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Among the early settlers in Pennsylvania was John Chapman, who, with his wife and family, emigrated to America in 1784 and located in Wrightstown Township, Bucks County. Previous to 1684 he had resided in Yorkshire, England. He joined the Society of Friends and married therein Jane Saddler, in 1670.  By profession he was a surveyor. He was the largest landowner in Wrightstown Township, and before his death in 1694, he had acquired at least one half of the lands of that township.

John and Jane Chapman were the parents of several children; their second child, Ann, was born the 18th of the 3d mo. 1676, and died in 1732-3. She became an esteemed minister in the Friends’ Society. She began to travel in the ministry in 1706, and made several religious visits to England with approval.

Upon her return from England in May or June, 1711-12, after one of such gospel journeys, she brought with her Thomas Lancaster, a youth about nine years of age, who became the ancestor of those mentioned in this volume. The writer has been unable to ascertain the names of the parents of Thomas Lancaster, although a diligent search has been made in all records, in England and the United states, that would likely contain the information desired.

Of his early life in Bucks County we have no information.

On the 19th of the 8th mo., 1725, he married Phebe Wardell, in the Wrightstown meeting of Friends. She appears to have been a resident of Wrightstown at that time. It is the first recorded marriage on the records of Buckinham and Wrightstown meeting of Friends, and their certificate shows the names of 42 witnesses.

Phebe was a daugther of John Wardell, a native of Wales. He was a minister in the Society of Friends, and came with his daughter, Phebe, to North America, and settled at Boston. He afterwards removed to Wrightstown, Pennsylvania.

Phebe is said to have been a beautiful woman, bright and intelligent. Thomas and Phebe Lancaster were both ministers in the Society of Friends. They resided at Wrightstown until about 1740, when they removed to Richland Township in Bucks County, which brought them within the verge of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting of Friends. The minutes of that meeting, 25th of 3d month 1742, state that “Thomas Lancaster produced a certificate for himself and wife from Wrightstown monthly meeting, giving a good account of their lives and conversation and edifying ministry, which was read and well received.” On the establishment of Richland Monthly Meeting in 1742, they became members of that Monthly Meeting. On the 19th of 2d month, 1750, Thomas Lancaster obtained permission of the Richland Monthly Meeting to pay a religious visit to Friends on the Islands of Barbadoes and Tortola in the West Indies.

Peter Fearson, of Burlington, New Jersey, also obtained liberty from his Meeting for a similar service.

In July, 1750, in company with John Bringhurst, a member of Philadelphia Meeting, they sailed for Barbadoes Ilsands, which they reached the latter part of August or the first of September.

          John Bringhurst seems to have been in declining health. As appears by certificates from the Meeting on Barbadoes Island, dated 6th of the 7th mo., 1750, the service of these ministers was acceptable to the Friends there.

On the 30th of the 7th month, the death of John Bringhurst occurred. Soon after his death, Thomas Lancaster and Peter Fearson obtained passage to Tortola Island, where they labored fervently, as shown by certificates granted by the meeting held there on the 19th of the 8th month, 1750.

As their work was completed on the Island they took passage homeward.

The health of Thomas Lancaster had become impaired by the climate on the Islands, and he died on his way home and was buried at sea.

The “Collection of Memorials” of deceased ministers and others, printed by Joseph Cruikshank, Philadelphia, in 1787, contains the following testimony from Richland Monthly Meeting concerning Thomas Lancaster:

“About ten years of the latter part of his time, he was a member of this meeting. He was sound in the ministry and exercised his gift therein with great fervency and zeal, his life and conversation corresponding therewith.

In the second month 1750, he lad before our meeting his concern to visit friends on the Islands of Barbadoes and Tortola, which the meeting approved of, and gave him a certificate in order thereto. Towards the latter end of the same year he performed said visit, and had good service there, as appeared by certificates from Friends each of the said Islands.

On his return homewards it pleased Divine Providence to visit him with sickness, of which he died at sea; his removal being deeply felt and lamented by his family and friends at home.”

Thomas Lancaster owned a farm of 480 acres, which he purchased March 16, 1741. It was located about one mile east of the Friends’ meeting-house at Richland, now Quakertown. Tohickon Creek and Muddy Run flow through the farm, and Licking Run empties into Muddy Run a short distance from where the old house formerly stood.

The western half of the farm is now included within the eastern limits of Quakertown.

After the death of Thomas Lancaster, the farm was divided into eleven tracts as shown by the diagram of the farm on another page.

Benjamin Roberts owned part of the tract which has been eaten up into town lots, and Penrose, his son, owns the lot on which the old house was located. Benjamin Roberts erected a new dwelling near the site of the old home of Thomas Lancaster, but nearer the road which leads from Quakertown to Newtown.

On the 17th of the 10th month, 1752, Phebe, widow of Thomas Lancaster, was united in marriage with Samuel Thomas. We have no record of his death or of any children.

On May 4, 1757, Phebe Thomas married John Titus, of Hempstead, Queens County, New York, as shown by the records of Wrightstown Monthly Meeting.

He was born at Westbury, Long Island, 5th month 28, 1698, and died 5th month 28, 1757, only twenty-four days after his marriage to Phebe Thomas.

His will was made at Westbury, February 16, 1757, and a codicil was added 5th month 17, 1757, in which his wife, Phebe, is mentioned. From the witnesses to the codicil it appears that he died of small-pox. John Titus had been married previously to Sarah, daughter of George Pearsall, who died 1st month 28, 1753, leaving six children, the youngest of whom was born 1st month 8, 1743.

Phebe Titus married as her fourth husband, —— Way, of Long Island. The date of this marriage is unknown to the writer, but as her name appears as Phebe Way on the marriage certificate of her son, Aaron Lancaster, the marriage to Way must have taken place prior to that of her son’s, which occurred on the 17th of the 9th month 1767.

After the death of her last husband, she returned to Richland and spent the remainder of her life with her son, John Lancaster, at the old homestead, where she died in her ninety-sixth year.


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Map of Lancaster tract in Richland Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

History of Quakerstown/Richland township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Thomas and Phebe Lancaster Biography