Irish Family History of the Pims: 1st Irish Quakers
From England To Pennsylvania
By Susan Potts Kimura
By Susan Potts Kimura
Pim is such an uncommon Irish name. I never knew anyone named Pim except my Grandma Mamie Pim Potts. When Mamie moved from Breen, Colorado, to Parker, Arizona, she decided to lighten the load. Dad would go downstairs and carry up boxes full of miscellaneous junk, at least that’s what Grandma said it was. She told him to take it outside and burn it. As he would bring the boxes up my mother would look through them. She could not stand the thought of those boxes being burned without knowing the contents. The two treasures to surface were an old family bible and a box of letters. She set those aside and kept inspecting.
Much later, as we looked through the bible, we found some truly wonderful information. The oldest birth recorded in the bible was that of “Thomas Fisher Pim born the 10th day of January in the year of our Lord A.D. 1790.” We realized that every generation had a page for their family and had carefully recorded, births, marriages and deaths. My grandmother’s generation was the last to have their births recorded. When I grew up and Dad gave the bible to me, I recorded the death dates across from their names. Grandmother told Dad that she knew the family had once been Quakers and came to Pennsylvania from Ireland, but she didn’t know when or where. That was for us to discover, and we did!
The Pim family bible spurred my interest in doing research and learning about these people who could read and write in the 17 and 1800s when the most of the rest of the English speaking world couldn't. The box of letters I mentioned are letters written to my 2nd great grandfather, Thomas Fisher Pim, from his family in Missouri. The 30-40 letters begin in 1855 and the last one was written in 1892.
I learned that William Edmundson, a former Cromwellian soldier, was the first Quaker in Ireland and, with five other Quakers, Richard Jackson, John Edmundson, John Thompson, William Moon and John Pim, settled in Mountmellick in 1659. The early Quakers seemed to have been young when they arrived. John Pim was only 18 when he settled in Laois. Richard Jackson was born about 1643 and died in 1697, at the age of fifty four, so he was sixteen upon his arrival in the area. They were all recent converts to Quakerism. As a result, they were people of strong religious fervor. They came with Edmundson to Laois and Offaly to oppose the payment of tithes. Many of them had not been Quakers when they arrived in Ireland but had been 'convinced' personally by William [The Quakers of Mountmellick]. Richard Jackson and John Pim are my 8th great grandfathers. My other Irish grandparents include William & Ann Makin Pleadwell, Christopher Raper and Philippa Worswell, to name a few.
The name “Pim” makes it easy to do family history research, and we already had our pedigree back to 1790. It was now a matter of going to the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City and reading the books and films we found there. That was an easy thing to accomplish as we live in the Salt Lake Valley. When I asked a librarian at the research desk how to get started, she handed me a three-ring binder a staff member had compiled that explained Quaker research, terms, meetings, and their manner of writing dates. I noticed that an early Quaker genealogist, Gilbert Cope, compiled files on the families in Pennsylvania. His records explained the Pims coming to America and traced generation after generation, beginning in 1655 and coming down through generations of individuals, many names I recognized, other names I would come to know. Every record he included I was able to verify through other sources at the FHL. His records included Richard Pim, an ancestor who moved from England to Ireland, and generations of Pims after him until 1730 when the first Pims in my family came to America. This is one of my favorite entries:
FHL Immigration of the Irish Quakers Into Pennsylvania, 1682-1750 p.372:
"Richard Pim, of Leicestershire, England, in his old age, about 1655, removed to Ireland." p.374 ..."and in the year 1655 Godfrey Cantrell and family came into Ireland and Richard Pim, then very old, came with him and some time after he died at Godfrey Cantrell's house, near Rosenallis (in the Queen's County), and was buried in the church at Rosenallis."
In less than twenty words I knew the name of the end of line ancestor and his residence in England! I would learn that Godfrey Cantrell was his son-in-law, married to daughter Mary. This has only been the beginning for me, Quaker research has kept me enthralled for over 15 years and I get excited each time I discover new information about each generation, like the Civil War doctor, the Wimbledon champion, or the first Quaker woman business person.
ABOUT THIS BLOGGER: Susan Potts Kimura graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and a minor in history and was a genealogy researcher for a genealogy firm in Salt Lake City. She is currently an elementary school aide working with slow readers. We look forward to more articles from Susan on her Irish Quaker Ancestors!