Adam Kirk and Phebe Mendenhall

Adam Kirk was the son of Alphonsus Kirk and Abigail Sharpley of Christiana Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware. Alphonsus and Abigail were married in 1693 under the care of Newark Friends meeting. Adam was their ninth child, born in 1707, named for Abigail’s father Adam.

Adam’s father Alphonsus was not prosperous, leaving an inventory of only £31 at his death in 1745. Perhaps that explains why Adam waited so late to marry. When he married Phebe Mendenhall in 9th month 1744, he was in his late thirties; she was 17 years younger than he was. Her family was quite well-to-do. Her father Benjamin Mendenhall was one of the wealthier men in Concord Township, Chester County.

Adam and Phebe settled in Christiana Hundred, New Castle County, and had ten known children. He died in 1774. In his will he named Phebe and eight living children.1 He was “under Considerable pain and weakness of Body” at the time, but of sound mind. He left Phebe a one-third part of his estate and the use of the stone end of the house, “from the top to the bottom”, with the use of the garden and with firewood cut for her and with stabling for her mare. The son Adam received the west end of the plantation, about one hundred acres, plus a half share in the grist mill and saw mill. Caleb received the house, the south end of the plantation and the other half of the mill. William received the northeast part of the land, while Joshua received £100. The sons were to be educated, Joshua in particular, “he being weakly”. The four daughters, Lydia, Hannah, Abigail and Phebe, each received £50. In a very interesting bequest, Adam left his “Doctor Books or such Books as treat of Physick” to his son Joshua.2

After his death Phebe married Joseph Pennock, a wealthy farmer and member of the Assembly. She had no children with him. Phebe died in 1818, a full 44 years after her first husband. She wrote a will in 1811, naming five children and several grandchildren.3 The inventory of her property, taken on April 28, consisted of a bed and furniture for one room, including a bonnet box, looking glass, smoothing irons, and a bedpan. The bulk of her estate was a bond for $613 plus interest on it, for a total of $1357.

Children of Adam and Phebe:4

Lydia, born 1st month 1746, died 2nd month 1793, probably unmarried.

Hannah, born 5th month 1747, d. 1829, married Benjamin Jones as his second wife. His first wife Alice Temple died around 1772. Hannah and Benjamin lived in Honeybrook, in the western edge of Chester County. They had nine known children, known of whom married as Friends. Children: Alice, Phebe, Cordelia, Hannah, John, Benjamin, Sarah, Samuel, Mary.

Adam, born 6th month 1749, married at Center Meeting in 1774 Esther Wilson, daughter of Joseph. They moved to Wayne County, Indiana, where Adam died in 1821. He left a will, naming the children, but Esther must have died before him.5 Children: Isaiah, Hannah, Rebecca, Benjamin, Ann, Phebe.

Phebe, born 7th month 1751, d. 1841, married Christopher Chandler, son of Swithen and Ann Chandler. Phebe was Christopher’s second wife; his first wife was Prudence Grubb. Phebe and Christopher were disowned by Kennett Meeting in 4th month 1775 for accomplishing their marriage outside of the meeting.6 Children: Tamar, Caleb, William, Benjamin, Elihu, Jehu, David, Hiram.

Abigail, born 11th month 1753, married 5th month 1780, Daniel Windle of East Marlborough, son of Francis and Mary.7 According to some accounts they moved to Ohio. Children: Joseph, Benjamin, Caleb.

Prudence, b. 1754, died young.

Caleb, born 3rd month 1756, d. 1831, married 4th month 1779, at Centre Meeting, Sarah, daughter of Swithen and Ann Chandler. They were disowned for having a child born too soon after their marriage.8 Children: Joshua, Phebe, Samuel, Caleb, Abigail, Ann, Caleb, Sarah, Lydia, Hannah.9

Deborah, born 1758, died young

Betty, born 1761, died 1764.

Joshua, born 1763, died 1777.

William, born 1764, d. 1841 in Ohio, m. 1 July 1789 Edith Shortlidge at New Garden, Chester County. They moved to Belmont, Ohio before 1820. Children: Isaac, Robert, Phebe, William, possibly others.


  1. New Castle County wills, Books A-K 1682-1777.
  2. The will was written in 9th month 1774 (September), and proved less than a month later.
  3. Chester County estate papers, file #6534, Chester County Archive.
  4. Charles Stubbs, Historic-genealogy of the Kirk Family, 1872; Martha J. P. Grundy, website on Kirk family,, accessed May 2019.
  5. Ancestry, Indiana Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999, Wayne, Will books 1-4, 1812-1865, image 51.
  6. Kennett Monthly Meeting, Men’s Minutes 1739-1791, on Ancestry, images 307, 309.
  7. The marriage was reported in 6th month 1780 in the women’s minutes of New Garden Monthly Meeting.
  8. Ancestry, US Quaker Meeting Records 1681-1935, Chester, Kennett, Men’s Minutes 1739-1791, image 379.
  9. From Ancestry trees, no evidence.

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