||William (Claiton) Clayton Sr. was a part of William Penn's Pennsylvania Settlers community.|
Join: William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project
In 1904 Henry F. Hepburn published an incorrect Clayton family lineage. Later, James Bellarts published an extensive account of William Clayton tying him to the Yorkshire family of the same name. Research by Col. Charles M. Hansen, Louis E. Jones and Marilyn L. Winton-Misch has shown that William Clayton, the immigrant to Pennsylvania, was not related to the Yorkshire family of that name.
The research of these historians show that William (Claiton) Clayton was descended from:
|The East Gate of Chichester by Grimm, 1782|
William Claiton was born to parents William Claiton the younger and Jone (Joan) Smith in Boxgrove, Sussex, England. He married Prudence Lanckford and they had 7 children. William and Prudence suffered persecution for their Quaker beliefs and at one time, William was even imprisoned for them. They heeded William Penn's call and migrated to Pennsylvania in 1677 on the ship Kent, the same that carried William Penn's commissioners. William grew to some notoriety in the new world serving as Justice of the Court in Chester County, Pennsylvania, as a judge in Philadelphia under the Provincial Government, and also as a member of the Provincial Council. He died and was buried in Pennsylvania in 1689.
William's mother and father, William and Joan were married in Boxgrove, Sussex on the 30th of October, 1631. About 13 months later, William was born and was baptized in Boxgrove on the 9th of December 1632.
William and all of his siblings were born with the surname Claiton as was his father, William Claiton the younger. William's grandfather, William the elder and great-grandfather Rychard were recorded using the spelling Cleton. Sometime during William's life the spelling changed to Clayton. All of William's children carried the spelling "Clayton" on their birth records and all records for him carry that spelling thereafter.
William married, on 7th of November, 1653 in St. Pancras parish, Prudence Lanckford, daughter of William Lanckford of Broughton Parish, Hampshire, England.. There is some disagreement among the authors as to the exact time (and location) of the marriage but the majority of the records and their timing suggests that the 7 November marriage in St. Pancras is the correct time and date.
In addition to the parish records found in Chichester and Rumboldswyke, records of the children's births were also recorded in the Lewes and Chichester Monthly Meeting. William and Prudence's residence is listed as Rumboldswyke.
It is believed that William and Prudence were influenced by the teachings of George Fox and became members of the society of friends (Quakers) sometime after Fox's arrival in 1655.
The earliest record of William's, and probably Prudence's, adherence to the new faith is in 1659 when William Clayton and Richard Green are witnesses at the Quaker marriage of Thomas Cowdry and Sarah Dobbin.
In 1670, William and Prudence were witness to the brutal treatment of a fellow Quaker who was imprisoned and then died after his release due to wounds inflicted in the jail:
|The arrest and torture of James Larbee|
William also felt the direct pressure of religious persecution; after attending a Quaker meeting on 7 February 1663/1664, he was imprisoned for six months at the goal (jail) near his home town:
William sailed to the New World aboard the ship "Kent," mastered by Gregory Marlow. The ship loaded from 19 to 31 March 1677 and likely sailed before May after visiting several ports collecting approximately 270 passengers. There is a legend that, while pleasure yachting on the Thames, King Charles II came alongside the Kent and inquired who was aboard. When he was told that it was Quakers sailing to the New World he gave his blessing and let the ship pass.
The new colonists, mostly Quakers, arrived sometime between the 4th and the 12th of August 1677. The ship first landed in New York and then disembarked the remaining 230 or so passengers at Chygoes island, later Burlington. The passengers sought shelter among the already-established Swedish settlers. Seeking shelter where they may, some were lodged in the barns of the Swedes after all of the homes were full, and some "erected huts in the Indian fashion."
Travelling with Clayton on the Kent were two companies of land purchasers, one company was made up of (Quaker) friends from Yorkshire and the other, Quakers from London. Each company contracted for a large tract of land that was to be divided among its "first purchasers" (investors). Commissioners from the London company selected the spot at Chygoes Island to build a new town and after the main street was drawn out, allotments of 9 acres each were surveyed for the members of the company. The town was first called New-Bevereley, then Bridlington, and finally, Burlington. On March 1678/9, William purchased the share of Hans Oelson, one of the original grantees of Marcus Hook. He then settled there with his family.
Wiliiam's family were not listed as passengers on the Kent and most contemporary accounts claim that they came on a later ship. However, Smith makes mention of two men (share-holders) who died on the voyage and alludes that these men were accompanied by their families as were the families of the other shareholders.
While the ship had about 270 passengers, less than 30 are mentioned on the loading manifests and none (except for William Perkins) are listed as traveling with their families. The mention of Perkin's family is probably only because he died and the treatment of his family by other settlers was recorded as noteworthy at the time. The reference to other families in the accounts provides compelling evidence that the passengers of the Kent included the families of these settlers and that only the heads of each family were listed on the ship's manifest.
Smith gives another clue that William's family was on board:
Additionally, going back over 100 years, Potts writes in 1895, "William Clayton, with his family, arrived in the ship "Kent."
By either account, his family had arrived by 1678 when their signatures were recorded in the Burlington Monthly Meeting witnessing a marriage on August 6th. William signed, "Wm. Clayton, Sr.," his son signed, "Wm. Clayton, Jun" and William's wife also signed, "Prudence Clayton."
Most contemporary biographies of William Clayton claim that he was the "acting Governor of Pennsylvania in 1684 and 1685." Strickland makes this claim on the William Clayton profile page on the website for the "Descendants of Founders of New Jersey," a hereditary association for descendants of New Jersey founders. This error is repeated on Putman's site, on Wikipedia, and elsewhere in the internet.
William Clayton was on the Pennsylvania Provincial council in 1683 and 1684 but served only for one day as the Council Chairman (President) when the Chairman was absent. He was never the Governor, Deputy Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or acting Governor.
Potts writes in 1895:
We can start to see where this myth came from. That Clayton was "acting Governor" is an exaggeration. In the same paragraph Potts even identifies that Lieutenant Governor Markham is the acting Governor in William Penn's absence. In looking at the minutes of the Provincial Council we see that William Clayton was "elected President" of the Council, but only for one day to "fill in" for the absent Council President. After, he never again served in this role. It is much more accurate to describe his political accomplishments as a Court Justice and Provincial Council Member.
Pomfret gives a more detailed explanation of Clayton's role in the early government:
Putman - and most sources on the internet - incorrectly claim that Clayton was "selected with others to act a Commissioner for William Penn to go to America, to West Jersey near Pennsylvania to clear any Indian titles to land that Penn had acquired." The claims that William was a Penn commissioner have been disproved; he was not a Penn commissioner. The names of Penn's commissioners were: Thomas Olive, Daniel Wills, John Kinsey, John Penford, Joseph Helmsley, Robert Stacy, Benjamin Scott, Richard Guy, and Thomas Foulke.
The claim that William Clayton was commissioner or an advanced agent for William Penn - sent ahead to clear the titles of Indian claims - can be understood when we look at some of the histories from a century ago. Regarding William Penn's commissioners, Potts writes that William Clayton only accompanies the commissioners, not that he was one of them. In 1881, Cope writes, "William, with his family, arrived in the ship " Kent" from London, in company with certain com-missioners sent out by the proprietors..." Some overzealous genealogists may have embellished William's role somewhat. In 1895, Pott's echoes Cope almost verbatim:
In reading Cope's and Pott's descriptions, you can see how one might assume that Clayton was a commissioner. Neither Cope or Potts claim that Clayton was a Commissioner and indeed, there is no historical documentation to support that he was.
Most historical accounts say that William was a carpenter. We can find this in the history from The Quakers of Chichester, "William was carpenter from the suburb of Whyke." And we also see from Potts, writing in 1895 about William's will:
William's father, William the elder was a "timberman," and is believed by Hunt to be a wood frame builder for the mining industry.
William's son, William Jr. is also identified by Potts as a carpenter. Potts cites William Jr.'s marriage certificate recorded by the Registrar General of Pennsylvania to say that "William Clayton of Chichester, carpenter, and Elizabeth Bezer, of the same place, were married 12 mo., -----, 1682, at the house of William Hewes, of Chichester." It seems that for at least three generations, the Clayton men were carpenters or timbermen.
On board the Kent were two companies made up of "first purchaser" men from Yorkshire and London. Each member purchased shares that allocated a share of land in the new colony. William traveled with and ultimately settled with the London company in what would later be Burlington. Later, in 1678/9 he purchased 500 acres of land near Marcus Hook (Chichester) from Hans Oelsons "and settled in that place." Considering the cost of the voyage (for he and his family) and his subsequent land purchase, it can be surmised that William had some financial means available to him. We might expect that his occupation in the new world - aside from his government service - would be that of a land owner or planter.
William was one of nine men selected by William Markham, the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania who was acting as the Governor in Penn's absence, to serve on a council to establish a new government. This new government acted as a colony legislature, as a court, served as the court of appeals, and had authority over all legal matters in Salem and other towns in West Jersey until after 1683. William was the first presiding justice of the first court held at Upland, Chichester County, Pensylvania on 11 September 1681, and he and Samuel Pastorious were the first two judges of Philadelphia, and later he was a judge for Chester County.
From the minutes of official government proceedings we have a rare glimpse into some instances of William's government service work. An interesting trial occurred wherein two Swedish women settlers were accused of witchcraft. William Penn allowed the complaint to go to trial and the women were eventually freed with a promise of good behavior.
Watson, writing in the 19th century, expresses pride that Pennsylvania avoided the reputation for witch burning that will forever be synonymous with Salem. He further explains that the law was only on the Pennsylvania books because it was a carry-over statue of King James I. Dr. Arlandson suggests that by hearing the case in the council - rather than sending it to the courts - Penn intended to set a "precedence for how Quakers should investigate witchcraft or not investigate it at all."
William Clayton also served as a member of William Penn's council in 1683 and 1684 and assisted in drafting many of Pennsylvania's first laws; he appears prominently in the council minutes in both years. In 1683 he served for one day as the chairman or president of the council when the chairman was absent.
Letters of administration for William's probate were issued 1 October 1689 (8 mo. 1, 1689); William died before this date. in Chichester, Pennsylvania. It is believed that he died unexpectedly as he did not leave a will. In the absence of a written will, William's widow Prudence filed a will bond and she gave power of executor to her their son, William.
a. Five of the seven children born to William and Joan were born in Rumboldswyke, Sussex. The familysearch.org citations show the location of their birth as "Rumbaldsmoot." A google search for this name returns only references to genealogy entries. The google search engine tries to correct the name spelling to Rombalds Moor or Rumba Oldsmar. Rumboldswyke Parish no longer exists and "Rumboldswyke is now part of Chichester district." It seems that a database category typo at familysearch has mis-labled Rumboldswyke.
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
On 21 Sep 2018 at 06:05 GMT SJ Baty wrote:
Scroll down to the 4 March 2018 comment and check the Geocities link, it has a decent explanation. The link to the hunt book doesn't work any more but I have a copy. If you want to see it, send me an email and I can share the Clayton pages with you.
On 21 Sep 2018 at 02:51 GMT J. (Massey) Schwartz wrote:
On 21 Jul 2018 at 15:50 GMT SJ Baty wrote:
On 7 Jul 2018 at 13:53 GMT SJ Baty wrote:
On 16 Jun 2018 at 21:41 GMT SJ Baty wrote:
On 17 Mar 2018 at 01:22 GMT SJ Baty wrote:
On 4 Mar 2018 at 16:44 GMT SJ Baty wrote:
"The line tracing a William Clayton back to Charlemagne was first published in: The Clayton family by Henry F. Hepburn. Wilmington, 1904 (Wilmington, Del.: The J.M. Rogers Press). .. the William Clayton that Hepburn traced back is =not= our William Clayton! Unfortunately, back in the 1970s , the Jim Bellarts publishing the "Quaker Yeoman" incorrectly published it and since then it's been hard to keep it from spreading around in error." http://www.geocities.ws/cwheatley2000/claytonfam.html
Please see: http://www.k7mex.com/books/HuntBookComplete.pdf page 210
source: “The Parentage of William Clayton, Quaker Immigrant to Pennsylvania: A Correction,” The Genealogist 4 (1983): 169-73.
On 26 Jun 2014 at 19:19 GMT Frank Gay wrote:
On 10 May 2014 at 13:25 GMT Cynthia (Billups) B wrote:
very old book, but interesting info
William is 18 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 18 degrees from Katy Jurado and 14 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.