First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]

Joanna BOYSE

Female 1616 - Aft 1681  (> 65 years)

Personal Information    |    PDF

  • Name Joanna BOYSE 
    Born 1616 
    Gender Female 
    Immigration 1636 
    Will 8 Nov 1681  Stamford, Fairfield County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died Aft 8 Nov 1681  Stamford, Fairfield County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location 

    • (1) Prudden, Lillian E., Peter Prudden, New Haven, CT: The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., 1901, pp. 16-18, 34-35, 54-61:

      The date and place of Peter Prudden' s marriage [to Joanna Boyse] are unknown, and it may have been one of the events of those winter months. Mr. Savage affirms that his marriage occurred at Edgton, Yorkshire, a hamlet reached by a pleasant walk of two miles through the fields from Kirby Moorside. This conclusion, for which there are no proofs, was probably based on the fact that the descendants of Peter Prudden and Joanna Boyse held inherited property at Edgton for more than one hundred and fifty years. The Parish register, which has been carefully searched, contains no record of the birth or marriage of either Peter Prudden or Joanna Boyse, indeed the name "Prudden" is not found in it. Certainly Peter Prudden never preached there. Since, however, the name "Boyse" is frequent, it is probable that Edgton was the home of Mrs. Prudden's ancestors, though the wills of her parents indicate that they lived in Halifax, Yorkshire, where John Boyse, her father, was a clergyman. That the Boyses were a family of means, is shown by the wills, which provide a dowry of ??200 for each daughter in addition to ''Landed Estate.'' From the mother's will we infer that Joanna Boyse was not married before 1631, and from the names of her two brothers mentioned in the will, we find a reason why the names ''Samuel," and "John" were given to her sons. One of her sisters was the wife of Rev. John Raynor, pastor of the church at Plymouth, Mass., from 1637-1655, and later of Dover, New Hampshire. In the absence, therefore, of any evidence that Joanna Boyse was married before leaving England, and from the fact that her eldest child was born in 1640, it seems probable that she crossed the ocean with her sister, Mrs. Raynor, before her marriage, and married Mr. Prudden in New England, though no record of their marriage has thus far been found.

      * * *

      Whether Joanna Boyse, the wife of Peter Prudden, left England already married to a man about to risk everything in a new enterprise, or crossed the sea unmarried with her sister, she was a woman of courage, and, as her subsequent history shows, of energy and thrift. Some one has called the ministers' wives of that time the ''saints of the Puritan calendar." When one reflects upon the labor and hardship entailed upon women, who were responsible not only for making the garments of the family, but for
      the spinning and perhaps the weaving of the cloth; who made the candles of bayberry or wax or tallow, the butter and the soap; who learned to prepare savory food from such hitherto unknown articles as clams, Indian corn and pumpkins, one realizes that robust health and "faculty" must have been added to patience in the making of such "saints." Perhaps Mrs. Prudden had to make her Thanksgiving mince pies, as a later pioneer did, "with a filling of bear's meat and pumpkin sweetened with maple sugar and with a crust of cornmeal." Unstinted hospitality was expected from the minister's wife whether the guest was a passing stranger or a friendly Indian, a visiting Colonial dignitary or one of the neighbors. She must therefore have had many duties besides those belonging to the mother of nine children.

      * * *


      The larger proportion of Mrs. Prudden's life in America (twenty-five or thirty years) was yet before her, when she was left a widow, with eight children, the oldest sixteen and the youngest three years of age. She neither returned to England, nor sought relatives living two hundred and fifty miles away in Massachusetts, but remained among old friends at Milford, finding in her young family abundant cares, duties and companionship. As her husband had received no salary, and his estate was inventoried at ??924.10s. and 6d., aside from the property in Yorkshire, which was her own, her means of living were little affected by his death. So, when John wanted to go to college and become a minister the means were provided, and he was prepared, perhaps, at the new Colony school in New Haven. The scattered farms, which included nearly 160 acres, and were increased by each later division of land, were made to yield their utmost. She displayed unusual capacity for business. She directed not only her household, and the farming, but kept posted about the horses and cattle and crops, learned how to make bargains, and to bring and defend lawsuits.

      The Milford records show that the "Widow Prudden," as one of the proprietors, continued to receive allotments of land, whenever they were made. We find her bringing suit against the estate of one man for ??4. 15s., due for "300 of bread" furnished by her husband, which had never been paid. The Court decreed that it be paid her, provided her attorney, Mr. Robert Treat, gave security to have it repaid "if any just cause therefore arise thereafter." Before the New Haven Court of Magistrates, May 27, 1661, she is the defendant in a suit brought against her by John Davenport, Jr., for the recovery of a horse, which Mrs. Prudden had detained. The horse had a mark on his back "P. P." with "M" on his "near shoulder." We are glad that Mr. Thomas Betts supported the evidence of Sergeant Fowler that the mark could not be "J. D.," but it might possibly be "P. P.," by the horse starting forward when the brand was setting, or might turn it off one side." Nevertheless, she seems to have been beaten in this suit, but power to appeal was given her, though no record of further action is found. The Milford records also note that she applied to the town for satisfaction about land that should have come to her in a certain grant, but for which there was not room in the assigned place, and she is allowed to have her division in some other place, which she may ''chuse." At another time, the town grants her eight acres more ''in full satisfaction for a highway through her land to the Indian side bridge" in response to a request from her son Samuel.

      Evidently she was a woman who looked out for her own and her children's rights, and meant to maintain them; who appreciated property, and knew how to care for it and increase it; who ruled her home and had a mind of her own.

      For fifteen years after her husband's death she remained at Milford, while her children grew up. John settled at Jamaica, L. I., Samuel married and managed the farms. One by one the daughters married and went to homes of their own, except the youngest, Mildred. In Mildred's eighteenth year she too was married and the date, Sept. 20, 1671, is marked on the records by a double wedding, when Mrs. Prudden became Mrs. Willett.

      Capt. Thomas Willett had lived some years in Leyden and was a fluent speaker of the Dutch language, before he emigrated to Plymouth in 1632, where he succeeded Miles Standish as captain of the militia. He filled honorable positions as a magistrate, and, as a trader with the Indians, was the trusted friend of Wamsutta (son of Massasoit). A personal friend of Governor Stuyvesant, he was appointed by one of the commissioners to settle the disputed boundary between New Amsterdam and Connecticut; he accompanied the Dutch Governor on his famous treaty-making trip to Albany in 1662, and when the British fleet sailed from Boston to capture New York sent a private messenger to warn Stuyvesant of the impending danger. Although living at Plymouth, he was a tax-payer and ship owner in New York. He was rich enough to have his bond for ??3,000 accepted at one time and to loan the West India Co. 1,500 guldens at another. His character and ability were held in such esteem in New York that he was appointed the first mayor after the English occupation, and again, after a year, during which he served as alderman, mayor for a second term. Such is the man, but recently become a widower, who secured the hand of the Widow Prudden. She may have met him thirty-four years earlier at Plymouth and we can hardly doubt that he had often been her guest during his frequent journeys from Massachusetts to New York.

      Capt. and Mrs. Willett first resided in New York, and then removed to Rehoboth and Swansea, Mass., where he died in 1674. The record of the letter which received her again into the fellowship of Milford church shows that Mrs. Willett returned shortly after Capt. Willett's death to Milford.

      Although past sixty years of age Mrs. Joanna Prudden Willett was again sought in marriage and became the wife of the Rev. John Bishop, for fifty years pastor in Stamford, Conn. He was a few years her junior, a widower with several grown-up children, and with him she lived until her death. Neither the date of this marriage, nor of her death, nor of the place of her burial is known. In a letter from Rev. John Bishop to Increase Mather, written in 1681, he sends his "Greetings" and those of his wife, "who was Mrs. Willet, to good Mrs. Mather."

      The following is a copy of


      The last will and testament of Mrs. Joanna Bishop, sometime Prudden, late of Milford, now of Stamford in the colony of Connecticut, being of sound understanding and perfect memory, not knowing, how soon my great change may be, doo make this my last will in manner and form as followeth, all just debts being first payd by my Executors.

      Imprimis. I doo give to my eldest Son Samuell Prudden and his heyres all my right title and interest in my dwelling house, barns, yards, garden, orchard with ye remainder of my houselot, all but two acres of it that is to lye crosse the whole lott in the reare of it, which is two acres, I doo give and bequeath to my second son John Prudden and his heyrs forever.

      Item. I doo give and bequeath unto my two loving sons, vid. Samuell and John Prudden aforesaid the remainder of my parcell of upland lying in the barenocks, not yet disposed of to my eldest son, I pay the remainder thereof with my parcell of meadow there alsoe, to be equally divided between my two sons.

      Item. In like manner my will is, that the remainder of my upland and meadow lying in the point not formerly disposed of shall be equally divided between my two sons. Item. My will is, in like manner my sd. two sons shall equally divide my parcel of meadow lying in the fresh meadow and the remainder of my upland lott lying on ye indyan side shall in like manner be so divided between them.

      Item. My will is, that my son John Prudden shall have the whole other halfe of all my late halfe division of land already laid out & the one halfe of all that shal be layd out hereafter, I having given my Son Samuell his halfe before in a deed bearing date 14th of February 1670 makes soe appeare.

      Item. My will is that my two Executors shall equally pay or cause to be payd to my five daughters and my late daughter Mary Walkers two children equall, as if she had been alive, five pounds apiece in all to be for thirty pounds, to be paid to them or their children surviving within one yeare after decease.

      Item. My will is my five daughters now living shall have all my wearing apparrell after decease to be equally divided between them or theirs.

      Item. My will is, all my plate and the rest of my moveable estate shall be these equally shared and divided amongst all my children, & my will is my daughter Mary Walkers' children shall have an equall share therein with the rest, meaning all yt. I shall dye possessed of in New England, and concerning the revenue that I shall dye possessed of in Yorkshire in housing and lands in old England comonly called by the name of Edgton Kerbye Moreside & Southfields now in my behalf one Mr. John Dickinson looks after it for me my share and proportion of which revenue and annuity is ten pounds by the yeare out of which ten pounds my will is, my two sons Samuell and John Prudden shall each of them have forty shillings apiece, and to my five daughters vid. Joanna, Mary's two children Elizabeth, Abigail, Sarah and Mildred, to each of them of theirs the sum of twenty shillings yearly, free from all charges of transportation, save only each one is to beare all the hazards of the season other losses by providences, as for other charges, looking after it and transportation of their sister's parts annually, my two sons shall beare yt out of their double shares which belong to them and their heyrs for ever.

      Item. My Will is, to nominate and appoint my two living sons vid. Samuell and John Prudden to bee my executors of this my last will and testament which is to stand good after decease, and in testification that what is above written is my last will and testament, I have this eighth of November 1681 set to my hand and seale.

      Joanna Bishop. My seale [seal].

      Signed, Sealed and declared to be the Mrs. Joanna Bishop's last will and testament ye day and year above said.

      Robert Treat, Junior
      Samuel Buckingham, Witnesses.

      Further my will is that my silver tankard shall bee delivered to my deare husband Mr. John Bishop to him and to his heyres or assigns forever.

      Item. My Will is yt my Son Samuell Prudden shall have my best feather-bed as also my silver beaker yt was his fathers and my mind is yt if the feather-bed and beaker amount to more than his proportion of the moveables that he shall pay to some of the rest, farther my will is that my son John Prudden shall have my other feather-bed and part of his proportion of moveables, the bed is that I have removed with me where I am.

      Joanna Bishop.

      Testified to by Elder Buckingham.

      (2) Coddington, John Insley, The Mother-in-Law of the Reverend Peter Prudden with a Pedigree of the Boyse Family, The American Genealogist, Vol. 19, No. 3 (January 1943), pp. 139-140:

      JOANNA [BOYSE], came to New England in 1636 with her brother-in-law and sister, Thomas and Silence (Boyse) Robinson, and settled at Roxbury, Mass., where, as "Joan Boyse, a maid," she was a member of the Rev. John Eliot's congregation in the latter part of 1636. She m. (1) about 1637-8 (as his second wife), the Rev. PETER PRUDDEN. He was b. in Dec. 1601, probably at or near Kings Walden, co. Hertford, or Luton, co. Bedford; was educated at the Merchant Tailors' School, London, 1616-7, and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1620. He labored and preached in South Wales and Hertfordshire, and came to New England in 1637, for he was at Boston on 26 June 1637. He was at New Haven and Wethersfield, Conn., in 1638; and he founded Milford, Conn., in 1640, and was Pastor of the Church at Milford from 1640 till his death in July 1656. The Rev. Peter and Joanna (Boyse) Prudden had nine children, born at Milford. She m. (2) at Milford, 20 Sept. 1671 (as his second wife), Captain THOMAS WILLETT. The parentage and place and date of birth of this famous man are not yet surely known. He spent a considerable part of his youth at Leyden, and knew the Dutch language well. He is said to have come to New England on one of the later voyages of the Mayflower, arriving at Plymouth 15 May 1629, with several other former residents of Leyden. He was soon sent to the Plymouth Colony's outpost, the Penobscot trading house, on the coast of the present State of Maine; and he was left in charge of that post in 1830, and remained in charge of it till he was ejected by the French in 1635. Meanwhile, he was made a freeman of Plymouth in absentia, 1 July 1633. He was at Plymouth, 1635-1639, and he m. (1) there, 6 July 1636, Mary Brown. He was master of the Plymouth trading house at Kennebec, 1639-1644. He then returned to Plymouth to live, but engaged in trading activities all over New England and New Netherlands. He had 6 acres of land in the North Precinct of Plymouth (now Kingston, Mass.) in 1643. He was chosen Captain of the Plymouth military forces, in succession to Mylee Standish, 7 March 1647/8. He was a member of a commission to settle the boundary between the English and Dutch colonies in Sept. 1650, and was appointed by Gov. Peter Stuyvesant to represent the Dutch interests on that commission. He was an Assistant in Plymouth Colony, 1651-1665, though he left Plymouth itself, and removed to Rehoboth in 1651 or 1652. Willett is said to have been so friendly to the Dutch that he warned them of the impending attack by the English in 1664. Because of his knowledge of the Dutch language and his friendship for the Dutch people, Willett was appointed the first (English) Mayor of New York, 12 June 1665, and held office till the summer of 1666; and again from the summer of 1667 to the summer of 1668. After that he left New York, and settled at Swansea, Mass. He d. in that part of Swansea which is now Seekonk, 4 Aug. 1674, and was bur. at the head of Bullock's Cove, in what is now East Providence, R. I. By his second wife, Joanna (Boyce) (Prudden) Willett, he had no children. She m. (3), at a date which has not been ascertained, the Rev. JOHN BISHOP of Stamford Conn., as his second wife. The Reverend John Bishop is said to be identical with the John Bishop who was born about 1612, son of William Bishop of Holway, co. Dorset, commoner, and who matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, 20 April 1632, aged 20, and graduated B.A. 7 June 1632, and proceeded M.A. 15 April 1635, and was Rector of Batcombe, co. Dorset, 1636-1640. The Reverend John Bishop arrived in New England in 1640, and settled at Taunton. He is said to have gone on foot from Taunton to Stamford in 1644, and he served as minister of Stamford for 50 years, from 1644 to his death to the winter of 1694-5. He m. (1), probably some after his removal to Stamford, Rebecca Goodyear, who was b. about 1626, daughter of Stephen and Mary Goodyear of London, England, and New Haven, Conn. She was the mother of all his children. The Reverend John Bishop survived both his wives. In his will, dated 16 Nov. 1694, he expressed the desire
      to be buried between his two wives, Rebecca and Joanna, "who are fallen asleep in Jesus and gone to heaven before me." He d. between 16 Nov. 1694 and 12 March 1694/5, the date of probate of the will.
    Person ID I27861  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 29 Dec 2018 

    Father John BOYSE,   b. Abt 1569, Great Edston, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Apr 1620, Halifax, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 51 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Joan STOWE,   b. Bef 7 Aug 1575, Biddenden, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 9 Jul 1630, Halifax, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 54 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Family ID F12190  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 John BISHOP,   b. Bef 3 May 1610, Cattistock, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Nov 1694, Stamford, Fairfield County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 84 years) 
    Last Modified 29 Dec 2018 19:11:43 
    Family ID F12142  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Peter PRUDDEN,   b. Dec 1601, Kings Walden, Hertfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jul 1656, Milford, New Haven County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 54 years) 
    Married 2 Jul 1637  MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 29 Dec 2018 19:11:43 
    Family ID F12143  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Thomas WILLETT,   b. Bef 29 Aug 1605, Barley, Hertfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Aug 1674, Swansea, Briston County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 68 years) 
    Married 19 Sep 1671  Milford, New Haven County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 29 Dec 2018 19:11:43 
    Family ID F12144  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart