Joseph Pride

Regicide and King Killer

Executioneer of Charles 1st of England

Thomas Pride died in 1658 at his home of Worcester Park House, having bought it and the "Great Park" of Nonsuch Palace, Surrey. After the English Restoration|Restoration of 1660 his body was ordered dug up and suspended on the gallows at Tyburn along with those of Oliver Cromwell's, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw, though it is said that the sentence was not carried out, probably because his corpse was too far decayed. The Royalists thereupon attempted to hang his son, Joseph Pride, also an active member of the New Model Army, who barely escaped.

Joseph Pride is buried in Portland, Maine, and his son Joseph is referred in an article noting the death of "Old Man Pride" that year (1747). The backward looking article cites "The Joseph Pride to whom this tract of 100 acres was granted was 'most likely' the first person of the name in the area", and somewhat mysteriously that he "probably was in mid life when he emigrated to this vicinity, but that persons of that name still reside, having aquired their homes by inheritance from ancestors who have long been domiciled with our present town limits". It also states that "On April 12 1726 Joseph and Sarah Pride had a son Joseph born in Falmouth" (Thomas, Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, Joseph's, Joseph). According to family legend traced to Merritt Greenough Pride of Westbrook (1887-1969), and related ancestors, who were also residents of Prides Corner Westbrook, Maine, the escape had a dramatic and ironic twist. Joseph ran from the redcoats down a hill, out a dock, and dove into the sea and swam to a longboat that had already departed the Dock. As luck would have it, it was the last longboat to the ship which was setting sail to Plymouth. Joseph is presumed to have spent some time with relatives who first arrived in 1637, but, fled to the wilderness and settled in the back bay area initially. His son purchased the parcel of land in Falmouth/Westbrook now known as Prides Corner Maine. But the article cites "no evidence the elder pride ever lived there".

He was the unidentified King Killer, the single most hunted of all the King Killers, his existence remained hidden from all official records except for his gravestone, and the News Article. His actions secret from all but direct Family until long after it mattered, and had become unprovable. Family legend says it was Joseph in the Hood that day, an appropriate reward for Thomas's Actions in Prides Purge which set the trial and execution of the King in motion.

The Pride lineage of Prides Corner, is one Joseph Pride after another, every generation for TWO centuries. It is family's silent testimony to its history, the only safe testimony possible for such a hunted figure. The 1790 Census for Falmouth Maine for example lists Henry, Joseph, William, and a second Joseph, a Joseph for each generation when you count the Joseph Pride who died at birth in 1686, presumed first grandson of the King's executioner. The 1820 census* gives a tantalizing glimpse into the family secret listing both a Thomas and a Joseph and a Henry. Then there is always those Joes on the Revolutionary War Rosters too. In the hope of further proof of this intentionally hidden history, hidden under pain of death, Prides are actively encourage to register and publish their DNA on 23 and Me, and several have already done so.

Further Info

* Multiple second born Henry's over the years are interesting also given that Henry Ireton, directly served with Thomas and Joseph in multiple battles including Nasby. The families determination to leave a mark over 200 years makes the repeating second born Henry and Thomas occurances notable