Evan and Richard Thomas, Wales to Hilltown, PA
Original, documented research concerning 3 generations of the family of the first Evan Thomas of Hilltown. Evan Thomas researchers beware. There has been a lot of confusion regarding Evan Sr and Junior.
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Common mistakes regarding Evan Thomas, Sr. first Evan of Hilltown
1721-1766 | Hilltown, Bucks County
Evan and Richard Thomas researchers beware. There has been a lot of confusion regarding Evan Sr and Junior. Evan Sr. came from Wales with his wife MARY. It's his son, Evan, Jr also born in Wales, who married Margaret Mathews, daughter of Simon Mathew. Richard's parents are Mary and Evan, Evan Jr was his brother. Both Evan Sr and Jr died in c1766 in Bucks County. This has caused confusion as to where and when Evan Sr. died. Richard, son of Evan, Sr also had a son named Evan. There were three Evans in Hilltown and New Britain at the same time--all the same family.
Another problem arises from confusion with the family of Evan and Mary Thomas, of Llanykeaven, Pembrokeshire who arrived c1682. Evan Sr. of Hilltown and New Britain is not their son. They were Quakers. Evan of Hilltown was a Baptist, arriving from Pembrokeshire c1720. Nor is Evan of Hilltown in anyway connected to an Evan and Margaret of Doloran, Pendecar, Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Evan Thomas, Sr. and Junior died within a few months of each other--Evan, Sr very late December 1765 or very early Jan. 1766. The New Britain Baptist Church was just beginning to record deaths so their church book had many missing entries. It takes a bit of analysis to determine that it was Evan Sr who died or at least was buried there on January 1, 1766--eight years after his last known land record. However, Edward Mathews, Bucks County historian, was quite clear that it was Evan, Sr. Evan, Jr's death in April/May 1766 was not recorded in the church book--court records do show probate initiated on May 6, 1766, however. Far too long after the January death in the church book for it to be Evan, Jr. as probate took place very quickly to protect the assests for heirs and creditors. From Feb-April 1766 several wills were proved in close promixity to Hilltown, so if Evan Jr. had died prior to mid April 1766 there was ample opportunity for a probate hearing before May.
A few have confused Evan Sr. with an Evan Thomas of Loudoun County who died in 1757. However, Evan Sr.'s death in 1766 in Bucks County along with the fact that the Evans' marks on legal documents in 1755 and 1757 are very different, rule Evan of Loudoun out completely. While it was not required that the marks be consistent there is a big difference in one month between those made in Bucks County and the mark on the 1757 Loudoun County will. The professional genealogist with a background in law and those fellow librarians experienced in working with early documents whom I consulted agreed. Their experience was that even our most illiterate ancestors were fairly consistent in how they made their marks, especially when it was something more than a simple X.
Evan Thomas, Father of Richard
c1685-1766 | Wales and Bucks County, PA
From The Thomas Family of Hilltown, Bucks County, Penn" by Edward Matthews 1884: " Lewis Thomas and Evan Thomas, both Welshman, were among the earlier settlers of Hilltown, holding lands in the western portion, near Rieff's corner, and eastward of the village Telford.
Evan Thomas was born between 1675-1685 in Wales, probably in the vicinity of the Rhydwilym Chapel in Pembrokeshire; died 1766 in Bucks County. He married Mary before 1710 in Wales. She died 1721 in Pennsylvania. He then was married to Elizabeth, briefly, and then Sarah by 1732 as confirmed by two deeds of land sale attached. Sometime after 1738 he probably married Ann as confirmed by a 1757 land transaction. I believe that the Evan Thomas Sr (i)in Hilltown and (II) New Britain were the same man based on land and church records. The last known land record in Bucks County was in 1757 (II).
He was dismissed to New Britain Baptist Church in 1755 (I). Edward Mathews writes that he found an entry for Evan Thomas’ (Sr) death in New Britain Baptist Church records for Jan. 1 1776 (1766?). He quotes from church book: "1776, January 1st; Evan Thomas died." However, this may not be the correct year. There is another entry from church book: "Jan 1766, Brother Evan Thomas was dead and buried at the Society." Evan Thomas Jr was always referred to as Evan Thomas Jr in these church records--so the church records of the death of Evan apply to Evan Sr. It seems that both Evan Sr. and his son, Evan, Jr. died in 1766, possibly from illness or accident as Evan Jr. died intestate. Bonds were posted for Evan Jr.'s estate and Margaret, his wife, was appointed to adminster the estate on May 6, 1766--so Evan had died shortly before that.
No will has been located in Bucks County for Evan, Sr. However, it's very likely that he settled his estate with his children before he died. I believe he (II) sold his farm in 1757 because he was no longer able to farm. At that time he would have arranged for his and Ann’s ongoing care and for the distribution of any remaining estate thus no formal will nor probate was required. Special notice should be taken to avoid confusing the Evan Thomas who died 1757 in Loudoun County with Evan Sr. It is impossible both because Evan of Bucks' death is confirmed for 1766 in Bucks County and the two Evans had completely different marks.
Children of Evan and Mary:
i. Richard Thomas, born Bet. 1710 - 1716 in Wales; died 1776 in Hilltown, Pennsylvania; married Elizabeth Walton 1736 in Abington Meeting, PA
ii. Diana married John Mathews, son of Simon and brother to Edward and Margaret Mathews
iii Evan, Jr. married Margaret Mathews in 1742 in Philadelphia Presbyterian Church. Died 1766
iv. Joseph married Martha Lewis in Philadelphia, Presbyterian Church in 1737. Ordained Baptist minister 1766 New Britain, PA. He was in 1766 dismissed to Loudoun County, Virginia to establish New Valley Baptist Church near Lucketts there.
Evan's (I) arrival in Hilltown in 1721 is confirmed by biographical information for his son, Joseph from Va Baptist Register XXXIX: "Joseph Thomas b.1718 Wales, came to Hilltown in 1721 with parents. Joseph baptized by Benjamin Griffith in 1730 in Montgomery Church, Montgomery Co. Pa. Ordained at New Britain in 1766, preached 1750-60". Also
Materials Towards A History of the Baptists by Morgan Edwards
While Mathews says above that the Evan Thomas (I) of Hilltown family was not Baptist, this applied to Richard not his father or siblings. *Mathews corrects this in later works. In 1720 the Montgomery (PA) Baptist Church received Evan and Mary Thomas from the Pembrokeshire, Wales Baptist Church. This church was the first Baptist Church in Pembroke--Rhydwilym. Statistics from Table 1 of the Transatlantic Brethren by Samuel Jones shows the only 1720 arrivals to Montgomery Baptist were a man and a woman from Rhydwilym--Evan (I) and Mary. On Rhydwilym’s c1696 church records is an Evan Thomas with wife Joan from Pembrin, County of Cardican (Penbryn, County of Cardigan). This might be the same Evan but this can't be known.
Also there are two Thomas Evan who were baptized in 1704 & 1706 at Rhydwilym—could be he or his father. The church of Rhydwilym had a wide geographical ambit, from mid-Cardigan to Amroth by the sea, from Haverfordwest to Llanllawddog. But after 1700 it began to become more concentrated in the vicinity of the Rhydwilym Chapel; other churches having been established in those areas more distant.
The early membership at Montgomery and other Pennsylvania Baptist church were monoglot Welshmen. They settled near each other to speak the language and maintain their communities. Most of very first members at Montgomery were from Rhydwilym.
Montgomery Baptist Church records:
Evan and Mary Thomas arrived from the Baptist Church Pembrokeshire, Wales 1720
Mary, wife of Evan Thomas died 12//22/1721
Elizabeth, wife of Evan Thomas received Jan. 1724
Died, 10/28/1724 Elizabeth wife of Evan Thomas
1726 Evan Thomas "cut off" for several untruths and oft repeated drunkenness
1755 Evan Thomas dismissed to New Britain Church.
Church records show Diana, Evan, Jr. & Joseph Thomas, children of Evan Thomas (I) baptized 1730. So it can be assumed that Evan (I) was reinstated as two of the children were minors. Evan Sr (I) was received in New Britain with his daughter, Diana, and son, Joseph, on October 30th, 1755. There is no record of his dismissal later to Virginia or anywhere although other dismissals are recorded. The fact that he was transferred with two his children would indicate no rift with them in 1755.
I have not been able to find the earliest property records for land for Evan (I) and Lewis Thomas near Reiff's corner that Mathews referenced. The only Evans, father and son, who had land in earliest Hilltown immigrated to PA 1720 and moved to Hilltown in 1721. They may have been tenants or squatters or the deeds were not recorded but traced from later transactions. During 1720's & 30's Evan (I) owned a great deal of land southeast of the large tract owned by Andreas Van Buskirk. It may be this land about which Mathews was talking--it is not too far from Reiff's Corner, east of Telford and in the western part of the township.
Although there could have been an earlier record, the first Hilltown record I found for Evan (I) was in 1724 on the southeast side of land Andreas Van Buskirk sold to Bernard Young. Young's and Evan's property in 1730 was divided by the "Great Road", today the Hilltown Pike. The general location of this property appears to be in the southwestern part of the town east of Chalfont Road, south of Hilltown Pike and west of Callowhill Road.
He bought 200 acres in this area from Edward Farmer and William Lowther in 1729. This property is on or near the Hilltown/New Britain border and is described only as being in Bucks County. Although one tract is known to have adjoined Van Buskirk, William Thomas, and John Humphrey and the other adjoined land of said Evan on the northwest side and was said to already be in his possession.
In 1732 Evan Sr., and Sarah (wife) Thomas sold property in Hilltown to John Lewis near Frets Mill. At the time of the sale the record described him as Evan Thomas, yeoman, Hilltown. This property along with above mentioned one totaling 200 acres was bought for 10 shillings from Edward Farmar/Farmer and William Lowther in 1729. In 1738 Evan Sr. and Sarah passed by contract the 2nd 100 acres acquired in 1729 to Evan Jr. It does appear that the majority of the land that was originally shown as belonging to the Evans on the 1876 map attached eventually belonged to Evan, Jr. probably as gifts.
No marriage record or death date has been found for Sarah. Nor is there any evidence documentary or circumstantial that she and Evan had any children. Nothing more is known about her, although it is possible that she was connected to either the Farmer or Lowther family. When property was sold for an undervalued price as the above property was it is often because there is a relationship by marriage of some sort between the two parties to the sale. William Lowther was part of the Abington Monthly Meeting at the time Richard Thomas, Evan Sr's son, and Elizabeth Walton were married there. Perhaps there is a connection there.
Another 150 acre tract of land in New Britain was warranted in 1734 by Evan Thomas Sr (II). The northeasterly border began at the Green Hill School House on Callowhill Rd. running southwest 201 perches, then southeasterly for almost a mile to Ferry Road. In 1757 this piece of land where Evan and Ann appear to have lived was sold to Edward Mathew, son of Simon, brother-in-law to two of Evan's children. Mathew may even have allowed Evan and Ann to remain on the property as he owned a mill and a dwelling house near Fretz Mill which he didn’t sell and along with other land until 1760. His occupation is noted as miller in the 1757 deed from Evan Thomas.
Edward Mathews, author, wrote a piece first published in the Doylestown Democrat in 1800's about this property that was then known as the Sliffer Homestead that on the attached map of New Britain would be the J. Funk property.
EVAN Jr. married to MARGARET MATHEWS
The following file #400 applies to Evan, Jr. not Sr.(I) who bought property on his father's line in 1734 and mortgaged it in 1749. Evan, Jr. also bought property in Hilltown in '36 and sold it in ’44. (A point of interest Evan, Jr. signed his full name on one document and later used a mark. This could be related to incapacity of some sort as well. He died fairly young and appeared to have some financial hardship.)
Orphan's Court File #400 - Evan Thomas, Hilltown
Dec 8, 1766 - Widow Margaret. Sons John and Benjamin over 14 petition for guardians. Thomas Jones, Jr. appointed for John, Joseph Lunn for Benjamin. There were other children who were not minors--papers mention several children, male and female, who are unnamed. There is a very good chance that two of the daughters were Jane and Rebekka.
Source: Book 1, Orphans Court Records, Bucks Co., Pa. Margaret was ordered by court to sell all land and mansion house to cover debts and expenses for children. The land totaling 115+ acres was purchased by David Mathias. At least 20 additional acres had been sold to Ebezner Owen.
Margaret and her sons went to Fauquier, VA about 1771, probably with her brother, Edward Mathew based on the following court records. She and John buy land there. John marries Anna and dies in 1776.
John Thomas: Deed Book 4, pg. 163, 1771 - William & Judith Grant sell him and Margaret Thomas 353 a. on Bisket Mtn. and Wolf Trap Br. Minutes
Book 5, pg. 274, October 1776 - Anna Thomas granted admin. (no inv. found).
Deed Book 7, pg. 255, 1777 - settlement by Anna Thomas and sec(urity) Edward Matthews with heirs and creditors of est(ate).: Margaret Thomas, widow of Evan; Benjamin Thomas; bond to Thomas Jones of Bucks Co., PA re: payment obligations to orphans of Evan; Anna relinquishes dower; to leave land of John Thomas at year-end; bros. and sisters of John release claims on her; James and Kimber Barton, wit.
Source: John K. Gott/Fauquier County Courthouse records March 1777. Articles of Agreement. Bet. Anne Thomas, widow of John Thomas, dec'd and Edward Matthews of first part, and Margaret Thomas, widow and Benjamin Thomas of the other part .. John Thomas in his lifetime was indebted to
Margaret Thomas for £70 and John & Margaret Thomas gave their bond to one Thomas Jones of Bucks Co., Pa. for securing payment of sums owed to several orphans of Evan Thomas, the dec'd. husband of the sd. Margaret. Anna Thomas gave up her dower and other possessions to be released of the claims of Benj. and Margaret Thomas and any other of his brothers and sisters. She to retain the plantation where she lives until the 1Oth of Dec. Signed: Anna Thomas, Edward Matthew, Marg (M) Thomas, Benjamin Thomas Wits: W. Ellzey, Kimber Barton, James Barton Rec: 27 March 1780, ack. by Matthew and Thomas and prov. by o. of William Ellzey.
Marriage Bond 2/14/1788 to Catherine Glasscock, bondsman,> James Lawler. 98 acres granted him (Benjamin) as heir-at-law of , John Thomas on N side of Piney and Biskett Mtns. adjoining own land.
Deed book 12, pg. 40, 1793 and book 14, pg. 113, 1794 - He and Catherine sell Burr Powell of Loudoun (Co.) land descended to him on death of John and Margaret Thomas.
Sources for Evan Thomases of Hilltown
1) Genealogical Material copied by Mrs. Philip Meridith Allen, Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, over a period of years, also by Miss Elma C. Bishop, Berwick, Pennsylvania, Wilcox-Roads-Rhoads
2) The Thomas Family of Hilltown, Bucks, Penna by Edward Matthews. "Wandering through Historic Hilltown" Edward Matthews. Matthews researched early land records of the Hilltown area while writing of another Thomas family in the area.
3) Byberry Waltons, 3rd edition, Norman Walton Swayne
4) Bucks County Deed Book; Bucks County Grantor/ Grantee Index
5) History of Montgomery Baptist Church, Edward Mathews
6) Va Baptist Register XXXIX
7) Papers read before the Society and other historical papers, Bucks County Historical Society. Louis Ely Thompson. 1937
8) Transatlantic Brethren: Rev. Samuel Jones (1735-1814) and His Friends : Baptists in Wales, Pennsylvania, and Beyond (Google eBook)
9) Judy Russell. The Legal Genealogist. legal.genealogist.com
10) Bucks County Probate Records, Orphans' Court Records 1766-1801 vol 1-2
11) The Sliffer Homestead, Edward Mathews, Doyletown Democrat, before 1887
12) New Britain Baptist Church Record Book, 1754-
13) Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants, 1694-1742. [Vol. I]
14) A HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS - Volume - 2 - By Morgan Edwards A.M.
Church and Court Records Confirm Death Dates--1766 of Evan Sr and Evan, Jr in Bucks County
1766 | Bucks County
The first record known to belong to Evan in Philadelphia area was at the Montogmery Baptist Church. He may however arrived a little earlier. Evan Thomas arrived in Hilltown with his wife, Mary, and four children in 1721—Evan, Jr., Richard, Diana and Joseph in 1721. Here he became a large land holder. There has been a great deal of confusion caused as to which land records belong to him and which to his son, Evan Jr. Land and court records didn’t often differentiate between father and son. However, church records always did—therein lies the answer.
Father and Son die in Bucks County, 1766
Evan Thomas Sr. died in Hilltown in 1766 confirmed by the following facts from Mathews, Historian, Bucks County land records, and NBBC church records. Evan Sr was dismissed to New Britain Baptist Church in 1755 where he remained until his death. He is missing from the 1764 list of members possibly because of oversight or he was no longer active in the church. For whatever reason this happened, his death was noteworthy as his son, Joseph, was ordained there. His son-in-law, John Mathew, was a deacon. Evan, himself along with wife, Mary, had come from the first Baptist church in Wales to become a very early member at Montogmery and in 1755 one of the earlier member at New Britain Baptist Church.
The first death in NBBC records is Brother Evan Thomas in Jan. 1766. Edward Mathews writes that he found an entry for Evan Thomas’ (Sr. ) death in New Britain Baptist Church records for Jan. 1 1776 (1766?). He quotes from church book: "1776, January 1st; Evan Thomas died." However, this is not the correct date--likely a typo. There is a New Britain land record for 1774 which refers to the land of the late Evan Thomas. Since Evan had died only 8 years earlier in Bucks County the surveyors knew of his death.
There is another entry from church book: "Jan 1st. 1766, Brother Evan Thomas was dead and buried at the Society." Both records apply to Evan Sr. as church records always differentiated with a suffix when they were referring to Evan Jr--in 1758 in his dismission to NBBC and in the last entry for him in 1764 in the membership list--meaning his father was still alive at that time and in the area.
Orphan Court Records also confirm that Evan Jr. died that year. So both Evan Sr. and his son, Evan, Jr. died in the same year. Evan Jr. died intestate. Bonds were posted for the estate and Margaret was appointed administratrix on May 6, 1766, meaning he had died shortly before that. His death was not reported at the church perhaps because he might not have been buried there or perhaps because this was still not always recorded. The next death is in 1767.
Given that Edward Mathews, was not only an expert on local Baptist church records and but also an Evan Thomas Sr. descendant, considered the entry he found "significant" and found it to apply to Evan, Sr, it is very unlikely otherwise. That would be consistent with other church book entries. Mathews stayed in the Hilltown area his whole life, writing much about its history in the mid to late 19th century being privy to much oral history of Bucks County.
He had the advantage of seeing all the various records from the church at one time allowing him to know which applied to father and which to son. Without that same advantage careful assessment is needed to know to which Evan the January entries applied to avoid mistaking them for Evan, Jr. Such an assumption as led researchers to confuse father and son, as well as, on at least one occasion Evan Sr. was confused with an Evan in Loudoun County who died in 1757. However, there is documentation that these men are not the same person. Among other things, in addition to Mathews' confirmation Evan Sr. died 1766 in Bucks County, these two men used clearly different marks on documents in 1755 & 1757.
It is interesting to note that before Evan Sr.'s death is recorded an entry in December of 1765 that his son, Joseph, has been given permission to go to Loudoun County to found a Baptist church. In Jan. 1766 there is a note that several people of the Baptist persuasion are going with him.
1710-1776 | Wales to PA
From The Thomas Family of Hilltown, Bucks County, Penn" by Edward Matthews 1884: Evan's son Richard, succeeded him and they remained up to the time of the Revolution. They were not Baptists as were the other family of which this history relates. They were large landholders, were esteemed wealthy and aristocratic, and held a number of slaves. On the upper Bethlehem turnpike, half a mile above the divergence of the highway from the county line, near the blacksmith shop of Leonard Smith (Lee Fluck Farm), was the family grave yard, where besides family a considerable number of their slaves were buried. This burial place has now been ploughed over, and there is little to indicate that it was once the place of interment of a prominent and wealthy family of the colonial days. When the Revolutionary war broke out the sons of Richard Thomas, William and Evan became Tories and entered the British army. The former was a captain, and the latter accepted a commission and raised a troop of horsemen. He made several incursions into Bucks county, and was at the Battle of Crooked Billet (Hatboro), May 15, 1778. Their lands were confiscated by their treason, and at the close of the war they accepted lands in Nova Scotia from the British government. Evan Thomas afterwards returning to Hilltown and removing his family thither."
Richard Thomas, born Bet. 1710 - 1716 in Wales; died 1776 in Hilltown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Evan Thomas and Mary who died in 1721. The family had arrived at the Montgomery Baptist Church in 1720. Evan and his family were living in Hilltown by 1721 and Evan became a large landholder. After Mary he married Elizabeth and by 1733 had married Sarah. It may be Sarah who was Richard's link to the Abington Monthly Meeting.
Richard married Elizabeth Walton 1736 in Abington Meeting, PA. She was born Abt. 1718 in Pennsylvania (Byberry), and died 1785 in Hilltown, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Joshua Walton and Cassandra Albertson
Noted historian Edward Mathews is the primary source for information regarding Evan and his son, Richard. Mathews' information likely came from oral history as no primary materials have been found to document Evan and Richard's relationship. Mathews was a descendant of Richard's sister, Diana Thomas Mathews. No doubt he was privy to a great deal of family legend. It seems that Evan could have been a brother to Lewis Thomas. Lewis' children followed the Welsh naming pattern to use Lewis as a surname.
Papers read before the Society and other historical papers, Bucks County Historical Society. Louis Ely Thompson.1937. "Edward Mathews, in writing about the Thomases of Hilltown, says that Evan Thomas' family was of Welsh descent, that they were not related to the other Thomases of that township, and that they were an aristocratic and wealthy family possessed of much land and several slaves. Their home was near Rieff's Corner. William and Evan Thomas (Richard's son) were grandsons of the first Evan in Hilltown." I have been able to document that there was only one Evan in Hilltown in the early years which I consider proof that Richard is the son of Evan from Pembrokeshire who came to Hilltown in 1721 per Baptist history.
Evan was a Baptist but there is no record of Richard's having been baptized or having been a church member. However, there is a very curious entry in the Montogomery Baptist Church book: 1731, Nov. 16, baptized Elizabeth Walton. This does raise the possibility that Richard had been baptized and that Elizabeth, despite her Quaker heritage, had been as well. At some point she then returned to the Quaker fold bringing Richard with her.
Richard was a Quaker at the time of his marriage. This has led some researchers to conclude that Richard was descended from Quakers. However, an extensive search of Quaker materials revealed no information about Richard prior to his marriage to Elizabeth. There are no Abington records of his transfering to that meeting or of his having been born in Montgomery County. Mathews felt he was a native of Wales--since there is no record of his having been born in Pennsylvania this appears likely. All his children were eventually dismissed from the Gwynedd MM-William for marrying out and other misconduct. Martha for conceiving a child out of wedlock. All the others for marrying out. It does not appear that the Quaker belief was a very strong influence on Richard or his children
Richard received a patent for land along the Saucon Creek in Northampton County, PA in 1739. However, he abandoned it to move to Hilltown.
From the " Wandering through Historic Hilltown" a collection of old historical articles written by Edward Mathews: "It was in 1740 that Henry Paxon sold to Richard Thomas, as much as 320 acres situated along the county line. This extended for perhaps a mile ana a half along the townships' boundaries and northeast half a mile over the rugged regime of hill and dale. This was part of the 650 acres Jeremiah Langhorne hand sold to Henry Paxon. This was sold to Richard Thomas for 690 pounds--indicating no improvements. This piece extended along the county line for 440 perches, climbing the long slope above Reiff's Corner and over the rolling country beyond.
" This Thomas family waxed thriving and prosperous, were considered somewhat aristocratic and were slave holders. In the tax list of 1774 we have the names Richard Thomas and his son, Evan Thomas. the death of Richard Thomas took place in 1776. His son, Levi Thomas inherited 162 acres, or one-half of the tract bought in 1740."
Richard and his family moved from Lower Dublin, which today is part of Philadelphia, about 1745. Mathews believed he was about 70 at the time of his death and was not certain where he lived on his plantation which included in 1880 the lands of Appenzeller, Fluck, Zearfoos, Brandt and Nyce. Appenzeller was an employee of Richard Thomas, living as a tenant farmer on his land. Richard's son, Levi, lived on the Appenzeller farm, and perhaps his parents lived with him. His son Evan lived on the former Reiff property.
Speaking of the Fluck farm, Mathews said a newer house succeeded an old dwelling, probably of logs, which stood near the road and beyond the driveway to the barn that had been built by the Thomas family. "Like all property bordering the county line and the Sellersville turnpike for a mile northwest of Reiff's corner, this belonged to the ancient Thomas family."
This indenture made the Twenty First day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty. Between Richard Thomas of Lower Dublin Township in the County of Philadelphia, Mason, and Elizabeth his wife of the first part and Jorg Henrich Hirzell of Richill in the County of Bucks, yeoman. WHEREAS by Indenture bearing date the thirteenth day of October last past, Henry Paxson of Middleton in the said county of Bucks, tanner, * * * did grant and con-vey unto the said Richard Thomas * * * a certain tract of land situate near a place called Perheassing in the said county of Bucks (which since the laying out of townships in those parts is found to be within the limits of Hilltown Township * * * NOW THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH that the said Richard Thomas and Elizabeth his wife for and in consideration of the sum of Ninety pounds * * * HAVE granted, bargained, sold, released and confirmed unto the said Jorg Henrich Hirzell a certain piece of land, part of the aforesaid bounded by lands of said Richard Thomas, Evan Griffith and Henry Hartly, containing one hundred acres * * * IN WITNESS whereof the said parties to these presents have interchangeably set their hands and seals hereunto. Dated the Day and Year first above written.,,RICHARD Thomas Elizabeth Thomas.
From Gwynedd Monthly Meeting records: 26-11-1741 Richard Thomas and wife produced certificate from Abington Monthly meeting for self and wife.
3rd Gwynedd. 30, 1761. Richard Thomas has purchased a slave, and he being in this meeting, Friends had a good opportunity to lay the inconsistency of the practice before him.
The inhabitants along the route of the new road as laid out by the road jury, became dissatisfied, and at the March term of Court, in 1744-1745, joined in a petition for relief, and asked for a change of location of route. The petition reads:-- "Whereas, the Honorable Court of Quarter Sessions held for the County in September last, Did Grant and Order, to Lay out a Road from the line Dividing ye Counties of Phila. & Bucks, (beginning at a Corner of Richard Thomas's Land), to ye Road Leading from George Myer's Mill to ye Great Road (Allentown) Leading to Philada, which was accordingly Laid out, which Road is very Detrimental to many of ye Inhabitants, Chiefly to Joost (Yost) Cope, John Shelenberger & Jacob Leydy, whose Plantations it breaks very incommodiously too, ye Ground also being very mirie & bad, your Petitioners therefore pray that ye said Road, (which is not Confirm at yet), May be Dropt."
August 29, 1745
The Pennsylvania Gazette
To be sold by publick Vendue, on the 5th of September next, A Fulling Mill and House, with all the Tools belonging to the Mill, in exceeding good Order, some Houshold Goods, and 200 Bushels of Charcoal; also 8 Acres of good Land, 4 of which Meadow, well water'd, and fenced in with a good Hedge, and a good young Orchard, Out houses, &c. The Mill is situate about 12 Miles from Philadelphia, near Pennypeck Creek, within Half a Mile of Busseltown. Any Person inclining to purchase, may apply to Richard Thomas, living on the Premises, where the Vendue will be kept. Twelve Months Credit will be given for one Half of the Money, provided the other Half is paid in three Months after the Sale. The Vendue will begin at Ten o'Clock, RICHARD THOMAS.
From the Pa Gazzette 1746: Came to the plantation of Richard Thomas, of Hilton township, Bucks county, the latter end of April last, a roan filley, something more than a year old, branded on the near buttock KN. The owner, describing her other marks, and paying charges, may have her again.
September 4, 1746, The Pennsylvania Gazette: ON Monday the 22d of this Instant September, will be exposed to sale by Vendue, the Fulling Mill in Lower Dublin, Philadelphia County, which formerly belong'd to Richard Thomas, the same is in exceeding good repair, together with all the Implements and Utensils necessary for Fulling, Dying, Tentering, Sheering, Pressing, &c. with a good Dwelling House, a Working Shop, and Out houses, and Eight Acres of good Land, the greatest Part Meadow, all within Fence and well situated for Business. Then and there will be sold an English Waggon and Gears, good working and riding Horse, sheep [?], Plow and Plow irons, &c. The Conditions of sale will then be made known SAMUEL THOMAS.
From Northampton County records: Mortgage for 194pds, 19s, 3 p, 9 May 1765. Mortgager, John Custard, Heidelberg twp and his wf Ann. Mortgagee, Thomas Thomas, Hilltown twp. Bucks Co. Property, 135 acres near Lizard Creek by land late George Custard deceased, vacant land, and land of John Rhoads (which was one of four tracts which John Jennings, late sheriff, by writ, sold to Richard Thomas, 19 Sept 1763; Then to Richard Thomas, Hilltowns, Bucks Co and his wife Elisabeth, sold to John Custard, 8 April 1765.
WILL OF RICHARD THOMAS
From Philadelphia County Court House
Be it Remembered that I Richard Thomas of Hilltown in the County of Bucks and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman being Sick of body, but of Sound Mind, Memory, and Understanding, think it necessary to dispose of those Worldly Goods that God in Mercy hath given me to Enjoy by this my Last will and Testament in Manor hereafter Expressed, That is to Say first of all I will that all my Just Debts and funeral Expenses be well truly and faithfully paid and discharged.
Item I give and bequeath unto my well beloved wife Elisabeth one feather Bed and all the apurtenanies thereunto belonging of her choice of my beds, one Iron Pot and one Small brass kettle, one Cow of her Choice, and my will in that my Said wife Shall have the priveledge of my two back rooms down Stears and in the kitchen what may be thought Necessary for her to do her work in, and also roome in the Seller for her use all the said priviledges to Continue during her widdow hood and no longer, And my Son Levi Shall during his Mother's widdowhood find and Provide for his said Mother Eight bushels of wheat a year and four of rye Also one good fat Hog and one quarter of beef a year one barrel of Syder a year and water Syder what she may have occation of and apples for her use, fifteen punds of flax and ten of wool a year, And Shall keep her a Cow winter and Sumer and find her a Horse to ride on where She has occation to goe and Shall Cut and hall to the door as much fire wood as may be Necessary for her use, during her widdowhood, and my Said son shall pay unto his said Mother yerly and Every during her natural life the Sume of Six pounds of Pennsylvania Currency.
Item I give and bequeath unto my Son William Thomas the full and Just Sume of fifty pounds of Pennsylvania Currency.
Item I give and bequeath unto my son Josia the full and Just sume of forty pounds of like money as aforre said.
Item I give and bequeath unto my Son Joshua the full and Just sume of forthy pounds and like money affore said.
Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Hannah Coocker the full and Just Sume of forty pounds of like money as affore said to be paid in Eight Equall Payments the first to be made in one year after my decease and the remainder in yearly payments untill the whole is pade.
Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Martha the full and Just Sume of fifty Pounds of like money as affore said, and also my little Negroe Girl Called Rose Untill She attains to the age of thirty years, and my will is that then, if She lives to the age of thirty years, She Shall from thence forward be a free Negroe as although She had never been a slave.
Item I give and bequeath unto my Negroe Felis her freedom when she Attains to the age of thirty years and that She shall from thence forward to a free woman.
Item I give and Devise and bequeath unto my Son Evan Thomas Sixty four Acres and thirty four perches of Land where on he lives Sittuated in Hilltown afforesaid. According to the Draught of the said Land, with all the buildings, and appurtenances thereon Erected to hold to him his heirs and Assigns for Ever he paying in consideration thereof to his brother Levi one year after my decease to Enable him to pay my Just debts and the Leagicies before Mentioned.
Item I give devise and bequeath unto my Son Levi Thomas the remainder of my Land and Plantation I live on Sittuate in Hilltown affore Containing by Estimation one Hundred and Sixty acres be it more or be it less, with all the buildings and apurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining to hold to him his heirs and assigns for Ever, he allowing and paying in Lue thereof to his Mother yearly and Every year the Sum of Money and Privaligies Mentioned in this my will to her.
Item I do hereby Constitute Depute and appoint my Son Evan and Levi Thomas both of Hilltown affore Said to be Joynt and Co Executors of this my Last will and Testament, Giveing them full power and absolute authority to Sell and dispose of all my Lands and Tenaments that are in North Hampton County they being over the blue mountain with all the buildings and Improvements and appurtenances thereunto Belonging or in any wise Appertaining, Giving them full Power and Abslolute Authority to make and Execute a Good and Effectual Coveance in Law on the Same Unto Such Person or persons that may or Shall Purcase the Same and unto his or their Heirs and assigns for Ever
as I my Self might or could do were I living, Also I will and direct that Sale be made of all my Personal Estate Goods and Chattles, save what is before bequeathed, and the Monies arising from the Sale of my said Lands and from my Personal Estate after paying my said debts and funeral Expenses and the Leagicies hereby bequeathed, if any there be remaining, I give and bequeath unto my said wife Elisabeth, and to my said Children William, Josia, Joshua, Evan, Levi, Hannah, and Martha to be Equally divided between them Share and Share alike. I do hereby Nominate and appoint my friends Thomas Thomas and Henry Rees to be Trustees of this my Last Will and
Testament to see it accomplished. Finally I do revoke, anul and make Void all former and other Wills by me heretofore made or declared to be made Either by word of Mouth or in writing Ratifieing and Confirming this only written on both Sides of this Sheet of Paper to be my last.
In witness where of I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal this Nineteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and Seventy two 1772.
Signed Rhrd Thomas
Witnesses: Thos. Thomas, Henry Reese, John Cope
Proved May 8, 1776
Notes for Elizabeth Walton:
Will Abstracts Book 4, Bucks Co. 1778-1786: 4.348
Elizabeth Thomas, Widow. October 4,1784 Proved 1-10-1785
"Relict of Richard Thomas Son: Levi, exr. Daugther: Martha and her son Jonathan
Witnesses: Benjamin Griifith, Jonathan Walton, Cadwd. Morris
Their marriage is confirmed by: Record of June 1736 marriage per: Family History Library: Linages of Hereditary Society Members, 1600's - 1900's Sons and Daughter of Pilgrims, VolII, Linage of Members, page 189
Photocopy of Elizabeth's will is included in accompanying images.
Evan Thomas, son of Richard, loyalist
1780 | Hilltown, Pa
From Gwynedd Men's Disciplinary minutes: 10th Gwynedd Overseers acquaint the meeting that Evan Thomas has left his usual place of abode and that it is reported he now resides in Philadelphia and is active in military employment. David Evans and John Ambler are desired to make inquiry and endeavour to treat with him in that matter. [This is Evan Thomas, son of Richard and Elizabeth (Walton) Thomas of Hilltown twp., Bucks County.]
From Loyalists of Pennsylvania : "On February 14th, 1778, Hovenden s troop of Philadelphia Light Dragoons went up the Bristol road, and Captain Evan Thomas with his Bucks County Volunteers took the Bustleton road. On their return they brought back most of the officials of Bucks County. During the same month they made other forays into the County of Bucks, as the result of which they captured a number of Continental soldiers, a quantity of cloth greatly needed by Washington s army at Valley Forge, and a drove of 130 cattle. About a month later the Queen s Rangers, the New Jersey Volunteers, and other troops to the num ber of about 1,500 men engaged in foraging expeditions into New Jersey..."
8th It being reported that Evan Thomas is gone away with the English army so that there is not any prospect of serving him with a copy of the Testification against him therefore it is directed to be entered in the minutes as follows: Whereas Evan Thomas having had a birthright in Society with us the people called Quakers but of late having left his wife and Children and went to Philadelphia to reside and having taken an Active part in War contrary to the peacable principles we profess to the World one friend having had an opprotunity of treating with him in order to Convince him of the Inconsistency of his conduct with his professions he appeared kind but as he had engaged in war seemed inclined to continue in the practice therefore for the clearing of truth we do hereby disown him the said Evan Thomas from being any longer a member of our community with us until he by a Godly sorrow for his past conduct condemns it to the satisfaction of friends that he may is our desire.
Biographical Sketches of Loyalists, vol 2, p. 353 (Sabine's Loyalists, 1864): "Evan Thomas. Of Pennsylvania. He commanded a company of Loyalists called the Bucks County Volunteers; and for a time was engaged in predatory warfare in the vicinity of Philadelphia. At on time his company acted with the Queen's Rangers, embarked on expeditions with them, and considered themselves as under Simcoe's protection. (Went to Yorktown with Benedict Arnold. 1780 held prisoner there) Attainted of treason and estate confiscated. Settled at New Brunswick. He died at Pennfield, December 1835, aged ninety, leaving children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great great grandchildren." Evan Thomas was the son of Richard Thomas of Hilltown twp., Bucks Co., PA, one of the slave owners visited by the Committee formed to persuade members of Gwynedd to free their slaves.
A number of persons in this county joined the British army and drew their swords against their country. Among these were Edward Jones, of Hilltown, who raised a company of cavalry in that township and New Britain; Evan Thomas, of the same township, commanded a company in Simcoe's Rangers, was in the attack on Lacey at the Crooked Billet, went with Arnold to Virginia in 1780, and was among the prisoners at Yorktown. After the war he removed his family to New Brunswick, where he died.
Introduction to the Loyalists of Bucks County
1776-1783 | Bucks County, PA
From: Papers read before the Society and other historical papers, Bucks County Historical Society. Louis Ely Thompson.
Edward Mathews, in writing about the Thomases of Hilltown, says that Evan Thomas' family was of Welsh descent, that they were not related to the other Thomases of that township, and that they were an aristocratic and wealthy family possessed of much land and several slaves. Their home was near Rieff's Corner. William and Evan Thomas were grandsons of the first Evan in Hilltown.^
In the list of those who associated themselves to resist British aggression, there are several Thomases enrolled in Hilltown Township and five others of that name who were listed as Non- Associators. The names of William and Evan Thomas do not appear on either list. The name of an Evan Thomas does appear among the Non-Associators in Buckingham. Whether this was the same Evan who afterwards was captain of the Bucks County Volunteers is a question.
When General Howe's army occupied Philadelphia after the battle of Brandywine, William and Evan Thomas among other Loyalists from Bucks joined him there. William was made a captain of Loyalist troops. His name seldom appears in the his tories and Evan is given credit for organizing and leading a troop of mounted men called the Bucks County Volunteers.
1 "The Thomas Family of Hilltown," Edward Mathews, page 1.
206 INTRODUCTION TO LOYALISTS OF BUCKS COUNTY Evan Thomas at that time was in his early thirties. He must have been a vigorous fellow to endure the hardships of the many campaigns and must also have been endowed with a spirit of leadership, since he organized his troop of dragoons and com- manded them throughout the remainder of the war. At Toms River his men fought as foot soldiers, having been transported from New York in boats. It is disappointing that so little is known about Evan Thomas in this country; the records are so meager that there is not enough from which to make an appraisal of his character nor to enable one to visualize his personality.
The Block House Fight at Toms River was of no great mili- tary importance. Captain Thomas and his men captured the little fort, burned it, and threw its spiked guns into the river. After they had burned the whole village, they carried the sur- vivors of the garrison away as prisoners. Lieutenant Roberts was severely wounded in the assault on the stockade-like fort and it was necessary to hasten back to New York with him and the other wounded Loyalists. The victors were elated over the cap- ture of Captain Joshua Huddy, the redoubtable Whig m.ilitia captain, who commanded the little garrison of the fort. A few days after the return to New York, a party of New Jersey Loyal- ists under the command of Captain Richard Lippincott of Shrewsbury carried Captain Huddy down to Atlantic Highlands and, without a trial, hanged him on an hastily improvised gal- lows.
The Americans were greatly exasperated when the news of the burning of the town and the death of Huddy spread over the now thoroughly incensed country and many of the British also deprecated the unwarranted hanging. General Washington, after a dignified correspondence with the British General Clinton, determined to retaliate in kind. After consulting with his gen- erals, he decided upon the selection of an officer from among the British prisoners taken at Yorktown who would be hanged if Captain Lippincott were not surrendered. The unfortunate choice fell on Captain Asgill, a young officer of the First Regiment of Foot and the only son of a wealthy English baronet. Wash- ington's ultimatum was, "To save the innocent, I demand the guilty." Now there was the devil to pay. Captain Lippincott was court-martialled by the British and acquitted on his defence that he had acted under the orders of William Franklin, the deposed Loyalist Governor of New Jersey and now President of
INTRODUCTION TO LOYALISTS OF BUCKS COUNTY 207
the Board of Associated Loyalists in New York. Franklin took the next ship for England. The Asgill family and their friends moved heaven and earth to save Captain Asgill 's innocent neck from the hangman's noose, and at last Count de Vergennes, Prime Minister of Louis XVI, interceded with the American Con- gress, whereupon Captain Asgill's "ticket was killed," so to speak, and he was allowed to return to the British lines. That is not the whole story, but the brief account may explain the reper- cussion of the victory of the Bucks County Volunteers at Toms River which agitated ofificialdom in America and Europe as well.
What caused Evan Thomas and his fellow Loyalists to abandon their homes and property in Bucks County and fight their countrymen thus? If the Loyalists are to be judged by the sizes of their estates and by their prosperous condition and in many cases by the elevation of the offices which they held, one would assume that they were somewhat satisfied with things as they were under the rule of Parliament and wished to maintain the established order for the security of their lives and their properties. Or did they merely join what seemed to be the wanning party? Whatever the reasons were, greater animosities were stirred up between them and their Whig neighbors, and a greater spirit of vindictiveness evinced in both parties in Bucks County, than was displayed by the British themselves.