Frances Latham now generally called "The Mother of Governors," because no less than fourteen of her direct descendants, and many sons-in-law in succeeding generations, became Governors or Lieut. Governors. Baptized 15 February 1609/10, she was the eldest of nine children of Lewis Latham whose portrait is in the collection of the late George W. Elkins, a descendant of Lewis Latham.

He who was of Elston, co. Bedford, England, was born about, 1584 and buried 15 May 1655, aged about 71 years. He was a member of the King's household, and Falconer to Prince Henry in 1612, and later was Sergeant Falconer to King Charles I.

ARMS-Or, on a chief indented azure, three bezants
CREST-An eagle standing on an empty cradle with wings displayed, reguardant or.

(NEHGR, Roll of Arms, Vol. LXXXII, p. 156; A.R. Justice, ANCESTRY OF JEREMY CLARKE..., p. 72)

We can imagine Frances as a young girl on the moors in companionship with her father as he attended the Royal Princes, Henry and Charlie, in their hunting with falcons, ever a favorite royal sport, the birds being highly trained to search out and pounce upon rabbit, grouse and other small game and bring them to their master.

Frances Latham was married in 1627 at age 17 to William Dungan, Gentleman, who was born about 1606, a London Merchant and Perfumer. His wares were in great demand and quite necessary to offset the obnoxious odors arising from the gutters in a thickly settled district subject to heavy fog and having surface drainage.

They made their home at St. Martins-in-the-Fields where later he died and was buried 20 September 1636, leaving her a widow at age 26 with four little children between the ages of 2 and 8 years. By his Will dated 13 September 1636 he gave all his property to his wife Frances, after bequeathing £70 to each of his four children whom he mentions by name.

Living at Covent Garden, on the East side of Bedford Street in London 1637, she paid taxes including a special assessment "by reason of the long continuance of the plague," levied for the relief of the poor.

About a year after William Dungan's death she was married to her second husband Jeremy Clarke, who was baptized 1 December, 1605. Jeremy and Frances came to Rhode Island about the year 1637 bringing the four young children by her first marriage. They settled at Newport where Mr. Clark became the first Constable, and in 1648 Governor and Treasurer of the Rhode Island Colony. His family were members of the Society of Friends at Newport, the first Quaker settlement in America. Here at age 46 Jeremy Clark died, and here according to records of Friends Meeting lie was buried 11 mo. 3rd, 1651.

Frances was married about 1655 to her third husband Rev. William Vaughan, Doctor of Civil Law, poet and distinguished scholar, one of the original members of the First Baptist Church of Newport, and one of the founders of the Second Baptist Church of which he was the first minister. He died in August 1677, by him she had no children, and outliving him only a few weeks, she died in September 1677, in her 67th year, and is buried at Newport in the Govemor's lot.

Frances Latham was the mother of seven sons and four daughters. They all married, and all but William had children. Four, probably born in London, were by her first husband:

  1. Barbara Dungan born about 1628, married Dep. Gov. James Barker.
  2. Frances Dungan born about 1630, died 1697, married Hon. Randall Holden.
  3. William Dungan born about 1632, married Jane.
  4. Rev. Thomas Dungan born about 1634, married Elizabeth Weaver.
Seven were by her second husband:
  1. Gov. Walter Clarke born 1638, married (1) Content Greenman, (2) Hannah Scott, (3) Freeborn Williams, (4) Sarah Pryor.
  2. Mary Clarke born 164 1, married (1) Gov. John Cranston, (2) John Stanton.
  3. Dep. Gov. Jeremiah Clarke born 1643, married Anne Audley.
  4. Dep. Gov. Latham Clarke born 1645, married (1) Hannah Wilbur, (2) Anne Collins.
  5. Hon. Weston Clarke born 1648, Atty. Gen. and Treas. of R. I., married (1) Mary Easton, (2) Rebecca Thurston.
  6. Rev. James Clarke born 1649, pastor 2nd Baptist Church at Newport, married Hopestill Power.
  7. Sarah Clarke born 1651, a few months before her father's death, married (1) John Pinner, (2) Gov. Caleb Carr.

John S. Wurts, Magna Charta, Brookfield Pub. Co., Philadelphia, 1945, Part III, p. 451-453.

Wilfred Jordan, Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York, 1942, pp. 686; Coat of Arms facing p. 663.

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