Joseph Prentis was the youngest son of Williamsburg, Virginia merchant, William Prentis and his wife, Mary Brooke. Joseph attended the College of William and Mary and became a lawyer and later, a judge (1789-1809). He was a member of the Virginia Convention of 1775 in Richmond where Patrick Henry delivered the famous words, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Later Prentis was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and served as that body's Speaker from 1786 until 1788. His avocation was gardening and his papers, correspondence and even the naming of his home demonstrate that interest. In 1782 Joseph and Margaret Prentis acquired Green Hill where they lived for the rest of their lives. Of their eight children four lived to adulthood.
Marriage and Children
He married Margaret Bowdoin 16 December 1778. The couple had eight children but only four survived infancy or childhood.
William Bowdoin Prentis (1780-1783), Joseph Prentis (1783-1851), William Prentis (1785-1790), John Bowdoin Prentis (1787-1789), John Brookes Prentis (1789-1848), Elizabeth Prentis Vickery Pollard (1791-1864), Robert Waters Prentis (1794-1796), Mary Anne Prentis Chamberlain (1796-?)
Joseph Prentis died the 18th of June at 7 o’clock Sunday Morning in the year 1809 in his 56th year.
- Jamerson, Bruce F., Clerk of the House of Delegates, supervising (2007). Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1776-2007. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia House of Delegates.
- Winter, Kari J. (2011). The American Dreams of John B. Prentis Slave Trader. The University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-3837-0
- Richter, Caroline Julia, "The Prentis Family and their Library" (1985). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. Paper 1539625287. doi:10.21220/s2-42by-1r17
- Virginia Government - House History Joseph Prentis
- Colonial Williamsburg Portrait of Joseph Prentis
- University of Virginia Library A GUIDE TO THE WEBB-PRENTIS FAMILY PAPERS
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