THE PENNOCK FAMILY
The Pennock family in America is descended from Christopher Pennock. According to tradition he was an officer in the service of William of Orange, and fought in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The victory of the forces of Orange on this day ended forever the reign of the Stuarts in England, and assured the English speaking world a regime of tolerance, and the end of Catholicism as a dominant political force. Christopher's part in this historical event has been readily accepted by his descendants, and appears in all the biographies published in local histories, but it has never been substantiated by reference to official records, which probably exist.
It is hard to reconcile Christopher Pennock's participation in a military campaign in the year 1690 with his known Quaker convictions, which are of record.
According to Besse "Sufferings" in 1660 (II., 467) 1666 (II., 475) Christopher Pennock, of Cork, Ireland, was imprisoned for attendance at Friends' meetings, and in 1670, for the same reason, he had 49 yards of "stuff" worth L2, 9s., taken from him (II., 478). In William Stockdale's "Sufferings" (p. 12), printed in 1683, he is mentioned as having 6s. taken from him for maintenance of a "Priest." In 1675, in Cork the "Priest" took seven shillings out of his "shop-box."--Stockdale, 60. In Cork, in 1676, Mary Pennock for keeping shop open on Christmas day was imprisoned for one night.--Stockdale, "A Great Cry of Oppression," 231.
Most Quakers maintained a strict neutrality throughout the period of civil strife in the British Isles, and it is not clear why Christopher Pennock would have deserted the principles for which he had been persecuted to accept an officer's commission in 1690. However, the Quakers had everything to gain from the victory of William, and in later years many have participated in wars. "The Dawson Family", published in 1864, speaks of Christopher Pennock as a soldier of Cromwell, but gives no source or explanation. Cromwell took an army to Ireland in 1649 to suppress revolt, and many of his soldiers remained. It is not impossible that Pennock, whose home was Cornwall, England, went to Ireland as a soldier of Cromwell, settled there and later accepted the Quaker doctrines.
The histories agree that Christopher Pennock came to America about the year 1685, and settled in Pennsylvania. If he took part in the Battle of the Boyne, he returned to Ireland, and later came back to Pennsylvania He was married prior to 1675 to Mary, daughter of George Collett, of Cornwall, Tipperary County, Ireland, and is said to have lived in Cork and in Cornwall, England before his emigration to America. The records of persecutions cited indicate that he was a shopkeeper, and dealt in drygoods, although Futhey and Cope "History of Chester County" says he was a cardmaker (wool industry). One history states that he received a deed to 2000 acres of land in Chester County from his father-in-law, upon which he settled, and where he died in 1701. In another place reference is made to his death in Philadelphia, which is not in Chester County. There are also conflicting reports as to his wife; one states that she died in Chester County in 1687, another that she returned to Ireland after his death in 1701.
The following extract from a letter in the Pennock Papers, which belonged to Mrs. William H. Miller of Media, Pennsylvania a number of years ago, doubtless refers to George Collett: "2 mo. 7, 1685. Dear Brother Pennock, Myne and my wife's affectionate love is to thee, and we are heartily glad it is in thy wife's hart to be with thee, and that the way is made for her father's condescension and willingness there-to." Stockdale's "Sufferings", p. 165, states that George Collett of Clonmel, in 1680 had seized for tithes six "Pewter Dishes and a Pewter Candlestick", to the value of one pound. This indicates that Christopher Pennock's father-in-law was a convert to Quakerism.
Christopher and Mary Collett had three children, born in Ireland. Nathaniel and Annie had no children, but Joseph, who was born in Killhouse, near Clonmel, 11 mo. 18, 1677, had twelve, and was the ancestor of all the Pennocks in this country. There is a tradition that he made several trips to this country before finally settling here, and on one of them travelled with a privateer, which was captured by a French warship. He is said to have spent a year in a French prison and endured much hardship. A slightly different story is told by the History of Stark County, Ohio:
"The two sons, when young men, became merchantmen, and during the trouble between England and France, were captured on a return voyage and made prisoners of war. Joseph finally made his escape, but Nathaniel, never being heard of afterwards, is supposed to have been lost at sea, after making his escape. Anne never married, but died at Kingston, Jamaica."
If Joseph Pennock was a Quaker, he was not a very constant one, and may well have taken part in such adventures. He very likely accompanied his parents to America when he was eight years old, but probably did not settle down in this country until after his father's death. His marriage undoubtedly took place in 1705, although the date has also been given as 1701, in which year his bride, Mary Levis, would have been only fourteen years old. They married before two Justices of the Peace, rather than in Quaker fashion before the meeting, as Joseph Pennock is stated not to have been in membership with Friends at that time. The marriage was at the home of the bride's father, Samuel Levis, who was a devout Quaker, and it was approved by the Quakers at least to the point that Mary was not cast out for marriage
out of unity. Joseph Pennock probably later joined the Quakers, and the minutes of the New Garden Monthly Meeting contain the following entry: 4 month 24, 1732.--London Grove Preparative Meeting reports "Joseph P(???) was over taken with Strong Drink at Darby and he being favored with a deep Sense thereof having given this meeting a paper of acknowledgment." This is quoted in Meyer "Immigration of the Irish Quakers", who appears to assume that the reference is to Joseph Pennock.
Joseph Pennock spent some years in Philadelphia, where he was a prominent merchant. Perhaps his father, who was a shopkeeper left a business in that city, which he continued. He removed to what is now West Marlborough Township as early as 1714 and settled on a large tract of 1250 acres, of which he became proprietor by virtue of a grant from William Penn to his grandfather, George Collett. He was mentioned in a list of twenty-eight persons taxed in Marlborough Township in 1715. He paid fourteen shillings two pence, the highest assessment of all. In 1738 he built a mansion called "Primitive Hall," which is still standing in a good state of preservation. Pennock took a prominent part in civil affairs, serving as a member of the Provincial Assembly almost continuously from 1716 to 1744. For many years he was a justice of the peace and in 1736, during the Cresap War, rising from the dispute over the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, he was one of the five men appointed by Governor Thomas Penn to investigate a conspiracy. This has been described in more detail in the section on Chester County.
By the Minutes of the Board of Property, 1 mo. 6, 1724-5, "Joseph Pennock requests the Grant of .... acres of the tract called S'r John Fagg's, if to be disposed of." This land was probably a part of Fagg's Manor which later became Londonderry Township and which adjoined London Grove on the west. At this period the Manor was exposed to the encroachments of the Scotch-Irish squatters. John Taylor, the surveyor, notes in his memorandum-book that on April 3rd, 1730 he "went and warned the Irish off Fagg's Manor." In the following letter to James Steel, manager of the land-office, in Philadelphia, Pennock evidently is writing of the tract requested of the Board of Property, and not having a patent, doubtless had trouble holding his land against squatters:
malbora ye 9th of ye 7br 1725 "ffrend James Steel
I am ondar Som consarn of minde relating to Simkoks affair, when I was at Chester I met with James Logan whoo tould mee (to ye best of my rememborens) yt ye Proprietors family was at Present so distrackted or unsettled yt ye Commishonars nu not how to form a pattin (patent) or make itols to Land yt they had Set Som days & had Com to no Conclution about it, it has Cost mee som pounds olredy to defend the Land bot if I cannot hefe a patten which would be my Gost foundetion I will quit it for its more adviseble to drop it with those skars olredy resefd then bee obliged to heer after to Retrete with wounds. I met J. L. ye next day on ye rode hee tould mee yt hee would doo what hee Could in my affair which is incorriging. Now whot I Request of ye is Present my kind Respekts to J. Logan & Let him no my resolutions yt if I Can hefe a patten am redy to defend ye Land if not most Quit it for it would be vanity in mee to hassord my Estete at bland mans bof undar Ptens of defending a skrip of ye Proprietors. I intrete yee when yee knows ye resolt favor mee with a line which will delvar mee from ye payn & greatly oblige they asureed ffrend
This letter is from an original manuscript in the possession of Mrs. William H. Miller, and was quoted in "Immigration of the Irish Quakers."
Joseph Pennock's home, Primitive Hall, undoubtedly took its name frome its surroundings, at that time wilderness, populated only by Indians. "His doors were never fastened against these children of the forest, and food was always left for those who might choose to enter his kitchen at night, and it was no unusual thing to find several Indians stretched on the floor before the kitchen fire in the morning. Such kindness produced its natural result; the Indians guarded his property in every practicable way, and when any of his cattle or horses would stray, they were sure to return them." (Furthey and Cope, "History of Chester County")
The wife of Joseph Pennock was descended from Christopher Levis of Harby, Leicester, England, and from William Clator of Nottingham, England. William Clator and Alice Clator, who may have been his wife, were among the signers of "An Appeal from Nottinghamshire to the King and both Houses of Parliment" 11 mo. 15, 1670, requesting relief from persecution. A book of Joseph Besse "An Abstract of the Sufferings of the People Called Quakers for the Testimony of a Good Conscience" contains this passage in volume I, for the period 1650 to 1660:
William Claytor of Elton, was supaena'd at the Suit of Dove Williamson Priest there, to the Court of the Exchequer in London, to appear there personally, which he did, nevertheless, he not employing an Attorney, was committed to the Fleet, as if he had not appeared, and was thre imprisoned two Years; In which Time, the Priest and his servants made spoil of his Goods at Home, carrying off an whole Load of his Corn together. He was afterward sued by the said Priest in the Court of Common Pleas, in an Action of Debt, and at an Assize at Nottingham, the Jury gave the priest twenty Pounds: upon that Verdict Execution was awarded, and his Goods taken by Bayliffs to the Value of 42.1, and he was kept Prisoner three Years and a Quarter.
Samuel Levis, the son of Christopher Levis and Elizabeth Clator, daughter of William Clator were married March 3, 1680. Samuel was born 7 mo. 30, 1649, but the date of her birth has not been determined. They emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1684. Before leaving England, Levis, in conjunction with William Garrett, purchased 1000 acres of land. Part of it was the site of his first settlement, in Springfield township, and was still in the family name at the end of the last century. Jointly with Garrett, John Smith and Robert Cliffe, Levis brought a certificate which was presented to a meeting of Friends held at "The Governor's house" in Philadelphia 9 mo. (November) 4, 1684. Within two years of his arrival, Levis became a member of the Provincial Assembly, and in 1692 he was a member of the Governor's Council. He was also Justice of the Court of Chester County, and remained an active and zealous member of the Society of Friends. His position and prestige may have made it easier for his daughter to marry Joseph Pennock without losing her membership in the Society. William, son of Samuel Levis became an eminent Quaker minister in Kennet township. Samuel Levis appears to have died in 1728 at the age of 79 years, although the Smedley Genealogy says he died about 1734.
William was the third child, the second son of Joseph and Mary Pennock, and he was born in 1707. He married Alice Mendenhall 7 mo. 26, 1739, after the death of his first wife, Hannah Chamberlin. Hannah died soon after the birth of her first child, whose death occurred in infancy. Since the descendants of William and Alice were residing on the original homestead of "Primitive Hall" in 1868, it may be presumed that William remained and took over the plantation after his father's death. William's son Samuel, born November 23, 1754, was a chair, reel and little wheel manufacturer, and his son Moses, invented and patented the revolving horse rake in 1822, and two years later the disc hay rake. His son Samuel was residing on the homestead when the "History of American Manufacturing" was published in 1868. Samuel's brother, Barclay, was a noted scholar, and travelled through Europe on foot in 1851. His wanderings in Scandinavia were considered unusual in those days.
Our principal interest is in William's third son, also named William who was born in 1750 and who married Mary Martin in 1773. Mary Martin is referred to (History of Stark County, Ohio) as an Irish girl; she was probably an immigrant recently arrived. William's parents disapproved of the romance and sent him to England to forget it. He returned a year later and married her. Eight children were born to William and Mary Martin Pennock: John, born March 21, 1774; Alice, born August 30, 1776(*); William, born May 22, 1778; Hannah, born May 17,
(*)Family bible gives August 26, 1776. See Gruwell Section.
1781; Mary, born April 4, 1783; Phebe, born February 11, 1785; Jane, born October 20, 1787; Moses, born April 30, 1791. These dates are recorded in the minutes of the Goose Creek Monthly Meeting. The eldest daughter, Alice, and presumably the eldest son, John, were born in Pennsylvania, although William and Mary moved to Roanoke County, Virginia a few years after their marriage, perhaps to escape his disapproving family. Alice's younger brother, William, became a large slave holder, which led to his separation from the Quakers. But he migrated westward, to Stark County, Ohio, in 1826, and to Illinois in 1837.
Alice Pennock married Timothy Gruwell in 1803, and moved from Virginia to Stark County, Ohio, in 1807. The parents, William and Mary, with their children Hannah, Phebe, Jane and Moses, and their grandchildren William, Elizabeth and Alice received a certificate from the Goose Creek meeting to the Salem meeting in Ohio, and left for Stark County in the same year. Their eldest son, John, and his wife had preceded them, leaving their children behind. Thus the entire family of William and Mary Pennock, with the exception of the son William and the daughter Mary moved to Ohio in 1807. William, the slaveholder, followed 19 years later. Mary had probably married sometime between 1803 and 1807, and gone her separate way.