Amanuensis Monday: The Broken Indenture of Ezekiel Sprague Jr. of Scituate, Mass.

While performing research in Scituate, Massachusetts town records, I came across an unusual record from a town meeting (edited slightly for spelling):

 25 May 1767

Upon the Petition & Request of Ebenezer Mott setting forth that he about four years ago took by indenture an apprentice named Ezekel Sprague to learn the trade of a cordwainer & to provide for him til he should arrive to the age of twenty one years he being now about 13 years old but so it is that yt Ezekel has been for some time troubled with uncommon fits and it is doubtful whether he will ever be cured & as said Ebenezer has been at great charge, he earnestly requests that said town upon the said indenture being vacated that said town would take said boy into their charge & care. Wherefore said town voted that upon the said indentures being exchanged & vacated that ye selectmen of said town should take said boy into their care as one of said town’s poor & do what may be needful for him.


This was Ezekiel Sprague Jr., born in Scituate 16 May 1755 [sic, 1754] and baptized at the Scituate Second Church (now Norwell) on 29 September 1754 to Ezekiel and Priscilla Sprague. Ezekiel Sprague Sr. married Priscilla Totman in Scituate in 1753. They later had children Abigail, Rebecca Prouty, and Samuel Sprague, all born and baptized in Scituate. Ezekiel Sr. had also been raised as an apprentice or indentured servant, and on 8 March 1729/30, he was baptized at the Hanover Congregational Church, “his master, James Tory, publickly promising to take care he should have a religious education”. There are no Scituate death or probate records for Ezekiel Sr. and Priscilla, so it is uncertain if they were dead by the time that Ezekiel Jr. was taken on by the Scituate selectmen as one of the town’s poor. Does anyone know what happened to Ezekiel Sprague Jr.’s parents?

One thought on “Amanuensis Monday: The Broken Indenture of Ezekiel Sprague Jr. of Scituate, Mass.

  1. Just as a possibility: Mrs. Priscilla Sprague m. Daniel Teague of Hingham in 1770 (Scituate Vital Records). Ezekiel is listed as being at Crown Point in 1759 (Deane’s History) – perhaps he died there?

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