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Valentine Prentice, Trapper?

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Valentine Prentice, Trapper?
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 1997 and Revised 19 Oct 2004

We recently received information from Natalie A. Prentice in Stuart, FL in which she had found some new information about Valentine Prentice.

Her letter read, in pertinent parts, as follows:

    "...My notes read as follows: "VALENTINE PRENTICE may have come to NY from the Netherlands with a trading company with the Indians for fur in 1611-14. Then came north to Plymouth sometime in 1620 after the Mayflower had landed."

    "Banks, Charles Edward's "Topographical Dictionary of 288 English Emigrants - Pub. Co. 1957 - stated on pg. 42 "Valentine arrived in NY State in 1620." "

    "Greer, Geo Cabell's Early Virginia Immigrants 1623-1666 - reprint Baltimore Genealogical Pub. Co. 1960, pg. 266, "Valentine arrived in Virginia in 1654." "

In following up on her letter, we found a bit more information on Valentine Prentice in VA from a treatise published in 1984 by the Roots Research Bureau, NY, NY. The pertinent portion reads:

    "It is interesting to note that one "Val.", evidently Valentine, Prentice came from England to Westmoreland County, VA, in 1654. But nothing is definitely known of his immediate family or descendants, if any."

The source is not given alongside the quotation, but at the end of the document is a bibliography which references:

  • 1. Virginia Immigrants by Greer, 1912.
  • 2. Colonial Families of the US, V. 8, 1920. by Mackenzie.
  • 3. William and Mary Quarterly. 1897-1898 and 1898-1899.
  • 4. VA Magazine of History and Biography. V. 32, 1924.
  • 5. Encycl. of VA Biography, v. 1, 1915.

So, take your choice. Valentine Prentice either:

    l. came from the Netherlands to trade fur about 1611-14 and went to Boston after the Mayflower arrived in 1620, or

    2. arrived in NY State in 1620, or

    3. arrived in Boston aboard the Lyon in 1631, or

    4. arrived in Virginia in 1654.

We can, however, arrive at some tentative conclusions:

    1. We know #3 is true and that #4 cannot possibly the person in #3 because he died in 1633.

    2. We also know that #1 quite probably is not #3 because #3 was only age 12 in 1611 and age 15 in 1614. That's pretty young to be accompanying a fur trading expedition.

    3. It might also be that that the Valentine in the Netherlands did not thereafter go to "Plymouth" and the writer of the notes merely assumed he was the same person. In fact the only early known Valentine Prentice in MA came aboard the ship "Lyon", settled initially in Boston (not Plymouth) for a very short time, then moved to Roxbury, MA where he died a year later in 1632.

Now for some speculation:

    1. If the 1611-14 fur trader story is true, it could be the father of #3 because his name, too, is VALENTINE and we have no record of him after the 1605 birth of his son, FRANCIS, in 1605 at Felsted, Essex Co., England.

    According to an article on on pg. W10 of the Friday, 19 Nov 1999 WALL STREET JOURNAL about Museums, the Dutch West India Company did settle 30 families in the New Netherlands in 1624, most of them at Fort Orange (present day Albany), which was the company's headquarters for the fur trade. But war with the Indians the following year forced the Dutch to seek a place mor secure from attack--hence the founding of New Amsterdam at the southern tip of Manhatten. And if the Dutch sent 30 families in 1624, it is highly likely there were earlier fur trading expeditions which satisfied them that a permanent settlement was feasible.

    It is also true that a great many Englishmen had settled in Holland years earlier (for example, the Pilgrams in the years prior to 1620) and undoubtedly established commercial contacts with Dutch companies. It is conceivable that a Prentice could have accompanied earlier fur trading expeditions.

    2. If the "arrived in NY in 1620" story is true, it could be the father, VALENTINE, for the reasons given above. It could also be the son, VALENTINE, since we have no record of activities between his 1599 birth and his 1626 marriage.

    3. It is unclear who the VALENTINE is who "arrived in Virginia in 1654" might be. The earliest known descendant of the 1599 VALENTINE bearing that same name was not born until about 1683; he was the son of JOHN PRENTICE and ESTHER NICHOLS (Binney96, pg. 417). It almost surely is not VALENTINE'S father because he was born about 1561 and would have been age 93 in 1654.

We need to check the books cited by Natalie Prentice to see what the actually do say, and whether they contain any source references. (See Footnote 1)


    Footnote 1: By E-mail of 2 Oct 1999, Tom Young offered some additional information and observations. They are as follows:

    I was grazing past issues of your newsletter and became interested in the [Winter 1997 article] on "Valentine Prentice, Trapper?" I was mostly interested in the fellow known to have been in VA, as our local library has some very good resources (not good enough, it turns out). I'm not sure, if anyone has followed up on this, so here goes:

    I looked at the references numbered 1-5 in your article and discovered the following:

    • * 2. Colonial Families of the US, V. 8, 1920. by Mackenzie. V8 is unknown to our history and genealogy librarian (who's judgement I trust) and that only 7 volumes have been published (and reprinted 2 times). I scanned all 7 volumes and found several Prentice (all spellings) references, but nothing on Valentine.

    • * 3. William and Mary Quarterly. 1897-1898 and 1898-1899.

    • * 4. VA Magazine of History and Biography. V. 32, 1924.

    • * 5. Encycl. of VA Biography, v. 1, 1915.

    Each of these contains several Prentice (all spellings) references, but nothing on Valentine.

    • * 1. Virginia Immigrants by Greer, 1912. This is the one that refers to Valentine's immigration to VA in 1654. It is a book of immigrants mentioned in early VA land patents. The line in question reads:
        Prentice, Val., 1654 by Major Miles Carey, Westmoreland Co

      I take it that the Major paid for the passage and then received a grant of land for his efforts. I think it's called a headright patent. The payer received 50A (I think) for each immigrant (head) he brought to the colony.

      I'm certain there was no family relationship between the parties involved. I suspect the rules on this changed from time to time, so you might want to check into my claim.

    I can report several things of interest:

    • Miles Carey doesn't seem to appear in the records of Westmoreland Co. I did notice a Miles Chafy. It may or may not be the same man.

    • The speculation that Val. is Valentine is correct. He appears in the records of Westmoreland Co as witness to a deed written 8 Dec 1668, recorded 30 Dec 1668. Another deed written 27 Jul 1674, recorded 28 Oct 1674 is witnessed by Blanche Prentice. Both parcels were in Cople Parrish, Westmoreland Co and were sold by an owner on Harris Creek, Elizabeth City.

    • I didn't note the parties involved, but saw no evidence the either Valentine or Blanche were related to them. Perhaps they were close neighbors, but the buyer or the seller, I can't say. I'll be back downtown on Monday night and will get the particulars, if you like.

This information suggests several things:

  • Was Blanche the wife of Valentine? Probably. She is involved with the same folks in the same area.

  • Did Valentine die between 1668 and 1674? Maybe. She may have been his widow, or he may have been still living, but unavailable to witness the second deed. I checked an index book of all VA wills, but found no reference to him. Perhaps, he died intestate. Our published books on the records of Westmoreland Co are somewhat spotty. I have no available deeds and order books for that time period. That's where information on his estate would appear.

  • Did Valentine come to America alone? Probably. There are females listed in the Greer book, indicating that their sponsor was intitled to a grant of land for transporting both males & females. If she were his wife, she would have been listed. It is possible they came together, but unmarried. The book is too lengthy to scan for all females named Blanche. I have no access to marrige records of Westmoreland Co.

  • What became of him? I haven't a clue. I searched the counties around Westmoreland with no success. The most likely place to look is the Westmoreland Co deed and court order books for the period 1668 forward.

  • Who are his ancestors? I don't know, but he is most certainly descended from the same clan as our Valentine. As he seems to have been unamrried as of 1654 & may have d. between 1668/1674, I would suggest a birth of c1620.

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.

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