Dorothy Lettice was born 1640 in Ecclesfield, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom to Thomas Lettice (c1615-1681) and Anne Savoy (c1615-1687) and died 30 April 1726 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. She married Edward Gray (1629-1681) 12 December 1665 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. She married Nathaniel Clark (1643-1717) 1682 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States.


Dorothy Lettice was the daughter of Thomas and Ann Lettice and was born in England. They arrived in Plymouth Colony in 1636. Her father was a carpenter and active in the community of Plymouth.

Dorothy married wealthy colonist Edward Gray. After his death in 1681, she was the wealthiest widow in Massachusetts.

She remarried Nathaniel Clark in 1684 or 1685, a very influential and success lawyer. He was the secretary to the Colony Court, and most likely had a major role in drafting the Book of Laws in 1685 - the great codification of Plymouth's laws and statutes. In 1685, King Charles died, and his successor, King James II, decided to impose English law in the colonies, sending Sir Edmond as the Governor, and Nathanial was appointed to the cabinet. With this role he became extremely powerful and began using his influence to improperly increase his lands and wealth. The community became very unhappy with him.

Divorce Petition

Shortly thereafter, Dorothy moved out of his house, and filed for divorce. This is the text of her petition:

I am sorely afflicted that I have this sad occasion to petition to God and you, for in that Mr. Nathaniel Clark has not performed the duty of a husband to me, for he is misformed and always unable to perform the act of generation. And therefore your petitioner humbly prayeth that I may be divorced from him, for our lives are very uncomfortable in the sight of God.

He was examined by court appointed doctors, and deemed to have no problem, so the petition was declined. The church then intervened, and Dorothy was required to confess her "misstatements" and "failings". Nathaniel was brought in by the church officials and spoken to sternly, and he responded angrily by intimating that the church would condemn the innocent and cleare the guilty.

Thereafter they found a way to peaceably co-exist in the same household.

In 1688, King James Ii was deposed and replaced with Protestant William and Mary. In the chaos, the colony took the opportunity to return to England in chains, Sir Edmond Andros, and along with him Nathaniel Clark. Nathaniel returned shortly thereafter and was put in jail for his excesses in Massachusetts. His brothers posted his bail and eventually charges were dropped. He remained a successful lawyer.

From the Book: My Grandfather's House A genealogy of Doubt and Faith by Robert Clark

Offspring of Edward Gray and Dorothy Lettice (1640-1726)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Rebecca Gray (1660-1712)
Edward Gray (1666-1726)
Susanna Gray (1668-1727) 15 October 1668 Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States 26 August 1727 Plympton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States John Cole (1660-1724)

Thomas Gray (1670-1721)
Samuel Gray (1672-1712)
Lydia Gray (1678-1771)




Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General


  Robin Patterson