Priscilla Walker Streets.

Lewis Walker of Chester Valley and his descendants; with some of the families with whom they are connected by marriage. 1686-1896 online

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Online LibraryPriscilla Walker StreetsLewis Walker of Chester Valley and his descendants; with some of the families with whom they are connected by marriage. 1686-1896 → online text (page 1 of 29)
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1 r:n;taj




Xewis Malher

of Chester Dalles






The present contains all the past."




pbilaOelpbla :







Page loo. For Nos. 1253 and 1261, read
1538 and 1546.

Page 228, No. 429. For Elizabeth J. Cooks,
read Elizabeth J. Cook.

Page 252, No. 1 36 1. For Chester County,
read Chester, Penna.

Page 263, No. 1380, and page 337, No. 1382.
For Shifflee, read Shiffler Bridge Building

Page 428, Index. For Roland, read Rowland.


Page 385, Appendix E. This article was
published in the Pennsylvania Magazine of
History and Biography, Vol. XII., p. 292. It
is inserted with permission of the author.



BERRY says : " The name of Walker, as appears by certain
records, was so called from their anciently holding various
employments in the Royal Forests, as Verderers, King's Forest-
ers, or Walkers, having the custody of certain walks, boundaries,
or allotments ; but at what remote period the surname of Walker,
simply, was adopted by any branch of the family as a distinguish-
ing appellation remains a matter of doubt."

There are many families of this name in Great Britain,
descendants of which have settled all over the world, and there
seems to be no connection between them, pointing to one
fountain head, as in some other patronymics. It is well repre-
sented in Burke ; every Biographical Dictionary has several
Walkers in its lists, and it has been said to have the longest list
of eminent men in biographical history. It was called " one of
the mighty Sixty," in the rolls of Great Britain, occupying
seventeenth place, — that is, there were sixteen families more
numerous than it.

The name also signifies " fuller," or weaver, in old English.
We have a Ralph Ganger, or Walker, who came in with William
of Normandy, too ; and if any of us wish to set up a coat-of-
arms, we may choose our crest and motto from the Peerage, and
flaunt it with the best of them. Plenty of American families
have tacked themselves on to an ancestor, with no better claim
than a similarity of name ; it may be that we descend from a
long line, with its root in the Norman Conquest, or earlier, but


we have nothing to prove it, or even to point that way. Our
first ancestor whom we can call by name — Lewis Walker — left
no mention of his father's name or people. There was nothing
extraordinary in this at that time. He was starting a new Hfe in
a new world, and " Lewis Walker, yeoman," sufficed. I have
tried to connect him with the older branch, but unsuccessfully.
What I did succeed in finding, I have put in the following pages.
My imagination has constructed, out of the little I had, a man
strong, brave, and true, who founded a family not unworthy of
him, — the members of which are scattered over a great part of
our country, and have been known for nearly two hundred years
as the Walkers of Chester Valley.

(fTijaptrr jFirst*


THAT " the history of a family is a history of the land," is a
recognized truth of Genealogy. Without the homestead, the
members are separated ; with nothing to bind them together they
are scattered and lost, like beads when the string is broken.
There is no place where the tribe can meet, and where each one
can feel the interest of heredity in the trees that shelter it, and in
the streams that water the ancestral acres. What one sows a
stranger reaps, is too true in the present condition of our bustling,
restless life in America, and it is spoken of with pride when a
man can say, " I live in the house where my father and grand-
father have dwelt before me." We have some such homes in Penn-
sylvania, as all can testify, and one of the oldest, where for seven
generations one family has lived, for nearly two hundred years,
Walker following Walker, can be seen in Chester Valley, and is
the subject of my story.

It lies between the North and South Valley Hills, and
extends to the border line of Montgomery County. The creeks
that drain its fertile pastures empty themselves, after a mile or
more of pleasant loitering among green willowy nooks, into the
cheerful, calm bosom of the Schuylkill River. Here dwell the
farmer folk, the peaceful Quakers, descendants, for the most
part, of those men and women who, for the sake of a quiet en-
joyment of their religion, threw in their lot with those who came
to make a home for themselves and their children in tlie New
World. Here are the old homesteads where the scattered chil-


dren gather from far and near on days of family reunion, and up
on the hill-top, close to where the new Quaker meeting-house
looks proudly over the country side, is the old graveyard, where
they are, one by one, brought to sleep with their fathers, when
life is done. Let us pause a moment at this spot ; it is the
peacefulest resting-place, and before we have done our story all
these small green hillocks will seem like dear old friends. Stand-
ing here, let us look about us. What a wide sweep of pretty
country ! Green pastures where the cattle graze, where yellow
grain ripens on the upland, and old farm-houses nestle among
the sycamores and apple orchards, their many chimneys smoking
with the incense of hospitality, and through it all green country
roads leading out beyond the sight to Port Kennedy, Paoli,
King of Prussia, and Wayne.

On our left is the long woody range of the South Valley
Hill. Beyond that are the homes of wealth and luxury, that have
not yet succeeded in getting a foothold in this simple, pastoral
community. To the northwest Valley Forge is hidden from
view by the wooded eminence of Camp Hill and Mt. Joy. The
rising ground prevents, also, a sight of the Schuylkill River to
the north, not far away.

But before us and behind us, as far as we can see, the land,
with few exceptions, belongs to the Walkers, or to their kinsmen.
If they are not of the family, they have married into it. At one
time, less than fifty years ago, there was scarcely an exception ;
but several families have been obliged to leave their paternal acres
for other homes, and their land has passed to strangers. Directly
in front of us, between the four roads, and still the property of
the family, is the original Walker land, where our earliest Penn-
sylvania ancestor lived and died. The first settled part of this
section of the country w^as where Joseph Walker now lives,
whose house and barns lie nearest us, the walls of which are partly






the same that were erected nearly two hundred years ago.
Here, before 1708, came Lewis Walker and his wife, with their
family of little children, to make a home for themselves on virL^in

He had left Wales in 1686, arriving in Pennsylvania in 1687,
after "a tedious passage of thirteen months," it is said. A
mother and sisters were left behind him, but, though a desultory
correspondence was kept up between them, they never saw each
other again. We have no knowledge of the name of the ship
which brought him to these shores, and were it not for two old
letters that have come down to us, would we know anything of
his family in Great Britain.

The old chronicles, written by various members of his family
a hundred years ago, always say that he came from Merioneth-
shire,* Wales ; but this, we think, is a mistake. The following
letter, copied from a yellow and faded document that had lain
for more than a century with other papers in our great-great-
grandmother's desk, removes all doubt from my mind as to his

* Leah Moore is the authority for this, as will be seen by the following :

" I have in my possession a brass, leather-trimmed snuff bo.v, containing the follow-
ing memoranda :

" ' Lewis Walker, of the great Valley, Tredifiin Township, Philadelphia County, in
his youth left Marioneth in Wales 1686, had a tedious thirteen months on the water, 1687."

" On the reverse side of same slip of paper :

" ' Leah Moore gave this Box to Isaac Walker as an antient relick of his great

Grand Father. Lewis Walker, he brought it from Wales. Leah Moore lives in Chester

Co., Pa. Spring of 1826.

[Signed] " ' Isaac Walker."

" who was the Father of the subscriber.

" J. EuwARi) Walker.
" Waterford, Va., Sixth month i.fth, iSg6."



For Lewis Walker at

RchobatJi in the Great

Valey in Pensyllvana

in Radnor Shire.

ON Redstone the i8
OF June 171 5
Dear and Loveing Brother,

Having this opertunity I could not omit writing unto yo" to Let yo" Un-
derstand that I am in good health hoping that these lines will finde yo" and
yo""" family in like manner. I received a letter from yo" by James Protherie
and I sent vo" a Letter in answer to it. I must needs tell vo" that vo« have
been very negligent in writing to me yo" knowing that yo" had having
[living ?] an aged mother in this country. Yo" know it is a duty Incum-
bent on every child to have a regard to their parents and truly I performed
my duty to my aged mother to the utmost of my power and was not
troublesome to anv in her Life-time, but she have left me alone this twelve-
month since May last and is gone I dought not to a better place where she
shall look her Redeemer with joy and comfort in the face. I was very
Loath to part with her if I could have help't it but god almighty was
pleased to call her and we must all submit to his will. I had no assistance
from any one towards her subsistance when she was grown weak, but what
my own hands did administer to our reliefs and 1 bless [and] Glorifi god
we did not want for anything. I expected to have had a letter from
yo" before this time and would have come to yo" in this ship : but I have
been ver}' sickly this Long time soe that I wanted nessesaries for the jorney.
I have a great desire to come over if I can get things ready for the next
opertunity which I suppose will be about August next and if yo" will pay
for my passage I doe not dougt but in a short time to repay yo" againe, but
however I desire yo" not to faile to send me a letter by the first opertunity.
James Lewis do be much wonder that yo" should be soe negligent in not
writing to yo""" relations. James Lewis son-in-law was willing to pay for my
passage this, but I was not prepared for the jorney at this time ; as for my


uncle John and his wife they are dead these severall years and my aunt
Maud is Hkewise dead : and as for my unkell PLynon he was a man of war,
and went to the wars some yeaer agoe to fight against the french and we
neaver heard of him more, pray remember my kinde love to John Lewis
that came from castlebith, and to my cozen Mary Lewis and tell her that
she was not as good [as] her word for she promised to send me a letter as
soon as an opprtunity did present but I neaver had a word from her. My
sisters are well and remember their kinde Loves unto yo" and you^ wife and
children and 1 understand that Mary Lewis is maryed I wish her much Joy
and hapiness and prosperity. Soe with my kinde love unto yo" and my
sister-in-law and my cozens yo"'' children unknown with my prayer to god
for yo"'' health and prosperity is all at present from yo'""

Ever loveing sister till death

Jane Walker.

HoNNEST Friend

I shall desire yo" if yo""" sister comes to Pennsylvania to be kinde to
her for she have been kinde to yo""^ mother and did her part very well for
her during her Life and buried her very decent [word illegible] and bestowed
a Coffin on her to Lay her body in which is more than I did expect she
would or could have done.* My cozen Daniell Philpin is well and remem-
bers his love unto yo". I. desire yo" to be kinde to yo""" sister when she
comes to yo" and in soe doing yo" will oblige yo""" friend

Isaac Phillpin.

Isaac Phillpin's letter appears as a postscript to that of Jane
Walker. There is another letter from Jane Walker, a copy of
which will be inserted later.

The old Radnor records have several certificates of member-
ship from Redstone Meeting. Ellis Pugh and David Rees both
brought certificates of membership from there. In an old jour-
nal of a traveling preacher, whose name I neglected to record, I

* It was against the principles of the Quakers at this time to bury their dead in
coffins; a winding sheet sufficed them, and did not retard decomposition, which was
the reason for its adoption. It is supposed that Jane Walker was not a Friend, and for
that reason pro%'ided a coffin.


have read that he went "to Pembrokeshire, and came to James
Lewis's house, not far from Redstone, and next day went to
Haverfordwest." In " Besse's Sufferings " occurs the following :
" Pembrokeshire, i66i, James Lewis is imprisoned for attending
a meeting [of Quakers]. 167 1, Henry Lewis of Redstone fined
25 sh. Corn was seized from Henry Lewis by a priest of Nar-
berth." He is also called " Henry Lewis of Narberth." Evan
Protherah, of Narberth, 1670, has goods worth £?,, losh. taken
from him for tithes. (An Evan Prothera was present at Lewis
Walker's wedding in 1693. See page 16). Hugh Roberts, a
preacher, went to Wales, into Pembrokeshire, " to Rediston, and
had a very precious meeting, thence to Haverfordwest ; return-
ing stopped at Redstone again, and had a very good meeting at
James Lewis's house." Adding these facts to the evidence con-
tained in Jane Walker's letter, I think we may decide that Lewis
Walker came to Pennsylvania from Pembrokeshire ; and I am
inclined to believe that he was one of those who came with
Rowland Ellis, Eighth month (October) 6th, 1686, from Milford
Haven, Pembrokeshire. Being a native of Redstone, he would
be likely to depart, along with his neighbors, from the nearest
port, which was Milford Haven, a very short distance from that
place. Rowland EUis took passage, along with about a hundred
of his neighbors, on a Bristol ship, bound for Pennsylvania, by
the southern route. It was winter, and the passage was a very
long one. Many of them died from hunger while at sea, and
others soon after their arrival, from the effects of the privations
which they had endured. The vessel touched at Barbadoes,
where they remained six weeks and recuperated somewhat.
They arrived in Pennsylvania at the beginning of 1687. The
tradition in the family that Lewis Walker and Mary Morris,
whom he afterwards married, left Wales in 1686, and arrived in
Pennsylvania in 1687, "after a tedious passage of thirteen


months " (which last statement I have long doubted), makes it
seem very possible that they were among the passengers of this
ship. Lewis Walker was a young man, and a bachelor ; and he
first met the English girl, who afterwards became his wife and
the mother of our race, on the ship that carried them across the

Ctjaptrr Scronti,


WHILST visiting England in the summer of 1894, we went
into South Wales for the purpose of hunting up Redstone.
At that time we had not located it ; we only knew that it was in
Pembrokeshire. When we left London we felt that we were
going into a wilderness ; we had been warned of the poor accom-
modations we should find there, of the uncertainty of railway
travel, etc., till we fancied that we were doing an unheard-of
thing. For this reason we went direct to Tenby, a watering-
place mentioned in the guide books as one of the pleasantest on
the British coast. We afterwards found that there were small inns
in all the numerous towns of this part of Wales, at most of which
we undoubtedly could have been comfortable for a few days.
However, we did not regret having chosen Tenby ; we found it
a charming old town, with mediaeval walls and towers, and
beautiful views of Carmarthen Bay. From this little town we
made excursions all around the countr^^ which we found inter-
esting and beautiful. Yet we could find no trace of Redstone,
though we inquired at post offices and consulted local directories.
We had given it up, when one day returning from the inspection
of the ruined castle of Manorbeer, we stopped to get a cup of
tea at the station where we took the train for Tenby. While
eating her delicious bread and butter we asked the woman if she
knew of a place called Redstone. " Yes," she said, '' it must be
near Narberth ; it is the only Redstone I know." Consulting a
road map of the region about Tenby, we found the place where


she had located it. Afterwards, in a gazetteer of Great Britain,
we found it described as a " hamlet near Narberth, Pembroke-
shire, Wales." The next day we went to Narberth, a market
town, ten or twelve miles from Tenby, which we found a most
quaint old village, built of gray stone, with a ruined Norman
castle dominating the hill-side. Its winding streets go up and
down the hills, with narrow sidewalks and rough stony foot-ways.
There is also an old church, whose characteristic high square
tower is seen from afar. The houses are small and picturesque ;
I doubt if there has been a new one built this century. Follow-
ing the directions given, we took the road leading north out into
the country. Passing by several old mansions, shaded by trees
and hidden by hedges from the too inquisitive gaze of the foot-
passenger, we soon came to where the road terminated at its
junction with the main road that leads to Haverfordwest.
Directly in front of us was a farm house, and at the corner on
our left was a pretty little rose-embowered cottage. But where
was Redstone ? No one was in sight to whom we could apply for
information. It was pouring rain ; the cottage was near and very
inviting, and so we decided to ask our way there. The young
woman who came to the door in answer to our knock, told us
that we were in Redstone ; that the cottage was Redstone cottage,
and the other building was Redstone farm. I took from my
pocket a copy of the old letter written in 171 5, and commenced
a series of questions which so bewildered her, that it is possible
our respectable and sane appearance, only, saved us from being
considered lunatics. Fortunately her father came to the rescue,
and invited us into the house. We gladly accepted the invitation,
closed our dripping umbrellas and took the offered chairs by the
open fire in the pretty, cheery room. They had recently come
into the neighborhood, but they took an interest in our search,
and put us in the way of getting information, — the old gentleman


accompanying us without an umbrella in all the downpour. We
learned that there had been a Quaker meeting-house close by,
and a graveyard, though no trace of either now remains. Not a
hillock marks the place of sepulture, or distinguishes it from the
adjoining pasture land. There is another Friends' burying-
ground a few miles away, but there are no Quakers left in this
part of Pembrokeshire. A Welshman, called " Old Tom," who
was born and bred on the spot, showed us where the meeting-
house had been. At Narberth we hunted up the owner of Red-
stone, a Mr. Roblin, currier, who looked to be about seventy years
old. He told us that his father had bought Redstone in 1820,
it being part of a large estate. The farm comprised thirty acres
of land. The cottage, we were told, was built about one hun-
dred and fifty years ago, but the farm house was older, quite two
hundred years. It had always been known as Redstone.

On further inquiry we learned that the names mentioned in
Jane Walker's letter were all familiar ones in the vicinity ; and
we were told also that there was a nice piece of property waiting
for a missing heir of the Protherah family, which would be in-
herited by a cousin, if he were not soon found.

The name of Walker was unknown, but there were several
families in Pembrokeshire named Eynon, one of which had a
clock and watch store in Narberth. We think that Lewis
Walker's mother was an Eynon, because his sister Jane writes of
an " unkell Eynon " who went to fight against the French. The
Lewis family, which was also connected, as will be seen by refer-
ring to the same letter, has disappeared from the neighborhood.
Walker, we know, is not a Welsh, but an English name ; and I
believe that we are the only Quaker Walkers in this country.
Referring to " Besse's Sufferings " once more, I find that there
were several of this name in Yorkshire, in 1660 and 1664, who
suffered imprisonment for attending meetings at Sedburgh, and


for refusing the oath. I think that Lewis Walker's father might
have gone from Yorkshire into Wales, there married and died.
I have read that Quakerism was introduced into Wales from
Yorkshire. But all this may be foreign to the subject, as we do
not even know that he was a Quaker; his son, Lewis, was one,
because he was married according to the ceremony of Friends at
Haverford Meeting, and he was a prominent and valuable mem-
ber of the Society ; but when he joined it \vc do not know.
That he lived in this part of Wales is certain, and that he was
more English than Welsh seems clear. He did n<jt use the
Welsh language, and he was very tall, — his height being given
as six feet and four inches ; while the Welsh are usually a short,
thick-set people, and carry these characteristics down through
many generations.

However, this part of Wales is more English than Celtic, and
is called " Little England beyond Wales," being mainly peopled
by the descendants of a colony of Flemings, who were brought
here by Henry L, in 1 107, to help civilize the Welsh, by arts of
peace. They differ from the Welsh in language and character.
This part of the country is mostly agricultural ; its undulating
surface strongly reminded us of Eastern Pennsylvania. The
small cottages are picturesquely located. They are so old that
they seem a part of the soil, like the rocks, and are whitewashed
from the foundation stone to the chimney top. The numerous
small towns and villages are clustered about an old church,
whose tall, square tower has been a landmark for centuries to
the wayfaring man. The turbulency of the unconquered Celt
occasioned the necessity of many strongholds, or fortified castles,
whose ruins are now a source of income to the proprietors by
attracting many curious visitors to see these crumbling relics of
another time. The Eastern Pennsylvanian will constantly see in
Pembrokeshire the names of people and places as familiar to him


as his own, and it will be interesting to trace the differences that
climate and government have made between him and his Welsh
relations. As we stepped from the streets into the smooth paths
that led along hedgerows, far out into the fields of the country,
on our long walks of exploration, we felt the blood of our fore-
fathers leap in our veins. We walked where they had walked,
and gazed on the enchanting scenery on which their eyes had
rested. We felt that we were truly visiting our old home. We
doubt not their memories often returned with homesick longings
to these very spots while meditating in the quiet of Haverford,
Radnor, or Valley meeting-houses on a First-day morning.

C|}aplrr Eljirti.


LEWIS WALKER on arriving in Pennsylvania went to Rad-
nor, where he bought 300 acres of land of David Evans, and
rented 200 acres more. Radnor was one of the earliest settlements
of Pennsylvania, forming a part of the Welsh tract. In Proud's
" History of Pennsylvania," we read : " Among the adventurers
and settlers who arrived about this time, were many from Wales,
mostly Quakers. They had early purchased of the Proprietary
in England 40,000 acres of land on the west side of the Schuyl-
kill River, which included Merion, Haverford, and Radnor."
This was the Welsh tract, and " was given them that they might
preserve their language, and settle their difficulties in their own
tongue and with their own juries and magistrates, 'being
descended from the antient Britains,' and that they might not
entangle themselves with laws in an unknown tongue." As
early as 1690, there was a community of thirty families at Rad-
nor, mostly Quakers. Here Lewis Walker settled, and Second

Online LibraryPriscilla Walker StreetsLewis Walker of Chester Valley and his descendants; with some of the families with whom they are connected by marriage. 1686-1896 → online text (page 1 of 29)