Philander Prescott

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Philander Prescott (born September 17, 1801; killed by Indians on August 10, 1862 - son of Dr. Joel Prescott and Phildelia Reed). He was a native of Phelps, Ontario County, New York. He headed west in the spring of 1819, stopping a few months in Detroit, Michigan, before continuing west to Fort Snelling.

He married in 1823 Na-he-no-Wenah (Spirit of the Moon), also known as Mary Ke E Hi,[1] daughter of Man-Who-Flies, a Dakota subchief who lived near Lake Calhoun. She was born around 1804-1806 and died on March 29, 1867 at Shakopee, Minnesota. They had sons, William Prescott, Hiram Prescott (b. December 21, 1831 or 1832); Lorenzo Taliferro Prescott (born about 1839; d. January 2, 1869) a daughter, Lucy Prescott Pettijohn, and two more children.

During his life on the frontier he served as a government interpreter of the Dakota language (including for the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux). He worked as a miner, a trapper, and on a steamboat on the Mississippi River. He also ran trading posts in several locations, and farmed.

From 1839 to 1862 he operated a trading post along the St. Croix River - its location became the town of Prescott, Wisconsin, named for him.[2]

He was killed at the Lower Sioux (or Redwood) Agency during the Dakota War of 1862;[3] he was buried in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery in Minneapolis, as was his wife and son.

His papers are in the Minnesota Historical Society [1] library.



  • The Recollections of Philander Prescott, Frontiersman of the Old Northwest, 1819-1862. Edited by Donald Dean Parker. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1966 full text of book here

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