An Out-Of-Meeting Experience


Last week, I announced that my wife had an ancestor that could be traced back to the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts. Being the competitive sort, I immediately focused on my family lines to see if I could uncover something as historically important stemming from those who share my DNA. And darned if I didn’t.

It may not have been the Mayflower or Plymouth Rock but on my maternal grandmother’s side, I did have relatives who were with William Penn as he settled Pennsylvania. 

Ellis and Jane Jones were Quakers who believed they were not living the freedom that God granted them. They, along with their three daughters and infant son, boarded the ship Submission, one of 22 ships that sailed with William Penn’s new colonists in search of a better life. It was an arduous journey that, at the end, unceremoniously deposited them at Choptank, Maryland. They had to make the rest of the way overland.

Once they arrived and settled, Dorothy, one of the Jones’ daughters, met and married Richard Cantrell who was already there. This was not without controversy as Dorothy was a Quaker and Richard and the Cantrell family were members of the Church of England. The records therefore reflect that the marriage was “out of meeting,” to use an old Quaker term, which indicated that Dorothy married a non-Quaker and most likely was disowned by her fellow church members. 

There is no definitive explanation for how or when Richard arrived in the States. It is a well known fact that at this time there were people who would come to a new colony before the immigrants arrived in order to greet them and help them get established; to try and minimize the loss of life that once plagued the Plymouth colony. It is presumed Richard was one of these. There is a family story that he, Richard, was related to William Cantrell who came to Jamestown, Virginia as part of John Smith’s expedition but that has yet to be verified. In any case, Richard was my great-grandfather, 7 generations removed, and played a part in the founding of Pennsylvania.

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