Prescott Family

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Mrs. Daniel (Eleanor Manning) Prescott, date unknown
Mrs. Daniel (Eleanor Manning) Prescott, date unknown.

Daniel Prescott was born May 31, 1852 in Albany, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1878, and was married to Eleanor Manning on October 15, 1879 in Hillsdale, Michigan. After their marriage, the Prescotts moved west, settling in Glenrock, Wyoming where Daniel practiced law until moving to Colorado.

In 1890 the Prescotts moved to Denver, where Daniel joined the law firm of Archie M. Stevenson. Later, he became District Attorney in Denver. It was in this position that he was involved in one of Denver's most notorious cases.

The Denver Post reporter, Polly Pry, and its two publishers, Harry H. Tammen and Frederick G. Bonfils, had led a campaign to obtain the release of Alfred Packer, the convicted "man-eater." In 1899, Governor Charles S. Thomas had refused to parole Packer due mainly to the influence of Otto Mears. Long-time Packer supporter, Duane C. Hatch, then engaged attorney W.W. Anderson to continue the legal battle. Anderson and the publishers of The Denver Post decided to continue the fight, with the Post, bearing the financial responsibilities.

Prescott Home view from driveway 1904
Daniel Prescott home, c.1904.

By January 13, the publishers, Polly Pry and The Denver Post, had misgivings regarding what they believed to be misrepresentations by Mr. Anderson to Packer. The result was a confrontation that resulted in Mr. Anderson shooting Bonfils twice and Tammen once. It is said that Polly Pry put herself in the line of fire, thus preventing her bosses from additional harm. Anderson was arrested and charged with assault to commit murder. The case was brought to trial on April 23 before Judge Palmer. The District Attorney was Daniel Prescott. Packer testified against Anderson. The Judge confused the jury with his instructions on the law, and after deliberation, the jury members disagreed and Anderson was released. Anderson was brought to trial twice more and was eventually found not guilty of assault to commit murder.

Prescott Porch 1904 Detail
Front porch of the Daniel Prescott home at 5621 S. Nevada, c.1904.

In 1904 Prescott and his family moved to Littleton, and became involved in legal and commercial ventures in the area. Prescott was the attorney for the Denver South Platte Transportation Company during the time they established the streetcar line connecting Englewood to the Denver Tramway. Another case that Prescott worked on was a local one involving a Littleton band. The band members had ordered new uniforms from a Denver supplier. When the band received the uniforms, they found that the uniforms were poorly made and unacceptable. The band refused to pay for them. They were sued in Arapahoe County District Court under Judge Flor Ashbaugh and Prescott agreed to defend the band. According to the Littleton Independent, he won the case, but in the meantime, the band treasurer had absconded with the funds and Daniel Prescott was never paid for his time.

Daniel Prescott died in July, 1915. His widow and four daughters, including Katherine Prescott Bemis, wife of long-time Littleton Independent editor and publisher, Edwin Bemis, survived him.

Bibliography

Littleton, (Colo.) Independent. Littleton, Colo.: Littleton Independent Publishers, 1888-

Littleton Museum. Photographic Archives and Biography/Placename Files.

_____. Vertical File: "Prescott Family."

Photographs courtesy of the Littleton Museum unless otherwise noted. To order copies, contact the museum at 303-795-3950.

 

Compiled by Lorena Donohue

Updated May 2017