Narcissa Whitman AncestryCrystal Calhoun
When Narcissa and her husband, Marcus Whitman, left for the great state of Washington, they had no idea the adventures that awaited them. But their story didn’t start the day they set foot on the Oregon Trail; no, it began years before either of them were born.
The Prentiss family heritage dates to early 1600’s when Narcissa’s great-great-great-great-grandfather was born in England. His name was Henry Prentice, also known as Henry the “Planter”. There is speculation to whether his first wife’s name was Elizabeth Fosdick or Elizabeth White due to his grave-marker only mentioning her first name. The date of their marriage is also unknown. What is known, Elizabeth died on May 13, 1643.
It is assumed Henry traveled to America during the Great Migration which occurred around the 1640’s. There he met Joanne Savage, whom he married in 1644. They had six children. Only four years later, after his youngest son was born, Henry Prentice took his last breath, dying in Massachusetts on June 9, 1654. One of his daughters, Mary Prentice, married Nathaniel Hancock in 1664. Their great-great-grandson John Hancock became famous for signing the Declaration of Independence.
One of Henry’s sons with Joanne, Solomon Prentice (born in September 23, 1646), married the young maiden Elizabeth around 1672. They had two children together. Unfortunately, Elizabeth died some time before 1678. Solomon then married Hepzibah Dunn (Dunton) and had six more children. However, it was Elizabeth’s first son who became the great-great-grandfather of Narcissa.
Nearly three generations later, around 1777, Narcissa’s father, Stephen Prentice, finally entered the picture. He was born into an all-American and king-free country. Although his given name was Stephen Prentice, somewhere along the line he spelled his name Prentiss. Today, he is most commonly known as Judge Stephen Prentiss. He learned the arts of carpentry and joining as his profession; a common practice during colonial times in America. He married Clarissa Ward and had nine children. One of whom was Narcissa.
Narcissa was born on March 14, 1808 in Prattsburg, Steuben County, New York. She grew up to be a Godly, vibrant young lady. People remember her as being a talented singer, a beautiful student, and a willing missionary.
In the next lesson, we will go over her childhood and what sort of life Narcissa would have had during the early 1800’s.