Samuel Wilson (1681 – 1762)

Samuel Wilson is my 6th Great Grandfather

Another Quaker on the Forster side of our family.

His parents brought him to America at age one.  The Home Visitor, a newspaper that published an article on him, states that in was on the “good ship Welcome”  with William Penn along with his 3 sisters and parents in 1682.

Passenger lists were not at that time required, or well kept.  We don’t have any confirmation that Samuel and his parents in fact came on the first voyage of the Good Ship Welcome, with William Penn.  While the family legend reported in the Home Visitor Newspaper article might be true, we don’t have any proof at the moment.

Their purpose was to help found “The Green Country Towne” which is now Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Samuel grew up in Burlington Co., NJ.

He married Hester Overton in 1705 and settled at Crosswicks Creek, Chesterfield Twp., Burlington Co., NJ  on land that his father gave him at his wedding.  They lived there for 25 years, having all their children at this location. They were members of the Chesterfield M.M., in Burlington Co., NJ at that time.

In 1730, they moved to Franklin Twp., Hunterdon Co., NJ where they built a stone mansion on a 600 acre property that he bought from Jacob Doughty.  It was a strong well built home with enormous chimneys and a large beam running across the top.   This home built by Samuel and Hester housed many generations of their descendants, according to  R E Willson’s 1979 The Willson Family 1672-1959.  On page 6 of that book: “By 1907, it became necessary to tear down the mansion, which was then beyond repair.  William D Wolverton, M. D. husband of Annie E. Willson … (d/o) James Willson and Mary A. Laing, built a new house on the original plot.  The original carved stone is still in the west gable, which has the initials S.H.W. 1735 but under it is another similar stone marked – Rebuilt, W. D. W. – 1907.”  It was a mile southwest of Quakertown (C-199, C-740, 1509b)   They helped establish the Kingwood Monthly Meeting in Quakertown sometime after this move.

The dates of their children’s births come from a family bible with both Samuels’ signature in it.  This bible might be preserved at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

Samuel was a Quaker minister for a number of years.  A memorial was issued by the Society of Friends Kingswood Monthly Meeting after his death.  It is transcribed here from “The Jerseyman”, c1898, Vol. 4, pg. 36 retaining spelling and capitalization:

“Our antient Friend Samuel Willson Died thee Ninetheenth Day of the Twelfth month 1761 and was Inter’d in Friends Burying Ground at Kingwood the Twenty-Second Day of the Same Month about the Eightieth year of his Age.  He was a Minister many years which in a general way was well received amongst his Friends.  He was a Diliglent attender of our Meetings both of Worshop and Discipline, till of late years when through his ability & Natural Strength failed so much that he was not able to Stay during the time that Meetings are geneerally held, His life and Coversation (in a good degree) was Solid Sober and Orderly, agreeable to his Ministry.   He was Suddenly Siezed with Death not Lying any time Sick so that he had no time to declare any that might be on his mind to Speak to any of his Friends.  Yet we have good reason to Hope when we consider his former Conduct while he was in his Health and Strength that he has gone to Enjoy that Immortal Crown that is laid up for the Righteous.   Aged 80 years, 5 months, & 14 days.”   (C-865, 1525)

The following is from the book Pioneer Families of Northwestern New Jersey: “IV. Samuel Willson I, born 1681, brought to America when he was one year old, died 1761 in the 8lst year of his age; married Hester Overton, born 1682, daughter of Samuel and Hannah Overton. They settled in Chesterfield township where eight children were born to them: in 1730 they removed to Franklin township in Hunterdon County, N. J.

About a mile southwest of the village of Quakertown in Hunterdon County, N. J., stands an old mansion. It is built of stone and high up on its western gable appears the inscription “s H W 1735.” The initials are those of Samuel and Hester (Overton) Willson who builded there a house which was destined to shelter many generations of their descendants. The house gives evidence of having been well built; the walls laid up in clay are firm and solid and will endure perhaps anoth-er century if no ruder hand than that of time is laid upon them. The enormous chimneys almost stone enough to build a modern sized house. In the western gable near the date stone there is a small square loop-hole which one might suppose had been intend-ed for use in defending the castle against the attacks of Indians were it not for the fact that the owners thereof were members of the peace-loving sect called Quakers. An ancient pent-house protected one of the doors. The partitions of the interior are of wood and are panneled all the way up to the lofty ceiling.

Originally the huge beams were exposed to view, the ceiling being a comparatively recent innovation. Two small windows set quite high in the thick walls admitted but scant light and the general appearance must have been somewhat gloomy.

The great fire-place with its stock-hole in the jamb speaks eloquently of the pleasures of the olden time, for here the young people of the family with their neighboring cousins and friends gathered around to enjoy social converse and innocent games.

Among the many relics still preserved in the Willson family is a large cupboard brought from England by Robert Willson the founder of the American family. Another momento is the original deed dated 1730 for 600 acres of land given by Jacob Doughty in consideration of 300 pounds of lawful silver money. But the oldest and most interesting souvenir is a ‘well worn Bible, the several portions of which were printed at different dates and afterward bound together; the last part is dated 1618. Robert Willson’s autograph appears on one page, and those of Samuel and his sister, Rebecca, on another.

Eight children of Samuel and Hester Overton Willson of Quakertown, N. J.:
I. Samuel Willson II, born 1706, died 1785, married Deborah Willets.
II. Robert Willson, born 1709, died 1785, md. Mary Lundy.
III. Esther Willson, born 1711, married in 1731 Henry Coate of Buckingham, pa.; no further record.
IV. James Willson, born 1713, died 1777, married in 1736 Martha Laing.
V. Sarah Willson, born 1715, married in 1736 Richard Heath; no further record.
VI. Ann Willson, born 1720, removed when a widow in 1784 from. Warren County, N.J., to Carroll County, Va., and died there at the age of 101 years; married Richard Lundy III. Most of their descendants now live in Virginia and Canada.
VII. John Willson, born 1723, died before 1772; married Margaret Lundy. The main purpose of this article is to register some of their newly discovered descendants.
VIII. Gabriel Willson, born 1725, died 1805, married in 1749 Elizabeth Lundy.

Note that four Willsons, a sister and three brothers, married four Lundys, a brother and three sisters.

The four Lundys referred to (Mary, Richard, Margaret and Elizabeth) were children of Richard Lundy II and his wife Elizabeth Large; grandchildren of Richard Lundy I and his wife Jane Lyon, and of Joseph and Elizabeth (—–) Large. ”

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE  FROM THE HOME VISITOR OF FLEMINGTON, N. J. DATED MAR 4, 1894 – William V. Ramsey, Editor and Proprietor

Titled: An Ancient Homestead and Its Inhabitants

About a mile southwest of the village of Quakertown stands the oldest house in the vicinity, possibly the oldest one in the county.  It is built of stone, and high up on its western gable appears the inscription S.H.W. 1735. The initials are those of Samuel and Hester Willson, who, 160 years ago, builded here a home that was destined to shelter many generations of their descendants.

Samuel Willson was born in Scarborough, England, on the shore of the North Sea “On the first day of the fifth month” (July O.S.) 1681, almost 215 years ago.  Tradition positively asserts that he came to this country with his parents and 3 sisters in the “good ship Welcome” which brought William Penn and his associates in 1682 to found the “Greene country towne” where now stands the great city of Philadelphia.

Samuel grew to manhood in Burlington county, married there in 1705 Hester, daughter of Samuel and Hannah Overton, born 1682, and settled in Chesterfield township, where a family of 8 children were born to them.  In 1730 when their youngest child was about 5 years old he purchased of Jacob Doughty, “For and in consideration of the some of Three hundred pounds of lawfull silver money of the King’s Dominions in America, all that tract of land farm or Plantacon scituate in the township of Bethlehem, county of Hunterdon and Western Division of the Province of New Jersey, containing 600 acres.

Perhaps the fact that his only surviving sister, Rebecca, and her husband (Samuel Large, to whom she was married in 1710) had settled the previous year on adjoining land may have been one inducement for Samuel to migrate to this region.  A small stone dwelling, which stood on the present site of an addition which was built to the old house in 1819, is supposed to have been their abode until the new house, now so ancient, was erected in 1735.  One of the masons who helped in its construction was a resident of Woodbridge, Middlesex County.  It gives evidence of having been well built, the walls, laid up in clay, being yet firm and solid and giving promise of enduring perhaps another century if no ruder hand than that of Time is laid upon them.  The enormous chimneys contain almost stone enough to build a moderate sized house.  In the western gable near the date stone is a small square opening somewhat resembling a loop-hole, and one might suppose it had been intended for use in defending the castle against the attacks of Indians were it not for the fact that the owners thereof were members of the peace-loving sect call Quakers.  Running along the exterior walls on both sides is the “water-table” and a descendant of the family recollects the ancient “pent-house” which protected one of the doors, but which has now disappeared.  The partitions of the interior are built of wood and in the large “living room” are paneled all the way up to the lofty ceiling.  Originally the huge beams were exposed to view, the ceiling being of comparatively modern date.  Two rather small windows set quite high in the thick walls admitted but scant light and the general appearance must have been somewhat gloomy.  The mechanic who built the winding stair must have meant that those who used it should earn the rest they sought in the chambers above; the height of the steps is so great that one who climbed them daily for a quarter of a century would have his muscles in good training for climbing the Pyramids.

The great fire-place, with its “stock-hole” in the jamb speaks eloquently of the pleasures of the olden time.  How the young people of the family, with their neighboring cousins and friends must have gathered around it on winter evenings to enjoy social converse and perchance the innocent games of the period.  Perhaps, too, within its ample space, to add to the good cheer

“The mug of cider simmered slow’
The apples sputtered in a row;
While close at hand the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.”

Grandchildren too may have played and prattled in its genial warmth, for already some of the sons and daughters had established homes of their own, in one case, at least, on a part of the father’s tract in sight of the smoke of the home fire.  James, the third son, born 1713, wooed and won Martha Laing, sister of the Woodbridge mason, and the marriage took place there on the “18th day of the 9th month” (Nov. O.S.) 1736.  He probably brought his bride to the family home to take the place of a sister who married the following month.  In 1742 he bought the homestead of his father and engaged in farming as well as in the practice of medicine, he having been one of the first regular practitioners of the county.  A day-book used for his professional charges, shows him to have been no exception to the regulation physician of that day, as blood-letting was resorted to on almost all occasions.

No record is preserved of the date of the mother, Hester’s death, but Samuel, the father, died in 1761.  His sister Rebecca died near the same date, probably in 1760.  It is related that the two old people were very much attached to, and often visited, each other, the host always accompanying the guest a short distance on the homeward way.  A “stile” which had doubtless been erected for their convenience was the usual parting place and they often wept as they separated.

James Willson died August 27, 1777, and his wife six days later.  Of him it was said that he was remarkable charitable to the poor and well beloved by all who knew his virtues; and of her that she filled the place and station of a loving, faithful wife, a tender mother, a kind friend and a good neighbor.”  James and Martha were also the parents of eight children.  Samuel the eldest, born in 1737 and Annie born 1753 never married or changed their place of abode.  Both died at the homestead in 1822.

James, the youngest child, born in 1760, married Lucretia Freeman in 1781.  They also lived at the old home, where he died in 1785, at the early age of twenty-five.  His widow survived him about 4 years and left her 2 young sons to be raised by the bachelor brother and maiden sister.  Samuel, the eldest son, born in 1782, became the future owner of the place, and following him two of his sons were in turn proprietors.  In 1890, one hundred and sixty years after the first purchase, and one hundred and fifty-five after the erection of the old house it passed out of the name, but not out of the family, being now owned by the husband of a great-great-great-gr­anddaughter of Samuel and Hester Willson.

Among the many relics of the olden time still preserved in the family are a large cupboard brought from England by Robert Willson, father of Samuel, in 1682, a dozen or more silver buttons, which probably adorned the “waistcoat” of some—————-­—-THE REST IS MISSING

2 thoughts on “Samuel Wilson (1681 – 1762)

  1. Hi, cousin. I’m a Willson via the Wolverton name. Unfortunately my grandmother and her brother sold off the Willson Farm when I was a child. The cupboard, as you mentioned, is fortunately still safe and sound.

  2. Hi Cousin. Samuel Wilson is my 7th GG. I am on the Overton, Wilson, Coate, Coppock line. Sincerely Thomas Peterson

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