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Abial Fuller of Shaftsbury, VT

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Abial Fuller of Shaftsbury, VT
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 1997 and revised 11 Dec 2005
(This is a reprint from our Spring '95 Issue.)

Is she James Prentice's wife?

We can shed some light on the long-standing mystery as to the identity of Miss Fuller, wife of James Prentice, of Shaftsbury, VT, a descendant of Valentine Prentice.

JAMES PRENTICE and his wife were married about 1782, but no record has yet been found of their marriage, nor has any original record been found giving her first name and the identity of her parents.

For a number of reasons, attention has been focused on the daughters of ELIJAH FULLER who owned property abutting that of JAMES PRENTICE. Until now, some of us, who have been working on the problem, have thought that his daughter, CHLOE, may be JAMES' wife since she was thought to be the only daughter whose marriage has not yet been discovered.

Some years ago attention had been focused on CHLOE'S sibling, ABIAL, on the theory that there may have been an error in recording the female name, ABIGAIL. That possibility was not pursued because it was discovered that the CT Barbour Index identified ABIAL as a male.

A recent discovery by Stephen Simon of Windsor, CT has again focused attention on ABIAL; he checked the original records on the family in Coventry, CT where ELIJAH FULLER lived. He discovered that The original record refers to ABIAL FULLER, "daughter" of ELIJAH FULLER. The Barbour Index, convenient tool that is, turned out to have been wrong.

From Stephen Simon's information, some new and interesting tentative conclusions can be drawn:

  • ABIAL may, or may not, have been the true original name because of the possibility that the person intended to write ABIGAL, a then-common spelling for ABIGAIL.
  • Sharply limiting that possibility, however, is the fact that ABIAL was a name then in use. It seems unlikely that the writer of the original record, upon hearing the name ABIGAL, would have written ABIAL. It also seems unlikely that it is simply a misspelling of ABIGAL.
  • On balance, it seems likely that the writer of the original record wrote exactly what he intended to write: ABIAL.
  • Even assuming an error in the spelling of the name, it is unlikely that the original record would also have been in error as to the sex of the child. It was probably entered at the time of the baptism when the parents and child were there in his presence.
  • ABIAL seems to be one of those names that can be given to both sons and daughters; Stephen has provided us with copies of published genealogies showing females of that name marrying persons with an obviously male name.

The CHASE family Bible, a secondary source, says JAMES' wife was ABIGAIL. We also know, however, that it was not an original record, but was written almost a hundred years after her death, obviously copying some other unknown source.

Some researchers have discounted the Bible entry because no confirming evidence could be found. However, it has always been a little difficult to disregard the ABIGAIL entry since the rest of the birth, marriage and death information seemed to be correct.

Now we have a sister for CHLOE with a name, ABIAL, which comes much, much closer to the ABIGAIL mentioned in the CHASE family Bible. Since the Bible entry is only a copy of someone's handwriting of an earlier unknown date, and with the discovery of ELIJAH FULLER'S daughter, ABIAL, a new possibility emerges. It may be that the original handwritten name for JAMES' wife was ABIAL, and that either:

  1. the writer of the Bible entry was unfamiliar with the name, ABIAL, and thought it was a misspelling of ABIGAIL, so the writer wrote it down as ABIGAIL, or
  2. the name was so illegibly written that the reader erroneously read it as ABIGAIL and, so, wrote it down as ABIGAIL. This would seem like the more likely possibility.

If you have any information which can help us identify any of the folks mentioned above, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com..

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Edwin Dierdorff
2023-04-05 17:22:04
Please see SAR PRS records regarding Patriot James Prentice m Abigail Fuller. Patriot James Prentice m. Abigail Fuller Display Patriot - P-273343 - James PRENTICE/PRENTISS (sar.org) Patriot Elijah Fuller m. Mary Millington (Green Mountain Boy) Display Patriot - P-163877 - Elijah FULLER (sar.org)
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