52 Ancestors, Week 21: William Sprague arrives in America in 1628

This is the research work of Warren Vincent Sprague in 1913 (with some embellishments).  Here is a synopsis:

William Sprague was born in 1609, the youngest of six children.  His father, Edward Sprague owned a fulling mill (cloth manufacturing) in Upway, County of Dorset, England. Edward (age 37) died in 1614 when William was only 5. The father left a detailed will, and a detailed inventory was done of his estate totaling £258.
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William (age 19) with two of his brothers, Ralph ( age 25), and Richard (age 23) came with Governor Endecott aboard the Abigail, in the interests of the Massachusetts Bay Company, paying their own transportation. The ship departed with fifty or so "planters and servants" on 20 June 1628 and arrived at Salem, 6 Sept 1628.

John Endecott, first Governor
of the Mass. Bay Company
Soon after their arrival, the three brothers and a few other men were commissioned by Governor Endecott of Salem to explore the country about Mishawum.

They undertook the journey, traveling about twelve miles to the southwest through the woods on a neck of land between the Mystic and Charles Rivers.  This was in the country of the Albergenians, an Indian Tribe with whom they made peace.  Thomas Walford, a smith, was already living there.  It is presumed that the Spragues wintered there in tents.

In the spring of 1629 came Mr Graves, the Company’s engineer and Mr Bright, the minister and others.  Mr. Graves laid out the town and the building of houses was commenced.  They named the town Charlestown (after the reigning King Charles I of England).

Graves was attracted by the narrow Mishawum Peninsula between the Charles and Mystic rivers. Charlestown became one of a handful of early settlements, preceding Boston.  The area of earliest settlement, at Town Hill, still retains the elliptical street pattern that Thomas Graves laid out.  (1)

Early map of Charlestown
(Charlestown was burnt to the ground
at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775)

1629. The names of the three brothers, Ralph, Richard and William Sprague stand at the head of the list of settlers in the record of the first meeting of the inhabitants of Charlestown.

William (age 25) married Millicent Eames (age 19) in 1634. They had ten children, only eight surviving, between 1635 and 1654.

1636, Jan 2. William’s name appears for the last time in the list of inhabitants of Charlestown.

1636. William and his father-in-law obtained grants of land in Hingham and removed there, where he continued to live. His house lot, on Union St. "over the river" was said to be the pleasantest lot in Hingham.

1645. William was chosen one of the seven Selectmen, "to order the prudential affairs of the town."

1651, March 28. William purchased of Thomas Hammond, "planter" a dwelling house with 5 acres of land adjoining his own homestead, together with other lands in that locality; also 20 acres on the opposite side of the river against the end of the aforesaid house lot.

1662. William was the constable and collector of town rates.

1675, October 19. William made his will, and a copy is in the Sprague Genealogy, p.125.

William Sprague (age 66) died Oct. 26, 1675, at Hingham. His widow (age 81) died Feb. 8, 1696, about 20 years later. William Sprague left a large estate, which gave his widow a comfortable income, besides providing for all his children.

From Salem to Charlestown to Hingham

An interesting side note: The actress, Lucille Ball shares the Sprague Ancestry.  We would be 10th cousins.


  • (1)http://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/Charlestown_brochure_tcm3-19114.pdf
  • Sprague, Warren Vincent. Sprague Families in America. Rutland, VT: Tuttle, Printers, 1913. Print, pages 119-122
  • Sprague, Henry Harrison. The Founding of Charlestown by the Spragues, a Glimpse of the Beginning of the Massachusetts Bay Settlement. Boston: W. B. Clarke, 1910. Print.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Endecott
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Sprague_(1609-1675)


  1. If I spent a Massachusetts winter in a tent I'd be motivated to build a town with real housing in the spring myself. Sounds like the early settlers were able to build real wealth out of a life time of working with this new land.

  2. William Sprague was my 11th gen grandfather

  3. William Sprague is my 9th Great Grandfather. Neat!

  4. William Sprague is my 12th great grandfather.really neat.and bless

  5. My fathers are Amos Winfield Sprague, Amos Owen Sprague, Amos Washburn Sprague, Laban Sprague, Benjamin Sprague, Josiah Sprague, Anthony Sprague, and William.��


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