Archiver > QUAKER-ROOTS > 2009-01 > 1233022717

From: "S. Newton" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 18:18:37 -0800 (PST)

Someone has asked me if any of the Quakers who came to America on the
Woodhouse in 1657 left American descendants. Probably three of them did. I am summarizing below what I have learned to date about what became of them.

-- S. Newton

Wm. Brend was back in London by 1661, when he would have been about 45.
He signed a Quaker epistle in 1672, wrote 6 Quaker tracts, and in 1676 was buried in London’s Bunhill Fields, where George Fox was buried. I do not know if he left any descendants or not.

Mary Clark left her children and husband in London, where he was in business, to make this trip to America. She and Mary Wetherhead and Richard Doudney were all lost at sea in 1658 when pirates captured their ship after they left Barbados, presumably on their way home. There were prominent families named Clarke in Newport at the time she was there, but no one has suggested that she was related to them. They were for the most part not Friends, with the notable exception of Walter, who later served as governor of the colony.

John Copeland, around 30 in 1657, was from Holderness in eastern Yorkshire. Like Christopher Holder, he returned to England after losing his right ear in Boston, and in 1660 helped compile the complaint which Edward Burrough took to the king about the Quaker hangings and the severity of the Boston court’s sentences. He married twice in England, in 1667 and 1677, then married a third time in 1691 and settled in southern Virginia, where he died in 1718. When Thomas Story the minister visited that area in 1698, he was hosted at Terrasco Neck east of Chuckatuck by “old John Copeland” who had lost an ear. A century later, there were Copelands at Somerton Meeting in southern VA and at Rich Square Meeting in northeastern NC, but I do not know if they were descended from John or not.

Richard Doudney died at sea, see Mary Clark above. I do not know his age, or if he left any descendants

Robert Fowler, the Woodhouse captain, was a mariner and boat builder from Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast. Though one of the first to turn Quaker there, he did not go to America to preach, so probably just sold his small boat in Rhode Island and sailed home on some other and bigger ship. He did, apparently, preach some and suffer for it after returning to England. The Mary Fowler of Bridlington Meeting (which lasted until 2005) might possibly have been his wife, but there were other Fowlers among the early Quakers of Yorkshire.

Sarah Gibbons from Bristol was about 26 in 1659 when she drowned after the small boat taking her from ship to shore capsized at Providence RI.

Robert Hodgson made trips back to England both before and after his 1665 marriage to Rachel Shotten. Around this date, he settled at Portsmouth RI where he died in 1996, in his 70s, called an “ancient Friend”. His son, Robert II, married Sarah Borden in RI and settled in Chester Co, PA. Robert II and Sarah had children who are named in his 1733 Cecil Co. MD will but may not be in the Quaker record. Many American Quakers are descended from George Hodgson, who is said to have immigrated as a child, married Mary Thatcher in Wilmington DE in 1729/30 and moved to NC (between Cane Creek and Guilford) along with a Robert Hodgson of about the same age in 1751. Some of George’s descendants, in Hodgson, Hodson and Hodgin lines, claim to trace back to Robert the missionary. But the connection between George and the Roberts has not to my knowledge been firmly documented. The older Robert also had two daughters born in Portsmouth RI. One, Alice (b.1668),
became in 1699 the second wife of Phineas Pemberton, a prominent Philadelphia Friend, but her only child was born in a later 1704 marriage to Thomas Bradford. I have not traced the Bradford child or learned what became of Alice’s older sister, Mary (b.1666) after she, too, left RI for PA in or around 1700.

Chistopher Holder (1631-1688) left both American and English descendants, probably more in America, best documented in his daughter Mary’s Slocum family. Holder himself left Rhode Island in 1680 and spent several of his remaining years imprisoned in England, where he remarried, never returning to America. Daughter Elizabeth from his first marriage to Mary Scott, who probably accompanied him to England, married and settled there. From his second marriage, the surviving children, Christopher and Hope, probably settled in America, though the son may have been sent to England to live with his father for a while after his mother’s death. It is claimed that one of Holder’s descendants was John Wanton who became governor of Rhode Island in 1734.

Humphrey Norton returned to Co. Durham in northern England embittered by his American experience, and may have dropped out of the Quaker movement. I do not know if he left any descendants or not.

William Robinson, always described as “young”, who traveled through the colonies as far south as Virginia, may have been the most effective preacher in the 1657 group. From Cumberland, he was apparently located in London, just launching into a career as a merchant when he decided to go to America. Unfortunately, he was one of those unwelcome Quakers from abroad hung by the Boston authorities in 1659.

Dorothy Waugh, who became a Quaker in Westmoreland and began preaching while in her teens, preached and suffered for the Quaker cause in New Amsterdam, Connecticut and Boston and then went home. She left New England for Barbados in late 1658 and apparently sailed for England from there. She died as Dorothy Lotherington in Whitby, on the Yorkshire coast, her husband, William, a fellow Quaker.

Mary Wetherhead from Bristol, nearly 30, died at sea, see Mary Clark above.

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