Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Life of Thomas Massey, Servant of our 8th Great Grandparents (Williamson Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
On Friday I celebrated my 53rd rotation around the sun on this bright blue marble in space. Its been an interesting ride and surprisingly enough I've not tired of it. Every day brings new challenges, laughter, frustration and the occasional tear. It's all part of being human. Thank you for the kind wishes and remarks.

Researching and writing family history makes me painfully aware that life is short and every day should be cherished. Every day I scour over genealogy records. I record births, marriages and deaths. All numbers to be typed into the computer. Then I'll stop and remember that each birth record was a day of joy for my ancestors and each death a day of great sadness. I read our ancestor's stories. I marvel at their zeal for life. I take joy in their spirit and resilience and feel sadness for their pain and suffering.

Many of our ancestors died young due to disease, injury or childbirth. Many died well before my current age. It makes me grateful to wake up every morning knowing I've been given another day to do my best and make a positive difference in the world.

I will continue to search them out and tell their stories, knowing that one day my final number, like their's, will be written as a matter of record, and my story will be given a concluding period. When I meet them in that field beyond the River Styx, I want to embrace them and proclaim, "I know you!" That alone will be the greatest gift I can give - the happiness which comes from knowing you were not forgotten.

Today in our digital reunion we read more about our Great Grandparents Francis and Grace Stanfield and their servant Thomas Massey (the emphasis being on Thomas). First, the Relationship Chart.

Relationship Chart

Francis Stanfield b. 1642 England. married Grace Achelly b. 1646 England.
Sarah Stansfield b. ? England. married Edward Bennett b. 1656. England
Joseph Bennet b. 1704 Pennsylvania. married Rebecca Fincher b. 1704.
Phebe Bennett. married John Willis
Bennett Willis married Katherine Nosseman
Jonathan Willis married Anabella Phlegar
Margaret Ann Willis married George Matthew Williamson
William J. Williamson married Effie Helen Victor
Vennie, Ima Della, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles married Elda, Maurice.
Charles Williamson married Luella Mattson
Kim, Victor, Kevin, Jon, Janice, Jilane, Lisa, Annette.

Francis Stanfield was born in Garton, Cheshire, England. His parent's names and his birth date are unknown at this time. He was a farmer by trade and a Quaker by religion. He married Grace probably around 1668.

Francis and Grace immigrated to American in 1683. They arrived in Pennsylvania aboard the ship "Endeavour", George Thorpe, Master, on the 29th of July 1683. They brought all six of their children and nine servants. Five of the servant's names are known: Dan Brown, John Smith, Robert Ryan, William Rudway and Thomas Sidbotham, and Thomas Massey.

The Stanfields settled in Marple Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

William Penn organized the "Provincial Assembly" on the 11th of May 1685. The Assembly was the local governing authority and met in Philadelphia on the 10th of each month. Francis was one of the six representatives from Chester County.

Marple Township Quaker meetings were held in the Stanfield home from 1686 until a meeting house was built in 1688.

Thomas Massey was baptised on 1 Oct 1665 in Saint Mary's Church, Nantwich (near Marple), Cheshire, England. He is believed to have been the son of HENRY MASSEYof Sale and HANNAH SIDEBOTHAM. Henry Massey died in 1675 leaving a will, requesting that his son Thomas be apprenticed, as he was yet under age.

Thomas was baptised and brought up in the Church of England (Anglican). He did not become a Quaker until his association with Francis Stanfield, who invited him to sail along to the New World and lent him the money for the fare. Thomas is recorded as a passenger on the Ketch Endeavour out of Liverpool, England. The Endeavour left England sometime after 11 July 1683 and arrived in the Delaware river on 29 Sep 1683. The passengers disembarked at Upland, which is now Chester, Pennsylvania. They were members of the new Quaker sect, most being from Cheshire. Many had been persecuted for their beliefs, fined, imprisoned and their property confiscated. William Penn had promised them religious freedom in his new colony Pennsylvania.
Twenty three Quaker families with children and servants were aboard the Endeavour. They had purchased land before leaving England. On the Endeavour passenger list were entered the names of Francis Stanfield and his wife Grace, their six children and eight servants, amongst whom, Thomas Massey.

Thomas Massey served out his term of indenture to Francis Stanfield and, as was usual, received fifty acres of land from his master, and another fifty from William Penn. By 1692, at the age of 29, Thomas had saved some money and sought to marry. With Thomas on the Endeavour was a thirteen year old girl, Phebe Taylor, who had come with her mother and seven brothers and sisters to join their father, Robert. On 20 October 1692 at the Springfield Meeting, Thomas Massey married Phebe Taylor. He was then twenty nine years old, she was twenty two.

Phebe Taylor was born 15 June 1670 in Little Leigh, Cheshire, England. She was the daughter of ROBERT TAYLOR and MARY HAYES of Little Leigh. Robert Taylor went to America in the first settlement under William Penn, from whom he bought land intending to prepare a home for his family which had stayed behind in England. Having done this, he was set to return to England for them, and set for Philadelphia to take ship. To his astonishment, he met his wife and children in the streets of Philadelphia. They had just landed and were coming in search of him!

In 1696 Thomas Massey bought 300 acres of land in Marple Township from James Stanfield, son of Francis Stanfield. At this time he began to build a fine brick house for his wife Phebe as an extension of an existing log house, and he called it Marple Plantation. Seven children were born here to Phebe and Thomas before his death on 8 September 1708. In his will Thomas Massey left his plantation to his eldest son , Mordecai, with the provision that Phebe should have ''the lower room in the brick end of the house, a horse and a cow as long as she remained a widow''.

Mordecai was thirteen when his father died and his youngest sister was less than a year old. With seven children to bring up - three under the age of ten - it was no wonder that within two years Phebe married Bartholomew Coppock Jr., a widower with two children of his own. Four girls were born to this union: Rebecca, Sarah, Esther, Martha. Phebe Taylor Massey Coppock died on 27 December 1749 at Marple Plantation.

In 1731 Thomas's son Mordecai married and replaced the central log house with a stone house and kitchen. The last direct descendant of Thomas Massey to work on the house was of the fifth generation - Mary Lewis, who married George Smith, M.D. in 1829. About 1860 they added a room over the kitchen. It was fashionable at this time to have a section of siding on a house, which is why the second story of the kitchen was faced with siding on one side. Dr. Smith later became a legislator and a judge, and was the authour of The History of Delaware County published in 1862.

In 1964 The Massey House was on the verge of demolition when a descendant, Lawrence M. C. Smith bought the house and one acre of ground and gave it to the Township of Marple for restoration. Thus Thomas Massey's 17th century Plantation House, one of the oldest and most typical English-style homes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, still stands today and has been turned into a museum.

Please take a minute and look at the following web site:


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