Friday, December 30, 2022

52 Ancestors - Week 461: #732 John Pray (a1653-1733) of Providence and Smithfield, Rhode Island

John Pray (a1653-1733) is #732 on my Ahnentafel List, my 7th great-grandfather, who married #733  Sarah Brown (1662-a1733) in 1678 in Providence, Rhode Island.

I am descended through:

*  their son, #366 Richard Pray (1683-1755), who married Rachel --?-- (a1685-b1755) in 1723.
*  their daughter, #183 Sarah Pray (1734-1820), who married #182 Nathaniel Horton (1730-1819) in 1753.
*  their daughter,  #91 Phebe Horton (1772-a1820), who married #90 Simon Wade (1767-1857) in about 1790.
*  their daughter #45 Miranda Wade (1804-1850), who married #44 Jonathan White (1803-1850) in 1824.
*  their son #22 Henry Arnold White (1824-1885) who married #23 Amy Oatley (1826-1864) in 1844.
*  their daughter #11 Julia E. White (1848-1913) who married #10 Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) in 1868.
*  their daughter #5 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) who married #4 Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) in 1900.
*  their son #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) who married #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002) in 1942.
*  their son #1 Randall Jeffrey Seaver (1943-living)


1)  PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Name:                      John Pray[1–5]

*  Sex:                          Male

*  Father:                     Richard Pray 1629-1693
*  Mother:                   Mary --?-- 1629-1686

2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Birth:                        about 1653, Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States[1,3]

*  Death:                       9 October 1733 (about age 80), Smithfield, Providence, Rhode Island, United States[1,3-5]

*  Probate:                    5 February 1733/4 (about age 80), will proved; Smithfield, Providence, Rhode Island, United States[1,3,5]

3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Spouse 1:                   Sarah Brown 1662-1733
*  Marriage 1:                14 November 1678 (about age 25), Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States[1–3]
*  Child 1:                     John Pray 1679-1751
*  Child 2:                     Sarah Pray 1679-1728
*  Child 3:                     Richard Pray 1683-1755
*  Child 4:                     Mary Pray 1685-1725
*  Child 5:                     Hugh Pray 1687-1761
*  Child 6:                     Penelope Pray 1688-1752
*  Child 7:                     Katherine Pray 1689-1728
*  Child 8:                     Martha Pray 1693-1784

4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):    

John Pray was born in about 1653 in Providence, Rhode Island, the eldest child of Richard and Mary (--?--) Pray[1,3].

John Pray resided in Providence and Smithfield. He was one of those "who staid and went not away" during King Phillip's War[1]

He married Sarah Brown (1662-b1733) on 14 November 1678 in Providence, Rhode Island[1,3], the daughter of John and Mary (Holmes) Brown. They had eight children, but none of them were recorded in Providence town records:

*  John Pray (1679-1751), married 1713 Sarah Downing (1685-????)
*  Sarah Pray (1681-1728), married 1703 Joseph Brown (1678-1764).
*  Richard Pray (1683-1755), married 1723 Rachel --?-- (a1685-b1755).
*  Mary Pray (1685-1725), married 1705 Richard Brown (1676-1774).
*  Hugh Pray (1687-1761), married 1716 Abigail Blake (1698-1775).
*  Penelope Pray (1688-1752), married 1710 John Aldrich (1688-1750).
*  Katherine Pray (1689-1728), married 1706 Hazadiah Comstock (1682-1764).
*  Martha Pray (1693-1784), married 1713 Joseph Wilkinson (1683-1740). 

On 23 July 1717 he deeded his farm and homestead, which was probably in what is now Smithfield (formed in 1731 from Providence), half of it at signing and half at the decease of himself and wife, to his son Richard Pray[1].

John Pray died 9 October 1733, in Smithfield, Rhode Island, testate at age 80[1,3-5]. There is no apparent burial place or record.  He wrote his will on 29 April 1726, which was proved 5 February 1733/4 in Smithfield Town Council[5]. The will reads (a clerk's copy):
"In the name of God amen, the twenty ninth day of april annoque Domini one thousand Seven Hundred and twenty six I John Pray husbandman of the town of providence in the Colony of Rhod Island and providence platation In New England being an aged man and Growing weakly, but of a perfect mind and Memory thanks be Given unto God, therfore Calling unto mind the Mortality of my Body and Knowing it is appointed for all men once to Dye do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament, that is to say principally, and first of all I Recommand my soul unto the hands of god, that it and my Body I Recommand to the Earth to be ???? In Decent Christian Buriel att the Decreshion of my Executors and as touching such worldly Estate where it Hath pleased God to Bless me with in this Life I give Demise and Dispose of the same in the following Mannar and form.

"Imprimus - I give and bequeath to sarah My Dearly Beloved wife the one half of my home stad Farm all my Cattle Dwelling house and House hold goods During her Lifetime to be ???? and Clearly Enjoynedly her During the term of her ???? provided she Remain my widow but In Case she marries again than my son Richard his heirs or assigns shall ??? furtherworth Enter unto the possession of said half of my home sted all my Cattle household Goods and ???

"Item  I give and Bequeath to my beloved son John his heirs Executors admrs or assigns the sum of five Shillings Currant Money, of New England to be Raised and Reived of my Estate.

"Item  I give and Bequeath to my Beloved son Hugh his heirs Executors admrs assigns the sum of five shillings Currant Money of New England to be Raised and Reived out of my Estate.

"Item I give I give and bequeath to my beloved son Richard his heirs Execrs and assigns for Ever In the following Mannar, viz. all my homested farm with with all the Lands any ways belonging to me Joyning to said home stead and all my Cattle Dwelling house, and orchards that is to say the half of my home stead farm att my Descease whereon I now Live situate Lying and being In the Town of providence aforsd In the Notherin part of said township and the other half of homstead with all my Cattle Dwelling house and orchards att the Desease of my wife and In Case she Marries then he is to Enter In Possesion of the said home stead and particulars above bequeathed to my sd wife as his and their proper Estate of Inheritance In fee simple.

"Item to my well belovd Daughter Mary Brown I give and bequeath the sum of five shillings Curant Money of New England to be Raised and Reived out of My Estate.

"Item I give and bequeath to my belovd Daugr Cathrin Comstock the sum of five shilling Currant Money of New England to be Raised and Raired out of my Estate

"Item I give and bequeath to my belovd Daughter Sarah Brown five shillings Currant Money New England to be Raised and Raired out of my Estate.

"Item I give and bequeath to my belovd Daught Penalopy Alderich the sum of five shilling Currant Money of New England to be Raised and Raired out of my Estate.

"Item I give and bequeath to my belovd Daughter Martha Willkinson the sum of five shillings Currant Money New England to be Rased and Leved out of my Estate.

"Item I Constitute appoint and ordain my sd son Richd sole Executor of this my Last will and Testament and I do, utterly Dissalow Revoke and Disannul all and Every other formar testaments wills Legaces and bequeaths and Executors by me in any wise before named wills ???? bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament In wittness and Confirmation whereof I the sd John pray have hereunto sett my hand and seal the day and Year above written.

"Signed Sealed published                                the mark of John X Pray
Pronounced and Declared by
the said John Pray as his Last
will and Testament In the prence
of the subscribers
William Hopkins Carpr
Jeremiah Hopkins
Robert Douglass"
"At a town Council in Smithfield february the 1 1733/4 John Prays will being laid before the Council and this Council having advised with Sarah Pray widow and Relick to John Pray and she desiring to have said will proved, Wherefore it is voted that the said John Prays will be accepted to be a perfect will and Testament and ordered to be Received.

"Recorded March the 22 A.D. 1733/4 by me Daniel Jenkes Town Clerk."

"A true Inventory of all and Singular the Goods and Chattels & ???? of John Pray of Smithfield yeoman pres. att Smithfield the 29 Day of octo^r Anno Domini 1733 who Departed this Life octob^r the 9th Anno Domini 1733.
The inventory was taken by Edward Smith, Job Whipple and Daniel Jenkes on 29 October 1733 in Smithfield.  It totaled 61 pounds in personal estate.
"Where as John Pray of Smithfield in the County of Providence and Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England yeoman who departed this Life October the 9th A.D. 1733 who did in and by his last will and Testament Constitute and appoint his son Richard Pray his sole Executor to his said will and also ordered his said son Richard Pray to pay Sundrey Legacies and the said will being Laid before the Town Council of Smithfield which will was by said Town Council approved to be a perfect will and the said Richard Pray was by said council ordered Executor to said will according to the Contents thereof.

"These are therefore to order and full Impower you the said Richard Pray to take into your possession Care and Custody all and Singular the movable Estate Goods and Chattel that belonged to your father the as named John Pray at the time of his death and the debts due to said Estate and on the same full to administer in order to discharge his debts and for the maintenance of your mother and paying Legacies an to ??? and Doe all things Relating the Demises as the Law Impowereth an Executor to doe and Render an account of your Proceedings herein unto the said Town Council or to their Sucessors in said office when Legally Called thereunto.  Given att a Town Council held at Smithfield above said the first day of february A.D. 1733/4 and in the seventh year of his majesties Reign George the Second by the Grace of God King of Grate Brittain.

{seal}  Signed and sealed by order of the Council and on their behalf per me Danl Jenkes Clerk of the Council. Recorded per me Daniel Jenkes Clerk of the Council."

John Pray bequeathed all of his farm and homestead to his second son, Richard Pray.  It is likely that the other children of John Pray received their portion of the estate before he died, perhaps in land or money.. 


1. Harold Leonard Pray, The Pray Family of Braintree, Quincy and Weymouth, Massachusetts, Including Later Generations Through the United States, 1643-2006 (Santa Maria, Calif.: Harold Pray, 2006), page 11, John and Sarah (Brown) Pray family sketch.

2. "New England Marriages to 1700," online database with digital images, (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008), page 600, John Pray and Sarah Brown marriage entry, 14 November 1678.

3. William Bradford Browne, "Chad Browne of Providence, R.I. and Four Generations of His Descendants," in Genealogies of Rhode Island families, Volume I, Alden-Mowry (Baltimore, Md. : Genealogical Publishing Company, 1989), pages 64-94, page 65, marriage of Sarah Brown and John Pray.

4. James N. Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, First Series, Births, Marriages and Deaths : a Family Register for the People (Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing Co., 1891-1912), Volume 03: Providence County, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Smithfield Births and Deaths, page 111, John Pray death entry, 9 October 1733.

5. "Probate Records, 1733-1917 (Lincoln, Rhode Island)," on 14 FHL US/CAN microfilm reels, Volume 1 (1733-1754), pages 1-5, John Pray estate records, on FHL Microfilm US/CAN 0.959,528.


NOTE:  Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors" in her blog post 
 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog in 2014.  I have extended this theme in 2022 to 468 Ancestors in 468 Weeks.

Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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