Mrs. Prentiss was fortunate in the place of her birth. She first saw the light at Portland, Maine. Maine was then a district of Massachusetts, and Portland was its chief town and seaport, distinguished for beauty of situation, enterprise, intelligence, social refinement and all the best qualities of New England character. Not a few of the early settlers had come from Cape Cod and other parts of the old Bay State, and the blood of the Pilgrim Fathers ran in their veins. Among its leading citizens at that time were such men as Stephen Longfellow, Simon Greenleaf, Prentiss Mellen, Samuel Fessenden, Ichabod Nichols, Edward Payson, and Asa Cummings; men eminent for private and public virtue, and some of whom were destined to become still more widely known, by their own growing influence, or by the genius of their children.