In 1867, DeWitt Clinton (Clint) Prescott, along with partners Trumbell and Curver, founded a shop for repairing and manufacturing sawmills; the name of this operation is not known. It was located on Joe Bart Island in Marinette. In 1870 their shop burned down in a fire that spread from a nearby planing mill. They rebuilt on the mainland (on Main Street) and changed the name to Marinette Iron Works.
Prescott invented and patented key innovations in steam-powered feed works and set works, and these innovations were widely adopted.
At some point the operations moved to Duluth, WI, and eventually moved again to Menominee, WI. It is possible that the name changed to the Prescott Co. a some point; it is certain that Clint Prescott was operating under that name by 1905.
We have also seen the names Marinette Iron Works Co. and Marinette Iron Works Manufacturing Co., but have no other information on when those names were in use.
Besides sawmills, Marinette Iron Works also made mining machinery, steam engines, and steam locomotives.
American Steam Engine Builders: 1800-1900 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2006 page 150
- A RootsWeb page quoted a history from Marinette County Centennial 1879-1979: "D. Clint Prescott, Trumbell, and Curver built a machine shop for repair and manufacture of sawmill and mining machinery on Joe Bart Island in 1867. During the fire that destroyed the Goddard, White and Ellis planing mill, in 1870, Prescott's plant was also destroyed. The company moved to new quarters on Main Street, and the name was changed to Marinette Iron Works. The Prescotts developed the steam-feed and set works, which revolutionized the sawing of lumber. They also manufactured car wheels and pumping machinery for the copper and iron mines in northern Michigan. In the early 1890s they moved their plant to Duluth, but a few years later, they returned and built another large plant in Menominee."
- Advertisements for fire bricks in Journal of the United States Association of Charcoal Iron Workers, volumes 5 and 6, from 1884 and 1885, mention Marinette Iron Works Co. as a reference.
- A page from the Delta County Historical Society lists an obituary for D. C. Prescott. Volunteer Cheryl Savage kindly photocopied the article and mailed it to me. The obituary, from the 1918-05-07 issue of the Escanaba Morning Press, is transcribed below.
D. Clint Prescott, pioneer sawmill manufacturer of the northwest and former resident of Marinette, died suddenly at his home in Chicago Saturday morning. He had not been ill and his death was entirely unexpected. His son, Loren L. Prescott, leaves this evening for Chicago and until after his arrival the funeral arrangements will not be known. But it is thought certain that the remains will be brought to Marinette for interment by the side of his late wife, who is buried at Woodlawn cemetery.
Mr. Prescott's immediate survivors are his second wife, four sons, Fred and Loren L. of Menominee, Edward I. and Sumner of Seattle, and two daughters, Mrs. N. C. Kingsburg, of New York, and Mrs. Petitt of Chicago. He was the founder of the Marinette Iron Works which for years conducted an extensive business in Marinette in the manufacture of sawmill machinery and later moved to Duluth. He has resided in Chicago for about twenty years.
DeWitt Clinton Prescott came to Peshtigo in 1865 from Chicago. He arrived in Chicago when he was 15 years of age and later brought the first C. & N. W. locomotive to that city. He was engineer on the Rockford Galena division at the time.
He became master mechanic for the Chicago & Northwestern at Peshtigo. He remained there until the Marinette Iron Works was started here, he being a promotor and organizer of the institution.
In 1863 he was married to Sarah Holgate, who died a few years ago.
Mr. Prescott was a charter member of the Mason lodge of Marinette and was the last surviving charter member. He was a founder of the Methodist church here, taking a prominent part in all of its proceedings during his residence here.