Manchester New Hampshire’s Michael Prout: He put the ‘Prout’ in ‘Prout Park’

Michael Prout from "The Mirror's Pictorial Manchester 1846-1896."

Michael Prout from “The Mirror’s Pictorial Manchester 1846-1896,” John B. Clarke Co., Manchester NH, 1896.

Michael Prout was an English farmer’s son, born 24 Feb 1824 in Plymouth, Devon, England.  It is not known what influenced his immigration to the United States, that  occurred about 1845.  What is definitively known is that Michael Prout was living and working in Manchester, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire as early as 1846 when he is shown in the city directory with his occupation as ‘car'(penter).  Ten years later in 1856 the directory shows his industriousness: “Prout, Michael brewer, 16 Elm, board 4 do.”  This would seem to indicate that the vicinity of the current Blessed Sacrament church and rectory was his residence and brewery.

Two years later (January 1858) he became a naturalized citizen.  His brewing business appears to have been successful, for by 1860 he moved his shop front: “Prout Michael,

Prout Park in Manchester NH, view from Young Street entrance. Copyright Janice Brown, 2015.

Prout Park in Manchester NH, view from Young Street entrance. Copyright 2015 J. Brown

Marshall’s building, Elm, bds. 47 Pine.”  [The Marshall Building was located on Elm Street between Pleasant and Central].  It was probably a smart move, as he would now have been closer to the Amoskeag mill yard, and to the workers–customers who could walk to his convenient establishment.

The book, Brewing in New Hampshire, by Glenn A. Knoblock and James Gunter states that Michael Prout “was an early brewer in the city of Manchester. After brewing on his own for one year from 1856 to 1857, Prout later acted as a distributor for the well-known Albany Ales from New York, as well as for the ale made by Portsmouth brewer John Swindell.”  That same book shows an advertisement that appeared in the 1858 city directory.

By June 1863 the Civil War had started, and Michael Prout, like other men of New Hampshire either enlisted or registered for the draft.  An entry for Hillsborough County men: “Michael Prout, white, 39, Restaurant Keeper, single, b. England.”  I cannot find any record of actual service by Michael Prout of New Hampshire, so possibly he paid for substitutes to serve in his stead.

Prout Block sign Manchester NH

Prout Block sign originally designating a Manchester NH business block on the corner of Elm and Central Streets. Photograph courtesy of Ron Rioux, Panoramio. Photograph used with permission (thank you Ron!)

From 1863 to at least 1895 Michael Prout maintained a liquor business on Elm Street, described in various records as “selling ales and liquors,” “wholesale liquor dealer,” “wine and cigar shop,” and “saloon.”  In 1875 the business storefront, ‘Prout Block,” was officially designated (probably from the former Marshall Building) on Elm Street, at the corner of Central Street (693 and 698 Elm), opposite the current Veteran’s Park.  All that is left of Prout Block today is the facade, “1875 Prout’s Block” [see photo].

Michael Prout married twice (see the Prout genealogy below), and moved his residence a few  times, into the Hallsville area of Manchester where he lived on Taylor, Young and Cypress Streets.  He was residing at 258 Cypress Street at his death, then being a resident for 60 years. [His house was in the proximity of the former OLPH Catholic Church]

Michael Prout’s liquor business ran afoul of the law a few times, notably in 1888 when his ‘saloon’ was raided and he was put on trial.  Apparently the trial was a celebrated one, coverage of it being found in Massachusetts’ newspapers: “Friday, April 27, 1888 Springfield Republican (Springfield MA), page 7 — THE LIQUOR CRUSADE AT MANCHESTER. Manchester’s raided saloon-keepers appeared in court yesterday morning. The greatest excitement prevailed, and it was impossible for all to gain admittance.  Michael Prout was the first of the accused to be tried. Testimony was brought against him which ended in his being held in $200 bail for the supreme court, a decided victory for the prosecution. No other cases were tried. The raids were continued yesterday and the citizen’s league members say they will visit every place in the city where liquor is sold, including those which have a reputation for respectability. Owners of buildings rented to saloon-keepers will be held liable to the “nuisance act,” and property owners have hastily ordered the liquor tenants to vacate. Several of the thirsty ones will organize clubs to tide over the excitement, but the members of the league, who number 300 say they have pledged themselves to the work and will not give it up till they win. County Solicitor Wallace of Milford is in sympathy with the crusade and says he will see that the law is enforced.”  Again in 1894 his establishment was raided and liquor was seized, and in 1895 he was fined for contempt of court for continuing his establishment after an injunction was served on him.

Despite these troubles, Michael Prout held the City of Manchester in high esteem, for he created a will on 17 October 1898 where he made several bequests–land for a park named after his family, and funds to the Manchester City Library. [The Report of Manchester City Library 1903: January 2. Received F.E. Putney, trustee under will of Michael Prout, bequest $7,949.23].

He died 18 Dec 1901 in Manchester NH, age 76 yrs 9 months 22 days of paralysis and

Second view of Prout Park, taken from Young Street entrance.

Second view of Prout Park, taken from Young Street entrance. Copyright Janice Brown, 2015.

apoplexy.   On Nov 1, 1904 The Mayor and Alderman of the City of Manchester passed a resolution stating: “Whereas under the will of Michael Prout, deceased, dated October 17, 1898 and probated December 30, 1901, the city of Manchester was bequeathed a certain tract of land, under part of ‘Article 1’ of said will reading as follows: ‘I give to my said wife the use and occupancy of the house and land where I now reside on the north side and facing Young street (so called) and at her decease said house and the land known as the Six Acre Lot and as shown on the plan of lands made by G.W. Stevens and fomerly known as the J.M. Stevens land, I give, bequeath and devise the same to the City of Manchester to be used as a park and to be called by said city the Prout Park…” [see attached PDF for additional wording].

The said park is located on Young Street between Ainsworth Avenue and Jewett. Marty Miccio via Peter Capano provided me with two great Manchester maps:  1887 Plan of Lots Surveyed for M. Prout | 1905 Engineers Department, Manchester NH Map of Prout Park.

In Manchester NH’s 1905  Report of the Selectmen shows Prout Park improvements: “Planted eighty-six new trees and one hundred and fifty shrubs. Plans for the improvement of the park are now under consideration and it is hoped that considerable new work will be accomplished next year. The 1906 Report of the Selectmen shows Prout Park sidewalks were installed.

I grew up in Manchester, attended school and church a few steps away from Prout Park.  Back then it was basically a large treed lot, where eventually a baseball diamond was built and some rustic bleachers.  That was improved over the years, and a tennis court was added.  As southeast Manchester grew from open farmland with sparsely placed houses into the compact suburb that is it today, the park is an oasis in the city, just as the green areas are to the downtown area.

Perhaps Michael Prout, the farm boy from England, looked out upon his land and was able to look into the future, wanting to preserve the scene for future generations.

Janice

======PROUT FAMILY OF Plymouth England and Manchester NH======

Michael Prout of Plymouth England, b 1784, d. 8 Dec 1856 in Aveton Gifford, Devon, England; m. Elizabeth Hart.  She b. 1784 and d. 17 Jan 1838 in Aveton Gifford, Devon, England. Both are buried in St. Andrew’s Churchyard, Devon England
————–
1841 Census of England & Wales > Devon > Aveton Gifford
Michael Prout 55 Agr Laborer
Charlotte Prout 15
Joseph Prout 10
—same census–
> Devon > Ermington Mills
Michael Prout 80
Rebecca Prout 80
—————–
Children of Michael & Elizabeth (Hart) Prout [may be more]:
1. Charlotte Prout, b abt 1820 England; d. 3 July 1901, aged 80 yrs, 8 months in Londonderry NH; married Nicholas Hart. He was b. 27 May 1822 in England and immigrated 4 July 1870 in Boston MA [naturalization records, 31 Oct 1890] Nicholas died 19 May 1914 in Derry, Rockingham Co. NH. They resided  Londonderry NH; had at least two children: John Prout Hart, b. Dec 1859 in England, d. 2 Feb 1941 Derry NH; and Mary Hart-Allen, b. abt 1854 in England; m. 12 Sep 1866 in Manchester NH to John A. Taylor, son of James & Sarah (Major) Taylor.
2. +Michael Prout, b 24 Feb 1824 in Plymouth, Devon, England
3. Joseph Prout, b abt 1831 in Plymouth, England

Michael Prout, son of Michael & Elizabeth (Hart) Prout, b. 24 Feb 1824 in Plymouth, England. He immigrated abt 1845 to the United States (found in the 1846 Manchester NH directory), and was a naturalized citizen [20 Jan 1858].  He died 18 Dec 1901 in Manchester NH, age 76 yrs 9 months 22 days of paralysis and apoplexy.  He lived at 258 Cypress Street at his death, being a resident for 60 years.[House is in the proximity of the former OLPH Church] He was placed in Valley Cemetery.tomb pending his burial [Editor’s note: it is uncertain where he was actually buried].   He married by 1863 to Mrs. Mary (Parks) Chew.  She was b abt 1833 in Scotland and died 16 Oct 1885 in Manchester NH, age 56. She had married 1st) 9 Nov 1852 in Manchester NH to James Chew. He was b. abt 1820 in England.  The widower Michael Prout married 2nd) about 1886 to Catherine Miller, daughter of Peter Miller.  She was b. Jan 1828 in Ireland and d. 23 Sep 1904, age 80 in NH.  The book, Brewing in New Hampshire, by Glenn A. Knoblock and James Gunter states that Michael Prout “was an early brewer in the city of Manchester. After brewing on his own for one year from 1856 to 1857, Prout later acted as a distributor for the well-known Albany Ales from New York, as well as for the ale made by Portsmouth brewer John Swindell.  That same book shows an advertisement that appeared in the 1858 city directory. In 1863 he was living in Manchester NH, registering for the Civil War Draft, indicating he was a “restaurant keeper.” In the 1869 directory he is listed as selling “ales, liquors in the Marshall Building, and residing on Taylor St. Hallsville.” Another city directory describes him as  a wholesale liquor dealer, owning a ‘wine and cigar’ shop, with a showroom at 693 and 698 Elm Street, Corner of Central up to 1890 [Prout Block]. In the 1890 Manchester City Directory his home is shown as Young Street, Hallsville.  In 1891 a Massachusetts newspapers states he owns a “saloon” in Manchester NH. Prouts Block was built 1875 and it is shown in the 1877 Manchester NH City Directory as being Elm Street, corner Central.
———–
Manchester City Directory 1856
Prout, Michael brewer, 16 Elm, board 4 do.
———–
Naturalized January 20, 1858
———–
1860 Manchester City Directory
Prout Michael, Marshall’s building, Elm, bds. 47 Pine
———–
1860 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Mary Chew 30 F  Scotland
James Chew 3 M NH
Michael Prout 36 M Trader 1500 3000 England
Richard Laugham Mass Bar Tender
William George 41 England Bar Tender
———
June 1863, enumerated on list of Civil War Draft Registration Records, Hillsborough County NH
Michael Prout, white, 39, Restaurant Keeper, single, b. England
———
1864 Manchester City Directory [location]
Marshall’s Building–Elm Street, between Pleasant and Central Streets
———
1866 Manchester NH City Directory
Prout, Michael, ale, liquors, &c. Marshall’s building, Elm, house Taylor, Hallsville
———
1870 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Prout, Michael 46 M W Liquor Wh Merchant 12000 3000 England
Prout, Mary 37 F W Keeping House Scotland
Prout, James E. 13 M W at school NH
Prout, Silas 7 M W NH
—neighbors—-
Young, Orlando H. 39 M W stone mason b NH
Young, Mary O. 42 F W Keeping House
Young, Cora J. 10 F W in school
— — —
Hayward, Henry 64 M W Gardener 4500/250 b England
Hayward, Abigail 65 F W  100/2300 NH
Colby, Sarah F 33 F W Vermont
Haven, Charles A. 8 M W NH
Hayward, William 35 M W Ballad Singer England
Hayward, Georgianna 23 F W singer MA
Hayward, William H. 3 M W MA
— — —
Young, Horace H. 26 M W Farmer 10,000 nh
Young, Emma 27 F W Keeping House VT
Young, Horace 2 M W nh
Young, David 60 M W at home nh
Dolin, Steven 27 M W Farm Laborer Maine
———-
1877 Manchester City Directory
Prout, Michael, house Young, Hallsville
———-
1880 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Prout Michael W M 56 Farmer England England  England
Prout Mary W F 48 wife House Keeper Scot Scot Scot
Prout, Silas M., W M 17 son farm laborer NH Engl Scot
———-
Report of Manchester City Library 1903: January 2. Received F.E. Putney, trustee under will of Michael Prout, bequest .. 7,949.23. The City of Manchester had a “Michael Prout Fund” (possibly benefitting the Manchester City Library) that was valued at 8,439.61 in 1903.
———-
Friday, April 27, 1888 Boston Journal (Boston MA), page 4 – The Manchester Temperance Crusade.
MANCHESTER, N.H. April 27. Promptly at 10:30 the now celebrated liquor cases were put on trial before Judge Hunt and evidence heart sustaining the charges against Michael Prout who was arraigned for being a common seller. After a protracted hearing Prout was ordered to furnish bail in the sum of $400. The case against Daniel Connor for keeping for sale was next taken up and was uncompleted before the hour of adjournment. The plan of prosecution is to first arraign parties for keeping for sale, second for being common sellers, and third, search their places under the nuisance act.
————
Friday, April 27, 1888 Springfield Republican (Springfield MA), page 7 — THE LIQUOR CRUSADE AT MANCHESTER
Manchester’s raided saloon-keepers appeared in court yesterday morning. The greatest excitement prevailed, and it was impossible for all to gain admittance.  Michael Prout was the first of the accused to be tried. Testimony was brought against him which ended in his being held in $200 bail for the supreme court, a decided victory for the prosecution. No other cases were tried. The raids were continued yesterday and the citizen’s league members say they will visit every place in the city where liquor is sold, including those which have a reputation for respectability. Owners of buildings rented to saloon-keepers will be held liable to the “nuisance act,” and property owners have hastily ordered the liquor tenants to vacate. Several of the thirsty ones will organize clubs to tide over the excitement, but the members of the league, who number 300 say they have pledged themselves to the work and will not give it up till they win. County Solicitor Wallace of Milford is in sympathy with the crusade and says he will see that the law is enforced.
———-
1889 Manchester NH Directory
Prout, Cyrus, clerk boards M. Prout’s Hallsville
Prout, Michael 693 and 698 Elm, corner Central, house Young, Hallsville
Prout, Silas, boards Young, Hallsville
———-
Saturday, October 13, 1894, Boston Herald (Boston MA), page 3
The wholesale liquor stores of Edward Wagner, Michael Prout, William Hayes, Patrick Harrington, Vincent Trudeau and Lawrence Connor, at Manchester, N.H. were raided by the police yesterday, and in each instance liquor was seized.
———-
Thursday, April 18, 1895 Boston Journal (Boston MA), page 1 – Liquor Men Trounced sentenced Imposed for Contempt of Court  — Fines but no Imprisonment
Manchester NH, April 17–In the supreme Court here today 16 Nashua and Manchester liquor dealers were arraigned for contempt of court, having continued in business after injunctions had been served upon them. They were sentenced by Judge W.W. Chase as follows: Manchester–John Hayes and Michael Prout, fine of 4300 and costs and sentence of six months in jail, suspended, pending violation of the law; [and it continues but this was the severest penalty]….
———-
1900 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester, Ward 10
Michael Prout, b. Feb 1825 England; married abt 1886 [14 yrs]  England England England immigrated 1845, naturalized, Landlord
Catherine M. Prout, b. Jan 1828 Ireland, wife, Ire Ire Ire 1 child 0 living; immigrated 1865
McManus Thomas servant W M March 1850 50 marrried 20 yrs Ire Ire Ire; immigrated 1862, Hostler
———
Death: 18 Dec 1901 Michael Prout
———
Box 4. Monday, June 26, 1.30 PM. Four-story brick block, 698 Elm Street, owned by Estate of Michael Prout and occupied by the Annis Flour and Grain Company as grocery store. The fire originated in the basement, where it was wholly confined and probably caused by lightning  coming in on electric wires. Box pulled by citizen. Companies responding: Engines 3,4, Chemical, Hose 1,3, Trucks 1,3. Value of building $40,000; damage $17,500; insurance, $1,350; insurance paid, $1,350. Value of contents, $12,000, damage $2,800; insurance $6000, insurance paid, $2,800.
[need town book for year]
———-
Child of James & Mary W. (Parks) Chew:
1. +James E. Chew-Prout, b Aug 1858 Manchester NH
Child of Michael & Mary W. (Parks) Prout:
2. +Silas Prout, b. Dec 1862 in Manchester NH, and died 13 Mar 1890 in Manchester NH of heart failure at the age of 28 years 3 months. He married Mary A. Rooney, dau of John & Johanna (Casey) Rooney.  She was b. 1868 in Ireland and d. 23 April 1925 in Manchester NH at the Lucy Hastings Hospital.  Her residence was 247 Jewett Street, Manchester NH, residing in Manchester for 35 years, previously in Boston MA.

———–NEXT GENERATION—————–

Silas Prout, son of Michael & Mary W. (Park[s]) Prout, b. December 1862 Manchester NH, and died 13 Mar 1890 in NH; m Mary A. Rooney, dau of John & Johanna (Casey) Rooney.  She was b. 1868 in Ireland and d. 23 April 1925 in Manchester NH at the Lucy Hastings Hospital.  Her residence was 247 Jewett Street, Manchester NH, residing in Manchester for 35 years, previously in Boston MA. Occupation at his daughter Lillian’s birth: Saloon Keeper in Manchester NH
—————–
Prout, Mary A., Head W F Aug 1865 34 widow 2 ch 2 living Ire Ire Ire
Prout, Lillian dau W F Jan 1889 11 single Mass NH Ire
Prout, Mary S. dau W F Sep 1891 8 single Mass NH Ire
—————–
Boston Globe, Feb 13, 1904 — HEIRS OF CHARLES ROONEY
Manchester, N.H. Feb 12–Mrs. Mary Prout, 247 Jewett St., has fallen heir to a portion of a fortune of $160,000 left by her uncle, Charles Rooney, who died in the state of Washington early in January.  Twelve years ago Charles Rooney left New England and went west, where he made a fortune. So absorbed did he become in his business that he apparently forgot all about his relatives in the east and he was not heard from. He died in the mining country in Washington leaving no will.  His attorney knowing that he had come from New England, wrote a Boston attorney, who took Inspector William J. Rooney into his confidence and found that the latter was a nephew of the dead man. The heirs are Inspector William J. Rooney and officer John J. Rooney of the Boston police force, Mrs. Kate Toother, Mrs. Michael Daly and Mrs. Hyson McDonald, all of Boston, and Mrs. Mary Prout, and the two children of De Forest Stearns of this city, whose mother was of the Rooney family.  Inspector Rooney lived in Manchester, but left there 11 years ago. [end]
—————–
Children of Silas & Mary (Rooney) Prout:
1. Lillian Prout, b. 31 Jan 1889 in Warren, Worcester Co. MA, and d. January 1969 in Hillsborough Co. NH; In 1940 a telephone operator for NET&T Co., single living (lodger) at 428 E. High Street, Manchester NH. In 1959 living at 1837 Elm St.
2. Mary S. Prout, b. 19 Sep 1890 in Warren, Worcester Co. MA, died October 1983 in NY, age 93; in 1924 asst chief opr [telephone operator] 25 Concord St., residing 247 Jewett Street.  She married 27 June 1930 in Maine to Carroll Francis  Kelley also of Manchester NH, son of Thomas & Eola L. (Fletcher) Kelley.  He was b. 25 Jan 1896 in Manchester NH and d. Jan 1972 in Manchester NH. They are both buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester NH.

James E. Chew-Prout, son of James & Mary W. (Parks) Chew, b. Aug 1858 in Manchester NH; married 6 April 1892 in Denver Colorado to Minna C. Kutcher/Cutcher, dau of Theodore & Mary A. (Wyant) Kutcher. She died before 1900. In 1877 he is listed in Manchester NH City Directory as a Clerk. He was either adopted by his stepfather, Michael Prout, or he took his last name when his mother married Michael.
————-
1880 US Census > Colorado > Larimer > Fort Collins
Theodore Kutcher 38 Lumber Dealer b. Darmstadt Germany ” ”
Mary A Kutcher 37 wife keeping house IL PA MD
Minnie C. Kutcher 11 Iowa Ger IL
Jennie Kutcher 7 Mo Ger IL
Bertha C. Kutcher 5 Mo Ger IL
Charles A. Kutcher 3 Colorado Ger IL
Zuella G. Kutcher 5m Colorado Ger IL
————-
1885 Colorado State Census > Grand > District 1
Riggon John W M 38 IL rancher
Riggon, Alice W F 28 wife Wy
Riggon, Chas W M 7 son KS
Riggon, Nellie W F 3 dau KS
McCallus K J W M 23 servant ranch hand Scot Scot Eng
Prout, James W. M 25 ranch hand NH Eng Eng
—,  Samuel W M 22 brother NH Eng Eng
————-
1900 US Federal Census > Colorado > Larimer > Fort Collins [109 S. Sherwood Street]
Jas E. Prout W M Aug 1858 41 widower NH Eng Scot Livestock dealer
Mary A. Kutcher, mother-in-law W F June 1843 56 married 32 yrs 7 ch 5 living IL PA MD
————-
1930 US Census > Colorado > Denver > Denver
1110 Clayton Street
Prout, James Head $35000 M W 65 married at age 55 England England England, Statistical Engineer, City Water Works; immigrated 1873
Prout, Louisa wife, W 59 married at age 51 Germany Germany Germany
————–
no known children.

***THANK YOU TO….***
— Ron Rioux, for giving me permission to post your photograph, of the Prout Block sign.
— Peter Capano, Chief of Parks, Manchester NH for his timely and considerate response to my email inquiry, and for connecting me with additional people who could help.
— Martin “Marty” Miccio, Chief of Survey, Manchester NH for looking in those ‘dusty corners’ to find and provide some great maps!
— Sally Fellows, CRM, Manchester (NH) City Archives, for providing a PDF of the 1904 resolution, creating Prout Park.

***ADDITIONAL READING***

-Manchester New Hampshire, Parks & Recreation Facilities

The Northern Draft of 1862, The American Civil War at etymonline.com

List of Breweries in New Hampshire at wikipedia

[end]

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