Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Thursday, April 30, 2015

52 Ancestors #11: Francis Stanfield 1642 - 1699

Francis Stanfield was one of the first in the Stanfield family to leave England for the American colonies.  He was born in Cheshire, England  in 1642, the son Samuel Stanfield and Jean Thwaites.  Francis married Grace Achelley at the Worcester, England Friends Monthly Meeting in 1665.  Many of the Stanfields were among the first converts to the Society of Friends (Quakers) in England.  At the time, the Quakers were a strict religious sect who were considered heretics by the Church of England.  They refused to bow or take off their hats to social superiors, believing that all men were equal.  They refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the King, an unpopular belief in a country where the monarchy was thought to have been divinely chosen by God.

The principles and beliefs of the Quakers lead to persecution in England.  Francis was arrested in 1670 for attending a Friends Meeting in Cartop and his property was seized for tithes.  Like many other Quakers, Francis and his family became somewhat nomadic, moving from place to place to avoid persecution.   By 1670, the family was living in Marthall, Cheshire, then moved to Gorton, where they were living just before emigrating.

A group of prominent Quakers including William Penn, had purchased property in 1677 in America with the intention of establishing a colony for Quakers there, and settlers began arriving soon after.  Francis must have been weary of having to move his family, which now included six children, and they made the decision to emigrate to the new colony.  Francis, Grace, James, Sarah, Mary, Grace, Elizabeth and Hannah Stanfield (another daughter, Deborah, would be born after they emigrated),  left Liverpool on the ketch Endeavour in 1683  They also brought along indentured servants Daniel Browne, Thomas Marsey, Isa. Brooksby, Robert Sidbotham, John Smith, Robert Bryan, William Rudway, and Thomas Sidbotham.   The ship sailed up the Delaware River into Philadelphia in  September of 1683, carrying 23 Quaker families.

To undertake a long journey aboard a ship at that time, with six children, indicates how desperately they must have wanted to start a new life free of religious persecution.  Conditions were unsanitary and passengers had to bring along their own provisions for the journey.  Drinking water was  contaminated and ships often arrived at their destination with many of the passengers ill or dead.  The Stanfields, despite having had some of their property seized, were able to escape England with enough assets to purchase land in Chester, Pennsylvania after their arrival.  A 600 acre lot in Marple, west of Philadelphia, is shown on survey maps of 1683 as belonging to Francis Stanfield.  The Stanfields were among the first settlers of Marple, probably named for the village of Marple in Yorkshire, a former home to many of the settlers.  Francis is listed as a "husbandsman" (farmer) on records after his arrival, but over the next few years, he and his son James built a successful trade business.  James is also listed as the co-owner of the property in Marple in later documents.

Grace Stanfield died in October 1691 at age 45 and Francis died the following year, age 50.  Their burial place is not known; there is a burying ground next to the Meeting House in Chester, Pennsylvania, however, there are no records to show if this is their final resting place.

Francis and Grace's children remained in Pennsylvania and in the Quaker faith.  James was a successful merchant in Philadelphia.  He married Mary Hutchinson and had two children, Francis and Mary.  Son Francis died just a few months after his birth in 1696.  James's wife and daughter died in August 1698, and he in September 1699.  Yellow fever was rampant in port cities like Philadelphia in the summer months and it's likely that this was the cause of their deaths.  James was only 31 when he died; his wife Mary was 20 and their daughter Mary was only two.  James, having lost both his wife and children before his own death, left his property and assets to his sisters and their families.

The Stanfield daughters all married and had families, remaining in the Philadelphia area for the remainder of their lives. 

Quaker Document recording Grace and Francis Stanfield's deaths

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