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Samuel Griscom (abt. 1717 - 1793)

Samuel Griscom
Born about in Newton Township (Camden), Gloucester (Camden) County, NJ,map
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 6 Feb 1741 in Monmouth, New Jerseymap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 76 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamap
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Profile last modified | Created 10 Nov 2008
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SAMUEL GRISCOM, son of Tobias and Deborah (Gabitas) Griscom of Newton Township (Camden), Gloucester (Camden) County, NJ, was born about 1717. He married in Philadelphia on Feb 6 1741/2 [1]REBECCA JAMES, dau. of George James of Philadel­phia, shopkeeper.[2] In 1742 his marriage was condemned by Friends as contrary to discipline.[3]

A house and ship carpenter, he lived in Philadelphia PA and did most of the woodwork on Independence Hall. His shipyard extended from Race to Vine streets and from the Delaware River to 4th St.; he had a great many men in his employment. He lived many years on Arch Street between 3rd and 4th. He wrote a simple will in 1792 and died the next year. Out of his 17 children, eight daughters survived, six of whom married. Out of four sons, only one, George, survived. Of him little is know. For a detailed account of Samuels's life see [4].

Samuel and his wife, Rebecca, died of yellow fever during the epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793


Deborah Griscom m. 1764 Everard Bolton
Susan Griscom m. 1769 Ephraim Doane
Mary Griscom m. Thomas Morgan
Sarah Griscom m. 1771 William Donaldson
Elizabeth Griscom m.1 John Ross, m.2 Joseph Ashburn, m.3 John Claypoole
Hannah Griscom m. Griffith Levering
George Griscom m. ?
Rebecca Griscom, single.
Rachel Griscom, single.

Griscom Family[5]

One year before William Penn founded Philadelphia in 1681, Betsy Ross's great-grandfather, Andrew Griscom, a Quaker carpenter, had already emigrated from England to New Jersey.

Andrew was successful at his trade. He was also of firm Quaker belief, and he was inspired to move to Philadelphia to become an early participant in Penn's "holy experiment." He purchased 495 acres of land in the Spring Garden section north of the city of Philadelphia (the section would later be incorporated as part of the city), and received a plot of land within the city proper.

Griscom's son and grandson both became respected carpenters as well. Both have their names inscribed on a wall at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, home of the oldest trade organization in the country.

Griscom's grandson Samuel helped build the bell tower at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). He married Rebecca James who was a member of a prominent Quaker merchant family. It was not unusual for people in those days to have many children, so it is only somewhat surprising to learn that they had 17!


Daughter Betsy

Elizabeth Griscom -- also called Betsy, their eighth child and a fourth-generation American, was born on January 1, 1752.

Betsy went to a Friends (Quaker) public school. For eight hours a day she was taught reading, writing, and received instruction in a trade -- probably sewing. After completing her schooling, Betsy's father apprenticed her to a local upholsterer. Today we think of upholsterers primarily as sofa-makers and such, but in colonial times they performed all manner of sewing jobs, including flag-making. It was at her job that Betsy fell in love with another apprentice, John Ross, who was the son of an Episcopal assistant rector at Christ Church.

Quakers frowned on inter-denominational marriages. The penalty for such unions was severe -- the guilty party being "read out" of the Quaker meeting house. Getting "read out" meant being cut off emotionally and economically from both family and meeting house. One's entire history and community would be instantly dissolved. On a November night in 1773, 21-year-old Betsy eloped with John Ross. They ferried across the Delaware River to Hugg's Tavern and were married in New Jersey. Her wedding caused an irrevocable split from her family. [It is an interesting parallel to note that on their wedding certificate is the name of New Jersey's Governor, William Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's son. Three years later William would have an irrevocable split with his father because he was a Loyalist against the cause of the Revolution.]


  1. Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey [GMNJ). Volume 20, p.22: marriage license.
  2. GMNJ. Vol.20, p.22.
  3. Hinshaw, William W., Encyclopedia of Ameri­can Quaker Genealogy (1936), Volume 2, 537: Samuel & w. Rebekah, con mcd.
  4. Timmins, William D. and Robert W. Yarrington Jr., Betsy Ross, the Griscom Legacy. (1983)
  5. Wallner, Alexandra. Betsy Ross. 1st Ed. United States of America: Wallner, Alexandra, 1994
  • Name: Samuel Griscom

Birth Date: abt 1717 Death Age: 76 Death Date: 15 Sep 1793 Death Date on Image: 15 Ninth 1793 Burial Place: Pennsylvania, USA Residence Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Event Type: Burial Monthly Meeting: Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Northern District Historical Meeting Data: Search for this monthly meeting in the 'Quaker Monthly Meetings Index' Type (Orthodox or Hicksite): Pre-Separation Yearly Meeting: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Meeting State: Pennsylvania Meeting County: Philadelphia Source Citation Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Births and Deaths, 1754-1806; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes

  • Name: Samuel Griscomb

Residence: Philadelphia Spouse: Rebecca James Marriage Date: 6 Feb 1741 Original data: New Jersey State Archives. New Jersey, Published Archives Series, First Series. Trenton, New Jersey: John L Murphy Publishing Company.

  • Name: Samuel Griscom

Gender: Male Spouse Name: Rebecca James Marriage State: of PA Number Pages: 10 Source Citation Source number: 985.003; Source type: Pedigree chart; Number of Pages: 10 Source Information Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900

  • Name: Samuel Griscom

SAR Membership: 18628 Role: Ancestor Children: Elizabeth Griscom Source Citation Volume: 94 Original data: Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970. Louisville, Kentucky: National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Microfilm, 508 rolls.

  • 1790 Census

Name: Samuel Griscom [Samuel Griseom] Home in 1790 (City, County, State): Water Street East Side, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Free White Persons - Males - 16 and over: 1 Free White Persons - Females: 3 Number of Household Members: 4 Source Citation Year: 1790; Census Place: Water Street East Side, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Series: M637; Roll: 9; Page: 156; Image: 485; Family History Library Film: 0568149

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Griscom-46 and Griscom-2 appear to represent the same person because: look like duplicates
posted by Doug Lockwood

G  >  Griscom  >  Samuel Griscom