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Moses Keyes (1671 - 1747)

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Moses Keyes aka Key
Born in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 27 Jun 1693 in New Englandmap
Husband of — married 18 Dec 1701 in Concord, Delaware, Pennsylvaniamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Chelmsford, MIddlesex, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified 7 Oct 2019 | Created 10 Mar 2011
This page has been accessed 444 times.

Contents

Biography

Biography

Moses was born on March 25, 1671.[1] He died on January 14, 1747.[2]

Sources

This biography is a rough draft. It was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import and needs to be edited.

Birth

Birth:
Date: ABT 1675
Place: Middlewich, Cheshire, England[3]

Death

Death:
Date: ABT 1748
Place: Aston, Delaware (now Chester), Pennsylvania[4]

Will

Will:
Date: 02 APR 1746
Place: Aston, Delaware (now Chester), Pennsylvania
Note: #N14668
Note: #N14669

Event

Event:
Type: Will Proved
Date: 14 JUN 1748
Place: Chester, Pennsylvania
Note: #N14670
Note: #N14671
Event:
Type: Migration
Date: 1700
Place: Chester, Pennsylvania[5]

Note

Note: #N2929
Note: #N12700

Marriage

Husband: Moses Key
Wife: Elizabeth Yearsley
Child: Lettice Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: William Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Mary Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Elizabeth Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Moses Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Hannah Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Hannah Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: John Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Robert Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Rebecca Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Child: Anne Key
Relationship to Father: Natural
Relationship to Mother: Natural
Marriage:
Date: 18 DEC 1701
Place: Concord, Delaware, Pennsylvania[6][7]

Sources

  1. The Essex Institute, Vital Records of Chelmsford, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass. 1914)(Free e-book) (Records are also available at ma-vitalrecords.org) p. 86
  2. The Essex Institute, Vital Records of Chelmsford, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass. 1914)(Free e-book) (Records are also available at ma-vitalrecords.org) p. 408
  3. Source: #S1027 Page: p. 84-87
  4. Source: #S1027 Page: p. 84-87
  5. Source: #S1027 Page: p. 84-87
  6. Source: #S403 Page: Page 31. FOOT Palmer, Lewis, Genealogical Record of the Descendants of John and Mary Palmer of Concord, Chester (Now Delaware) Co., Pennsylvania, Page 31.
  7. Source: #S1027 Page: p. 84-87


  • WikiTree profile Key-485 created through the import of WORCESTER_2012-07-31.ged on Jul 31, 2012 by Bob Worcester. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Bob and others.
  • Source: S1027 Author: Lane, Mrs. Julian C. Title: Key and Allied Families Publication: Name: J. W. Burke Company; Location: Macon, California; Date: 1931; Repository: #R10
  • Repository: R10 Name: Allen County Library Address: E-Mail Address: Phone Number:
  • Source: S403 Author: Palmer, Lewis Title: Genealogical Record of the Descendants of John and Mary Palmer of Concord, Chester (Now Delaware) Co., Pennsylvania

Notes

Note N12700Biography of Moses Key
Around 1680, King Charles II of England granted William Penn a huge tract of land in the colonies of America as payment for a debt owed by the king to William’s father. The territory, lying between New York and Maryland, was a wilderness. The king urged him to name the territory in honor of William’s father and thus the name Pennsylvania. William Penn had come to America to escape the religious persecution and imprisonment which he had suffered in Britain. Thousands of Quakers refugees settled in this new colony and it begin to thrive under Penn’s leadership. He returned to England in 1684 but returned to America in 1699, bringing with him more believers and their families with him.
The following year, 1700, another ship arrived with a new party of Friends. One young man on that voyage was Moses Key and he, like many others, settled in Nether Province, also called Aston. At the Concord Monthly Meeting of Friends in Chester County, Pennsylvania, he presented the following letter from his fellow Friends and brethren back in Middleswich, England recommending him to their Meeting:
Transcribed as follows:
“Ye, 20th of the 8th month, 1700”
This is to certify to whom it may concern that whereas our Friend, Moses Key, of Middleswich in the county of Chesire, blacksmith, having an intention to remove into the province of Pennsylvania, having laid the said intention before several Friends and relations and hath the free consent and approbation of both; And this may satisfy whom it may concern that as to his life and conversation from a child hath been as such as hath become his profession and as we heartily wish that he may so continue to the end of his days. So we rest in recommending him to the care of Friends in that country.
Your Friends and brethren,
Signed ye day aforesaid at our Preparitus Meeting at Middleswich
The letter was signed by 17 men and women in attendance at the meeting including Allen Key, who may have been a relative of Moses Key.
During this time (or maybe on the ship that brought him from England) Moses had met Elizabeth Yearsley, daughter of John and Elizabeth Yearsley. The Yearsley family, according to the following biography, had come to America in 1700 and was probably on the same ship as Moses. They were from the same area of England and may have been acquainted with Moses before boarding the ship.
- The History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Futhey and Cope, 1881
Moses and Elizabeth “courted” for a while and as was the custom of the Quaker religion, when they got ready to marry, they had to go before a Friends Meeting to declare their intentions to marry. The following is a transcription copied from the third paragraph of a Friends Concord Monthly Meeting in Chester County, Pennsylvania:
“At a meeting held at Nathaniel Parks house the 12th day of the 11th month 1701. Moses Key and Elizabeth Yearsley laid their intention of marriage before this meeting it being the first time. This meeting has ordered the said Moses to bring a certificate from ye place where he sojourned to the next monthly meeting.”
According to an excerpt from Jerry Richmond, Fidonet Genealogy Conference, 1995, “Members had to appear before the Monthly Meeting and publicly state their marriage intentions at two Monthly Meetings in a row. Following the first appearance, a committee would be appointed to investigate the “clearness” of the individuals to marry.”
It appears from the transcribed Meeting records that Moses Key probably had to present the letter he had brought from England stating his affiliation with the Quaker faith before he would be allowed to marry Elizabeth, who also was a Quaker. One of the rules of marriage was that the intended spouse had to be a member of the Quaker faith or they would not approve the marriage and they would then have to go before a magistrate for the marriage. Moses probably presented the letter at the next meeting and then they were married in December, 1701. After the ceremony witnessed by the members of the Friends Meeting, the marriage would have been recorded in the following month’s records.
Moses and Elizabeth lived in the Concord District of Chester County, Pennsylvania and started their family with the birth of their first child:
Lettice, who was born in 1703
William, 1705
Mary, 1707
Elizabeth, 1709
Moses, Jr. 1711
Hannah, 1714 (died in infancy)
Hannah, 1716 (died in infancy)
John, 1717
Robert, 1720
Rebecca, 1722
Anne, 1725
The first 6 were born at Concord and the remaining children were born after they moved to Aston Twp. in Chester County. In some families, when a child died in infancy, they would name another child with the same name as the child that had died in infancy. This appears to be the case with Moses and Elizabeth as they named two of their daughters Hannah.
While Moses was raising his family he was an active member of the Friends Meeting at Concord and several records have been found to show his participation in the meetings. One record shows that he was a clerk for the Friends Meeting for many years. Another record is found in the book, “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania “by Ashmed, page 508. It shows that an order was made by the courts of Delaware County on November 12, 1678 that “the court this day ordered that every person should, within the space of two months, as far as his land reaches, make good and passable ways, from neighbor to neighbor, with bridges where it needs, to the end that neighbors on occasion may come together. Those neglecting, to forfeit 25 gilders.”
Although Moses had not come to America at this time, this order would affect his life later as he would be found to be one of the 83 people from Chester County who signed a petition in regards to that court order. Also found in the “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” book is the following petition that was presented to the Council on March 19, 1705/1706:
“To the Honorable John Evans, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania and the Three Lower Counties, and to his Council:
“The Humble petition of the inhabitants of the Town of Chester and others, humbly showeth: That whereas, by ye laws of this government, ye sole power of laying out of the Queen’s Road is lodged in the Governor and Council; and whereas the town of Chester is daily improving, and in time may become a great place concerned in the improvement is much discouraged for want of a direct road from thence to Philadelphia, we, your Petitioners, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do beg the Governor and Council that an order may be granted to fit and proper persons to lay out the Queen’s Road on as direct a line as can be from Darby, to answer the bridge on Chester Creek, and your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray.
The petition is followed with the signatures of 83 men who were members of the community and county. Moses Key’s name was among men who were the fathers of children that members of his family would later be married to at Friends Meetings.
In chapter 29 of “History of Chester County, Pennsylvania” Moses is mentioned as being on the list of taxables in Aston Twp. in 1715. Another listing in the same book shows him on the Civil List of Assemblymen of Aston Twp. in 1719, 1723 and 1724 and on March 3, 1732, a petition was sent by the Quakers of Pennsylvania to the King of England requesting a settlement of the boundary disputes between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Moses Key is listed as one of the signers of the petition.
Another reference to Moses Key was found on page 43 of the book, “Progress and Prosperity in the 19th Century”. I do not have a copy of the book to see what the reference was about. This record was found on the Chester County, Pennsylvania genealogy website. Evidently Moses left his mark in this part of Chester County that would later become a part of Delaware County when the lines were re-drawn.
During all this time, Moses and Elizabeth’s children were marrying and beginning families of their own. The first record found for a marriage was in Quaker Records of Concord Meetings Marriages 1698-1783 page 42. The marriage of their daughter, Mary, is transcribed as follows:
“Whereas John Sharpless of Ridley, Chester, Pennsylvania, cord winder, and Mary Key of Aston, Chester, Pennsylvania, spinster, fully accomplishing their intentions this 18th day of the 9th month in the year of out Lord, 1725”.
This marriage was witnessed by at least 55 people including the parents and members of the bride and groom’s immediate family. In looking at the record of the marriage, it appears that most of the men not associated with the family sat in the first row and the women not associated with the immediate family sat in the second row of the meeting house. The bride and groom, along with their parents and immediate family members sat in the third row and all signed their names as witnesses to the marriage
We found that daughter, Lettice, first married John Chamberlain and had at least one daughter. We know that her first husband died because she is listed as a widow in the records of her second marriage to Thomas Vernon. Proof of this marriage is found in the Quaker Records of Concord Meetings Marriages 1698-1783, page 114 and is transcribed as follows:
(2nd marriage for Lettice, daughter of Moses and Elizabeth Key) “Whereas Thomas Vernon of Providence in the County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania, and Lettice Chamberlain of Aston in the said county, widow…fully accomplishing their said intentions this 31st day of the 8th month in the year of our Lord, 1734.”
One of the impediments to a marriage before the Friends Meeting was if it had been less than a year since the death of the previous spouse. In the early years there was a high death rate and there were many second marriages. If a man lost his wife and had a brood of young children to raise, waiting a year was not always practical. Even among the families that were deeply devoted Quakers, the majority of second marriages were performed by a Justice of the Peace. But, many who were remarried at a Meeting had to wait two years before they had the approval of the Quakers to remarry before the Meeting. This was probably what had happened in regard to Moses and Elizabeth Key’s daughter, Lettice’s, second marriage as they were devout Quakers and would want to follow the rules. As in her sister’s marriage records, there were many witnesses present along with the family of the bride and groom.
At the present time, records have not been found for other marriages but perhaps further searching will turn up more records. It has been established that their daughter, Elizabeth, married Thomas Morgan and daughter, Rebecca, married a man with the last name of Patton. It has not been established if daughter, Anne, ever married but she is referred to as “Ann Key” in her mother’s will and reference is made to the daughter of Anne Key as “Rebecca Key.” Perhaps Anne never married but had a child out of wedlock and the will seems to indicate that she may have been at home with her parents.
Moses, no doubt, lived to see his family grown and had lived a prosperous life as a farmer, (also referred to as a yeoman) and a blacksmith in Chester County. In 1745, Moses asked to be released from his clerkship of the Concord Monthly Meetings on account of age and infirmities and on April 19, 1746, he wrote his will.
The copy of the will we received also contained a complete inventory of the Moses Key estate that was done on May 5, 1748 and the will was offered for probate on June 14, 1748, so Moses must have died just prior to those dates. No record has been found of his death and where he is buried but I think that he is probably buried in the Friends Burial Grounds located at the Concord Meeting House where he attended and was a part of the services for almost 50 years. His wife, Elizabeth, lived for at least 11 years after he died. Elizabeth wrote her will on October 15, 1758 and it was probated on February 3, 1759. Elizabeth died in 1758 not long after she made her will. She is probably buried with her husband.
Note N14668The Will of Moses Key
In the name of God, Amen. The nineteenth day of second month call April in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and forty six I Moses Key of Aston in the County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body I commend it to the earth to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the discretion of my Executor, nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God as touching such worldly estate whereunto it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form first I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife, Elizabeth Key, all and singular my real and personal estate except what shall hereupon mentioned to be at her disposal to her and her heirs and assigns forever. And if my son, Robert Key, survive his mother I do hereby ordain that the rent and property of all and singular of my whole real estate is and shall be allotted for his maintenance during his natural life. I give unto my son, William Key, twenty shillings. I give unto my son, Moses Key, all my smith tools and ten shillings of money. I give to my daughter, Lettice Vernon, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Elizabeth Morgan, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Rebecka Patten, ten shillings. I give and bequeath to my daughter, Ann, the best feather bed and furniture therein belonging and a new chest of doors now called Ann Key’s door with the privilege of my lower room after her mother’s decease for her use during the time she lives unmarried and a pacing year old colt and forty pounds to be paid her in one year after my death. I give to my granddaughter, Hannah Sharpless, five shillings and lastly I do hereby appoint, constitute, make and ordain my dear loving wife, Elizabeth Key and son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, of the Borough of Chester to be my sole Executors of this my last will and testament and for a gratuity of my love to my son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, I give him the said Thomas Morgan, five pounds to be paid him after my death and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments, wills and legacies, bequests and Executors by me in anyways before this time named, willed and bequeathed, ratified and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Signed: Moses Key
Attached to the copy of the original will were the following:
Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and delivered by the said Moses Key as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers.
John Bezer
Jane Cummings
Elinor Petters
The words “mother’s decease for her”, was underlined in the second line of the right side of the signatures of the witnesses before signing and delivering.”
The Will of Moses Key
In the name of God, Amen. The nineteenth day of second month call April in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and forty six I Moses Key of Aston in the County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body I commend it to the earth to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the discretion of my Executor, nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God as touching such worldly estate whereunto it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form first I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife, Elizabeth Key, all and singular my real and personal estate except what shall hereupon mentioned to be at her disposal to her and her heirs and assigns forever. And if my son, Robert Key, survive his mother I do hereby ordain that the rent and property of all and singular of my whole real estate is and shall be allotted for his maintenance during his natural life. I give unto my son, William Key, twenty shillings. I give unto my son, Moses Key, all my smith tools and ten shillings of money. I give to my daughter, Lettice Vernon, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Elizabeth Morgan, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Rebecka Patten, ten shillings. I give and bequeath to my daughter, Ann, the best feather bed and furniture therein belonging and a new chest of doors now called Ann Key’s door with the privilege of my lower room after her mother’s decease for her use during the time she lives unmarried and a pacing year old colt and forty pounds to be paid her in one year after my death. I give to my granddaughter, Hannah Sharpless, five shillings and lastly I do hereby appoint, constitute, make and ordain my dear loving wife, Elizabeth Key and son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, of the Borough of Chester to be my sole Executors of this my last will and testament and for a gratuity of my love to my son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, I give him the said Thomas Morgan, five pounds to be paid him after my death and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments, wills and legacies, bequests and Executors by me in anyways before this time named, willed and bequeathed, ratified and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Signed: Moses Key
Attached to the copy of the original will were the following:
Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and delivered by the said Moses Key as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers.
John Bezer
Jane Cummings
Elinor Petters
The words “mother’s decease for her”, was underlined in the second line of the right side of the signatures of the witnesses before signing and delivering.”
The Will of Moses Key
In the name of God, Amen. The nineteenth day of second month call April in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and forty six I Moses Key of Aston in the County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body I commend it to the earth to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the discretion of my Executor, nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God as touching such worldly estate whereunto it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form first I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife, Elizabeth Key, all and singular my real and personal estate except what shall hereupon mentioned to be at her disposal to her and her heirs and assigns forever. And if my son, Robert Key, survive his mother I do hereby ordain that the rent and property of all and singular of my whole real estate is and shall be allotted for his maintenance during his natural life. I give unto my son, William Key, twenty shillings. I give unto my son, Moses Key, all my smith tools and ten shillings of money. I give to my daughter, Lettice Vernon, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Elizabeth Morgan, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Rebecka Patten, ten shillings. I give and bequeath to my daughter, Ann, the best feather bed and furniture therein belonging and a new chest of doors now called Ann Key’s door with the privilege of my lower room after her mother’s decease for her use during the time she lives unmarried and a pacing year old colt and forty pounds to be paid her in one year after my death. I give to my granddaughter, Hannah Sharpless, five shillings and lastly I do hereby appoint, constitute, make and ordain my dear loving wife, Elizabeth Key and son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, of the Borough of Chester to be my sole Executors of this my last will and testament and for a gratuity of my love to my son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, I give him the said Thomas Morgan, five pounds to be paid him after my death and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments, wills and legacies, bequests and Executors by me in anyways before this time named, willed and bequeathed, ratified and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Signed: Moses Key
Attached to the copy of the original will were the following:
Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and delivered by the said Moses Key as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers.
John Bezer
Jane Cummings
Elinor Petters
The words “mother’s decease for her”, was underlined in the second line of the right side of the signatures of the witnesses before signing and delivering.”
Note N14669
The Will of Moses Key
In the name of God, Amen. The nineteenth day of second month call April in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and forty six I Moses Key of Aston in the County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body I commend it to the earth to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the discretion of my Executor, nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God as touching such worldly estate whereunto it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form first I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife, Elizabeth Key, all and singular my real and personal estate except what shall hereupon mentioned to be at her disposal to her and her heirs and assigns forever. And if my son, Robert Key, survive his mother I do hereby ordain that the rent and property of all and singular of my whole real estate is and shall be allotted for his maintenance during his natural life. I give unto my son, William Key, twenty shillings. I give unto my son, Moses Key, all my smith tools and ten shillings of money. I give to my daughter, Lettice Vernon, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Elizabeth Morgan, ten shillings. I give unto my daughter, Rebecka Patten, ten shillings. I give and bequeath to my daughter, Ann, the best feather bed and furniture therein belonging and a new chest of doors now called Ann Key’s door with the privilege of my lower room after her mother’s decease for her use during the time she lives unmarried and a pacing year old colt and forty pounds to be paid her in one year after my death. I give to my granddaughter, Hannah Sharpless, five shillings and lastly I do hereby appoint, constitute, make and ordain my dear loving wife, Elizabeth Key and son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, of the Borough of Chester to be my sole Executors of this my last will and testament and for a gratuity of my love to my son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, I give him the said Thomas Morgan, five pounds to be paid him after my death and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments, wills and legacies, bequests and Executors by me in anyways before this time named, willed and bequeathed, ratified and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Signed: Moses Key
Attached to the copy of the original will were the following:
Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and delivered by the said Moses Key as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers.
John Bezer
Jane Cummings
Elinor Petters
The words “mother’s decease for her”, was underlined in the second line of the right side of the signatures of the witnesses before signing and delivering.”
Note N14670Chester, June 14, 1748, then personally appeared John Bezer, June Cummings and Elinor Peters, the witnesses to the within will who on their solemn affirmations did declare that they were present and saw the testator therein named, sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the within writing to be his last will and testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound mind and memory to the best of their understanding.
Affirmed Coram
Jo Parker D. Reg.
The next record was when the will was brought before Probate court and letters of administration were issued as following:
Be it remembered that on the fourteenth day of June anno domini 1748, the last will and testament of Moses Key, late, of the said county, yeoman, deceased, was proved in due form of law and probate and letters of Administration were granted to his wife, Elizabeth Key, and son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, sole Executors in the said will named, being first attested well and truly to administer and bring in an inventory of the deceased’s estate unto the Registrar’s Office at Chester on or before the fourteenth day of July next and rendering a true and just account of their administration when legally thereunto required. Given under the seal of said office.
Jo Parker
D Register
Note N14671Chester, June 14, 1748, then personally appeared John Bezer, June Cummings and Elinor Peters, the witnesses to the within will who on their solemn affirmations did declare that they were present and saw the testator therein named, sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the within writing to be his last will and testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound mind and memory to the best of their understanding.
Affirmed Coram
Jo Parker D. Reg.
The next record was when the will was brought before Probate court and letters of administration were issued as following:
Be it remembered that on the fourteenth day of June anno domini 1748, the last will and testament of Moses Key, late, of the said county, yeoman, deceased, was proved in due form of law and probate and letters of Administration were granted to his wife, Elizabeth Key, and son-in-law, Thomas Morgan, sole Executors in the said will named, being first attested well and truly to administer and bring in an inventory of the deceased’s estate unto the Registrar’s Office at Chester on or before the fourteenth day of July next and rendering a true and just account of their administration when legally thereunto required. Given under the seal of said office.
Jo Parker
D Register
Note N2929Around 1680, King Charles II of England granted William Penn a huge tract of land in the colonies of America as payment for a debt owed by the king to William’s father. The territory, lying between New York and Maryland, was a wilderness. The king urged him to name the territory in honor of William’s father and thus the name Pennsylvania. William Penn had come to America to escape the religious persecution and imprisonment which he had suffered in Britain. Thousands of Quakers refugees settled in this new colony and it begin to thrive under Penn’s leadership. He returned to England in 1684 but returned to America in 1699, bringing with him more believers and their families with him.
The following year, 1700, another ship arrived with a new party of Friends. One young man on that voyage was Moses Key and he, like many others, settled in Nether Province, also called Aston. At the Concord Monthly Meeting of Friends in Chester County, Pennsylvania, he presented the following letter from his fellow Friends and brethren back in Middleswich, England recommending him to their Meeting:
Transcribed as follows:
“Ye, 20th of the 8th month, 1700”
This is to certify to whom it may concern that whereas our Friend, Moses Key, of Middleswich in the county of Chesire, blacksmith, having an intention to remove into the province of Pennsylvania, having laid the said intention before several Friends and relations and hath the free consent and approbation of both; And this may satisfy whom it may concern that as to his life and conversation from a child hath been as such as hath become his profession and as we heartily wish that he may so continue to the end of his days. So we rest in recommending him to the care of Friends in that country.
Your Friends and brethren,
Signed ye day aforesaid at our Preparitus Meeting at Middleswich
The letter was signed by 17 men and women in attendance at the meeting including Allen Key, who may have been a relative of Moses Key.
During this time (or maybe on the ship that brought him from England) Moses had met Elizabeth Yearsley, daughter of John and Elizabeth Yearsley. The Yearsley family, according to the following biography, had come to America in 1700 and was probably on the same ship as Moses. They were from the same area of England and may have been acquainted with Moses before boarding the ship.
Moses and Elizabeth “courted” for a while and as was the custom of the Quaker religion, when they got ready to marry, they had to go before a Friends Meeting to declare their intentions to marry. The following is a transcription copied from the third paragraph of a Friends Concord Monthly Meeting in Chester County, Pennsylvania:
“At a meeting held at Nathaniel Parks house the 12th day of the 11th month 1701. Moses Key and Elizabeth Yearsley laid their intention of marriage before this meeting it being the first time. This meeting has ordered the said Moses to bring a certificate from ye place where he sojourned to the next monthly meeting.”
According to an excerpt from Jerry Richmond, Fidonet Genealogy Conference, 1995, “Members had to appear before the Monthly Meeting and publicly state their marriage intentions at two Monthly Meetings in a row. Following the first appearance, a committee would be appointed to investigate the “clearness” of the individuals to marry.”
It appears from the transcribed Meeting records that Moses Key probably had to present the letter he had brought from England stating his affiliation with the Quaker faith before he would be allowed to marry Elizabeth, who also was a Quaker. One of the rules of marriage was that the intended spouse had to be a member of the Quaker faith or they would not approve the marriage and they would then have to go before a magistrate for the marriage. Moses probably presented the letter at the next meeting and then they were married in December, 1701. After the ceremony witnessed by the members of the Friends Meeting, the marriage would have been recorded in the following month’s records.
Moses and Elizabeth lived in the Concord District of Chester County, Pennsylvania and started their family with the birth of their first child:
Lettice, who was born in 1703
William, 1705
Mary, 1707
Elizabeth, 1709
Moses, Jr. 1711
Hannah, 1714 (died in infancy)
Hannah, 1716 (died in infancy)
John, 1717
Robert, 1720
Rebecca, 1722
Anne, 1725
The first 6 were born at Concord and the remaining children were born after they moved to Aston Twp. in Chester County. In some families, when a child died in infancy, they would name another child with the same name as the child that had died in infancy. This appears to be the case with Moses and Elizabeth as they named two of their daughters Hannah.
While Moses was raising his family he was an active member of the Friends Meeting at Concord and several records have been found to show his participation in the meetings. One record shows that he was a clerk for the Friends Meeting for many years. Another record is found in the book, “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania “by Ashmed, page 508. It shows that an order was made by the courts of Delaware County on November 12, 1678 that “the court this day ordered that every person should, within the space of two months, as far as his land reaches, make good and passable ways, from neighbor to neighbor, with bridges where it needs, to the end that neighbors on occasion may come together. Those neglecting, to forfeit 25 gilders.”
Although Moses had not come to America at this time, this order would affect his life later as he would be found to be one of the 83 people from Chester County who signed a petition in regards to that court order. Also found in the “History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania” book is the following petition that was presented to the Council on March 19, 1705/1706:
“To the Honorable John Evans, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania and the Three Lower Counties, and to his Council:
“The Humble petition of the inhabitants of the Town of Chester and others, humbly showeth: That whereas, by ye laws of this government, ye sole power of laying out of the Queen’s Road is lodged in the Governor and Council; and whereas the town of Chester is daily improving, and in time may become a great place concerned in the improvement is much discouraged for want of a direct road from thence to Philadelphia, we, your Petitioners, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do beg the Governor and Council that an order may be granted to fit and proper persons to lay out the Queen’s Road on as direct a line as can be from Darby, to answer the bridge on Chester Creek, and your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray.
The petition is followed with the signatures of 83 men who were members of the community and county. Moses Key’s name was among men who were the fathers of children that members of his family would later be married to at Friends Meetings.
In chapter 29 of “History of Chester County, Pennsylvania” Moses is mentioned as being on the list of taxables in Aston Twp. in 1715. Another listing in the same book shows him on the Civil List of Assemblymen of Aston Twp. in 1719, 1723 and 1724 and on March 3, 1732, a petition was sent by the Quakers of Pennsylvania to the King of England requesting a settlement of the boundary disputes between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Moses Key is listed as one of the signers of the petition.
Another reference to Moses Key was found on page 43 of the book, “Progress and Prosperity in the 19th Century”. I do not have a copy of the book to see what the reference was about. This record was found on the Chester County, Pennsylvania genealogy website. Evidently Moses left his mark in this part of Chester County that would later become a part of Delaware County when the lines were re-drawn.
During all this time, Moses and Elizabeth’s children were marrying and beginning families of their own. The first record found for a marriage was in Quaker Records of Concord Meetings Marriages 1698-1783 page 42. The marriage of their daughter, Mary, is transcribed as follows:
“Whereas John Sharpless of Ridley, Chester, Pennsylvania, cord winder, and Mary Key of Aston, Chester, Pennsylvania, spinster, fully accomplishing their intentions this 18th day of the 9th month in the year of out Lord, 1725”.
This marriage was witnessed by at least 55 people including the parents and members of the bride and groom’s immediate family. In looking at the record of the marriage, it appears that most of the men not associated with the family sat in the first row and the women not associated with the immediate family sat in the second row of the meeting house. The bride and groom, along with their parents and immediate family members sat in the third row and all signed their names as witnesses to the marriage
We found that daughter, Lettice, first married John Chamberlain and had at least one daughter. We know that her first husband died because she is listed as a widow in the records of her second marriage to Thomas Vernon. Proof of this marriage is found in the Quaker Records of Concord Meetings Marriages 1698-1783, page 114 and is transcribed as follows:
(2nd marriage for Lettice, daughter of Moses and Elizabeth Key) “Whereas Thomas Vernon of Providence in the County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania, and Lettice Chamberlain of Aston in the said county, widow…fully accomplishing their said intentions this 31st day of the 8th month in the year of our Lord, 1734.”
One of the impediments to a marriage before the Friends Meeting was if it had been less than a year since the death of the previous spouse. In the early years there was a high death rate and there were many second marriages. If a man lost his wife and had a brood of young children to raise, waiting a year was not always practical. Even among the families that were deeply devoted Quakers, the majority of second marriages were performed by a Justice of the Peace. But, many who were remarried at a Meeting had to wait two years before they had the approval of the Quakers to remarry before the Meeting. This was probably what had happened in regard to Moses and Elizabeth Key’s daughter, Lettice’s, second marriage as they were devout Quakers and would want to follow the rules. As in her sister’s marriage records, there were many witnesses present along with the family of the bride and groom.
At the present time, records have not been found for other marriages but perhaps further searching will turn up more records. It has been established that their daughter, Elizabeth, married Thomas Morgan and daughter, Rebecca, married a man with the last name of Patton. It has not been established if daughter, Anne, ever married but she is referred to as “Ann Key” in her mother’s will and reference is made to the daughter of Anne Key as “Rebecca Key.” Perhaps Anne never married but had a child out of wedlock and the will seems to indicate that she may have been at home with her parents.
Moses, no doubt, lived to see his family grown and had lived a prosperous life as a farmer, (also referred to as a yeoman) and a blacksmith in Chester County. In 1745, Moses asked to be released from his clerkship of the Concord Monthly Meetings on account of age and infirmities and on April 19, 1746, he wrote his will.
The copy of the will we received also contained a complete inventory of the Moses Key estate that was done on May 5, 1748 and the will was offered for probate on June 14, 1748, so Moses must have died just prior to those dates. No record has been found of his death and where he is buried but I think that he is probably buried in the Friends Burial Grounds located at the Concord Meeting House where he attended and was a part of the services for almost 50 years. His wife, Elizabeth, lived for at least 11 years after he died. Elizabeth wrote her will on October 15, 1758 and it was probated on February 3, 1759. Elizabeth died in 1758 not long after she made her will. She is probably buried with her husband.
- The History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Futhey and Cope, 1881.


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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Moses by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Moses:

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On 7 Oct 2019 at 00:55 GMT E Childs wrote:

Keyes-1458 and Keyes-65 appear to represent the same person because: These individuals have the same parents, birth and death dates. Evident duplicate.

On 16 Sep 2019 at 19:35 GMT Randy Seaver wrote:

Key-485 and Keyes-65 do not represent the same person because: looks like two different persons.

Moses is 16 degrees from Carroll Shelby, 23 degrees from Joan Whitaker and 12 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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