John and Mary (Gawkrogers-Platts) Prescott in Northern England
The Maternal Line of the Fairbanks Family
John Prescott was born and baptized in 1604/5 in the Shevington, Standish Parish, Lancashire County, England. He learned the blacksmith trade from a relative. John owned land in Shevington and sold it to Richard Prescott of Wigan, which was four miles from away.
John Prescott married Mary Gawkroger-Platts, January 21, 1629. She was born in Sowerby, Halifax Parish Yorkshire, England. John was twenty three years old, and Mary was seventeen when they married. Their marriage was registered in both the groom’s parish, Standish, and bride’s, Halifax. That was common practice in England at that time.
Prescott William. "The Prescott Memorial, A genealogical memoir of the Prescott families in America, in two parts"
John Prescott Family in Sowerby
After their marriage, John and Mary lived at Sowerby near Mary’s family. Their first child, Mary was born there in 1630. They had two more children who died early and were buried in England. Three additional children were born in Sowerby.
The John Prescott family left England sometime before their fifth surviving child was born in 1639.
Some believe the family spent two years in Barbados, West Indies, before arriving in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1640. Many settlers who traveled from England found the long trip unbearable. If their ship stopped on the way to the main land, they might stay in the islands a while before preceding to their original destination.
However, Doris A. Cline Ward researched in this area and published her findings in a newsletter named “Prescotts Unlimited.” She found the land purchases on Barbados were made by a different Prescott.
John Prescott Blacksmith
John Prescott apprenticed with a relative as a blacksmith in Lancashire County, England. When they arrived at Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, he bought a blacksmith’s house and land. In documents during his life, John was known by his name followed by “blacksmith.”
The Prescott Family Arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Most agree that by 1640, the Prescott family was in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony. They arrived about five to seven years after the Fairbanks family. John would have been thirty six years old and Mary, twenty eight. Their five children ranged from one to ten years old.
William, Prescott. The Prescott Memorial, or A Genealogical Memoir of the Prescott families in America, in Two Parts. Boston: H. W. Dutton & Son 1870
Ward, Doris A. Cline. Prescotts Unlimited. North Carolina: Ward Publishing Company, 1980-2003.
If you had the chance to walk in the footsteps of your forefathers, would you do that? One of Jonathan and John’s ninth great granddaughters was given that chance this summer. She went to the towns where the Fairbanks and Prescott’s lived before coming to New England. One last look at England before our families decided to leave their home land for the New World.