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Samuel Levis (1649 - 1734)

Samuel Levis
Born in Harby, Leicestershire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 4 May 1680 in Leicestershire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 84 in Springfield, Delaware, Pennsylvaniamap
Profile last modified | Created 10 Apr 2015
This page has been accessed 5,413 times.
William Penn
Samuel Levis was a part of William Penn's Pennsylvania Settlers community.
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Magna Carta Gateway Ancestor
Descendant of Surety Barons Roger le Bigod, Saher de Quincy, and possibly others (see text).
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Samuel was a Friend (Quaker)

Birth and Parents

Samuel Levis, born 30 September 1649 at Harby, Leicestershire, England, was the son of Christopher Levis of Harby, yeoman, and Mary Need.[1][2]

Marriage and Issue

Samuel was a Maltster and it is believed he trained at the Brewery of Nottingham Castle. It is in Nottinghamshire that he courted Elizabeth Clator (aka Claytor), the daughter of William Clator (wife unknown), and where her brother Samuell approved of her marriage to Samuel at a Friends Nottingham Meeting on 4 March 1680.[3] They were married on 4 May 1680.[2] He was age 29 and she was about 25. They had seven children (the first two born in England):[4][5]

  1. Samuel,[1] born 8 February 1681; married Hannah Stretch.[4][5]
  2. Alice,[1] born 7 October 1682, died before 31 December 1684.[4][5]
  3. Mary, wife of Joseph Pennock,[1] was born 9 October 1685.[4][5]
  4. William,[1] born 8 September 1688; married Elizabeth Reed.[4][5]
  5. Elizabeth, wife of William Shipley,[1] was born 20 December 1690.[4][5]
  6. Christopher,[1] born 27 December 1692, died 3 April 1694.[4][5]
  7. Sarah, wife of George Maris,[1] was born 31 August 1694.[4][5]

Settling in Springfield

Samuel was among the early colonists who emigrated to America in 1682, bringing servants and material for building a home for his family before returning to England to get them.[5][6][7] Before leaving England a second time, Samuel, in conjunction with his lifelong friend William Garrett, purchased 1000 acres of the land of William Penn from John Lobe, a Bristol land speculator.[3][4][8][9] Samuel left to permanently settle in Pennsylvania from Bristol, England in August 1684 aboard the ship Bristol Merchant under the command of John Stephens, with his wife Elizabeth, 3 year old son Samuel Jr,[9] and his younger twin sisters Sarah and Hannah. Since Samuel came with only one child, it is believed that his daughter Alice died before or during the trip at about 2 years old.[3][4] Samuel brought a certificate from the Friends Meeting in Harby, Leicestershire which was presented to a meeting of Friends held at "The Governor's house" in Philadelphia 4 November 1684.[2] Their removal certificate from Harby was dated 20 July 1684[1] and can be seen in the Philadelphia, province of Pennsylvania, Friend's records.[5]

Samuel was a man of considerable means and much influence especially within the Society of Friends. He was a minister of that faith and a very devout man in his walk of life. He was among the first settlers in Delaware county[7] and was barely settled when his friends first induced him to represent Chester County in the provincial Assembly in 1686. Samuel would continue to be a member of the provincial Assembly in 1689, 1694, 1698, 1700, 1706-1709. He was appointed justice of the peace for Chester County in 1686 and again on 2 November 1689. In 1692 Samuel was appointed as a member of the Governor's Council.[10] Notwithstanding his many official duties, Samuel, a man of economical and business-like habits, always found time to attend carefully to the religious and charitable duties as a member of the Society of Friends.[11]

Springfield is first mentioned as a governmental entity in 1686 and farming and the grazing of cattle were the principal occupations of the inhabitants of the township. Because of the ample water supply existing in the township every creek and run supported its grist mill and furnished power for the various colonial types of manufacturing.[12] Samuel and his family would eventually settle in Springfield Township, province of Pennsylvania[1] in 1692.[10]

The Samuel Levis “Checkerboard" House

On 27 August 1692 Samuel bought 150 acres bounded on the northwest by a bulge in Darby Creek in Springfield from Owne Folke, a tanner from Wales, and moved his family there.[3] His Georgian style home, still standing today, sits on 3.6 acres of open and wooded space tucked away in the Colonial Park Section of Springfield. It is all that remains from his original 150 acre parcel. It is a few miles south of Philadelphia on the Delaware River where there were numerous streams well suited for mills that his son Samuel Jr would later own and operate. The Levis Home remained in the family until 1925, passing through eight generations of Levises.

The Samuel Levis House is called the “Checkerboard" House because the bricks created a checkerboard effect using the Flemish bond (a popular pattern found in many historic houses in Philadelphia). It is one of the county's oldest and best-preserved historical homes. It contains six fireplaces and lead glass, diamond-shaped windows. Most of the floors are the original random width flooring and the uneven winding stairs with the carved finial on the newel post remain undisturbed. There was once a smokehouse in the attic.

The hearth in the cellar is believed to have been one of William Penn's favorite places to relax when he visited his good friend Samuel Levis. The original kitchen was once in the basement. It includes a great wooden bolt on the door, a brick floor with a walk-in fireplace, huge storage cellars and a tunnel said to be used by the Underground Railroad.[13]

Death and Possible Burial Ground

Samuel Levis died between 4 October 1728 (date of will) and 13 April 1734 (date of probate),[1][2] probably in Springfield Township, Chester County. It is widely believed that he died in March 1734. In his will he left £10 each to his grandchildren; his Negro man Jeffry to his daughter, Elizabeth Shipley, and the remainder of his estate to his wife for life. At her death one half of his estate was to be equally divided between his son, Samuel, and daughter, Elizabeth; the other half between his son, William, and daughter, Mary Pennock. He referred to a marriage settlement, dated 5/6 March 1725, for his wife.[10]

Many of the early settlers are buried in the ancient Quaker Burial Ground, located at the intersection of Old Sproul Road, or as it was known in colonial days Chester Road, and Springfield Road. Given to the Quakers by Bartholomew Coppock, the younger, in 1686, the two-acre tract contains a possible 5,000 burials, and while few of the graves are marked today with headstones, those that are marked bear the names of families appearing on the early land-grant lists.[12] As a prominent and influential Quaker it is possible that this is where Samuel Levis was buried.

Research Notes

Royal Ancestors

Through his mother Mary Need:
Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor[14] - 29th great grandfather.
William I, "The Conqueror", King of England[15] - 19th great grandfather.
Henry II, King of England[16] - 16th great grandfather.
Philippe IV, King of France [17] - 13th great grandfather.
Edward I, "Longshanks", King of England[18] - 13th great grandfather.
Edward III, King of England[2] - 11th great grandfather.

He is also a descendant of Magna Carta surety barons (see below).

Marriage Date

Richardson's books Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families and Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families contain an error on the marriage date of Samuel Levis and Elizabeth Clator (aka Claytor). They were married on 4 May 1680 not 4 May 1684 as stated by Richardson. Elizabeth's brother Samuell approved her marriage to Samuel at a Nottingham Meeting on 4 March 1680[3] and by 1684 they had two children, Samuel, Jr. (born 8 February 1681) and Alice (born 7 October 1682).[4]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume I, page xviii "List of Colonial Immigrants" #150, volume IV, pages 205-206 NEED 21.ii.a. See also WikiTree's source page for Royal Ancestry.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Mahler, Leslie: "Samuel Levis, Quaker Immigrant to Pennsylvania", in The Genealogist, Spring 1999, Vol 13, No 1, p. 30-36 (PDF download)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Carter, Jane Levis. The paper makers : early Pennsylvanians and their water mills. Kennett Square, PA: KNA Press, 1982. Pg 1, 2, 20, 28, 41.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Cope, Gilbert. Genealogy of the Smedley family descended from George and Sarah Smedley, settlers in Chester Co., Penna., Wickersham Printing Co., 1901. Pg 142, 172, 224. (See also:;view=1up;seq=6) Note: Dates from this book are Quaker. For more about dates, see Sue Roe's The Problem of Dates.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Comly, George Norwood. Comly Family in America. Privately published under supervision of J.B. Lippincott. Philadelphia, Pa, 1939. Pg 921-925. (See also:;view=1up;seq=5) Note: Dates from this book are Quaker. For more about dates, see Sue Roe's The Problem of Dates.
  6. Cope, Gilbert; Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Chester and Delaware counties, Pennsylvania. V.1. Salem, Mass. :Higginson Book Co.,[1993]. Pages 250-251. Note: Dates from this book are Quaker. For more about dates, see Sue Roe's The Problem of Dates.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Levis Family early ancestors from Genealogical and memorial history of the State of New Jersey : a book of achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1910. Vol II, Pg 469. (See also:
  8. Heacock, Roger Lee. The ancestors of Charles Clement Heacock, 1851-1914. With an account of the descendants of Joel and Huldah Gaskill Heacock., Heacock, Roger Lee, b. 1906. Baldwin Park (Calif.) Bulletin,1950. Pg 25, 67. (See also:;view=1up;seq=7). Note: Dates from this book are Quaker. For more about dates, see Sue Roe's The Problem of Dates.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ashmead, Henry Graham, 1838-1920. History of Delaware county, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 1884. Pg 272-273, 714. (See also:;view=1up;seq=5) Note: Dates from this book are Quaker. For more about dates, see Sue Roe's The Problem of Dates.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Massey, George Valentine. The Pennocks of Primitive Hall : written for the Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA, Pg 25, 26, 28, 30. (See also :;view=1up;seq=15). Note: Dates from this book are Quaker. For more about dates, see Sue Roe's The Problem of Dates.
  11. Biographical and genealogical history of the state of Delaware, containing biographical and genealogical sketches of prominate and representative citizans, and many of the early settlers, v.1, Chambersburg, PA,1899. Pg 333. (See also:;view=1up;seq=7)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Springfield Historical Society - Early History. (
  13. The Springfield Historical Society - Historic Houses. (
  14. Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume V, page 481 Appendix Line B and C. 8th great grandfather of Maud of Flanders, wife of William The Conqueror
  15. Great grandfather of Henry II (
  16. Great grandfather of Edward I (
  17. Maternal grandfather of Edward III of England (
  18. Grandfather of Edward III (
See also:


Magna Carta Project

This profile was reviewed/approved for the Magna Carta Project by Michael Cayley on 28 January 2020.
Samuel Levis is listed in Magna Carta Ancestry as a Gateway Ancestor (vol. I, pages xxiii-xxix) in a Richardson-documented trail to Magna Carta Surety Barons Hugh le Bigod and Roger le Bigod (vol. II, pages 221-223 NEED). Samuel is also the Gateway in trails identified by the Magna Carta Project to surety barons Saher de Quincy, John de Lacy, Gilbert de Clare, Richard de Clare and John Fitz Robert. These trails were developed for the Project by John Sigh, were badged in February 2020 by Michael Cayley, and are set out below.
See Base Camp for more information about identified Magna Carta trails and their status. See the project's glossary for project-specific terms, such as a "badged trail".
See also the Need Trails.

Magna Carta Trails

Badged Richardson-documented trail to the Bigods (MCA III:221-223 NEED):
Gateway Ancestors:
Samuel Levis (badged/100% 5-star)
Hannah Levis (badged)
Sarah Levis (badged)
1. Samuel, Hannah and Sarah were children of Mary Need (badged/re-rev'd 2020)
2. Mary was the daughter of Humphrey Need (badged/re-reviewed 2020)
3. Humphrey was the son of Mary Melford (badged/re-reviewed 2020)
4. Mary was the daughter of Thomas Melford (badged/re-reviewed 2020)
5. Thomas was the son of Anne Clifford (badged/re-reviewed 2020)
6. Anne was the daughter of Henry Clifford (badged/re-reviewed 2020)
7. Henry was the son of John Clifford (badged/re-reviewed 2020)
8. John was the son of Thomas Clifford (badged/100% 5-star)
9. Thomas was the son of John Clifford (badged/100% 5-star)
10. John was the son of Thomas de Clifford (badged/100% 5-star)
11. Thomas was the son of Roger de Clifford (badged/100% 5-star)
12. Roger was the son of Robert de Clifford (badged/100% 5-star)
13. Robert was the son of Robert de Clifford (badged/100% 5-star)
14. Robert was the son of Isabel de Vipont (badged/100% 5-star)
15. Isabel was the daughter of Isabel FitzJohn (badged/100% 5-star)
16. Isabel was the daughter of Isabel le Bigod (badged/100% 5-star)
17. Isabel was the daughter of Magna Carta Surety Hugh le Bigod
18. Hugh was the son of Magna Carta Surety Roger le Bigod
Badged trails to Quincy, Lacy and the Clares:
13. Robert de Clifford was the son of Maud de Clare (badged/100% 5-star)
14. Maud was the daughter of Thomas de Clare (badged/100% 5-star)
15. Thomas was the son of Maud de Lacy (badged/100% 5-star)
16. Maud was the daughter of Margaret de Quincy (badged/100% 5-star)
17. Margaret was the daughter of Robert de Quincy (badged/100% 5-star)
18. Robert was the son of Magna Carta Surety Saher de Quincy
16. Maud de Lacy is the daughter of Magna Carta Surety John de Lacy
15. Thomas de Clare is the son of Richard de Clare (badged/100% 5-star)
16. Richard is the son of Magna Carta Surety Gilbert de Clare
17. Gilbert is the son of Magna Carta Surety Richard de Clare
Badged trail to FitzRobert:
8. John Clifford is the son of Joan Dacre (badged/100% 5-star)
9. Joan is the daughter of Philippe Neville (badged/100% 5-star)
10. Philippe is the daughter of Ralph Neville (badged/100% 5-star)
11. Ralph is the son of John de Neville (badged/100% 5-star)
12. John is the son of Ralph de Neville (badged/100% 5-star)
13. Ralph is the son of Euphame Clavering (badged/100% 5-star)
14. Euphame is the daughter of Robert FitzRoger (badged/100% 5-star)
15. Robert is the son of Roger FitzJohn (badged/100% 5-star)
16. Roger is the son of Magna Carta Surety John FitzRobert
Other badged trails exist:

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Comments: 5

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100% 5-star profile (see more at Magna Carta Project Star Profiles)
posted by Michael Cayley
Do which ever you prefer. It seems they want me to say more to get this message through.
posted by Dick Gates Sr.
Douglas Richardson's Royal Ancestry citations added and updated. Added Research Notes that Richardson's books contain an error (typo?) on the marriage date of Samuel Levis and Elizabeth Clator (aka Claytor). Is 4 May 1680 not 4 May 1684 as stated in Richardson.
posted by John Sigh Jr.
Richardson, Douglas. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 3 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), volume II, page 602. NEED 18.ii.a.
posted by John Sigh Jr.