Dr. Samuel Prescott

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Samuel Prescott, Dr.

Birthdate: (26)
Death: 1777 (25)
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. Abel Prescott and Abigail Prescott
Brother of Abigail Minott; Abel Prescott, II; Lucy Fay and John Prescott
Half brother of Benjamin Prescott

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Immediate Family

About Dr. Samuel Prescott


Samuel Prescott (August 19, 1751 – c. 1777) was a Massachusetts Patriot during the American Revolutionary War. He is best remembered for his role in the "midnight ride" to warn the townspeople of Concord of the impending British army move to capture military stores kept there at the beginning of the American Revolution. He was the only participant in the ride to reach Concord.

Early life

Dr. Samuel Prescott was born August 19, 1751. He appears to have enjoyed the privileges of growing up in the wholesome atmosphere of colonial Concord, Massachusetts, and within short distance of his many uncles, aunts, and cousins with whom he possibly learned much about his family history. Much of this history was probably passed on to the family by his grand uncle Samuel Prescott (1674–1758), who knew many of the early Prescotts, and was even old enough to remember the first ancestor of the Concord branch of the family, John Prescott (1604–1681), founder of Lancaster, Massachusetts. Indeed, the Prescotts and their extended family played an important and often heroic role in colonial history. These include settling Concord, fighting in colonial wars, and negotiating for the ransom of Mary Rowlandson.

Prescott followed in the footsteps of his older brother Benjamin (1745–1830) and apprenticed under his father, Abel Prescott, for about seven years. He appears to have kept an extremely low profile during pre-revolutionary times as well as afterward, as best can be attained. He did open a practice in Concord, just before or after which time he began to court Lydia Mulliken (1753–1789), daughter of a well-respected Lexington clockmaker who had died in 1767.

During the latter part of his apprenticeship or shortly after he began his medical practice, he became an active member in the patriot movement. There is strong circumstantial evidence that he was an express courier for the Sons of Liberty and Committees of Correspondence, and that he was an important liaison between the Concord Defense Committee and John Hancock and other leaders of the patriots.

The Ride

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes were dispatched by Joseph Warren to warn the countryside that the British were coming, Prescott was in Lexington to visit with his fiancee Lydia Mulliken. He was also there to report on Concord’s readiness, its status in hiding supplies and munitions from the British, and its success in moving cannon to Groton lest it fall into British hands. The British wanted the military stores at Concord and had hoped to capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock in the process.

When Prescott left Lexington, it was about 1 a.m. the next morning, April 19. On his way back to Concord he met Paul Revere (1735–1818) and William Dawes (1745–1799), who had just left Lexington shortly before him and were also on their way to Concord—to warn the town that the Redcoats were on the march.

When the three continued on to Hartwell's tavern in the lower bounds of Lincoln, they were cut off by four British horseman who were part of a larger scouting party sent out the preceding evening. Revere was captured but both Prescott and Dawes succeeded in making a daring run for it. Local boy Prescott did so with a show of artful horsemanship and knowledge of the forest. Finally losing his pursuers, he circled about and headed with the utmost speed to Concord, carrying Revere’s warning to his townsmen.[citation needed]

Dawes also escaped from his pursuers with much daring, but it was after a close chase, a frantic ruse on his part, and a little bit of luck. Once he was safe, he considered circling around the patrol and racing on to Concord much as Prescott had, but he heard the Concord town house bell and knew Prescott had made it there, and so he continued on his special mission, for he was only assigned to accompany Revere to Concord. Prescott, meanwhile, continued west to warn Acton, Massachusetts while his brother Abel Prescott (1749–1775) rode south to warn Sudbury and Framingham. By this time, countless riders were also dispatched from other towns to spread the warning—while bells and cannon were rung or fired to punctuate the danger at hand.[citation needed]

Because of the “midnight” rides of Revere, Dawes, Prescott, and many other expresses (couriers), Minutemen and Militia everywhere were on the ready, many marching to Concord to effectively engage the British Army at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Prescott was there to witness the Battle of Concord, then tried to beat the British back to Lexington to see Lydia Mulliken and her family and to help with the wounded. He remained at Lexington as a volunteer surgeon for about two weeks, then seems to have disappeared into the war.

Prescott's life following "The Ride"

There is evidence that Prescott went on to serve as a surgeon in the Continental Army, a tradition that he joined the crew of a New England privateer, and a report that he was in prison in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he may have died between November 23, 1776 and December 26 (1777?). There is also circumstantial evidence that he served in some medical support capacity out of Fort Ticonderoga during the invasion attempts against Canada and until about the time of Benedict Arnold's failed attempts against Sir Guy Carleton on Lake Champlain.


Prescott's ride is re-enacted every Patriots' Day eve (observed) in the Town of Acton. The re-enactment begins in East Acton, continues through Acton Center, and ends at Liberty Tree Farm, where once was the home of a minuteman named Simon Hunt. The distance is approximately five miles (8 km).

There are also re-enactments on Patriots' Day (usually the third Monday of April) of the rides of William Dawes and Paul Revere, to commemorate the famous “midnight” ride that began in the evening hours of April 18 and continued on April 19.

Prescott's ride is re-enacted every year at midnight April 18-19 at Concord's First Parish Church. The re-enactment is preceded by a Patriots' Ball. The Minute Men march with fife and drum leading the attendees from the armory to the church. The Captain of the Concord Minute Men reads a message handed him by "Prescott" on horseback.


Samuel Prescott (August 19, 1751 - c. 1777) was a Massachusetts Patriot during the American Revolutionary War.

Prescott was on the road at 1 A.M. on April 19, 1775 after an evening with his fiancée, Lydia Mulliken, when he met Paul Revere and William Dawes on their ride from Lexington to Concord and joined them to warn of the British attempt to seize the store of arms. Although he joined the ride late, he was the only one of the three men to reach Concord and warn the town.[1] He then proceeded further west to warn Acton, Massachusetts while his brother Abel rode south to warn Sudbury and Framingham. The rapid warning of Revere, Dawes, and Prescott alerted the Minutemen of this region in time for them to engage the British Army at the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Prescott later became a surgeon in the Continental Army and joined the crew of a New England privateer. He was captured by the Royal Navy and died between November 23, 1776 and December 26 (1777?) while a prisoner in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Prescott was a descendant of the nonconformist minister the Rev. Peter Bulkeley (see Odell, Bedfordshire). His sister, Lucy Prescott, married Jonathan Fay, Jr., and via their descendant Harriet Fay and her husband James Bush, through their eldest son, Samuel Prescott Bush, they became ancestors of two United States presidents, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.[2]

Prescott's ride is re-enacted every Patriots Day eve (observed) in the Town of Acton. The re-enactment begins in East Acton, continues through Acton Center and ends at Liberty Tree Farm. The house there was owned by a minuteman, Simon Hunt, in 1775.

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Jeff -

Here is some information on Dr. Samuel Prescott who actually completed the ride Paul Revere started!


Charles David Prescott, III

(a cousin-a number of times removed)

Paul Revere, Lighting, Riding, Fighting and Other Thoughts

In 1774 and on into the spring of 1775, Paul Revere acted as an express rider. He was employed by various committees of the Massachusetts government to carry news, messages, copies of resolutions and other government documents as far away as New York and Philadelphia.

In addition, he was active in the "Sons of Liberty", an American Patriot group desiring independence from England.

In the days prior, Paul Revere and others had observed British troops assembling and had suspected that something was about to happen.

On the evening of April 18, 1775 Dr. Joseph Warren summoned Paul Revere and instructed him to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts. He was to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them.

Several associates rowed him across the Charles River to Charlestown. There he borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin. And, he verified that the local "Sons of Liberty" committee had seen the pre-arranged signal.

Paul had arranged for these signals because he was afraid he might be prevented from leaving Boston.

There were two possibilities. The British could march "by land" out Boston Neck. Or they could row "by sea" across the Charles River to Cambridge.

One lantern hung in the steeple tower of the North Church would indicate "by land". Two lanterns would indicate that the British intended to come "by sea".

Robert Newman, the church sexton, snuck out of his house and went to the church where he was joined by John Pulling. John locked him in the church. He hung the lanterns for only a minute so that the British would not become suspicious. After hanging the lanterns, he left through a window. The British subsequently questioned Newman about the incident but no charges were filed.

On the way to Lexington, he reportedly stopped at each house "alarming" the country-side. He arrived in Lexington about midnight. Approaching the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry reportedly asked that he not make so much noise. Paul Revere is reported to have replied: "Noise! You'll have more noise than this before long. The regulars are coming out!"

After delivering his message, he was joined by William Dawes, a second rider sent on the same errand by a different route, who reportedly arrived about 12:30. They decided on their own to continue to Concord, Massachusetts where weapons and supplies were hidden and left about 1:00 AM.

On the way, they were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. It seems that he had been visiting his girlfriend at a Lexington tavern. The story is that she was the tavern owner's wife and that he was discovered with her and fled the tavern when he met up with Revere and Dawes.

Shortly after that, British troops stopped and arrested all three. Prescott immediately escaped. Dawes escaped soon after. Revere, however, was held some time before being released.

As he had no horse, he returned on foot to Lexington in time to witness part of the battle on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775. It was the first battle in which British troops were killed.

Dawes also did not make it to Concord. He got lost in the dark and unfamiliar surroundings.

The only one who actually made it all the way to Concord was Dr. Samuel Prescott.

Every year Boston celebrates the anniversary of the lanterns that set the Revolutionary War in motion at a candlelit ceremony featuring typically featuring costumed Colonists, patriotic music and some famous actor as Paul Revere.

1999 highlights included David Connor as Paul Revere, an opening procession with the USS Constitution color guard and a bell-ringing performance by the Old North Guild of Change Ringers. Ethan Warren, a descendant of Paul Revere, read Longfellow's poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere."


Samuel Prescott

Prescott, Samuel , 1751 - c.1777, American Revolutionary figure, born Concord, Mass. On the night of Apr. 18, 1775, he, Paul Revere, and William Dawes set out to warn the countryside of the British advance toward Concord. Revere was captured on the way, but Prescott got through with the news. He was later captured and died in prison.

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On the evening of 18 April 1775, Dr. Samuel Prescott of Concord visited his fiancée in Lexington. Being a physician -- and thus exempt from military service -- he volunteered as an alarm rider along with brother Abel. While departing Lexington, Samuel fell in with two riders, Paul Revere and William Dawes, who were hastening to Concord with news that the Regulars were on the road headed to that town. Joining the pair in their mission, Prescott was the only one to escape a Redcoat patrol ambush, spread the alarm to Lincoln citizens (received quickly by Smith) and arrive in Concord with the horrific announcement.

While Samuel continued on to Acton and Stow, his brother Abel rode to Framingham and Sudbury. Upon return to Concord as the Regulars were hastily departing, he was shot by a Redcoat and within four months died of the wound and dysentery at age 26. Samuel became a military surgeon and was captured by the British army in 1776 at either Ft. Ticonderoga or aboard a privateer at sea. In 1777 at age 26, he died in a Halifax military prison. A sibling Benjamin served out the war as a Continental Army surgeon.

The Prescott brothers' sister, Lucy, married a young Harvard graduate and Concord attorney Jonathan Fay (ancestral roots to England's King Henry II).

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Dr. Samuel Prescott's Timeline

August 19, 1751
Age 25