Learning from the past, living in the moment, and leaving footprints for the future. Stories of lov

Monday, October 29, 2012

Workday Wednesday - Colonial Royal Governor

I was paying more attention to William Brewster my 10th great grandfather who arrived on the Mayflower than I was of his daughter, Patience, from whom I descend. And, even less attention to the man she married, Thomas Prence, until today.

It's always amazing to learn about my ancestors and the contributions they made as this new world of ours was being settled and  laws made. In that vein, I introduce my 9th great grandfather, Thomas Prence, Colonial Royal Governor. 

Thomas was the son of Thomas Prence, a carriage-maker, of Lucedale, Co.Gloucestershire, England. His Puritan family joined the Pilgrim community in Leiden (Holland) in Thomas' youth.  He came to America on the ship "Fortune" in 1621 in the twenty-second year of his age with his family. 

 He went to Plymouth Colony, where he gained prominence and was one of eight colonial "undertakers" who assumed (1627) the colony's debt to the London merchants who had backed the establishment of the colony.

He was chosen Governor, and he served as the fourth Governor of Plymouth Colony from 1634 to 1635, then from 1638 to 1639, and again from 1657 until his death in 1673.  Thomas Prence otherwise recorded as Thomas Prince, married Patience Brewster in 1624, the daughter of William Brewster. 

Thomas held various offices, including the governorship (1634-35, 1638, 1657-73.  As governor, he served with credit through a period of Indian wars and internal religious troubles and was noted for his successful effort to secure public revenues in support of schools.  The duties combined with being governor were, Chief Justice, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Speaker of the General Court and Auditor of the Treasury.

Interestingly, a chair of maple and ash made in Plymouth Colony in the late 17th century that belonged to Thomas Prence survived, and has been passed down by his descendants. It is on display at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth.

After he had served God in the office of Governor sixteen years, he died on March 29, 1673at the age of 73.  "He was a worthy gentleman, very pious, and very able for his office, and faithful in the discharge thereof, studious of peace, a wellwiller to all that feared God, and a terror to the wicked. His death was much lamented, and his body honorably buried at Plymouth. "


  1. Cool, glad to hear that something of his survived! Hope I can make it there one of these days!

  2. Glad to hear that something of his survived. This is on my bucket list!

  3. I hate to be a stickler, but that portrait is not of our mutual ancestor Thomas PRENCE; this is of Thomas PRINCE, who was a minister/scholar and quite a remarkable man in his own right (Princeton was named for him). He has no known relation to Thomas PRENCE, I'm afraid...

    Great post, though, and I especially love the chair!

  4. The article although correct in its content, but as Karen pointed out the picture I posted is most likely not that of Thomas Prence, but of Thomas Prince. It is not my intention to misrepresnt information in any shape or form. I appreciate feedback on any stories I write, thank you.

  5. love this today - thank you!


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