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Headstones of Valentine Prentice's descendants


Headstones of Valentine Prentice's descendants

Winter 2000 and Revised 21 Nov 2000
Cleanup -- 1 Feb 2023

We received, from Linda Mans, the following photos of cemetery headstones of the earliest, and most interesting, of the earliest descendants of the immigrant Valentine Prentice who settled in Roxbury, MA in 1631.

The photo at the left shows the earliest of the group of several PRENTIS headstones. Although somewhat hard to read in the image, the name inscribed at the bottom of the headstone shows it to be that of John Prentis. However, the bottom of the headstone is buried in the ground to an unknown depth so we cannot tell if there is any information on the stone about his age or date of death. Linda Mans is taking steps to locate someone who can carefully remove some of the soil at the base to see if there is additional identifying information.

So, for now, we can only surmise as to the identity of the person. John Prentis may be either 1. John Prentis, b. 1628 in England, son of Valentine Prentis. He died in New London, CT in 1691, or John may be 2. John Prentis, son of the above John Prentis. He died in New London, CT in 1715. Since there appears to be only one headstone bearing the name "John Prentis," it seems likely that the headstone is that of #2, John, son of John.

The next photo, shown on the right, is of a headstone containing the following inscription:

Here lies
the body of
Stephen Prentis
Jun who died
December the 7th 1728
In the 30th year of his age

The headstone is that of Stephen-4 Prentis Jr.,, b. 23 Mar 1697-8, son of Stephen-3 Prentis and Elizabeth Rogers and a great-grandson of Valentine Prentice. Stephen married Phebe Harris and had 2 daughters (Elizabeth and Mary) and a son (Stephen III).

The headstone shown in the photograph on the left is that of Jonathan Prentis, born 15 Jul 1657, son of John-2 Prentis and Hester Nichols. He is another of the grandsons of Valentine Prentice. It conains the following inscription:

Here lyeth the body
of Jonathan Prentis
Esq. who departed ye
life July the 28th 1727
in the 70th year
of his age

Jonathan died 28 Jul 1727, age 70, in New London, CT and is a brother to Stephen Prentis whose headstone is likely that shown immediately above this one. Jonathan married Elizabeth Latimer whose headstone is shown in the next photograph.

The headstone shown to the right is that of Elisabeth Latimer, wife of Jonathan Prentis, above. Elizabeth was b. c. 1667 and 14 Aug 1759, age 92. The inscription on the headstone reads as follows:

Here lies buried ye body of
Mrs. Elisabeth Prentis
Consort to
Capt. Jonathan Prentis
who departed this life
August 14th 1759
In the 92nd year of her age

The headstone which is shown to the left is that of Benjamin Prentis who was born on 3 Dec 1707 in New London, CT and who died there on 8 Jun 1731.

Benjamin Prentis was the son of Stephen Prentis (2nd photo down from the top, above) and Elizabeth Rogers. Benjamin Prentis was one of their 11 children and died unmarried.

The inscription on Benjamin Prentis' headstone reads as follows:

Here
lies the body of
Mr. Benjamin Prentis
Who Died June ye
8th 1731 in his 24th
year

For now, we have no additional information about Benjamin Prentis as to his schooling or occupation. Nor do we know the cause of his death, although one would think his death at age 24 was likely caused by accident or illness.

As a young man, he may have helped his father, John Prentis, who was New London's earliest blacksmith. Benjamin He may also have been a seaman since John was also a famous New London sea caption who made a number of voyages to Europe.

The headstone which is shown to the right is that of Mary Rogers, wife of Thomas Prentis who was also a son of John Prentis and Hester Nichols and a grandson of Valentine Prentice. Thomas Prentis married, as his first wife, Mary Rogers on 30 Jan 1704/5 in New London, CT.

The inscription on Mary Rogers' headstone reads as follows:

Here
lyeth ye
body of Mary
ye wife of Mr. Thom
Prentis Departed
this life December
3lst(?) 1720 in ye
42 year of her age

Following Mary's death, Thomas Prentis married, 2nd, Mrs. Elizabeth Palms/Palmes. He married, 3rd, Mrs. Bethiah (Dart) Chapel. So far as is known, Thomas did not have any children by any of his 3 wives.

The headstone shown to the left is that of John Prentis who was born on 14 Dec 1746 in New London, CT and who died there on 22 Nov 1781. He was the son of John Prentis and Sarah Christophers. John Prentis married Esther Richards and had several children. The inscription on John Prentis' headstone reads as follows:

In Memory of
Mr. John Prentis
of New London
Son of Mr. John Prentis Esqr
and of Sarah Prentis deceased
Who died Nov 22 AD So
in the 34 Year of his age

At the bottom of John Prentis' headstone is a 4-line epitaph which reads as follows (See Fn. 1):

How loved and vallued once avails him not
To whom related or whom be not
A heap of dust alone remains of thee
Tis all thou art & all the proud shall be

The final headstone photograph shown is that of Sarah Christophers, wife of John Prentis who was also a son of John Prentis and Hester Nichols and a grandson of Valentine Prentice. Sarah was b. c. 1720 and d. 12 Feb 1773 in New London. She was the daughter of Christopher Christophers and Sarah Prout.

The inscription on Sarah's headstone is hard to read because of the large chunk missing from the middle of the inscription. The portions remaining read as follows:

This _________ent
(illegible)________ Mrs. Sarah
Prentice ___________ of John
Prentice ___________ New London
and daughter of the Hon'ble
Christophers _______ of
New London _________ Wife
She died ___________ 1773
In the 53d year of her age.

Below that is a 4 line epitaph reading as follows:

Beneath this stone death prisoner lies
The stone shall move the prisoner rise
When Jesus with almight Word
(illeg.) died there Lord

Fn. 1: There are a number of epitaphs which appear on many old headstones which are variations of the following:
As You Now Are
So Once Was I.
As I Now Am
So You Will Be.
Prepare Yourselves to Follow Me.

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