SAMUEL   LEVIS

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 The Levis were a Quaker family that emigrated to Pennsylvania  because of religious persecution.
            A note about the Quaker calendar. From the 12th century in England the year began with the vernal equinox, on March 25th. This lasted until January 1752             as the legal and  civil year. However, from the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D. the first of January had been considered the historical                                beginning for the year. It was customary to use a system of double dating between Jan 1 and March 25, giving both years i.e. 11-8-1747/48. In                             Pennsylvania, where friends controlled the legislation for many years, the numerical form of dating was commonly used and sanctioned by law, i.e.                             eleventh month, 8th day, which would translate to Jan. 8, 1748 in the new calendar. Whenever dates were given with numbers we have left them as                         we found them.

Samuel Levis was born  30d 7m 1649 (possibly Sept 30th) in Harby Leicester. I cannot find a good source for his birth.  However, he was married in 1680 and died in 1734 "of a good age" so  that 1649 works.   Harby is just inside the Leiscestershire line, and due east of Nottingham.  He was the son of Chrisopher Levis and Mary Nede, both of the midlands England.

There is a Lease and Release from Christopher Levis and Samuel Levis to Richard Levis made in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, 16-17 Dec. 1671.  I have no idea what a Lease and Release is,  but Samuel is believed to have been the first child and by 1671 he would have been of adult age. Christopher Levis died December 1677 in Harby. His will was dated Oct. 19, 1677  from Leicestershire & Rutland Index of Wills, Jurisdiction of  Broby 1580-1800.   Samuel
is clearly named as a son.   Christopher was a committed Quaker, and had been persecuted for his convictions before his death. 

Samuel Levis married Elizabeth Clator on  3/4/ 1680.  I'm not sure if this was translated to March or  the earlier Quaker dating, which would translate to May, I believe. Cope Digest of English Meetings, C10 Warwickshire quarterly Meeting & England & Wales, Quaker Birth, Marriage, and Death Registers, 1578-1837

Elizabeth and Samuel Levis  had 7 known children:   given in The Paper Makers by Jane Levis Carter
1.  Samuel  Levis, born about 1682 in England, possibly Nottingham he wed Hannah Stretch 1709. 
2.  Alice Levis, born about 1684 in England, possibly Nottingham.
3.  Mary Levis born Aug 9, 1685 in Pennsylvania wed Joseph Pennock
4.  William Levis born in Pennsylvania wed Elizabeth Reed 1720
5.  Elizabeth Levis born in Pennsylvania wed William Shipley 1728
6.  Sarah Levis born in Pennsylvania wed George Maris
7.  Christopher Levis born 1692 in Pennsylvania died 1694. 

Jane Levis Carter, a descendant of Samuel Levis and other Quakers who settled in Pennsylvania wrote The Paper Makers, Early Pennsylvanians and their Water Mills.  The opening chapter is on Samuel Levis titled The Better Kind of Men. It was published in 1982. She states that Samuel was a maltster and his close friend William Garrett was a weaver.  It was speculated that Samuel trained at the Brewery of Nottingham Castle. 

When William Penn advertised for men in a variety of skills, Samuel Levis and William Garrett took the opportunity to go to America.  They left England with their families in August 1684 and landed in Chester PA in the autumn of that year.  With Samuel Levis was his wife Elizabeth Clator, children Samuel and Alice and perhaps his younger sisters Sarah and Hannah.   On 9th month, 4th day, 1684 Samuel Levis was received by Philadelphia meeting from Harby MM, Leicester Co.  from the US Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy Vol II, page 579.

Before leaving England Samuel Levis and Wm Garrett had purchased 1000 acres, part of which was located in Springfield township, and 300 years later some of that land is still in the family name.  History of Delaware county Pennsylvania by George Smith, 1862 page 477. The Philadelphia Archives Book E has a series of purchases made by Samuel Levis including Vol 5, col 7, pg 33 where he made a purchase from Wm Garrett.  Springfield is north of Chester, which is on the Delaware River, so maybe 5 miles inland, and south of Philadelphia maybe 10 miles.  I don't know how the Penn purchases worked, but they may have had little say in exactly where their 1000 acres lay.  "The  tracks were thin and long ie, in relation to the river, so each would have a mixture of water, steep slope, arable soil and wasteland.  As soon as land could be cleared it improved productivity and settlers here never suffered a starving time as did both Massachusetts and Virginia settlers"  from Nether Providence Township, A history 1687-1987 found at the Helen Kates Furness library in Wallingord PA.

Samuel built brick home and developed a complete colonial plantation.  The house still stands and is call the "checkerboard" house probably due to the brick pattern.  Milling did take place on the plantation but it was the next generation that put that project into action.

Samuel Levis became an active member of the community very quickly.  By 1686 he represented Chester County in the Pennsylvania Provencal Assembly.  He also served as a Justice of the Court of Chester County.   And he remained a zealous Quaker.  It was noted somewhere, need to relocate, that Elizabeth Clator Levis became a Quaker missionary traveling up and down the east coast.

Elizabeth Clator was said to have died in 1732, but do not have the source of that information.  Samuel Levis died in 1734. re Find a Grave An advanced age for the time for both of them.  I believe they were buried on the grounds of their plantation.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

If you know the answer please CONTACT US

1.  where did the Levis family live there first 8 years in Pennsylvania?
2.  Get source documents for the children, birth dates and marriage partners.
3.  Find the Will for Samuel.
4.  confirm their death dates.


 

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Date created: 8/1/2013
Date Edited 9/21/2017
Date edited 10/16/2017