Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Next Best Thing?

Some of the other genealogy bloggers have been posting their Mayflower Lineages for Thanksgiving. As far as I know, I don't have any ancestors that arrived on the Mayflower. However, there are two that came a little later... Francis Sprague and William Bassett.

The Sprague Project, developed by Richard E. (Dick) Weber and maintained by Albert Arnold Sprague IV, has an incredible amount of information on the various Sprague families in America. In fact, it's almost overwhelming.

The family page on Francis Sprague tells us that he "came in the good ship, Anne, which sailed from London, England, and arrived at Plymouth in July 1623. He was one of those "passengers" who, as Morton writes, "seeing the low and poor conditions of those that were before them, were much daunted and dismayed, and according to their divers humors, were diversely affected. Some wished themselves in England again; others fell to weeping, fancying their own misery in what they saw in others; other some pitying the distress they saw their friends had long been in, and still were under."

Another tidbit provides a small window into his personality: "It appears that grave and sober though he was, he did not wholly escape the displeasure of the scrupulous magistrates of those days. The Court records disclose the fact that he was several times brought before them for what they considered departures from the strict line of duty. A fair interpretation, however, of the evidence, drawn from the Old Colony Records, warrants the conclusion that Francis (Sprague) was a person of ardent temperament and of great independence of mind; in short, that his sympathies with the principles of the Puritan Fathers did not go to the length of Passive acquiescence in all the enactments of their civil code. We know that he was the head of a most honorable and respected family of descendants."

The other early ancestor is William Bassett, father of Ruth who married John Sprague Sr. William Bassett arrived in Plymouth in 1621 on the Fortune.

Now, for the disclaimer. I personally have done little research on the Sprague line to confirm the relationships. Other folks have done considerable research for me and I prefer to spend my time working on lines for which there is little information readily available.

I do think the connection of Lucy Sprague to Thomas and Hannah is a little weak but it is plausible. The Marysville (Ohio) Tribune published a lengthy article on July 17, 1888 regarding a reunion of the children of William Washington Alexander. In that article it stated that William W. Alexander was “married in 1803 to Miss Lucy Sprague who belonged to one of the first families of Rhode Island and who was a sister of Col. Pierce Sprague, a soldier of 1812.”

Lucy reportedly died about 1813-1814 sometime after the birth of her last child, Pierce Alexander. William Alexander, son of William W. and Lucy Sprague Alexander was reportedly born in 1805 in Erie County, Pennsylvania. I have found census records for Lucy's (presumed) parents, Thomas and Hannah (Cobb) Sprague, who were residing in Springfield, Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1800. The Sprague and Alexander families show up together in the Mount Vernon area of Knox County, Ohio about 1810.

A blog post I published in January 2008 tells a little about the discovery of the “Sprague Homestead” of Andover, Connecticut. It was exciting to discover the website mentioned and to learn about how people, specifically Ephraim Sprague and his family, lived in the early 1700s.

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