"My earliest scheme, doubtless invented by many before me, was this: I put several marbles in my pocket and charged the boys a marble each to guess the exact number, winner take all. It was the first step along the road of something for nothing."
After almost dying from typhoid fever in 1896, Prescott got involved in a money making scheme with a good childhood friend, Charles W. Fisher, another son of a whaling captain. Fisher convinced Prescott that he had a box that would turn seawater into gold. He and Prescott established the "Electrolytic Marine Salts Company" and convinced many people to invest, some who were Prescott's former parishioners. When the company was discovered to be a scam, Prescott left the country under an assumed name. Although he was known to have returned to the Vineyard at one point, he never set foot in Edgartown again.
Prescott spent time in Canada and England and was later discovered to have moved to the Philippines where he worked as a teacher from 1901-1910. He authored several books about the history and the culture of the Philippines.
An uncontested divorce on the grounds of abandonment was granted to his first wife, Betsey E. Phinney, in 1906. His two other attempts at marriage eventually ended in divorce as well. He died on February 23, 1942 in Texas.
Martha's Vineyard Museum