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One of the First Settlers of the Quaboag Plantation
Surnames used: Prichard, Pritchard, and Pritchett.
William Prichard was born in England. He married Hannah. In July of 1645, he lived in Lynn, and in 1648, in Ipswich , Essex County, Massachusetts. Their sons were John, Samuel, William, and Joseph. Their daughters: Mary, Hannah, Esther, Elizabeth, and Sarah.
In the summer of 1660, four men William Prichard, John Ayres, John Warner, and one other came from Ipswich and chose the hill, today’s Foster Hill, as the center for the proposed plantation. The first three or four families settled in 1665, and William Prichard became one of the Quaboag Plantation’s first settlers. Steps were taken to buy the land from the Indians, through Lt. Thomas Cooper of Springfield. William Prichard paid 4 pounds for his lot on the hill. The size of the grant was 64 acres and ‘William Prichard and Son’ were listed as the planters. His plot was located at the East end of the settlement on the hill at the bend in the road just before the John Ayres’ Plot. In 1667, Capt. John Pynchon, with four local men, was appointed by the General Court to direct the affairs of the Plantation. Prichard was one of the four men. William Prichard was hired by John Pynchon to help build the first mill on the plantation. He was paid over 11 pounds by Pynchon and made an agreement to be able to use the mill to grind his own corn.
In 1673, the Quaboag Plantation became ‘Brookfield’. William Prichard served as constable in 1673 and 1674. In March 1675, he was appointed Clerk of Writs by the Hampshire County Court. In 1675, he was a selectman of Brookfield and a Sergeant in the military.
On August 2, 1675, Sergeant Ayres, Sergeant Prichard, and Corporal Coy, inhabitants of Brookfield, were slain in the ambush known as Wheeler’s Surprise. The rest of Wheeler’s Company retreated back to Brookfield town, spreading the alarm among the inhabitants. They hastily fortified and occupied one of the largest and strongest houses, the Inn of John Ayres just slain in the ambush. This was to become the first day of ‘The Siege of Brookfield’ during King Philip’s War. In the evening Samuel, a son of William Prichard, ventured out of the garrison to fetch some supplies from his father’s house still standing near by. Samuel was killed just as he was leaving his house to return to the fortified house. His head was cut off and tossed about in view of the settlers and then set upon a pole against the door of his father’s house. When Major Willard’s mounted troop from Marlborough burst onto the scene on the third night, the Indians withdrew, but Brookfield was destroyed. The area was abandoned and its fields lay waste for 10 years. The estate of Sergeant William Prichard was administered on February 13, 1676/1677 at Essex County, Massachusetts.
Additional Prichard information: John Prichard married Mary Towne in March 1680/1681 and was found in Topsfield. Mary Prichard was married to Judah Trumble in September 1672. After the siege of Brookfield, they relocated to Suffield, Connecticut.
Elizabeth Prichard was born at Ipswich. On February 22, 1681/1682 at Suffield, Connecticut she married John Allen, son of Edward Allen and Sarah Kimball. Elizabeth Prichard died on May 11, 1704, at Deerfield, Massachusetts. Stephen Jennings of Hatfield, bought in April 1693, from Hezekiah Dickinson, the William Prichard home lot and rights in Brookfield.
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Sources: Genealogical records: “Early New England Settlers, 1600-1800 Soldiers in King Philip’s War, 1675 – 1677, pg. 108 ‘Quaboag Plantation’ web site by R. Chickering 300th Anniversary Celebration of the Settlement of the Quaboag Plantation
Copyright 2001 West Brookfield Historical Commission Last modified: February 27, 2009