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Grace Dutch (Pratt)

Also Known As: "Goody"
Birthdate: (87)
Birthplace: Bridport, Dorset, England
Death: October 10, 1694 (87)
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Bennett Pratt; Bennett Pratt; Ann Pratt and Anne Pratt
Wife of Osmund Dutch and Osmond Dutch
Mother of Grace Hodgkins; Susanna Dutch; William Dutch; Alice Meacham; Esther Elwell, Accused Witch and 5 others
Sister of William Pratt; Bennett Pratt; Mary Pratt; Susanna Pratt and John Pratt

Occupation: Midwife
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Grace Dutch

Grace Pratt

  • Birth: Oct 1607 - Bridport, Dorset, England
  • Parents: Bennett Pratt, Ann Primrose
  • Married: about March 20, 1629 of Bridport, Dorset, England to Osmond Dutch
  • Death: Oct 10 1694 - Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts

Grace Dutch, being a midwife, often gave court testimony. She was forty-two years old in 1658 and 'about fifty" in both 1660 and 1664. In 1653, for saying that Goody Dutch was suspected of witchcraft, Edmund Marchall was forced to make acknowledgement of his sin of defamation in the meeting-houses of Gloucester, Ipswich, and Salem. Forty years later, Grace would have been in deadly danger.

Children born at Bridport, Dorset, England

  1. Grace, b. Bef 6 Dec 1629, Bridport, , Dorset, England ,   d. Bef 1632, Bridport, , Dorset, England. Died young.
  2. William, b. 1631 d. Abt 9 Feb 1632, Bridport, , Dorset, England. Died young.
  3. Grace (again)   b. 1633,   d. 16 Jun 1703. Married William Hodgkins.
  4. Susanna b. 1633, d. Abt 11 Nov 1633, Bridport, , Dorset, England. Died young.
  5. William  b. Abt 21 Sep 1635 d. Abt 16 Jul 1636, Bridport, , Dorset, England. Died young.

Children born at Newport Rhode Island (?) / Gloucester, Essex, MA

  1. Alice b. Abt 1637, d. Bef 4 May 1704, Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Married 1) John Newman 2) John Dane 3) Jeremiah Newman

Children born at Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts

  1. Esther,   b. Abt 1639,   d. 6 Sep 1721, Gloucester, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Married Samuel Elwell.
  2. Samuel,   b. Abt 1645,   d. Jul 1693. Married Susannah More.
  3. Hezekiah,   b. 29 Mar 1647   d. Bef 1730.
  4. Mary,   b. 22 Oct 1652 d. 25 Mar 1680, Gloucester, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Married Joseph Elwell.
  • **********************************

The following is from the Shiels reference:

"Probably the daughter of Bennett Pratt who married Ann Primrose on 12 May 1601, based on Bridport records."

IF Osmund went to New England in 1630, his wife and children arriving eight years later. Who fathered the children born between 1630-1638? He was a mariner, so were the children conceived during trips home?

"When Osmund died, Grace was left very poor and sick. She petitioned the court to sell her land to maintain her in her old age.

"The Humble Petition of the Poore distressed widdow Grace Duch of the towns of Gloucester to the honoured Generall Courte now setting at Boston this 21st July 1685."

Grace lived for 10 years following her husband's death, with her daughter Esther and son-in-law Samuel Elwell.

  • **************************************
  1. Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004. Page 236. 1/wf Margaret Haywell, 2/wf Grace Pratt (doc attached)
  2. Source Bibliography: POPE, CHARLES HENRY. The Pioneers of Massachusetts, A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns and Churches, and other Contemporaneous Documents. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1998. 550p. Page 147. " Sold property at Bridport, 18 (5) 1639, and arranged for the coming of his wife Grace and son Robert ... " (doc attached)


The Gloucester Daily Times article: (no date) By Grace Schrafft Special to the Times

     When it seemed in 1642 that there were enough settlers to incorporate Gloucester as a town, the First Parish Church was also organized underits first pastor, the Reverend Richard Blynman, an enterprising Welsh Puritan. 
     Perhaps a better businessman than a spiritual leader, he constructed the canal that still bears his name, allowing fishing boats to 'cut' through the town, rather than having to rcumnavigate Cape Ann. Within two years, there was dissension within the Rev. Blynman's Gloucester flock. 
     In 1664, a William Stevens was chosen to represent Gloucester in the colonial legislature.But the elders of Blynman's church, over some 'private differences' decided to replace him with a Mr. Brown.Stevens appealed to the legislature, which returned him to his seat. 
     The Rev. Blynman lost that round with Stevens, and although he won the next one against John Stone, it did not bode well for his ministry that Stone was "scandalizing Mr. Blinman, charging him with a false interpretation of Scripture, as also saying that if an angel from heaven should preach the same he would not believe it, and that there were others of his mind." It wasn't long before others of Stone's mind openly challenged Mr. Blynman's pastoral abilities, and some ceased attending services altogether. 
     The pastor fared worse in September 1649, when he was called to court by Anthony Day for having torn up a writ that Day had taken out against William Vinson (or Vincent).Mr. Blynman's defense was that he did it, not "out of any contempt of authority, but only to stop the proceeding that the matter might be privately healed."Blynman was let off with an admonition "to beware of the like rash carridge for time to come." 
     In 1652, with some who remained of his followers, the disheartened Blynman abandoned the inhospitable and ungodly people of Cape Ann and resettled in New London, Conn. After Blynman's departure a small group of seafarers undertook to develop the fishery he had earlier tried to stimulate.According to Christine Heyrman, the moral fiber of one of that group, fisherman 

John Jackson, typified them all: "Within the space of two years, (Jackson) was presented to the county court for debt, for obscene language, and for the attempted rape of his servant maid; perhaps because neighbors suspected his wife of witchcraft, he sued two of them for slander.Throughout the '50s and early '60s, other shoremen and fishermen figured conspicuously in civil cases of debt and defamation and in criminal cases of assault, drunkenness, and husbands living apart from their wives."

     When, not surprisingly, no willing replacement for the Rev. Blynman stepped forward, William Perkins of Weymouth, a teaching elder, was induced to resettle in Gloucester "to become the spiritual guide of the little band of worshippers then living here." But Mr. Perkins could endure no more than five years of ill treatment at the hands of his 'little band' and pulled up stakes once again, this time settling in Topsfield.After unloading his Gloucester lands and ministry into the hands of Thomas Millett, his successor, a disgruntled worshipper said of Perkins that his "sermons were soe dead he was fitter to be a lady's chamberman than to be in a pulpit." 
     Mr. Perkins ended up suing and winning a defamation suit in 1653, after one of his detractors accused his wife and three other women of the church of witchcraft.The three women, all defenders of Mr. Perkins, also won slander suits against the accuser. Their names were Agnes Evans, wife of William; Grace Dutch, wife of Osman; and Sarah, wife of William Vinson, the same man Mr. Blynman had unsuccessfully tried to 'heal' of debt by ripping up the complaint against him. 
     In the further annals of Gloucester, the name of Agnes Evans does not reappear.As soon as her reputation was restored, her family removed to Topsfield and joined the Perkinses.Of the only two women accused of witchcraft who remained in Gloucester, their innocence would become 

even more apparent over time.For if they had possessed powers to peer into the future, Sarah Vinson and Grace Dutch would have implored their husbands, for their sake and the sake of their children, to forsake Cape Ann forever.

     Mr. Millet, Perkins' sorry successor, sought refuge in Portsmouth after only two years of Congregational harassment.Of him, a detractor grunted, "Mr. Blinman was naught and Perkins was starke naught and Millet was worse than Perkins." On Millet's departure, William Stevens failed to garner enough support to be elected teaching elder of the church.It may be inferred that the former supporters of Blynman, Perkins and Millet preferred a shepherdless flock over Stevens. 
     By the time the Rev. John Emerson, a Congregationalist, arrived on Cape Ann in 1663, it could be said that Gloucester had gone to hell in a bucket. 
     In 1656, John Rowe, having lent his support first to Mr. Blynman, then to Perkins and finally to Millet, expressed exasperation with his townsmen in speech so unbecoming a Puritan, he was fined for it: "...if his wife was of his mind, he would set his house afire and run away by the light and the Devil should take the farm, and that he would live no longer among such a company of hell-hounds." Though Goodman Rowe paid his fine, he was not forgiven.Had his wife, Bridget, possessed the psychic abilities attributed to witches, she would have gladly allowed her husband to give the farm over to the devil, and with their sons, John and Hugh, be gone from Gloucester 


     On Nov. 5, 1692, in what appears to be a rekindling of a 40-year-old feud involving the families of the proponents of Gloucester's unsuccessful pre-Emerson church leaders - Blynman, Perkins and Millet - four Cape Ann women were indicted together. They were Rebecca (Dolliver) Dike, wife of Richard Dike; Esther (Dutch) Elwell, wife of Samuel Elwell; Mary (Prince) Rowe, wife of 

Hugh Rowe; their daughter Abigail Rowe; and Rachel Vinson, the widow of William Vinson.

     By the time of their arrest, Margaret Prince, Mary's mother and Abigail's grandmother, and step-in-law to Rachel Vinson, had been moldering for two months inside the Ipswich jail. They were accused by William Stevens, his son James Stevens, and son-in-law Nathaniel Coyt of having 'committed Sundry acts of witchcraft' on the body of Mary Fitch of Gloucester, age 16. 
     According to the Salem Witchcraft Papers, "James Stevens testifieth and saith that Mary Fitch did say that she felt A woman upon the bed, and put forth hir hand, and felt the hand and felt the hair of hir head and A peg in it, also testifieth that she said she was squesed to pieces, whereas I saw no body hurt hur."It will be remembered that Mary Rowe's father-in-law, John, was the man who consigned Gloucester to the devil four decades earlier, in a tirade aimed at his fellow townsmen for the ill comportment during the ministries of Blynman and his successors. 
     It was during that time that William Stevens had, in the late 1650s, coveted the church eldership for himself, but was frustrated by John Rowe and others.Some of those others were Sarah Vinson and Grace Dutch, both of whom had been cleared in 1653 of witchcraft accusations prompted by their support for Blynman and Perkins.Esther Elwell, presently accused, was the daughter of Grace Dutch, and Rachel Vinson became William Vinson's wife after Sarah Vinson's death. 
     It seemed that revenge was taken most ruthlessly of all on William Vinson and John Rowe - both long dead by 1692 - Rowe for his utterances against his fellow townsmen in 1653, and Vinson because the Rev. Blynman had tried to protect him from the embarrassment of legal 

proceedings back in 1649.

     Not only was Hugh Rowe sorely hurt by the arrest of his wife and daughter, but further damaged in light of the fact that his deceased first wife was William Vinson's daughter. Winter was coming in when Abigail Rowe was separated from her mother and grandmother and jailed in Salem, while her mother Mary and Goodwives Dike, Elwell, and Vinson were remanded to Ipswich, there to 

be sorrowfully greeted by their Gloucester neighbors and kin.

     What transpired between Goodwife Rowe and her aging mother, Margaret Prince, the sharpness of her tongue probably dulled by long months of imprisonment, can only be imagined.Some of their words, however, were put to paper, in a December plea that should have softened the 

hearts of their cruelest judges:"To the Hon. Gov. and Council and Gen. Assembly now sitting at Boston: The humble petition of us whose names are subscribed hereunto now prisoners at Ipswich humbly showeth, that some of us have lain in the prison many mos., and some of us many weeks, who are charged with witchcraft, and not being conscious to ourselves of any guilt of that nature lying upon our consciences; our earnest request is that seeing that winter is so far come on that it cannot be expected that we should be tryed during this winter season, that we maybe released out of prison for the present upon bail to answer what we are charged with in the spring.For we are not in thus unwilling nor afraid to abide the trial before any judicature appointed in convenient season of any crime of that nature; we hope you will put on the bowells of compassion so far as to consider of our suffering condition in the present state we are in, being like to perish with cold in lying longer in this cold season of the year, some of us being aged either about or nere 4 score, some though younger yet being with child, and one giving such to a child not 10 weeks old yet, and all of us weak and infirm at the best, and one fettered with irons this halfe year and almost destroyed with so long an imprisonment.Thus hoping you will grant us a release at the present that we be not left to perish in this miserable condition, we shall always pray." (Source: Linda Faye Johnson (Tucker), the 9th Great Granddaughter of Robert Elwell )

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Grace Dutch's Timeline

October 1607
Bridport, Dorset, England
April 7, 1618
Age 10
Hitcham, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
Age 23
Age 23
Age 24
Bridport, Dorset, England, United Kingdom
May 19, 1633
Age 25
Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
September 21, 1635
Age 27
Bridport, Dorset, England, United Kingdom
Age 29