Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cromwell And His Irish "Friends"

Almost all genealogy researchers have a goal of discovering the immigrant ancestor especially the Irish! Where did they come from? Why did they choose this land? What did they do after they got here?
I realized, that to answer these questions, I needed to know more about the Quakers. The more I researched, the more ancestors I discovered to be of this religious persuasion. Their method of record keeping was a treasure trove of information. They diligently recorded births, marriages, deaths, and burials. The notes of their monthly meetings were a glimpse into their everyday lives.
Thomas Pim, my third great grandfather, was born in 1790, East Caln, Chester County, Pennsylvania, the first recorded birth in our family bible. He had 12 second great-grandparents, all members of the Religious Society of Friends, with eight of them married in America before 1715. These wonderful people came from England, Ireland, and Wales.
Immigrationof the Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania, 1682-1750: With Their 
EarlyHistory in Ireland,” by Albert Cook Myers, was filled with details about my ancestors. Two names that were often repeated in the book (published in 1902) were those of Oliver Cromwell and William Edmundson. Both men played important roles in the lives of my ancestors in Ireland.
Many of the soldiers in Cromwell’s New Model Army were given land in Ireland that was confiscated from native Irish as a reward for their service in Cromwell’s invading force. Some of my ninth great-grandfathers were among this group. Myers suggested that because of Cromwell’s actions there was greater opportunity for religious sects to develop, though clearly those thousands of Irish who suffered massacre and confiscation at the hands of the New Model Army would have a less benevolent view. William Edmundson, a veteran of Cromwell’s army, began to try to convince his former comrades about the goodness he found in the Religious Society of Friends.
Myers quotes John Grubb Richardson (1813-1890), a prominent and representative Irish Friend, who says of his family, "We were members of the Society of Friends, our forefathers having been convinced by the preaching of William Edmundson in 1660. All our ancestors came from the north of England in Cromwell's army, and received grants of land from him to settle in Ireland."
John Grubb Richardson is my fourth cousin five times removed. Our common ancestors are John Pim, Mary Pleadwell, Thomas Jackson and Dorothy Mason. They are John’s third great-grandparents and my eighth great grandparents.
John Pim (1641-1718) was converted by William Edmundson in Cavan. He followed Edmundson to Laois, moving from Mountmellick to Maryborough (Portlaoise), to Coolucant and then to Mountrath. Here he and his wife Mary raised eight of their 11 children, three having died young. In apparent acts of civil disobedience, John was imprisoned many times in the 1660s for non-payment of tithe to the government-established Church of Ireland. He had a successful butchery business with Richard Jackson. Mary tended their interests in John’s absences. The Quaker Pims in Ireland descend through this John Pim and Mary Pleadwell. Their descendants were merchants, selling glue, candles, blue, and soap. The Pims had a mill producing rapeseed oil at Lackagh.
Anthony Pim (c. 1774-1842) was a brewer. He was also involved in the importation of American and Baltic timber. In 1856, James Pim & Sons, Market Square, were grocers, wine merchants and woolen drapers, with a thriving woolen business in Dublin. There are Pims in Ireland today, many of them still associated with the Friends.
Another film at the LDS Family History Library gives detail of Richard Jackson, who migrated, from England, to Lurgan, County Armagh, in 1649. He married Margaret Keete, also from England, at Carrickfergus, County Antrim. In 1655, he moved to Cavan, and in 1659 moved to Mountmellick. He joined the Society of Friends in 1654 and was imprisoned for his beliefs in 1661. Their son, Robert Jackson, is often mentioned in "The Journal of William Edmundson". He sometimes accompanied William in his travels. According to Mountmellick Quaker records, Richard was a soldier in Cromwell’s army and came to Ireland in 1648. He became ‘convinced’ about 1654.
William Edmundson went to see Richard Jackson upon his deathbed and said of him, “He was convinced of God’s everlasting Truth about the year 1654, since which time he walked in the Truth, and with the Lord’s people, bearing his share of suffering as it came, whether spoil of goods or imprisonment of body, for the Testimony of the blessed Truth, which he had received of the Lord, and in which he believed. He was a serviceable man in the creation, and more especially in the Truth. ...” [Records of Mountmellick Meeting: "The seventh of ye second month, 1679.”]
Richard’s father, Anthony Jackson, served the English government in a number of capacities:

  • Admitted to the Inner Chamber 1616.
  • Became private secretary to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, until the assassination of the Duke by John Felton in 1628.
  • Became a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber of Charles I.
  • Called to the Bar 1635.
  • Promised the place of Protho-Notary of the Court of Common Pleas at Oxford in 1646.

From The Great Ancestral Hunt
Because of his support of the Stuarts, he was arrested by Cromwell at Worcester and imprisoned in the Tower of London eight years, charged with treason. By that time, his property was gone and, being penniless, he was released. His sons, meanwhile, were granted manor estates of confiscated lands in Ireland for their support of Cromwell in 1648, and the family moved there in 1649.
Anthony was born about 1599 in England died about 1666 in Ireland. The name of his wife is unknown. He left three sons who continued his legacy -- John, Richard, and Anthony. It is even posited that Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, is a descendant of Anthony.
In 1660, Richard Jackson, among other Friends, was fined 40 shillings and imprisoned for 14 weeks, for holding Quaker meetings.
My sixth great-grandmother, Dorothy Jackson, who married William Pim, in 1715, in Mountrath, is the granddaughter of Richard Jackson and Margaret Keete. William is the grandson of John Pim and Mary Pleadwell. William and Dorothy are my immigrant ancestors to America.
When a Quaker individual or family, moved from one location to another, it was necessary to have a certificate of removal to present at the new meeting. This document usually stated whether or not one was in good standing with the meeting and whether or not the individual was married.
As I researched at the Family History Library, reading through the old Quaker records on film, I found that many certificates of removal from Ireland to Pennsylvania were signed by Pims, Jacksons, and other names I had begun to recognize. 
For me, it was like reconnecting with old friends.
My life has been enriched by discovering ancestors who had high ideals for living, and regardless of consequences, lived up to those standards. They turned their hearts from war to seeking after Truth, as they called it, and made their corner of the world a better place.  

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!


  1. Very interesting, Susan. Can you supply any more information about the Quakers in Lurgan?
    My particular interest is the (Catholic) O'Dohertys, Chiefs of the Inishowen peninsula, county Donegal, until dispossessed in 1608. One of them, Rosa, was wife to the great General Owen Roe O'Neill, whose untimely death from natural causes in 1649 opened the way for Cromwell to conquer and confiscate in Ireland.
    Another sister, however, Eleanor, had married an English planter, Brownlow, and they occupied vast lands in Armagh, Cavan, Monaghan and founded the town of Lurgan, later noted for its religious freedom and welcome to the Quakers. So, I imagine there might be some references to the Brownlows in Quakers historical documents concerning the region. The Brownlows very elegant family home later became headquarters of the Orange Order!
    So, Eleanor (or Elinor) O'Doherty was the maternal progenitor of the Brownlows in Ireland, a family that later intermarried with English royalty, and with the Wingfields, Viscount Powerscourt, descendents of Richard Wingfield who had commanded the English army which had put down the last Irish Chief's rebellion, that of Sir Cahir O'Doherty, Eleanor's brother.
    Funny thing about Eleanor and her English Protestant husband...they had three daughters, no son. So, he agreed that his eldest daughter, Letitia, could marry an Anglo-Irish Catholic, Arthur Chamberlain, if Arthur would take the name Brownlow, which he did. So, the Brownlows themselevs were members of an "unapproved" church when they founded Lurgan and invited in the Quakers. But I think Arthur must have died young, becasue Letitia later had at leat three more husbands.
    If you come across any references to the Brownlows in the early history of the Quakers in Lurgan, I would be glad to know them.
    Incidentally, Jonathan Pim, a very fine person, was a colleague of mine in the Irish Export Board 30 years ago or so.

  2. Response From Susan:
    Brian, thanks for your comment and taking the time to read my article. I was thrilled that you actually knew a real Irish Pim! I will watch diligently for the name Brownlow.

    I googled “Quakers” ~lurgan and found these references:

    Quakers in Lurgan
    a short summary of Lurgan in 1654 and its development.
    The author also recommended:

    Lurgan : An Irish Provincial Town 1610-1970
    By F X McCorry 1986

    Harvest Home - The Last Sheaf
    By T G F Paterson 1975

    History of the Religious Society of Friends
    Arthur G Chapman 1997
    In searching the catalog at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which houses the largest genealogical collection in the world, I found nothing on your O'Dougherty family, but found these references to the Brownlows:


    Usrey, Usry, Ussery bulletin
    author: Usry, John M
    availability: Family History Centers

    Documents deposited by Lord Brownlow
    author: Bedfordshire Record Office
    availability: Family History Centers

    The Brownlows of Belton, 1550-1779
    author: Cust, Elizabeth Caroline Bligh, Lady, b. 1830
    availability: Family History Centers

    Pedigree of Close Family of Armagh to which is added the Granard family & Champagne
    availability: Family History Centers

    The Town of Lurgan
    author: Paterson, T. G. F. (Thomas George Farquhar), Barton, Richard
    availability: Family History Centers

    Lurgan, Shankill, Armagh miscellanea
    author: Gracey, W. R
    availability: Family History Centers

    Irish miscellanea, chiefly from County Armagh
    author: McCrum, William, d. 1818, Miller, David, b. 1868, Kidd, Thomas, d. 1855
    availability: Family History Centers

    These are all films and may be ordered from the library from a local Family History Center near you.

  3. Susan, Yours is a very interesting family quest. I also have Irish Quaker ancestors. I had been thinking that they were English ancestors and not really Irish until it occurred to me that "my" immigrant was known as John Eves the Irish Quaker after he came to America. His family was in Ireland for three generations by the time he was born and he may never have seen England. I describe myself as American even though I have 1 grandparent and 2 great grandparents who were immigrants. The surnames in my bunch are Eves, Chandlee, Taylor and Grundy. Supposedly, the first Chandlee to become a Quaker in my direct line was a William who was said to have been in Cromwell's New Model Army. I think "my" Chandlees were also in Co. Cavan in 1656 and then moved and attended the Mountmellick Meetings. Later, I believe they attended meetings in Edenderry. I haven't gotten to the LDS microfilms for those meetings as yet but it sounds as though they will have wonderful details. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. As as direct descendant of William Edmundson, I wanted to say I found your article interesting. Thank you, James E. Edmundson.