Thomas and Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough of Chester County, Pennsylvania

Thomas and Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough Family

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Thomas Thornbrough was the son of Edward and Jane Thornbrough of Armaugh, Ireland, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. On 10/11/1729 Thomas "Thornbury" married Charity Davis, daughter of John and Mary Davis, in a double ceremony with his brother Robert "Thornbury" and her sister Susanna Davis.

Charity Davis Thornbrough apparently did not survive for very long, as sometime before 4/4/1733, Thomas Thornbrough married Elizabeth Woodward. As far as we know there were no issue from the marriage of Thomas and Charity. It is quite likely that Charity died in childbirth. In our research in the 18th and 19th centuries we have found an appalling number of young wives who died at the birth of their first child. Usually the child did not survive either.

Elizabeth Woodward was daughter of Richard and Deborah Stanfield Woodward, Jr. She was sister of William Woodward and thus aunt of Abraham Woodward, the subject of this Web site. When she married Thomas Thornbrough she also became the aunt of Hannah Thornbrough who became the wife of Abraham Woodward.

Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough married second to John Young.

  Elizabeth Woodward
born abt 1712 Chester Co, Pa
died Unknown
Thomas Thornbrough
born abt 1698 Ireland
died bet 5/4 & 5/31, 1742 Chester Co, Pa

  Married: before 4/4/1733 in Chester Co, Pa. It was reported at Newark Monthly Meeting on 11/1/1733 that Elizabeth was married by a priest and that she was with child (probably son Edward?).

Edward Thornbrough born probably 1733, Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Susanna Chamberlain Yearsley
William Thornbrough born 9/17/1736 (probably 1735?) Chester Co, Pa; married Ann Yearsley
Richard Thornbrough born 2/25/1737, Chester County, Pa; married Mary Yearsley (see Chamberlain)
Joseph Thornbrough born 7/22/1739, Chester County, Pa; married Sarah Clayton

Speculations on age and ancestry of Thomas Thornbrough

Thomas Thornbrough is listed as a taxpayer in Birmingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1722. From this, his birth date can be deduced as 1701 or before, since he would not have paid taxes until the age of 21. A Discourse on the Thornburg Family gives his birthdate as 1698 which we have used but bear in mind it has not been proven. The Thornburg genealogy corrects the extensive research done by Delmar Thornbury about Thomas Thornbrough. Delmar had speculated that Thomas was descended from the Virginia Thornburgs and many researchers carry that information. Charles Thornburg points out that there are clear records that the family descended from the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Thornburgs. He also verifies that Delmar Thornbury's research is correct from Thomas on down.

Marriage records of Thomas Thornbrough

Thomas Thornbrough and Charity Davis: When Thomas Thornbury married Charity Davis, their wedding was held at Concord Monthly Meeting on the same day as that of John Bartram and Ann Mendenhall. Although there would be future connections between these families, apparently there was none at that time (other than being neighbors), as the wedding parties for the two groups were entirely different. The only common link was that John Davis, brother of Charity, attended both weddings.

Quaker records are sparse on this family except for the wedding certificates of Thomas Thornbury & Charity Davis and Robert Thornbury & Susanna Davis (we have copies of the originals.) Witnesses to the weddings included family members: Mary Davis (Sr.), Abraham Davis, John Davis, Daniel Davis, Isaac Davis, Ann Davis, and Mary Davis (Mary Davis, Sr., was Charity's mother and the others were brothers and sisters); Elizabeth, Walter, and Edward Thornbury (brothers and sisters of Thomas); Timothy Ward (do not know his relationship). Other witnesses were: Esther Wilson, Ann Taylor, Martha Townsend, Phebe Taylor, Rebecca Townsend, Mary Turner, William Brinton, Joseph Brinton, John Townsend, John Willis, Abiah Taylor, Isaac Landry, John Buffington, Joseph Collins, Richard Collins, John Taylor (later one of the guardians of Thomas's children), Charles Turner, Henry Jackson, and Robert Lear (sp?).

The marriage record of Elizabeth Woodward and Thomas Thornbrough has not been found, as it was not a Quaker marriage. Thomas Thornbury was reported on 4/4/1733 at Concord Monthly Meeting as married contrary to discipline, so we know they married sometime before that date. On 11/1/1733 Bradford Preparative meeting informed Newark Meeting that "Elizabeth Woodward hath married out of ye approved way of Friends notwithstanding their labor with her to prevent her from doing same, appointed Betty Caldwell and Mary Lewis to report." On 12/2/1733 it was reported that Elizabeth Woodward did not appear at the Women's Meeting as requested. Mary Marshall and Ruth Harlan were appointed to speak with her. Mary Marshall was mother-in-law of Elizabeth's brother William. (Mary Marshall was prominent in the Women's Meeting and often appointed to deal with such matters, so there is probably no special significance in her being appointed to deal with Elizabeth.) On 12/5/1733 "Friends appointed to speak to Elizabeth Woodward now Thornbury report they had opportunity, she owned she had done amiss, but she desired that Friends might bear with her a little longer." On 1/2/1734 "Elizabeth says only reason to go to a priest she was with child. Mary Lewis and Mary Heald to draw testimony." (Mary Heald would later marry Elizabeth's father, Richard). 2/6/1734 testimony was drawn to be read at Bradford Meeting (this would have been preparation for her dismissal as a Quaker). By 7/7/1734 Elizabeth had produced a paper condemning her actions and it was published on 8/5/1734, confirming her as a Quaker (Ref:Newark & Kennett Monthly Meeting, Abstracts of Women's Minutes 1698-1791).

Thomas Thornbury was not as tractable. At Concord Meeting, 4th day, 9th month, 1739: "Now Thomas Thornbury having made some religious preparation with us the people called Quakers but he not regarding the rules established among us but went to the priest and was married and he having been several times visited in order to bring him to a sense of his error as to condemn the same but all our endeavors have not mattered with him to give any satisfaction therefore this meeting think it necessary to bring testimony against him and do hereby declare him the said Thomas Thornbury no longer a member of our religious society until he from a force of his error do make acknowledgement to the satisfaction of this meeting that which we do order and by said meeting..."

Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough was dismissed by the Quakers again for her second marriage to John Young (more below). Richard Woodward, Elizabeth's father was Elder of the Bradford Monthly Meeting at the time of her final dismissal. Richard left her five shillings in his will in 1752. This was a minimum bequest required by law and does not necessarily reflect that he had forgiven his daughter. Edward Thornbrough may not have been particularly happy with Thomas as he left him only an ewe in his will.

Children of Thomas and Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough

Although the marriage circumstances are found in the meetings of Newark/Kennett and Concord meetings, the children's births are not recorded. We know that Elizabeth was with child in 1733 as mentioned in the Quaker records and we have reason to believe that child was actually Edward. We know the names William, Richard, and Joseph as children of Thomas and Elizabeth from Orphan's Court Records(see will below). Charles Thornburg in A Discourse on the Thornburgs... gives the dates as: William, 9/17/1736; Richard, 2/25/1737; Joseph, 7/22/1739; and Edward, 1741. Unfortunately he does not give sources. There is a definite problem with the birthdate of 9/17/1736 for William as it is too close to the birthdate of Richard. In the 18th century, children were usually spaced two years apart to allow for the completion of nursing one child before another was born. William's birthdate is more likely 1735, two years after the child born 1733, and two years before Richard in 1737. We think it much more likely that Edward was born in 1733 rather than 1741 and that would account for his not being mentioned in the orphan court records as he would have been of age. The earlier birthdate would also make his age a much better fit with his wife Susannah Chamberlain Yearsley, carried by a descendant as before 1731. While young men often married older women as they were considered much better as housewives, there seems to be some limit to the age difference and it usually was not as much as ten years.

Thomas's will was written 5/4/1742:
I, Thomas Thornburg of West Bradford in ye County of Chester, believing that there is a time for all men once to dey, this being my last will and testament, in ye first place
I recommend my soul to God that gave it and my body decently to be buried.
I will that my funeral charges and lawful debts be paid.
I will that all my children be put out to trades when they come to fourteen years of age and that my wife have the use of all my estate to breed up my children, and as long as she lives a widow and if she marry again she should have the thirds and the remainder to be equally divided between my children as they come of age and I do appoint my dear and loving wife and James Woodward to be my Executors of this my last will and testament and I do disannol all wills before this by me made being week of body but in perfect mind, I do sign and seal this last will ye fourth day of May, 1742.
/s/Thomas Thornburg

James Woodward, named as coexecutor, was brother of Elizabeth. Letters of Administration were granted to Elizabeth on 5/31/1742 so we know Thomas died before that date. On 12/18/1743 the Orphans Court on petition of William, Joseph and Richard, children of Thomas Thornburg, deceased, John Taylor and John Chads appointed guardians. This indicates that son Edward was an adult at this time. Accounts exhibited at that time indicate that after Elizabeth's dower third and expenses were deducted, the children were left 63 pounds, 19 shillings (Ref: A Discourse on the Thornburgs...). The comment in the will about all his children being put out to trades confirms that Thomas had only sons. More on the children below.

Marriage of Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough to John Young

On 3/19/1743 it was reported at Bradford Monthly Meeting: "Elizabeth Thornbury, a reputed widow, disowned for reporting that she feared she was with child by a man not her husband." The Quakers were not quick to deal with her this time as she had previously been reported in Bradford Monthly Meeting records (Early Church Records of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Bradford Monthly Meeting, p. 364) as "raising a scandalous report of herself and the schoolmaster." Elizabeth Thornburg married John Young probably about 1745 and we assume he was the schoolmaster in question. This marriage is verified in the will of Richard Woodward, Jr. in 1748, where he mentions daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Young. We have not been able to follow Elizabeth further and would love to hear from anyone who has documented information on her after this point. We do know from the will of a second cousin, Richard Jones, dated June 24, 1807, that John and Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough Young had at least one son, John Young, Jr.

No will has been found for Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough Young in Chester or neighboring counties in Pennsylvania. Rich Hayden who is researching the John Young family tells us John Young died in West Bradford in 1791. This then seems to be his will: "19 May 1787, proven 3 March 1791, John Young, West Bradford. To son Archibald Young 5 shillings. To grandson John, son of Archibald, 15 pounds. To granddaughter Elizabeth, daughter of son John, bed and furniture. All remainder of estate real and personal to son John, also executor." Elizabeth apparently was deceased before the writing of the will.

More on descendants of Thomas and Elizabeth Woodward Thornbrough

Problems with their faith continued for the family. On the 16th day of the 8th month 1765 "Bradford preparatory meeting informs this meeting that William, Richard and Joseph Thornbrough have accomplished their marriage not according to the rules of our society and this meeting after a time of consideration had in their right amongst us and past conduct doth conclude to declare them, the said Thornborough's to be no members in unity with us... ." The fourth son, Edward was similarly censured on 10/15/1766.

William and Ann Yearsley Thornbrough

Charles Thornburg gives the wife of William Thornbrough as Ann Yearsley, daughter of John and Sarah Conway Yearsley. William and Ann had a son Joseph Thornbrough, born 8/4/1766 in Chester County. He married Elizabeth Shanklin, daughter of James and Sarah Yearsley Shanklin, in 1789. They moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1795 and then to Monroe County, Ohio in 1815. They had children: Anna, Warren, Lewis, Joseph, Thomas, William, John, Yearsley, Nancy, Elizabeth, Jacob, and Madison. Anne Lauka, is a descendant of child William. Anne is researching this family and has furnished photographs for our site and she has also added them to her Gabel Web Site, Thornberry page

Richard and Mary Yearsley Thornbrough

There is a record of Richard Thornbrough's marriage to Mary Yearsley on 4/12/1764 at Old Swede's Church in Delaware. Mary was a daughter of Jacob and Susanna Chamberlain Yearsley. Susannah Chamberlain Yearsley would later marry Richard Thornbrough's brother Edward (more below). The abstract of Jacob Yearsley's administration April 11, 1761, Westtown, names Susanna Yearsley, daughter of Robert and Cicely Chamberlain, as administrator and names daughter Hannah married to Thomas Howell, Mary married to Richard Thornbury, Ann married to James Clark, Phebe married to James Simcock, Rachel, and Jacob who married Rachel. Notice the discrepancy of the marriage of Richard and Mary before the date of Jacob�s will and the date given at Old Swede�s Church. One date or the other is probably wrong.

In the 1800 census in West Bradford in Chester County we find next to each other: John Young 2 males 10-15; 1 16-25; 1 45+ 1 female under 10 3 16-25 1 45+; and Richard Thornbury 2 males under 10, 1 male 26-44, 1 45+, 2 females under 10, 1 10-15, 2 26-44, 1 45 +. We are not sure who the young children were. We also do not know who the male 26-44 with Richard is as his son Thomas was already married. The two females 26-44 were daughters Mary and Elizabeth as Hannah married in 1789. Mary did not marry until 1806. The children�s names come from Richard�s will.

Richard Thornbury's will was written July 4, 1818 at West Bradford and was proven February 23, 1819. It provides for wife Mary; to son Thomas all real and personal estate not otherwise disposed of during life, and at his decease to his (Thomas;s) 6 sons, Richard, Jacob, Joshua, Yearsley, Anson and Paschall, to be divided when the youngest is 21; to daughter Mary, wife of James Pennock $450; to Elizabeth Thornbury $550 and furniture; to granddaughters Hannah and Ann, children of daughter Mary Pennock $50 each at 21; to granddaughter Hannah Thornbury, daughter of Thomas, articles named; remainder to daughters of son Thomas, viz: Hannah, Martha, Sarah and Mary Thornbury. Executor. Townsend Lamborn.

Hannah married Joshua Clayton according to Bradford Meeting Records of 9/18/1789: "Joshua Clayton married to one not a member - Hannah Thornbury, d/o Richard on Feb 12, 1789 before Charles Dilworth." Hannah was perhaps deceased when Richard's will was written.

Richard's son Thomas married still another Elizabeth Woodward about 1794. Bradford Monthly Meeting reported on 5th month 1794 "Elizabeth (Woodward) Thornbury married to one not a member. There were numerous Elizabeth Woodwards in Chester County and many of them were Quakers. One candidate could be Elizabeth who belonged to Bradford MM and was daughter of Robert and Jane Sure Woodward. Elizabeth was born in 1770 so of about the right age, however, the names of the children do not support this idea. According to Richard�s will above, Thomas had sons Richard, Jacob, Joshua, Yearsley, Anson and Paschall, and daughters Hannah, Martha, Sarah and Mary.

Joseph and Sarah Clayton Thornbrough

Joseph Thornbrough married Sarah Clayton, daughter of Edward and Ann Clayton about 1765: On 10/18/1765 at Bradford Meeting: "Sarah Clayton, alias Thornborough, dismissed for outgoing in marriage." On 10/15/1773 Sarah acknowledged her error for marriage by a "Babtis Teacher." We know that Joseph and Sarah were a couple, as they signed side by side on a Clayton wedding certificate in 1768. Also Sarah is mentioned as Sarah Thornbury in the will of Ann Clayton in 1770 and was left a feather bed. Joseph and Sarah had children: Caleb, Sarah, Elizabeth, Orpha, and Rachel (ref: A Discourse on the Thornburg Family, page 194 - no proof given.)

Edward and Susanna Chamberlain Yearsley Thornbrough

Charles Thornburg gives the wife of Edward Thornbrough as Susanna Chamberlain, daughter of Robert and Cecily Chamberlain. On 8th month 14/15th day, 1766 Edward Thornborough was disowned for marrying out of meeting. From the will of Jacob Yearsley above we know that his wife, Susanna Yearsley, was daughter of Robert and Cicely Chamberlain. This is also confirmed in the will of Mary Chamberlain (11/21/1750), Susanna's grandmother, which names her as wife of Jacob Yearsley. Jacob Yearsley died before 4/11/1761 and Edward evidently married the widow, as Cicely Chamberlain Brinton names daughter Susanna Thornbrough in her will of January 27, 1775. Susannah brought six Yearsley children to the marriage, although some were already married, including daughter Mary to Edward's brother Richard. We have no knowledge of any children of Edward and Susannah Chamberlain Yearsley Thornbrough.

Edward's will was written in Westtown, Chester County, 17 June 1808 and proven 27 Jun 1808: to wife Susanna half of estate. To brothers Richard and Joseph Thornbury $1 each. Remainder to Hannah Hawk. Executor: Friend William Hawley of Westtown, signed with mark. Apparently Edward and Susanna had no children. We do not know what the connection to Hannah Hawk was but doubt it involved a child of the couple since typically a will would be written directing a child to care for the mother. We did not find a will or probate for Susanna, nor could we identify Hannah Hawk.