Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mary and Jonas - Love Rather than Money

A story about the marriage of Jonas Prescott and Mary Loker in 1672 has been handed down by family tradition and preserved with much accuracy, according to Butler's "The History of Groton, Massachusetts"


"John Loker of whom we have no other account than as connected with this affair, is said to have been wealthy, and both he and his wife to have been somewhat aristocratic in their feelings and notions. Having only one daughter, and she exceedingly fair and of good promise, they disdained to betroth her to a blacksmith, the son of a blacksmith, however rich or otherwise unexceptionable he might be. They had set their hearts on Mary's marrying a lawyer.

"So when they found that there was a strong attachment between their idol, Mary, and the young blacksmith (Jonas Prescott), they remonstrated, but, like many other imprudent parents, they unwittingly pursued a course well calculated to foster and strengthen it. They forbade his entering their home, or having any communication whatever with their daughter; and the more effectually to prevent any intercourse, they grated the windows of her apartment, in the house; and when they thought there was any danger of an interview between them, they locked her in.

"Jonas and Mary however were not to be baffled by grates and locks. Jonas took opportunities, when the cold night wind blew and the pelting storm raged, when no listener could overhear their soft whisperings, to place himself beneath her grated window and there enjoy sweet communion with his beloved Mary. Their intercourse was soon discovered, however, by the vigilant and chagrined parents.

"The next expedient resorted to was to place her in some secluded spot under the care of some watchful and faithful guardian. Chocksett, now called Sterling, then a frontier settlement, although adjoining to Groton, was chosen as the place of her seclusion. Jonas searched the country around, and made diligent inquiry to find the place of her banishment, for some time in vain. At length, being one day in the wilds of Chocksett, he made his usual inquiry of some young men he saw if they had any pretty girls in their neighborhood. They told him there was to be a quilting that very day, where all their girls would be; that they were going in the evening to dance with them and invited him to accompany them, where he might see for himself. He very cheerfully accepted the invitation, and on arriving at the cottage where the seamstresses of the settlement were assembled, whome should he find but his beloved Mary Loker.

"This was indeed for them a happy adventure. Concealing, as well as they could, their former acquaintance, they took opportunities to be partners in the dance and made assignments for future meetings. Having thus fortunately discovered the place of banishment, he renewed his visits, till her parents, finding it out, took her back home.

"She was then sternly told that she must reject the blacksmith and receive the addresses of the lawyer. She resolutely replied 'She would never marry to any one but Jonas Prescott.' The rejoinder was 'Then you shall never have a farthing of our property.' To this there was a general demurrer; a decree for marriage without dowry followed. The consummation took place before even the most common utensils for housekeeping could be procured (perhaps there was some delay to see if the old folks would not relent and procure or provide some). The tradition asserts that her only implements for boiling was a two quart kettle, and her wash tub the shell of a large pumpkin. From this affectionate and happy pair sprung the doctors, warriors, civilians, statesmen, jurists, historians, &c, noticed in this genealogical record and memoir, with numerous other descendants of whom Mary lived to see one hundred and seventy five."


The facts show, of course, that Mary Loker's father, John Loker, died before she was born in 1653. There is no record of her mother marrying again. Perhaps she had a guardian who remonstrated with her when she romanced Jonas Prescott. Jonas Prescott did extremely well as one of the first settlers of Groton MA.

This is one of the stories I'm going to include in next year's "Seaver-Richmond Family Journal." Jonas and Mary (Loker) Prescott are two of my 9th great-grandparents.

Is anyone reading this also a descendant of Jonas and Mary (Loker) Prescott? If so, we are probably 9th cousins.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a relative too - along Lake Erie - in Ohio...