Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mercy Me! Disowned and with Presidential Ties!

     Phoebe Lovett Goldsberry’s ancestors, the Lovett family, was described in a previous blog (4/12/16).  Her family, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) have many records in the Friends Meeting Minutes.  There are many, many pages of Minutes, of which I have read only a few.  Owen Lovett, Phoebe’s great-grandfather is hard to find in the records.  Perhaps this is because he had a relatively short life, dying when he was just forty years old.  On the other hand, he may have left the Quaker church.

     Owen’s wife, however, is another story.  Mercy Stackhouse (1756-1845) is mentioned often in the Meeting Minutes.  Her birth is recorded in the Falls Meeting Minutes on December 4, 1756.  Her parents were Joshua and Margery Cutler Stackhouse.  Her marriage to Owen Lovett is recorded in Northampton County, PA on March 11, 1776.  She was “condemned” by Falls Church for “marrying out of unity,” which means Owen was not a member of a Quaker congregation at the time.  There is also a condemnation for her “outgoing in marriage” in 1789 and in 1827, a Mercy Lovett was “disowned.”  A certificate of disownment is dated on April 4, 1833.  However, a Mercy Lovett, designated a widow, is back on the list of members in 1835.  More research is needed to understand exactly what all went on with our dear Mercy. 

     Joshua Stackhouse, Mercy’s father, was the son of Joseph and Sarah Stackhouse, and his birth is recorded in the Middletown Meeting Minutes as being the 21st day of the 5th month in 1732.  One might think that that would be May 21, but until 1751, the Quakers used March 25 as the beginning of the year.  Experts have transcribed his birthdate as July 21, 1732.  His married Margery Cutler on November 22, 1753.  He shows up in the Septennial Census of Pennsylvania in 1786, and died later that year on September 3, 1786.

     Joshua’s father, Joseph Stackhouse, was born to Thomas and Grace Stackhouse on July 20, 1703.  His mother died when he was only five years old.  He married Sarah Copeland on May 20, 1725, which was recorded in the Middletown Meeting Minutes.  He died June 7, 1774.

      Thomas Stackhouse came to America in 1682, in the fleet of ships arranged by William Penn.  He traveled with his uncle, who was also named Thomas.  Thomas, the nephew, was sometimes listed as Thomas, Jr. even though he was not the son of Thomas, Sr. 
Thomas Stackhouse Property (south of New Town, east of river)
Thomas, Jr. was very involved in community affairs, representing his county in the Colonial Assembly of Pennsylvania from 1711-1715.  He also served as a county commissioner, whose duties included laying out roads.  He helped build the first Middletown Meeting House, which they used until they outgrew the space about 1720.  The new Meeting House, built of stone, is still standing in Langhorne, PA, and still in use with the Society of Friends.  Services are at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

     Thomas must not have been able to read and write when he arrived in America because when the members were asked to sign a pledge to not sell rum to the Indians, he had to just make his mark.  However, in 1697, there is a record of him borrowing a “primer” from the Meeting, and must have learned, along with his children, because in 1725, he was able to sign his own name on his son’s marriage certificate. 

     Thomas married three times.  He had nine children with his first wife, Grace Heaton, including our direct-line ancestor, Joseph.  After Grace died, he had five children with his second wife, Ann Mayos.  After Ann’s death, he married Dorothy Heston, but they had no children together.

     One of the most interesting facts about the Stackhouse Family is that the George Bush Family is also descended from Thomas Stackhouse!  Imagine that, we share a bloodline with two U.S. Presidents!

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