Person:John Sprague (1)

John Sprague
b.ABT 1632
d.26 Mar 1676 Massachusetts
m. ABT 1613
  1. Mercy SpragueABT 1620 - AFT 1668
  2. Anna SpragueAbt 1622 -
  3. Mary SpragueABT 1625 -
  4. John SpragueABT 1632 - 1676
  5. Dorcas SpragueAbt 1638 -
  • HJohn SpragueABT 1632 - 1676
m. Bef 1655
  • HJohn SpragueABT 1632 - 1676
  • WRuth BassettAbt 1632 - 1676
m. Abt 1655
  1. Lt. John Spragueabt 1656 - 1727/28
  2. Elizabeth Spragueabt 1657 - 1727
  3. William SpragueAbt 1658 - 1712
  4. Ruth Sprague1659/60 - 1743
  5. Desire Sprague1665 -
  6. Dorcas Spragueabt 1666 -
  7. Samuel SpragueAbt 1670 - 1740
Facts and Events
Name John Sprague
Gender Male
Birth? ABT 1632
Alt Birth? 26 Mar 1633 Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
Marriage Bef 1655 Duxbury Massto
Marriage Abt 1655 Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States to Ruth Bassett
Death? 26 Mar 1676 MassachusettsSwampfight, King Phillips War
Burial? Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United StatesForest Dale Cemetery

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.S1 On June 8, 1655, they were both presented to Court.S2

John of Duxbury succeeded to his father's business in 1669. (From George Sawyer.) John Sprague apparently inherited his father's ardent temperament. Described as a "...spark off the old flint", he is known to have spent several hours in the stocks on at least one occasion for "...highly misdemeaning himself in the house of James Cole of Plymouth near unto or on the evening before the Sabbath Day, in drinking, gaming and uncivil reveling, to the dishonor of God and the offense of the government, by his gaming and the bringing of his mare uncivily into the parlor of James Cole, aforesaid.  (From Sue Bates)

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.According to Douglas Edward Leach in his history of that war entitled FLINTLOCK AND TOMAHAWK - NEW ENGLAND IN THE KING PHILIP'S WAR, Captain Pierce, having determined that there was a band of hostile Indians located near the Pawtucket River, had prepared his men for battle and had sent a messenger into the nearby town of Providence requesting reinforcements before attacking.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. (from Sue Bates)

His estate was appraised in 1676 and was sworn to by the widow Ruth Sprague. She afterwards married ______ Thomas.S1, S2

[FRANCIS SPRAGUE TO JOHN SPRAGUE] 1661 A Deed appointed to bee Recorded

To all people to whom these prsents shall Come ffrancis Sprague of Duxburrow in New Plymouth Govrment: planter sendeth greeting

Know yea that the said ffrancis Sprague for and in Consideration of the love and naturall affection and for other valluable Causes and Considerations him therunto especially moveing: hath given graunted enfeofed and Confeirmed; and by these prsents Doth give graunt enfeofe and Confeirme unto John Sprague his true and naturall sonne all that his Dwelling house and outhouses and buildings Scittuate in Duxburrow aforsaid; and [p. 76] and all and singulare the upland and meddow now therunto belonging; whether obtained by graunt; or purchased of other psons lying in Duxburrow aforsaid; and to the lands of Willam Paybody and Thomas Boney on the North: to the land of Mr Ralph Partrich now Deceased on the East to the land of Willam Bassett on the South; butting upon the salt water: Containing in all forty or fifty acrees or therabouts: with three acrees of meadow more or lesse with all his Right title and enterest of and into the said prmises with theire appurtenances and every pte and pcell therof: and all the fencing now in and about the said prmises or any pte of them To have and to hold the said Dwelling house outhouses buildings with the forty or fifty acrees of upland and three acrees of meadow: and fenceing in and upon the same with all and singulare the appurtenances to the said prmises or any pte of them belonging unto the said John Sprague his heires and assignes for ever; To bee holden as our Sovr Lord the Kinge as of his manor of East greenwich in the Countey of Kent in the Realme of England by the Rents and services therof and therby Due and of Right accustomed; and with warrantice against all people from by or under the title of the said ffrancis Sprague claiming any Right title or Interest of and into the said prmis or any pte or pcell therof whatsoever; and the said ffrancis Sprague Doth further graunt by these prsents that it shall and may bee lawfull to and for the said John Sprague either by himselfe or his attorney: to Record or enrowle or to Cause to bee Recorded and enrowled the title and tenor of these prsents in his Matlos Court before the Govr: for the time being according to the usuall order and mannor of Recording and enrowling Deeds and evidences in such case made and provided; But the said John Sprague is not to enter upon the posession of either house or land; till after the Decease of his father ffrancis Sprague but shall keep the houses tenantable for his father During his fathers life; In Witnes wherof the said ffrancis Sprague hath to these psents sett his hand and Seale the seaven and twentieth Day of Aprill in the thirteenth yeare of the Raigne of our Sov. Lord Charles the 2cond by the grace of God Kinge of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland Defender of the faith &c Anno: Dom 1661 one Thousand six hundred sixty and one;

Signed Sealled and Delivered

The marke of ffrancis in the prsence of Sprague Samuell Nash and a (seale) Willam Paybody

(Plymouth Colony Deeds 206-207)

From The Great Migration Begins

on 8 June 1655 "we present John Sprague and Ruth Bassett, of Duxburrow, for fornication before they were married [ PCR 3:82]). (John Sprague is treated in detail by Maclean W. McLean, who estimates his birth as about 1635, whereas we make him slightly older [ TAG 41:178-81].)

From The Plymouth Colony Archive Project

John Sprague is the most colorful of all the constables of Duxbury. Aside from fornication before marriage and signing fraudulent divorce papers, he apparently liked to get drunk and out of control at other peoples' houses. He was born between 1638 and 1643 since he appears in no freemen listings before 1658 but was constable by 1663. He died (in extreme debt) before 1677. His life was short, it seems, but unlike the other constables he had fun. His service record to the community is extremely brief, but he served on a few committees and two juries. Apparently nobody saw him as a good representative to other towns.

  1.   Sprague, Warren Vincent. Sprague Families in America. (Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle, 1913).
  2.   "One Bassett Family in America", by Buell Bursett Bassett, page 10.
  3.   "The American Genealogist", Volume 1965, page 178.

    Extensive article on John Sprague.

  4.   Stratton, Eugene Aubrey. Plymouth Colony, its history & people 1620 - 1691. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Pub., c1986), p. 357.
  5.   Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1860-1862), 4:153.

    JOHN, Duxbury, only s[on]. of Francis, liv[ing]. first at Marshfield, but d[ied]. in D[uxbury].; m[arried]. 1655, Ruth, d[aughter]. of William Bassett, had John; William; Samuel; Ruth, b[orn]. 12 Feb. 1659; Elizabeth; Desire; and Dorcas; was k[illed]. in Philip's war, 26 Mar. 1676, under Pierce, at the fierce fight of Pawtucket.