Frances Latham was born 15 February 1609 in Kempston, Bedfordshire, England to Lewis Latham (1584-1655) and Elizabeth Unknown Latham (1582-1619) and died 2 September 1677 Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island of unspecified causes. She married William Dungan (1606-1636) 27 August 1629 in London, Middlesex, England. She married Jeremiah Clark (1605-1651) 1636 in England. She married William Vaughn (1607-1677) 1654 in Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island.
Frances Latham, Mother of Governors
Frances was a colonial American woman who settled in Rhode Island, and is known as "the Mother of Governors." Having been widowed twice, she had three husbands, and became the ancestor of at least ten governors and three deputy/lieutenant governors, and is related by marriage to an additional six governors and one deputy governor.
Born in Bedfordshire, England, she was the daughter of Lewis Latham, a falconer for King Charles I. Baptized in Kempston, Bedfordshire, England on 15 February 1609/10, Frances Latham was the daughter of Lewis Latham and his wife Elizabeth. Her father, born about 1584 in Elstow, Bedfordshire, was a Sergeant Falconer under King Charles I.
1636 Migration to Rhode Island
Dungan died at an early age, and she soon married Jeremy Clarke who brought her and her Dungan children to New England where they settled in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Clarke was a prominent merchant who became the President of the colony for a year. With Clarke, Frances had seven children, the oldest of whom, Walter, later became a governor of the colony.
Marriage and Family
Late 19th century genealogist John Osborne Austin proposed that Frances had first been married to a "Lord Weston" as a teenager, but strong evidence against this was presented by New Haven genealogist Louise Tracy in 1908. Frances had 11 children by her first and second husbands, and leaves behind numerous descendants, many of them prominent.
1st Marriage: William Dungan
Frances' first husband was William Dungan (1606-1636), who was a perfumer from Ireland living in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, now a part of London. With Dungan she had four children, but he died in 1636, being buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 20 September of that year, leaving a will with Frances as executrix, and naming each of his four minor children.
- John Dungan (1627-) - died young in England
- Mary Dungan (1629-1730) - migrated to New England with mother and step-father
- Barbara Dungan (1630-1677) - migrated to New England with mother and step-father, married James Barker, who served as deputy governor of the colony
- William Dungan (1631-1632) - died young in England
- Frances Dungan (1632-1692) - (Redirect needed from old page Frances Dungan (1630-1697)) migrated to New England with mother and step-father, married Randall Holden, a signer of the Portsmouth Compact, and one of the founding settlers of the town of Warwick.
- Elizabeth Dungan (1633-1633) - died young in England
- Thomas Dungan (1635-1688)- migrated to New England with mother and step-father
2nd Marriage: Jeremy Clarke
Within two years she was remarried, this time to Jeremy Clarke of London, a nephew of Richard Weston, 1st Earl of Portland. Soon thereafter the couple immigrated to New England with Frances' four young children, and in 1638 Jeremy was admitted as an inhabitant of Aquidneck Island (Portsmouth) in what soon became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Following turmoil in the government of the island in 1639, her husband was one of the nine signers of an agreement to form the settlement of Newport at the south end of the island. He held a number of important positions in the town and colonial government, and in 1648 became President of the entire colony, serving for a year in this role. Clarke died in January 1652, with his death being recorded later in the Friends' (Quaker) records. He was buried in the "tomb that stands by the street by the water side in Newport," now lost, but his governor's grave medallion is in the Clifton Burying Ground where several Quaker Rhode Island colonial governors were later buried.
Clarke and his wife Frances had seven children together, the oldest of whom was Walter Clarke, a future colonial governor of Rhode Island. Their oldest daughter, Mary, married John Cranston, another future governor of the colony, and their son Weston married Mary Easton who was a granddaughter of two other governors, John Coggeshall and Nicholas Easton. Their youngest child, Sarah, married the future colonial governor Caleb Carr as her second husband.
- Frances Clarke (1638-1711) - ???
- Walter Clarke (1639-1714) - a future colonial governor of Rhode Island.
- Nancy Clarke (1640-1735)
- Mary Clarke (1641-1711) - married John Cranston, another future governor of the colony
- James Clarke (1641-1694)
- Jeremiah Clarke (1643-1729)
- Latham Clark (1645-1719)
- Grace Clark (1646-)
- Weston Clarke (1648-1728) - married Mary Easton who was a granddaughter of two other governors, John Coggeshall and Nicholas Easton
- Sarah Clarke (1651-1706) - married the future colonial governor Caleb Carr as her second husband.
3rd Marriage: Rev William Vaughn
Frances was again a widow with many young children, and within a few years she had married her third husband, the Reverend William Vaughan of Newport. The time of her marriage to Vaughan was before January 1656 when she made an agreement with her oldest Clarke son, Walter, through his guardians, John Cranston and James Barker, settling inheritance issues, now that she was no longer widowed. Vaughan had been ordained in 1648 as a member of the First Baptist Church of Newport, but in 1656 he and others formed the Second Baptist Church. He was a highly respected citizen of Newport.
|Offspring of William Dungan and Frances Latham (1609-1677)|
|John Dungan (1627-)|
|Mary Dungan (1629-1730)|
|Barbara Dungan (1630-1677)||1630 London, Middlesex, England||September 1677 Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island||James Barker (1617-1702)|
|William Dungan (1631-1632)|
|Frances Dungan (1632-1697)||12 November 1632 London, Middlesex, England||23 August 1692 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island||Randall Holden (1612-1692)|
|Elizabeth Dungan (1633-1633)|
|Thomas Dungan (1635-1688)|
Mother of Governors
The following governors, deputy governors, or lieutenant governors either descend directly from Frances, or married one of her descendants:
Governors who are direct descendants:
- Walter Clarke, her son, Rhode Island governor 1676-1677, 1686, and 1696-1698
- Samuel Cranston, Rhode Island governor 1698-1729
- William Greene (1731-1809), 2nd Rhode Island governor 1778-1785, 20th Justice of Rhode Island Supreme Court
- Nehemiah R. Knight, Rhode Island governor 1817-1821
- Henry Frederick Lippitt (1818-1891) - 33rdRhode Island governor 1875-1877
- Charles C. Van Zandt, Rhode Island governor 1877-1880
- Charles Warren Lippitt (1846-1924) - 44th Rhode Island governor 1895-1896
- John R. Rogers, Washington governor, 1896-1902
- John Hubbard Chafee (1922-1999) - 66th Rhode Island governor, 1963-1969
- Lincoln Davenport Chafee (1953) - 72nd Rhode Island governor, 2011-
Deputy or lieutenant governors who are direct descendants:
- John Gardner, Rhode Island deputy governor 1754-1755 and 1756-1764
- Samuel G. Arnold, Rhode Island lieutenant governor 1852-1853 and 1861-1862
- William Greene, Rhode Island lieutenant governor 1866-1868
Governors who are related by marriage:
- Jeremiah Clark (1605-1651), her husband, Rhode Island president 1648-1649
- John Cranston, Rhode Island governor 1678-1680
- Caleb Carr, Rhode Island governor in 1695
- William Wanton, Rhode Island governor 1732-1733
- William Greene Sr., Rhode Island governor for 11 years from 1743-1758
Deputy governor related by marriage:
- James Barker (1617-1702), (son-in-law) Rhode Island deputy governor 1678-1679