Nathaniel C. Prentiss
Calumet County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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Nathaniel C. Prentiss

This man came to Milwaukee from Rochester, N.Y., in 1836 and at once became noted as a builder and a contractor.

In person, he was of medium height, thick set, large head, brown hair, coarse and shaggy, dark eyes, a voice that could be heard half a mile, rough and harsh, its tones resembling the subdued growling of a dog, more than anything else; and a mouth that, when open, resembled the entrance to Mammoth Cave. For profanity, no man in the army of Flanders, could have surpassed him, and in lying, he was the compeer of Cady. His word was as good as his bond, and that was thing no man wanted, unless he wished for a keepsake to remember the giver by. His hegira from Rochester is said to have occurred between two days, on account of the number of these same keepsakes, the constant reminder that the holders of them gave him, being too much for so sensitive a nature as his to endure. The first impression his blustering way of talking would give to a stranger, was that of fear of his prowess; but a further acquaintance would dispel all that. He was the biggest coward in the place; any boy twelve years old could make him run like a scared hound. The cognomen by which he was best known, was old "By Jesus." but with all the imperfections, he was one of the best mechanics that ever came to this city. He left many years ago, the place getting altogether too civilized for him, going to St. Paul, Minnesota, where, after funning pretty much such a career as he did here, death came, and took him over the Styx.

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