An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Prescott, Oliver Sherman

(Mar. 24, 1824-Nov. 17, 1903). Ritualist priest and monk. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Trinity Church, New Haven, where the rector was the Rev. Harry Croswell, a leading Tractarian priest. Prescott attended Washington College, 1840-1842, and then studied for a year at Yale. He attended the General Theological Seminary and was ordained deacon on Sept. 16, 1847. Later in 1847, Prescott and William Glenny French made their monastic professions before Bishop Levi S. Ives of North Carolina at St. Luke's Church, New York. They were the first two members of Bishop Ives's Society of the Holy Cross. Prescott then immediately went to North Carolina. He worked in Rowan, Iredell, and Davis counties, but never went to Valle Crucis, the center of the society. In 1849 he went to Boston, Massachusetts, where he was assistant at the Church of the Advent. He heard confessions and pronounced private absolutions at the Church of the Advent. Bishop Manton Eastburn of Massachusetts brought him to trial for these practices. Prescott was acquitted and moved to Westminster, Maryland, where he served the Church of the Ascension. After several other moves, Prescott went to England in 1869. He joined the Society of St. John the Evangelist as the fourth member and second American professed in the society. In 1876 he returned to the United States and became the rector of St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia, a leading ritualist parish. The vestry of St. Clement's had invited the society to take charge of the parish. He served there until 1881. He left the society in 1882. Prescott spent the remaining years of his life as rector of St. Peter's Church, Ripon, Wisconsin, and rector of St. Luke's Church, New Haven. He died in Verbank, New York.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.