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John-3 Nichols

John-3 Nichols
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Summer 2002 and Revised 2 May 2002

Did John-3 Nichols Live With John-3 Prentice and Hester Nichols?

We received an interesting email on 29 Apr 2002, and 30 Apr 2002, from Barbara Nichols who is a direct descendant of John-3 Nichols, a brother to Hester Nichols who was the wife of John-3 Prentice a grandson of Valentine Prentice.

In it, she discusses the possibility that Hester's brother, John-3 Nichols, lived for a time with them after the death of John-3 Nichols' father in 1655 and his step-father, Richard Perry, in 1658, when he was orphaned.

John-3 Nichols was a very young boy when he was orphaned in 1658. His father was John-2 Nichols, the father of Hester-3 (Nichols) Prentice by his first wife, and John-3 Nichols by his second wife, Grace. As indicated above, John-2 Nichols died in 1655. His wife, Grace, then m (2) Richard Perry who d. in 1658.

This all took place in Fairfield, Fairfield Co., CT. Isaac-3 Nichols, the oldest son, was sent to live with and was apprenticed to his uncle, Isaac-2 Nichols in Stratford, CT. John-3 Nichols was sent to New London. The youngest son, Samuel-3 Nichols, was born in 1655 shortly after his father died that same year and he probably remained with his mother, Grace, in Fairfield since as we find him there later.

The following is what Jacobus wrote in The American Genealogist (TAG), #134, Apr 1959, V. 34, #2, p 81-89, about the connection (since we know Hester is the wife of John-3 Prentice, we have excised Jacobus' discussion on that point):

    " Turning to Nichols families, we find (Jacobus, Families of Old Fairfield, 1:434-51 that John 2 Nichols (Francis 1) died at Fairfield,in 1655 when the inventory of his estate was taken, and the probate mentions his widow Grace and children Hester, Elizabeth, Hannah, Isaac, Sarah and John. Grace married second, Richard Perry and on 4 Jun 1659 as "Grace Perie now of fairfield widow" she conveyed to her son Isaac, now apprenticed with Isaac Nichols of Stratford [the boy's uncle], and "my three other children," Samuel, John and Sarah. Samuel, unless accidentally omitted in the probate, was probably posthumous and born 1655. From these records, it seems likely that Hester, Elizabeth and Hannah were children of John Nichols by a former wife.

    Here then we have a Hester Nichols [wife of John-3 Prentice] with a sister, Hannah Nichols, the maiden lady who left her few household belongings to her favorite niece Hester (Prentice) Gallup, and another sister Elizabeth, suitable for the wife of Thomas Bowen and Samuel Fuller, who called John Prentice her brother-in-law.

    In addition to this, John Nichols, half-brother of these sisters, died in King Philips War in 1676, and the inventory of his estate at Fairfield refers to his interest in cattle in New London. It was never understood why he should have owned or had an interest in cattle in New London, but this is readily explained if he went as a lad to live with his much older sister Hester and her husband, John Prentice, in New London." (p 84-85)

In 1676, John and Hester already had 10 children of their own, so the addition of 1 more probably didn't make much of an impact on their family life.

John-3 Nichols married Mercy Holbridge whom he had met and possibly married in New London. She went as a young girl to live with Rev. Greshom Bulkely, second minister in New London. He was related to Rev. John Jones, first minister in Fairfield who married Mercy's mother when she was widowed in 1648.

John 3 Nichols was killed in 1676 in the King Philips War and his wife Mercy, was accused, tried, convicted and sentenced to death for witch craft as "Mercy Disbrow" after she m (2) Joseph Disbrow. She was finally found not guilty.

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com.

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