Samuel Levis was born on 30 Sep 1649 in Harby, Leicestershire, England, the son of Christopher Levis and Mary Need. 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 Mar 1680.
Marriage and Issue
Samuel married Elizabeth on 4 May 1680. He was 29 and she was about 25. They had seven children (the first two born in England):
1) Samuel Jr., b. 8 Feb 1681; married Hannah Stretch.
2) Alice, b. 7 Oct 1682, d. bef 31 Dec 1684.
4) William, b. 8 Sep 1688; married Elizabeth Reed.
5) Elizabeth, b. 20 Dec 1690; married William Shipley.
6) Christopher, b. 27 Dec 1692, d. 3 Apr 1694.
7) Sarah, b. 31 Aug 1694; married George Maris.
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. 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. Samuel left to permanently settle in Pennsylvania from Bristol, England in Aug 1684 aboard the ship Bristol Merchant under the command of John Stephens, with his wife Elizabeth, 3 year old son Samuel Jr, 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). 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 Nov 1684. (Their removal certificate from Harby was dated 20 Jul 1684 and can be seen in the Philadelphia, province of Pennsylvania, Friend's records.)
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 devote man in his walk of life. He was among the first settlers in Delaware county 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 November 2, 1689. In 1692 Samuel was appointed as a member of the Governor's Council. 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.
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. Samuel and his family would eventually settle in Springfield Township, province of Pennsylvania in 1692.
The Samuel Levis “Checkerboard" House
On 27 Aug 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. 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.
Death and Possible Burial Ground
Samuel Levis, died in Springfield Township, Chester County, between 4 Oct 1728 (date of will) and 13 Apr 1734 (date of probate). Most believe it was Mar 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 Mar 1725, for his wife.
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. As a prominent and influential Quaker it is possible that this is where Samuel Levis was buried.
He is also a descendant of Magna Carta surety barons (see below).
Richardson's books Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families,Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, and Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, all 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 of her marriage to Samuel at a Nottingham Meeting on 4 Mar 1680 and by 1684 they had two children, Samuel, Jr. (b. 8 Feb 1681) and Alice (b. 7 Oct 1682).
↑ 1.01.11.2 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.
↑ 2.02.12.22.32.4 Mahler, Leslie: "Samuel Levis, Quaker Immigrant to Pennsylvania", The Genealogist, Spring 1999, Vol 13, No 1, p. 30-36 (PDF download)
↑ 3.03.13.23.33.4 Carter, Jane Levis. The paper makers : early Pennsylvanians and their water mills. Kennett Square, PA : KNA Press, 1982. Pg 1, 2, 20, 28, 41.
↑ Cope, Gilbert; Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Chester and Delaware counties, Pennsylvania. V.1. Salem, Mass. :Higginson Book Co.,. Pages 250-251. Note: Dates from this book are Quaker. For more about dates, see Sue Roe's The Problem of Dates.
↑ 7.07.1 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: https://archive.org/details/genealogicalmemo06leef/page/469)
↑ 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
Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
Richardson, Douglas. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 3 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition (volume II, page 602 NEED 18.ii.a). Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. See also WikiTree's source page for Plantagenet Ancestry.