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Henry Printis of Bedford Co., Quebec

Henry Printis of Bedford County, Quebec, Canada
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 1999 and Revised 26 Dec 2008

Note: This is a reprint of an article which originally appeared in our Winter 1999 newsletter. If you have any new information which can help us identify any of the folks mentioned above, please contact us at the Prentice Newsletter

Henry Printis was b. c. 1801 at an unknown location. He first appears in the 1825 census of the Seigniory of Sabrenois, Bedford County, Canada. That loction lies on the eastern bank of the Richelieu River, about half way between the top of Lake Champlain and the present town of St. Jean, Quebec. That would be about 12-13 miles north of the present US-Canadian border and would touch the northwestern tip of Grand Isle County, Vermont.

We do not know the names of his wife and children because the 1825 census did not provide names. The ages and number of children appear garbled, but a general picture emerges.

Henry Printis is shown as the head of the family and he seems to placed in the category of "married, age 18-24." However, if he is the father of all the children shown, would would expect Henry to be closer to 40 and ought to be placed in the 25-40 age group. His wife is shown as age 14-45.

An E-mail from Cathy Gagnon of 4 Dec 1999 seems to indicate that the total number of persons shown in the household includes both family members and non-family members. The 1825 census shows 13 persons, but indicates that the "Total of inmates in each family" is 9. It seems likely that the word, "inmates," refers to family members only.

The total number persons under 14 years of are shown as follows:

  • 4 males born between 1810 and 1818 (ages 7 to 15).
  • 3 males born between 1819 and 1825 (ages 1 to 6).
  • 4 females born between 1811 and 1824 (ages 1 to 14).

Cathy Gagnon has also supplied information from a census taken 6 years later, the 1831 Canadian census which shows a Henry Prentice living in the Seigneury of Sabrevois which is quite likely that same family. In that 1831 census, Henry Prentice is again named as the head of household, a farmer, age 30-59. If the census used the same age groupings, then Henry must have been age 24 in 1825 and age 30 in 1831.

His wife is still shown age 14 to 44 which would indicate she was no older than 38 in 1825. There are also 2 females under 14 years of age which would suggest they were less than age 8 in 1825 unless either or both were born after 1825.

These are the only 4 people for whom ages are given, yet the total number of persons shown living in the household was 7. It also states that there are 2 natives of Ireland, and 1 native of England in the household. At this point we have no information whether Henry and his wife were one of the natives of Ireland or England, or whether their origins were other than Ireland and England.

It would appear (and this is just a guess) that the reduction in the ratio of inmates to total residents from 9 in 13 in 1825 to 4 in 7 in 1831 would indicate that 5 of the children had departed the home because of death, marriage or other reason and that there was 1 less employee.

Even if there were only 7 sons and daughters in 1825, it seems unlikely that Henry could be age 18-24 and have fathered 7 children even by the age of 24. Still, there could be 1 or more of the following possible explanations:

  • It might be possible if he married young and the children included twins and/or tripletts.

  • The father of the children might be deceased and at 24 or younger, Henry might be married and a brother to some of the children shown, and perhaps with 1 or more children of his own included in that household.

  • Henry's wife may have had a prior marriage and some of the children might be from such prior marriage.

  • The older female might be Henry's sister, perhaps widowed, and Henry may have assume responsibility for being the head of the household.

Although we do not yet have any direct evidence, the location and size of the family suggests it might be the family of Abraham C. Prentiss of Noble County, Indiana. Abraham may have been born in Grand Isle Co., VT., a location easily accessible by water from the Seigneury of Sabrevois. See that article for more details.

Henry might also be the same person as Henry A. Prentiss of Hill, NH, discussed in our Spring 1999 Prentice Newsletter. If so, this would have been a prior marriage for the Henry Prentiss of Hill, NH who seems to have married his wife late in life.

If you have any information which can help us identify any of the folks mentioned above, please contact us at the Prentice Newsletter..

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