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Joel Prentice of Lincoln, Middlesex Co., MA

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Joel Prentice of Lincoln, Middlesex Co., MA
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Summer 2006 and Revised 22 Jun 2011

This material originally appeared in C. J. F. Binney's 1883 PRENTICE book at pg. 454.

1. Joel Prentice, "of Lincoln, Middlesex Co., MA", about 5 miles SE of Concord,. The 1820 Lincoln census places his birth date between 1775 and 1794. The 1830 Lincoln census shows him as between 30 and 40 years of age and places his birth date between 1790 and 1800. It would therefore appear that Joel was b. between the years 1790 and 1794. That would make him about 24 to 28 years of age when he m. in 1818. Joel Prentice was admitted to Lincoln Church on 5 Feb 1832.

Joel's place of birth unclear. Binney's 1883 book calls him "of Lincoln, Middlesex Co., MA" but that does not necessarily indicate his place of birth and may only indicate that he eventually settled in Lincoln where he appears in the 1820 and 1830 census. Binney's 1883 book says that Joel may have come from Princeton and his wife from Concord.

It was reported by a Mr. Rice, a hotel keeper in Lincoln, that Joel Prentice died in Illinois in August, 1839.

Joel was a very tall, strong man, the largest in Lincoln. Joel married Harriet Jones on 26 May 1818, Concord (per IGI). Harriet was also admitted to that same Lincoln Church 2 years earlier in 1830. The dates of birth of Joel’s children are not known but was before 1832 when all were baptized on the same date. Children:

  1. Nathan Jones Prentice, b. 13 Oct 1823. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [2]
  2. John Watson Prentice, bapt. Lincoln Church on 5 Feb 1832. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [3]
  3. Sarah Watson Prentice, b. 24 Jan 1826, Lexington, Middlesex Co., MA. . . . . . . . [4]

2. Nathan Jones Prentice. The LDS Ancestral File says he was b. 13 Oct 1823 at Lexington, Middlesex, MA and Binney says he was bapt. Lincoln Church on 5 Feb 1832. He had a grain store in Boston in 1849.

The Ancestral Files says he m. Hannah Lane on 16 Dec 1849, Boston, Suffolk Co., MA. She was b. 15 Jan 1827, Weld, Franklin, ME and was the dau. of Eliphalet Lane and Hannah Newman. Children of Nathan and Hannah (per census and IGI):

  1. Charles Watson Prentiss, b. 15 Nov 1850, Boston, MA. He m. Ella Florence Knox (b. 6 Sep 1855, Newington, NH) on 24 Dec 1873 at Lowell, MA. Children:
    1. Carrie Mabel Prentiss, b, 23 Jun 1875, Melrose, MA.
    2. Grace Isadore Prentiss, b. 24 Jan 1878, Melrose, MA.
    3. Hattie Florence Prentiss, b. 14 Jun 1880, Melrose, MA.
    4. Edward Nathan Prentiss, b. 29 Sep 1885, Cambridgeport, MA. Not in 1920 or 1930 census. Not in SSDI.
  2. Harriet E. Prentiss, b. 18 May 1852, Weld, Franklin, ME.
  3. John Harry Prentiss, b. 31 May 1857, Weld, Franklin, ME. He m. Annie E. Clusky on 6 Aug 1879, S. New Market Junction, NH. She was b. 19 Mar 1856, Exeter, NH. He and his wife appear in the 1920 and 1930 census in Haverhill, Essex Co., MA. No children shown.
  4. Hannah Prentice, b. c. 1859, MA (per 1860 crensus). Not home in 1880.
  5. Susan Prentiss, b. 4 Feb 1860, Boston, MA.
  6. Fred H. Prentiss, b. 28 Aug 1865, Richmond, ME (per IGI). Not in 1920 or 1930 census.

3. John Watson Prentice, b. 5 Dec 1830, MA per Ancestry.com . Bapt. Lincoln Church on 5 Feb 1832. If those dates are correct, he seems in later years to have shaved about 10 years off his age (see discussion, below). He appears to have died sometime after 1910 and before the 1920 census where his 2nd wife is called a widown.

John was a whalebone worker in Boston; his house was at the rear of 58 Tayler Street in 1850.

He m. Irene S. Cooley on 12 Mar 1874. She was b. 19 Jan 1838, Springfield, Hampden Co., MA, and d. 30 Mar 1894. An Ancestor Chart for her can be found at Ancestry.com .

It is unclear whether he is the same person as the John W. Prentice who appears in the 1880 census in Somers, Tolland Co., CT as b. c. 1840, CT, with both parents b. in CT. His wife is Irene S., b. c. 1838, MA (with both parents b. in CT) which date and place match those for the wife of John Watson Prentice. They had 1 or more children, including:

  1. Ednah/Edna E. Prentice, b. c. 1875, CT. 1880 census in Somers, CT. She appears in the 1900 census in Somers, Tolland Co., CT, living at home. At home in 1900 and 1920. Not in 1920 or 1930 census by that surname and perhaps by then married.

Assuming that John Watson Prentice is the same person as the John W. Prentice in the 1880 census who had a daughter, Edna, above, John later appears in the 1900 census in Somers, CT, with a 2nd wife, Sarah M., b. Aug 1860, CT, and with 2 step-daughters:

  1. Gertrude V. Bartlett, b. c. 1885, CT.
  2. Olive H. Bartlett, b. c. 1888 , CT.

John then later appears in the 1910 census in Hartford, Hartford Co, CT, as Watson Prentice, b. c. 1839, NY, with both parents b. in CT. Also shown is his 2nd wife, Sarah M., daughter, Edna, and step-daughter , Gertrude, and a boarder named Eli Robinson.

Sarah M Prentice appears in the 1920 census as a widow, age 60, lodger in a boarding house in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT. She also likely the Sarah A. G. Prentice, widow, shown in the 1930 census in a boarding house in New Haven.

4. Sarah Watson Prentice, b. 24 Jan 1826, Lexington, Middlesex Co., MA, bapt. Lincoln Church on 5 Feb 1832. She d. 6 May 1903, Concord, MA.

She m. Silas Merriam Holden on 1 Jun 1848, Concord, MA. He as b. 19 Sep 1825. An Ancestor Chart for him can be found at Ancestry.com . Children per Ancestry.com :

  1. Charlotte Holden
  2. Franklin Waldo Holden 1849 – 1924
  3. Emma F. Holden 1855 – 1857
  4. Silas Herbert Holden 1858 – 1906
  5. Carrie Prentiss Holden 1860 –
  6. Ralph Holden 1869 –

Who are Joel Prentice's Parents?

In Binney's 1852 PRENTICE book, at pg. 148, he showed Joel as the son of Daniel and Abigail Prentice on pages 55-56. However, in his later 1883 edition, at pg. 343, he retracts that identification and omits any identification of Joel's parents.

Clues suggesting he might be the Joel Prentice, b. c. 1785, VT (pg. 287, #91), who is the son of Simeon Prentice (pg. 268, #28) and a descendant of Valentine Prentice, are:

    (a) Joel named his son John Watson, the full name of Valentine Prentice’s widow’s second husband, John Watson (see pg. 256), and

    (b) the middle name of Joel’s son, Nathan, is Jones which is both the maiden name of Joel’s wife as well as the maiden surname of the wife of John-3 (see pg. 259).

However, Joel's apparent 1790-94 birth date (per 1820 and 1830 census) would preclude that link. Additionally, Simeon Prentice has no known connection to the Lincoln, MA. area; Lincoln's lack of proximity to Simeon's known residences in CT and VT seem to make it somewhat unlikely that there is a connection between them.

We do note that a Henry Prentiss of Princeton appears at pg. 60, #61 of the PRENTICE book. Henry was b. 25 Jul 1767 (pg 24) but did not marry until 6 Mar 1800. Joel's birth date of 1790-94 could not be his son unless Henry had a prior unknown marriage, which is unlikely.

Next, in reviewing the 1820 census, we note that, in addition to showing Joel Prentice in Lincoln, it also shows a Joel Prentice in Townsend, MA which lies about 30 miles NW of Lincoln. That Joel Prentice is shown in the 1920 census as age 26-45 and b. between 1775 and 1794. He has a wife in the same age group, a daughter 0-10 and a daughter 16-26. A Joel Prentice, who may or may not be the same person, appears in the 1830 census in Grafton, MA age 40-50 and b. c. 1780-1790. All ages of the Townsend and Grafton Joels are much too young to be his father, although the similarity of the name, Joel, might indicate a common ancestor.

Finally, the 1860 Townsend, MA census shows a Joel Prentice, b. c. 1788. He would seem likely to be the same Joel Prentice who appears in the 1920 Townsend, MA census.

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.

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