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Evan Thomas, Wales to Hilltown, PA
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Evan Thomas Sr., Immigrant Ancestor, c1685-176ol
THIS MATERIAL WAS ORGINALLY COMPILED BY MARCIA THOMAS. RESEARCH/REFERENCE LIBRARIAN.
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 of Telford." Mathews was not only a Thomas descendant but had access to not only court house records but private collections as well. In these collection were land records and family history notes that weren't and still aren't available to the public, especially would never be found is the LDS Library or on line. Therefore he had access to a great deal we don't today. Be sure to read the introduction to the above mentioned work for a full understanding of the breadth of his research.
Evan Thomas was born between 1675-1688 in Wales, probably in the vicinityl of the Rhydwilym Chapel in Pembrokeshire. DNA matches of a descendant of Richard, Evan's son,to several descendants of the Rev Owen Thomas might indicate they were brothers or cousins. Owen was born 1692 in Gwrogodly Cillmanllwyd, Pembrokeshire, Wales. He was a member at Rhydwilim, as was Evan, before coming to Pennsylvania in 1719. Later, Owen's daughter, Elizabeth was a neighbor of Evan's in New Britain.
Another more likely reason for the matches is that Owen's grandson, Owen, married Susannah Mathews, Evan's granddaughter. Owen, the younger, was son of Elizabeth and Joseph Thomas, while Susannah was the daughter oh John Mathews and Diana Thomas. So these matches then are actually to the Evan Thomas family not Owen's.
The most important DNA matches are several confirming the children of Evan and Mary.
Evan Sr. 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.
He was dismissed to New Britain Baptist Church in 1755 . Edward Mathews writes that he found an entry for Evan Thomas’ (Sr) death in New Britain Baptist Church records for Jan. 1 1766. He would be able to determine it was senior because Evan Thomas Jr was always referred to as Evan Thomas Jr in these records. The church clerk was very consistent using the suffix with Thomas family along with all others. He certainly would have wanted to have the correct Evan recorded as having died. T
No will has been located in Bucks County for Evan, Sr. So it's very likely that he settled his estate with his children before he died. By the time he died in c1765 it was not necessary for a will or probate hearing as he no longer held much real estate, having sold his farm in 1757 to Edward Mathews. His wife’s signature is just a straight line which indicates age or infirmity, as well. (See attached samples). It seems reasonable that it was sold before he died he because he was obligated to a yearly “quit rent” to the Penns. The property was considered mortgaged or entailed meaning it could not be inherited. Edward Mathews had to pick up this obligation as stated in the 1757 terms of sale. Evan may have want to buy it outright from the Penns, which was permitted, which would be why be mortgaged it in 1755. That would have meant it was "fee simple" and it didn't have to be disposed of before his death. However, since this didn’t happen in 1755, Evan sold the land in August 1757 to have his estate in order. It is very likely he was quite infirm and lived with one of his children or moved to other land that is noted in a 1757, recorded 1767, deed of Robert Heaton. He probably eventually did pass this land to Evan, Jr. or sold it and neither is recorded in a timely fashion as happened often so hasn't be located.
We have thoroughly investigated the notion that Evan Sr went to Virginia after selling all his property. There is no evidence of this. There is no evidence all his property is sold. It is not logical that a man his age would have left his home. Also there was another Evan Thomas from Bucks who went to Loudoun county at the right time. A few researchers apparently confused them.
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 is no record or mention any other children than these in Bucks County or elsewhere.
Evan's 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". Materials Towards A History of the Baptists by Morgan Edwards
While Mathews says above that the Evan Thomas 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 received 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 also show Diana, Evan, Jr. & Joseph Thomas, children of Evan Thomas baptized 1730 at Montgomery. So it can be assumed that Evan was reinstated as two of the children were minors. Evan Sr 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 people's 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 and Lewis Thomas near Reiff's corner that Mathews referenced. They undoubtedly were available in personal collections at that time. 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 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 was in 1724 on the southeast side of land Andreas Van Buskirk sold to Biernard 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. Certainly, this could be land he purchased in 1721.
He was deeded 200 acres where he was already living 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. Although there is a piece on the northeastern end that may have stayed in Sr. possession a while.
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 Farmar or Lowther family. Edward Farmar did have a sister named Sarah, who would have about Evan's age. My theory is Evan badly needed a wife in the1720's. Sarah Farmar had been orphaned as a young girl and left in the care of her much older siblings. She had not married and needed a husband and Evan needed someone to care for his minor children. The land which Evan later sold at a big profit was her dowry that encouraged Evan to marry an older woman beyond the age of childbearing. Hence no children.
When property was sold for such 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. It was actually deeded to Evan for a yearly quit rent of 10 shillings--part of the original warant to Farmar and Lowther from William Penn--so essentially they gave him the land. William Lowther was part of the Abington Monthly Meeting at the time Richard Thomas, Evan Sr's son, and Elizabeth Walton were married there. This could have been the link between the families.
Another 150 acre tract of land in New Britain was warranted in 1734 by Evan Thomas Sr. 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 probably even have allowed Evan and Ann to remain on the property a while 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. Actually that was his known occupation in VA as well. 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. That Evan Sr had actually disposed of all of his Bucks County land by then is far from certain as noted by border of Heaton deed.
As to when he married Ann it would have been after 1738 as Sarah was still alive then. The fact Ann didn't sign 1755 mortgage tells us nothing. Wives typically didn't sign mortgages just deeds of sale.
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 all 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. Elisha Thomas b1760, who first appears in Virginia with brother Benjamin is undoubtedly also a son--one of the unnamed minor children mentioned in court records.
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.
Researchers must be cognizant that there were many men named Evan Thomas in the Philadelphia area. Certainly several with wives named Ann. There was another Edward Mathews as well. So do not assume Evan Sr is the one you seek without solid documentation. Not something that fits in some places but all. Marks should match, bucks county or New Britain should be mentioned and children should match. Over and over I have found men with names such James, John, Evan etc with surname Thomas and wives of same name. Absolutely nothing can be assumed about a single man.
Sources for Evan Thomas 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.
- Born in Wales c1685 and Died in c1765 Bucks County, PA
Church and Court Records Confirmation of Death and Burial in 1766 of Evan Sr and Evan, Jr in 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. It is our purpose to dispell the notion Sr. Died anywhere but Bucks County.
Father and Son almost certainly die in Bucks County, c1765 and 1766
Evan Thomas Sr. died in Hilltown in probably in very late 1765 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 flawed 1764 list of members living (see cross outs in list above) and those "belonging"** to the church, possibly because he was no longer active in the church (and therefore not considered to belong) or he died earlier and it was not recorded until 1766 when Joseph was leaving for VA. 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. However, in no way is his absence for the list proof that he had left the area. The absence of any record that he had left for VA is far more significant.
Very possibly the first death and burial in NBBC records was there at Joseph's behest to honor his father. 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 or mistake in transcription from old microfilm. It is also possible he had died be a while before and it was recorded then because his son was leaving There is a New Britain land record for 1774 which refers to the land of the late Evan Thomas. Since Evan had died about 8 years earlier in Bucks County the surveyors knew of his death.
The entry from the church book available too see today reads: "Jan 1st. 1766, Brother Evan Thomas was dead and buried at the Society." There could have been different records or the first one was a transcription error. Both records would without much doubt 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. Church records appeared to be very consistent in using Jr to indicate a son. They certainly would have been in the case of a death. It was more important to know who had died and was buried at the church.
Another way is which Evan Sr was differentiated from Jr was in the spelling of the surname Jr's was always spelled in full--Thomas, while Sr' s was abbreviated To Thos.
Orphan Court Records also confirm that Evan Jr. died in 1766. So Evan Sr. and his son, Evan, Jr. died within a year of each other Evan Jr. died intestate as did his father. Bonds were posted for the estate and Margaret was appointed administratrix on May 6, 1766, meaning he had died shortly before that. Also his inventory includes corn, wheat and and rye in the ground meaning he was very likely alive at the time of spring planting in 1766.
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. was buried 1766 in Bucks County, these two men used clearly different marks on documents in 1755 & 1757 and had completely different children--an absolute case of mistaken identity. Evan of Loudoun inventory was that of a frontiers man, the one in Bucks was a farmer who likely passed is belongs to his son, Evan Jr. There is no sign Evan ever let Bucks. The Loudoun Evan doesn't mention family left in Bucks in his will.
Such was Mathews stature as an expert on these records it would have to be proven that entry didn't belong to Evan Sr. before it can be considered to be anyone else's. Mathews was a resource for serious historian because he had access to oral history and documentation not available to the public.
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. Maybe Joseph felt he could leave now that his father had died.
Even if one were not to accept that 1766 church book entry applies to Evan, Sr. He would have died earlier in Bucks, as there is nothing anywhere that even suggests he left. He was an elderly man and would not have moved to a new location. His children were all in Bucks.
By 1764 Evan is no longer on New Britain Baptist Church's list entitled "an account of all the member now living and belonging to the Church of New Britain". The word belonging is critical to the interpretation of who would be included and who might be excluded. A multitude of writings by Christian theologians describe "belonging to" as a step greater than membership--it means active participation and commitment to the church and its people. If one were unable or uninterested in active involvement one could still be a member of the church but not belong to the group. That means someone of Evan's age easily could have no longer actively participated as in belonging but still be a member. The reason all Baptist churches in the area compiled these lists was to be able to provide an accounting of all active members to the Philadelphia Baptist Association.
Further comment on Edward
Edward Mathews is my primary source of Hilltown Thomas info. He had direct contact with his Evan Thomas ancestors who would have known Evan's daughter, Diana. His grandfather,Diana's son Benjamin, was alive when Evan Thomas was alive. He was a Justice of the Peace in 1764, 1770 and 1774, a prominent man in New Britain and a deacon in the New Britain church. He would have been alive for the Reverend Joseph Mathias to interview for his manuscript "The Early Welsh Settlers of Hilltown".
With this kind of contact Edward Mathews' oral history would be exacting. He was an expert on local records. He would have known which of his immigrant ancestors were buried where. If he intends to create the impression that Evan senior died c1766 in New Britain it is not to be easily or casualy rejected--he knew this church, its history, its people and its records. He knew the Evan Thomas family and their history. In all likelihood he saw a tombstone and more.
In addition to being a Thomas descendant, he was related to the Rev. Joseph Mathias, who researched and chronicled the earliest history of the area. Mathews wrote commentary on Mathias chronicle as an addendum to the work. Mathias and his wife Dianah, granddaughter of Evan Thomas, lived during his life time to provide oral history about their ancestors, one of whom was Evan Thomas of Hilltown. Evan's daughter, Diana lived to 1799. She lived to share oral Thomas history with the Mathias. Edward Mathews was eminently qualified as a Hilltown/New Britain historian. He had access to more first hand information than any of us does today. His was a far different type of history from those genealogy volumes which contain so many error. So when there is No word of Evan going to VA., however, is indication of Evan's death c1766, it's Extremely unlikely he is in error.
He wrote about the information he already had. He didn't try to fill in blanks where he didn't have it which is what has caused so many errors.
From introduction to "Wandering through Historic Hilltown", (Edward Mathews) by Harry C Adams,1996.
"Mathews was a relentless researcher---there is much good history here--drawn from manuscript records and Mathews' outstanding ability to relate to the oral history of his time." "He was also dedicated to recording the history of all his forebearers...."
So man dedicated his life to this and had ample opportunities to know the story of Evan Thomas, Sr. He presented papers about him and his descendants before the Bucks County Historical Society. He never said the Evan Sr left Bucks County for Virginia, which he would have known if it were true. Instead he uses a quote from either the New Britain Baptist Church Book or its minute book, to inform his readers that Evan's death is recorded on Jan 1, 1766. The person who transcribed the article from the original microformats of newspaper has the date and quote wrong.
Then finally to that 1764 membership list, the statement has been made that Evan Sr. definitely would have been on it were he alive. That is ridiculous. There are many reasons why he would not have been. That list proves one thing only--Evan, Jr. was alive and was always referred to as Evan, Jr. Certainly the clerk would have been as careful when he recorded a death in distinguishing between father and son.
- Bucks County
Edward Mathews, Historian and Hilltown Thomas Descendant
Mathews is my primary source of Hilltown Thomas info. He had direct contact with his many Evan Thomas ancestors some who would have known Evan's daughter, Diana. His oral history would be exacting. Some would have come directly from Diana's son, Benjamin, who was about 27 when his grandfather died.
These individuals would have known where their father and grandfather were buried.
Mathews was an expert on local records. If he indicates Evan senior died c1766 in New Britain and was buried in the New Britain Baptist Church cemetery, as is Mathews and his family, it cannot reasonably be rejected--he knew this church, its history and records. He knew the Evan Thomas family and their history. One would only reject without proof if he had a need to have it not so.
His writing style was that of a newspaper writer who included direct quotes from a source for documentation rather than footnote. In this case he is telling the reader that that Evan had died c1766 by quoting the church book. If one is going reject this they should strong proof that it isn't so. Those who are tyring to do so to meet their own needs have no proof what so ever, just false presentation of what various documents mean. They are deliberately minimizing his expertise so they can claim something contrary. They cannot equate him to those publishing company or family genralogies that were pumped out in late 19th century. He lived and researched in the same area for over 50 years--Bucks County. He saw many things and knew much oral history, that today's researchers can't access. He researched all the first families and knew them all thoroughly. He lived this history. He told his story with the materials he located. He no particular interest in proving a fact. His masters were truth and accuracy. He wrote over 1000 local family histories of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. He certainly would be far more credible that any amateur genealogists--no matter how highly they regard their own skills. He did not rely of LDS and similar services. He did his own original research of the area records, he walked the land and visited local cemeteries.
He is also a descendant of the Rev. William Thomas, Hilltown, who was Richard Thomas' next door neighbor. He was buried with four generations of his family on the grounds of the New Britain Baptist church. More on his background and credibility are in attached pages along with his obituary.
His sources"The writer's previous investigations concerning the local history of the region
concerned has greatly facilitated in the preparation of the work. The official records and
registry of deeds and wills at the county seat have been searched, as well as many ancient documents, worn and discolored by the fingers of time, which have been opportunely placed at the writer's
disposal. Frequently, pedestrian journeys have been made over localities identified with the early settlement of the family, whilst in the venerable graveyards of Hilltown and New Britain the
marble memorial stones have mutely and silently given information of the past. Various
persons connected with the family by ties of relationship have furnished valuable facts concerning their ancestors. To a number of landholders of Hilltown we are indebted for legal documents and other information relating to lands once owned by the Thomas Family. More than to all others we are indebted to the historical writings of Rev. Joseph Mathias; which indeed form the basis of the work. Mr. Mathias showed indefatigable zeal and industry in collecting and preserving very much concerning the earlier and later annals of the region of Bucks county first settled by
the ·welsh. Amid the labors of a busy life, as a farmer, clergyman and missionary, during his hours of leisure, he collected a large amount of information that otherwise would have been lost in oblivion. A cast of mind, prosaic and matter of fact rather than imaginative and theoretical, he was fitted for researches requiring accuracy of detail, and possessed a retentive memory of dates and names that made his records nearly always accurate and reliable. These were only intended for his own family and relatives, containing many details not interesting to the general public. They have never been printed, though copied in part by several persons.
My own background is that of research/reference librarian, with a great deal of family history library experience in a CT family history library. This project was right up my alley. Edward Mathews can be viewed as a very reliable source. Interestingly all known Thomas descendants, my fellow librarians and professional researchers I have consulted agree with Mathews. Anyone who denies his accuracy is doing so only for their own gain.
SARAH FARMAR LIKELY 3RD WIFE OF EVAN, SR.
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 Farmar or Lowther family.Son Richard could have been the link. Before removing to Hilltown, he was a mason in Lower Dublin and a member of the Abington Monthly Meeting, as were the Lowthers.
Edward Farmar did have a sister named Sarah, who would have about Evan's age. My theory is that she was the 3rd wife. When property was sold for such an extremely undervalued price as the 1729 deeded property was it is often because there is a relationship by marriage between the two parties to the sale.
In 1732 Evan Sr., and Sarah (wife) Thomas sold property in Hilltown to John Lewis near Frets Mill for 60 pounds. This property along with another totaling 200 acres was sold to Evan for the 10 shillings quit rent already paid by Edward Farmar/Farmer and William Lowther in 1729. An incredibly low price--essentially free. A family affair.
In 1738 Evan Sr. and Sarah passed by contract the 2nd 100 acres acquired in 1729 to Evan Jr. Another a transaction between family members that involved no exchange of currency.
Evan badly needed a wife in the1720's. Sarah Farmar had been orphaned as a young girl and left in the care of her much older step sister Katherine.. She had not married and needed a husband and Evan needed someone to care for his minor children. The land which Evan later sold at a big profit was her dowry that encouraged Evan to marry an older woman beyond the age of childbearing. Hence no children. This could have been the perfect arrangement for him as he had twice been left without a wife and with four dependent children. He probably was not interested in more children.
Sarah's step sister Katherine remarried to Christopher Billopp. Sarah Farmar may have gone with her or stayed with her young but very independent brother, Edward, depending on her age. I estimate her birth to be 1675-80. (close to Evan, Sr. but perhaps a little older--I estimate his birth between 1675-88). Katherine died c1700 at which time Sarah most likely became Edward's responsibility. There is no further record of her.
Having yet to marry, Edward no doubt was anxious about her future by the 1720's. Evan Thomas, Sr. was in trouble by 1726, drinking and lying, according church records with 3 young children--having lost two wives to death in three years. He would not have been especially desirable. But to an older woman it was a chance--he needed a wife and she needed a husband.
Farmar may have specifically asked for this land because it abutted Evan's. Both Nicholas Scull and Thomas Holmes who were primary players in the land affairs of the early Philadelphia area were associates of Edward's. The fact that two parcels that became Evan's were separate from the remainder of Farmar's warrant which was in Montgomery County makes this credible.
Edward Farmar easily could have induced Evan to marry Sarah with a dowry of 200 acres some abutting land Evan already owned. He was already in possession of this land by Nov. 1729, Farmar probably making a verbable agreement after he obtained it by warrant in February of that year. All that was necessary was for Evan to assume the yearly quit rent that was part of the warrant. Evan and Sarah passed this quit rent to John Lewis when they sold him part of it in 1732.
By 1730 it was obvious there was order again in Evan's household. Undoubtedly Sarah's influence. His three youngest children were baptised at the church in Montgomery County--Evan obviously restored to membership there.
The Farmars were to become a prominent family in Philadelphia. Edward was a Justice of the Peace for many years. Probably well known to the Bulters and Mathews who were to become Evan's inlaws. The wills of Jaspar and Mary Batsford Farmar, Edward and Sarah's parents, follow.
"In the name of God, Amen. I, Major Jasper Farmer being weak in health but in perfect memory blessed be God doe make this my last Will and testament in manner and forms following that is to say, Imprimus, I give and bequeath my Soule into the hands of Almighty God that gave it and my body to be buryed wherever it shall please the Lord I dye. Secondly, I give and bequeath to my dear wife Mrs Mary Farmer one third of all my estate and stock in Pensilvania in America and the other two thirds of all my estate and stock to my sonn Edward Farmer. Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Sarah Farmer fower hundred pounds ster. Item, I give and bequeath to my sonn John Farmer three hundred pounds ster. Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Katherine Farmer the sum of three hundred pounds ster. Item, I give and bequeath to my sonn Robert Farmer three hundred pounds ster. Item, I give and bequeath to my sonn Charles Farmer the sume of three hundred pounds ster. Item, I give and bequeath unto my sister Alice Scull the sume of 10 pounds ster. Item, I give and bequeath unto my sonns Richard Farmer and Samuel Farmer and my daughter Webber in Ireland tenn shillings a peece to bye them mourning rings, and to my sonn Jasper Farmer and daughter Web tenn shillings a peece to buy them rings. Item, I appoynt and make my son Edward Farmer and my wife Mary Farmer my executors of this my last will and testament, and all the abovesaid legacies to be payed out of my estate in Ireland and in Pensilvania. Item, lastly I do appoynt Catn Thomas Holmes of Philadelphia and Wm Turner late of Dublin but now of Philadelphia in Pensilvania, Linnen Draper, boath of them overseers of this my last Will and testament, 7ber ye 25th '85. (signed) J Farmar Witness present: Edward Farmar, Saml Hunt." Endorsed on outside: Jasper Farmar's will 1685 #20 Probed in forme of Law ye 2d of ye 11 mo 1685 Registered book A: fol: 25 #20. Transcript of photostatic copy of original will in Collections of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, hereafter cited as GSP.
Bond: "Know all men by these p'sent that we Mary Farmer of Philadelphia in the Province of Pensilvania, widdow, and Edward Farmer her son, of Philadelphia aforesaid, & Thomas Holme of Philadelphia in the Province aforesaid, Surveyor General, are holden & stand firmly bound unto Christopher Taylor, Register General of the Province of Pensilvania aforesaid, in the sume of two thousand pounds of good lawful money of the said Province, to be paid to the said Christopher Taylor or his certaine Attorney, Executors or Adminst. To which payment well & truly to be made we bind us and either of us, our and either of our, heires, executors, administrators or assigns, firmly by these p'sents. Sealed with our seale, dated the second day of the eleventh month, being the first year of the King's Reign & the 5th of the Proprietary's Government, Anoque Dom. 1685
"The Condition of this Obligation is such that if the above bound Mary Farmer & Edward Farmer and Thomas Holme, or any of them, their, or any of their heirs, executors, adminstrs. or Assigns of any of them do & shall well & truly satisfy, discharge & pay all the just debts of Jasper Farmer, Senr., late of the Kingdom of Ireland, Gent. decd., and also well & faithfully to pay and discharge the several legacies to the persons mentioned in the last Will & Testament of the said Jasper Farmer, deceased, bearing date the 25th of the seventh month in the year abovesaid, according to the true meaning thereof & of a probate of this date to the same annexed & thereof save harmless the said Christopher Taylor, his heires or assigner, that then this obligation to be void or else to remain in full power & virtue. (signed) Mary Farmar, Tho. Holme. Sealed & delivered in the presence of Tho. Webb, Philip H. Lehnmann, Jos. Vaughan senr." Transcript of photostatic copy, supra.
Deposition: "Major Jasper Farmer to his son Richard Farmer. Be it remembered that Samuel Hunt of Philadelphia in the province of Pensilvania, being legally attested before me Humphrey Morrey, one of the justices of the peace of the County of Philadelphia, Deposeth and saith as followeth, that is to say, That he this Deponent, about the tenth day of September which was in the year 1685, saw a certain Deed from Major Jasper Farmer to Richard Farmer, of that date, sealed and executed by the said Major Farmar unto the said Richard Farmar for a certain ferme purchased by the said Major from one Sir Boyle Maynard, and upon delivery thereof this Deponent heard the said Major demand of Richard Farmar whether he was satisfied and whether he owed him anything. Whereunto the said Richard answered that the said Major owed him nothing upon any account whatever, or words to that effect. And this Deponent further saith that he, this Deponent, was desired by Major Jasper Farmar, since deceased to draw his the said Jasper's last Will and Testament, dated the twenty fifth day of September 1685, which Will this Deponent drew according to his directions, and which said Will and Testament he the said Major Jasper Farmer, being of sound and perfect memory, at the same time did seal and execute and publish in this Deponent's and Edward Farmar's presence, who have subscribed their names as witnesses thereunto. In witness whereof the said Deponent hath hereunto set his hand the 8th day of the 5th month July 1687. (signed) Saml Hunt. Attested by and before me, the day and year aforesaid Humphrey Morrey." Recorded 9th of 5th month 1687 in Philadelphia Letters of Attorney Book D-2-4, 166, now in Bureau of Land Records, Department of Internal Affairs, Harrisburg.
"In the name of God, Amen. I, Mary Farmar, widdow and relict of Major Jasper Farmar of Ireland, being weak in health but in perfect memory, blessed by God, doe make this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme followeing, that is to say, Imprimis, I give and bequeath my Soule into the hand of my God my Creator who give it me, and who alone is able to keepe it, and my body to be buried with or neare my children in this towne of Philadelphia. Secondly, after my burial it is my will that any debts be paid unto my sonne Edward Batsforth of which I am indebted to him, which is fifty-three pound starling money of England, twenty pound more of the same money brought over in shoes, and five pound more for two pieces of serge, in all amounting to seventy-eight pound starling money of England. Item, I do give and bequeath unto my before named sonne Edward Batsforth the plantation lately bought of Mr. Robert Jeffes at Frankford and will that the said plantation be paid out of the goods in the store heare in this towne. I do give and bequeath unto him the things followeing, that is to say, two fine pares of sheets, foure pares course sheets, foure pellowbeare, two beds, two bolsters, two pellows, two caddus, the courtins I use to lay in, and all appurtenances of the same, half a dozen pewter dishes of all sizes, six silver spoones, two silver porengers. Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Serah Farmar foure dozen doulas napkins, one dozen of damask, one dozen of drapes ditto, six table cloths of the like kind, six pares of fine sheets, six pellow beares, one silver sugar boxe, foure silver spoones, all my wearing apparill, all my rings, botkings, goulden locketts, and twenty pound in gould, and it is my will that my before named Sarah be and continue with her sister in law Katherine Farmar during her nonage or until she be married, requesting my daughter Farmar to have the oversight of her and her education and that her diet, appareill, and learning be paid out of the interest of her portion in Irland. Item, I give and bequeath to my sonne Edward Farmar my two brick houses in the city of Philadelphia, with the lott and backhouse thereupon and all thereunto belonging, and all other house or houses upon the said lott, and another house which I have bought in the same towne of Philadelphia near unto Dr. Wines lott in the same city or towne. Item, I give unto him all the cattles and horses that I have upon the plantation called Farmers Towne, with all the lands and tenements of the same, both to him and his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, forever, as also the mill, and that parcel of land which I bought of Thomas Webb, and all other things therein or thereupon together with all chattels, goods, moveable and unmoveable whatever they be, as gould, silver, marchandise, furnitures, linnen, plate, pewter, whatever they be, and also all debts, book debts, bills, bounds, specialteye, in what part of the World they may be dew to me or appertaining.
"Item, it is my will that my son Edward Farmar shall and doe pay yearly and every year five pounds starling unto my faithful servant maiden Elizabeth Mayo during his natural life, and if he outlive her, to pay the same unto her during her owne naturall life onely, which sum I do give and bequeath unto her as a reward unto her for her faithfulness to me. Item, I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Katherine Farmer a bundle bound up in a hare trunck which is my trunck, knowne by that name. Item, I appoint and make my sonne Edward Farmer my soule executor of this my last will and testament and of all the abovesaid legacies to be paid out of my estate abovesaid in Pennsilvania, and for as much as he is not of age to mind and do his business, it is my will and request that he be, until it please God he comes to age, under the wardeship of Nicholas More, Esq., of this Province, and that the said More be pleased to be his guardian during the said time. In witness of this my Iast will and testament, I have set my hand and seale this one and thartieth day of the month of October in the year one thousand six hundred eighty and six in Philadelphia in Pennsilvania and in the presence of the witnesses hereunto annexed. (signed) Mary Farmar." (Heraldic seal: a fess between 3 lions beads, Fermor-Farmar). Witnesses: John Farmar, Jacob Chapman, John Vaus. Endorsed on reverse: Mary Farmers Will 1686 Probed in forme of Law 1: 5th mo (July) 1687 & registered Book A: fol: 45 #32. Transcript of photostatic copy of the original will in GSP.
The inventory of the personal estate of Mary Farmar, made at Philadelphia 15 and 29 1m (March) 1687 "at the desire of John Goodson of the town and County of Philadelphia, chirugeon, guardian elected and chosen by Edward Farmer, son of the deceased Jasper and Marie Farmer, to him and his estate, by reason of the death of Nicholas More, guardian by the nomination of him in the last will & testament of his said mother "shows a total appraisal of £351,15,3½. Included with the foregoing will is the bond of John Goodson, dated 2 5m (July) 1687 which is not abstracted here. In addition there is also a schedule of "servants to Jasper Farmar Sr.":
John Welsh to serve me 4 yeares to commens at his arrival there, he to have (at) ye expiration of his time a new suit of cloths with 50 acres of land according to ye costom of ye country.
John Billon ye same, Carigon
Daniel Berrin ye toe sutes of cloths and land as the last.
William Forest for fife yeares, at ye expiration of fower, fifty acres of land according to custom with a howse to be built on it by me & two sutes of clothes with 20 shill. in monie.
Ishmael Grube for foure yeares, to have land as aforesd with five pounds in monie at ye expiration of the toe first yeares.
Edward Smout & his wife Elizabeth for 4 yeares, to have for the three last yeares 50d a yeare with land according to costom of the Country, with a new sute of cloths.
Jacob Prige for foure yeares, to have ye last three yeares 50d a yeare with land according to ye costom of ye Country.
George Booth is to serve 2 yeares after his arrival in PensiIvana, allowing him meat, drink, washing and lodging and cloths.
As per increase (of) Youghall, Richard Choson. Mr (Master of the Ship).
Children of Major Jasper Farmar and his first wife Miss Gamble, the second to tenth inclusive named in his will of 21 September 1685: . . .
i. ELIZABETH FARMAR, m. in 1669 JAMES DOWLEN of Youghall, Co. Cork, Ireland, merchant, by Friends' ceremony there. He d. there testate in 1682. She was not named in her father's will, presumably having pre-deceased him.
ii. RICHARD FARMAR, b. in or bef. 1653; d. testate in 1691 in Arderrack, Co. Cork, Ireland; m. in 1671 ELIZABETH PHAIRE. . .
iii. JASPER FARMAR, JR., b. in or bef. 1653; d. intestate in 1685. . . .
iv. SAMUEL FARMAR, b. in or bef. 1657; remained in Ireland. . . .
v. A daughter who m. THOMAS WEBB of Racannon, Co. Limerick, Ireland, gent. He gave a receipt for her dowry on 4 June 1682. She apparently died on the voyage to Pennsylvania, but her husband Thomas Webb and son Daniel Webb arrived at Philadelphia 10 Nov. 1685 in the Ship Bristol Merchant as abovesaid.
vi. MARY FARMAR, m. MICHAEL WEBBER of the City of Cork, Ireland, gent., and gave a receipt for her dowry on 10 Sept. 1685. One Michael Webber of Cork, gent., d. testate there in 1749.
vii. JOHN FARMAR, arrived at Philadelphia in the Ship Bristol Merchant on 10 Nov. 1685 with the family as abovesaid, but no further evidences of him are found in Philadelphia public records. He is said to have "married in 1686 MARY HAYLES, and was father of John Farmar of Youghall, Co. Cork. Ireland, who died in 1740 leaving, by his wife Alphra Garde, a son George Farmar, Royal Navy, 1732-1779."
viii. KATHERINE FARMAR, arrived at Philadelphia in the Bristol Merchant on 10 Nov. 1685 with the family, as abovesaid; no further record.
ix. ROBERT FARMAR, arrived at Philadelphia in the Bristol Merchant as abovesaid; no further record.
x. CHARLES FARMAR, arrived at Philadelphia in the Bristol Merchant as abovesaid; no further record. These last three children were possibly deceased by 31 Oct. 1686, the date of the will of Mary Farmar, widow of Major Jasper Farmar, wherein she ordered her burial to be "with or near my children in this towne of Philadelphia," as per the transcript of the will recited supra.
Children of Major Jasper Farmer and his second wife Mary Batsford, named in both their wills, 25 September 1685 and 31 October 1686: . . .
xi. EDWARD FARMAR, b. in 1672; d. 3 Nov. 1745, Whitemarsh Twp., Philadelphia (now Montgomery) Co. . . .
xii. SARAH FARMAR, arrived at Philadelphia in the Bristol Merchant with the family as abovesaid. As she was a minor at the time of her mother's death, she was entrusted to the care of her step-sister Katherine (Batsford) Farmar. widow of Jasper Farmar, Jr.; no further record found.
Keep checking--this is a work in progress.