Reverend Peter Prudden and Joanna Boyse

My 10x Great Grandparents, Peter Prudden and Joanna Boyse are the immigrants in this line of my ancestry. It is not known where in England Peter came from and Joanna may be from Yorkshire as there was land that she owned there. It is thought they came over to America separately and married shortly after arriving in 1637. Peter was a Reverend and was sought after in Dedham, MA but he and the 15 families he was traveling with wanted to establish their own community. They stayed in Boston over the winter and then in April 1638, traveled by sea to Connecticut to find a location to settle. They decided on Milford, CT.

Peter Prudden’s lot is number 40 on the map below.

They had 9 children: Joanna 1640, Mary 1641, Elizabeth 1642, Samuel 1643, John 1645, Abigail 1647(9x gg), Sarah 1650, Peter 1652, and Mildred 1653. Side note to make the family connection, Abigail is my 9xgg and she married Joseph Walker who lived across the Housatonek River in Stratford, CT.

Reverend Prudden had a farm to manage in addition to preaching. In lieu of a salary, the congregation would help with the farm, planting and harvesting as well as helping with wood gathering. He was also excused from guard duty.
Peter died 1656 in Milford, CT leaving Joanna with 9 children under the age of 16. Joanna raised the children by herself in Milford and when her youngest daughter, Mildred was 18, there were 2 weddings 1 day apart. Mildred married 20 Sept 1671 and her mother Joanna married Capt Thomas Willet 19 Sept 1671.

Joanna then moved to Rehoboth, MA with Thomas. He was a the first mayor of New York and is credited for purchasing land from the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts. He was also a merchant who conducted sea trade. It is curious to me as to how Joanna and Thomas knew each other since they lived in different states. The marriage was short as Thomas died in 1674. Joanna then moved back to Milford and was admitted back into the church.

First Church Milford

At some point after this, Joanna married a third time to John Bishop. He was a minister at the First Congregational Church in Stamford, CT. He served in that position for 50 years.

Joanna died 8 November 1681 in Stamford, CT. She was buried in Stamford and according to the will of John Bishop, he was to be buried between his 2 wives.

Her will distributed the land in Connecticut between her 2 sons, Samuel and John, most of which was already given to them. Money went to her 5 daughters and grandchildren of her deceased daughter, Mary. The clothes were divided by her daughters and the movable goods was divided by all the children. Further, Joanna had land in Yorkshire, England that was managed by a group there. It is land that her father gave her when he died. The estate pays out money yearly and the children received equal amounts. Finally, she left her silver tankard to her husband, John Bishop.

I would like to trace when the land in England was given to her and what ultimately happened to it.

Most of Peter Prudden’s papers and relics were destroyed in a fire in 1790. What remained are the church records kept in Milford and a signet ring with the initials P P in a floral design as seen below.

There is a memorial to Peter Prudden on a bridge over the Wepawaug river in Milford.


It says: In Memoriam, Peter Prudden, First Pastor in Milford, Obit 1656, The voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord make his paths straight. These were the words of his first sermon when the got to Milford.

My ancestral line:

Peter Prudden married Joanna Boyse their daughter,

Abigail Prudden married Joseph Walker their daughter,

Abigail Walker married John Bostwick their son,

Joseph Bostwick married Rebekah Wheeler their son,

Joseph Bostwick married Bette Hurd their son,

David Bostwick married Currence Hard their son,

Jabez Bostwick married Freelove Frisbee their son,

Jabez Bostwick married Sarah Jane Chase their son,

John Day Bostwick married Ida Shelby their son,

Charles Bostwick married Alpha Wilkins their daughter,

Florence Bostwick -my grandmother


Prudden, Lillian Eliza Peter Prudden; a story of his life and New Haven and Milford, Conn. Publish 1901.

History of Milford, Connecticut, 1639-1939 Federal Writer’s Project for the State of Connecticut Publish 1939

Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920

Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772-1934,” database, FamilySearch ( : 3 December 2014), Peter Prudden, 1656; citing , reference # 165; FHL microfilm 3,347.

One thought on “Reverend Peter Prudden and Joanna Boyse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s