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John Sprague

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Duxbury, Plymouth , Massachusetts
Death: Died in Pawtucket, Providence , Rhode Island
Cause of death: Killed in action, Pierce's Fight
Place of Burial: Forest Dale Cemetery, Malden, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Francis Sprague, of Duxbury and Lydia Sprague
Husband of Ruth Sprague
Father of Elizabeth Sampson; Lt. John Sprague; William Sprague; Ruth Smith; Desire Sprague and 2 others
Brother of Ann Lawrence; Mercy Tubbs and Dorcas Earle

Occupation: killed in swamp fight of king phillips war
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Sprague

Notes for JOHN SPRAGUE:

The book, "Saints and Strangers", by George Willison says of John: "(He) was a spark of the old flint, it appears, and spent hours in the stocks for highly misdemeaning himself in the house of James Cole of Plymouth, near unto or on the evening before the Sabbath Day, in drinking, gameing, and uncivil revelling, to the dishonor of God and the offense of this government, by his gameing and bringing of his mare uncivilly into the parlour of James Cole aforesaid."

An article in the "American Genealogist", vo. 41-3, by Maclean W. McLean of Pittsburgh, PA, continues to quote the record of John Sprague's offense: "for which midedmeanors hee was sentence to sitt in the stockes, two houres which accordingly was performed; and for his being there the greatest part of the afternoon unto the evening, hee (was fined) 5s."

The book, "One Bassett Family in America", by Buell Burdett Bassette says that John & Ruth lived in Marshfield, MA. On June 8, 1655, they were both presented to Court (The reason is not given.).

McLean's article asserts that Winston Churchill can be counted among the descendants of John Sprague.  McLean gives further information about John Sprague:  A Plymouth Colony deed, dated 27 April 1661, from Francis Sprague to his son John says:  "my dwelling house at Duxbury", but with the provision that John was "not to enter into possession thereof until after the decease" of the father.  In another deed, dated 3 May 1664, John Sprague was granted also his father's land at Namskakett (Middlebourgh).  John succeeded his father in the business of keeping the tavern in 1669.  John served on a coroner's jury 8 June 1673. 

According to the Sprague genealogy, John was a Counsellor of Sir Edmiund Andros. John lost his life in Pierce's fierce fight at Pawtucket in King Philip's War. His estate was appraised in 1675, and was sworn to by his widow Ruth.

Links

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Slain in Pierces Fight at Pawtucket in King Philips War. Lived at marshfield for a while. Counsellor of Sir. Edmund Andros.

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From the Sprague Project Database.

"Sprague Families in America", by Dr. Warren Vincent Sprague, page 11.

John Sprague and Ruth Bassett Sprague resided for a time in Marshfield, as the birth of their daughter Ruth is recorded there. This John, more likely than John of William, was a Counsellor of Sir Edmund Andros. He was slain in Pierce's fierce fight at Pawtucket in Philip's war, March 26, 1676. His estate was appraised in 1676 and was sworn to by the widow Ruth Sprague. She afterwards married ______ Thomas.

Ancestral File) (AFN:PT8M-HG; Spouse: Ruth Bassett (AFN:PT8M-JM); Born: [1643].

From George Sawyer.

John of Duxbury succeeded to his father's business in 1669.

"One Bassett Family in America", by Buell Bursett Bassett, page 10.

Ruth (Bassett) and John Sprague, Sr. lived in Marshfield. On June 8, 1655, they were both presented to Court. John was killed in the "Swamp Fight", King Philip's War.

"The American Genealogist", Volume 1965, page 178.

Extensive article on John Sprague.

From Keith Kingman.

John and Ruth (Bassett) Sprague first lived in Duxbury. Then before 1649, they moved to Marshfield, MA (north of Plymouth) where their third child, Ruth, was born. They then moved back to Duxbury where in 1670, John succeeded to his father's business of running an "Ordinary" (tavern).

From Sue Bates, correspondent.

The son of Francis and Anne Sprague, John Sprague was born about 1637, probably in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 1655 he married Ruth Basset whose father, William Basset (born about 1590 in England) had arrived in America in 1621 aboard the ship FORTUNE (Thomas Barton, Master).

John Sprague and his wife Ruth Basset lived in Marshfield, Massachusetts for a number of years before settling at Duxbury around 1668. Shortly after their arrival in Duxbury, he became co-proprietor of his father's tavern in Duxbury and remained such until his death.

John Sprague apparently inherited his father's ardent temperament. Described as a "...spark off the old flint", he is known to have spent several hours in the stocks on at least one occasion for "...highly misdemeaning himself in the house of James Cole of Plymouth near unto or on the evening before the Sabbath Day, in drinking, gaming and uncivil reveling, to the dishonor of God and the offense of the government, by his gaming and the bringing of his mare uncivily into the parlor of James Cole, aforesaid."

It is believed that he was the John Sprague who was a counselor to Sir Edmund Andros, rather than the John Sprague who was the son of William Sprague.

John Sprague was killed in the massacre of Captain Michael Pierce's Company of English Militia during the King Philip's War when, on 26 March 1676, that company of 65 men (supplemented by about 20 friendly Indians) engaged a superior force of hostiles near the Pawtucket River in Rhode Island, about 5 miles north of Providence.

According to Douglas Edward Leach in his history of that war entitled FLINTLOCK AND TOMAHAWK - NEW ENGLAND IN THE KING PHILIP'S WAR, Captain Pierce, having determined that there was a band of hostile Indians located near the Pawtucket River, had prepared his men for battle and had sent a messenger into the nearby town of Providence requesting reinforcements before attacking.

For some reason this messenger, arriving at the time of public worship, chose to wait until after the service had concluded before delivering Captain Pierce's request. When the situation was made known, Captain Andrew Edmunds of the Providence Militia immediately set out with a group of armed men in order to join forces with Pierce's company.

Meanwhile, the Plymouth Militia group had unwittingly engaged and become surrounded by an extremely large force of hostile Narrangansett Indians and were overwhelmed. By the time Edmunds and his men arrived, it was too late.

The fact that some 42 of the 55 colonists killed that day were buried at the site of the battle, including that of John Sprague of Duxbury, indicates that there were some survivors, or it may indicate that there were bodies which may not have been recovered.

From Joe, a correspondent, note of June 9th, 2006

In your profile of John Sprague, Sr., you state that Sprague died on March 26, 1676 in the "Swamp Fight" of King Philip's War. Then you go on to describe action associated with the battle known as "Pierce's Fight."

The "Swamp Fight" and "Pierce's Fight" were two related however separate incidents. The former occurred on December 19, 1675 in a swamp of Kingston, Rhode Island, while the latter was on March 26, 1676, on the banks of the Blackstone River in what is now Central Falls, Rhode Island.

I am presently writing an longish article about Pierce's Fight.

From Mary Longstreth, correspondent, note of July 1st, 2008 quoting from prior correspondence.

NOTE: The following is not proven to be in anyway connected with this Sprague family member:

Mary Longstreth on 6/27/2008: I am looking for confirmation of which Captain Sprague was responsible for the transport of Native Americans prisoners from King Phillip's War as slaves.

Response from Dick Weber dated June 30, 2008: As to your question on "Capt. Sprague" I'm afraid I do not know. There were seven Spragues for whom I have a record of participation in King Philip's War. Only one of them in my records had a title of Capt. I've attached a report on Capt. John Sprague and as you will see it shows evidence of his service but no indication of any role with transporting prisoners.

Mary's response dated July 1, 2008: You may want to read the book, "Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick. This is where I found the reference.

Dick's response dated July 1, 2008: As the participation in the Sprague Project increases each year I'm more and more dependent on others to share the results of their research for inclusion in the Sprague family history. If there is any short quote you can provide from "Mayflower" please do so.

I find it interesting that the Spragues would show up in a book on Mayflower descendants since there were not Spragues on the Mayflower. They did of course within a couple generation start marrying descendants

of the Mayflower immigrants.

Mary's response dated July 1st, 2008: From the Epilogue, Page 345:

"As early as the fall of 1675, they had begun to sail from the coast of New England: the slave ships. It began in September when a Captain Sprague departed from Plymouth with 78 Indians. By July of 1676, Plymouth had formalized the process of removing potentially dangerous Native men and boys.......The English were not so sure what to do with Phillip's 9 year old son.....In the end, Phillip's son, like his mother before him was shipped off as a slave."The premise is that the action of shipping the Native Americans as slaves initiated slavery in America.

The book does not maintain that Spragues were on the Mayflower. It's a very interesting discourse on King Phillip's War and the relationship between Atherton and Church

--------------------

Died in Pawtucket, Rhode Island while fighting in King Phillip's war. --------------------

Links

-------------------- from The Sprague Project [http://sprague-database.org/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I115908&tree=SpragueProject]

"Sprague Families in America", by Dr. Warren Vincent Sprague, page 11.

John Sprague and Ruth Bassett Sprague resided for a time in Marshfield, as the birth of their daughter Ruth is recorded there. This John, more likely than John of William, was a Counsellor of Sir Edmund Andros. He was slain in Pierce's fierce fight at Pawtucket in Philip's war, March 26, 1676. His estate was appraised in 1676 and was sworn to by the widow Ruth Sprague. She afterwards married ______ Thomas. Ancestral File) (AFN:PT8M-HG; Spouse: Ruth Bassett (AFN:PT8M-JM); Born: [1643].

From George Sawyer.

John of Duxbury succeeded to his father's business in 1669.

"One Bassett Family in America", by Buell Bursett Bassett, page 10.

Ruth (Bassett) and John Sprague, Sr. lived in Marshfield. On June 8, 1655, they were both presented to Court. John was killed in the "Swamp Fight", King Philip's War.

"The American Genealogist", Volume 1965, page 178. Extensive article on John Sprague.

From Keith Kingman.

John and Ruth (Bassett) Sprague first lived in Duxbury. Then before 1649, they moved to Marshfield, MA (north of Plymouth) where their third child, Ruth, was born. They then moved back to Duxbury where in 1670, John succeeded to his father's business of running an "Ordinary" (tavern).

From Sue Bates, correspondent.

The son of Francis and Anne Sprague, John Sprague was born about 1637, probably in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 1655 he married Ruth Basset whose father, William Basset (born about 1590 in England) had arrived in America in 1621 aboard the ship FORTUNE (Thomas Barton, Master).

John Sprague and his wife Ruth Basset lived in Marshfield, Massachusetts for a number of years before settling at Duxbury around 1668. Shortly after their arrival in Duxbury, he became co-proprietor of his father's tavern in Duxbury and remained such until his death.

John Sprague apparently inherited his father's ardent temperament. Described as a "...spark off the old flint", he is known to have spent several hours in the stocks on at least one occasion for "...highly misdemeaning himself in the house of James Cole of Plymouth near unto or on the evening before the Sabbath Day, in drinking, gaming and uncivil reveling, to the dishonor of God and the offense of the government, by his gaming and the bringing of his mare uncivily into the parlor of James Cole, aforesaid."

It is believed that he was the John Sprague who was a counselor to Sir Edmund Andros, rather than the John Sprague who was the son of William Sprague.

John Sprague was killed in the massacre of Captain Michael Pierce's Company of English Militia during the King Philip's War when, on 26 March 1676, that company of 65 men (supplemented by about 20 friendly Indians) engaged a superior force of hostiles near the Pawtucket River in Rhode Island, about 5 miles north of Providence.

According to Douglas Edward Leach in his history of that war entitled FLINTLOCK AND TOMAHAWK - NEW ENGLAND IN THE KING PHILIP'S WAR, Captain Pierce, having determined that there was a band of hostile Indians located near the Pawtucket River, had prepared his men for battle and had sent a messenger into the nearby town of Providence requesting reinforcements before attacking.

For some reason this messenger, arriving at the time of public worship, chose to wait until after the service had concluded before delivering Captain Pierce's request. When the situation was made known, Captain Andrew Edmunds of the Providence Militia immediately set out with a group of armed men in order to join forces with Pierce's company.

Meanwhile, the Plymouth Militia group had unwittingly engaged and become surrounded by an extremely large force of hostile Narrangansett Indians and were overwhelmed. By the time Edmunds and his men arrived, it was too late.

The fact that some 42 of the 55 colonists killed that day were buried at the site of the battle, including that of John Sprague of Duxbury, indicates that there were some survivors, or it may indicate that there were bodies which may not have been recovered.

From Joe, a correspondent, note of June 9th, 2006

In your profile of John Sprague, Sr., you state that Sprague died on March 26, 1676 in the "Swamp Fight" of King Philip's War. Then you go on to describe action associated with the battle known as "Pierce's Fight."

The "Swamp Fight" and "Pierce's Fight" were two related however separate incidents. The former occurred on December 19, 1675 in a swamp of Kingston, Rhode Island, while the latter was on March 26, 1676, on the banks of the Blackstone River in what is now Central Falls, Rhode Island.

I am presently writing an longish article about Pierce's Fight.

From Mary Longstreth, correspondent, note of July 1st, 2008 quoting from prior correspondence.

NOTE: The following is not proven to be in anyway connected with this Sprague family member:

Mary Longstreth on 6/27/2008: I am looking for confirmation of which Captain Sprague was responsible for the transport of Native Americans prisoners from King Phillip's War as slaves.

Response from Dick Weber dated June 30, 2008: As to your question on "Capt. Sprague" I'm afraid I do not know. There were seven Spragues for whom I have a record of participation in King Philip's War. Only one of them in my records had a title of Capt. I've attached a report on Capt. John Sprague and as you will see it shows evidence of his service but no indication of any role with transporting prisoners.

Mary's response dated July 1, 2008: You may want to read the book, "Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick. This is where I found the reference.

Dick's response dated July 1, 2008: As the participation in the Sprague Project increases each year I'm more and more dependent on others to share the results of their research for inclusion in the Sprague family history. If there is any short quote you can provide from "Mayflower" please do so.

I find it interesting that the Spragues would show up in a book on Mayflower descendants since there were not Spragues on the Mayflower. They did of course within a couple generation start marrying descendants of the Mayflower immigrants.

Mary's response dated July 1st, 2008: From the Epilogue, Page 345:

"As early as the fall of 1675, they had begun to sail from the coast of New England: the slave ships. It began in September when a Captain Sprague departed from Plymouth with 78 Indians. By July of 1676, Plymouth had formalized the process of removing potentially dangerous Native men and boys.......The English were not so sure what to do with Phillip's 9 year old son.....In the end, Phillip's son, like his mother before him was shipped off as a slave."The premise is that the action of shipping the Native Americans as slaves initiated slavery in America.

The book does not maintain that Spragues were on the Mayflower. It's a very interesting discourse on King Phillip's War and the relationship between Atherton and Church

From Michele Doty, correspondent, note of December 23, 2011

Because the Great Swamp Fight occurred on December 19 1675 and John Sprague, Sr. was killed Mar 26, 1676, the date of Pierce's "Nine Men Misery", I suggest that John may have been among the dead in Cumberland, RI with Michael Pierce instead of the site of the Great Swamp Fight in West Kingston, RI. [7]

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John Sprague's Timeline

1633
March 26, 1633
Duxbury, Plymouth , Massachusetts
1655
1655
Age 21
Duxbury, MA
1656
1656
Age 22
Duxbury, Plymouth, MA, USA
1657
1657
Age 23
Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts
1658
1658
Age 24
Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
1659
February 12, 1659
Age 25
Duxbury, Plymouth, Mass., United States
1665
1665
Age 31
Duxbury,Plymouth,Massachusetts
1666
1666
Age 32
1672
March 8, 1672
Age 38
Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
1676
March 26, 1676
Age 43
Pawtucket, Providence , Rhode Island