Eleanor Pratly/Dudley discussion 2

+1 vote

About two years ago this thread was posted:


Two years ago I couldn't really chime in on the debate. I didn't want to comment again as I don't like bumping REALLY old threads.

I'm bringing this topic back from the dead as I've been in contact with someone who has useful information regarding this lady's identity. It's a bit hard to explain. So, I will copy/paste info she gave me. It may be worth checking out. It's definitely something to consider. Dunno if it is accurate. But, we shall see if this is accurate:

Hi Chris; here is the info for you. Thankful Smart was born in 1740 in Epping, Rockingham, New Hampshire & she died in Oct. 1786 in the next town over of Raymond, Rockingham, New Hampshire.

  Thankful's mother-in-law Eleanor Dudley was the daughter of Rev. Samuel Dudley (a very important Pastor in Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire). He was born 11/30/1608 in Connon's Ashby, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England & he died 2/10/1683 in Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire. His father was a Governor of Massachusetts, the honorable Gov. Thomas Dudley born 10/12/1576 in Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire, England & died 7/31/1653 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Gov. Dudley's wife was Dorothy York born in 1582 in Cotton End, Northamptonshire, England. She died of Colic on 12/27/1643 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

 Rev. Samuel Dudley was married 3 times. We descend from his 3rd wife Elizabeth Smith born in 1628 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Richard Smith Sr. born in 1598 in Shropham, Breckland Borough, Norfolk, England & died 7/28/1666 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts & his wife Hannah Cheney born in 1602 & died 7/19/1656.

  Rev. Samuel Dudley had a total of 20 children by his 3 wives, but it is important to know that not all of the children lived to adulthood. His 1st wife was Mary Winthrop 1609-1643 by whom he had 5 children. His 2nd wife was Mary Byley 1615-1651 by whom he also had 5 children. Then came his 3rd wife by whom he had 10 children.

  I thought that you might like to know 2 things. The first being that the town line changed between Exeter & Brentwood, New Hampshire. So when I say that they were born or died in Exeter, it may have actually been Brentwood (I am not exactly sure when the town line changed). Also, I used to live in Brentwood, NH about a mile or less from the old Dudley homestead. The house is still standing but very old. It has however been renovated from time to time. I am not sure if members of the Dudley family still own it or not.

  I hope that all of this info has helped you in some small way. By the way, I was not able to find the name of Eleanor Dudley's Pratley/Pratly husband.


Apparently Eleanor is the same Dudley/Pratley woman according to her. I asked her for sources. I wasn't going to add anything as we need a little thing called proof. So, I hope she has something. I e-mailed her and asked if she has anything concrete about this Dudley/Pratly case.

So, basically she told me Eleanor was born a Dudley. She married a Pratley and then married the guy I am connected to. The rest is history.

What do you all think? Well, aside from the need for proof ya know. I hope she has something. What's weird is that her supposed father didn't mention her in the will. No sources were found. So, I wonder what this lady has for proof.

Like I said. I am not gonna add anything until I see proof.

WikiTree profile: Eleanor Smart
asked in Genealogy Help by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (212k points)
edited by Chris Ferraiolo

2 Answers

+1 vote
I hope she gives you some sources. It would great if what she said is accurate.
answered ago by S Willson G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
Me too. The ball is in her court. All I have to do is play the waiting game. We'll see what she says.
+1 vote

I would not accept or believe that Eleanor Pratley was in fact Eleanor Dudley based on the information given.  It come down to a single source (Howard, Bray Closson, Penobscot Pioneers vol. 2 p. 62=63) which states the belief that the marriage record was mistranscribed:  

  • "To the latter group we must add Eleanor 3, who is without doubt the mysterious woman in the marriage record in Volume A of the Provincial Deeds of New Hampshire (film 015410 in LDS collection) which reads "25 7 mo 1674 Robert Smart Jun' & Elnor Pratly both of Exeter joyned in marriage before Mr. Samuell Dalton commissioner". If one writes the surname Dudley in cursive script and doesn't bring the loop of the capital letter down far enough, and if the flourish on the second occurrence of the same letter is incomplete, one could have a name easily read as Pratly by a county clerk ignorant of Exeter families."

We have the same name, written in the same hand, by the same clerk - the conclusion should not be that was one name was mistranscribed and the other was not.  I could be wrong but I would have to see the original before I could be convinced of this.  This marriage record is available on LDS film 015410 which I believe is viewable in an LDS library.

Also arguing against this is the lack of any other supporting records where you would expect them to be.  Neither Eleanor, her husband nor their children were named in the will of Samuel Dudley.  Nor did they share in the division of Samuel Dudley's land in 1707.  Even if she was dead, her children would have been rightful heirs and part of the land division.

Let's say the marriage record had been incorrectly transcribed, why do you think Eleanor was a sister of Elizabeth Dudley, and not a cousin?

It appears to me there is no convincing evidence that her name was Dudley, and no evidence at all that she was a daughter of Samuel Dudley.  Better sources are needed before you can make this conclusion.

answered ago by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (168k points)
Right. That's why I posted. I wanted to discuss everything before I went ahead and changed all of the things. It seems kind of dubious to me to be honest, Joe.

I first talked to her about Patty Smart, a descendant of the Smarts. I asked for her take on the Dudley/Pratly debate. She sent me this. I just wanted everyone's take. She says she has sources. I just have to wait and see what she has to say.

I don't think anything. Though, what we have now does make sense.

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