Prescott Bush – Early Years
Greenwich was once home to Prescott Bush – father of President George Herbert Walker Bush, and grandfather to President George Walker Bush. In addition to this great distinction, Prescott Bush was also an important historical figure in his own right. He was very active and prominent in civic affairs.
Prescott was born in Columbus OH on May 15, 1895. He was the son of Samuel and Flora (Sheldon) Bush. Samuel was a middle manager for a railroad company, and later a steel company president. After attending elementary school in Columbus OH, Prescott enrolled in St George’s Preparatory School in Newport. He received a BA from Yale in 1917, and is reported to have been a member of the secret “Skull and Bones Club”. Prescott was very athletic and received varsity letters in baseball, hockey and golf. He sang with the Yale male choir – The Whiffenpoofs. During World War I, he was a member of the Connecticut National Guard, and joined the United States Army in 1917. He served as a Captain of Field Artillery in the American Expeditionary Forces from 1917 to 1919. Later, he joined the American Legion.
Prescott Bush -Post War Years
After World war I, Prescott sold hardware in St. Louis MO. In August 1921, he married Dorothy Walker in Kennebunkport ME. Prescott and Dorothy had five children including: Prescott Sheldon Bush, Jr; George Herbert Walker; Nancy Bush; Jonathan James Bush; and William Henry Trotter Bush. In 1924, the family moved to Greenwich, and Prescott lived here until he died. This allowed him to commute back and forth to New Yok City, where he had many business dealings. In the summer they would vacation at their summer estate in Kennebunkport ME.
Dorothy’s father managed to get Prescott a job as an investment banker at Harriman Brothers at 59 Wall Street in 1926. Later, Bush became President at Harriman’s. During the Depression he managed to save the company from significant losses by slashing costs and merging with another bank. He was a Vice President from 1926 to 1930, and eventually became a partner. Bush became a director for CBS and also served as a member on various Boards: Dresser Manufacturing Company, Simmons Company, Vanadium Coroporation of America, Massachusetts Investors Second Club, Union Banking Corporation, Rockbestos Products Corporation, United States Guarantee Corporation, Commerical Pacific Cable and Pennsylvania Water and Power Company. In February 1942, he was appointed National Chairman of the USO War Fund Campaign, and managed to raise $32-million to provide rest and recreation for 4-million soldiers. Prescott also served on the Executive Committee of the US Golf Association, during which time he served as Secretary, Vice President and President. He retired from the Board in 1936.
Locally, Bush served as Moderator for the Representative Town Meeting from 1935 until 1952. He served as a United States Senator from 1952 to 1963. President Eisenhower appointed him to the Foreign Economic Policy Commission. As a moderate, Bush supported Civil Rights, higher immigration quotas, opposed taxes and was against raising Senators’ salaries. Greenwich resident Clare Luce Booth became a close ally. When Bush finished his term as Senator, he took over the direction of Union Bank. Here he facilitated the transfer of gold, oil, steel and coal during World War II. He was a member of the Yale Club, the Round Hill Country Club, and the Field Club.
Prescott Bush died on October 8, 1972, in New York City. He was interred at Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich. Bush lived a very successful and prosperous life. His contributions to business and politics were immense. Prescott Bush is just one example of the many people in Town who are ready to step up and assume important roles. These people make Greenwich the great community it is today.
Greenwich Time; Southwestern Connecticut Newspapers; April 6, 1942, Stamford CT