Benjamin Jones of Honeybrook and his two wives

Benjamin was born in East Bradford in 1740, one of nine children of John Jones and Sarah Taylor.1 Benjamin grew up to be a currier and tanner. Since his father John was a miller, Benjamin must have been apprenticed to learn the tanning trade. Around 1771 he moved about 15 miles northwest to West Nantmeal township.2 From 1796 on he was taxed in Honeybrook. He probably didn’t move; Honeybrook had been formed from West Nantmeal in 1789.

Benjamin bought several tracts of land. In 1785 he bought 217 acres in 1785 from William Logan.3 He added another 50 acres in 1799, and in 1812 he bought a house and ten acres on the turnpike road.4 In 1814 Benjamin and Hannah sold four acres of the ten-acre tract to George Bunn, making a tidy profit.5 In 1817 they sold the remaining six acres to William Davis, reserving the privilege of water from a spring at the southwest corner. In 1818 they donated a tract of 52 perches (1/3 of an acre) to the trustees for a schoolhouse to be erected, part of the land bought from William Logan in 1785.6 In his will Benjamin gave three pieces of land to his surviving sons Benjamin and Samuel. Benjamin got the northern end of the home plantation, while Samuel got the southern end. They were to share a tract on Barren Hill.7

Benjamin’s first wife Alice Temple was the daughter of William Temple and Hannah Taylor. Since Sarah and Hannah Taylor were both daughters of Joseph Taylor and Elizabeth Haines, Benjamin and Alice were first cousins. Marriages between first cousins were against the rules of the Society of Friends, which might explain why Benjamin and Alice were married outside of the meeting in 1765.8 The births of Benjamin’s children were not recorded, so it is not known whether he had children with Alice.9 In her 1827 will Hannah named her six daughters, including Alice and Phebe. This strongly suggests that all of Benjamin’s known children were with Hannah.

William Temple wrote a charming letter to his niece in England in 1772, mentioning that his daughter Alice was dead and asking her to find the record of his birth.10

Respected Niece Mary Isaac:

On the 23rd of Nov. 1772 with great satisfaction & pleasure rec’d thy kind letter dated Bath 18th of Aug, 1772, & was greatly rejoiced to hear from one that was the offspring of my sister Susannah for whom though young when I left her, had a particular regard & esteem for, being my favorite sister as I well remember the younger children laboured under some hardships & difficulties by our fathers marrying a second wife, which is often the case in second marriages, & that was the cause of my leaving my native land, but through the blessing of Almighty God & my care & industry I have acquired a handsome share of the things necessary to be enjoyed in this life, besides which I’ve had nine children, 4 whereof are now living (to wit) 2 sons & 2 daughters all married & have a competent living, my son Thomas is the oldest, Hannah, Lydia and Benjamin are the others living, and those Dec’d are Susanna, William, Elizabeth, Sarah & Alice, … I married one of the family of Taylors who came from Didcot not far from Reading in Berkshire, … as for my ever seeing the land of my nativity I much despair of, being far advanced in years and the infirmities attending old age makes it difficult crossing the seas. I earnestly request if an opportunity should offer that thee make search for the day and year that I was born in. I suppose it may be found in the records of births for the parish of Atford alias Atworth in Wilts as I remember my parents saying I was born at Coonslane in said parish (my fathers name was William Temple) and send me an acct on a piece of paper with the parsons hand to it in thy next letter …”

On 9 April 1770, Benjamin married Hannah Kirk (as “Kark” in the record) at Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia. They had a large family. Apparently none of his children married as Friends. In his will, written in 1819 and proved in 1821, Benjamin named his daughters first, as Alice, Phebe, Cordelia, Hannah, Sarah, and Mary, followed by sons John deceased, Benjamin and Samuel.11 Hannah survived him and died in 1829, and left a will naming six daughters.12

Children of Benjamin and Hannah:

Alice, b. ab. 1771, d. between 1819 and 1827, m. 1) Joseph Trego of Honeybrook (b. 1763), 2) 1797 Isaac Gibson in Middletown Church. Joseph Trego died in 1794, and named his wife Alice and father-in-law Benjamin Jones in his will.13 He was a prosperous farmer, leaving much livestock and many tools.14 Most of the estate was to be sold and divided among his heirs, his wife Alice and children Joseph and Hannah. Alice (as “Else”) married Isaac Gibson on 28 February 1797 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Middletown. He was a widower; his first wife Ann Liggett was the widow of John Starrett.15 Isaac was a physician, who lived first in West Nantmeal, then in Honeybrook when it was separated from Nantmeal. “Dr. Isaac Gibson, about 1786, and Dr. Effinger Happersett, about 1816, commenced the practice of medicine; but as neither of them had received a medical education they were not largely patronized.”16 Gibson was a pewholder in the Presbyterian Church at West Brandywine and subscribed to build a stone wall there.17 He is probably the Isaac Gibson who died in 1829 in Lancaster.18

Phebe, b. Aug 1772, died in 1826, married Jeremiah Trego, b. 1771, son of Joseph and Alice.19 They moved to Northumberland County where he died in 1834. Children of Jeremiah and Phebe: Nancy, Sarah, Hannah, Joseph, Benjamin, Phoebe, Polly, Samuel, Ann, Smith, Mary, Washington.20

Cordelia, m. John Smith before 1819. The were ten men named John Smith in Chester Co in 1820. It is not known which one she married.

Hannah, b. ab. 1777, d. 1863, m. ab. 1793, Joseph Pennock, son of Jesse & Hannah21. Joseph died in 1853, left a will in Chester County. Hannah died in 1863. She and Joseph are buried at London Grove Friends meeting.22 Children of Hannah and Joseph: Benjamin, Mary, Sarah Ann, Joseph. The son Benjamin became a physician, perhaps serving as an apprentice with one of his uncles, Isaac Gibson or Effinger Happersett.

John, died before 1819, left daughters Jean and Hannah.23

Benjamin, b. 1781, d. 1828, m. ab. 1804 Sarah Waters, daughter of Jacob and Ann, moved to Huntingdon County in 1824. Benjamin was in the business of hauling iron to Pittsburgh, and on one trip he caught a fever and died.24 Most of the children of Benjamin and Sarah stayed in Huntingdon County, although at least one ended up in Minnesota. When Benjamin died in 1828, he left Sarah with a large family of children, ranging in age from three to 23. Sarah outlived him by many years, dying in 1872 in Tyrone, Blair County.25 Children of Benjamin and Sarah: Samuel, Ann, Caleb, Hannah, Mary Ann, Sarah, Elizabeth, Jacob, Benjamin, Sarah.

Sarah, b. Nov 1779, d. 1850, m. Davis Roberts before 1819. They moved to Waynesburg, Greene County, where Davis died in 1845. Sarah is buried in the Methodist cemetery in Honey Brook.26 Children of Davis and Sarah: Hannah, Davis, John, Benjamin, Joseph, Mary Ann.

Samuel, b. 1788, d. 1875, m. 1813 Rachel Happersett, dau of Jacob and Agnes, sister of Effinger. They were married at St. Mary’s P.E. Church in Warwick, Chester County. Samuel was a tanner. They had 10 children.27 Samuel died in 1875 in Honeybrook.28 In his will he named Rachel and children Samuel, Agnes, Rachel, Emelia, and Levi. The daughters received a cash legacy, while the sons Samuel and Levi shared the land. Rachel died in 1878 and was buried with Samuel at St. Marks Episcopal cemetery in Honeybrook.29

Mary, b. 1790, d. 1869, married in 1822 Effinger Happersett, a widower whose first wife was Margaret Jones, daughter of David Jones (not a close relation).30 Margaret died in 1821 leaving Effinger with two small children, born in 1815 and 1817. Effinger was a physician, who died in 1861 in West Nantmeal. His inventory included cupping fixtures, syringe, medicine cases and medical library.31 Some said that he was “not largely patronized”, since he had not gone to medical school.32 Mary and Effinger were buried at St. Mark’s P.E. cemetery.33


  1. Benjamin Jones, son of John and Sarah, is confusable with several other men of the same name in Chester County. A Benjamin Jones, weaver of Tredyffrin, died in 1755. Another Benjamin Jones, of Westtown, was the son of Benjamin Jones and Rebecca Eavenson. A Jacob Jones of Whitemarsh died in 1816, naming brothers Benjamin and John. (Montgomery County wills) The distinguishing signs for Benjamin Jones, son of John and Sarah, are his trade of tanner and his residence, first in East Bradford, later in West Nantmeal and Honeybrook.
  2. He appeared in the Chester County tax lists from 1762 to 1770 in East Bradford, and in the West Nantmeal tax lists from 1772 on. (Chester County tax lists, Chester County archive)
  3. Chester County deeds, book book A-2, v. 25, p. 20.
  4. Chester County deeds, book R-2, p. 463; Chester County deeds, book G3, p. 71.
  5. Chester County deeds, book M3, p. 235.
  6. Chester County deeds, book Q3, p. 81.
  7. The home plantation was probably the 1785 purchase of 217 acres. The Barren Hill tract was probably the 50 acres bought in 1799.
  8. Probably at Trinity Church, Wilmington.
  9. Benjamin was named as a son-in-law in the will of William Temple, written in June 1769. Between 1769 and 1775, when he died, William did not revise his will, so we don’t know whether he had any Jones grandchildren.
  10. Temple Lines in America, website of L. Parker Temple, accessed July 2019.
  11. Chester County estates, #6947, Chester County Archive. The file includes the will, inventory and account.
  12. Chester County estates, #8351, Chester County Archive.
  13. Chester County wills, book 9, p. 281.
  14. The inventory of his estate included, besides the usual horses and cows, 20 sheep, 16 swine and 28 geese. (Chester County estates, Book 9, p. 281)
  15. Some or all of the children in Isaac’s will of 1829 may have been with Ann.
  16. James McClune, History of the Presbyterian Church in the Forks of the Brandywine, 1885, p. 214.
  17. McClune, p. 202.
  18. He is not listed in the estate index (wills and administrations) for Chester County to 1845. (FamilySearch)
  19. Some Ancestry trees claim that the Phebe Jones who married Jeremiah Trego was the daughter of Benjamin Jones and Rebecca Eavenson. The identification of this Phebe as Jeremiah’s wife is from the estate account of her father Benjamin Jones, filed in 1824 by Samuel Jones and Joseph Pennock. (Chester County estate papers, #6947, Chester County Archive)
  20. History of Wyandot County, Ohio, 1884, biography of Ann Trego Updegraff.
  21. Ancestry World Tree for Joseph Pennock on Ancestry. In the 1850 census they are in London Grove, Chester County, with their son Benjamin, a physician. Joseph was 77; Hannah was 73. Phebe Pennock named “daughter” Hannah Jones in her will, proved in 1818 in Londongrove.
  22. London Grove meeting, births and deaths 1792-1895, on Ancestry.
  23. Not the Hannah Jones born to John Jones and Elizabeth Graham (Ancestry tree); the dates are wrong.
  24. Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania, 1898, p. 357, biography of Benjamin Jones, son of Benjamin Jones and Sarah Water.
  25. In the 1870 census she was living with the family of her daughter Sarah Myers. (Blair County, Tyrone, Image 32).
  26. Findagrave.
  27. The exact dates of birth are known.
  28. Chester County wills, book 24, p. 324.
  29. Burial records of St. Marks are online.
  30. The identity of Effinger Happersett’s wife Mary is from the account of her father Benjamin Jones’ estate, where Effinger and Mary received part of their legacy.
  31. Chester County estates, #14112, including the will, inventory and estate accounting.
  32. McClune, p. 214. This was also said about his brother-in-law Isaac Gibson.
  33. Ancestry, PA & NJ Church & Town Records.

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