And now for a bit of a change and to mark the 333rd year for this branch of the family in North America, I am moving back to the Mendenhall/Myers side of the family with some facts and comments about an 8th great grandfather of mine. William Clayton was baptized in the Parish of Boxgrove near Rumbaldswick, Sussex, England on December 9, 1632. He married Prudence Lanckford in St. Pancras Parish, Chichester, Sussex, England on November 11, 1653. The Parish Register record: "William son of William Clayton of this parish and Prudence Lanckford of Peter the Less (Parish), daughter of William Lanckford of Groughton, Hampshire...". William's family had been in the lumber trade for a couple of generations and he (William) was known as a carpenter.
Sometime before 1663 he joind the newly established Quaker church. William was arrested for being a Quaker in 1663 and commited to the house of correction in Arundel for six months. He was arested again in 1665 for preaching at a Quaker meeting in Padisham, Lancaster and served and additional three months in jail.
QUOTE! Joseph Besse, Collections of Sufferings for Sussex, "On the 7th day of the 12th month of this present year 1663, Edward Hamper, Nicholas Rickman, Tristram Martin, William Turner, John Baker, John Snafold, Richard Newman, William Clayton and Henry Wolger for the sake of truth they did profess in meeting together to wait upon the Lord with the rest of the Meeting (Chichester) then assembled, were by one Major Mills with his band of armed men and with guns and swords drawn and in a violent manner took out of the said meeting twenty persons and had them to an inn, where they were kept till midnight and in the meantime the said Major Mills sent for William Gratwick, called a Justice of the Peace in this County of Sussex, and for no other cause were the several persons afore named by him the said Gratwick, committed to goal and the rest he bound over to answer for that offence,, so called, who accordingly appeared at the Assize, but were not called for anything said to them in relation to that matter, but at the following Sessions the aforementioned persons who were committed to goal were fined every many six pounds for the said meeting, and because for conscience sake they could not pay their fines aforesaid, they were committed to the House of Correction for six months in the town of Arundel (about 10 miles to the east) where they lay until it was expired, but here it is to be noted that John Snasfold aforesaid was fined but three pounds, and for not paying it lay there three months. "
QUOTE! Joseph Besse, Collection of Suffering for Lancashire, for the year 1665 "As William Clayton was preaching in a Meeting at Padisham, the Priest of that Parish, attended by a Constable with a Warrant, came into the Meeting, pulled William out on the street,, tore his coat. The Constable then carried him before the Justices, who tendered him the Oath of Allegiance, and upon his refusal to take it, committed him to prison till the next sessions, when the Justices fined him five pounds for being at an unlawful Assembly, and committed him to the House of Corrections for three months. The Officers, for pretended fees and charges of carrying him thither, took his coat off his back. The keeper put him into a dungeon for five days and nights, till some moderate people of the town procured him the common liberty of the house for the rest of the time."Around 1676 he and several others were chosen to act as Commissioners for William Penn in North America to clear titles with the Indians on land that Penn had aquired. Clayton sailed from London in March of 1677 and arrived in the colony of New York in August and then would then have traveled to
Chygoe's Island, the area which is now Burlington, New Jersey. This area was just a crude village at the time and the first winter would have been spent in very temporary housing.
Quote! Samuel Janney's "The Life of William Penn," 6th edition, 1882. Transcribed by James Quinn, Historian, Gwynedd Friends Meeting (Pennsylvania).
"In the years 1677 and 1678 five vessels sailed for the province of West New Jersey with 800 emigrants, most of them members of the Society of Friends. Among the first purchasers were two companies of Friends — the one from Yorkshire, the other from London, who each contracted for a large tract of land. In 1677 commissioners, some of whom were chosen from the London, and others from the Yorkshire company, were sent out by the proprietors, with power to buy land of the natives, to inspect the rights of such as claimed property, to order the lands out, and to administer the government.
They came with other passengers, numbering in all 230, in the ship Kent, which arrived at Newcastle the 16th of the 6th month, O.S., and proceeding up the Delaware, landed at Rackoon Creek, where the Swedes had some "scattering habitations, but too few in number to accommodate them all, so that many had to take up their abode in stables, or erect huts in the Indian fashion."
The commissioners proceeded up the river to the place where Burlington now stands, which was then called Chygoes Island, from the name of an Indian Sachem who lived there. Having obtained interpreters from among the Swedes settled about New Castle, by their aid they made several purchases of land, but not having goods enough to pay for the whole, they agreed not to settle on it until the full amount was paid.
At Chygoes Island they laid out a town. "After locating the main street, they divided the land on each side into lots — the easternmost among the Yorkshire proprietors, the other among the Londoners. The town was first called Beverly, then Bridlington, and finally Burlington." (Smith's History of NJ)
As the price of lands at that day, and the manner of dealing with the Indians, may be a matter of interest, the following list of the articles given in excahnge for the tract of country extending twenty miles on the Delaware River, and lying between Oldman's Creek and Timber Creek, is taken from Smith's History of New Jersey. It was purchased in the year 1677, when the natives received for it, 30 match-coats, 20 guns, 30 kettles, 1 great kettle, 30 pair of hose, 20 fathoms of duffels, 30 petticoats, 30 narrow hoes, 30 bars of lead, 15 small barrels of powder, 70 knives, 30 Indian axes, 70 combs, 60 pair of tobacco tongs, 60 tinshaw looking-glasses, 120 awl-blades, 120 fish-hooks, 2 grasps of red paint, 120 needles, 60 tobacco boxes, 120 pipes, 200 bells, 100 Jews-harps, and 6 anchors of rum."
t seems that the commissioners accomplished their task and established a colony during the first two years and that by 1679 or 80 William's wife and children joined him. A monthly meeting had been set up at Burlington by this time and amoung the first marriages recorded was that of William's daughter Prudence to Henry Reynolds.They were married, in Quaker dating, 10 11th month 1678.
Following QUOTE from: Early Church Records of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, page 75, Launey and Wright, Heritage Books, 2007. The date is missing from this handwritten entry was found at the beging of the oldest record book for the Chester Monthly Meeting but was probably presented to the Burlington Monthly Meeting sometime around the time of his daughter Prudence's marriage.
"15 day of the 7 month in the year …. I will: Clayton the ellder doe in fear and dread of the Lord and in the hewmillity of my Soull acknouledgy that I did sin agayens god and frindes and broak the good order of truth in consenting to the marriage of my daster prudent to hendry Runolls hee beeing noot a faythful frind hoping thay my frindes of the montyly meeting will freely forgivf mee as i hawfe freely confesed the same and as you for Christ sake woolld have god to forgivfe you"
By 1681 Clayton moved his family across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania where he had a land patent for 500 acres.
Following QUOTED from: Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. VI. March, 1915. No. 1. The First Provincial Council of Pennsylvania and Its Members. By Josiah Granville Leach.
"On 4 March, 1681, William Penn received his charter for Pennsylvania, at the hands of Charles the Second, and promptly thereafter, entered upon the herculean task of his "Holy Experiment,"—that of organizing a government for his Province. Finding that he could best promote the undertaking by remaining at home for a time, he made choice of a deputy, his cousin, Colonel William Markham, and sent him to Pennsylvania, with a commission dated 10 April, 1681, empowering him to effect a government, and to be at the head of the same. Sailing from England, Markham arrived at New York prior to 21 June, 1681, from whence he proceeded to Pennsylvania. His commission authorized him "to call a council, and that to consist of nine men, he presiding;" pursuant to which, he named for this important trust, Robert Wade, Morgan Drewett, William Woodmanson, William Warner, Thomas Fairman, James Sandelands, William Clayton, Otto Ernest Koch, and Lawrence Cock. These appointees assembled at Upland, now Chester, 3 August, 1681, when and where a government was established, the councillors subscribing to the following declaration: "We do hereby bind ourselves by our hands and seals that we neither act nor advise, nor consent unto anything that shall not be according to our consciences the best for ye true and well Government of the Province, and Likewise to keep secret all ye votes and acts of us ye sd Councell unless such as by the General consent of us are to be published."
From Markham's time, until shortly before the Proprietary arrived, the seat of government was at Upland, where, no doubt, the Council held its sittings, and where, also, convened, on 4 December, 1682, the first Assembly of Pennsylvania. At Governor Markham's arrival, the population of the Province could scarcely have exceeded five hundred souls. Of these, the majority were Swedes, a small portion only being English, the latter composed principally of colonists who had arrived on the Delaware a few years previously, tarrying for a short tune in West Jersey, later crossing the river and settling at various points along its Western border, from the line on the south dividing the jurisdiction of the New Castle Court from that of Upland, to the Falls of Delaware (Trenton) on the north.
The life of the Council covered the period from the date of its formation until October, 1682, when Colonel Markham retired from office, and the reins of government were taken up by the Proprietary himself. Unhappily, the records of the proceedings of Markham's Council were not preserved, hence we are left in ignorance as to its transactions, which fact, it is suggested, may be due to the covenant of that body "to keep secret all ye votes and acts of us ye said Council."
"WILLIAM CLAYTON, the seventh named councillor, was a native of England, and, with his family, a passenger on the "Kent." (William’s family members were NOT listed as passengers.) Upon the arrival of this ship in New Jersey, he took up his home for a brief season at Burlington, where, 6 October, 1678, he was a witness to the first marriage entered on the Burlington Meeting records. The second marriage was that of his daughter, Prudence Clayton, to Henry Reynolds, 10 January, 1679; and the fourth, that of his daughter Honour, to James Brown, of Marcus Hook, the contracting parties being styled in the records as of Burlington, and the father witnessing both marriages. Almost immediately after the latter event, Mr. Clayton removed to within the jurisdiction of Upland Court, from which he received a grant of land, 13 March, 1679-80, and another grant, 10 March, the following year. His appointment to the Council followed, 3 August, 1681, at about which date he was also commissioned a justice of Upland Court, being the first named in the commission. Upon the arrival of William Perm in the Province, and the division of the same into three counties, Mr. Clayton was commissioned one of the justices of Chester County, and was chosen from that county a member of the Provincial Council, in which he actively and prominently served until 30 March, 1696 (William died in 1688/9, so it is doubtful that he served until 1696.). The transactions of the Council during this period embraced matters of the gravest moment, consisting of the enactment of laws for the government of the Province. Its most important transaction, however, was its part in securing from the Proprietary a new Charter of Liberties, or "Frame of Government," as it was sometimes styled. Governor Penn, finding considerable dissatisfaction among his colonists with the charter granted by him before leaving England, consented that the Council and Assembly frame a new Charter; whereupon, the Council named a committee, to act in conjunction with a similar one from the Assembly, to frame the same, Mr. Clayton being appointed on the Council committee, as the representative of Chester County. A charter was promptly drawn up, and adopted by both chambers, and was signed and promulgated by Governor Penn, 2 April, 1683, as appears from the following minute of the Council of that date: "The Great Charter of this Province was this night read, signed, Sealed & Delivered by ye Govr to y6 Inhabitants."
On 19 August, 1684, Mr. Clayton was commissioned a justice of the peace and of the courts of Philadelphia County, the eminent Francis Daniel Pastorious being named in the same commission. It would appear from this appointment that he must, at that time, have resided in the latter county. He died in 1688, and left to survive him, wife Prudence, son William, daughters Prudence, wife of Henry Reynolds; Honour, wife of James Brown, and Mary, wife of John Beals (John and Mary Clayton Beals are our next direct relatives.), and possibly other children."
Following two items QUOTED from: The Register of Pennsylvania, Vol. III – January to July 1829, Hazard. I chose these two entries because I found them amusing.
"16th of 11th month, 1683. Council were engaged in directing the summary punishment of whipping, taking sureties for good behaviour, and 'ordered that William Clayton build a cage against the next council day, seven foot high, seven foot long and five foot broad.’"
"7th of 12th month, 1683. Margaret Mattson and Yeshro Hendrickson, examined and about to be proved witches. Whereupon this board ordered that Neels Mattson should enter into a recognizance of fifty pounds for his wife's appearance before this board the 27th instant. Jacob Hendrickson doth the same for his wife.
27th of 12th "month, 1683. Present William Penn, proprietor and governor.
James Harrison, Chris. Taylor, William Biles, Wm. Clayton,
Lasse Cock, Thomas Holmes,
The grand jury being attested, the governor gave them their charge, and the attorney general attended them with the presentment.
The grand jury found the bill.
Margaret Mattson's indictment was read, and she pleads not guilty, and will be tried by the country.
Lasse Cock, attested interpreter between the proprietor and the prisoner at the bar.
The petit jury were then impannelled. The testimony of the witnesses is given at large, and sundry depositions were read, the contents of which are not given.
The prisoner denieth all things, and, saith, the witnesses speak only by hearsay.
After which the governor gave the jury their charge concerning the prisoner at the bar.
The jury went forth, and upon their return brought her in 'guilty of having the common fame of a witch, but not guilty in the manner and form as she stands indicted.
Both the women were then recognized with surety, for their good behaviour for six months."
I guess the verdict said that while she acted like a witch and everyone thought she was a witch she was not very good at casting spells.
William Clayton died intestate in late 1688 or early 1689. His Will Bond is number 119 and was filed in the office for wills in Philadelphia. There was no actual will but a bond was written and filed by his widow Prudence in which she gives executorship to her son William.
I am not keeping an exact count, but I think that this is the 2nd or 3rd direct relative that personally knew William Penn and, Clayton is listed as an individual that met George Fox. Not that the Fox thing is an accomplishment, but it is a fun fact. (Some of you may remember the, "Go naked into the world" story from the "In Search of the Perfect Idiot". I guess that story was in a pile of papers sent at a later date as an addition to the "Idiot" book.)
I started this bit by saying that William Clayton was my 8th great grandfather. Well, like all things, time marches on and I end by saying that the latest addition to this tree (that I am aware of) is an 11th great grandson, Elijah Xavier Coffman. Why do I always, when I hear that name, hear biblical trumpents in the background?