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Mary Priest, 12th Great Grandmother

April 13, 2014 , , ,



Mary Priest was born in the Netherlands. Her father Degory was a hatter who sailed to America on the Mayflower, and died in Plymouth Colony shortly after his arrival. His wife and children, including Mary, came later to Plymouth to inherit his allotment:

ORIGIN: Leiden, Holland
MIGRATION: 1620 on Mayflower
OCCUPATION: Hatter (when admitted as a citizen of Leiden) [Leiden 216].
ESTATE: In the 1623 Plymouth land division “Cudbart Cudbartsone” received six acres as a passenger on the Anne in 1623 [ PCR 12:6]; four of these six shares would be for the deceased Degory Priest, his widow Sarah and his two daughters. In the 1627 Plymouth cattle division “Marra Priest” and “Sarah Priest” were the tenth and eleventh persons in the second company, just after their mother and stepfather [PCR 12:9].
BIRTH: About 1579 (aged about forty in 1619 [ Dexter 630]).
DEATH: Plymouth 1 January 1620/1 [ Prince 287].
MARRIAGE: Leiden 4 November 1611 [NS] “Sara Vincent, widow of Jan Vincent” [ MD 7:129-30; Leiden 216]; Priest is said to be of London. She was sister of ISAAC ALLERTON and married (3) Leiden November 1621 (betrothed 25 October 1621 [NS]) GODBERT GODBERTSON [Leiden 101].
i MARY, b. say 1612; m. by about 1630 PHINEAS PRATT.
ii SARAH, b. say 1614; m. by about 1632 JOHN COOMBS.

COMMENTS: Bradford includes “Digory Priest” in his list of those on the Mayflower, and in his accounting of 1651 says that Priest “died soon after … arrival in the general sickness,” but “had his wife and children sent hither afterwards, she being Mr. Allerton’s sister” [ Bradford 443, 447].
In 1957 John G. Hunt published the 1582 baptism for a “Digorius Prust” in Hartland, Devonshire [ NEHGR 111:320]; although there is nothing to connect this with Degory Priest of London, Leiden and Plymouth, it is a useful clue.
BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: Degory Priest and his descendants have been given full and definitive treatment in the eighth volume of the Five Generations project of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, compiled by Mrs. Charles Delmar Townsend, Robert S. Wakefield and Margaret Harris Stover, and edited by Robert S. Wakefield (Plymouth 1994). The Great Migration Begins


Mayflower increase

Mayflower increase

Mary Priest (1613 – 1689)
is my 12th great grandmother
Daniel Pratt (1640 – 1680)
son of Mary Priest
Henry Pratt (1658 – 1745)
son of Daniel Pratt
Esther Pratt (1680 – 1740)
daughter of Henry Pratt
Deborah Baynard (1720 – 1791)
daughter of Esther Pratt
Mary Horney (1741 – 1775)
daughter of Deborah Baynard
Esther Harris (1764 – 1838)
daughter of Mary Horney
John H Wright (1803 – 1850)
son of Esther Harris
Mary Wright (1816 – 1873)
daughter of John H Wright
Emiline P Nicholls (1837 – )
daughter of Mary Wright
Harriet Peterson (1856 – 1933)
daughter of Emiline P Nicholls
Sarah Helena Byrne (1878 – 1962)
daughter of Harriet Peterson
Olga Fern Scott (1897 – 1968)
daughter of Sarah Helena Byrne
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Olga Fern Scott
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

She married Phineas Pratt, a joiner, who was part of a group that got into trouble with both Pilgrims and Natives:

Phineas Pratt was a member of a company of men sent from England by Thomas Weston. They arrived in New England in 1622 on three ships : the Sparrow, Charity and Swan (Pratt was a passenger on the Sparrow, the first to arrive). The approximately 67 men, many of them ailing, arrived with no provisions. The Pilgrims supported them throughout the summer of 1622.

In the fall of 1622, the Weston men left to colonize an area north of Plymouth called Wessagusset. They soon fell into difficulties through behaving, generally, in a very foolish and improvident fashion. They also severely angered the local Native Americans by stealing their corn.

Massasoit, sachem of the Wampanoags, informed the Plymouth colonists that there was a conspiracy among the Natives of the Wessagusset area to massacre the Weston men. Myles Standish prepared to head north with a small company of Plymouth men to rescue Weston’s men.

The same message was also delivered by one of Weston’s men, who came to Plymouth in March of 1623 “from the Massachusetts with a small pack at his back.”

Phineas Pratt was the man with the backpack. He had secretly snuck out of the Wessagusset settlement, traveling for several days without food through a snowy landscape on his 25-mile journey.

Myles Standish and a small contingent (minus Phineas, who was still recovering from his arduous journey) headed to Wessagusset to recognize Weston’s men. The Plymouth contingent killed several Native Americans in the process (for which, they were roundly scolded by their pastor, John Robinson). Soon afterwards, Weston’s group abandoned Wessagusset. Sometime in late 1623, Phineas joined the Plymouth settlement.

Sometime before May of 1648, when he purchased a house and garden in Charlestown (now a part of Boston), Pratt left Plymouth. In 1662, Pratt presented to the General Court of Massachusetts a narrative entitled “A declaration of the affairs of the English people that first inhabited New England” to support his request for financial assistance. The extraordinary document is Phineas Pratt’s own account of the Wessagusset settlement and its downfall.
Phineas Pratt was by profession a “joiner.” “Joining” was the principle method of furniture construction during the 17th century. “Joiners” were highly skilled craftsmen who specialized in this work; their skills were valued more highly than those of a carpenter.

Phineas Pratt married Mary Priest, daughter of Degory and Sarah Allerton Vincent Priest (the sister of Mayflower passenger Isaac Allerton, Sarah had been married to Jan Vincent and widowed before she married Degory Priest). Degory Priest journeyed to Plymouth on the Mayflower, his wife and two daughters intended to join him later. Priest died during the first winter. Before sailing for America, the widowed Sarah Allerton Vincent Priest married Godbert Godbertson, who became Mary Priest’s stepfather. The family (mother, stepfather and two daughters) were among the passengers of the Anne and Little James, arriving in Plymouth in 1623.

Phineas was probably born about 1593, Mary was probably born about 1612. It seems likely, given the probably age of their oldest child at the time of her death, that they married about 1631 or 1632. Phineas and Mary Pratt had 8 children.
According to his gravestone in the old Phipps Street Cemetery, in the Charlestown area of Boston, “Phinehas Pratt, agd about 90 yrs, decd April ye 19, 1680 & was one of ye first English inhabitants of ye Massachusetts Colony.” (Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 6, p. 1-2).

Priest and Pratt

Priest and Pratt

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lots of great investigation on this family. very interesting.. can’t wait to see who comes to light in your family tree.


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

April 15, 2014

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