Moses Prescott was a rolling stone all his life. He lived in four different states, and his body is not actually buried in Statenville Cemetery where a marker honors his memory. His wife Susannah Warren is buried there, as are five generations of his descendants, on what was originally Prescott land. The memorial stone commemorates his service in the Indian War of 1838. This type of monument for a soldier who is buried elsewhere is called a cenotaph.
The son of John Prescott, Moses was born in 1791 in the Colleton/Barnwell District of South Carolina in the Salkehatchie River basin (Colleton was the older, larger district from which Barnwell was formed). Prescotts were in that area as early as 1716 (as shown by a legal document in the state archives). Susannah Warren, born 1795, was the granddaughter of George Warren of Colleton District but there is disagreement about which of George's sons was her father. Most of the Warren men did not migrate to Georgia but stayed in South Carolina. Oddly enough, Susannah had an aunt named Susannah Warren who married Moses Prescott's uncle, also named Moses, but the older pair migrated to Alabama.
Moses and Susannah had five children born while they were in South Carolina: Moses S. (sometimes called Jr.), Eli Warren, Louvinia (spelled several different ways), Mariah, and Darling C. They were in the 1820 Barnwell census but moved to Georgia before the November 1821 birth of their sixth child, Jesse Pleasant. After the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Creek Indians in 1818, land in southeast Georgia was opened for white settlement. The Prescotts, along with many of their relatives and neighbors from Colleton and Barnwell Districts of South Carolina, were among the first white settlers. Moses's brother Jesse brought his family to Appling County, while Susannah's sister Eliza Warren married Jesse Tyg Carter, who pioneered in Lowndes County.
Some sources say the Prescotts settled first in Appling County, some say they lived in Tattnall. But old Appling, extending to the Florida stateline, was the large county that Clinch was formed from, and later Echols from Clinch and Lowndes. Moses and family could have settled first in Appling County and still not have been far from their later home. By 1825 (according to a greatgrandchild of Jesse Pleasant), they acquired a large area of land in what is now the southwestern part of Echols County, including part of present-day Statenville and extending towards Lake Park.
Moses and Susannah had eight more children after Jesse for a total of 14: Pernicia (Nicey), Riley, Hiram, Reason Dawson, Ann, Julia, Ransom T., and Lupina. They were members of the Primitive Baptist Church, which carefully supervised church membership. A letter from a former church was required if a person wished to join a new church, and some of these records have survived. Moses transferred from the Little Saltkatcher Church in Carter's Ford, SC to the old Union Baptist Church, and later was involved in the formation of Antioch Baptist Church in 1836.
The country was definitely frontier at the time. Many of the men were involved in fighting Indians up until the War of 1837-38, which resulted in the Indians retreating into Florida. Moses was a lst lieutenant in a company commanded by Capt. David Bryan in the war. After one battle, wounded were brought to his house along with Indian captives.
Raising children under these frontier conditions, the Prescotts somehow managed to give them some education. There is a stereotype of these early settlers as being ignorant and even illiterate in some cases. While it may have been true of some people, it is not generally true and certainly not true of the Prescotts. We can be sure of this because several of the sons-Moses, Jesse P., Darling, Eli, and Reason-held the positions of justice of the peace, clerk, and tax assessor in the newly formed counties-positions that would require the office holder to be literate at least. Besides, we have copies of letters written by Jesse and Darling. Jesse served a term in the Georgia legislature. They may not have spent much time in a schoolroom but they were far from being illiterate.
The application that Susannah filed in 1875 for a pension for her husband's War of 1812 service is a good source of information about the family's movements. She says that in 1843, they moved to Florida, living in the part of Duval County that is now Clay, near Middleburg. She also says that they lived for a while east of the St. Johns River, about 10 miles from Palatka. Their younger, unmarried children and most of the married ones also moved to Florida, and seven of them stayed there. It seems likely that Moses did not sell his Georgia land when he moved to Florida, since we find Prescotts in that same location, in Statenville and westward, in later years.
A statement in the pension application by Jesse P. Prescott says that he returned to Echols County in 1849 and that his parents came back there from Florida in "a few years"--after 1851. Eli Warren, Jesse and Ransom T. are all in the 1850 Clinch census. Jesse and Ransom had married half-sisters, Sarah Brooks and Forma Clayton, and would live the rest of their lives in either Echols or Lowndes County, never farther from Statenville than Valdosta or Lake Park.
Moses Jr. moved his family to Florida. Hiram T., Darling C., and Reason Dawson married and stayed in Florida. Reason died of typhoid fever in 1860. Darling was the only Prescott son to die in the war, a victim of illness while fighting in north Georgia in June 1862. Hiram survived the war, though wounded at the Battle of Olustee near Lake City, FL in 1864, only to be shot and killed for reasons unknown in 1866, during the turbulent times under the postwar federal occupation.
Of the daughters, Mariah married Wiley Swilley, who died in 1847, and stayed in the Lowndes-Echols area all her life, later marrying James Miller. Louvinia married a Lowndes man, William Durrance, but they moved to Florida (Putnam County), while Julia married William Silcox, whose family had been among the earliest North Florida settlers, and lived in Clay County. Nicey married Elijah Carter of the Echols Carters but they also moved to Florida. Ann married John Luke Morgan and they lived in Clinch County until he died in 1864 of a battle wound suffered in fighting at Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia. Ann later married Massey J. Walker and moved to Texas. The youngest child, Lupina, was married very young to Joseph Livingston but was either widowed or divorced after having one child. She returned to Georgia, married William T. Green, and lived in Statenville.
Having returned to Echols County, Moses remained there until after the 1860 census. Then he made his last big move. Sons Eli Warren, with his family, and Riley, still single, decided to migrate to Texas. In his 70th year, Moses chose to go with them. We can only guess at his reasons: possibly just his restless nature and that desire to see a place he had never seen. The Prescott party got as far as Winn Parish, LA when the Civil War broke out and they were drawn into it. Riley and two of Eli's sons, Kingsley and Ozias, were in Louisiana regiments. Eli, too old for regular service, got into a state militia unit. Moses died there in Louisiana in April 1862. After the war, the others went on to Texas, where Riley married a widow, Laura Frances Brown Peoples, with two children. Riley and Darling were the only two of the 14 siblings who did not have children.
Susannah chose not to go west with Moses. She may have been wiser than her husband, if we judge by the fact that she outlived him by about 13 or 14 years. The date on her tombstone is off by a year or two. The pension application (denied because she couldn't prove, after 60 years, that he had served) shows she was still alive though very feeble in August 1875. In the 1870 census, she appears to be still living in her own home, the household including James and Susan Peterson and children. Susan Prescott Peterson was a cousin, granddaughter of the other Moses and Susannah who had moved to Alabama many years before.
Jesse and Ransom had the tombstone erected on their mother's grave in Statenville Cemetery with the inscription testifying that she was a Primitive Baptist of the "strictest sect." The monument for Moses was erected much later.
Submitted by Rose Canon, a fifth generation descendant