Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Beeks line: Valentine Hollingsworth, Immigrant 1632-1710

The Beeks family has a lot of interesting branches to the tree.  I've found Dutch and Welsh and French lines, some of them going much further back than the Beeks line which is currently stopped at Christopher Beeks, born in 1756 in England.  Valentine Hollingsworth is an example of a branch that was in Ireland for a couple of generations, (prior to that, England, it appears) before coming to the New World and settling in what became Delaware.  Besides being the immigrant of the family, and having an Irish connection, he was also a Quaker.  He is an interesting person to have as an ancestor!

Valentine was born to Henry Hollingsworth and Katheran (possibly Cornish, still unproven) on June 15, 1632 in Belleniskcrannel, Parish of Legoe, County Armagh, Ireland.  Henry was born in 1598 in Hollingsworth Hall Manor, Cheshire, England and died in Ireland. It is believed that he was likely forced to move to Ireland in the attempt to take Catholic lands in Ireland and make them Protestant.   (Most of the settlers had little experience in the kinds of agriculture used in northern Ireland, and were not happy to be in Ireland, anyway.  It was a rough time in history for these folks.)

At some point the Hollingsworth family became Quakers, which meant an even more difficult life, as Quakers were persecuted, jailed, beaten, had their property confiscated, and suffered other indignities due to their religious beliefs and refusal to attend church services held by the Church of England. Valentine married twice, first to Ann Rea (our ancestor) and then to Ann Calvert.  Both marriages took place in Ireland.  Four children were born to the first marriage, and perhaps as many as seven to the second marriage.  It appears that Valentine was more prosperous than some of his other neighbors, as he was able to buy land outright in Ireland.  He may have purchased the land before he became a Quaker, as purchases after becoming known as a Quaker would have been difficult.

By 1682, Valentine and his second wife, with 8 children, had decided to come to America. They were probably encouraged to do so by William Penn or his associates, as he signed the document known as the "Great Charter."  Valentine and his family settled on Shellpot Creek in the Brandywine Hundred, in what is now New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the First Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania, and also a justice of the peace. 

It is difficult for us to realize the challenges that the early settlers had in beginning their new life in the New World.  Since most if not all of the children came with him, many with their own families, each of the children also faced the same challenges, and so many of them lived within relatively short distances of the others. Still, each family had to clear their own land, look to their own protection from Indians and from wild animals, plant and harvest their crops, spin and weave their own cloth, have food available all year round, and provide for other needs of the family.  It would have been a sacrifice for Valentine to also serve on the Assembly and as a justice of the peace, but it shows his character that he was willing to do this.

Valentine's wife Ann had died in Ireland in 1671 and his second wife died in Delaware in 1697.  Valentine is believed to have died in 1710 and was buried in the Friends Cemetery, Newark, New Castle County, Delaware.  This was land that Valentine had donated years earlier, to be a burial ground for the Quaker people. As such, it was a very simple cemetery, and he would likely not be pleased that there is now a substantial monument to him there, but his descendents can be grateful for it.  It can be viewed on Find A Grave.

The line of descent is:

Valentine Hollingsworth-Ann Rea
Mary Hollingsworth-Thomas Conway
Mary Conway-Charles Booth
Lydia Booth-Isaac Malin
Sarah Malin-David Ruble
Hannah Ruble-Samuel Dunham
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Goodnight Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Harshbarger children, grand children, and great grandchildren