Name: Thomas PEARSON
Birth: 5 SEP 1653 in Pownal Fee, Cheshire, England
Birth: 3 FEB 1652/53 in Alt.
Death: 27 MAY 1734 in Marple, Chester Co, Pennsylvania
Burial: Quaker - Springfield Monthly Meeting, Pennsylvania
Thomas was born in 1653 in Wilmslow, Cheshire County, England. Wilmslow
is about 30 miles east of Liverpool and 12 miles south of Manchester. It
was a strong center of Puritanism in the 1600's.
Thomas and his family lived in tumultuous times in England. In 1642,
eleven years before Thomas' birth, civil war broke out in England when
Charles I wanted to rule the Puritan controlled Parliament. Oliver
Cromwell, leader of the Puritans, took command of the government when
Charles was killed in 1649. He ruled until his death in 1658, then was
succeeded by his son. In 1660, when Thomas would have been 7 years old,
the monarchy was restored when Charles II became King. In 1652, during
the rule of the Puritans, George Fox founded the Society of Friends or
Quakers. The Quakers expanded in number during the years of Puritan rule
(1649-1660) and after the restoration of the monarchy. They were widely
persecuted for their beliefs.
Thomas Pearson, a Quaker, was born and lived in a strongly Puritan area
of England. He immigrated to Marple Township, Chester County,
Pennsylvania in 1683 when he was about 30 years old. We have several
versions of his immigration. In one, according to "Pearson's Places and
Things", the Pearson family newsletter, he came over on the ship Endeavor
in September, 1683. Another version which comes from a book on William
Penn and the Quakers entitled "The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America"
by John Fiske published in 1900, a Thomas Pearson came over with William
Penn on the ship Welcome in 1682. The ship sailed from Deal in the late
summer of 1682 with 100 passengers and landed in Upland, PA. on October
27, 1682. This Thomas Pearson was the maternal grandfather of the first
famous American painter Benjamin West. Aunt Inez' original information
shows Thomas' daughter Sarah marrying John West. These two individuals,
it turns out, are the parents of Benjamin. The Quaker book notes that
Thomas was a friend of Penn and, upon arrival in America, Penn said to
Pearson, " 'Providence has brought us here safe. Thou hast been the
companion of my perils. What wilt thou that I shall call this place?'
'Call it Chester,' replied Pearson, who had come from that most quaint
and beautiful city of old England." So the site in Pennsylvania was
called Chester County after Cheshire County, England.
History of Delaware Co., PA by George Smith, M.D. (p. 491)
"Pearson, Thomas, frequently called Thomas Person, with his wife Margery,
came from England with William Penn when on his first visit to
Pennsylvania. If any reliance can be placed on tradition, it was upon
his suggestion that the name of Upland was changed to Chester. He
settled in Marple township on the tract marked "Thomas Perce" on Holme's
map. His children were Robert, Thomas, Lawrence, Enoch, Alice, Sarah and
Benjamin, all born in this country. His daughter Sarah, intermarried
with John West, and was the mother of the great painter Benjamin West.
His son Robert Pearson, intermarried with Catharine the daughter of James
Thomas of Merion. Thomas Pearson the elder was alive in 1706. Pearson,
some of the descendants took the name of Parsons, Person and Pierson."
Benjamin West: A Biography
Further information on Thomas Pearson is provided in a biography of
Benjamin West entitled "Benjamin West: A Biography". The book notes that
Thomas and Margery came over from England in 1683. It identifies Thomas
as a mason by trade. It also notes that 10 offspring came of the
marriage. Aunt Inez shows 11.
Emigrants of Pennsylvania, 1641-1819,
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Edited by Michael Shipp Tepper
"Tho. Pierson and Margt his wife late of ditto (Poonnall in Cheshire),
mason, came in ditto (Endeavor of London, A Ketch George Thorp M.)"
"John his brother & Mary Smith his sister, all of the same place, came in
Thomas Pearson was born and raised in Cheshire, England. He married
Margery Ellen Smith, February 18, 1683. They were Quakers. Shortly after
their marriage, they emigrated to the United States on the ship ENDEAVOR,
along with Thomas' brother John and the Thomas Janney family, ( Thomas
Janney was probably the brother of Elizabeth Janney, Thomas' mother ).
They settled first in Pennsylvania. Later generations migrated to South
Carolina and then to Ohio in the 1800's. The land that Thomas moved to in
Pennsylvania was purchased by his brother John, who had purchased it from
William Penn before his leaving England. According to West Chester, PA
court records, it states that this land was transferred to Thomas Pearson
from John Pearson (his brother) who in turn transferred it to his eldest
son Robert before his death in 1734
Father: Lawrence PEARSON b: 4 MAY 1620 in Pownal Fee, Cheshire, England
Mother: Elizabeth Barnhill JANNEY b: 7 JUN 1620 in Pownal Fee, Cheshire, England
Margery Ellen SMITH b: 1 FEB 1657/58 in Pownal Fee, Cheshire, England
18 FEB 1682/83
in Pownal Fee, Cheshire, England
- Enoch PEARSON b: 12 MAR 1689/90 in Chester Co, Pennsylvania
- Mary PEARSON b: 2 MAY 1701
- Robert PEARSON b: 3 DEC 1683
- Thomas PEARSON b: 23 OCT 1685
- John PEARSON b: 10 JAN 1691/92
- Able PEARSON b: 1695
- Margery PEARSON b: 23 SEP 1703
- Sarah PEARSON b: 8 FEB 1694/95
- Lawrence PEARSON b: 20 OCT 1687
- Benjamin PEARSON b: 1 DEC 1698