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John Prince Esq - son of Rev. John or Edward?
Posted by: d scott (ID *****0430) Date: August 29, 2005 at 18:57:24
  of 2715

I revisited my Prince line after seven or eight years of thinking I knew who was who. My understanding at the time was that John Prince Esq. was born 1718 (that's supposed to be the date in the Earle bible), married Sarah and maybe her sister Mary Berry, and died in 1782. He was the father of Mary and Thomasina who married the Earle brothers. His parents were Edward Prince and Rebecca Ivey. My understanding went like this:

"The family name in England was Prence. The first record is that of Edward Prence who died around 1550. From him the line of Prences is William Prence (born around 1520), William Prence II (1586 - 1630), Edward Prence (1609 - 1680). This Edward Prence immigrated to America and settled in 1639 in Virginia on land that is now Petersburg, Virginia. American records show that he went by the name Edward Prince and thus became the originator of our Prince family name. His son, John, had a son, Edward, who had a son, John. This descendant, John Earle Prince (1710 - 1782), moved to South Carolina in 1768 and was granted land (he named Edgehill Plantation) in Spartanburg County on the Tyger River near the North Carolina state line. He became the originator of our South Carolina Prince Family line.”

These notes are taken from History of Spartanburg, By J.B.O. Landrum, copyright 1900. Pages 266-275:
"In referring to the old family Bible of Baylis EARLE, it is recorded that he "married Mary PRINCE April 16, 1757, aged 13 years nearly." She was born Dec. 1744, being a daughter of John PRINCE, a neighbor family in Virginia, who was a descendant of Edmund PRINCE, Gentleman, to whom, for the transportation of persons into the colony was issued, on the 4th of October, 1639, a patent for 500 acres of land "in the countie of Charles citie."

However, when I checked to see what was new, I found that some current researchers disagree with the Edward Prince line.

"The author Landrum made a big error when he connected John Prince, Esquire, to Edward Prince of 1639 Charles City County, Virginia."
"Several researchers, including myself, have come to the conclusion that John Prince of Greenville Co., SC IS NOT a descendant of Edward Prince, who sailed from Bristol, England to Virginia about 1635. Instead, he is a natural son of Rev. John Prince, a graduate of Cambridge University and a Seminary in England. He came to Virginia about 1716 after being assigned as minister to the Hanover Parish in King George Co., VA. He had two children by Margaret Prou Rimer named John and Thomasine. Rev. John Prince died about 1726. His son John was reared in King George and Caroline Co.'s, VA. After reaching adulthood, John Prince married Sarah Berry, by whom he had six children. She died about 1752 and John married Mary Berry, either a sister or first cousin of Sarah.

What proof is offered that the John Prince Esq. who married Sarah and Mary Berry was the son of the Rev John Prince? Well, there is the will of Rev John Prince in which he refers to a son John Prince and a daughter Thomasin.

King George County Will Book A-1 (1721-1752), pp. 53-54
Parish of Hanover the 21 August 1726
Will of John Prince

Son, John Prince, son of Margaret Rimer- negro man named London, Negro woman, Levce and her increase. If he dies without heirs, Thomasin Prince to inherit.

Daughter Thomsin Prince, daughter of Margaret Rimer - 6,000 pounds of tobacco to be paid in hogsheads of 800 net or near convenient to water in Hanover Parish, and if she dies without heir, to fall to John Prince.

Margaret Rimer - 2,000 pounds of tobacco to convenient in Hanover Parish.

John Prince, son of Margaret Rimer, two-thirds of what estate I have in the hands of John Beacher, Esq. of Bristol, and also in the hands of Humphry Brawdan of Exeador, and if he dies without heir to fall to Thomasin Prince, if not lawfully begotten of his own body, and my desire is that John Prince, at the age of eighteen, and Thomasin, at the age of sixteen years, shall have full possession of their estates.

Thomasin Prince, daughter of Margaret Rimer, all that is in the hands of John Beacher, Esq., of Bristol, and also in the hands of Humphry Brawdan of Exeador after John Prince has his part.

John Prince, son of Margaret Rimer, all the remainder of my estate after my debts are paid. If John Prince and Thomasin Prince, son and daughter of Margaret Rimer, die unmarried, that their estates shall fall to Margaret Rimer and her daughter, Katharine Rimer, equally to be divided.

Ordain and appoint Mr. Richard Buckner, Major William Thornton, Captain Samuel Skinker, and Mr. Thomas Turner to be joint Executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me heretofore made.

In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

John Prince (seal)
Signed sealed and delivered
in the presence of

John Diskins
John [G] Grimes (his mark)
Margaret [N] Paine (her mark)


There is also a very nice piece of circumstantial evidence that John Prince Esq is the son of Rev. John Prince. I really like this!

“I know Jack and others will appreciate reading the copy of Rev. John Prince's 1726 Will. I just want to point
out something intriguing in the 1726 Will. Note that Rev. John Prince bequeathed a Negro (age not given)
named London to his son John Prince. Fifty-six years later when John Prince, Esq., made his Will in 1782,
he also bequeathed a Negro named London. If the 1726 London was a very young boy or man in 1726, he
could be the very same London mentioned in the 1782 Will of John Prince, Esq., indicating London had been
a personal servant to John Prince for over half a century. Regards, Ron Prince “


Ok, so we have the Rev John Prince saying he had a son John and a daughter Thomasin. We have two slaves with the same name. What does that prove? We all know our ancestors suffered from a shortage of names as they seem to use the same ones over and over. There is more than one Rev. John Prince. There is more than one Rev. John Prince who had a descendent named John. The similarity in names is not enough to discount Landrum’s book.

I’ve only been looking at this new information for a couple of days. I have a question for those of you more familiar with the Rev. John Prince. What is the proof that has caused some current researchers to decide that John Prince the son mentioned in the will of the Rev. John Prince, is the same John Prince Esq. who married Sarah Berry, and had daughters Mary and Thomasina who married the Earle brothers?


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