I’ll never read Arthur Miller the same way again

Thinking to explore newly available records about the Prince family, I set about building out the family and antecedents of Jonathan Prince. I came across numerous references and documents and then was stunned to read that Jonathan’s great-great grandmother was one of the accused in the Salem witch trials of 1692!

Robert Prince was an early settler of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and owned land in Salem Village (Danvers, MA today). When he died in 1674 his children were all under age but his will mentions sons James and Joseph and daughter Elizabeth as well as his wife Sarah (ne. Warren). Sarah could not manage the farm on her own and so she purchased the contract for a “redemptioner” named Alexander Osburn (or Osburne) to help her work the farm. Unfortunately for her, she eventually married him. Apparently, it was not a happy marriage and later accounts paint a dismal picture of both physical and mental abuse. Sarah Osburn became depressed and took to her bed. She was accused by the young women of Salem as a witch and was brought before the court and questioned. Although she denied the testimony against her, she was jailed and transported to Boston where she died two months later.

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Anyone wanting to read more can visit this online exhibit which reviews the available records of the witch trials http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/category/uph1wit.html.

Robert’s sons James and Joseph were able to reclaim their inheritance and prospered in Salem. James married a Sarah Rea and they had six children, of whom their fifth child was David Prince. David and wife Phebe Fuller (b. 1706) moved from Salem Village to Sutton where they raised five children.  David died very early at the age of 35 years and guardianship records for sons Stephen and John show them placed with James Prince and John Fuller respectively.

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Stephen Prince married Abigail Perkins (1736-1820) and they raised thirteen children in Sutton as it transitioned from a British colony to a town in America. Stephen appears to have fought for the colonies during the American Revolution but print resources are jumbled and further research is necessary to build out his service. At some point in the late 1780’s the family removed to the town of Oxford. Numerous printed sources state that Stephen died in either 1780 or 1800 but he appears in the 1810 census with his sons Stephen Jr. and David. Jonathan had already removed to Sturbridge. There are also several mix ups concerning Stephen Sr’s wife Abigail Perkins and Stephen Jr’s wife Abigail Pratt.

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1810 US Census Oxford, Worcester, Massachusetts

Jonathan Prince, born in Sutton, moved with the family to Oxford where he married Patty Vinton. Shortly before the 1809 birth of his daughter Juley, the family relocated to Sturbridge and from there to Orwell, Pennsylvania.

Prince branch image

Alice Jones Monier-Williams

I have always been intrigued by Alice Jones but she became especially interesting when I discovered that she died on the Isle of Wight.  A childhood fascination with all things Victoria still lingers and I always wondered if Alice was ever in her company (as if everyone in England met her!). This week’s #52ancestors #52familyphotographs is dedicated to Alice Jones Monier-Williams.

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Left to right back to front: Cyril Monier-Williams, Mary Howell Jones, Richard Jones, Alice W, Davis Jones, Richard W. Jones, Susan Emlen Jones, Alice W. Jones

Alice Jones was the oldest daughter of Richard Jones (1812-1890) and Alice Woodmansie Davis Jones (1823-1899). Richard’s second wife Alice appears to have been quite a force and their five children appear to have lead very different lives from those of his first wife (Benjamin and Joseph).

Photograph of St Philip and St James' Church in Oxford [c 1930s-1980s] by John Piper 1903-1992
St. Philip and St. James’s Church, Oxford Copyright:(c) The Piper Estate / Photo (c) Tate
I know that for all of her youth and until 1870 Alice lived in her father’s household. In 1878 she married Cyril Faithfull Williams, son of Monier Williams. Sir Monier Monier-Williams, KCIE was the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, England. However, at the time of their marriage, Williams was not yet knighted and the family name was Williams. I do not know how Alice got to England.  I believe that Cyril came to the United States in 1873 “for travel.” Possibly they met here or there.  Oddly, the marriage banns note that Alice is a resident of Oxford.

When Cyril is admitted to the Lincoln’s Inn in 1888, the admissions register notes his Oxford address.  By 1891, Alice and Cyril live in London where he is listed as a retired civil servant.  And in 1894 he is elected Registrar of the Courts at Port of Spain, Trinidad. This appointment does not work out well for him as three years later, in a fit of depression, he commits suicide.

I am not sure where Alice is during all of this.  She may be right there with Cyril but I have no proof.  I do know that by 1901 she is back in England, living with a clergyman and his family in South Luffenham.

The Monier-Williams clan owned a house on the Isle of Wight and I do not know if this is what lured her there because her sister Mary Howell Jones also lived there.  They are living at Salopia (a named house) in Ventnor in 1911.  Alice remains at Salopia, Ventnor, Isle of Wight until her death in 1933 and Mary H. dies a short time later in 1935.

I would love to know more about Alice and her life.  And where does Mary Howell Jones fit into the story? Another blog for another day.