Sunday, February 13, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday: A Horse Thief in the Family?

I've been delving into the history of my Quaker ancestors on my dad's side of the family, and it's really fascinating to me. It's a good thing the Quakers kept amazingly good records, and that a lot of them can be found online or in books, because it's helped me to fairly easily track my ancestors on this branch of my tree.

One interesting story I've seen is that of John Jackson, my 6th great grandfather and husband of Phebe Beals. Phebe's great grandfather (my 10th great grandfather), William Clayton (1632-1689), was a British Quaker who came to America on orders from William Penn, and ended up being quite a big mucky-muck in Pennsylvania: he was one of the first two judges for the City of Philadelphia. He was a member of William Penn's council in 1683 and 1684, and was acting Governor of Pennsylvania from 1684 to 1685.

Phebe Beals (1759-1830) and John Jackson (1753-1810) both grew up in the Quaker (aka Society of Friends) religion. They were married at the New Garden Monthly Meeting (MM) on November 10, 1779, in Guilford County, North Carolina. At some point after their marriage, they moved to Surry County, North Carolina, where they became members of the Westfield MM on March 3, 1792. Here's where the story gets interesting:

New Garden Monthly Meeting, North Carolina
Legend has it that the Westfield Monthly Meeting records show that John Jackson was disowned from the Quakers for basically selling a horse that did not belong to him, among other transgressions. Oopsy! According to the record, John was cast from the Quakers for "going to law with a member of our society, also for not complying with his contracts, and for a breach of trust in that of taking a travelers horse in order to take care of him and trading the horse away without the leave of the said traveler, and when he (the traveler) returned, have him no true information nor made him any satisfaction for said horse." I'd love to know why he thought that was such a good idea, or how he thought he'd get away with it! This seems to be a story that is accepted among folks researching this part of the family, but I'm still looking for the actual record so I can verify it. I'll update this post when I find it!

Meanwhile, Phebe and her children were kept in the fold of the Quakers, but no mention of John's name is found in any further church records, except to note him as the father of his children or as Phebe's spouse.

In 1799, John, Phebe and their large family moved from Westfield, North Carolina, to Green County, Tennessee, where Phebe and the children (but not John!) were received into the New Hope MM in August of that year. I've found records that show they finally moved in 1804 to Clinton County, Ohio, where they were some of the earliest pioneers and where they are buried.

Interestingly, Phebe and John's daughter (my 5th great grandmother), Elizabeth Jackson, was also disowned from the Quakers in Ohio for marrying my 5th great grandfather, Joseph Rooks. It seems that something as simple as marrying outside the faith could get one excommunicated.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. We also have an ancestor that worked with William Penn and wrote a missive promoting life for German Quakers (Cornelius Bom).
    On my father's side we have the family story that the Kolbusz's were horse traders - or otherwise known as horse thieves :-)
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)