Francis Sprague. It is believed that Francis Sprague originally came from Holland – a Leyden (Lieden) Separatist. The Sprague name does not occur in the Leyden Archives, and it is also a great rarity in England. Early settlers of the name emigrated from Dorset to New England but no other occurrence of it is known. It appears as Spragg and sometimes as Sprake, and such few instances of its occurrence are found in the counties of Devon and Somerset. As none of the passengers have been traced to the West Country it is probable that this emigrant was a transient resident in London where most of this company came. As two daughters share with him in the 1627 division and he had a son-in-law in 1644 it is probable that he was married and past middle life when he emigrated. The occurrence of the name of Spragg at Knutsford, Chester, whence came other emigrants to New England, indicates a possible connection between him and Ratcliffe and Hilton who proceeded him in the ‘Fortune’. Our Francis Sprague was the 1st Sprague to land in America.
Are all the Spragues in America Related? The simple answer is “No”. Not far behind Francis Sprague and his daughters came in 1629 three brothers named Sprague and they arrived on the Lions Whelp. These three brothers, Richard, Lt. Ralph and William have been traced to Edward Sprague (1576-1614) of Dorsetshire, England. Their ancestry has not been proven beyond Edward.
1623 Migration to Plymouth Colony
Francis came to America on the “ Anne” and all the lists of the passengers on that ship list Francis as coming with two (apparently) females. Anna and Mercy.
Shortly after arriving at Plymouth Colony, Francis Sprague took part in a division of land among the passengers of the ship ANNE in which he was granted a plot of land that may have been about 100 acres or more.
Nov 1623 Great fire
On 5 November 1623, Francis Sprague took part in what may well have been one of the first "volunteer" fire fighting efforts to have taken place in New England. On that evening a fire broke out in one of the settlement houses that soon spread to and destroyed two or three other houses and threatened to engulf the storehouse where the settlement's winter food supply was being kept. Governor Bradford organized the fire fighting effort and the food stores were saved. It was later discovered that the fire had resulted from a deliberate act of arson.
1637 Liqour License
- Francis was granted 1 Oct. 1637 a license to sell liquor.
- In 1640 he became a member of the Duxbury Militia under the leadership of Captain Myles Standish.
- In 1648 again in 1657 he served as Surveyor of Highways for the area.
- And in 1649 he served as Constable of Duxbury.
- 1627, July. Signed an agreement with William Bradford and others pertaining to the carrying on of the fur trade.
- 1632-3, Jan. 2. Was taxed at Plymouth, being assessed for 18 shillings.
- 1632. About this date he settled in the N.E. part of Duxbury, near the Nook, so called.
- 1637, June 17. Admitted Freeman of the Colony.
- 1637. Licensed to sell spirituous liquors. 1640. Owned land on North River.
- 1644, Apr. 1. Deeded to his son-in-law William Lawrence 50 acres on South River.
- 1645. Was one of the original proprietors of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, but he nor any of his family came to reside there. He was one of the original purchasers of Dartmouth.
- 1659, Oct 26. Deeded land to his son-in-law Ralph Earle of Rhode Island.
1666. Was an Inn Holder up to this date and owned considerable property. Mr. Sprague did not adhere strictly to the enactments of the civil code of the Puritan Fathers and was several times brought before the Court for what they considered departures from the strict line of duty. His ardent temperament and great independence of mind did not fully accord with the principles of the Puritans, but considered from the present standards of estimating the characters of men, he must have been a person of worth and great respectability. We know that he was the head of a most honorable and respected family of descendants.
1669. His son John succeeded to his business of "keeping an Ordinary" or tavern, where spirituous liquors were sold, and it is presumed that his death occurred shortly before.
Marriage and Family
We do not know who Francis’ wife or wives were. "Sprague Families in America", by Dr. Warren Vincent Sprague, page 2.
- 1627, At the division of cattle he gives the names of his children as Ann and Mary.
Arriving in 1623 on the “Anne”, Francis Sprague had three shares in the 1623 land division, and he was in the 1627 cattle division with Anna Sprague and Mercy Sprague, the latter known to be his daughter, but his relationship to Anna, possibly a wife or another daughter, is not known. His son John Sprague was born in Plymouth and married Ruth Basset, daughter of William Basset. Mary Lovering Holman, The Scott Genealogy, page 241, gives him four children.” So very thankful for the researchers, The Sprague Project on the internet, findagrave.com and familyserch.org!
Children with 1st Wife:
- Anne Lawrence &
- Mercy Tubbs and
- 1662. The Court admonished good wife Tubbs (his daughter Mercy) for "mixed dancing"; she left her husband and in 1668 the court granted him a divorce. They had a son, William Tubbs, Jr., who married in 1691, Judith, widow of Isaac Baker.
Children with 2nd Wife:
- John Sprague (1630-1676) - md Ruth Bassett - succeeded his father as innkeeper. Died in battle in King Philip's War.
- Dorcus Earl
|Offspring of Francis Sprague and Mother Sprague (1600-1660)|
|Anne Sprague (1614-)|| |
|Mercy Sprague (1617-1668)|
|Offspring of Francis Sprague and unknown parent|
|John Sprague (1630-1676)||1630 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts||26 March 1676 Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island|| Ruth Bassett (1632-c1694)|
|Dorcas Sprague (1632-1716)|| |
|Mary Sprague (1635-)|