Home | Search for Names | Surnames | Photos | Places |  What's New

Gov. Thomas Prence

Male about 1600 - 1673  (~ 73 years)


Personal Information    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Thomas Prence 
    Prefix Gov. 
    Born about 1600  Lechdale, Gloucestershire Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 29 March 1673  Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • “Thomas Prence Esquire Gov^r: of the Jurisdiction of New Plymouth Died the 29^th of March 1673 and was Interred the 8^th of Aprill following; after hee had served God in the office of Gov^r:sisteen yeares or neare therunto hee finished his Course in the 73 yeare of his life: hee was a worthy Gentleman very pious: and very able for his office and faithfull in the Discharge therof studious of peace a welwiller to all that feared God; and a terrour to the wicked, his; Death was much lamented, and his body honorably buryed att Plymouth the Day and yeare abovemensioned”
    Buried 8 April 1673  Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Notes 
    • From Hills’ Mayflower Planters:
      “He was another able business man to arrive in Plymouth on the Fortune in 1621, and became Governor of Plymouth Colony for 20 years, serving at times from 1634 to 1673. He followed his father-in-law, William Brewster, to Duxbury in 1632, and finally removed to Nauset (Eastham) in 1644 with six other families, returning later to Plymouth where he died.”

      "Prence arrived at Plymouth Colony in 1621 on the Fortune, and from the beginning seemed to have taken a leading role in Plymouth affairs. Of the eight Plymouth Undertakers, who seemed to be the most important men in the colony in 1627, Prence was the only one who had not arrived on the Mayflower. He became governor in 1634, and was elected an Assistant in 1635, and from then on he was either an Assistant or governor every year for the rest of his life. He also served as treasurer, as president of the Council of WAr, and in various other capacities. With the death of of Bradford in 1657, Prence became without a doubt the most important ind influential man in the colony. He was of a conservative nature, as is shown by his siding with Bradford and Winslow in the 1645 Vassall controversy, and by his actions against the Quakers. He was involved in several law suits which were decided in his favor, ... "

      "In July 1627, Thomas Prence became one of the eight parnters called undertakers, who guaranteed the purchase of Plymouth Colony from the merchant adventurers. He, with his father-in-law, William Brewster, and brother-in-law, Jonathan Brewster, signed ‘Articles of Agreement’ to have the ‘whole trade consigned to us for some years’ to pay the ‘debts (of the colony) and set them free:’ and to ‘transport as many of our brethern of Leyden over’ to Plymouth. Thomas Prence served Plymouth Colony as Governors Assistant in 1632, 1635-37, and 1639 through 1656. He was the treasurer of Plymouth Colony from 1637 to 1640 and he served as Commissioner of the United Colonies, 1645, 1650 and 1653-56. On 1 January 1633/34, when he was only 34 years old, Thomas Prence was elected as the fourth governor of Plymouth Colony. He served his second term in 1638, during which time he presided over the trial of four men wh had robbed and murdered an Indian near Providence. The evidence presented to the court resulted in them being found guilty and they were hung, one having escaped.
      ‘On 3 June 1657, Thomas Prence was again elected Governor of the jurisdiction of New Plymouth and served until his death in 1673.’”

      From Josiah Paine’s Early Settlers of Eastham:
      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 ot Gove. Bradford, and had twice been chosen govenor 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 include within the present town of Eastham. His house stood on the est side of teh county road, near where Mr. E. Doane’s howse now [1916] stands. It is said his farm comprised teh ‘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 land-owner. He owned land in what became afterwards Harwich and Truro, besides tracts at Tonset and other localities iin ht 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 haveing been a ‘Purchaser or Old-Comer,’ he sold to his son-in-law, Major John Freeman, in 1672. His ‘half share’ at Paumet, both ‘purchased and unpurchased,’ lying between ‘Bound Brook,’ at Wellfleet, and ‘Eastern Harbor or Lovell’s Creek,’ he sold to Mr. Thomas Paine in 1670.
      Mr. Pratt, in his History of Estham, says the homestead of Gov. Prence was given by will to his son-in-law, Samuel Freeman, but the statement is not supported by documentary evidence. Records show that Gov. Prence did sell to his ‘beloverd son-in-law, Mr. Samuel Freeman, Jan. 12, 1671, for thirty pounds’ his ‘hose lot situated and being in the town of Eastham’ and ‘containing eighteen acres of upland, be it more or less,’ boutnde ‘at the northeasterly end’ by a creek, together with other upland and meadows in other parts of the town. Records also show that Gov. Prence provided a place of abode for his son-in-law, Samuel Freeman and Mercy his wife, soon after thier marrigae, and that in December, 1662, it was conveyed to them. They were then residing upon it. It was the place of the governor purchased of Mr. Josiah Cook, a ‘gentleman’ of Eastham. The position of this house lot the writer cannot give, but undoubtedly it was near Gov. Prence’s place.
      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 eyar. As the law erquired teh governor to reside at the seat of government, a dispensation was obtained from him, and he was allowed to remain at Eastham, as he desired. Mrs. Bardford was engaged to entertain him and his assistants while at Court; and attendant was appointed to attend him in his journey to and from Plymouth, and Mr. Allyn of Barnstable was engaged to accommodate him and his attendant in his house with private rooms when passing ‘to and from’ In 1665, Gov. Prence removed to 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 laste William Russell in his Guide to Plymouth, says the place called Plain Dealing ‘extended it is believed to Kingston line’; and that Gov. PRence’s house was 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 may 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; coloniah 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 first ships, viz: Mayflower, Fortune and Ann.
      Gov. Prence’s will bears date March 13th, 1673, and codicil march 28th, 1683. He appointed his wife, Mary, executrix, and desired that his brother, Thomas Clark, and Mr. Josiah Winslow be her advisers. To his wife mary, he gave the profits of his part of the mill at Sauquatuckett, now West Brewster, with the land adjacent to it, which he desired at her death to go to his grandson, Theophilus Mayo, who was living with him. This, he said, he gave him for his encourgement to proceed in learning. HE also gave him all his ‘books fit for him in learning. He ennjoined him to ‘carry it well with his grandmother,’ and, in case he did so, to have a ‘bed.’ How dutiful he was to his aged grandparent, we have no means of knowing. He doubtless removed with her to Yarmouth. From what can now be gathered he did not survive her. Hes death, it is supposed, took place about 1678. He was the youngest son of Nathaniel and Hannah (Prence) Mayo, and it would seem, at the death of his father, was taken by the governor into his family. The governor also gave him one-half of his land and meadow near Namassakett, in Middleboro, which if he died without descendants, would be equally divided between Gov. Prence’s daughters. Of his books he gave, among others, ‘to Maj John Freeman, of Eastham, Speed’s, Church’s and Wilson’s Dictionary; Simpson’s History of the Church, and Newman’s Concordance.’ He mande other bequests, but we cannot mention them all.
      The inventory of the governor’s estate shows he owned on the Cape, ‘one fourth of the mill and land adjoining to it at Satuckett,’ now West Brewster; twenty acres of land and three acres of meadow at Tonsett in Eastham, and eighteen acres on Porchy Island. Befre his death Gov. Prence disposed of most of his estate by deeds. Thomas Prence’s descendants are numerous upon the Cape. Thomas Prence, the only son of the governor, died in England, leaving no sons, consequently he has no descendants of the patronymic living. [2, 3, 4, 5]
    Person ID I2058  Schirado
    Last Modified 15 October 2013 

    Father Thomas Prence,   d. 1630, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Elizabeth Tolderby 
    Family ID F4072  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse 1 Patience Brewster,   b. about 1603, Scrooby, Nottinghamshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. late 1634, Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years) 
    Married 5 August 1624  Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Children 
    +1. Rebecca Prence,   b. about 1625, Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. March 1648, Sandwich, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 23 years)
     2. Thomas Prence,   b. about 1627, Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. before 13 March 1672, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 45 years)
    +3. Hannah Prence,   b. about 1629, Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 November 1698, Eastham, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 69 years)
    +4. Mercy Prence,   b. 4 January 1631, Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 September 1711, Eastham, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
    Family ID F4073  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse 2 Mary Collier,   b. about 1612, Southwark, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. before 1644, Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years) 
    Married 1 April 1635  Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
    +1. Jane Prence,   b. 1 November 1637, Duxbury, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. May or June 1712, Harwich, MA (the part now Brewster) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
    +2. Mary Prence,   b. about 1639, Duxbury, MA Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F1462  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse 3 Apphia Quick,   d. before 1 August 1668 
    Children 
    +1. Judith Prence,   b. about 1645
    +2. Elizabeth Prence,   b. Spring 1647, Eastham, MA Find all individuals with events at this location
    +3. Sarah Prence,   b. about 1647, Eastham, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 March 1707, Yarmouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 60 years)
    Family ID F4068  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse 4 Mary [Howes],   d. 9 December 1695, Yarmouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married ca 1665/1668  [6
    Family ID F4071  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S14] Plymouth Colony vital records, Transcribed by George Ernest Bowman.

    2. [S114] Leon Clark Hillspy, (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990, Baltimore, MD).

    3. [S115] .

    4. [S61] Barbara Lambert Merrick, (General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1996).

    5. [S94] Early Settlers of Eastham, Josiah Paine.

    6. [S11] Robert Charles Anderson, (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1995).


Send eMail to WMGS

This site powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding ©, v. 12.0.3, written by Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2019.

WMGS Online Trees - created and maintained by Western Michigan Genealogical Society Copyright © 2005-2019 All rights reserved. | Data Protection Policy.

© This Site Copyright WMGS 2002–2019

WMGS Main Home Page

WMGS Searchable Databases

Become a WMGS Member