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Abraham C. Prentiss of Noble Co., IN

Abraham C. Prentiss, Noble Co., Indiana
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 1999 and Revised 14 Jun 2001

Introduction: We are helping Albert E. Good and Colleen Gormley in their efforts to identify the ancestry of their Abraham/Abram Prentiss. For convenience, we will refer to him as Abraham.

Subsequent to the original publication of this article in our Winter 1997 Prentice Newsletter, much additional information about Abraham has been obtained, and especially in Colleen Gormley's E-mail of 15 Nov 1999 referencing an affidavit prepared by Abraham which is contained in his Civil War Pension File. We now combine both the earlier and later information.

Early life and siblings: Abraham was born 6 Dec 1821 and probably in Grand Isle, VT (per 130th Ohio Volunteer Infantry enlistment record) although other records show different places of birth (See Fn. 1.

He was one of the 7 sons and 2 daughters of his parents. Abraham, born in 1821 (per his death record), was probably one of the middle children. His mother died of "throat disease" when Abraham was 13 years years old, leaving his father with up to 9 young children to support.

Abraham's Pension File declaration says that five of his six brothers, and one of his two sisters, were living in 1896; a brother had previously died by gunshot and a sister had died when she was 8 to 10 years of age. So far we have no information about their names, places of birth or where they were living in 1896. Al Good advises he has a copy of Abraham's obituary and there is no mention of his parents or siblings.

Abraham relates that he "went West to Fort Wayne, (Allen Co.) IN when about 16 years old; that was about 1837. Allen County list to the south of, and abuts, Noble County, IN. His Civil War Pension Files does not say whether he was accompanied by his parents and siblings and we have no account of his activities for the next 12 years.

Military Service: Regarding his military service, Colleen Gormley advises that Abramah Prentice enlisted in Co. D of the 130th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on 2 May 1864. He would then have been about 43 with 5 children. According to a Civil War website compiled by Larry Stevens at (130th Ohio Infantry) , the unit was originally the First Ohio National Guard.

Kathryn Ojerio advises that the 130th was a typical "100-day" unit where men enlisted for a period of 100 days to perform auxiliary, support services for regular units, after which they returned home and were discharged. A check of the roster of the 130th indicates that Abraham was the only "Prentiss" who appears on the roster

The regiment left Toledo May 12, 1864 and reported at Sandusky for consolidation and muster in. Under Colonel Charles B. Phillips, the regiment moved to Johnson's Island and guarded prisoners of war there. On the 4th of June it was ordered to Bermuda Hundred, VA via Washington and was assigned to the Second Brigade, Third Division, Tenth Army Corps under General Butler. The time was spent drilling, digging rifle pits and picketing the lines.

It marched on the 21st of June and on the 22nd the regiment participated in a skirmish at Deep Bottom with the loss of one man wounded. On the 11th of August it marched to Bermuda Hundred and then proceeded on transports to Fort Powhaten. The regiment mustered out at Toledo on either 22 Sep 1864. The Regiment lost during service, by disease, 1 Officer and 22 Enlisted men. Abraham was a member of the GAR, Thomas Irwin Post 600, Metamora, OH

Marriage and later life: He married Catherine Fisher on 21 Sep or Oct 1849 in Noble County, probably in the town of Avilla which lies in the southeast corner of Noble County. He appears in the 1850 Noble County census. Kathryn Ojerio relates that in 1852 Abraham and Catherine sold the family farm in Noble County and moved to Steuben Co, IN. Their son, Henry Edgar, was b. in Angola in 1852. By 1853 the family was residing in Metamora, Fulton County, OH where Abraham owned a butcher shop. He appears in the Metamora 1860 census where he is listed as "A. A. Prentiss" with his place of birth given as Vermont. He also appears in there in the 1900 census.

Abraham died in Toledo, Lucas Co., OH on 14 Dec 1906 at 85 years of age.

Abraham and Catherine had the following children:

  • Orrin E. Prentiss, b. 29 Apr 1851. He appears in the 1880 Spring Hill, Fulton, OH census and 1900 Lucas Co., OH census with his wife, Eva E. (b. Jan 1857, OH). Orrin died 28 May 1935 in Fulton Co., OH. Children:
    • Laura A. Prentiss, b. c. 1879, OH.
    • Sarah C. Prentiss, b. May 1882, MI.
    • Orlin W. Prentiss, b. Oct 1884, MI.
    • Leona B. Prentiss, b. Apr 1889, MI.
    • Fern L. Prentiss, b. Apr 1896, MI.
  • Henry Edgar Prentiss, b. 19 Oct 1852, Angola, Steuben Co., IN (per Kathryn Ojerio, email, 13 Jun 2001). The 1880 & 1900 Metamora, Fulton, OH census shows he married Eban(?) and had:
    • Mabel Prentiss, b. c. 1875, OH.
    • Cora Prentiss, b. Sep 1877, OH.
    • Florence Prentiss, b. Jan 1882, OH
    • Mildred Prentiss, b. Jul 1891, OH
  • Celia Prentiss, b. 1853.
  • May E. Prentiss, b. 22 Aug 1858.
  • Rollin M. Prentiss, b. 25 Mar 1860. He m. May (b. Mar 1866, OH). Children (per 1900 Toledo, OH census):
    • Guy Prentiss, b. May 1866, OH. He m. Mabel (b. c. 1885, IN). Children (per 1910 Medicine Lodge, Barber, KS census):
      • Ruth Prentice, b. c. 1908, OH.
    • Albert Prentice, b. Aug 1892, OH.
    • Leon Prentice, b. Jan 1895, OH.
  • Charles Wilford Prentiss, b. 10 Dec 1867. He was living with his father in the 1900 Fulton Co., OH census.
  • Marvin Butler Prentiss, b. 25 Jun 1871. He m. Blanch M., b. Nov 1872, MI. Children (per 1900 Fulton Co., OH census):
    • Harley Prentiss, b. Oct 1893, OH. (twin)
    • Harry L. Prentiss, b. Oct 1893, OH. (twin), and d. 1969. He m. Loretta Deshaies. Her obituary reads as follows:

        Loretta E. Prentiss, 89: Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice, Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) - Tuesday, October 30, 2001

        WORCESTER -- Loretta E. (Deshaies) Prentiss, 89, formerly of Worcester, died Sunday, Oct. 28, in Life Care Center, Plymouth, after an illness.

        Her husband, Harry L. Prentiss, died in 1969. She leaves three sons, Frederick Rivers of Ansonia, Conn., Robert Rivers of Leominster and Everett Rivers of Cohoes, N.Y.; a daughter, Mary Lou Manning of Cohoes; three sisters, Marguerite Croft of St. Petersburg, Fla., Corrine Lavoie and Louise Petkiewicz, both of Worcester; 24 grandchildren; 39 great-grandchildren; nephews and nieces. A son, James Rivers of Worcester, was killed during the Korean War in 1952. Three brothers, Edmond and Leo Deshaies, both of Worcester, and Raymond Deshaies of California, and two sisters, Rose Torone and Yvonne Whalen, both of Worcester, also predeceased her. She was born in Worcester, daughter of Romeo and Clementine (Dumaine) Deshaies.

        The funeral service and burial will be private. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Korean War Veterans Memorial of Central Massachusetts, PO Box 16568, Worcester, MA 01601. Fay Brothers Funeral Home, 9 Hammond St., is directing arrangements.

    • Ernest B. Prentiss, b. 25 Apr 1872. He m. Emma, b. Jan 1873, MI. Children (per 1900 Toledo census):
      • Velma Prentiss, b. Aug 1895, MI.
      • Glenn B. Prentiss, b. Nov 1896, OH.
    • Clifford Prentiss, b. 12 Nov 1876.

    After his wife died in 1896, Abraham returned to Toledo and lived in the home of his son, Rollin, where Abraham died in 1906.

    Who are Abraham's Parents?
    Is he a son of George Prentice of Noble County, Indiana?

    George C Prentice of Noble Co., Indiana (edb 1983 in our computer's database) is known to be living in Noble County during that period. A brother to Nathaniel Prentice of Noble County, George is the only person for whom a family has not yet been identified. Since Abraham married in Noble County in 1849 and appears there in the 1850 Noble County census, one could infer he was George's son.

    It might also be that George had a later, 2nd marriage, to Anna Dingman (See Fn. 2 and see Winter 1999 article on Charles Nelson Prentice.

    We do not yet have a birth place for George, but George's father, Nathaniel, had a brother, James Prentice, living in Shaftsbury, VT in 1793 and it is possible that George might have been born in VT and had a family there before moving to Indiana.

    An 1882 History of Noble County, IN says that George's brother, Nathaniel, moved to Noble County in 1837 "with his brothers." One of the brothers likely included George because plat maps showing land ownership show that a George Prentice owned land abutting that of Nathaniel. Allowing for some errors in repition of family traditions, that 1837 date is remarkably close to the 1837 date Abraham is said to have arrived in Toledo, OH before moving on to Fort Wayne.

    Interestingly, both had the same middle initial, "C." In George's case, it probably stands for "Campbell," his mother's maiden name. On the other hand, George spelled his own surname Prentice while Abraham used Prentiss. The spelling difference is somewhat troubling and may, or may not, be significant since such variations in a given line, while unusual, were not unknown.

    A check of 1840 census records for Indiana is not particularly helpful. The 1840 Indiana Census Index shows the following:

    • We know for certain that Nathaniel Prentice was there in Noble County but he is not listed. However, he was not yet married and probably appears in the statistics of some other head of household, perhaps that of William Prentice, below.

    • "William Prentice" is shown living in Sparta Township in Noble County. William Prentice is almost certainly the son of Nathaniel Prentice and his second wife, Margaret Hedden, born 19 Apr 1819. We have no marriage, family or death information for him.

      However, the 1840 census does show that his household consisted of 3 persons:

      • A male, age 20-30 and b. between 1810 and 1820. This would be William.
      • A male, age 30-40 and b. between 1800 and 1810. This is likely to be Nathaniel, above, who was born 1808.
      • A female, age 60-70 and born between 1870 and 1880. She is obviously not a wife of either of the men and is more likely their mother, Margaret (Hedden) Prentice who was born 1776. Her husband, Nathaniel, had died the preceding year, 1839

    • "R. H. Prentice" is shown living in York Township in Noble County. We cannot yet say who "R. H. Prentice" is, but do note the surname spelling difference. We do know that Abrahams is not a part of his household because The 1840 census shows that his household consisted of 4 persons:
      • A man, age 20-30 and b. between 1810 and 1820.
      • A woman, probably his wife, age 20-30.
      • A son under 5 years of age and born between 1835 and 1840.
      • A daughter, age 10-15 and born between 1825 and 1830.

    • The family of William Spencer Prentiss is shown in abutting La Grange County. He is #106/132 in our PRENTICE book. However he did not marry until 1832 and is not known to have a son named Abraham.

    • No Prentice, Prentis or Prentiss family is shown for Allen County which contains Fort Wayne.
    Or did Abraham go to Indiana alone?

    One other possibility needs to be explored. Abraham was one the of 9 children of a widowed father. There is the possibility that, at age 16, he struck out on his own to ease the financial burdens faced by his father in raising such a large family. It is also interesting that he said we went west "to Fort Wayne, Ind. when about 16 years old..." Fort Wayne is in Allen County. Why did he not say he went to some town in Noble County?

    Since we are not finding any large family in Noble County, Indiana, perhaps we should be looking elsewhere for a large family somewhere east of Fort Wayne since Abraham says he "went west" when he was 16. That location would not necessarily be Vermont; Abraham says he was born there, but not necessarily that he was living there when he "went west." A great many families from Vermont moved to PA, NY and OH in the period 1800 to 1837, and all lie east of Fort Wayne.

    A comparison of the names of heads of families, and the family composition of adult females and male and female children in the 1830 and 1840 census for those states, as well as VT, may be beneficial.

    Did his siblings live in Cleveland, OH?

    Finally, there is a possibility that Abraham's siblings may have been living in Cincinnati, Cuyahoga, OH in 1850. See the article on Chauncey Prentiss . The number of men and women, and their birth dates and locations, seem to be consistent with Abraham's family as he described it in his Civil War file.

    Or is he the son of Henry Printis of Quebec?

    If Abraham was born at Grand Isle County, VT, and given the large size of his family, one further possibility is worth exploring. He might be a son of Henry Printis of the Seigniory of Sabrenois, Bedford County, Quebec. Although "Henry" was one of the more common names, it is interesting that Abraham did name his second son "Henry," perhaps after Abraham's father. For more information about Henry's family, see that article.


    Footnote 1: A federal census shows L.C. (Lower Canada); his Obituary says "Grandville Co., VT (probably Grand Isle because there is no Grandville County); his Death Certificate says Vermont. Less reliable are the Death Certificates of his sons listing their father's birth place as, variously, MA, CT and NY.

    Footnote 2: It is possible that Anna Dingman might be a sister to Elizabeth Dingman (b. 10 Oct 1822 Kendallville, Noble Co., IN, d. 27 Oct 1893) who m. Oliver Forker (b. 24 Jun 1825 Chenango Twp., Broome, NY and d. 1880 Noble Co., IN). They married 12 Oct 1845 at Kendallville, IN. Elizabeth's father was Frances Dingman b. c. 1796 Kendallville, Noble Co., IN. (per Judy Louden, email, 14 Jun 2001)

    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.

    Caution: If you don't use the above email link, your email to us may be deleted as spam by our email filter.

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