Abraham and Mary Hunt Marshall, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Abraham & Mary Hunt Marshall Family

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Abraham and Mary Hunt Marshall were the parents of Eliza Marshall, first wife of William Woodward, and thus the maternal grandparents of Abraham Woodward. Abraham Woodward was named for Abraham Marshall.

Abraham Marshall was the son of Humphry Marshall of Gratton England. Humphry and his family were active members of the Church of England. Abraham was the second child and second son, having an older brother Humphry and two younger brothers, Samuel and John. When Abraham was about 15 or 16 years old he was called to preach for the people called Quakers. His certificate transferring Quaker membership from England to America contains a notation "appears to have been a preacher."

Mary Hunt was a daughter of James Hunt of Kent, Old England. James Hunt, a widower, came to America with two small daughters, Mary and Eliza, about 1684. Mary's sister, Eliza, married William Bartram, and was mother of naturalist John Bartram.

  Abraham Marshall
born abt 1669 Derbyshire, England
died 12/17/1767 Chester Co, Pa
burial Bradford, Chester Co, Pa
Mary Hunt
born abt 1682, Kent, England
died bef 3/4/1769, Chester Co, Pa
burial Bradford, Chester Co, Pa

  Married: 1st month, 17th day, 1703 at Darby Monthly Meeting, Chester County, Pennsylvania. (Certificate)

Samuel Marshall born 11/27/1704 Chester County, Pa; married Sarah Ashmead
Elizah Marshall born 10/2/1705 Chester County, Pa; married William Woodward
John Marshall born 9/7/1707 Chester County, Pa; married Hannah Caldwell
Abraham Marshall born 1/4/1713 Chester County, Pa; married Rachel Carter
Hannah Marshall born 9/7/1715 Chester County, Pa; married Joseph Gibbons
Isaac Marshall born 12/7/1718 Chester County, Pa; married (1) Ann Vernon (2) Mary Clayton
Jacob Marshall born 4/26/1720 Chester County, Pa; married Hannah Pennock
Humphry Marshall born 8/10/1722 Chester County, Pa; married (1)Sarah Pennock, sister of Hannah (2)Margaret Minshall
James Marshall born 1/13/1725 Chester County, Pa;married Sarah Waite

English Tradition and Arrival in America

The Marshall family by tradition is supposed to be descended from William le Mareschal, who came to England with the army of the Norman conqueror, and was a commander in the army of invasion. From him was descended John Marshall who was Mareschal of England and later of Ireland. (Curiously, the coauthor, W. M. Paxton, of this 1885 book on the "Marshall Family" is a distant relative of Site Coordinator Nadine Holder through an entirely different branch of her family!) But, again, one must remember that many of the nobility had their own "marshalls" or caretakers and defenders of their estates, hence Marshall is a fairly common English name.

We are not entirely sure of the accuracy of the dates of Abraham Marshall's arrival in America as 1684 minutes of Darby Monthly Meeting list charter members as Abraham Marshall, Jacob Simkoake (Simcock), John Mendinghall & Elizabeth Bartram. Darby Monthly Meeting Records in Chester County, Pennsylvania record the receipt of a certificate for Abraham Marshall from the meeting of Monyask, England on 2nd month 9th day 1700. Possibly the note was inserted later in the 1684 minutes, or he might also have been on a ministerial visit at the early date and then returned to England.

Land in America

Abraham Marshall married in 1703 as "husbandman" or one who tills the land, but he soon became "yeoman" or landowner. A parcel of 200 acres was deeded on 1 December 1713 by William Penn, Esq., Jr, eldest son of William Penn, Esq., James Logan, etal, gentlemen, to Abraham Marshall of the county of Chester, yeoman, for a price of 40 pounds. (see Wm Pen Jr Manor map - Abram Marshall parcel crosses just over the dotted line representing later Newcastle Co.) This land was resold by Abraham & wife Mary on 1 May 1724 but the price is not recorded, although he no doubt made a tidy profit. In 1724 Abraham Marshall bought 120 acres from Nathaniel Newlin for 37 pounds. A portion of the land, located in the northwest corner of Newlin Township, crossed Brandywine Creek. (Township Map) Also see Chester County USGenWeb site for larger version and other township maps.

According to the "History of Chester County, Pennsylvania": After William Penn purchased from the Indians all the land in Chester County, he reconveyed to them a mile in width on each side of the Brandywine, from its mouth up the west branch to its head. In 1706 the commissioners of property, at the request of the inhabitants on Brandywine, purchased from the Indians their claims to these lands, from the mouth of the creek up to a certain rock in the west branch, in the (later) line of Abraham Marshall's land which was also the line of the Newlin tract. The Indians had a village a short distance west of this line. As soon as Newlin began selling land a difficulty arose with the Indians. They claimed they still owned a mile on each side of the creek, but no one seemed to pay any attention to them. The Indian Chief Checochinican brought a complaint before the Provincial Assembly in 1725 complaining of encroachments on their land and obstruction of the creek by dams. The dams were interfering with their fishing. The complaint was heard but the Assembly adjourned without making any adjustment. The next year the Indians again appeared. Newlin was summoned before the Assembly and agreed in writing that no one would disturb the Indians. Again in 1729 the Indians complained that their lands had been sold and they were forbidden to use timber to build their cabins. Soon the Indians removed from the County and trouble ceased.

The difficulties of the early settlers with their land patents is described by Joseph Pennock whose two daughters would marry two Marshall sons: "I met with James Logan whoo tould mee...yt ye Proprietors family was at Present so distrackted or unsettled yet ye Commishonars nu not how to form a pattin (patent) or make titols to Land...it has Cost mee som pounds olredy to defend the Land bot if I cannot hefe a patten...I will quit it for its more adviseble to drop it with those skars olredy resefd then bee obliged heer after to Retret with wounds..."(from Immigration of the Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania, page 146,from Ancestry.com). For more on the Pennocks see the Pennock Web Site.

Abraham and Mary as Quakers in America

Abraham and Mary Hunt Marshall lived long and useful lives, serving in many capacities at Darby, Newark, Kennett, and from its inception, Bradford Monthly Meeting in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Bradford Meeting House was on or near the northeast corner of Abraham's land in Newlin Township. According to the "History of Chester County, Pennsylvania," the site was purchased from Edward Clayton, by deed of 10th month 10th day, 1729, the trustees being Abraham Marshall, Richard Woodward, Peter Collins, and Richard Buffington. Here a house was built in what is now the graveyard, and stood until 1765. The first house, which was of frame or logs, was moved up from the Marshall farm, and used for many years as a stable.

On the 8th day of the 3rd month in 1769 it was directed at Bradford meeting that a memorial be prepared for Abraham and Mary. This was a high honor, not often granted, for Quakers did not believe in personal accolades except for very, very exceptional service in the faith.

In the 3rd month of 1770 the following memorial was prepared: "We understand he was born at Gratton, in Derbyshire Old England, and educated in the profession of the church of England; in his youth he was favour'd with a visitation of divine love, but not keeping close thereunto, when amongst his companions he suffered loss. When about fifteen or sixteen years of age, our worthy friend John Gratton being abroad in truth's service, was concern'd to have a meeting at a town called Alnwick, where this our friend then resided, who so powerfully declared the truth, that he amongst divers others was convinced; and carefully abiding under the discipline of the cross, he in time received a part in the ministry. About the year 1697, he came over to Pennsylvania, and for some time resided near Derby, where he enter'd into a married state, and in a few years afterwards removed to the forks of Brandywine, then a new settled part of the country, the nearest meeting being about eleven miles, which he seldom missed attending when of ability of body; he was also instrumental in settling this called Bradford meeting, within the compass of which he resided the remainder of his days. He was an example of plainness and self denial, and concern'd for the support of the discipline. He travelled into New-Jersey and the southern provinces where his service in the ministry was acceptable, his doctrine being sound, and his life, conversation and deportment adorning the same. When far advanced in age, his hearing and memory failing, render'd his usefulness not so extensive as in his younger years. For some time before his decease, he seemed very desirous of his change, often expressing, 'That people should so live in this world as to fit them for another.' About twenty four hours before he died, he said to those with him, "Let me go, let me go. People 'should live in love.' Then said, 'Farewell, farewell;' after three or four weeks illness or rather growing weaker with age, he departed in a composed frame of mind, on the 17th of the twelfth month 1767, and on the 20th was interr'd in friends burying ground at Bradford. By the general account, in the ninety-seventh year of his age, but we have some reason to believe he was one hundred and three. Mary Marshall, his widow was born in Kent in Old England, and came to America with her father when about two years and half old. She survived her husband about fifteen months, and departed this life, after about four days illness, quiet and easy, in the eighty-seventh year of her age, leaving a good favour in our remembrance."

There is no doubt that Abraham Marshall was a man of great stamina. At Bradford Monthly Meeting on 19th day, 12th month, 1740: "Abraham Marshall has for some time had drawing in his mind to visit Friends in Virginia and North Carolina and desired a certificate for same." Abraham was then 72 years old, and a virtual wilderness existed between Pennsylvania and North Carolina. He wouldl have traveled by horseback. The request was a typical ministerial calling for a Quaker, and the desired certificate was produced on 19th day, 1st month, 1741. Perquimans Monthly Meeting in North Carolina records his arrival on 6th day third month 1741 and Pasquotank Monthly Meeting on 7th day 3rd month 1741. There is no record from the Virginia meeting but it was no doubt Hopewell Meeting as it was established prior to 1740. Perquimons Friends had this to say about his visit: "his servis amongst us has been well received his testimoney being sound and atended with a good Degree of Divine power and Tendernes of Spirit and his inosent Conversation adorning his Doctrin." Pasquotank reported: "Our worthey Ancient friend Abraham Marshal whom we love and Esteem having Spint some time in these parts and Visited most of the Meetings hereaway and now Intending homeward: We on his behalf Certifie that his prudent Conversation and Ministry hath been very Acceptable to us Edifying and Comfortable."

Last Days of Abraham Marshall

Abraham's son Humphry Marshall was a very early and noted American botanist, and we know from his estate inventory that he was also a student of astronomy. He lived with Abraham and Mary Marshall for some time after his marriage and also took care of Abraham's farm before Abraham's death. Humphry's nephew, Moses Marshall, son of James and Sarah Waite Marshall, was an educated surgeon but abandoned his medical practice to assist his uncle in his botanical research. The Clements Library, University of Michigan, has a Web Page up about Humphry and Moses Marshall, which includes a listing of the Marshall papers that the library holds.

Abraham Marshallwrote his will 12th day 4th month 1760 and was at that time unable to do more than make his mark. Perhaps it was the memory problem mentioned in his testimonial.

More on Abraham and Mary's Family

Abraham's grandson, Abraham Marshall served in the Revolutionary War (see Revolutionary War page).

Bruce Bull is a descendant of Hannah Marshall/Joseph Gibbons and would like to share information. Kathryn Hill is another descendant of Hannah Marshall Gibbons but we have lost contact with her. We have sufficient information to make a short page for Joseph and Hannah and will try to do so at some point in time.

Post script: We have in hand a couple of Marshall family genealogies but are reluctant to include information from them as there is a possibility one or the other (or both) were fraudulent. (See the Fraud Web Site.) One of them includes a purported letter from John Marshall in England to his cousin Humphry Marshall in America about 1771: "Cousin Humphry: I not hearing of your family of a great number of years expected I should never have heard of you more; nor had not now, but by Mr. Storrs' inquiry after your father's age, and whether any of his family or relations was living. I, John Marshall, am all the nephew your father hath living and live in a hamlet called Gratton, in the parish of Youlgreave, and in the county of Derbyshire; that is, I live in the same hamlet where my uncle Abram was born, and all his brothers. His brothers' names were Humphry, Samuel and John Marshall. My father, Humphry died when he was about sixty years of age*** was a stonecutter, or what we call a mason, and I learned the same trade with my father, and still follow it. I am now in the sixty-eighth year of my age, and have eight children now living, five sons and three daughters. This from your loving cousin, John Marshall."

M. D. Monk sent us a number of Marshall papers found in the Library of Congress and as time permits we will add abstracts of them here.