Gov. Thomas PRENCE

Male Bef 1600 - 1673  (> 73 years)


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  • Name Thomas PRENCE  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    • Thomas Prence was the most distinguished of the settlers of Eastham, though not the best educated. At the time of his removal in 1645, he was holding the position of an assistant to Gov. Bradford, and had twice been chosen governor of the infant colony --first election in 1634, and second election in 1638. He was a native of Lechlade, a parish in Gloucestershire, England, it is understood, and born about the year 1600. He came to Plymouth in the ship Fortune, in November 1621. At the time of his removal he was residing in Duxbury. His farm at Eastham contained many acres, It was situated northwest of Town cove, in that part now included within the present town of Eastham.His house stood on the east side of the county road, near where Mr. E. Doane's house now stands. It is said his farm comprised the "richest land" in the place. the famous old pear tree planted by him while a resident, and which was blown down in 1849, stood but a few rods westward from the site of his house. He was a large landowner. He owned land in what became afterwards Harwich and Truro, besides tracts at Tonset and other localities in the Colony. He disposed of most of his landed estate before his death. His tracts at Sauquatucket, now Brewster, which came to him by grant, on the account of having been a "Purchaser or Old-Comer," he sold to his son-in-law, Major John Freeman, in 1672. His "half share" at Paumet, both "purchases and unpurchased," or Lovell's Creek," he sold to Mr. Thomas Paine in 1670......

      Gov. Prence continued in the office of an assistant by successive elections till 1657, when he was unanimously elected to the office of governor, as successor to Gov. Bradford, who died that year. As the law required the governor to reside at the seat of government, a dispensation was obtained for him, and he was allowed to remain at Eastham, as he desired. Mrs. Bradford was engaged to entertain him and his assistants while at Court; an attendant was appointed to attend him in his journey to and from Plymouth, and occupied the place provided by the government at a place called Plain Dealing, which the late Judge John Davis, a native of Plymouth, says was "nearly two miles from the centre of the town on the road to Boston." The late William Russell in his Guide to Plymouth, says the place called Plain Dealing, "extended near "Mr. Hedges," and in the vicinity of "Starts Hill." At this place, while occupying the gubernatorial chair, he died March 29, 1673, in his 73d year. He was "honorably interred at Plymouth, April 8th." Judge Davis says" "the Plymouth church records, in expressing Mr. Prence's character and his amiable and pleasant conversation, depart from their usual course by an indication of his personal appearance, from which it ay be supposed that it was peculiarly dignified and striking. He was excellently qualified for the office of governor. He had a countenance full of majesty, and therein, as well as otherwise, was a terror to evil doers. Besides holding the office of governor, Mr. Prence was a great number of years an assistant of Gov. Bradford. He was one of the commissioners of the United Colonies many years; colonial treasurer and one of the council of war. He was one of those who stood bound to the adventures for the payment of the sum they demanded for their interest in the stock, trade, etc., of the colony, when the purchase was made in behalf of those who came in the three ships, viz; Mayflower, Fortune, and Ann. [1]
    Prefix Gov. 
    Born Bef 1600  Probable near Lechlade, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4
    Gender Male 
    Fact Treasurer of Plymouth Colony Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Fact Served Plymouth Colony as Governors Assistant Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Fact Elected as the 4th Governor of Plymouth Colony Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Fact Served as Commissioner of the United Colonies Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Fact Second term as governor of Plymouth Colony Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Fact Elected Governor of the Jurisdiction of New Plym Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Died 29 Mar 1673  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3, 4
    Buried 08 Apr 1673  [4
    Notes 
    • Thomas came in the "Fortune" that arrived at Cape Cod November 9, 1621.

      Excerpt from "Dawes-Gates, Ancestral Lines":
      His residence was first at Plymouth, but before the spring of 1632 he had followed his father-in-law, William Brewster, to Duxbury, where Patience Brewster, the wife of Thomas Prence, died in 1634 and where the residences of these two families continued until 1644, at which time the beloved Elder William died and Thomas Prence removed with his family to Nauset on the Cape. In this change he was accompanied by six other families, including those of John Doane, Josiah Cooke, and Edward Bangs, a total of forty-nine souls. there he was instrumental in forming the fourth church in the infant colony and in 1651 the settlement was renamed Eastham. While Thomas was still resident in Duxbury, and aged on about thirty-four, he was elected governor in 1634, serving then for the term of one year. In 1638 he was again the recipient of the same honor, but five years previously a law had been passed requiring the governor to reside in Plymouth, so he declined the office. On the insistence of the court he agreed to accept the position if the residence clause were waived. That request was granted, and he served during the year 1638. For more than forty years after 1632 he continuously served as an assistant or magistrate, except while holding the chief office of governor.
      While resident in Eastham, and immediately following the death of Governor Bradford, Thomas Prence was unanimously chosen to succeed him, and thereafter for sixteen consecutive years, or until his own death in 1673, he held the office of governor. On his election in 1657 the court again granted him the special concession of waiver of residence, permitting him to continue to live at Eastham, where he had a farm of at least two hundred acres of the richest land in the vicinity.
    Person ID I45394  Main Tree
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2018 

    Father Thomas PRENCE,   b. England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Elizabeth TODLERBY 
    Relationship Birth 
    Family ID F05431  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Patience BREWSTER,   b. Bef 1600, Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Dec 1634, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 34 years) 
    Married 05 Aug 1624  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 7
    Children 
     1. Thomas PRENCE,   b. Bef 22 May 1627, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 13 Mar 1672, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 44 years)  [Birth]
     2. Rebecca PRENCE,   b. Bef 22 May 1627, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 18 Jul 1651, Sandwich, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 24 years)  [Birth]
     3. Mercy PRENCE,   b. Bef 28 Sep 1631, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Sep 1711, Eastham, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 80 years)  [Birth]
     4. Hannah PRENCE,   b. Bef 12 Dec 1634, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 23 Nov 1698, Eastham, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 63 years)  [Birth]
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2018 
    Family ID F04629  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Mary COLLIER,   b. 1612,   d. Bef 08 Dec 1662, Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 50 years) 
    Married 01 Apr 1635  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    Children 
     1. Mary PRENCE  [Birth]
     2. Elizabeth PRENCE  [Birth]
     3. Jane PRENCE,   b. 01 Nov 1637, Duxbury, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between May and 28 Jun 1712  [Birth]
    +4. Sarah PRENCE,   b. Abt 1646,   d. 03 Mar 1706/7  (Age ~ 61 years)  [Birth]
     5. Judith PRENCE  [Birth]
    Family ID F04637  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Apphia QUICK 
    Married 08 Dec 1662  [3, 4
    Family ID F04636  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 4 Mary BURR,   b. England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 09 Dec 1695, Yarmouth Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Between 20 Oct 1665 and 01 Aug 1668  [4
    Family ID F04638  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S3601] Cape Cod Library of Local History and Genealogy Vol. 1, Leonard H. Smith Jr.

    2. [S02649] Mayflower Descendents and Their Marriages for 2 Gen. After The Landing, pg 13-14.

    3. [S02658] Mayflower Increasings 2nd Edition by Susan E. Roser.

    4. [S03585] Mayflower Families in Progress: William Brewster of the Mayflower & His Descendants for 4 Generations , Barbara Lambert Merrick/ E. Virginia Hunt, (General Society of Mayflower Descentants - Revised 3rd Edition 2000).

    5. [S02644] Massachusetts, 1620-1930 Local and Family Histories: History of the Town of Duxbury, Genealogical Registers.

    6. [S02362] Genealogical Records: Pilgrim Genealogies and Histories, 1600s-1900s: Mayflower Planters, Cape Code Series Vol. II, Merchant Adventurers of England.

    7. [S02018] Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines Volume II by Mary Walton Ferris.

    8. [S9214] History of the Town of Stonington, County of New London, Connectict, Richard Anson Wheeler.