Johan Sprague born in Dorset, England in 1501 – my 13th great grandfather

When I received my DNA results from Ancestry.com, I was amazed to see a high percentage of my heritage was attributed to Great Britain.  If Ancestry has my DNA results right, Great Britain is the source of 53% of my heritage. As a little girl, I remember asking many times where my ancestors had come from, and the most common answer I received was, “Germany”.  Indeed, I do have many  German ancestors especially on my mother’s side of the family.  But, here, in this blog on Johan Sprague, I continue my unfolding documentation of my father’s ancestors and  I keep learning about my English/ Irish ancestry!

Johan Sprague was my 13th great grandfather.  Here is a view of how Johan connects to my father, Robert Lawrence Hess:

Johan Sprague (1501 – 1526)
13th great-grandfather
Enos Sprague (1525 – 1554)
son of Johan Sprague
Edward SPRAGUE (1576 – 1614)
son of Tristram SPRAGUE
Anthony William Sprague (1635 – 1719)
son of William Sprague Sr.
Jeremiah Sprague (1682 – 1759)
son of Anthony William Sprague
Knight Sprague (1711 – 1804)
son of Jeremiah Sprague
Anthony Sprague (1742 – 1831)
son of Knight Sprague
Anthony Sprague Jr (1766 – 1850)
son of Anthony SPRAGUE
Mary “Polly” Sprague (1792 – 1852)
daughter of Anthony Sprague Jr
John Kellogg Bishop (1827 – 1906)
son of Mary “Polly” Sprague
Dorothy (Dora) Bishop (1857 – 1904)
daughter of John Kellogg Bishop
George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr. (1891 – 1969)
son of Dorothy (Dora) Bishop
Robert Lawrence Hess (1924 – 2017)
son of George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr.
Now, I am going to share a link from a writing project that was done on the genealogy of the Sprague’s.  I am so very grateful for this story, but, is it only historical fiction?  Is it just a tall tale? I have made my own conclusion, but I will let you make your own decision!
  1.  1.0 1.1 Family History – The First Three Generations of Sprague’s Family. Written by students of International Training and Education Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Ms. Kelly Norman, teacher. It is not clear whether this unsourced material is based on research of the actual lives of persons, or whether it is historical fiction intended to illustrate the religion, politics, and health issues of the eras in which they lived. http://rubikgroup.weebly.com/1/post/2013/10/family-history-the-first-three-generations-of-spragues-family.html. Accessed June 7, 2015.

” On a bitter cold day in 1501, Johan Sprague was born in Dorset, England in a Catholic family. From 1512 to 1516, he was studied in a church near his house, but deep down in his heart, he did not believe in Catholicism. By midsummer in 1516, he was married Marie – a pastor’s daughter in the church who taught him. Nine years later, in 1525, they was has a first son – named Enos Sprague. In 1527, they had twins girls, Ava and Mia, but Ava died when she was two years old because of influenza. Three years later, when Mia was five years old, many people in their village got and died of smallpox, and she also got it, she survived but sadly it made her blind. In 1534, Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries because Pope did not allow him to divorces his first wife. “After Henry’s death, England tilted toward Calvinist-infused Protestantism during Edward VI’s six-year reign”[1]. Many evangelical churches springing up, Johan Sprague and his family left Catholicism and became Protestant, but not much people in the village knew about that. He really found his faith in Protestantism. Unfortunately, after Edward died, Mary I (also known as “Bloody Mary”) was crowned, people endured five years of reactionary Catholicism under Mary I, she was beheaded and burned many Protestants, nearly 300 Protestants were burned to death. Governments and Catholics had no evidence of Sprague family were Protestants, therefore they can safe. Unfortunately, in 1556, Sunday morning, Sprague family were be burned at their house, Johan, Marie, Mia and Enos’s children all dead, just Enos and his wife can alive, the neighbors around said it was just an accident, but someone believe that Catholics did.”

Sadly, if this story is true, Johan had a life cut short by heresy laws that disallowed Protestant beliefs. Henry the VIII had allowed Protestant beliefs in order that he may divorce his wife.   But, when Queen Mary I (or “Bloody Mary” ) came to power she had nearly 300 persons killed in her attempt to restore the Catholic Church and rid it of Protestants. If the story above is true, my 13th great grandfather, Johan and most of his family came to a horrible violent death.  However, Johann may have never had the twin girls referenced and he may have died at the age of 26 in 1526 rather that 1556 as this story sites.
Additional research
Note:  Even though Johan’s death date is first listed as 1526 in this research, it is also within the same research document listed as 1556.  Ugh…more confusion!
If his death date was really 1526, it makes the story of the twin girls and Johan’s death for heresy less likely! 
Watch for more blogs on the Sprague family coming soon!  I would be very grateful for any information you might wish to share on my family roots!

2 thoughts on “Johan Sprague born in Dorset, England in 1501 – my 13th great grandfather

  1. Judi Root

    I’ve just recently found out that thru Ancestry DNA I’m linked on one chromosome to John Sprague…I had Sarah (his daughter) on my tree. She married Jonathan Fosdick from Lynn, Mass. Have done a little more research on this family but only as far as Edward (the fuller) Sprague & his wife Christiana Holland. I’m sure you have seen that there are references about Christiana’s lineage being high-born Lady…any knowledge of that tidbit? Thank you, Judi Root

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    Reply

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