James Family Archives


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Children of David James (circa 1660-1739) and Margaret Jane Mortimer of Llandegley and Glascwm Parishes, Radnorshire, Wales:


1.    Mary James:  born circa 1681 in Radnorshire, Wales; migrated to Pennsylvania with parents and arrived in Philadelphia with William Penn on October 28, 1682; first marriage July 4, 1705 to John David/Davies, son of Ellis David, who reportedly returned to Wales and died there; second marriage to John Taylor; remained member of the Religious Society of Friends (“Quakers”) following her father’s conversation to the Baptist Church during Keithian Schism of the 1690’s; appointed “executrix” of her father’s estate in 1702 and administrated sale of father’s “head land” in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania to Stephan ab Evan before the the Quaker Land Commissioners as well as the sale of two lots in Philadelphia (present day “Independence National Historic Park”); died March 1732; buried March 13, 1732 at Friends Arch Street Meeting House Burial Ground, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; known children include:  Elizabeth Davies, David Davies, Jane Davies and Susannah Davies.


2.    Thomas James:  born circa 1690 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; first marriage in 1738 to Mary Jones (1716-1745), daughter of Deacon Griffith Jones (1671-1753) (Great Valley Baptist Church) and Catherine John (1684-1747) of Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; second marriage in 1749 to Sarah Henderson (1720-1800), daughter of Alexander Henderson (1696-1771) and his wife Jane (-1775); baptized in 1733 at the Great Valley Baptist Church in Tredyffrin Township (present day “Devon”), Chester County, Pennsylvania; given lands by his father David and step-mother Jane in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in the vicinity of Mount Joy; died intestate January 1753 in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; location of burial unconfirmed but believed to be an unmarked grave in the Great Valley Baptist Church in Devon, Pennsylvania; custody of his surviving children determined by the Philadelphia Orphan Court; known children through Mary Jones include:  Enoch James, Leah James and Elias James; known children through Sarah Henderson include:  Daniel James and Jonathan James.


3.    Rebecca James:  born circa 1705 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; married circa 1730 in Pennsylvania to John Miles (circa 1703 - circa 1757), son of Richard Miles (1654-1713) and Sarah Evans (1666-1756), of Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; admitted by baptism with husband to the Great Valley Baptist Church in Tredyffrin Township (present day “Devon”), Chester County, Pennsylvania - no date given and no record of subsequent removal; died circa 1752 (aged 42) following lingering illness in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; most likely buried at Great Valley Baptist Church in Devon, Chester County, Pennsylvania; known children include: Rebecca Miles, Catherine Miles, Jane Miles, Sarah Miles, Enos Miles, James Miles, John Miles and Hannah Miles.


4.    Sarah James:  born February 13, 1710/11 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; married February 18, 1736/37 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania to Reverend John Thomas (1713-1790) of Hilltown Baptist Church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and, son of Elder William Elias Thomas (1678-1757) and Ann Griffith (1680-1752); died April 2 or 5, 1805 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; buried at Hilltown Baptist Churchyard, Bucks County, Pennsylvania; known children include:  Anna Thomas, Rebecca Thomas, Leah Thomas and Sarah Thomas.


5.    Isaac James:  date of birth unconfirmed in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; date of death unconfirmed; known to have had at least one son: David James.


6.    Evan James:  born circa 1715 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; married June 8, 1739 to Margaret Jones (-1790), daughter of Deacon Griffith Jones (1671-1753) and Catherine John (1684-1747) of Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania;; baptized in 1733 at the Great Valley Baptist Church in Tredyffrin Township (present day “Devon”), Chester County, Pennsylvania; inherited James family Mansion House and surrounding acreage in Radnor Township settled by his father in 1682; assigned responsibility for the care of his father’s second wife and widow “Jane” following the death of his father on June 27, 1739; in October 1793 (one month following the conclusion of the Revolutionary War) donated half acre atop “James Hill” for the construction of a Methodist Episcopal Church (present day site of “Radnor United Methodist Church”); died circa 1794; buried in an unmarked grave at Radnor United Methodist Church graveyard, Bryn Mawr, Delaware County, Pennsylvania; known children include: Rebecca James, Griffith James, Samuel James, Hannah James and Rachel James.




David James (circa 1660-1739) was born to Thomas James (occurring in the record 1637-1662) and Mary ferch Thomas, a Quaker family in Radnorshire, Wales between the parishes of Glascwm and Llandegley. He was also the grandson of James ap David (occurring in the record 1606-1637) of Llandegley, the progenitor of the James family. On November 27, 1680, David married Margaret Jane Mortimer, the daughter of Edward Mortimer (1631-1704) of Fyfield, Wiltshire, England and Catherine Houston.  The couple gave birth to their first child, Mary James, prior to the departure from Wales in 1682.


In 1660 King Charles II was restored to the throne of England heralding in a dark period in English history known as the Restoration. This followed five years of rule from 1653 to 1658 by Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector and head of state of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. With the Restoration the Anglican bishops were restored to their prior positions of power within Parliament launching a period of strict Anglican orthodoxy and persecution of “non-conformist” denominations or “sects.” Among those dealt a very heavy hand were members of the Religious Society of Friends (“Quakers”) to which the James family belonged. During this period of severe religious persecution members of the James family were arrested, imprisoned and persecuted because of their unwillingness to swear an Oath of Allegiance to King Charles the II and the Anglican Church. By 1680 the James family was forced to sell their water-powered grist mill called Bettws Mill near Hundred House, located between Llandegley and Glascwm parishes in Radnorshire. This mill was constructed by the family’s progenitor James ap David in 1630.


In 1681, within a year of his marriage to Margaret Jane Mortimer, David James (1660-1739) purchased rights to 100 acres of land, sight unseen, in Sir William Penn’s new colony of Pennsylvania in North America through his land agent Richard Davies while still living in Radnorshire, Wales. David, his wife Margaret along with their infant daughter Mary hastily departed Bristol, Wales in the Fall of 1682 and arrived at Penn’s Landing in present day Philadelphia on October 28, 1682 aboard the sailing ship Bristol Factor, captained by Roger Drew.  David, Margaret and Mary were permitted to sail to Pennsylvania on a certificate of passage issued to Evan Oliver, a tradesman and fellow Quaker from Radnorshire. Upon their arrival the James family staked out their claim to 100 acres of Pennsylvania wilderness in an area identified as the “Welsh Tract.”  The center of David’s original claim is marked today by the Radnor United Methodist Church in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania just outside Philadelphia atop Garret Hill, originally known as James Hill.


In 1692, a prominent Quaker by the name of George Keith and eight of his followers including Thomas Powell, accused the Religious Society of Friends at the Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia of "lax discipline and doctrinal impurity" and were disowned from the Society. From 1692 to 1695 these separated "Keithian Quakers" held their meetings at Powell's home at Ridley Creek, Edgemont Township, Chester County, with Keith as their leader. They appealed to London for vindication, but in 1695 the English Quakers also repudiated Keith, causing him to "quit" the Quakers and return to England, where five years later he became an Anglican priest and missionary. The meetings at Powell's continued, where a former follower turned Seventh Day Baptist minister named Able Noble, convinced some of them to be baptized in June of 1697. Some settlers from Radnor in the Welsh Tract, including Ann Miles' brothers Samuel and Richard Miles, came there to be baptized before 1701. David James is believed to have been among them as Samuel Miles was his brother-in-law. In 1700 the group at Powell's split in a dispute about the day the Sabbath was to be observed. Those that chose Saturday left the group to form the Seventh Day Baptists at Newton. The group that remained at Powell's was preached to by the Welsh Episcopal minister Reverend Evan Evans. Reverend Evans worked on creating an Episcopal Church at Chester. When George Keith returned to speak at Thomas Powell's in Feb 1702, Powell was a church warden at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Others, including the James and Miles families would go on to establish the Baptist Church in the Great Valley in present day Devon, Pennsylvania. David James would eventually be laid to rest in the graveyard that surrounds the Great Valley Baptist Church in 1739 and bequeath a sum for the construction of a wall around the graveyard.


On December 23, 1701, a resurvey of the lands granted to the settlers of the Welsh Tract by Richard Davies on behalf of William Penn was ordered by Penn’s Quaker Land Commissioners. This was performed to accommodate multiple conflicting land grants by William Penn to the Welsh Settlers. The survey was made on February 16, 1702 and included the 100 acres settled by David James in 1682. This resurvey affected lands in what were later to become known as Merion Township, Montgomery County; Radnor Township and New Town Township, Delaware County; and, Goshen Township, Chester County. Following the resurvey, the lands settled by David James in Radnor Township were deemed by Penn’s Quaker Land Commissioners to be the property of a prominent Quaker by the name of David Merideth. The original 100 acres and additional 100 acres of “head land” belonging to David James were determined to rest immediately south of the land actually settled by David James, and, as of 1702 occupied by Stephan ab Evan.  The legal dispossession of David’s land by the Quaker Land Commissioners is believed to have been in retaliation for David’s participation in the explosive schism within the Religious Society of Friends in the 1690’s led by George Keith and David’s subsequent conversion to the Baptist denomination. In that same year, legal title to David’s lands occupied by Stephan ab Evan were conveyed to Stephan ab Evan by David’s daughter Mary James who had remained a Quaker and acted as her father’s executrix.  Mary was also permitted to charge Stephan ab Evan “quit-rent” for his use of the land from the time of his arrival in the Welsh Tract. Because of his conversion David had been “disowned” and declared “dead” in the eyes of the “Public Quakers” who controlled Penn’s Land Commission. Even though David Merideth hired land agents in an effort sell the land David James had occupied since 1682 and upon which he built the “James Mansion” in 1700 with the intent of giving the proceeds to his daughter as a dowry, David James was never forcibly required to vacate his land.


By 1718 David James was still occupying the 100 acres of land he settled in 1682, the same land determined in 1702 by Penn’s Land Commissioners to be the property of David Merideth. That same year David increased his land holdings in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania to 253 acres by purchasing the land he had originally settled in 1682 and an additional 153 acres of adjacent land from David Meredith. Thereafter, legal title to the lands originally settled by David James in 1682 were secured. The James family would continue to reside on this same land for over 140 years (1682-1823) - four generations through Thomas Potts James (1803-1882), the great, great grandson of David James (circa 1660-1739) before it would be finally sold off.  On this land all of David’s children,with the exception of his first daughter, Mary James, were born.




See, Record of Marriage of John Davies of Gwynedd and Mary James of Radnor dated July 4, 1705,” at Radnor Meeting House, Witnesses, Col 4 under bride and groom: David Meredith, Stephen Evans, John Evans, Richard Moore, John Moore, David Jones, Mary Meredith.” [JQ], from List from Haverford Records (now Radnor MM), Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd, by Howard M. Jenkins, Second Edition, 1897, Chapter 12. Early Monthly Meeting Records of Marriages:  Other Lists of Marriages and Deaths.


See, "History of Chester County, Pennsylvania with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches" by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, published in Philadelphia by Louis H. Everts (1881), Page 259 under heading "Baptist Churches, Great Valley... Nov. 8, 1760, the heirs of Mary James, in accordance with her verbal will, gave the church a folio copy of the Bible."


See, Last Will and Testament of David James (circa 1660-1739), dated March 10, 1738,” including an Accounting and Inventory of his Estate, from Abstract of Wills and Administrations of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Volume 1 (1714-1758), Page 497; and, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Will Book F, Page 117.


See, Marriage Certificate of Evan James & Margaret Jones dated June 8, 1739,” from “Memorial of Thomas Potts, Junior, Who Settled in Pennsylvania, With an Historical-Genealogical Account of His Descendants to the Eighth Generation,” by Mrs. Isabella Batchelder James (1810-1901), published 1874, page 393, listing the following individuals at witnesses: David James (Evan’s father), Richard Evans, Rachell John, Griffith John (Margaret’s father), Evan David, Mary David, Thomas James (Evan’s brother), David Evan, Sarah Jones (Evan’s sister), William John, Thomas Evan, Mary David, Samuel John, Jenkin Thomas, Mary Evans, John Miles (Evan’s brother-in-law), Katherine John (Margaret’s mother), Elizabeth Edward, John Jones, Mary James (Margaret’s sister), Deborah David, Thomas John, Rebecca Miles (Evan’s sister), and Mary Hugh.


See,Last Will and Testament and Estate of Jane James (-1750) of Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, January 19, 1750/51,” Abstract of Wills and Administrations of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Page 519; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Will Book J, Page 348.


See, Autobiography of Reverend Isaac James, M.D. dated 1869,” Transcribed by Reverend Joseph F. DiPaolo, February 2006.


See, Early History of the James Family as Recorded by Isabella Batchelder James (1810-1901), wife of Dr. Thomas Potts James (1803-1882),” in “Memorial of Thomas Potts, Junior Who Settled in Pennsylvania With An Historic-Genealogical Account of His Descendants To The Eight Generation,” Privately Printed in Cambridge 1874; Page 251, Fourth Generation, No. 59, Henrietta Potts.


See, “Welsh Founders of Pennsylvania, Volume 1,” by Thomas Allen Glen, 250 copies privately printed and the type distributed, by Fox, Jones and Company, Kemp Hall, High Street, Oxford, England (1911); (See, Page 155: “Ellis DAVID prob. Of par. Of Llanfor, co. Mer., yeoman. Rmd. To Gwynedd, Penna., 1698. Perhaps he had been in Merion before this. Fd. Freeholder of 231 a. ld. In Gwynedd (by deed 1698). He purchased land in Goshen, 1707.Wife, -----.Children (surname DAVIES): 1. John, m. 1705, Mary JAMES. Prob. Others. It is possible that he returned to Wales, and may have died there, or else another colonist of the same name.”); (See also, Page 178: "David James, of par. of Glascomb, co. Rad., gentlman. Rmd. to Radnor, Penna., 1682. Fd. Freeholder of 100 a. ld. in Radnor. His wife and one child arrived 1683. Wife, Margaret Mortimer. Children: 1. Evan; 2, Mary, b. in Wales; she was ex of her father's will; 3. Rebecca, m. John Miles. David James was not b. in Glascomb, but had lived there several years, and had also resided in the par. of Llandegley. He was prob. b. in Llandilo Fawr (Vawr), co. Carm.")


See, Welsh Settlement of Pennsylvania, by Charles H. Browning; published by William J. Campbell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1912); (See, Page 214: "Radnorshire... David James, mariner, Glascram... 100 [acres]"); (See also, Page 217: "To David James 100 acres, deceased - his daughter Mary James Executrix of ye sd father sold ye title & interest therin to Stephen ab Evan present possessor."); (See also, Page 222: "Roger Hughes subsequently bought 250 acres from the Commissioners, the money being paid to James Harrison. Of this he sold, 20. 5. 1691, 150 acres to Stephen Evans, who had also 100 acres from David James."); (See also, Page 227-228: "'David James, from Llandigley and Glaseram [or Glascum] parish, in Radnorshire,' and his wife, Margaret, and daughter Mary, wrote to the Radnorshire Men's Meeting, from Pennsylvania, in 8mo. 1682, asking for a certificate of membership, &c., which was given, dated 20. 5mo. 1683, and filed with the Haverford (Radnor) Monthly Meeting. David James had his purchase of 100 acres laid out in Radnor. His sole heir, Mary James, by deed, dated 23. 10mo. 1702, conveyed the same property to Stephen Evans, of Radnor, yeoman, who came from Llanbister parish, Radnorshire, bringing to the Haverford (or Radnor) Monthly Meeting, his certificate from the Radnorshire Men's Meeting, dated 20. 5mo. 1683. Stephen Evans bought by deed of 20. 5mo. 1691, 150 aces of David Meredith (who held 350 acres in Radnor, but in 1701, had only 200). Mary James also sold her father's head right, or servant land, to Stephen Evans, whose son John Stephens had the whole surveyed. He declined to pay quit-rent to the land officer, alleging that Penn was under some obligation to him for personal services. He probably satisfied the Commissioners, as there is no further mention of this matter."); (See also, Page 231: "All of these 'Radnor town' original deeds had about the same witnesses, namely, Edward Jones, Thomas Davies, David James, Richard Jones, Daniel Morris, Samuel miles, John Evans, and Daniel Meredith.")


See, Records of the Great Valley Baptist Church, Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania recorded in the Mormon Family History Library (“FHL”) No. 986,477 (See, “John Miles and Rebecca, his wife, were admitted to the Great Valley Baptist Church in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania by baptism - no date given. Removal not noted.); (See also, “February 1733, John Miles signed the subscription list for the minister, Great Valley Baptist Church, Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.).


See, Records from the James/Claunch Family Bible of Violet Nadine Negus (1929-2013), descendant of Mary Susan James (1836-1905) of Bedford County, Virginia who married John J. Claunch (1836-1877) in Johnson County, Missouri. These records were provided to the James Family Archives by family historian Steve James of Forth Worth, Texas on September 27, 2017, who in turn, obtained them from Jeffrey Negus of Blue Springs, Missouri, the son of Violet Nadine (Julian) Negus (1929-2013).  The James/Claunch Family Bible was received  by Violet from her mother Hazel Juanita (Claunch) Julian (1894-1968), who received it from her father George Washington Claunch (1867-1929), who received it from his mother Mary Susan James (1836-1905) of Bedford County, Virginia.


See, Biography of Thomas James (1690-1753), June 2, 1999 by Larry P. James.”


See, Building America - The Colonial History of David James (c.1660-1739) of Llandegley and Glascwm Parishes, Radnorshire, Wales,” Revised January 10, 2021, by Larry P. James.


Virtual Memorials on “Find A Grave” Website:


Mary (nee “James”) Davis, Memorial ID No. 184344434, by L Evans, added October 16, 2017.


Thomas James (1690-1753), Memorial ID No. 236274207, by James Family Archives, added January 28, 2022..


Mary (nee “Jones”) James (1714-1744) Memorial ID No. 39193896, by The Ancestor Hunter, added July 7, 2009.


Rebecca (nee “James”) Miles (1705-1752) Memorial ID No. 237818976, by James Family Archives, added Mar. 20, 2022.


Sarah (James) Thomas (1710-1805), Memorial ID No. 39834453, by Ann Gilmore, added July 24, 2009.


John Thomas (1713-1790), Memorial ID No. 39834352, by Ann Gilmore, added July 24, 2009.


Isaac James, Memorial ID No. 238064531, by James Family Archives, added March 27, 2022.


Evan James (1715-1794), Memorial ID No. 218552391, by James Family Archives, added November 13, 2020.


Margaret (nee “Jones”) James, Memorial ID No. 218556446, by James Family Archives, added November 13, 2020.


Updated: December 23, 2022