John Sprague was born circa 1630 in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts to Francis Sprague (1590-1676) and Mother Sprague (1600-1660) and died 26 March 1676 at the King Philip's War of Battle Wounds. He married Ruth Bassett (1632-c1694) before 8 June 1655 in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.
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John Sprague and his wife Ruth (Bassett) Sprague first lived in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Then before 1649, they moved to Marshfield, Massachusetts (north of Plymouth) where their third child, Ruth was born. They moved back to Duxbury where in 1670 John succeeded to his father's business of running an "Ordinary" (Tavern).

John Sprague Sr. b. abt 1630 - 1676 was killed in a battle with Indians during the King Philips War. Some say the "Swamp Fight". John Sprague and Ruth Bassett Sprague resided for a time in Marshfield, as the birth of their daughter Ruth is recorded there. This John, more likely than John of William, was a Counsellor of Sir Edmund Andros. He was slain in Pierce's fierce fight at Pawtucket in Philip's war. March 26, 1676. His estate was appraised in 1676 and was sworn to by the widow Ruth Sprague. Latter she remarried a Mr. Thomas as "Widow Ruth Thomas". Ruth Basset Buried 1676 in Duxbury, Plymouth, MA.

Duxbury Tavern

Ruth’s parents, William & Elizabeth Bassett, were in lot #6 along with Francis & Anna Sprague at the time of the 1627 Division of Cattle. According to Goodwin, Francis Sprague was licensed as an inn-holder in Duxbury. He continued to be so until 1666, though often before the court. He killed Hatherly’s mare, beat Bassett’s servant, drank “overmuch,” sold liquor illegally, etc. In 1669 he was succeeded by his son [i.e., John] who was much like him.

John spent hours in the stocks for “highly misdemeaning himself in the house of James Cole of Plymouth, near unto or on the evening before the Sabbath Day, in drinking gameing, and uncivill reveling, to the dishonor of God and the offense of the govment, by his gameing and bringing his mare uncivilly into the parlour of James Cole aforesaid.”

On 27 Apr. 1661 Francis Sprague of Duxbury deeded his dwelling house and land to his son John with the provision that John would not take possession until his father’s death.

On 3 May 1664 John Sprague was granted also his father’s land at Namskakett (Middleborough).

On 8 Nov. 1666 John Sprague of Duxbury, husbandman, for £40 bought land from his father-in-law.

John & Ruth lived in Marshfield. In 1683 widow Ruth Sprague registered an agreement with her son John Sprague whereby John acquired a small parcel of land which was formerly his grandfather Bassett’s land.

King Philip's War

John Sprague was killed in the massacre of Captain Michael Pierce's Company of English Militia during the King Philip's War when, on 26 March 1676, that company of 65 men (supplemented by about 20 friendly Indians) engaged a superior force of hostiles near the Pawtucket River in Rhode Island, about 5 miles north of Providence.

For some reason this messenger, arriving at the time of public worship, chose to wait until after the service had concluded before delivering Captain Pierce's request. When the situation was made known, Captain Andrew Edmunds of the Providence Militia immediately set out with a group of armed men in order to join forces with Pierce's company.

Meanwhile, the Plymouth Militia group had unwittingly engaged and become surrounded by an extremely large force of hostile Narrangansett Indians and were overwhelmed. By the time Edmunds and his men arrived, it was too late. The fact that some 42 of the 55 colonists killed that day were buried at the site of the battle, including that of John Sprague of Duxbury, indicates that there were some survivors, or it may indicate that there were bodies which may not have been recovered." Ruth afterwards married a Mr. Thomas.

Marriage and Family

After John's death, Ruth afterwards married a Mr. Thomas.

John and Ruth's children:

  1. Lt. John Sprague (Jr.), born abt 1656 in Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA and died March 1728 in Lebanon, New London Co., CT at age 72 years. He married 1st Lydia and 2nd Lois Standish
  2. Elizabeth Sprague abt 1657 in Marshfield, Plymouth Co., MA and died May 27, 1727 in Plympton, Plymouth Co., MA. She married George Sampson abt 1678 in Plympton, MA.
  3. Ruth Sprague born February 12, 1660 in Marshfield, Plymouth Co, MA and died 1743 in Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA at age 82. She married August 12, 1680 in Dartmouth, Bristol Co., MA. She married Eleazer (Elizer) Smith.
  4. William Sprague (1664-1712) - born 1658 in Duxbury, MA and died November 25, 1712 in Duxbury, MA at age 48. He married Grace Wadsworth January 1700 in Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA. William died by drowning - his whaling ship went down.
  5. Dorcas Sprague was born abt 1666 in Duxbury, MA and died January 1710 at age 44. She married January 10, 1710 in Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA Joseph Hatch born May 7, 1654 in Falmouth, Barnstable Co., MA (son of Jonathan Hatch and Sara Rowley) and died February 16, 1734..
  6. Desire Sprague was born abt 1668 in Marshfield, Plymouth Co., MA and married November 24, 1696 in Falmouth/Sandwich, Barnstable Co., MA John Gifford.
  7. Lt. Samuel Sprague born abt 1669 in Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA and died July 25, 1740 in Rochester, Plymouth Co., MA at age 71. He married November 29, 1695 in Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA Ruth Alden.


Offspring of John Sprague and Ruth Bassett (1632-c1694)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Sprague (1656-1728) 1656 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 6 March 1728 Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut Lydia Unknown Sprague (1658-1725)
Lois Abel Standish (1677-1731)

Elizabeth Sprague (1657-1727) 1657 Plymouth County, Massachusetts 27 May 1727 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Stephen Sampson (1638-1714)

Ruth Sprague (1659-1743)
William Sprague (1664-1712) 1664 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 25 November 1712 Atlantic Ocean Grace Wadsworth (1679-1757)

Desire Sprague (1668-)
Samuel Sprague (1670-1740)
Dorcus Sprague (1672-)


Offspring of Francis Sprague and Mother Sprague (1600-1660)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Anne Sprague (1614-)
Mercy Sprague (1617-1668)

Offspring of Francis Sprague and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
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-)



Footnotes (including sources)



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