At first I thought that it was strange that no other writings that I reviewed about Thomas Bull, including a detailed family biography titled “Bulls of Parkeomink, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and their Descendants” writing by James Henry Bull in 1907, made any mention of the fact that he was a slave holder. Then again, until recently, it was seldom mentioned in history books that such great Americans as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were also slaveholders. We definitely did not read about George Washington as a slaveholder in my 6th grade social studies class in the late 1950s nor about Thomas Jefferson bedding his young slave girl and her giving birth to their son. Today we generally accept the fact that the majority of the population in our country in the 1700s and early 1800s looked at the institution of slavery as quite normal, therefore to judge my great grandfather harshly by our current standards because he was an advocate for slavery is probably unfair. That is not to say that the signers of our Declaration of Independence many of whom were slaveholders, did not wallow in the epitome of hypocrisy what with their signing a document proclaiming that “all men are created equal. . . with certain unalienable Rights . .” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (that document excluded of course the 500,000 black slaves living in our country as of July 4, 1776, and by “all men” what they really meant was all white European men that owned property and of course, women were excluded.) Some no doubt were troubled by this double standard although it does not appear likely that our Thomas Bull fell into that category. During the American Revolution thousands of slaves escaped from their American masters, masters who were both British Loyalists as well as American Patriots. These black men, women and children who ran away were hoping to gain their freedom by joining with the British military forces for protection. Unfortunately while some of the men found work serving as unpaid laborers for the British and a few actually served as soldiers, the rest including the women and children struggled to stay alive battling a lack of food and smallpox outbreaks in the camps. After the defeat of the British at Yorktown in 1781, almost all of the surviving escaped slaves were rounded up and returned to slavery although a relatively small number of slaves were given their freedom and removed on ships to places like Nova Scotia. It is estimated that only around 5,000 black men fought with the Americans during the war and even then many of these men were slaves that served in the war at the direction of their master. On the other hand, it is believed that over 100,000 African Americans (about 1/5 of their total population) fled their masters to join the British. The ultimate irony that we can draw from all of this is that had the British defeated the Americans in their War for Independence, slavery in the American colonies may have ended many years earlier and the American Civil War likely would not have taken place. While today it is “politically correct” to include the study of African Americans in our school textbooks, this inclusion is nevertheless long overdue and should not be the subject of criticism.
This chapter will continue the history of my early ancestors who immigrated to Pennsylvania during the period of William Penn in the late 1600s. I will begin by related the story of the Bull Family. For the record, the daughter of Thomas Bull married the son of William Farmar Dewees and as you may recall, the biography of William Dewees is included in Chapter 21, My Pennsylvania Ancestors – Part I
The Bull Family
Bull Generation #1 – John Bull (1674-1736):
The map to the left was prepared by Thomas Holmes and published in 1687 only a few years following the grant to William Penn of Pennsylvania in 1681. The map shows several interesting aspects of the history of Pennsylvania. First it shows how quickly Penn was able to parcel out the land. In only six years he had granted hundreds of thousands of acres of land to hundreds of new settlers. Secondly, this map is a “roadmap” of Pennsylvania as it existed in 1687 although there are no roads shown on the map with the exception of the streets in the new village of Philadelphia. Actually, the “roads” are shown in great detail on the map; however in this case the roads are called rivers, creeks, and streams. As we have learned and discussed in prior chapters, these rivers and streams were critical in the development of our country and the spread of our population. Philadelphia was built at the confluence of the Delaware River (shown running across the bottom of the map) and the Schuylkill River (shown in the center of the map running bottom to top.) The Schuylkill River served as the major transportation artery into early colonial Pennsylvania and its tributaries with their fast moving waters were used to power the early grist mills that ground the wheat and corn to make flour to feed the early settlers. The first tributary of the Schuylkill River shown on the map is the Wissahickon Creek where we learned in Chapter 21 that the Rittenhouse and the Dewees families constructed our country’s first papermills and the Farmar family constructed a major grist mill known today as “Farmar’s Mill”, a National Historic Site. Further upstream on the Schuylkill River we also learned of iron forges constructed along the river’s tributaries and in particular we learned of Valley Forge located at the confluence of Valley Creek and the Schuylkill River where my great grandfather William Dewees operated a forge and where George Washington encamped his army during the winter of 1777-78.
John Bull is mentioned in historical records for the first time in 1717 when he purchased land in the “Manor of Gilbert’s”. The Manor of Gilbert’s (shown on the enlarged section of the Holmes’ map to the right) was a huge plot of land (over 10,000 acres) that was set aside by William Penn for his own development. He named the land Gilbert after his paternal grandmother, Joan Gilbert, and it embraced the whole of the present day townships of Upper and Lower Providence and parts of Perkiomen and Worchester townships in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The Manor of Gilbert’s was bisected by the Perkiomen Creek, another tributary of the Schuylkill. The intersection of the Perkiomen and the Schuylkill is located a short distance upstream from Valley Forge (identified as “Mountjoy” on the 1687 map) and not far from the land of Jasper Farmar shown in the lower right hand corner of the map.
The origins of the Bull family and John Bull in particular, is not known. Some Bull Family genealogists believe that the family emigrated from Radnorshire in Wales. The only evidence that is offered in support of this is that many of the earliest settlers in this region of the Perkiomen Creek were from Wales. Furthermore, Edward Lane who sold to John Bull in 1717 some of his 2,500 acres of land in the Manor of Gilbert plat that he had purchased from William Penn in 1701, was also known to have encouraged immigration and the sale of his land to early Welsh settlers most of whom were Quakers. I do not believe that this evidence is sufficient to state definitively that the Bull family origins were Welsh. It should also be pointed out that most of the Welsh settlement in Pennsylvania took place on the western side of the Schuylkill River in an area generally referred to as the “Welsh tract” which included parts of present day Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County but east of the Manor of Gilbert area in present day Lower Providence township. The Welsh Tract consisted of around 40,000 acres and it is believed that by the year 1700 about one third of the 20,000 settlers in Pennsylvania had emigrated from Wales and spoke Welsh. It is very possible that John Bull was Welsh but I believe that it is more likely that he was from mainland England and possibly from Bristol, where Edward Lane is known to have lived. We further know that John Bull was a member of the St. James Episcopal Church [Church of England] located in present day Collegeville, a church that was founded by Edward Lane shortly after 1701, probably on land that Lane had donated. We really know little of the life of John Bull other than he was a farmer, a large landowner (some 400 plus acres on the Shippack Creek, a branch of the Perkiomen Creek), and a devote member of his church. The above sketch of St. James Church shows how it appeared when John and Elizabeth and their family attended services there in 1721. The original log building that first served as their church had burned and John Bull probably assisted with the construction of the new stone church shown in the sketch. John’s wife’s name was Elizabeth and her maiden name is unknown. The couple had six children including my 6th great grandfather, Richard Bull who was born on the family farm in 1714. One of their sons, John Joseph Bull, my 6th great granduncle, is believed to have married an Indian woman who converted to Christianity and together they moved to Ohio where they became missionaries.John Bull died in November of 1736; Elizabeth is believed to have died on the same day as her husband possibly both of them succumbing to the same illness. Together they were buried in the old church cemetery next to the St James Episcopal Church located just to the east of the town of Collegeville in the small hamlet of Evansburg along the banks of the nearby Skippack Creek. Richard’s gravestone simply states: “Here lyeth the Body of John Bull, who died November 1736. Aged 62 years.” The engraving on the gravestone of Elizabeth has been worn almost smooth by time and is illegible.
Generation 2: Richard Bull (1714-1799)Richard Bull, the third child and second oldest son of John and Elizabeth Bull was born in 1714 at his parent’s home located along the banks of the Shippack Creek in the present township of Lower Providence in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. As is the case with most of my early colonial ancestors, I learn of the life of Richard Bull primarily by reviewing the early church and land transaction records as well as any other available public records and from these small pieces of information I attempt to determine the value of Richard Bull’s life and his role in history. For example, on August 1, 1736 Richard Bull was among a group of 37 male members of the congregation of the St James Episcopal Church who filed a petition requesting the appointment of a minister for their small church in Collegeville. The church was located only a short distance from their home. Also signing the petition was Richard’s father, John Bull, his two brothers, Thomas, age 31, and William, age 17, and Richard’s neighbor and future father-in-law, Henry Pawling, and his future brother-in-law, Henry Pawling Jr. Richard was 22 when he signed the petition. From this document I draw the mental picture of a close family who probably all worked the family farm together six days a week and then every Sunday, the entire family together with Richard’s nephews and nieces, the children of his brother Thomas and his wife, all climbed aboard the family wagons for the short trip to the small church in the nearby village. It was probably at this Sunday service where Richard first met his future wife, Elizabeth Pawling, the daughter of their neighbor, Henry Pawling. The Pawling family had moved to the land immediately to the south of the Bull property when Richard was only two years old so it is very likely that Richard had grown up knowing young Elizabeth Pawling, who was five years his junior.
Only three months following the Bull family signing of the church petition requesting a minister, both Richard’s father and mother died suddenly. This was in early November of 1736. According to a biography titled “The Bull Family” written by James H. Bull in 1919 it was written that “Richard Bull first settled on the property left to him by his father’s will in Tredyffin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.” This one simple sentence in this extensive narrative of the Bull family caused me much confusion until I finally concluded that the author of the biography was probably unfamiliar with the geography of Pennsylvania and thus unaware that the Bull family property was actually located in the township of Lower Providence in Montgomery County located immediately to the north of Chester County. The vast majority of the Bull family trees uploaded to Ancestry.com show almost all of the children of Richard and Elizabeth Bull as having been born in Chester County and a few of the trees even list Richard Bull’s birth location as Chester County. I have concluded that Chester County is not where the family lived after the death of John Bull. They continued to live on the family farm along the Skippack Creek and they continued to attend the St. James Church until sometime shortly after 1760. Part of the confusion is caused by my not being able to find any St James’ church records for the period of immediately after 1740, although that is not to say that they do not exist. Richard Bull is listed as a vestryman of St James’ Church in 1740, however there is no record of his marriage to his childhood friend and neighbor, Elizabeth Pawling whom he married sometime between 1741 and mid-1743, and there are no records of the baptisms of his children born between 1744 and 1758. Of course, had the Richard Bull family actually moved to Chester County during this period, the records would be at another church. There were however, only two other Church of England congregations in this vicinity in the early 1700s, St David’s located near the village of Radnor in Delaware County about 20 miles to the southeast (noted as Mark C on map), and the Church of St Peter located in the northwest corner of Tredyffin Township in Chester County (noted as Mark B on map), located about 12 miles southwest of St James’ Church and their home (noted as Mark A on map below). Neither of these other churches record the Bull family as members of the congregation during this time period. The only real evidence that I could find that supports the believe that the Richard Bull family remained in Montgomery County after his father’s death and after 1740 is a listing in a newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, that is dated October 11, 1750 wherein Richard Bull advertises a reward of twenty shillings for the return of his “large bay horse” that was stolen from his field “last Saturday night.” The newspaper ad goes on to describe the stolen horse but more importantly it states that “Whoever will bring said horse to Richard Bull’s, or Henry Pawling’s [his brother-in-law], both of Providence township. . . .” therein stating that Richard Bull at least in 1750, continued to live in Montgomery County and not in Chester County as suggested in the narrative “The Bull Family” by James H. Bull. I dwell on this matter not only because I wasted a lot of time trying to discover where Richard Bull and his family lived between 1740 and 1760, but also to point out how important it is not to accept everything that is written in historical narratives as fact. One other interesting historical tidbit that I learned while researching these early “Episcopal” churches in colonial Pennsylvania is that prior to 1776 these churches were not called Episcopal churches as they are today. Prior to 1776, St. James’, St. David’s, and the Church of St Peter were all part of the mother Church of England which accepted the King or Queen of England as the head of the church. Naturally at the approach of the American Revolution, the concept of the King of England being the head of an American church became an extremely unpopular concept. One of the leaders of the revolt in this regard, was a soon to be general in George Washington’s Continental Army, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, who as a member of the congregation of St. James’ Church in Radnor, made sure that anyone who did not support the American cause was to be quickly run out of the congregation of his church. The American Church of England was later to be called the Episcopal church whereas in Canada and in England today the Church of England is called the Anglican church.We can only speculate as to why in 1760 Richard Bull sold his land in Lower Providence Township in Montgomery County, his home for 46 years, and moved his family south to West Whiteland Township in Chester County, near “The Church of St. Peter in the Great Valley” (noted as Mark B on map), where he purchased over 400 acres of land which in 1760 was still in large part covered with forests. It is possible that Richard made the move for financial reasons as perhaps he was able to sell the farmland in Lower Providence Township at a huge profit. It is also possible that he moved so that he could change churches as he may have been dissatisfied with the leadership at St David’s. The only way that we will know his motives for certain will be to ask him and for the time being that will have to wait until later (much later I hope.) In 1763, Richard Bull was selected as a vestryman at the Church of St Peter and he served in that role until 1771. It is also recorded that in 1775 the Richard Bull family donated 76 English pounds for new pews for the church. The Church of St Peter in the Great Valley is shown in the above photograph taken shortly after the end of the Civil War. The construction of the original stone church was completed in 1744 and looked when completed much the same as the photograph although somewhat smaller. The church’s location was only two miles northeast from the site of the Paoli Massacre, a Revolutionary War battle fought in September of 1777 and both British and American casualties of that battle are known to have been buried in the churchyard. There is also strong circumstantial evidence that the then-abandoned St Peter’s church building located less than three miles west of Washington’s encampment at Valley Forge in 1778 was used as a crude hospital for the Continental soldiers. The church is still in existence and is in use each Sunday. It is set in a rural area on the valley hills surrounding the Valley Creek that winds its way northeast to the area of Valley Forge where it joins the great Schuylkill River. While Richard Bull left the area of the church and moved westward in the early 1770s, it should be noted that his oldest son, Thomas Bull, my 5th great grandfather, remained a member of the Church of St Peter and served as a vestryman of the church from 1787 through 1799 and occupied the prominent No. 2 pew. This pew may have been purchased by Richard Bull for his son in 1775 as it is not clear Richard Bull was still living near the church as late as 1775.
It is astonishing that Richard Bull after only a little over a decade of living in the “Great Valley” in West Whiteland Township once again put his land up for sale. In the November 2, 1774 issue of “The Pennsylvania Gazette” his ad reads in part: “To be sold by the subscriber, a plantation, of 150 acres of good limest one land, lying in the Great Valley, about two miles from the Sign of the White Horse, 28 miles from Philadelphia, and 20 miles from Chester; it having about 80 acres cleared, all well fenced and in good repair, also two good dwelling houses, barn and stables, and other convenient outhouses, and about 20 areas of good watered meadow, and more may be made; also a good or chard; the whole well timbered and watered; the right is indisputable . . . .” It goes on to note than an additional 100 acres is included and the purchase can be made by applying to Richard Bull, “living on the premises.” His land finally sold in 1775 and his son John Bull purchased a portion of his father’s land.Richard Bull’s move with his two sons Henry and William to the Raccoon Valley located northwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania must have been premeditated. While the historical records are confusing and contradictory it appears that land was purchased in this area by the Bull family as early as 1763. In a history of the Bull Family it was noted that land was “warranted in the name of William Bull” on March 13, 1763 although this is conflict with information published on the historical website written by Perry County, Pennsylvania which states that the land was purchased by his brother Henry in 1763. In 1763, William was only 5 years old and his brother Henry was just 16 years old and I believe that it is safe to assume that it was their father who negotiated and purchased the land in the name of one of his sons, probably Henry. The location of their land is near the present day village of Donnally Mills and according to MapQuest the distance from their home in Chester County to their new land in Perry County is approximately 120 miles (Mark A to Mark B on map). Historical records seem to agree that on this new property between the years 1765 and 1767 a 3-story grist and saw mill was constructed of limestone followed afterwards by a stone dwelling. Since we know that Richard Bull was still an active member of the Church of St. Peter through 1771 which is the last year that he served as a vestryman and we also know that he occupied his home until 1775 at which time his land was sold, it appears that he may have traveled back and forth and spent some of his time at Donnally Mills assisting his young son getting his business started before finally moving himself, his wife and possibly his youngest son William (now 17) to Donnally Mills in 1775. Richard Bull was 61 years old in 1775 and pretty old to start his life again in what was mostly a wilderness area in the years just prior to the start of the American Revolution. The trip or the hard life in this new land may have cost Elizabeth Pawling Bull an early death, for there are no records of Elizabeth after 1775 and she is not buried with her husband in the Bull Hill Cemetery in Donnally Mills. Richard Bull however, was resilient for he lived until he reached the age of 85 finally passing away in 1799. The mill constructed by Henry Bull in the late 1760s still stands to this day (see photo). It was originally called Bull’s Mill although the name was changed to Donnally’s Mill when Henry sold the mill to Michael Donnally in 1836.
Before I continue this history story to the next generation on the interesting life of my 5th great grandfather, Thomas Bull, I think that it is worth diverting for a few paragraphs to narrate the history of Thomas Bull’s maternal grandparents and his great grandparents, the Pawling Family.
Generation #1: Henry Pawling (Birth date unknown - died 1692),Grandfather of Elizabeth Pawling, the wife of Richard Bull:
Henry Pawling arrived in America at an interesting time in American history as well as New York City history. On August 27, 1664, Henry, described in an historical account as “a gallant young Englishman of means, education, and enterprise”, was on board one of the four British war frigates that sailed into New Amsterdam’s harbor and demanded the surrender of the city and the land called by the Dutch as their New Netherlands. Two months later in October, the Dutch director-general, Peter Stuyvesant, formally ceded control of the city to the British commander and as we know, the city was later renamed New York after the current Duke of York (future King James II) and brother of the English King Charles II. Henry Pawling’s engagement in the takeover of the Dutch-controlled lands in North America marked the beginning of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. This war unlike so many wars caused by religious intolerances and struggles over the control of land, was a conflict caused primarily by mercantile competition and control over overseas trading routes. Furthermore, the Dutch controlled land in America represented for the British merchants, a much desired and lucrative trading partner once the Dutch were removed. The war itself which consisted mostly of naval battles, latest only until 1667, and except for the British retaining the City of New York under the terms of the Treaty, the Dutch immerged from the war as victors. The Dutch Republic was for the next few years at the “zenith of its power” with the world’s most powerful navy. In 1673, the Dutch briefly recaptured New Netherlands during the Third Anglo-Dutch War however, under a treaty signed in 1674, the city was again relinquished to English rule. Henry Pawling was to remain in America for the remainder of his life.
There are no records of where Henry Pawling lived in England. Some genealogists list him as hailing from Padbury in Buckinghamshire County, England although most historians now believe that our Henry Pawling is not the same Henry Pawling from Padbury who purchased land from William Penn in 1681 and shortly thereafter immigrated to Philadelphia. If Henry spent any time in London which no doubt he may have, he was very fortunate to have escaped the Black Plague which began in the spring of 1665 and at its climax killed seven thousand people in a single week. He also missed the Great Fire of London which started in September of 1666 just as the Plague was subsiding and burned for four days destroying much of London before it finally burned itself out. The date of Henry Pawling’s birth is unknown although the vast majority of the family trees on Ancestry.com list his birth date as 1650. Considering however, that he arrived in New Amsterdam in 1664 as a soldier and possibly as an officer, it seems extremely unlike that he was only fourteen years old at the time. Furthermore, if he were born in 1650 he would have been only 42 when he died in 1692 which is certainly possible in the 17th century, although the 1692 death date and the 1664 arrival date strongly hint to a more likely birth date of around 1640 or earlier. On the other hand, if Henry Pawling was born in 1640 he would have been 36 years old when he married 21-year old Neeltje Roosa on November 3, 1676 and 52 years old when his last child was born. I guess that I will have to be satisfied that I will never know the birth date of my 8th great grandfather. Fortunately, we do have many colonial records of Henry Pawling’s life in America.
Henry Pawling’s name first appears in the records when he was appointed to help layout lots in the town of Esopus (also known as Wiltwyck and later changed to Kingston) in November 1668. The village of Wiltwyck [“Kingston”] was located on a site of land where the Rondout Creek meets the Hudson River. This land was thought to be first used by Dutch fur traders in the early part of the 17th century. The first major settlement of Kingston occurred in 1652 when 60-70 settlers moved down from Fort Orange (Albany) and set up farms along the fertile flood plains of the Esopus and Rondout Creeks. In 1658, the Dutch authorities in New Amsterdam responded to Indian threats by sending soldiers to the settlement to aid in the construction of a stockade fort around the village (see sketch of the stockade to the left.) In 1660, the Aeldert (Albert) Heymans Roosa family, newly arrived from Holland, preceded up the Hudson River and settled in Kingston. With Albert Roosa were his wife and eight children including the future wife of Henry Pawling, my 8th great grandmother, Neeltje Roosa who in 1660 was about seven years old. In 1662, the Roosa family moved to the new settlement of Hurley (then called Nieuw Dorp) located along the Esopus Creek about four miles west of the stockade at Kingston. In 1663, the local Indians attacked the village of Hurley and the stockade at Kingston burning many homes, killing at least eighteen men, women and children, and kidnapping ten more (some report as many as 45 were captured) including two of the children of Albert and Wyntie Ariens Roosa. Albert was among the military party that subsequently subdued the Indians. Fortunately, the two Roosa children captured by the Indians were eventually returned. After the English gained control of New Netherlands in 1664, the new British governor, Richard Nicolls, placed a Captain Daniel Brodhead in command of the Kingston area. Apparently Brodhead mistreated the Dutch citizens in the area for in February 1667, the Dutch “burghers” revolted against the tyrannical conduct of Brodhead and his soldiers in what became known as the “Mutiny of Esopus”. One of the leaders of the revolt was my 9th great grandfather, Albert Heymans Roosa. He and others were subsequently arrested, tried, and found guilty and they were sentenced to be banished from the colony. Their sentence was later rescinded and Captain Brodhead who admitted to his ill-behavior was suspended from his command (and three months later he died.) It was in this volatile environment that our Henry Pawling was instructed by the governor to go to Kingston.
It is generally accepted that Henry Pawling was intelligent and well educated, and a “very influential man and a leader in public affairs” and a man of property. He probably was respected by his Dutch neighbors and hopefully by his father-in-law, Albert Heyman Roosa, and he obviously learned to speak fluent Dutch although he is known to have encouraged the Dutch Reformed church to offer services in both English as well as Dutch. It is believed that he was also able to speak the local Indian dialect. He was first ordered to proceed to the Kingston area in 1668 to help layout lots and to induce the English soldiers now living in the colony to settle in the area. He was also a member of a commission organizing the new villages of Marbleton, Hurley and Kingston and in 1669 while still serving as a British officer, he was made an “officer over the Indians” presumable with the responsibility of hearing Indian grievances and keeping the peace between the local Indians and the colonists. In 1670, Henry was commissioned to be “captain of the foot company”, the militia, for the towns of Marbleton (Mark C on map), Hurley (Mark B), and Kingston (Mark A) which was to immediately assume the responsibility for the security of the villages. At the same time the Crown soldiers that were garrisoned at Kingston were disbanded and encouraged to purchase land in the area.
Obviously the young and maybe impressionable Neeltje Roosa would have viewed Henry Pawling as an ideal choice for a husband despite his being a decade older. Everyone in the community knew Henry (although they may have known him as Henderick Palingh). Furthermore, Neeltje’s father was a sergeant in the militia and served under Captain Pawling, as did her older brother. Henry and Neeltje married on November 3, 1676 and they made their home in Marbleton about eight miles west of Kingston. Together they were to have eight children including their 7th child and youngest son, my 7th great grandfather, Henry Pawling Jr. who was born in 1689. Henry Pawling Sr. served as High Sheriff of Ulster County for four years beginning in 1684. Prior to his death in 1692, he was granted four thousand acres of land in Dutchess County (on the east side of the Hudson opposite Kingston)noted on early maps as the “Pawling Purchase.” Unfortunately he died before he was able to profit from the grant. The property was left in his will to his wife. Neeltje outlived her husband by over 50 years. Henry and Neeltje are excellent examples of how in America, people of two different cultures, English and Dutch, speaking different languages and attending different churches could marry and prosper, have children, and spread their inherent individual strengths into future generations.
Generation #3: Henry Pawling Jr. (1689-1739):
We learned in Chapter 21 of our family history blog, that my ancestor William Dewees lived on and owned during the American Revolution a portion of what today is the Valley Forge National Historic Park. I was pleasantly surprised to learn in my research of the Pawling family that my 7th great grandfather, Henry Pawling Jr., also owned a portion of the land that is presently within the Valley Forge National Historic Park. His property was located on the north side of the Schuylkill River. Several portions of the park have as their northern border, Pawling Road, obviously was named after the Pawling family who were very early settlers in this part of Pennsylvania.
Henry Pawling Jr. was born in his parent’s home in Marbleton, New York in the year 1689. He was under three years old when his father died and as there is no evidence that his mother ever remarried, Henry was probably raised by his mother and may have lived at his mother’s home until at the age of 24 he married 21-year old Dutch girl, Jacomyntje Kunst, on June 26, 1713. It is not clear exactly which village the Pawling family lived in Ulster County although genealogists list their first three children as having been born in Kingston including their third child and my 6th great grandmother, Elizabeth Pawling who was born on March 21, 1719. The only actual colonial record of Henry Pawling Jr. in Ulster County is his inclusion on a listing of soldiers in the “Marbleton Company of Foot” in an Ulster County Regiment of Militia in 1715. That that he served in a militia raised from Marbleton citizens suggests that their home was probably in Marbleton and not Kingston.
There is consensus that by September 1719, the Henry Pawling Jr. family had moved to their new home “in Lower Providence Township, on a plantation of five hundred acres at the confluence of the Schuylkill and Perkiomen [Rivers]. . .” Henry Pawling Jr. was only 30 years old when he moved his family from Ulster County, a distance of almost 180 miles. His older brother, John Pawling made the move with his family into Pennsylvania at almost the same time as Henry. The size of Henry’s land purchase (500 acres) and the location and quality of the land, described by one English diarist as “one of the most beautiful and healthful I have known either in England or America”, suggests that Henry Jr. was the beneficiary of some of his father’s wealth. If so blessed he nevertheless was able to prosper by his own efforts for it is written in a Pawling Family History that “. . Henry Pawling devoted himself to agriculture and reaped a competence. The inventory of his real and personal estate includes: eight slaves, eight horses, twenty-five cattle, thirty-one sheep and fourteen pigs.” Once again it is interesting to find another one of my ancestors as a slave owner and it is interesting to see that the slaves were included in a listing of livestock.
The Henry Pawling family, like the John Bull family their immediate neighbors to the north were early members of the St. James Church located near the present day city of Collegeville. Henry was listed as a vestryman in the first recorded meeting of the vestry in October of 1737 and he served in that capacity until his relatively early death in 1739. Henry is buried in the cemetery at St James Episcopal Church. The date and burial location of Jacomyntje is unknown although she may also be buried in a now unmarked grave in the cemetery at St. James. As we noted above their daughter Elizabeth married Richard Bull, the son of John and Elizabeth Bull. Thomas Bull, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Pawling Bull married Ann Hunter, the daughter of John Hunter and Ann Parry Hunter. Before we review the biographies of Thomas Bull and Ann Hunter, it is worth spending a few paragraphs discussing the parents and grandparents of Ann Hunter.
Generation #1: John Hunter (1667-1734):
John Hunter is the grandfather of Ann Hunter, my 7th great grandfather, and my great grandfather Eugene Ferree’s 4th great grandfather. We know almost nothing about the early childhood of John Hunter other then he was born in England in the year 1667 most likely to affluent parents in the gentry class. While some family historians have placed the year of his birth as 1664, the markings on his gravestone stated that he was 67 years old when he died in 1734 and I have seen no reason to question this statement. Historians also seem unable to agree as to exactly where he was born and how he ended up in Ireland. One common belief is that his “father was a prominent member of the Established Church of England” and “Upon the accession of King James II [who was a Roman Catholic] he moved to Rathdrum, Wicklow County, Ireland, to escape observation.” If this were the case, the move to Ireland would have taken place sometime after James II was crowned King of England in 1685. Even if we accept the fact that the family moved to Ireland around that time, it is unlikely a result of the fact that James II was a Roman Catholic. The Church of England was very powerful during that period and despite James’ attempts to encourage religious tolerances during his short reign such as allowing Catholics to serve as officers in the army and in civil serve positions, it seems doubtful that the Hunter family would have felt threatened by the Catholic King to the extent that the threat was a primary motive for relocating to “escape observation” especially to a county that was predominately Roman Catholic. In fact, one strong ally of King James II during this period was William Penn, himself a victim of religious intolerances. It seems a great deal more likely that the Hunter family head may have benefited from a grant of land in Ireland perhaps as a result of his father’s services in the military or in public service. This was a very common occurrence in this period of history and as you will recall both the William Penn family as well as my own Jasper Farmer family, were granted huge estates in Ireland for services rendered to the Crown. [See Chapter 15 of this Baker Family Tree history blog for more information on this subject.] There also seems to be a general consensus that the Hunter family lived in Northern England possibly in Yorkshire County where John Hunter’s brother Peter lived prior to his move to Ireland in the mid-1670s. I could find no convincing evidence however, to support the belief expressed by some family historians that John Hunter originally hailed from Medomsley in Durham County, England and was related to the prominent and ancient Hunter family that owned the estate known as Medomsley Hall. If there is a relationship, it has never been proven.
There are a surprising number of writings about the life of John Hunter although unfortunately many of the accounts are anecdotal in nature and many of the writings were probably based on earlier erroneous statements by others. While it is not unusual to find contradictions in historical accounts especially on the life of an individual who lived 300 years ago, in John Hunter’s case we find an unusual number of contradictions. The year of his birth, when and why he moved to Ireland, when he married his wife, the extent of his military career, when and why he emigrated to America, and the age and birth location of his children are all in question. In this historical account I have tried to offer my best interpretation as to the facts although I readily admit that there are valid reasons that others may disagree with my conclusions.
King James II was crowned King of England and Ireland in April of 1685 and almost immediately many prominent groups in England, namely Protestant members of the English Parliament and nobility as well as the clergymen with the Church of England, were unhappy with both James’ expressed and demonstrated belief in “absolute monarchy” (the King cannot be wrong), and with his attempts to increase the influence of Catholics both in public administrative offices as well as in the military under the guise of creating religious liberties for his English subjects. James II was as a Roman Catholic very much out of step with his countrymen who were overwhelmingly Anglican (Protestant) and very distrusting of Roman Catholics and the influence of the Pope. Furthermore, his efforts to raise his own army very much disturbed many in the English Parliament and finally in June of 1688, a small group of Protestant nobles invited William of Orange, the husband of James II’s daughter Mary, to come to England from Holland with an army to remove James II from power. William and Mary were both Protestants. Prince William arrived in November of 1688 and James rather than do battle with William’s army elected in December to escape to France. In France, James with the support of the French monarchy quickly raised an army to retake the English throne. In March of 1689, James with his French troops invaded Ireland where he immediately gained control of the island with the support of the native Irish who were predominately Roman Catholics. My great grandfather John Hunter as a Protestant Englishman living in Ireland, was obviously threatened by James and probably in anticipation of the invasion by James and his French army, may have removed himself in early 1689 to England to join the English forces or he may have stayed in Ireland and joined a Irish Protestant regiment organized to resist James’ invasion army.
We do not know for certain which regiment John Hunter attached himself to but it may very well have been Wynne’s Regiment of Enniskillen Dragoons, a regimental unit of horse soldiers that was initially formed in northern Ireland of Irish Protestants who had fled James’ invading forces. It is also possible that John Hunter went to England and joined Dragoons units such as the 4th and 5th Royal Dragoon Guards that were originally organized in England by King James II before he fled to France. The 4th and the 5th Dragoon Guards were known to have accompanied William of Orange when he went to Ireland with his army in June of 1690. What we do know is that John Hunter rode into battle on July 1, 1690 with 3,500 other cavalry soldiers alongside William of Orange and helped William defeat James and his French and Irish Catholic allies at the Battle of the River Boyne. John Hunter was only 24 years old when he rode into battle waving his broad sword over his head and it is hard to imagine that at this point in his short life, it was not the most exciting day of his life. The Battle of Boyne was the largest battle ever fought on Irish soil. It consisted of James’ army of 25,000 (of which 19,000 were Irish Catholics troops) against William’s army of 36,000 composed of Dutch, Danish, Swiss, and Huguenot troops as well as English, Scottish and Protestant Irish forces. At the conclusion of the battle that left behind around 2,000 casualties, a surprising small number considering the number of combatants, James’ army was left in defeat and James, the former King of England, escaped to France never again to return to England and reclaim his title. In fact, James was to be the last ruler of England to be of the Catholic faith. The Battle of the Boyne is significant in English history not only because of the defeat of James and the French, but also because it established for the next 200 plus years English control of Ireland’s politics and land ownership.
Many of the family biographies of John Hunter write that John Hunter’s military career culminated with the Battle of the Boyne and they further credit him with commanding a squadron of Dragoons during the battle. His young age of only 24 and his obvious lack of military experience make both of these assumptions a very unlikely possibility. It is far more likely as reported by other historians that John Hunter remained in the military for the next twenty years fighting the French and Irish in Ireland following the Battle of the Boyne, and later in the 1690s under the command of King William III against the French in Europe, and following the death of King William, fighting with the English army under the famous British commander, the Duke of Marlborough, in the War of Spanish Succession during the first decade of the 1700s. It was as a result of his achievements during these long years of war that John Hunter eventually rose to the rank of Captain.
During the period of my 7th great grandfather John Hunter’s life he was to be witness to a major change in the military power of England. Furthermore he was not just a witness to the changes but he was an active participant beginning with the “Glorious Revolution” in 1688 with the overthrow of England’s last Catholic King, King James II, the ascension of King William III, and the rising power of the English Parliament. King William III, the former William of Orange, sovereign Prince of the Dutch Republic and the other lowland countries, was to bring with him to the English throne (along with his wife Mary) the Dutch military forces which afforded him the power to defeat the French and Irish armies under King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. John Hunter is believed to be a standard bearer in the battle possibly in the cavalry unit known as “Coy’s Horse”, a regimental unit in King William’s army. When this regiment returned to England with King William after the battle, John Hunter remained in Ireland and joined the 5th Royal Regiment of Irish Dragoons which for the next year continued to battle the French and Irish forces in Ireland (sans King James II and William III) until the French and Irish forces were defeated at Aughrim on July 12, 1691. The Battle at Aughrim is known to be the bloodiest battle ever fought on Irish soil with 7,000 casualties and 38,000 participants.
It is assumed that after the last battle in Ireland, John Hunter remained with his Regiment garrisoned in Fermoy in County Cork until they were deployed in April 1694 to France to fight with King William’s army. While it is not entirely clear when John Hunter married his wife Margaret Albin, my 7th great grandmother, most sources believe that it was during this period of relative peace in Ireland in 1693 that they married and had their first child, a daughter Mary, who was born in 1694 possibly after John’s deployment to Europe. John Hunter remained with the 5th Dragoons fighting the French until peace was signed ending the inconclusive war in 1696 and the Regiment and John Hunter returned to Ireland.
Presumably John Hunter remained attached with his Regiment during the period of relative peace with France following the end of what is known today as the “Nine Years War” (1688-1697) or King William’s War here in North America, although no doubt much of his time was probably spent with his wife and growing family on their farm in Wicklow, Ireland located south of Dublin. By the time that war was again declared with France and his Regiment was marched back to mainland Europe in 1702, the Hunter family had grown to four children including my 6th great grandfather, John Hunter Jr. who was born in Wicklow Ireland in 1698.
This new war, later known as the War of Spanish Succession because of the endorsement by King Louis XIV of France of his grandson’s claim to the Spanish throne, a claim that would greatly increase France’s power in Europe, began in 1701 and officially ended with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The war was a world war in every sense of the word with the forces of the Grand Alliance consisting principally of the armies of Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Prussia, Portugal, and Austria aligned against the armies of France, Spain, and Bavaria. It is estimated that over the course of the war over 500,000 men were engaged and tens of thousands of men were killed. Most of the major battles were large, savage, and costly in human life. History records that the Royal Dragoons of Ireland participated in all of the major battles of the war and in the “History Records of the Fifth (Royal Irish) Lancers” [or the Royal Dragoons of Ireland as they were known at the time] written by Walter Temple Willcox and published in 1908, John Hunter’s name is mentioned several times including the notations that he fought with the Irish Dragoons from 1694-1697 with the rank of Quartermaster, he held the rank of Cornet at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 where he was wounded (and received extra pay as a result), and he fought with the rank of a lieutenant at the Battle of Malplaquet in 1709. It is fortunate that my 7th great grandfather was not killed during this period considering the wholesale loss of life at the numerous battles fought over the course of the War of the Spanish Succession. At the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 there were over 30,000 casualties, at the Battle of Ramillies in 1706 there were estimated 23,000 casualties, at Oudenarde in 1708, 18,000 casualties, and at the last major battle of the war, and the most costly battle, the Battle or carnage at Malplaquet fought in 1709, there were 32,000 casualties in the one day battle that involved 160,000 combatants. The hip wound that John Hunter suffered at Blenheim while leaving him with a slight limp for the rest of his life, was far better than a loss of life that struck down so many of his fellow comrades. John Hunter may have left the Irish Dragoons after 1709 and the only further mention of his name in the records is as a Captain of Foot in 1713 near the end of the war. It is this title of captain for which he is best known in the family history accounts but it is abundantly clear that he did not hold the title of Captain at the Battle of Boyne in 1690 as is reported in some Hunter family history stories. John Hunter retired from the military sometime in 1713 and he returned to his farm in Ireland. He was 46 years old in 1713 and he was undoubtedly exhausted from his years in the military: his old wound probably still bothered him on a daily basis and he must have resigned himself to the fact that he was too old to ride his horse into battle waving his sword and firing his pistol at the enemy. The European community and British people were also exhausted both emotionally and financially from the long years of war. The years of war however had a profound effect on the balance of power. The power of France to dominate Europe had been broken and the greatness of England had been established. George I was crowned King of England in 1714 and the period of “The First British Empire” was at its beginning.
Every narrative about the life of John Hunter always mentions his enduring friendship with Anthony Wayne. The store is worth repeating not only because of the length of their friendship but also because Anthony Wayne was the grandfather of “Mad” Anthony Wayne one of George Washington’s prominent and favorite generals during the American Revolution. The two men probably meet sometime around 1689 when they both joined the Protestant forces in Ireland who were engaging the invasion army of James II. Both men fought together at the Battle of Boyne in 1690 and later in Europe in Dragoon units fighting under King William III and later under the Duke of Marlborough. As friends they probably retired back to their farms in Wicklow, Ireland about the same time to raise their families. While there is some disagreement as to whether or not they actually immigrated to America with their families on the same ship, there is no disagreement that they settled near one another near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, or that their families attended the same church and shared the same pew, and that they and their families and many of the descendants are all buried near one another in the church graveyard. As one website described the relationship, it was “A Friendship that Endured” despite the extremes of their lives in war and in emigrating to a new world late in their lives. It is a remarkable story of friendship.
All of my ancestors emigrated from Europe or England to America and most of them emigrated in the 17th and 18th centuries. In almost all cases the reason that they emigrated to America was to seek religious freedom or to escape religious persecution in their homeland. In a few cases the reason for their emigration was economical such as the circumstance of an indentured servant or a family trying to escape poverty. In one case, one of my ancestors was transported to America as a prisoner, and another as a military officer who elected to remain behind in America rather than to return to his home in England. The reason that John Hunter elected to emigrate with his family to America in 1722 is not readily apparent. He was not seeking religious freedom for he and his family were members of the Church of England and while Ireland was predominately Roman Catholic where he lived, the political and financial power in Ireland at the time was in the hands of Englishmen who were all Protestants. Furthermore, he was not forced to leave Ireland purely for financial reasons as he obviously had the capital to afford the expensive trip to America, purchase 1,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania, and build a large family homestead. The reason for the family leaving Ireland is complex and probably speculative.
John Hunter was 55 years old when he embarked on the ship headed for America with his family and their friends, the Wayne family, in 1722. The youngest Hunter child, James, was only eight years old when he left his home. Their oldest daughter, Mary, had left for America a few years earlier with her husband William Hill, and while they had heard little from Mary in the interim, what she wrote about her new life in America was mostly positive. Mary and William had married in 1717 shortly before their departure. John Hunter was probably disgusted or at least disillusioned with the conditions he found in Ireland upon his return from the war. The country was in the midst of both political and social unrest. The tariff and trade restrictions placed by the British government on the export of Irish grown cattle and wool had lead to a gradual economic decline in Ireland that was aggregated even further by unreliable weather conditions that resulted in food shortages particularly among the poor Irish Catholics. The famous Irish author Jonathan Swift [“Gulliver’s Travels”], a contemporary of John Hunter and an outspoken critic of the English Parliament’s treatment of Ireland, wrote a pamphlet in 1720, “A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture . .”, that attacked Parliament and proposed that Ireland refuse to export their products. Temple Scott wrote in his extensive footnotes to a 2008 electronic reprint of Swift’s famous pamphlet the following that may help to understand why the Hunter’s and the Wayne’s left Ireland, “An Impartial historian is forced to the conclusion that England had determined to ruin the sister nation. Already its social life was disreputable; the people taxed in various ways far beyond their means; the agriculture at the lowest state by the neglect and indifference of the landed proprietors; and the manufactures crippled by a series of pernicious restrictions imposed by a selfish rival.” The Hunter’s probably sold their land to an Englishman whose only intention was to subdivide and rent the land to Irish farmers. Absentee ownership of Irish land was very common in 18th and 19th century Ireland.
Some writings by family historians and genealogists claim that the Hunter family immigrated to America in 1711 and not 1722. I believe that there is enough evidence to disprove or at least cast doubt on this earlier date. Most historians believe that the Hunter daughter, Mary, and her husband William Hill preceded the Hunter family to America. If this is true, Mary Hunter would have still be a child of only 14 or 15 when she married and moved to America in 1709 or 1710. This is most unlikely and most historians believe that they emigrated between 1717 and 1720. Furthermore, John Hunter is listed as one of the executors of his father-in-law’s will prepared in 1720 in Ireland. It does not seem reasonable to believe that his father-in-law would have made John Hunter an executor of his will, if nine years earlier John had moved to America. Incidentally, his father-in-law, James Albin, died in 1722 and while this may only be a coincidence, his death may have made it easier for the family to leave Ireland. We also know that the Anthony Wayne family emigrated to America in 1722 (or 1723 as some report). Anthony and John and their families were close friends and I have trouble believing that had John Hunter moved to America in 1711, his close friend Anthony would have waited more than a decade to follow. There is also a strong family tradition that the Hunter family with the Wayne family emigrated together in 1722. John Hunter’s great grandson, Edward Hunter (1793-1883), the 3rd Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (in Salt Lake City, Utah), writing in his autobiography stated that his father told him that his grandfather, John Hunter, had crossed the Atlantic with Anthony Wayne. As I stated, I believe that John Hunter did not settle in Pennsylvania as early as 1711 and I believed that they traveled with the Wayne family to America in 1722.
The home pictured to the left was built by John Hunter for his family in 1722/23 near Newtown Square (Newtown Township) in Chester County (now Delaware County), Pennsylvania about twelve miles west of the City of Philadelphia. The John Hunter home is still in existence to this date and is currently owned by a private family. The Hunter Family joined the St David’s Church (then an Anglican church (Church of England)) located in Wayne, PA about four miles north of their home. Wayne, PA is named after General Anthony Wayne, grandson of John Hunter’s friend Anthony Wayne. The city was obviously not in existence when the Hunter and Wayne families joined the church in 1723. John Hunter is listed in the church records as having been a vestryman in 1725 and his family shared a common pew near the front of the church with the Wayne family which obviously cost the families a large donation to the church fund. John Hunter died at the age of 67 in April of 1734 and he is buried in the church graveyard. His friend Anthony Wayne followed him in death in the year 1739. They are buried near one another in the graveyard as are “four score” of John Hunter’s descendants as well as many of Anthony Wayne’s descendants. (St David’s Episcopal Church is pictured to the right).
In the next chapter of my Pennsylvania Ancestors, I will cover the life of John Hunter’s son, John Hunter Jr. and his wife, Ann Parry and her family. I will also narrate a biography of Thomas Bull who married the daughter of John and Ann Hunter. John Hunter is an ancestor of my great grandfather Eugene Hutchinson Ferree.