Biography of William Prescott
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

WILLIAM PRESCOTT. When practical, far seeing men seek new homes either in their own or in another country, before cutting adrift from the old surroundings they have a definite harbor in view, selected for special reasons, commercial or social, as the case may be. Thus when a certain English family bearing the old and substantial name of Prescott came to the United States in 1854, it was to Cleveland, Ohio, their steps were immediately turned, for in their native Somersetshire they had learned of this rapidly growing city, with its great building projects of canals, mills, factories and railroads already under way. To Robert Prescott, father of William Prescott, a broad field of business opportunity seemed offered. Thus Cleveland acquired a citizen whose business capacity and sterling character contributed to her progress and welfare for many years afterward.

William Prescott was born in Somersetshire, England, March 1, 1850. His parents were Robert and Mary (Webber) Prescott, the latter of whom died in his childhood. Robert Prescott came of sturdy old Somersetshire ancestry. He was born there in 1821, and was thirty three years old when he came with his family to Cleveland. A stonecutter and mason by trade, the building activities of the city soon gave him the opportunities he had anticipated, and he prospered as a successful contractor and builder.

William Prescott was four years old when the family came to Cleveland, and in all essentials except the matter of birth belongs to this city and has always maintained his home here. After completing his public school course he attended Humiston's Institute, and subsequently the Spencerian Business College of Cleveland. Well educated and with a natural leaning toward business life, he soon showed talent in this direction, securing thereby the notice and confidence of men of affairs.

In 1873 he became one of the organizers of the Cleveland Dryer Company, an integral part of what is now one of the great corporations of the country. When, in 1874, the Cleveland Dryer Company was incorporated, Mr. Prescott was made vice president of the corporation and served in that capacity until 1899, when the Cleveland Dryer Company became a part of the merger which formed the American Agricultural Chemical Company. Mr. Prescott became a director of the new organization and accepted the management of the Cleveland branch, devoting himself closely to his duties here until 1907, when he became vice president and a member of the executive board, with headquarters in New York City. He continued his active connection with the American Agricultural Chemical Company until 1922, when he practically retired from business.

In the meanwhile Mr. Prescott had established his home and invested in property in Brooklyn Village, one of Cleveland's beautiful suburbs, and for many years was a prominent factor in its progress and development. He served as mayor of Brooklyn Village for four years and as a member of the village Board of Education for three years. Mr. Prescott has never been ambitious politically, but as a faithful citizen has performed public duty at times and in 1895 and 1896 served on the City Council of Cleveland. In 1888 he was one of the organizers and incorporators of the Brooklyn Savings and Loan Bank, and served as its president until he resigned in 1907, a period of nineteen years.

Mr. Prescott married Miss Ella S. Groff, at Cleveland. Mrs. Prescott belongs to an old family of Syracuse, New York, where she was born. Mr. and Mrs. Prescott have two daughters and two sons: Pearl B., who is the wife of Carl Liljenstolpe, Mount Clemens, Michigan; Robert W., who resides at Buffalo, New York; Ida M., who is the wife of George R. Henry, of Geauga County, Ohio; and Charles G., of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Prescott family home is on Lake Avenue, Lakewood, Cleveland.

Mr. Prescott is one of the oldest surviving members of the Chamber of Commerce, and few citizens have served it for a longer period, from 1883 until his resignation in 1923. He belongs to a group of able, public spirited business men who have contributed much to the prosperity of this city through the substantial encouragement they have from time to time given to the establishment here of truly worthy enterprises, and charities, education and public morality have also come within the scope of their efforts.

Mr. Prescott is a thirty second degree Mason and a Shriner, being a member of Lakewood Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Oriental Commandery, Knights Templar; Lake Erie Consistory and Al Koran Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He belongs to the Cleveland Athletic Club, and also is a member of the Cuyahoga eounty Early Settlers Association; the Chamber of Industry; Lakewood Chamber of Commerce; the Ohio Society of New York; and is trustee and vice president of Riverside Cemetery.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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