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Joseph Prentis

Member From: 1776 - 1788

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  • Birth Date: January 24, 1754 Birth Place:Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Death Date: June 18, 1809
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
  • Spouse: Margaret Bowdoin
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  • Additional Info: 1778 Assembly-John Nelson was elected September 21, 1778, in the place of Joseph Prentis, who had been appointed to the Council.
  • Bio: Born in Williamsburg, Va., January 24, 1734. Died at his home, “Green Hill”, Williamsburg, Va., June 18, 1809, Buried probably at his home in Williamsburg, Va. Joseph Prentis of Williamsburg was the son of William and Mary (Brooke) Prentis. He was orphaned at the age of 15, and was a ward of Robert Carter Nicholas. He attended the College of William and Mary, where he studied law. He was elected a delegate to the Convention of 1775, to represent the city of Williamsburg and during the necessary absence of George Wythe, Esq., one of the delegates for the Colony in General Congress. He was a member of the House of Delegates, representing Williamsburg, 1776, York County, 1777-78, James City County, 1781-82, and York County, 1782-88. He was elected judge of the Court of Admiralty, June 5, 1776, and resigned August I, 1776; appointed a member of the Privy Council, 1778; was appointed a member to attend the session of the House of Delegates convening May 7, 178 I. At the session beginning October 17, 1785, he was made chairman of the committee to prepare a bill to authorize the delegates to the Continental Congress to give assent to the general regulation of the commerce of the United States, and was one of the revisers of the Code in 1792. He was made a judge of the General Court, January 4, 1788, and held that position until his death. He married, 1778, Margaret Bowdoin, daughter of John and Grace (Stringer) Bowdoin of Northampton County, and one of his descendants was Justice Robert Riddick Prentis of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.

    While he was Speaker of the House, the Clerk was JOHN JAMES BECKLEY.
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Speaker of the House - October 16, 1786 - January 8, 1788
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1776 Williamsburg Propositions and Grievances
1777-1778 York Propositions and Grievances
1778 York Privileges and Elections
1781-1782 James City
1782 York Propositions and Grievances
1783 York Courts of Justice
Privileges and Elections
Propositions and Grievances
1784-1785 York Courts of Justice
Privileges and Elections
Propositions and Grievances
1785-1786 York Commerce
Courts of Justice
Privileges and Elections
1786-1787 York Speaker of the House
1787-1788 York Speaker of the House

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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