Prescott, Oliver

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Prescott, Oliver

PRESCOTT, OLIVER. (1731–1804). Physician and militia general. Massachusetts. Born on 27 April 1731, the son of Benjamin and Abigail Oliver Prescott and younger brother of William Prescott, he was graduated from Harvard College in 1750 and built a successful medical practice in Groton, his birthplace. He was chairman of the town committee that protested the Stamp Act in 1765 and clerk of the town's committee of correspondence in 1774. He served in the militia before the Revolution, became brigadier general of the Middlesex County militia when the war started, and was promoted to second major general of the state militia in 1778. During the Boston siege, he was charged with setting up checkpoints to stop communication between the British garrison and pro-British sympathizers in the countryside. He held a number of important civil posts, helping to enforce the Association of 1774, serving on the Massachusetts supreme executive council from 1777 to 1780, sitting as judge of probate for Middlesex County from 1779 until his death, and playing a vital role in establishing Groton Academy. During Shays's Rebellion, he was active in recruiting and the dispatch of intelligence to the state authorities. Over six feet tall, inclined to being overweight, deaf in his later years, courtly in manner, he was a kindly and popular man. He died at Groton on 17 November 1804.

SEE ALSO Boston Siege; Prescott, William.


Cash, Philip. Medical Men at the Siege of Boston. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1973.

Shipton, Clifford K. Sibley's Harvard Graduates. Vol. 12. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962.

                                revised by Harold E. Selesky

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Prescott, Oliver

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