Davies, John Paton, Sr. [1878-1972]. "A Partial Genealogy of the Family of Caleb and Rebecca C. Davies," ca. 1970? TD [carbon copy]. Private Collection of Sarah Sims (Pardington) Hedrick. HTML & Ed. Marshall Davies Lloyd (Aug 24, 2000).


Compiled by Rev. John P. Davies

Some of the Davies family have been interested in looking up their ancestors. It is hoped that those who have married into the family will contribute what they can learn about theirs. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: "Every man is an omnibus in which all his ancestors are riding," Let us try to got acquainted with a few of our passengers. Two lines are easily traced because of published books of genealogy: (1) "The Morris Family of Philadelphia" with 4,688 names and (2) "Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas French" With 3,286 names. Both families were Friends and the Friends always kept full records of births, marriages, and deaths. They preserved minutes of their monthly business meetings which showed how they exercised surveillance over the character and conduct of their members. They practised practiced simplicity, thrift, and honesty, and under the blessing of God they prospered. Friends had strong convictions and stood by them.

In England during the seventeenth century Friends were suffering severe religious persecution. In 1676 William Penn and other Friends determined to establish a settlement in New Jersey on the banks of the Delaware River where religious liberty could be enjoyed. They drew up an agreement for an enlightened form of government far in advance of their times. One of the 150 signers of this document was Thomas French. The next year the first group of Friends sailed and founded the village of Burlington N. J. Three years later Thomas French and family joined the new community. The family Bible which is still preserved contains the following entry: "I and my wife and nine children through the great mercy of God came into this country and landed at Burlington the 23rd of the 7th month, 1680. Thomas ffrench." They settled upon a tract of 600 acres which was subsequently increased to 1200 acres. He became an Influential member in the settlement. He must have been rather outspoken, for he frequently offended people. The monthly meeting of Friends would appoint certain members to speak to him about his conduct and they would report back that he had apologized. Thomas French was born in 1639 and died in 1699. He married Jane Atkins in 1660, and there were fourteen children.

THOMAS FRENCH, JR., son of Thomas and Jane (Atkins) French was born in 1667 and died in 1745. He was thirteen years old when he arrived in the New World. In 1696 he married Mary Allen, daughter of Judah and Mary Allen. They had six children. He received from his father as a token of special favor three hundred acres of land, he was appointed tax collector in 1693. In 1699 he was appointed overseer of highways, as his father had been. His estate near West Moorestown, N. J., remained in the family for nearly two hundred years.

ROBERT FRENCH, son of Thomas and Mary (allen Allen ) French was born in 1707 and died in 1760. In 1737 he married Hannah Cattell, daughter of Jonas and Mary (Pearce) Cattell. They had ten children. Both Robert and Hannah French were recognized as ministers of the Friends Meeting at Moorestown, N. J.

THOMAS FRENCH, son of Robert and Hannah (Cattell) French was born in 1745 and died in 1785. In 1769 he married Mercy Cox, daughter of Newberry and Elizabeth Cox. She was not a Friend. A year after his marriage he addressed a letter to the monthly meeting in acknowledgment of his "outgoing in marriage ", saying "I have so farr diviated from the good rules established by Friends as to consummate my marriage contrary to the good order, & by so doing have brought sorrow on myself and Friends for which misconduct I am heartily sorry, hopeing this with my orderly walking in the future may again bring me under the care and notice of Friends is the hearty desire of your friend, Thomas French. His acknowledgment was accepted. Two years later his wife requested to be taken under the care of Friends. Her request was granted. In 1777 the Revolutionary


War was going on and Thomas French was a conscientious objector. Hence the constable took from him "for non-compliance of military duty one calf, and 25 bushels of Indian corn, rated £6:0:0. Fines demanded £26:5:0."

BARZILLAI FRENCH, son of Thomas and Mercy (Cox) French, was born in 1781 and died at Damascus, Ohio, in 1858. In 1810 he married Mary Yates, daughter of Benjamin and Phebe Yates. He had moved from New Jersey to Salem, Ohio, three years before, and the Yates family had come to Salem from Virginia fourteen years before Mary's marriage. Barzillai and Mary French had nine children: Elizabeth, Albert, Thomas, Robert, Ezra, Martha, David, Barzillai, and Lydia.

ALBERT FRENCH, son of Barzillai and Mary (Yates) French was born in Damascus, Ohio, in 1815 and died in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1895. On August first, 1839. at Damascus, he married Elizabeth Morris Corse, daughter of James Rigbie Corse and Rebecca (Morris) Corse. To know something of her ancestry we must go back to Burlington, N. J. and the year 1682.

Among the new arrivals in that settlement in that year were ANTHONY MORRIS, age 28, his wife Mary, and their infant son, Anthony. Anthony Morris, son of Anthony Morris, Mariner, and Elizabeth Senior, was born in London in 1654, and died in Philadelphia in 1721. His father died at sea and his mother died when he was only six years old. When about twenty years old he became a "convinced" member of the Society of Friends. At three successive meetings in 1675 of the Westminster Friends in London he and Mary Jones declared their intention of marrying. On January 30, 1676, they were married. The marriage certificate, signed by 37 witnesses, is still preserved. After six years they applied to the Westminster Quarterly Meeting of Friends for letters of commendation to the Burlington, N. J. Monthly Meeting. In February of 1682 they reached their destination. In the next year they purchased 250 acres of land. That they were acquainted with Thomas French in evident from the record that on April 14, 1685, they purchased a plot of ground from him.

As Philadephia Philadelphia was rapidly becoming established, at the end of that year they moved there. Anthony Morris soon became an active participant in civic affairs, including the founding of the Quaker Academy. He built a brew house and his brewing business became quite prosperous. There is a story that in those days the Baptists and the Presbyterians were worshipping together in the same building. But for some reason the latter ousted the former, whereupon Anthony Morris placed his brew house at the disposal of the Baptists for a meeting place, thus manifesting his liberal spirit. This brewing and malting business has come down to the present through nine generations of the family, making it the oldest business concern in this country. Anthony Morris became a city alderman and a justice of the city courts and in 1703 became, mayor of Philadelphia. During the latter years of his life he devoted almost his entire time to ministerial labors in the Society of Friends. In 1715 he visited Great Britain and was well received by the London Yearly Meeting. He was married four times and had fifteen children.

JAMES MORRIS, son of Anthony Morris and Mary (Jones) Morris was born in Philadelphia May 8, 1688, and died at Duck Creek, Del. Oct. 31, 1747. He married Margaret Cook, daughter of John Cook. In 1711 he purchased for the sum of 67 pounds 600 acres of land at Duck Creek. There he built a brick house and a brick barn. His property was known as the Morris Rambles and remained in the possession of the Morris family for 150 years. At his death, he owned 1, 200 acres.


JAMES MORRIS II, son of James and Margaret (Cook) Morris, was born June 14, 1723 and died June 16, 1786. On March 6, 1750, he married Ann Tilton, daughter of John and Ann Tilton. She was not a Friend and an June 16, 1786, the Duck Creek Monthly Meeting charged him with a transgression In marrying "out of the unity of Friends." In the following year at a monthly meeting he made acknowledgement of his error and it was received as satisfactory to the meeting. He appears to have continued in the Society of Friends until he was complained against in 1779 for keeping Negroes in slavery. He was commissioned a Justice of the Peace of Kent County November 1, 1764. In his will he stipulated that his "Negroes, William, Daniel, Charles, and Abraham be set free and absolutely manumitted" immediately after his decease.

JAMES MORRIS III, son of James II and Ann (Tilton) Morris was born Feb, 24, 1752, and died at Smyrna, Delaware, Feb. 16, 1825. On May 16, 1774, he married Elizabeth Berry, daughter of John Pitt Berry and Rebecca (Dickenson) Berry. Inheriting a considerable estate from his father, he was a successful merchant and farmer and a member of the Delaware legislature. When he promising young son died of yellow fever, he was overwhelmed with grief and took but little interest in business and was for many years very inform [infirm?]. The Morris homes in and near Smyrna were proverbial for their generous hospitality, espeically especially to traveling Friends.

REBECCA MORRIS, daughter of James III and Elizabeth (Berry) Morris, was born May 21, 1780, and died June 3, 1864. On Nov, 23, 1893, at Duck Creek Friends Meeting in Kent County, Deleaware Delaware, she married James Rigbie Corse, son of John Corse, and Cassandra (Rigbie) Corse. James R. Corse was so honest that he was more apt to wrong humself himself than his neighbor in a deal. Once in order to rescue a Negro slave from her pitiable plight, he bought her and manumitted her. Rebecca Corse became a widow at age 42 and lived to age 84. For the last 20 years of her life, she was an invalid. Her patient endurance of affliction endeared her to her children and grandchildren, James and Rebecca Corse lived in Wilmington, Delaware. They had seven children: Sarah Ann, Elizabeth Morris (French), Susan Cassandra, James Morris, M.D., Mary Berry (Oliphant), John Rigbie, and William Henry, M.D. The latter, known an "Uncle Doctor:, [Doctor",] never married. He studied and practicised practiced pharmacy and later received an M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and practicised practiced medicine in Wilmington until his health failed. He took care of his invalid mother with filial devotion and then gave loving care to his two unmarried sisters as they became aged and feeble.

ELIZABETH MORRIS CORSE, daughter of James Rigbie Corse and Rebecca (Morris) Corse, was born March 22, 1807, and died May 15, 1887. "She was a book- loving child and as she grew to womanhood developed a fondness for the best literature, a love for rural life, and an indifference to the conventionalities of society." In Damascus, Ohio, there was a merchant, James B. Bruff, whose wife, Sarah,, was related to both the Morrises and the Frenches. It is conceivable that as he was about to start East on business she called his attention to their neighbors, the five stalwart French boys, all unmarried, and remarked that in Wilmington there were four unmarried sisters in the Corse family, and wouldn't he like to invite one of the girls to come back with him and pay them a visit? He acquiesced and Elizabeth Corse acquiesced and eventually became the wife of Albert French. Thus the French line and the Morris line, both of whom began In New Jersey at the same time, converged in Ohio five generation and 150 years later.


Albert and Elizabeth French lived in Damascus seventeen years and elsewhere in the vicinity of Salem, Ohio, until 1871, when they moved to Cleveland. They were abolitionists and they aimed to buy only such goods as were produced by free labor even though more expensive than goods produced by slave labor. Albert French was interested in the lumber business as well as in farming. He admired grand trees and was considered an excellent judge of lumber. Both Albert and Elizabeth French lived to the age of eighty, enduring much bodily pain and weakness in their later years. They were unassuming and always reconciled to what appeared to be God's will. Their children were William Henry, Anna, Rebecca Corse (Davies) and Albert Edward.

REBECCA CORSE FRENCH, daughter of Albert and Elizabeth Morris (Corse) French, was born in Damascus, Ohio, September 17, 1845. She began teaching school when fifteen years old. In 1869 she transferred from the Friends Meeting to the Presbyterian church of Salem, Ohio. At the age of 28 while teaching in a private school in Cleveland, she was appointed by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions to teach in a girls' school in Beirut. But soon the invitation was withdrawn due to the financial panic of 1873. Two weeks later, CALEB DAVIES, learning that she had given up a missionary career, proposed marriage, and they were married June 2, 1874.

Caleb Davies, grandson of William and Esther Davies and son of David and Anna (Morris) Davies, was born in Pemrokeshire, South Wales, on March 11, 1848. He was the youngest of thirteen children and his mother died two months after he was born. At the age of nine he united with the Congregational church where his father was a deacon. At thirteen, he left home and was apprenticed to a general store, owned by relatives in a Welsh village. He went to London at 18 years of age and was employed in a dry goods store at £15 per year and board and lodging. When 23 he went to America and found employment in Chicago. Driven out in a month by the great Chicago fire, he moved to Cleveland. On June 10, 1877, he opened a dry goods store in the East End and continued doing business in that locality for 55 years, during which time the business steadily expanded, with branches in other localities. He showed stern self-discipline in saying money and sound Judgment in investing money. For about 20 years, he was a director of the Wade Park Banking Company and then for about 25 years he was a director of the Equity Savings and Loan Co. He was conscientious about contributing to benevolent and religious causes. In his will he stipulated that 7% of his estate should be set aside to form the Caleb Davies Benevolent Trust, and the income from this Trust is used for the spread of the gospel. For half a century, he was a deacon or an elder in the Euclid Avenue Christian Church.

Caleb and Rebecca Davies were students and teachers of the Bible and also exponents of its teachings. The observance of family worship set the tone of daily living, The family was well organized and each member was expected to perform his duty. Music and games and good reading enlivened the family life and there as little occasion to go outside the home to seek pleasure. Rebecca Davies died Dec. 6, 1921, and Caleb Davies died April 24, 1935.


Marshall Davies Lloyd