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 The Levis were a Quaker family that emigrated to Pennsylvania probably 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.

Mary Levis was born  8th month, 9th day 1685 or Oct 9, 1685 probably in Philadelphia PA.  She was the daughter of Samuel Levis and Elizabeth Clator, both of the midlands England.  Samuel and Elizabeth left from Bristol England on in 1684.  Sources give conflicting dates.  Re the Encycopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Hinshaw, quoting from Philadelphia monthly meeting, page 579 "Samuel Levis was received from Harby Monthly Meeting Leicester County on May 20, 1684".  Harby is just inside the Leiscestershire line, and due east of Nottingham.  It is believed that Samuel Levis was trained as a maltster at the Brewery of Nottingham Castle

The other source for information on the Levis family is a charming small book called The Paper Makers by Jane Levis CarterSamuel working at Nottingham Castle is on
page 2.  The book begins with a description of the family emigrating from Bristol on Aug. 1684.  I do not know if it is a confusion of reading Quaker dates, or if Samuel went first, was received by the Philadelphia monthly meeting, returned to England for his family and came again.  That is a rough trip by boat, so I believe the specific dates may be wrong, but not the year.  They were in Pennsylvania by 1684. 

Mary Levis was born the following year.  By 1692 Samuel was buying land in Springfield, Delaware County PA, 150 acres on Darby Creek.  This was a few miles south of Philadelphia on the Delaware River where there were numerous streams well suited for mills.  He moved his family there, which by 1692 consisted of 7 children.  Mary was the 3rd, and first born in Pennsylvania.  The house still stands in Springfield over 300 years later.  It is called the Checkerboard House.

On 2/2/1703 Mary Levis married Joseph Pennock in her father's home in Springfield, Delaware County, PA. We understand that the house may still be standing and owned by descendants of Samuel Levis. The couple lived in Philadelphia where Joseph was a merchant until 1710 or 1714. He then moved his family to settle on 1200 acres in West Marlborough Township, Chester County that Joseph had inherited from his grandfather George Collett of Ireland. That land had been an original Penn Land Grant.

The family first lived in a log cabin until Joseph erected a large brick mansion they called Primitive Hall in 1738.  Primitive Hall stayed in the family until 1960 when it was transferred to the Primitive Hall Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization whose Board and many members are comprised of Joseph Pennock descendants. The house is considered one of the most important houses in Pennsylvania reflecting the sense of 18th Century solitude and strength.

In the stately house Joseph, then a Justice of the Peace held court. A room in the basement even served as a temporary jail cell. Indians were always welcome. Joseph and two of his sons, Nathaniel and Joseph, Jr. served in the Colonial legislature. Joseph served almost continuously from 1716 to 1744

He was also active in the affairs of the London Grove Friends Meeting. In 1751 he transferred property to the London Grove Meeting. The deeds are found in Chester County, PA Deed Book H pages 199 and 205.

Joseph and Mary had twelve children:
1. Elizabeth born 1703 married Edward Tatnall
2. Samuel born 1705, died 1754 wed Elizabeth Widowfield
3. William born 1707 died 1763 wed Hannah Chamberlain and then Alice Mendinhall
4. Mary born 1709
5. John
6. Nathaniel born 1712 died between 1774 & 1786 wed three times: Jane Pusey, Ann Bennett, and Sarah Bourn .
7. Joseph born 1715 died 1800 wed Sarah Taylor
8. Ann born 1720
9. Sarah wed Humphrey Marshall
10. Hannah wed Jacob Marshall
11. Levis born 1725 died 1817 wed Ruth Marshall
12. Susanna wed Isaac Evans

Mary Levis Pennock died 1-2-1747/8 or March 2, 1747/8.  Joseph Pennock continued to live at Primitive Hall until his death 3/27/1771, May 27, 1771.



If you know the answer please CONTACT US

1.  where did the Levis family live there first 8 years in Pennsylvania?


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