NameGov. Thomas Prence
Birth1600, Lechlade, Gloucestershire, England
Death29 Mar 1673, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Misc. Notes

Thomas Prence came to America on the ship Fortune in 1621 and settled in Plymouth. In 1635, he moved to Duxbury, in 1644 to Eastham, and in 1663, was induced to move back to Plymouth by a gift of a large farm at "Plain Dealing." He was governor of the Plymouth Colony eighteen years, assistant thirteen years, treasurer one year, member of the Council of War five years, commissioner twelve years, alternate commissioner several years.

George Willison in Saints and Strangers noted that in 1646, Thomas Prence was opposed to religious tolerance and, in 1657, was a leader in Quaker and Baptist persecutions. In Duxbury, the policy of Gov. Prence "met stiff opposition led by Henry and Arthur Howland and others. Henry Howland was up on the malicious charge of 'improperlie entertaining' a neighbor's wife, and his young son, Zoeth, was put in the stocks for saying that he 'would not goe to meeting to hear lyes, and that the Divill could preach as good a sermon as the ministers,' with which many townspeople seemed to agree, choosing to pay a fine rather than attend public worship." Imagine Gov. Prence's feelings when he discovered that "one of his chief enemy's sons, young Arthur Howland, was surreptitiously courting his daughter Elizabeth. As the law forbad 'making motion of marriage' to a girl without her parents' consent, the irascible old governor promptly hauled the 'impudent' youth into court and fined him five pounds for 'inveigeling' his daughter. The young lovers were not discouraged and remained constant, for seven years later Arthur was again in court, was fined and put under bond of 50 pounds 'to refrain and desist.' The couple continued to behave 'disorderlie and unrighteously,' finally breaking the iron will of the old governor." They were married and, "in good time the names of their children, Thomas Howland and Prence (Prince) Howland, were inscribed on the baptismal roll of the church."


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"Thomas Prence, Esquire, Governor of the jurisdiction of New Plymouth, died the 29th of March, 1673, and was interred the 8th of April following. After he had served God in the office of Governor sixteen years, or near thereunto, he finished his course in the 73 year of his life. He was a worthy gentleman, very pious, and very able for his office, and faithful in the discharge thereof, studious of peace, a wellwiller to all that feared God, and a terror to the wicked. His death was much lamented, and his body honorable buried at Plymouth the day and year above mentioned." Quote from Plymouth Court Records and reprinted in Anderson and Roser books, below.

Sources: Anderson, Robert C., THE GREAT MIGRATION BEGINS, IMMIGRANTS TO NEW ENGLAND, 1620-1633, Boston, Mass., New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995, vol. 3, pp. 1518-1524; Roser, Susan, MAYFLOWER INCREASINGS, Baltimore, MD, Genealogical Publ. Co., 2nd. ed., 1995, p. 28.
Spouses
Birthabt 1600, Scrooby, Nottingham, England
Deathbef 12 Dec 1634, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts
FatherWilliam Brewster (~1562-1644)
MotherMary Wyrall (1568-1627)
Marriage15 Aug 1624, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts
ChildrenMercy (1631-1711)
Last Modified 20 Jul 2007Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh