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Joseph Prentice of Preston, CT


To see full list of articles in this Winter '97 Issue, Click Here
Joseph Prentice of Preston, CT (1677 to after 1747)
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 1997 and Revised 22 Mar 2012

WHAT HAPPENED TO JOSEPH?

(This is a reprint of an article appear in our Fall 1994 and Winter 1997 Issues)

Joseph Prentice, son of John Prentice of New London, CT, was born in or about 1677 at New London, CT. Joseph married Hannah Chesebrough, daughter of Nathaniel & Hannah (Denison) Chesebrough of Stonington, CT in 1700 at Stonington, CT on 26 Nov 1700. Joseph and Hannah had 4 children between 1700 and 1712: Joseph Jr., Nathaniel, Hannah and Elihu.

The names of all four children appear in Congregational Church of Griswold church records, but there are no death records there for Joseph, Hannah, or any of the children.

When we published our VALENTINE PRENTICE book in January, 1993, we had proved that Joseph Sr. was living at least until 1730 when he conveyed land to his son Nathaniel. Joseph would have been only 53 in 173.

NEW DEED DISCOVERED

By letter of 25 Jan 1994, Mrs. June (Wright) Prentice of Waterford, CT, whose husband was a descendant of Joseph, has brought to our attention a 1747 Deed to land which was discovered in an old land record book which had been rebound; Vol. II, 1723-1861. In it, under "P," was found a Deed from Joseph Prentice which conveyed land in Preston, CT. In that Deed, Joseph conveyed 30 acres to "my son Nathaniel Prentice" of Preston.

Although the notes provided by June Prentice are somewhat sketchy, it appears that the land adjoins that of a Capt. Leonard, Nathan Leonard, and Elihu Prentice. Elihu probably is Joseph's son, Elihu.

The Deed from Joseph Prentice also recites that it was signed by Joseph Prentice in the presence of Samuel Morgan and James Morgan and bears the notation that Samuel Morgan was the Justice of the Peace.

Although the Deed recites that it was signed on the 29th day of May 1747, it appears that it was not recorded in Plainfield until 2 Sep 1752, more than 5 years after the Deed was signed by Joseph. Joseph would have been 70 in 1747.

QUESTIONS RAISED

The finding of the Deed by June Prentice raises a number of questions about Joseph and his sons for which there are no present answers:

1. At whose request was the Deed recorded?

Today, Deeds are usually recorded at the request of the grantee for obvious reasons: it is in the grantee's interest to make known to everyone that he now owns the land.

Does that mean that Nathaniel asked that the Deed be recorded? Or did Joseph ask that it be recorded? Although just a guess based on logic at this point, it seems likely that it was probably recorded at Nathaniel's request.

2. Why record it in Plainfield when it related to land at Preston?

We do not yet know the answer to that question. However, the finding of the Deed in Plainfield records might explain a discrepancy in the official Index to Preston land records.

In 1988, a personal examination of Preston land records was conducted by the writer. The grantor-grantee index for Vol. 6 indicated that page 381 was supposed to contain a deed from Joseph Prentice to Nathaniel Prentice dated 1747. We wanted to examine that Deed for two reasons: first it could indicate the family relationship between the grantor and grantee, and second it would indicate that the grantor, if Nathaniel's father, was still living. However, the Deed on page 381 was a Deed from Jonathan Chesebrough, Bridget Chesebrough and John Miner to William Blodgett and William Denison.

Although the issue of the family relationship between Joseph and Nathaniel was resolved by other Deeds, it left unanswered whether Nathaniel's father, Joseph, was still living in 1747. We now know he was at age 70.

3. Was Nathaniel living in or near Plainfield in 1747?

Nathaniel's first known marriage was to Huldah Stallion on 23 Aug 1750. That marriage is recorded in the 2nd Church of Preston, also known as the Congregational Church of Griswold.

That church building actually lies a short distance to the east of what is now Jewett City, about 6 miles north of the present town of Preston.

Interestingly, that church building also lies about 6 miles south of the present town of Plainfield.

A part of the solution to the question of where Joseph's family lived is found lies in the chronological history of the church itself. It was originally organized and located in what is now the present town of Preston. In 1716, because of difficulties which members living in the northern reaches of the parish had in traveling to Preston, the church was divided into two different societies.

We don't know exactly where that line was, but it may reasonably be inferred that it was roughly equidistant between Preston and Jewett City. That would seem to correspond with the present maps of the area which show that the broad "Township of Preston" extends approximately 4 miles northerly of the main part of town and to within approximately 3 miles of Jewett City.

Since the records of Nathaniel's children are found in the Jewett City church, it would be reasonable to infer that he lived close to Jewett City, possibly even north of the present town. Was the Jewett City area at that time considered a part Preston? Additional investigation is needed to resolve those matters.

4. Why did 5 years elapse between the 1747 Deed signing and its 2 Sep 1752 recording in Plainfield?

Was there a mixup in the Deeds? Did the person requesting recordation have two Deeds and mistakenly filed each in the wrong town?

Did Joseph in fact record it earlier in Preston and did the Preston town clerk, at the time he recorded Joseph's the Deed, mistakenly write the page number at 381 in the index when he meant to write another number such as 281, 371, etc? That particular question can only be answered by a page by page examination of Preston Deeds. Is there some relationship to the fact that the Deed which was in fact recorded in Vol. 6 at page 381, although dated 26 Jan 1737/8, was recorded on 6 Dec 1752?

Note: Since publication of this article in our Fall, 1994 Issue, interesting information has been discovered about Mary Prentice of Windham, CT who married Asa Peabody. See that article on Mary Prentice. It raises the possibility that maybe Nathaniel Prentice, mentioned in the Deed, was living in Windham in 1742 and in Plainfield in 1747, and perhaps as late as 1752.

Contact us: If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

Caution: If you don't use the above email link, your email to us may be rejected as spam by our email filter.


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