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They Live Again
Last Update of this Page:  February 10, 2001  




The large wave of Quaker immigrants which moved from England to Pennsylvania in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries included two brothers, John Baldwin and William Baldwin, both of whom settled in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, moving there from the Pendle Forest, in Lancashire. During the same period, other Quaker immigrants named Baldwin, probably unrelated, came from other parts of England, with the result that some accounts of the genealogy of John and William Baldwin are confused or incorrect. Although direct proof of the parentage of the two brothers is still not available, their father can be identified with near certainty as John Baldwin of Wheatley in Pendle Forest, an English Quaker who died in 1719. These web pages will set out, with documentation, what is known of the two immigrant brothers and their relatives in England.


The tradition of the Quaker church continued within my ancestors until 1935 when my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Baldwin died.


John and William Baldwin of Bucks County, Pennsylvania 

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin


Of the two brothers, John Baldwin of Makefield township, Bucks co., PA, made his first known appearance in the records at his first marriage in England, in 1697, to Jennet Hartley. The couple received a certificate to move to America in 1698, and the fact that Jennet (Hartley) Baldwin was still alive after the trip to America is proven by her presence as a witness to the 1700 marriage, in America, of Robert Heaton to Jennet’s cousin Grace Pearson, who had in turn witnessed the Baldwin-Hartley marriage in England a few years earlier (and would also witness John Baldwin’s second marriage a few years later). It would seem that Jennet (Hartley) Baldwin did not survive for long after that, and a few years later, John Baldwin married for a second time to Ann Scott, by whom he was ancestor to a large percentage of Quaker Baldwins in the midwest.


Although he had visited America earlier, William Baldwin did not come to America to stay until 1714. The fact that he had a brother named John is clear from his will, which named his brother John “Baldwen” (as the name is often spelled in the early records) as one of his executors. Since John Baldwin of Makefield township came from the same small area of Lancashire as William, and the other known Pennsylvania Quakers named John Baldwin do not make feasible candidates as brothers of William Baldwin, the identity of John Baldwin of Makefield township with William’s brother of the same name is secure.


The parentage of the brothers is more difficult to document, and direct proof of the relationship has not yet been found. However, it is almost certain that they were the sons of John Baldwin of Wheatley, in Pendle Forest, who will be called “John Baldwin Sr.”, to distinguish him from the immigrant, and whose death on 25 twelfth month [February] 1718/9 was recorded by the Marsden Monthly Meeting. It is probable that their mother’s name was Bridget. The evidence for that is as follows:


The birthdates of the three daughters of John Baldwin Sr. match well with the probable birthdates of the immigrants John and William Baldwin.


John Baldwin Sr. was said to be “of Gisborn” (i.e., the parish of Gisburn, co. York), and the 1855 biography of the immigrant William which appeared in The Friend (see below) gives his birthplace as “Gisbourn”.


The same biography of William Baldwin states that he was born “of parents professing the truth” (i.e., Quakers), thus verifying that his parents were members of the Society of Friends.


The records of the Marsden Monthly Meeting show only three Baldwins in a generation older than the two immigrant brothers, of whom two, Anthony and Margaret, brother and sister, both left wills which suggest that they had no children. This leaves John Baldwin Sr. as the only reasonable candidate for the father who appears in the Marsden records.


The residence of “Wheatley” given for John Baldwin Jr. at his first marriage is the same as the residence given for John Baldwin Sr. in his death record.


The immigrant William Baldwin and Elizabeth (Baldwin) Topper were prominent signers of each other’s marriage certificates.


The removal certificate of William “Balwin” to America refers to his parents as being living (“... his aged parents whom he leaves alone, ...”), and the two most prominent signers of that certificate were John “Balwin” and Briget “Balwin”. (William’s brother John was already in America, and was therefore certainly not the man of that name who signed the certificate.)


While none of these pieces of evidence gives direct proof of the relationship, together they make an extremely strong case that John Baldwin Sr. was the father of the two immigrant brothers. Indeed, the words “whom he leaves alone” in William Baldwin’s removal certificate indicate that his parents lived near him (i.e., in Pendle Forest), and we would then expect them to have been members of the Marsden Monthly Meeting. Thus, the lack of any other reasonable candidates for the parents of John and William Baldwin in the Marsden records has strong weight. The parentage of John Baldwin Sr. remains unknown, and the name is too common to identify him among possible baptisms in the area without additional information. One possible clue is presented by two other Baldwin members of the Marsden Monthly Meeting who have no proven connection to John Baldwin Sr., Anthony and Margaret Baldwin, both of whom left wills. Although the possibility remains that they represent a red herring, they still need to be investigated. For an account of Anthony Baldwin and Margaret Baldwin, and transcripts of their wills, click here .


Falsely Claimed Parents for John Baldwin of Bucks, County Pennsylvania


Some unpublished sources, such as the Ancestral File database, have provided John Baldwin (husband of Ann Scott) with incorrect parents, easily proven to be false. These errors have arisen from incorrect identifications with different men named John Baldwin. The two false sets of “parents” which have been offered for John Baldwin are:


John Baldwin of Bucks co., PA, who md. 19 10mo. [Dec] 1689, Sarah Allen.

Francis Baldwin of Chester co., PA, who md. Cicely Coebourne.


Each of these couples did have a son named John, but in both cases the alleged identification of the son named John with the John Baldwin who married Ann Scott is false. In addition to the fact that the first of these couples is chronologically impossible, we can note that both of these couples were earlier immigrants to America, whose children were born in America, and therefore their sons cannot reasonably be identified with an individual who was married for the first time in England in the 1690’s. In addition to that, both of the John Baldwins who were born to the above two couples can be readily identified with other men. For the correct identification of the John Baldwins who were sons of these two couples, see Frank C. Baldwin, The Baldwins From Virginia Westward (Oak Park, IL, 1985), pp. 4, 56.  


Compiled by Richard N. Fox
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