John Holmes Prentiss

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John Holmes Prentiss, Congressman from New York

John Holmes Prentiss (April 17, 1784 – June 26, 1861) was a United States Representative from New York. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, he attended local and private schools. He was foreman of the New York Evening Post in 1808 and moved to Cooperstown, New York in October 1808; he established the Freeman's Journal in the same year and served as its editor. Prentiss was appointed colonel of militia by Governor Clinton and served as division inspector on the staff of the commander in chief. He was postmaster of Cooperstown from April 24, 1833, to February 17, 1837 and was vice president of the Democratic State convention at Albany.

Prentiss was elected as a member of the Democratic Party to the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1837 to March 3, 1841; he was not a candidate for renomination in 1840 and resumed his former newspaper pursuits. He also served as president of the Bank of Cooperstown, and resided there until his death in that city in 1861. Interment was in Lakewood Cemetery.

John Holmes Prentiss' brother, Samuel Prentiss, was a U.S. Senator and United States District Court judge from Vermont.

In 1808, Prentiss became the printer of The Impartial Observer in Cooperstown, N.Y., founded by Judge William Cooper, Cooperstown's founder. In 1809, the name was changed to The Cooperstown Federalist, to reflect its affiliation, and—at Cooper's death—Prentiss assumed ownership and the title of editor. In 1818, the name was changed to The Freeman's Journal, to reflect the newspaper's shift to Jeffersonian Democrats—known as freemen. He operated the newspaper until his retirement in 1849.


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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sherman Page
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 19th congressional district

March 4, 1837 – March 3, 1841
Succeeded by
Samuel S. Bowne