Introduction to Descendants of Roger Kirk, by Chas. H. Stubbs, M.D., 1872

The old traditionary story "of having descended from three brothers," who came from England, Ireland, or some other foreign land, and settled in different localities, is told and believed by many of the descendants of the first colonists of south-eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In fact, this ancient, stereotyped tradition, seems to attach itself to all our old families; and is related with an unction ,sufficient to make one, not cognizant of the uncertainties connected with genealogy, accept it as a historical truth.

The Kirk Family, of Nottingham, being among the oldest established in Pennsylvania, does not lack in traditionary lore as regards ancestry.

As a natural sequence we have the following:

1. "The Kirks are all descended from three brothers: Alphonsus, who came from Ireland, and settled in New Castle, Delaware; Jacob, who settled on the rich lands of the Conestoga, and Roger, who located near the waters of North-East Creek."

2. The first who came to America was Alphonus Kirk, and from him descended all of the name of Kirk in this country. After three years' patient search and inquiry, having access to many old documents of a historical nature, we have arrived at the conclusion that none of the above statements have any foundation in fact.

Prior to the arrival of William Penn, and for many years after this event, a number of persons of the name of Kirk migrated to this country, settled in different localities , and eventually became the founders of numerous families. In all probability they came from the same region of country in the "Old World," but to tell what relation they bore to each other, is, at this late day, a matter of impossibility.

In our genealogical researches we have succeeded in tracing our family back to Roger Kirk, of East Nottingham; but no farther.

Of him little is known, save what can be learned in the different provisions of his "last will and testament." It appears that lie was among the pioneers of Nottingham, and, reasoning a priori, are led to infer that he migrated from the north of Ireland. He located in East Nottingham, Chester county, Province of Pennsylvania, at least as early as 1712, ,where, at different times, he purchased large tracts of land, situated on both sides, and extending for a great distance along, North-East Creek. By occupation, he was a weaver, and it would seem that he carried on this business together with farming.

He was married about the year 1714, to Elizabeth Richards, of Aston, of whom we have the following account:

Among the early settlers in Chichester township (now Delaware County), Pa., were Joseph Richards and his wife Jane, who doubtless came from England.

Their children were Joseph, Nathaniel, Ann, who married Anthony Weaver, and Humphrey Scarlet,. and Susanna, who married James Lownes, of Springfield. The father died about the year 1710.

Nathaniel Richards was a blacksmith, and settled in Aston township, where he died in the year 1700, leaving a wife, Mary, and four children: William, Nathaniel, Elizabeth and Mary.

From the will of Richard Mason, of Aston, who died in 1715, it would appear that Nathaniel's wife was his sister, and if so, she was the daughter of Richard Mason, who died in 1714, leaving a wife, Abigail, and children, Thomas, Joseph, Benjamin, Abraham, Richard, Mary, Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth and Susanna. After a time Mary Richards married again to one Thomas Rowland, of Aston, who probably came from Cheshire, England. Being Friends, but the marriage not being celebrated in the usual manner, they afterward made an acknowledgment for having acted contrary to the -advice of the meeting.

About the year 1707 they removed westward, to William Penn's Manor, now New Garden township, and settled in a beautiful valley, on a tract of 700 acres, which they called "Marberry." This land extended from the present village of Toughkennamon, eastward to the line of Kennett township. Thomas Rowland died in 1708, and without having obtained a deed for the land, which was, however, confirmed to the widow within the same year. In 1712 she purchased 438, acres of adjoining land to the eastward. The Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad now passes through both of these tracts. In 1713 Mary was married to a third husband, Evan Powell, a widower of Nottingham, who came to live with her on her property in New Garden. William and Mary Richards, the children of her first husband, probably died young, while Nathaniel and Elizabeth, the other two, accompanied their mother in her removal from Aston.

Nathaniel married Margaret, daughter of Allen Wiley,, and Elizabeth became the wife of Roger Kirk.

Nathaniel left three sons, William, Nathaniel and Isaac. His widow married William Carpenter, an Englishman, who, settled in New Garden. Thomas and Mary Rowland had three daughters, viz.: Mary, who married Joshua Hadley; Ruth, who married William Miller, and Rachael, who married Thomas Wiley. By her third husband she had one daughter, Sarah Powell, born in 1714, who became the wife of Joseph Dixon.

Mary Powell -the mother of Elizabeth Kirk -died on the 17th of 3d month (March), 1731-2, and her husband about the year 1736.

The next mention of Roger and Elizabeth Kirk is in a deed conveying a part of his estate to his oldest son, Timothy. "This Indenture," made the twenty-fifth day of the fifth month, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty,-two, between Roger Kirk, of the township of Nottingham and County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania, Weaver, and Elizabeth, his wife, of the one part, and Timothy Kirk, of Nottingham aforesaid, Planter, and son of the aforesaid Roger Kirk and Elizabeth, his wife, on the second part, witnesseth that the aforesaid-Roger Kirk and Elizabeth, his wife, for the consideration of twenty-five shillings lawful money of the said Province of Pennsylvania, paid by their said son, Timothy Kirk, the ------granted, bargained and sold and ------Do give, grant, bargain and sell unto the said Timothy Kirk, a certain messuage, tennament, plantation and tract of land, ------lying and being ---------aforesaid and joining at --------a line of Joseph Tremble's land, and being a corner of William Cole's land, thence extending north by the said Joseph Tremble's land, --------lying and being -----------two hundred and thirty perches to a White Oak; thence south eighty-seven degrees, westerly by land of the said Roger Kirk, one hundred and forty perches to a heap of stones; thence by Joshua Brown's land twenty -------and Jeremiah Brown's and Isaac Brown's land two hundred and thirty perches to a Spanish oak, being another corner of the said William Cole's land; thence -------westerly ------one hundred and forty perches to the place of beginning, containing two hundred acres, be there more or less, together with all the out-houses and barns, buildings, garden, orchard, ways, rights, liberties, privileges, implements and appurtenances, ---------and the reversions, remainders thereof. To have and hold the aforesaid messuages with their appurtenances, and the said Timothy Kirk, his executors, administrators and assigns --------hereof, for and during the term of one year, ------to intent ------and of the statuet for transfering uses unto possession the said Timothy Kirk way be in the actual possession of the premisses with the appurtenances. -------Released and confirmed -----------his heirs and assignes forever.

In witness the said partners to these presents have interexchangably set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.

Signed and sealed in the presence of

John White,,

William Kirk,

Thos. Woodward.

ROGER KIRK, [seal.]


On the day following the execution of this deed, 5 mo. 26th, 1752, Roger Kirk conveyed another farm, containing 340 acres, to his son, Timothy Kirk, making in all 540 acres.

In the language of the old records of the monthly meeting at Nottingham, "Roger Kirk, Sr., died at his house near North-East Creek, ye 28th day of ye 3 month, 1761."

His residence, or at least the one he occupied at the time of his death, is still standing, and in a good state of preservation. [this was written in 1872] It is a small, antiquated, two-story brick, situated close on the highway (a short distance west of North-East Creek) leading from Brick Meeting House to Port Deposit, Md. It is now the property of Horace Duyckinck, who also owns the major part of the original farm once possessed by our common ancestor.

Two years before his decease, Roger Kirk made the following, "his last will and testament:"

To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come or may concern:

Know ye that I, Roger Kirk, of the Township of West Nottingham, in the County of Chester, in the Province of Pennsylvania, Weaver, being at this time weak in body, but of sound and disposing mind and memory, for which I am humbly thankfull, and calling to rememberance the uncertainty of time here, do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following: That is to say, first and principally, I reccommend my spirit to God that gave it, and my body to be buried in a plain and decent manner, in Friend's burying ground, at their publick meeting place in East Nottingham. And as touching my worldly estate which God in mercy hath bestowed upon me, I give and dispose of the same as followeth, viz.:

First. -I will that all my just debts which I owe in right or concience, to any person or persons whatsoever, together with my funeral expenses, be first paid and discharged by my Executrix, hereafter named, out of my personal estate, as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.

ITEM. -I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved wife, Elizabeth Kirk, and to her assigns for, and during her natural life, and after her decease to my son Samuel Kirk, his heirs and assigns forever, without impeachment of waste, all that part of my plantation whereon I now dwell, lying north of the Great Road, except ten acres part thereof herein after devised to my son William Kirk, she my said wife allowing unto my Bon Samuel, one-half of the grass which shall grow in the big meadow for hay, only; he my said son Samuel at all times maintaining one-half of the fence round the said meadow.

I also give, unto my said wife, during her natural life, the North end of the Frame House in which I now dwell, and the northern part of the cellar; one half of the Orchard, half the gardens and privileges of the draw-well and the oven; as also the north end of the barn, and the use of the floor of said barn for thrashing, &c., and the shop, called the Weaver Shop, and one-half the stables, together with free, peacable, and undisturbed way and passage into and out of the house, barn, stables, orchard, gardens, shops, &c., and also, I give and bequeathe unto my said wife for and during her natural life, my Mulatto girl, called Phillis, and my negro girl, called Jenny. I also give and bequeathe unto my said wife, my negro man, called Harry, and my Mulatto boy, called Toby.

I give, devise, and bequeathe unto my said wife and to her heirs and assigns forever, all my right, tittle and interest, which I have of, in and unto a certain tract, piece or parcel of land, situated in East Nottingham, together with appurtances, containing by computation one hundred acres, being the same lands I purchased in right of David Brown.

ITEM. -I give and bequeath unto my son, Timothy Kirk, the sum of five pounds, and unto his wife, Ann Kirk, I also give the sum of five pounds.

ITEM. -I give and bequeath unto my son, William Kirk, the quantity of ten acres of land, being part of my said plantation whereon I now dwell, joining the land of Joshua Brown and his other land, to be surveyed to him in regular and uniform manner, as soon as conveniently may be after my decease, to hold to him, his heirs and assigns forever. I give also unto my said son, William Kirk, the sum of five pounds, and unto his wife, Mary Kirk, I also give the sum of five -pounds. I also give and bequeath unto my said son, William Kirk, and to his heirs and assigns immediately after the decease of my said wife, my said mulatto girl, called Phillis.

ITEM. -I give and bequeath unto my daughter, Elizabeth Woodward, the sum of thirty pounds, and unto her husband, Thomas Woodward, I also give the sum of five pounds.

ITEM. -I give agd bequeath to Matthew Aughiltree, husband to my daughter Deborah, deceased, the sum of five shillings.

ITEM. -I give and bequeathe unto my daughter, Rebecca Cook, and to her heirs and assigns, my mulatto girl, called Violet, and also the sum of fourty pounds, and unto her husband, John Cook, I also give the sum of five pounds.

ITEM. -I give and devise and bequeaths unto my said son Samuel Kirk, and to his heirs and assigns, forever all my said plantation whereon I now dwell, with all and singular the hereditaments and appurtances thereunto belonging, or, in anywise appertaining; except part thereof herein before bequeathed to my said son William, end the parts, privileges herein before bequeathed unto my said wife during her natural life, which said parts and privileges herein before bequeathed to my said wife. I will my said son Samuel, his heirs and assigns, be in full possession immediatly after decease, and my said son Samuel, to be in full possession of that part of my plantation, lying south of the Great Road, immediatly after my decease, except the privilages before mentioned to my said wife during her natural life, on said south part of my plantation, and she my said wife to have free, peacable privilage to take of the grain on said south part of my plantation ; and also I give and bequeaths to my said son Samuel, and to his heirs and assigns, three of my working horses, four. cows, and six sheep, and the value of five pounds worth of household goods, and the sum of twelve pounds, and from and immediatly after my decease, one-half of all my implements of husbandry, such as carts, plows, harrows and their irons, and horse harness; and from and immediatly . after the decease of my said wife, my said negro girl named Jenny, &e.

ITEM. -I Will that the legacies herein before mentioned, I do order to be paid within two years after my decease, by my Executrix herein after appointed, in lawful money of Pennsylvania.

ITEM. -I give and devise and bequeaths unto my grandson Roger Kirk (son of Timothy Kirk), and to his heirs and assigns, forever, all that tract or parcel of land with the appurtenances, situated, lying, and being in East and West Nottingham, containing, by computation, one hundred and fourty acres, to be the same, more or less, joining the landsof the said Timothy Kirk and others.

ITEM. -I give, devise and bequeaths to my assigns forever, one full, equal, and undivided fourth part of a certain lot of land, situated in Charlestown, on North East River, together with the appurtenances.

IT.EM. -I give, devise, and bequeaths the other full, equal, and undivided fourth part of the said lot, with the appurtenances, unto my grandson, Samuel Woodward, to hold to him, his heirs and assigns forever.

ITEM. -I give and beqaeathe unto my grandaughter, -,Rebecca Woodward, one feather bed and furniture and a pair of large chests or drawers, standing in the lower room.

ITEM. -I give and bequeaths unto my grandson, Jacob Wollison (son of Joseph and Deborah Wollison, dee'd), the sum of ten pounds, to be paid when he arrives at the age of twenty-one years.

ITEM. -I give and bequeathe unto my grandson, William Wollison, (son of Joseph and Deborah Wollison dee'd), the sum of ten pounds, when he arrives at the age of twenty-one years.

I give and bequeathe to my grandaughter, Elizabeth Wollison (daughter of Joseph and Deborah Wollison, deceased), the sum of ten pounds, to be paid when she arrives at the age of eighteen years.

ITEM. -I give and bequeaths to my grandaughter, Catharine Wollison (daughter of Joseph and Daborah Wollison, deceased), the sum of ten pounds, to be paid when she arrives at the age of eighteen years.

ITEM. -I give and bequeaths to my grandson, Joseph Wollison (son of Joseph and Deborah Wollison, deceased), the sum of ten pounds when he arrives at the age of twenty-one years; and all the rest, residue and remainder of all and singular, my goods, chattles, rights and credits whatsoever, both real and personal, of what nature and kind soever the same may be of, and not herein given or bequeathed, I give and bequeathe unto my said wife, Elizabeth Kirk, and to her heirs and assigns forever, whom I nominate, constitute and appoint whole and sole executrix of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former will and wills heretofore by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the thirtieth day of the sixth month, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine (1759).

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and declared by the said Roger Kirk, the testator for, and as his last will and testament, in the presence of us the subscribers, who subscribed our names in his presence.

Elisha Hughes

Benjamin Chandlee, ROGER KIRK,

Alexander M'Caskey.

The following were the children of Roger and Elizabeth Kirk:



1715,10, 9;


---, ---, ---.



1717, 11, 17;


1784,11, 15.



1719, 11, 25;


1767, 6, 30.



1721-2 5 1;


1812, 1, 25.



1723, 5, 2;


---, ---, ---.



1729,8, 25;


---, ---, ---.



1733, 9, 23;


176-, 7, 30.

Of these seven children it appears -five were married, and two died single. The latter were Mary, the eldest, and Samuel, the youngest of the family.

Timothy, the eldest son, was married first to Anne Gatchell, daughter of Elisha and Rachel Gatchell; and second, to Ann McLaughlin. William, the second son, married Mary Robinson. Elizabeth, the second daughter, married Thomas Woodward. Deborah married Jos. Wollison, and Rebecca married John Cook.

The descendants of all these families, save those of Joseph and Deborah Wollison, John and Rebecca Cook, have been traced out in this work, and will be found as nearly complete as a record of this kind can be made.

For the benefit of any future genealogist who may feel an interest in searching up the Cook branch of our family, we give the following as a basis from which to commence the work:-

Rebecca Kirk, married 1752, at East Nottingham, to John Cook.

Children of John and Rebecca Cook.

Elizabeth, born -, -, -; died 1813, 5, 25. Married at London Grove, 1772, 11, 25, to Jacob, son of William and Phbe Brown, of West Nottingham. Jacob was a carpenter. Elizabeth was interred in the family graveyard near her house.

Eleanor, born -, -, -married at London Grove, 1779, 5, 5, to Nathan Sidwell, of West Nottingham, son of Hugh and Ann.

John, born -, -, -; married at New Garden, 1784, 12, 2, to Elizabeth Davis, daughter of Caleb and Margaret, of New Garden.

Timothy Kirk, designated as a planter, eldest son of Roger and Elizabeth, was a member of the Society of Friends, and married his first wife according to the discipline of this religious society. The certificate of his marriage is the oldest containing the name of Kirk found in "Nottingham Records." It may prove of much interest to those not familiar with the regulations concerning marriage as adopted by this religious denomination ; we therefore insert it just as taken from the Friends' archives, kept at Nottingham.

Whereas, Timothy Kirk, son of Roger Kirk, and Annie Gatchell, daughter of Elisha Gatchell, of East Nottingham, in county and province aforesaid, having declared their intentions of marriage before several monthly meetings of the Christian people, called Quakers, in East Nottingham aforesaid, according to the good order used among them, and having consent of parents and relations concerned their said proposals of marriage. After deliberate considemtion they appear clear of all others, were approved by the said meetings.

Now these may certify whom it may concern, that for the full accomplishment of their said intentions, this 29th day of 8th month, A. D. 1741, they, the said Timothy Kirk and Annie Gatchell, appeared in a public meeting of the said people, assembled at their public meeting place, in East Nottingham aforesaid, where they, ye said Timothy Kirk, taking the said Annie Gatchell by the hand, did in a solemn manner openly declare that he took her to be his wife, promising, with Divine assistance, to be unto her a loving and a faithful husband until it should please the Lord by death to separate them. And then and there, in the said assembly, the said Annie Gatchell did in like manner declare that she took him, the said Timothy Kirk, to be her husband, promising, with Divine assistance, to be unto him a loving and a faithful wife, until it should please the lord by death to separate them, or words to that effect. Moreover, they, the said Timothy Kirk and Annie Gatchell (she, according to the customs of marriage, assuming her husband's surname), did as a further confirmation thereof, then and there, to these presents, set their hands as husband and wife.



And we, being, present at the solemnization of the said marriage and subscription in manner aforesaid, do as witnesses hereunto also subscribe our names the day and year first above written:

Mary Eigar,

Jas. Johnston,

Elisha Gatchell,

Eliza Baker,

John Jacob,

Roger Kirk

Jane Brown,

Messer Brown,

Rachel Gatchell,

Hannah Brown,

Joseph Jacob,

Eliz Kirk,

Lyddia Day,

Joseph Wooliston,

William Kirk,

Susannah Elgar,

Will. Bristow,

M'll. Kirk,

Annie Ruddell,

William Brown,

Jon. Price,

Joseph Haines,

Jas. Lowery,

Mary Kirk,

Joshua Brown,

Jer'h Brown, Jr.,

E. Gatchell, Jr.,

Esther Brown,

John Ruddell,

Mary Winter,

David Hughes,

Joseph Richardson,

Martha Kirk,

Elisha Hughes,

Eliz. Kirk, Jr.,`

Cornelius Ruddell,

Deborah Kirk,

Henry Reynolds, Jr.


Soon after commencing the task of collecting material for a genealogy of our family, we became aware of the fact of there being another planted in Nottingham of the same name, whose history could be traced back to a period anterior to our own. This was the Kirk family as established by Alphonsus Kirk, who migrated from Lurgan, county of Armagh, North Ireland, and arrived in this country in the year 1688.

In the latter part of this volume will be found an imperfect record, as handed down by Rachel Price, and others, of about three hundred names of those who are descended from this settler. The narration of incidents connected with the establishment of homes in the then newly settled provinces, as there given, is not only highly interesting, but instructive.

It will be perceived that Roger, the eldest son of Alphonsus, was cotemporaneous with him who was the founder of our family.

This Roger was born in Delaware, on the 21st of 1 mo., 1694; was married at Nottingham, 9th of 12th mo., 1726, to ,Jean, daughter of Henry Bowen, of Cecil county, Maryland, and died 19th of 12 mo., 1762. His children were:



1727, 9, 6;


---, ---, ---.



1728, 2, 22;


---, ---, ---.



1730, 3, 9;


---, ---, ---.



1731, 9, 5;


---, ---, ---.



1733, 12, 1;


---, ---, ---.



1734, 2, 22;


1824, 3, 4.



1736, 2, 10.





1738, 12, 17.





1740, 12, 27.










1744, 12, 10.





1746, 12, 18.





1750, 12, 13.



What relation these two Roger Kirks bore to each other, is a problem we have been unable to solve.

Having dwelt at some length upon everything that could be ascertained of a historical nature, relative to the early settlers of the name of Kirk, and their settlements made in the counties of Chester and Delaware, Pa., and New Castle, Del., we now proceed to trace out our family to the eighth generation, adopting a form we now believe accepted by our best New England genealogists.