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  • Pilgrim Village Families Sketch: Thomas Prence

    Robert Charles Anderson

    Birth: Thomas Prence was born in England in 1600 (based on his age at death).

    Death: He died in Plymouth on March 29, 1673,“in the 73rd year of his age.”

    Ship:  Fortune 1621

    Life in England:  Thomas Prence was born in the area of Lechlade, Gloucestershire about 1600 to Thomas and Elizabeth (Todlerby) Prence. At some point his father,Thomas, moved to All Hallows, Barking, a London parish near Tower Hill.There he worked as a carriage maker.

    Life in New England: Thomas Prence came to Plymouth Colony as a single man. He moved from Plymouth to Duxbury in 1632, from Duxbury to Eastham in 1644, and eventually back to Plymouth about 1663. He was very active in government affairs, serving as assistant governor in 1632–33, 1635–37, and 1639–1656; and as governor in 1634 and 1638, from 1632 to 1656 and, after Governor Bradford’s death, as governor from 1657 until his death. He was also a Commissioner for the United Colonies for a number of years.

    Family: Thomas Prence married (1) Patience, daughter of Elder William Brewster on August 5, 1624. Patience died in an outbreak of “pestilent fever” in 1634. He married (2) Mary Collier on April 1, 1635. He married (3) Apphia (Quick) Freeman sometime between 1644 and 1662. He married (4) Mary, widow of Thomas Howes, before August 1668.They had no children and she died in December 1695.

    Children of Thomas and Patience Prence:

    • Rebecca was born about 1625. She married Edmund Freeman on April 22, 1646, and had two daughters. She was buried on March 23, 1648.
    • Thomas was born about 1627. He moved back to England where he married and had a daughter. He died sometime before 1672.
    • Hannah was born about 1629. She married married (1) Nathaniel Mayo on February 13, 1649/50, and had six children. She married (2) Jonathan Sparrow by 1671 and had two children. She died in Eastham before November 23, 1698.
    • Mercy was born about 1631. She married John Freeman on February 13, 1649/50, and had eleven children. She died on September 28, 1711, in Eastham.

    Children of Thomas and Mary Prence:

    • Jane was born on November 1, 1637, in Duxbury. She married Mark Snow on January 9, 1660/1, and had eight children. She died in 1712.
    • Mary was born about 1639. She married John Tracy about 1661.

    Children of Thomas and Apphia Prence (Note: Children may be by second wife):

    • Judith was born around 1645. She married (1) Isaac Barker on December 28, 1665, and (2) William Tubbs after 1693.
    • Elizabeth was born around 1647. She married Arthur Howland on December 9, 1667.
    • Sarah, was born around 1648. She married her step-brother Jeremiah Howes by about 1669. She died on March 3, 1706.
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