By Richard Dana Smith, Jr.
|Date of birth: about 1579, London, England|
|Marriage: Sarah (Allerton) Vincent, widow of John Vincent, 4 Nov 1611, Leiden, Holland|
|Children: Two (2)
1. Mary b. about 1612, married Phineas Pratt
2. Sarah b. about 1614, married John Coombs
|Death: during the first winter 1620/21, Plymouth|
|Burial Site: Coles Hill Burial Ground, Plymouth, MA|
- Very little is known about Degory Priest. since he was married in Holland, he was a religious Separatist and was an early member of the Pilgrim's Leyden congregation.
- He was a hatter in Leyden and may have been a hatter (a hat maker) in London.
- On October 8, 1611, his intention to marry was published, and a month later on November 4 he married Sarah Vincent, of London, widow of John Vincent and sister of Isaac Allerton, his witnesses being William Lysle and Samuel Fuller and hers Jane Diggens and Rosamund Jepson. November 1615; Admitted to city of Leyden, Holland, Isaac Allerton "guaranteeing for him" upon his admission to civic rights in that city.
- Alternate spellings of his name were: "Digory," "Gregory," "Dego rie," or "Digorie" Priest.
- He became a citizen of Leyden in 1615.
- Degory Priest deposed that he was 40 years old in a document signed in Leiden in April 1619; this would place his birth about 1579 in England.
- Degory left his wife and two children behind and was planning to bring them later after the colony was better established. His death the first winter ended those plans.
- His wife remarried to Godbert Godbertson in Leiden, and together they had a son Samuel. Godbert, his wife Sarah, their son Samuel, and his step-children, Mary and Sarah Priest all came on the ship Anne to Plymouth in 1623.
- He was the twenty-ninth signer of the Mayflower Compact.
- Degory's wife, Sarah Allerton was the sister of Mayflower Pilgrim Isaac Allerton.
- Bradford's contemporary history says that many of the passengers "dyed soon after their arrival, in the generall sickness that befell. But digerie Priest had his wife and children sent hither afterwards, she being Mr. Allerton's sister".
- Degory Priest and Sarah Allerton had two children, both born in Leyden and both of whom arrived at Plymouth in 1623 on the Anne, with their mother and stepfather, after the death of their father in Plymouth in 1621.
- Daughter Mary Priest married Phineas Pratt who was a member of a company of men sent from England by Thomas Weston. They arrived in New England in 1622 on three ships: the Sparrow, Charity, and Swan. The approximately 67 men, many of them ailing, arrived with no provisions. The Pilgrims supported them throughout the summer of 1622. In the fall o f1622, the Weston men left to colonize an area north of Plymouth called Wessagusset. They soon fell into difficulties through behaving, generally, in a very foolish and improvident fashion.
- Massasoit, sachem of the Wamanoags, informed the Plymouth colonists that there was a conspiracy among the Natives of the Wessagusset area to massacre the Weston men. Myles Standish prepared to head north with a small company of Plymouth men to rescue Weston's men. The same message was also delivered by one of Weston's men, who came to Plymouth in March of 1623 "from the Massachusetts with a small pack at his back." Phineas Pratt was the man with the backpack. He had secretly snuck out of the Wessagusset settlement, traveling for several days without food through a snowy landscape on his 25-mile journey. Myles Standish and a small contingent (minus Pheneas, who was still recovering from his arduous journey) headed to Wessagusset to recognize Weston's men. The Plymouth contingent killed several Native Americans in the process. Soon afterwards, Weston's group abandoned Wessagusset. Sometime in late 1623, Phineas joined the Plymouth settlement and sometime before May o f1648, when he purchased a house and garden in Charlestown, Pratt left Plymouth.
- Phineas Pratt was by profession a "joiner." Joining was the principle method of furniture construction during the 17th century.
- Phineas and Mary Pratt had 8 children.
- According to his gravestone in the old Phipps Street Cemetery, in the Charlestown area of Boston, "Phinehas Pratt, agd about 90 yrs, decd April ye 19, 1680 & was one of ye first English inhabitants of ye Massachusetts Colony."
- Two famous descendants of Degory Priest are United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and movie actor Richard Gere.
General Society of Mayflower Descendants
Mayflower Families Through Five Generations (Silver Books)
Pilgrim Hall Museum
Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, William Bradford
Caleb Johnson's MayflowerHistory.com