Friday, October 17, 2014

Beeks line: James Moon, immigrant, Quaker, and challenge

No one seems to agree on when or where James was born, so he has several listed birthplaces and at least three sets of listed parents. The most likely set of parents would be William Moone and Catherine Kynge. A son named James was baptised on August 23, 1639 at Ashwick, Somerset, England per records found on Ancestry (Names listed as William and Katherine). 

Even his wife is a mystery.  Printed sources from as long ago as 1895 give his wife as Joan Burgess, but no records have been found as of now to prove that.  However, it appears that at least one child was born in Bristol, and Bristol is just 18 miles from Ashwick, so it is plausible that children were born in Bristol and that James and his wife Joan lived there prior to their immigration.

If the baptism noted above is our James, he was baptized into the Church of England.  At some point, James and Joan became Quakers. It is possible that one or both sets of parents were Quakers, also, but since we aren't sure who the parents are I have not researched further back for the families.  The Quakers were a persecuted group in England, and many left for the New World in search of religious freedom. Fortunately, William Penn had been granted a large amount of land, which he in turn sold in order to build his colony   

In 1682, the Moons with their six children (Sarah, James, Jonas, Jasper, Mary, and Roger) came to the New World with William Penn. They reached Newcastle on the Delaware River on October 27, 1682.  They settled near Falsington in Bucks County, Pa on 125 acres of land purchased from William Penn, and there lived the rest of their lives.  They cleared the land for a large orchard and for pasture land, where they raised cattle. We can assume that they raised other crops, too, for their own use if not to sell. This was wilderness and if there were no Indian troubles due to William Penn's good relationship with the native Americans, there were beasts of prey (wolves, bear, panther) and winter weather and other challenges, besides just making a living. They were members of the Falls Monthly Meeting of Friends, Joan attending all services and preferring to walk when she was past 80 years of age.  James died in 1713 and Joan in 1739, and they are buried at the old Quaker Cemetery in Fallsington, Bucks County, Pa. 

For more information, I recommend the website at family-forest.net/JamesMoonNotes.  It is speculative since his parents aren't really proven, but if William Moon was James's father, then the line may go back to the de Mohuns, and can be traced back to at least 1042. It's fun to think about those far distant families, as some are noted to have had fascinating lives.

The line of descent is

James Moon-Joan possibly Burgess
James Moon-Mary Wilsford
Simon Moon-Lauretha Humphrey
Jacob Moon-Jane Rees
Thomas Moon-Jean Gray
Margaret Ellen Moon-Owen T Reese
Eliza Matilda Reese-Samuel Goodnight Dunham
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents