John Faunce is another ancestor through my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis. His last name is sometimes seen as Fance or Phance in records. He was born in England circa 1608 (based on estimated age at marriage). His origins in England are unknown, but there has been some speculation he was from Purleigh, Essex. He married Patience Morton in Plymouth about 1633. Patience was born in Leiden, Holland, about 1614, the daughter of George Morton and Juliana Carpenter.
Patience came to Plymouth with her family on board the Anne in 1623. They were members of the Separatists in Leiden. John Faunce was on board the same vessel.
John and Patience had eight children: Priscilla, Mary, Patience, Sarah, Thomas, Elizabeth, Mercy, and Joseph.
I have two direct lines from John, one through his daughter Priscilla who married Joseph Warren (son of Mayflower passenger Richard Warren) and the other through Mercy who married Nathaniel Holmes.
One of John's sons, Thomas Faunce, lived to almost 100 years of age, dying in 1746, and served as the Town Clerk and the ruling elder of the church. A well-known story originated in a talk given in the 19th century at Plymouth's Old Colony Club that at age 95 Elder Faunce was driven to town in an open wagon from Eel River and taken to Plymouth Rock. He told the people gathered there how he had talked to John Howland and his wife, John Alden, Giles Hopkins, George Soule, Francis Cooke and his son John, and Mrs. Cushman, born Mary Allerton, who "died but yesterday." All of these, he said, told him that upon that rock they had stepped ashore, and John Winslow's wife, Mary (Chilton) had come there on her 75th birthday and laughed as she stepped on the rock and said she was the first woman to have stepped on it. This story, relayed to posterity verbally by one who claimed to hear it from a person who had been in Elder Faunce's audience that day, is as far back as we can go to authenticate that what we call today Plymouth Rock was in fact the first land at Plymouth touched by the Mayflower passengers. Of course, many people today refute the claim, so perhaps Thomas was just a great teller of yarns.
John was literate as his estate inventory includes a Bible, but did not serve on many committees or offices. He is listed as being on a petit jury in Plymouth. James Freer Faunce wrote that that John was “stranger,” coming to Plymouth for business, recruited by the merchant adventurers who financed the colony, rather than religious reasons. This doesn’t make sense given his young age. Perhaps he came as an indentured servant? He was said to have been close with the Francis Cooke family.
He received a land grant as a passenger of the Anne and purchased additional land during his lifetime. John Faunce died in Plymouth on 29 November 1653. An inventory of his estate was taken 16 December 1653 by Lt. Thomas Southworth and Nathaniel Morton. His estate totaled over 27 pounds, but did not include property, so perhaps he had already gifted it to his sons. The inventory did list two cows, five swine and a weaver’s loom. Patience was named to administer the estate.
Patience married, second, Thomas Whitney. She died on 16 August 1691, “being entered into the 77 year of her age."
The burial locations of John and Patience are not known, but their son Thomas told Deacon Ephraim Spooner that his parents’ graves were leveled and sown over to conceal them from the Indians.
Sources not listed above:
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 3:1715-8, 1995
James Freer Faunce, “The Faunce Family,” NEHGR, Volume 114, April 1960