Thomas Eavenson of Cheshire England and Chester County, Pennsylvania

Thomas Eavenson Family

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Thomas Eavenson was the son of Radulphus & Cicely Eavenson of Burland, Acton Parish, Cheshire, England (see instructions at bottom of page to view the will.) Thomas Eavenson married three times: (1) Hannah Woodward, and (2) Elizabeth Woodward who was presumably Hannah's sister, or at least her cousin. When he died in 1726 Thomas named a wife (3) Margaret in his will, but we do not know her surname. We do know from land records that Elizabeth was alive in 1717 so the marriage was after that date.

The theory that Edward Woodward of England, may be the progenitor of the Woodwards who settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania, is based on the close proximity of the Eavensons & Woodwards in time and place in Chester County, and that Elizabeth Woodward is documented as the daughter of Edward Woodward in her birth/baptismal record in Acton Parish, Cheshire, England (for more on this see Richard Woodward, Sr. page).

A Chester County deed dated 1 July 1708 describes a tract in Thornbury bounded by land of ...Richard Woodward and Thomas Eavenson... so the families apparently were neighbors.

J. Gary Woodward in The Woodward Family of Chester County, Pennsylvania credits Chandler Eavenson, of Sautee-Nacochee, Georgia, for information leading to the discovery of the Cheshire, England information for Hannah and Elizabeth Woodward. The Register of Acton Parish, Cheshire, England gives the marriage date and burial record of Hannah Woodward Eavenson. There are two records in Acton Parish, one for Hannah Woodward Eavenson buried 11/23/1686 and one buried 11/25/1686. The second Hannah is recorded as the daughter of Roberti Woodward, so we assume the first is ours. That it is the same Eavenson family is verified as Hannah & Thomas's marriage record is found in a family Bible printed in 1620 that belonged to Thomas Eavenson's mother and that he brought with him to Chester County, Pennsylvania.

  Thomas Eavenson
born probably 1653 Cheshire, England
died bef 11/30/1726 Chester County, Pa
Hannah Woodward
born probably Cheshire, England
died 11/1686 Cheshire, England
burial 11/23/1686 Acton Parish

  Married: 6/25/1677 in Acton Parish, Cheshire, England

Thomas Eavenson died young
Ralph Eavenson born probably 1682 Cheshire, England; married Grace Arnold
Richard Eavenson born 4/22/1684 Cheshire, England; married Jemima Newlin
Mary Eavenson died 11/1686 Acton Parish, Cheshire, England burial 11/25/1686 Acton Parish
  Thomas Eavenson
born probably Cheshire, England
died Chester County, Pa
Elizabeth Woodward
born 11/17/1653 Cheshire England
died after 10/12/1717 Chester County, Pa
  Married:1688 in Chester County, Pennsylvania (more below)

Joseph Eavenson born 11/1/1689 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Catherine George
Hannah Eavenson born 1691 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Thomas Arnold
Thomas Eavensonborn 1694 Chester County, Pennsylvania, died before 1726
Sarah Eavensonborn 1696 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married (1) John Buffington (2) Anthony Arnold
Note: Thomas and Anthony Arnold were brothers of Grace Arnold who married Ralph Eavenson as proven in Richard Arnold's will in 1720

More on Thomas Eavenson/Elizabeth Woodward Marriage

The circumstances of Elizabeth Woodward's marriage indicate that she was a close relative of Richard Woodward as he was the person responsible for her. We had not previously seen the following court record and perhaps it has been supressed in genealogies. We believe it is appropriate to publish such records as it underscores the fact that our ancestors were only human, and brings original records to light. "3rd day in ye 1st Weeke of ye 4th month 1688: The Grand Inquest Psented (sic) Thomas Eveson and Elizabeth Woodward for ye Sin of fornication. The said Thomas Eveson acknowledging ye fact and not willing to plead thereunto putts himselfe upon ye mercy of ye King and Governr upon which ye said Thomas Eveson with Richard Woodward become bound unto ye King and Governour in ye penalty of 40 pounds that ye said Thomas Eveson shall contract marriage with ye above named Elizabeth Woodward att or before ye 6th day of ye 5th moneth next." (page 127-128 Records of the Courts of Chester Cnty, Pa 1681-1696/7, courtesy Judy Ardine). The History of Chester County indicates they were married about July 1688 (5th month would be July). This comment is probably based on the court record.

Land Records in Chester County

In a deed dated September 29, 1711 Thomas Eavenson of Thornbury, yeoman, & Elizabeth, his wife, granted 133 acres to Richard Eavenson of Thornbury, carpenter, son of Thomas. The land is described as bounded by lands of Richard Woodward, Thomas Eavenson, Thomas Mercer, Reece Thomas & John Yearlsey. The tract was 317 acres so Thomas only granted a portion to his son who had reached the age of 18. There are several family connections in this deed. The land had originally been patented to Robert Sumner of Roud of County Wilts in England. He may have been the ancestor of Robert Sumner who married Phebe Beals Canaday. Thomas Mercer, neighbor, was the father of Elizabeth Mercer, who married Richard Woodward's son, Joseph Woodward. Two of Richard Woodward's great grandchildren married Yearsleys. But the most significant connection is that Richard Woodward & Thomas Eavenson did purchase adjoining tracts of land in Chester County.

Another significant deed is dated 12 Oct 1717 where Thomas Evanson of Thornbury, yeoman, & Elizabeth his wife, deeded to their son Joseph Evanson of Thornbury, 296 acres bounded by land of Isaac Taylor, William Pyle, Richard Woodward, Richard Evanson, branch of Chester Creek, land of Thomas Mercer & Mather Andrews. This tells us that Elizabeth was still alive in 1717. This land was part of a parcel of 317 acres obtained by Thomas in November 1702.

Will of Thomas Eavenson

From "Wills of Chester Cnty, Pa 1713-1748", F. Edward Wright, 1998, Willow Bend Books, courtesy Judy Ardine: EVENSON, Thomas. Thornbury. Yeoman.
10 Jun 1726 or 20 Aug 1726. 30 Nov 1726 A:201
Provides for wife Margaret. Remainder of estate in 3 equal parts one to wife and the others not further mentioned. To sons Richard and Joseph 5 shillings each. To dtrs Hannah Arnold and Sarah Buffington 10 pounds each. Remainder to son Ralph, also executor. Wit: Henry Pierce, Edward Milson.

Children of Thomas and Hannah Woodward Eavenson

Some information that we have comes from Eavenson-Strickland and Allied Families, by Sexta Eavenson Strickland (Stein Printing Co, Atlanta, Ga, 1933). A birthdate of 1682 is given for Ralph Eavenson, which seems credible. She also gives a son Thomas, probably the eldest, who died young.

Ralph and Grace Arnold Eavenson

Ralph Eavenson married Grace Arnold, daughter of Richard and Sarah Chamberlain Arnold. They had children: Jacob, Joseph, Hannah, and Phoebe (married James Guess.) Their daughter Hannah Eavenson married Richard Woodward, Jr., grandson of Robert Woodward. Ralph Eavenson died between March 24, 1744 and April 9, 1744 when his will was proven, and Grace died between November 11, 1746 and January 29, 1747 when her will was proven. Son Joseph died between March 12, 1745 and April 23, 1745 when his will was probated. Son Jacob died intestate and administration was granted to brother Joseph on February 12, 1745. The deaths of the two sons within a month of each other is curious, perhaps disease?

Will of Ralph Eavenson
To son Jacob the plantation formerly George Lees except 50 acres of the east end, he providing for his mother Grace during her widowhood. To son Joseph the plantation I now live on and the 50 acres above mentioned subject to provision for his mother. To daughter Phebe Eavenson and grandson Enoch Woodward my lot in Wilmington. To daughter Hannah Woodward 20 shillings. Executors: wife and son Joseph; witnesses: Jos. Eavenson, John Palmer, John Cheyney.

Will of Grace Arnold Eavenson
To Mary daughter of brother Thomas Arnold, 5 pounds. To grandson Enoch Woodward 5 pounds. To Stephen Hurly 2-10 pounds when 21. To Elizabeth Boss 2-10 pounds at 18. To grandson Joseph Gess 5 pounds. To all my brothers and sisters children a new Bible. To daughter Phebe Gess remainder of estate. Executors: son in law James Gess and John Palmer. Witnesses: Wm. Trimble, Jos. Eavenson, Jos Chamberlin

Will of Joseph Eavenson
To mother Grace Eavenson during life the plantation left me by my father Ralph Eavenson during life, afterward to my sister Phebe Guess also that plantation left by my father to my brother Jacob Eavenson. To kinswoman Mary Arnold 5 pounds. To kinsman Enoch Woodward, 1 pound. Remainder to mother. Executors: mother Grace Eavenson and brother in law James Guess. Witnesses. Henry Pierce, Josiah Arnold, John Cheyney.

Richard and Jemima Newlin Eavenson

Son Richard Eavenson prospered. He married Jemima Newlin, daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Mendenhall Newlin [reported] on 8 dy 10 mo 1712 at Concord Monthly Meeting (meaning they were married shortly before that date.) Richard and Jemima inherited a large tract of land (913 acres) when Jemima's father died in 1729. Richard Eavensondied in Thornbury Township sometime between 8/20/1739 when he wrote his will and 11/19/1739 when it was proven.

Will of Richard Eavenson
Provides for wife not named. To son Nathaniel the plantation I now live on containing 352 acres in Thornbury and Westtown when 21, also the lot of land in the Valley where Jacob Taylor liveth being part of the 100 acres I bought of Jacob Wright. Refers to a tract of 100 acres leased to John Stanton for 999 years being a part of the Society land on Brandywine Creek, gives to wife during life and afterward to daughter Mary, also said daughter 100 pounds at 21. Remainder to wife son Nathaniel and daughter Mary. Gives to son Richard Eavenson, "if he recover from the illness he is now in," a desk and the dutch boy named Hance Adam Smith now living with him. Executors: brothers Ralph Eavenson and John Newlin. Witnesses: John Townsend, Edith Newlin, Kath. Eavenson.

From Chester County Pennsylvania Inventories we learn that Richard's estate included: Law Book called Country Justice; Shewings History; Prince Authors Poems; a Big Bible (possibly the one that had belonged to Thomas); William Smith's works in folio; Our Pennsylvania Law Book; Senecas Morals; the History of Queen Elizabeth; Echards Eccliastical History in two volumes; Abridgment of the English Chronicle; Barclays Apology; Universal Historical Dictionary in two volumes; Blackmore's Creation: Gentlemen Instructed: Elwoods Davideis; Jacob Beheme's The Election of Grace & Questions; Coles Dictionary; Robers Voyages; William Penn's Travels in Holland; The Knowledge of the World; The Wars of the Jews; Human Prudence; Echoes; Mary Molineux Poems; Ellis Pughs Book; Mesterkeiss poperis three volumes; 3 English Chronicles; Elizabeth Sirridge Book Gentiles Divinity; Two Journey's to Jerusalem; Arithmatick; The History of Pirates; Protestant Tutor; Aristotle; The English Physician; A navigation book; and General Epistle. Hardly the library of a simple carpenter (occupation given in land record above)! We would love to know what happened to these books.

Wife Jemima Newlin Eavenson died before December 25, 1753 when administration was granted to son Richard Eavenson.

The children named in Richard's will were Richard, born 5/3/1718 Nathaniel born 1/28/1720, and Mary, born 11/2/1721 (birthdates recorded at Concord MM per Concord Meeting Minutes 1684-1757.)

Son Richard Eavenson married Alice Gilpin, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Glover Gilpin on 2/11/1739 at Concord Monthly Meeting. They had children: Esther 2/14/1740; Enoch 8/8/1741; Hannah 12/11/1742; Thomas 10/18/1744; Isaac 9/27/1746.

Son Nathaniel Eavenson married Elizabeth Palmer, daughter of John and Martha Yearsley Palmer, at Christ Church on 3/20/1746. They had children: Martha (married Benjamin Johnson); Hannah (married Moses Cock and went to Ohio); Richard (died 1771); Rebecca (married Benjamin Jones); Jemima (married Benjamin Kirgan); and Elizabeth (married Anthony Morris.) Nathaniel Eavenson died before October 12, 1766 when administration was granted to Elizabeth Eavenson and Moses Palmer (Elizabeth's brother).

Children of Thomas and Elizabeth Woodward Eavenson

Joseph and Catherine George Eavenson

Catherine George was born in Wales and her father, Richard, died on shipboard in 1708 on the way to America per a George Web Site. She and Joseph Eavenson were married 2/10/1717 at Radnor Monthly Meeting. They had children Elizabeth (1722); Thomas (1724); George (1726, married Mary Williamson); John (1728) and Seth (1731, married Hannah Davis.) Joseph Eavenson died 12/14/1771 but we did not find a will in Chester County for him. There is a will for Daniel Davis in 1771 naming daughter Hannah Davis Eavenson.

Hannah Eavenson Arnold

Hannah Eavenson married Thomas Arnold, son of Robert and Sarah Chamberlain Arnold, on 10/30/1714 as recorded at Concord Monthly Meeting. Thomas Arnold married Ann Rattew 11/14/1729 as recorded at Concord after the death of Hannah. Hannah was left �10 in her father's will in 1726 so was alive at that time. Thomas Arnold had a child Mary mentioned in the will of Grace Arnold Eavenson in 1746. Here is the will of Thomas mentioning "only" daughter Sarah who seems to be daughter of Hannah as she is left property "formerly of her mother." We have heard from Edward Stokel who found an estate file for Mary Arnold dated May 20, 1754 at the Chester County Archives showing Sarah Arnold appointed administrator so apparently there were two daughters, Mary and Sarah.
Will of Thomas Arnold
Thomas Arnold of West Bradford. November 7, 1763. February 1, 1764. To wife Ann plantation I now live on in West Bradford containing about 30 acres and all personal estate. To only daughter Sarah 6 pewter plates and dishes that was formerly her mothers. Executor: Joseph Martin. Witnesses: George Martin, John Smith. *Thomas Arnold married Hannah Eavenson 10/30/1714 and Ann Rattew 11/14/1729. (we do not know who is responsible for the added note to the will abstract.)

Sarah Eavenson Buffington Arnold

Sarah Eavenson married (1)John Buffington. They had children: John; Thomas; Mary; and Sarah, all underage at the time of John's death per his will.
Will of John Buffington
Buffington, John W. Bradford, yeoman. 7/24/1736. October 11, 1736. B.12. To eldest son John the plantation I now live on purchased of brother Richard containing 188 acres when 21. To wife Sarah use of said plantation during minority of son and other provision. To son Thomas 50 acres of land adjacent above also �30 at 21. To daughters Mary and Sarah �15 each at 21. Executors: wife Sarah, brother Richard Eavenson and brother Jeremiah Dean.

Sarah Eavenson Buffington married Anthony Arnold, son of Richard and Sarah Chamberlain Arnold, on 9/30/1737 at Bradford Monthly Meeting. No parents were present at the wedding but there were plenty of other relatives. Several Buffington's attended as well. Sarah and Anthony had a daughter Hannah who married Isaac Taylor. Note that Anthony provided for some of Sarah's Buffington children in his will.
Will of Anthony Arnold Anthony Arnold of E. Bradford, yeoman. September 18, 1746. October 1, 1746. B. 211. To John Arnold son of brother Richard �30 when 21. To daughter in law Sarah Buffington �30 at 18. To daughter Hannah the plantation where I dwell containing about 140 acres in E. Bradford and Westtown at 18. To Thos. Buffington a colt. To Mary Morgan and Sarah Buffington my wifes daughters by a former husband my wifes wearing apparel. Executors: friends Jos. Evenson and Jos. Chamberlin. Witnesses: Saml. Osborne, Thos. Worth, Richard Thatcher.

Will of Radulphus Eavenson

Chandler Eavenson posted the will of Radulphus Eavenson on the Rootsweb Old Chester mailing list in October 2005:

12/17/2005 Added link to the will of Radulphus Eavenson and made minor other corrections.
10/13/2011 Corrected information on the children of Hannah Eavenson and husband Thomas Arnold. Sarah and Mary were two separate daughters.