he is breaking down a good deal. His son John died a few weeks ago after a long illness. He had consumption.

Jennie (his daughter) was home all winter while her husband was in Bermuda (he is apparently the "nigger"), then they went to Saratoga and this winter they both go to Bermuda. I have not seen her but Wm. says she talks of her husband same as any one would, but I don't think Barna (Jennie's father) is quite reconciled. It was a terrible blow to them.

The sisters, Esther, Lizzie & Mary are all well but Frank Hathway's wife has been very sick. Not expected to live for several weeks. She has been ailing for more than a year and at last was very sick. But now is quite well so she walks out. I notice every one has to take their share of the troubles. Money buys most everything except health and life and Heaven.

We have had a hot dry summer. Everything all dried up. There was great quantities of fruit of all kinds but the pastures and crops suffered greatly.

Austin's family well. He has his ups and downs. Has carried on the place by hiring the planting done and help in haying. We have three cows, he does the chores, Austin and I went to Johnson by team this summer, enjoyed it much. But we never shall try it again. It was most too much for Austin.

We found our Dr. doing a good business. He has bought him a house and is pleasantly situated.

Our other children spent a week of their vacation with us and we enjoyed it greatly. They say every crow thinks her young ones the blackest and I'm no exception. I think we have about as good children as there is.

Politics are talked a great deal, you know Vermont always goes Republican. I expect you will be horrified when I tell you, I am a Democrat and one of my boys, Dr. is Republican. So is our son-in-law (Katie's husband). We have a Hobart & McKinley flag flying up town. It was raised with speakers and campaign signs from abroad and a band. A great time generally. I tried to have Austin go up and take his scorching but he wouldn't. I went.

Now cousin this isn't much of a letter but I'll try to do better next time. With wishes for your health, happiness and prosperity and a home in Heaven at last I remain your friend and cousin.

L.A. Prentiss (Lucy A.)


Letter 12:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated Jan. 18 1897

Jan. 18 1897

Dear Cousin

Again I will try and write to you. I should not have delayed it so long only that I have been sick. I was taken with La Grippe four weeks ago today. Got better and took cold and today only sit up part of the time. It astonished me to see your great vitality at most 94, able to write a letter. I tell Austin if I am not blood relation I take great pride in you.

But you will want to hear about the friends. Well "the girls" are all well. Mary (Austin's sister) and her husband went to N.J. to see Norman (Austin's brother) last fall, found him fairly well off but in poor health. He is grandpa. His eldest son is married. The oldest girl is teaching the two youngest. Boy & girl are at home. He has a house and some land and is janitor in a large school building.

I don't hear much from Barna (Jennie's father) though he lives only a few miles away. Jennie was home for some time last fall before she went to Bermuda. Her husband (the "nigger") has never been here. I think they wouldn't be pleased to have him.

Wm. Mason came the Monday before Christmas. Stayed a week. Then came over for a day last week to our Church dedication. He gets terribly lonely and enjoys a visit with us, and we enjoy his coming. He is a Prentiss (maybe indicating his mother, Anna Mason, was born a Prentiss?) or has the Prentiss memory. He is a great reader and is very intelligent and interesting. Speak of any passage in the Bible and he will quote it for you or find it.

Now I will tell you of our Church. It was built nearly 45 years ago and we needed a new one but couldn't afford it but this year our preacher is one of those stirring businessmen and last Sept. he got money raised so he went on and fixed up the old one. And it's a wonder that it could be put in so good shape. We are all very much pleased. Our Ladies Sewing Circle pledged to give 150.00 and so we had just repaired the Parsonage, shingled, papered and painted outside and in. We had to hire part of it but we are a host to get money and I will tell you some of our ways. I am president so I gave out for every one that would to earn a dollar in an unusual way. And you would laugh to hear the ways. Then we held an entertainment and each one told their experience in earning it in pastry, we got a lot of money. 63.62 and had a lot of fun. I earned mine by making Dutch cheese and peddling it. Some went out husking corn, some blacking stoves, picking apples, braiding husk mats. One woman sold soft soap. Some did work at home that they usually hired done. It was a perfect success. Then we had an antiquarian supper and all that could dressed ancient. I wore my wedding suit-dress, hoops, ear jewels & pin (cameo) undersleeve & collar. I had kept them so put the whole thing on, that made lots of fun & money. Then we had a chicken-pie supper but I got sick two days before it came off. We owe now just 25.00 and soon as I get well I mean to lessen that.

I am thinking of a birthday party. If I do I hope their ages will all range from one hundred to five but you have heard enough of this so I'll tell you of our "great expectations".

The report is that we are to have a railroad run through town. They are now in Granville surveying. They say it will go back of our buildings so perhaps that won't be so funny but we can't run the place a hundred years more so if they cut it up into railroads it wont matter to us. They got a charter last fall and it really looks that they mean business.

Austin is quite well, he will be 76 in March. We have had a pleasant winter so far. No snow. There has been thaws. The ice has gone out of the river once. I don't think it is quite as healthy to have the ground bare and the river open. There are a good many with colds.

Now I hope I have not put off my letter till you won't care for it. I always think when I get yours I will answer it right away but procrastination…

William Mason said to give you his best wishes when I wrote to you and I want to send you my best wishes and congratulations that you are as well as you are. And that you have such wonderful vitality and that you retain your mental faculties and with this will close this rambling letter.

Your Cousin

Lucy A. Prentiss


Letter 13:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated June 21 1897

June 21 1897

Dear Cousin (Luther)

I have not heard from you for a long time, am thinking perhaps you are not well.

We are about as usual. Barney has been quite unwell all winter. Is better now. His daughter Jennie is in Bermuda. They have bought a house and will live there.

Wm. Mason we shall expect at our party for I shall invite him. You will find enclosed a card & sack. We pledged $150.00 and I am trying to clear it off and take this means if you feel to respond to the invitation I wish you would write a sentence, also your age and name to past in our record book.

Frank Hathways wife is very unwell. Fears are entertained that she will never be better. We have had a cold wet spring and crops show it. Hoping to hear from you I remain your cousin

Lucy A. Prentiss

President of W.L.S.C.


Letter 14:  

Letter to Luther Prentiss from Lucy A. Prentiss in Moretown VT dated July 18 1897

Moretown July 18 1897

Dear Cousin

Have you begun to think you wasn't going to get a thank you for your generous gift to our Ladies Circle? Well you are. We thank you very much. And I felt quite proud to hand in the money I received from my relatives that were away, but sent their pennies in all about $10.00. Our party was a success, we raised about $34.00 and with what we had on hand cleared us from debt.

Wm. Mason was here the week before our party but couldn't stay because he was to go camping the next week but he left his little sack with 79 pennies in it. He isn't able to do any work and is so uneasy he goes from place to place. He likes to come here and we like to have him.

Now about your self, it made me feel sad to think how feeble you was. Poor cousin, I'm sorry for you. I can't help you only by prayer. I pray for you every day. You have been so energetic and full of life and with so much vitality it must be hard to be so helpless and feeble. But it couldn't be otherwise at your great age. But you have some great blessings. You have your reason. I thought when I read your letter how your mind was just as clear as a young persons. And your penmanship… why it's wonderful.

My father was a good penman but at the last of his writing his hand shook so he could hardly write. He died at 86. He had some bodily troubles you complain of. I expect the casket is almost worn out and all your happiness now is to look forward to the rest prepared for the people of God. Can't you do it? Just put your trust in God. Have faith, don't make too hard work of it. But just cast all your cares on Him. He has promised if we would come to Him He wouldn't cast us away. You know we are not saved through our own goodness but through faith in God. Just cast all your cares on Jesus and don't forget to pray.

We have had a strange time for the last two weeks. Week before last it was fearfully hot for seven days, the thermometer ran up to 100 in the shade. There were many prostrations but no deaths here. Then last week we had a freshet, the water came up three or four feet deep in the village so they went with boats from the bridge almost up to where Mary lives. They went by the store this side of them and it was a raging rive in the road between our house and the one above us. It did not carry off any buildings but washed roads and ruined fields of grass & crops & gardens.

In the town of Johnson where our Dr. lives it did twelve thousand dollars damage. This time we were out of the way but in 1869 we lived where the water came and it did us great harm.

I wish I could comfort you by some kind act. Remember how it used to please Father to have some little nicety brought to him. The fisherman would always leave him a trout as they came home or some one would send him some fruit. I can't do it for you but I hope you have just as kind friends there. It isn't the thing itself but the kind heart that prompts the gift that we value.

I mustn't write any more it will tire you to read it. I've tried to write it coarse so you could see it plain.

Again I thank you for your gift to our L.L C. it not only helped to pay our debt but encouraged us. I shall hope to hear from you again before long. Austin is quite well this summer. He still drinks hot milk at night. We think it a great stimulant and so nourishing with much love and many thanks from your cousin

Lucy A. Prentiss

NOTE: Luther died Nov. 24, 1897

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