Compiled by William A. Greene
John Prest was born in Pendleton, New York, which is in Niagara County, on May 27, 1827, the son of John and Catharine (Vreeland) Prest. When he was six years old, the family moved to a farm about one mile west of Andover. John worked on the farm until he was 24 and then learned the carpenter’s trade. He engaged in furniture-making, undertaking, contracting and building. When John first arrived here in Andover there was not a house or building standing in the village. At the turn of the 20th century there wasn’t hardly a house in Andover that wasn’t built or was assisted in being built by John. He was a builder and contractor of much ability. There wasn’t another man that had done more for Andover than had John Prest. Besides the many residences he constructed, he also built a number of business blocks that used to stand, or still stand, today as monument to his memory. Some of John’s works were; the Andover Union School and Academy, which stood on Center St. where Ralph Allen’s house is, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Wellsville, a large block in Painted Post, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Andover, Prest Opera House which stood where the Andover Hardware stands. The Opera House burnt in 1907. John died on December 17, 1910 from carbon monoxide poisoning, and is buried in Hillside Cemetery in Andover.