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Alice Bredda Prentice Watson

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Alice Bredda Prentice Watson
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 2000 and Revised 9 Oct 2008

Introduction: This a reprint of our Winter 2000 newsletter article seeking information about Alice (Bredda) Prentice's roots and, after Valentine Prentice's death, information about her later marriage to John Watson, their children, and their descendants.
      In the 8 years since, no additional evidence has been found about her roots and Watson descendants. We are again posting the article in the hope that viewers may be able to provide us with additional information.

One of our ongoing searches relates to our efforts to determine the date and place where Alice Bredda, the widow of Valentine Prentice, died.

After Valentine Prentice died in 1633 in Roxbury, MA, Alice, who was b. c. 1600 and then about 33, married John Watson of Roxbury on 3 Apr 1634. He was b. 12 Jan 1594 and d. 2 Dec 1671, Roxbury, Suffolk Co., MA. He was the son of John Watson (b. 1558, Duyrham, Durham, England) and Sibbea Priestly (b. 1562, Durham, Durham, England) who were m. 2 Mar 1583, Bailey, Durham, England. John emigrated to Ma in 1632 aboard the "Lion," the ship upon which Alice and Valentine had emigrated in 1631. It arrive at in Boston harbor on 16 September 1632. John was admitted to Roxbury church as member #32, late in 1632 [RChR 75] and made Freeman on 5 Nov 1633 [MBCR 1:368]. He apparently was unschooled as his Will is signed by his mark, although the inventory of his estate includes "Books 20s."

Alice and John had at least 6 children:

  1. John Watson Jr., b. January 1634/5 [RVR MS 1]; m. by an unknown date Mary Eccles, daughter of Richard Eccles (in his will of 27 July 1693 "John Watson of Roxbury" bequeathed to "Mary my beloved wife ... what may be left in reversion of her father Eckles his estate" [SPR 13:219-22]).
  2. Edmund Watson, b. 12 Jul 1636 and d. 1645, age 9 years.

  3. Joshua Watson, b. August 1637 [RVR MS 1]; "Joshua Watson of 11 years old, suddenly died of the belly ache" 30 April 1649 [RChR 174].

  4. Dorcas Watson, b. 20 Sep 1639, Roxbury, Suffolk Co., MA [RVR MS 2], and d. 9 Nov 1707, Ipswich, ssex Co., MA. Dismissed by her maiden name to Medfield, 10 May 1670 [RChR 88]. She m. 1st Timothy Dwight, Medfield, 8 July 1669. She m. 2nd John Adams, Medfield, 8 May 1677. John was b. c. 1644, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT, and d. 6 Sep 1670, Hartford. They had 1 or more children, including:
    1. Rebecca Adams, b. 1673, Roxbury, Suffolk Co., MA, and d. 22 Dec 1736, Eastchester, Westchester Co., NY. She m. Thomas Baxter. He was b. 1654, Marshfield, Plymouth Co., MA, and d. 2 Jul 1714, Westchester Co., NY. They had 1 or more children, including:
      1. Thomas Baxter, b. 14 Aug 1675, Westchester, Westchester Co., NY, and d. there 18 Apr 1727. He m. Abigail Drake in 1698, Westchester. She was b. 1678. Children per Ancestry.com :
        1. Thomas Baxter 1699 –
        2. Augustine Baxter 1703 – 1760
        3. George Baxter 1707 –
        4. Elizabeth Baxter 1718 –

  5. Caleb Watson, b. 29 July 1641 [RVR MS 3]; Harvard 1661 [Sibley 2:95-98]; m. Roxbury 15 December 1665 Mary Hide.

  6. Mary Watson, b. 2 May 1644 [RVR MS 4], bp. 5 May 1644 [RChR 115]; m. by 1669 Thomas Stedman (eldest known child bp. Roxbury 18 July 1669, the father being called "Thomas Stedman of Cambridge Village" [RChR 128]).

Savage claims that John Watson had a son Edmund born 12 July 1636; no such child appears in the town record, but Joseph Weld did have a son Edmund born in Roxbury 14 July 1636, which is probably the record that Savage somehow misconstrued.

Alice and John owned 37 acres in Roxbury (and perhaps more; see Will, below). Apparently the land was used by John as an apple orchard because his Will contains the following mentions:

  • "for apples sold not yet received 55s.," and
  • "One barrel cider and other barrels" etc., £1 10s.

We do not know the orchard's exact location, but the "History of Roxbury" indicates it adjoined 10 acres owned by Chandler at what was, in 1878, the southerly corner of Bartlett and Washington Streets. The land was later owned by Peter Gardner, and still later became a part of the Mears estate which extended from Bartlett nearly to Ceder Street. See map.

Apparently the land was some distance from the town proper; when James Mears Jr. moved into the home, tradition says "he was considered insane to think of going into such an out of the way lonely wilderness.

We do not yet know when or where Alice died, but we do have the following clues:

  • It was after her daughter, Mary Watson, was born on 1 May 1644.

  • The "History of First Church of Roxbury", at pg. 62, in referring to the 1665 baptism of the children of her son, John Prentice, refers to John's mother as "our Sister Watson." The connotation is to a living person.

  • She apparently was living in 1671 when her second husband, John Watson, died because she has a contingent interest mentioned in his Will. If living, she would then have been about 71 years of age.

No death record has yet been found in Roxbury, so it may be that after John's death she went to live with one of her sons or daughters. John Watson's Will is of interest because it indirectly tells about the type of life Alice was living and because it may contain clues about her later life. The following information is provided by John B. Lisle's email of 17 Sep 2000 which he gathered from ancestry.com's great migration database:

    ESTATE: Granted the usual sequence of lots in Roxbury: Houselot of eleven acres; fourteen acre lot, of which John Prentice [John Watson's stepson] is to have six acres after death of John Watson; four acres meadow in Great Mead; four acres salt marsh; third lot in third allotment of last division, twenty-six acres and a fraction; and thirty-three acres in the thousand acres near Dedham. Purchased six acres from Robert Pepper [RBOP 29-30].

    In his Will, dated 4 March 1670/1 and proved 5 February 1671/2, John Watson Senior of Roxbury "being old yet having perfect understanding" bequeathed his land "I having four children now alive namely John mine eldest son ... shall have a double portion of my lands ... my meadow in Roxbury"; "my wife Alice Watson shall enjoy my whole estate as long as she liveth both land and moveables without being accountable to any of my children"; "my wife my sole executrix"; "my son Caleb a single portion"; "my daughter Darkell [Dorcas] a single portion"; "my daughter Mary a single portion ... but they shall not enjoy any part of it until after their mother's decease"; £5 to "my son [i.e. stepson] John Prentise"; overseers "my four sons namely my son John, my son Caleb, my son-in-law Timothy Dwite and my son-in-law Thomas Stedman" [SPR 7:194].

    The inventory of John Watson was taken 15 January 1671/2 and totalled £397 7s., of which £334 was real estate: house and 12 acres adjoining, £130; 14 acres arable at Pond Plain, £60; "about 6 acres near John's house in his possession," £20; 6 acres of salt meadow, £36; 4 acres of fresh meadow, £22; "land lately bought of Samuel Finch quantity not known to us," £30; 16 acres near John Holdredge's, £18; and 42 acres in the thousand acres near Dedham, £18 [SPR 7:195].

Correspondence:   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 deleted as spam by our email filter.


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