Birth: ABT 1590 London, Middlesex Co, England
Birth of Daughter: ABT 1614
Name: Anna Sprague
Birth of Daughter: ABT 1617
Name: Mercy Sprague
Note: 10 JUL 1623
Details: In the 1623 Plymouth land division “Francis Spragge” was granted three acres as a passenger on the Anne. Considered to be one of the 189 settlers who were acknowledged to be “Founding Fathers of America.”
Note: 14 AUG 1623
Details: Francis Sprague’s participation the first New England Thanksgiving which celebrated one year after the Plymouth colonists had settled in the new land. The first dreadful winter in Massachusetts had killed nearly half of the members of the colony. But new hope grew and Governor William Bradford decreed that a three-day feast to be August 14, 1623 and also to celebrate his marriage to Alice Carpenter Southworth who came on the “Anne” with her sister Juliana along with the Sprague family. Priscilla Wright another sister came on the ship “Fortune”. They were Separists from Holland as it is thought the name Sprague was not the original name, it may have been Spragg or Sprake.
Details: In the 1627 Plymouth cattle division Francis Sprage, Anna Sprage and Mercye Sprage were the eleventh through thirteenth persons in the sixth company.
Birth of Son: ABT 1630
Name: John Sprague
Birth of Daughter: ABT 1632
Name: Dorcas Sprague
Note: 25 MAR 1633
Details: Assessed 18s. in the Plymouth tax lists of 25 March 1633 and 27 March 1634
Note: 07 JUN 1637
Details: Admitted as a freeman (and as a result added to the list of freemen compiled on 7 March 1636/7. In Duxbury section of 1639, 1658 and 29 May 1670 lists of freemen
Land Rec: 1637
Details: Francis Sprague of Duxbury sold to Mr. Ralph Partridge “all his right and title into so much of the lot of his land lying in Ducksburrow aforesaid as is now enclosed by the said Mr. Partridg”
Lived in: 1638
Place: Duxbury, Plymouth Co, Massachusetts
Occupation: 01 OCT 1638
Details: Innkeeper – “Francis Sprague is licensed to keep victualling on Duxborrow side”
Note: 03 MAR 1639/40
Details: “Francis Sprague, of Duxborrow, for drawing & retailing wine at Duxborrow, contrary to the express order of the Court, is fined by the Bench 20s. sterling”
Note: 05 MAY 1640
Details: “Francis Sprague, of Duxborrow, is prohibited by the Court to draw any wine or strong water until the next General [Court], without special license from the Court so to do”
Note: 02 JUN 1640 and 01 SEP 1640
Details: Francis Sprague presented for selling & retailing of wine contrary to order
Land Rec: 28 MAR 1642
Details: Francis Sprague sold to Morris Truant “two acres of marsh meadow lying at the Wood Island”
Note: 02 AUG 1642
Details: Francis Sprague, innholder, of Duxborrow, was accused of selling a fowling piece (shotgun) to an Indian
Details: In Duxbury section of Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms
Land Rec: 01 APR 1644
Details: Francis Sprague of Duxbury sold to “Will[ia]m Laurence my son-in-law of the same town … fifty acres”
Note: 07 JUL 1646
Details: Licensed to draw wine and keep an ordinary at Duxburrow. His license was recalled 5 June 1666
Note: Must not have been literate because he signed his deeds by mark.
Note: 07 JUN 1648 and 03 JUN 1657
Details: Duxbury surveyor of highways
Note: 04 JUN 1653
Land Rec: 26 OCT 1659
Details: Francis Sprague of Duxbury, planter, sold to “his son-in-law Ralph Earle of Road Island in the Jurisdiction of Providence Plantation the one-half of all his share, part or portion of land lying or being at the place or places commonly called by the Indians by the names of Coaksett and Acushena”
Note: Francis deeded land to his son-in-law Ralph Earle of Rhode Island. This land, given on the occasion of the marriage of Ralph Earle to Dorcas Sprague, daughter of Francis Sprague and Anne, was apparently a wedding present and may have been some of the land purchased at Dartmouth, considering that the newlyweds almost immediately settled at Dartmouth, Rhode Island after their marriage.
Land Rec: 27 APR 1661
Details: “Francis Sprague of Duxburrow … planter” deeded “unto John Sprague his true and natural son all that his dwelling house and outhouses and buildings scituate in Duxburrow aforesaid, and all and singular the upland and meadow now thereunto belonging, whether obtained by grant or purchased of other persons … containing in all forty or fifty acres or thereabouts with three acres of meadow”
Land Rec: 03 MAY 1664
Details: “Francis Sprague of Duxburrow … planter” deeded to “his son John Sprague all that his part, portion and share of land and meadow he hath at or near Namasakett … which was granted to him and others” on 3 June 1662
Note: 29 OCT 1669
Details: Francis Sprague’s son John entered into co-proprietorship of the family tavern. This may have taken place because of the advancing age of the founder of this family line in America.
Death: 1676 Duxbury, Plymouth Co, Massachusetts
Note: Following both their deaths in 1676, this inn was owned and operated by John Sprague’s son William, who later passed it on to his son Jethro. Francis Sprague is reported to have died in 1676, sometime after March of that year and after the death of his son John. He is reported as having been one of the 10 wealthiest men in New England at the time of his death.
parents are Edward Sprague and Margaret Holland
Francis Sprague, the father of Dorcas who married Ralph Earle, came over in the Ann in 1623 with his wife and one child. It was of this ship’s company that Morton tells us that the new comers “Seeing the low and poor condition of those that were before them, were much daunted and discouraged.” Governor Bradford says “the best dish we could present them with is a lobster or a piece of fish without bread or anything else but a cup of fair spring water; and the long continuance of this diet, with our labors abroad has somewhat abated the freshness of our complexion; but God gives us health.”
There are very few dates for the Sprague family, and many unanswered questions. The household of Francis Sprague consisted of three persons in 1623 and again in 1627, and we assume here that these three are in both cases Francis, Anna and Mercy. Mercy was clearly the daughter who married in 1637, but opinion is divided as to whether Anna was wife or daughter of Francis.
Francis Sprague may have initially been daunted and discouraged by the living conditions, yet none the less he took hold of the problem of self support in good earnest, and in 1633 was taxed eighteen shillings, a considerable tax. In the division of the cattle in 1627 Francis Sprague shared in the sixth lot. “to this lot fell the lesser of the black cowes came at first in the Anne which they much keep the biggest of the two steers. Also this lot has two shee goats.” it is to be hoped that the little Dorcas obtained at least her father’s thirteenth share of the milk of the lesser cowe and the two shee goats.
Francis Sprague removed to Duxbury prior to 1637. He lived by the shore between Captains Hill and Bluefish River. It is said of him that he was an “ardent temperament and great independence of mind.” That he was a “grave and sober” person is clearly indicated since he was permitted to sell spirituous liquors, since it was to “grave and sober” persons only that this priviege was granted. None the less, in 1641 he was before the Court for selling wine contrary to the orders of the Court.
We know that a daughter of Francis Sprague had married William Lawrence by 1644, but we have no record which gives her Christian name. But to have married by that date, and be born after the cattle division of 1627, she would be seventeen at marriage at most, and perhaps younger. The more likely solution is that the Anna of the cattle division was a second daughter, and Francis did not bring a wife with him to New England.
The other two children of Francis (John and Dorcas) were apparently born in the 1630s, and so fifteen or twenty years younger than Mercy and Anna, with no evidence of any children born in between. This alone suggests that these were children of a second marriage. We postulate, therefore, that Francis Sprague had two wives, the first of whom died in England before 1623, and the second of whom he married in New England about 1630. If our conclusion that Anna Sprague of the 1627 cattle division became wife of William Lawrence is correct, then we do not know the given name of either of the wives of Francis, nor do we have dates of birth, marriage or death for either of them.
He was living in Duxbury in 1666, and died probably a few years thereafter when his son took up his business of keeping an ordinary.”
Parents are unknown