Ancestors of Dorothy Elizabeth McDowell Morris (1926 - 2008)

John & Paige's Genealogy Home Page

Eras: [ Since 1650 ] [ 1534 - 1766 ] [ 1395 - 1687 ] [ 1322 - 1543 ] [ before 1420 ]

Some background on the ancestors of the eight great-grandparents
Ancestors of James Boyd McDowell
Surnames included in this family are: McDowell, Gettys (or Getteys), Carlile, Finney, Glenn, Henderson, Loughead, McKean, and Mease (or Meas).

The McDowell line is almost completely Scottish and Scotch-Irish. The earliest immigrants from these families arrived in America in the early- and mid- 1700's. They settled in and around Chester County, Pennsylvania and the greater Philadelphia area. Virtually all of them were Presbyterians and were very fanatic patriots during the American Revolution. Several of these ancestors fought in the county, state, or colonial armies as did many of their brothers and cousins. Cousins and siblings include a governor of Pennsylvania and signer of the declaration of independence, and many colonial legislators and administrators.

There are several other McDowell families that emigrated from Northern Ireland to the Philadelphia area, including the Ephraim McDowell family that moved to Virginia, and the Alexander McDowell family that stayed in Pennsylvania but we've been unable to prove a connection to our Capt. James McDowell who emigrated from County Londonderry in 1760 to Philadelphia/Chester County. If a connection exists, it might go back to Scotland. Allegedly, the earliest of our McDowells were two brothers, John and James McDowell, who emigrated from Edinburgh to Northern Ireland "in the time of the Ulster Plantation". James' family ran a tavern in Tobermore and John's family were tenant farmers between Tobermore and Cluny. John had two sons, John and James and the second John is the father of our Capt. James McDowell, born in 1742. Realistically, this means that the two McDowell brothers probably left Edinburgh in the late 1600's or early 1700's (the Plantation of Ulster started in 1610/11, 132 years before James' birth, at least a couple generations prior to his grandfather's arrival in Ireland).

Pennsylvania Governor (and signer of the Declaration of Independence) Thomas McKean was a cousin.

Ancestors of Elizabeth Meredith Hall
Surnames included in this family are: Hall, Rankin, Achelley, Coppenheffer, Batdorf, Bennett, Buffington, Cope, Davenport, Evans, Feg, Fincher, Haffner, Herber, Jones, McElwee, Risch, Stafford, Stanfield, Taylor, Walborn, and Zinn.

The Halls and related ancestral families were mostly English and Welsh, with a few Scotch-Irish. Many arrived in America in the mid-to-late 1600's though some arrived in the early 1700's. In America, most of these families lived in the area where Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware come together though some lived in New Jersey and others in the south-central counties of Pennsylvania. They arrived in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York.

All of these American settlers were Protestants and many were Quakers; at least two of these Quaker families (Mendenhalls and Buffingtons) also appear in the Pusey and Simmons family trees and it is possible that Thomassine Maindonail (an ancestor of Arthur Willson) is related to the Mendenhalls. As Quakers, most of these ancestors did not participate in the American Revolution.

One ancestor, James Rankin, a member of the Provincial Assembly, declared his loyalty to sovereign, King George III in the summer of 1776 and was forced to flee later that year to Long Island and then back to Englad. Though his children and wife remained in America, his lands in York County, Pennsylvania were expropriated in December, 1776 for 'treason'. The new Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was not formally created as a sovereign body over those lands until January, 1777, so a question was raised by his heirs in a mid-19th century lawsuit seeking compensation for those lands: "How could James Rankin be disloyal to an as-yet nonexistent state?" Well, a little matter about plotting with his brothers John and William to jointly use their command of troops guarding the defenses in York County against the British in 1778 to treasonously allow the British safe passage to round up the 'rebel' Congress. Hey, just a misunderstanding, right? Although his plot was discovered, he and his brothers all made it out alive. James wound up in London, started a second family and was handsomely compensated by the King for the loss of his American estates in the course of loyal service to the crown. His American progeny were left to fend for themselves. They did just fine; his son married the youngest daughter of Capt. Simon Coppenheffer who served under one of his brothers in the York County militia and their descendants developed a convenient amnesia about the specifics of the Revolution...

The Coppenheffers and their ancestors are a very interesting line. They descend from Protestants living in the region where Switzerland, France, and Germany come together. Suffering from the 30-Years War, they emigrated through Amsterdam, to England, and then to New York before traveling down the Susquehanna River valley to Berks County, Pa. Other than the Broases who have Dutch blood, these are our only non-Anglo/Celtic/Norman ancestors.

According to Mary Elizabeth McDowell (Whitaker-Jamar) (1852 - 1926), "a tradition in the family is that Grandfather Levi Hall's family was sent to New Jersey as 1st High Sheriff by King George II - Grandfather used to say that his ancestors did not come to America as emigrants or squatters, but were sent by the King George II & came with a large retinue." That may be true; names of Halls with the 'right' names do exist in West Jersey colonial records and then into Chester County but the lineage is not solidly documented.

A few of the Quaker families were relatively well-to-do in England and arrived with servants but most were simple farmers, emigrating along with a more powerful/wealthier family.

Ancestors of Edward Pusey
Surnames included in this family are: Pusey, Mendenhall, Baker, Barnard, Bickombe, Bowater, Corbet, Cross, De Westbury, Dench, Gilpin, Glover, Hill, Hone, Hopton, Hyandson, Ingersoll, Knight, Lea, Leversedge, Lewis, Marsh, Newlin, Okle, Paggett, Palmer, Pennell, Pritchett, Smythes, Strode, Upton, Weldon, Whiting, Williamson, Wilson, and Yarnall.

The Puseys and related families arrived in America in the mid 1600's to early 1700's. Virtually all of these families were Quakers from England and Wales. Their descendants are quite numerous and thoroughly scattered throughout the United States and Canada. As Quakers, these families did not fight in the American Revolution and in fact suffered for their non-participation.

Edward Pusey descended from William Pusey and Elizabeth Bowater. There were at least two major Pusey families to emigrate to America, William, his brother (or possibly cousin) Caleb, and their uncle Caleb who arrived in Wilmington in the late 1600's/early 1700's and settled in the Chester County, Pennsylvania area, and another Pusey who arrived in Virginia whose descendants removed to the DelMarVa peninsula. The Wilmington/Chester County Puseys have scattered across the country but many remained in southeast Pennsylvania through the early 20th century. During the 19th century, Edward's family owned and operated several cotton and textile mills in New Castle County, Delaware and Chester County, Pennsylvania. Many pages of this website are devoted to the Pusey cousins - start at

Richard Milhous Nixon is a very distant cousin (through his mother, he descended from Benjamin Mendenhall and Ann Pennell; our Pusey line has two ties back to that same Benjamin and Ann Mendenhall).

Ancestors of Mary Ella Simmons
Surnames included in this family are: Simmons, Bancroft, Bushell, Byffen, Duck, Dunbobbin, Glancy, Green, Harlan (and Harland), Heald, Maspratt, Pringle, Pyle, Shaw, Steward, Webb, and Withers.

The Simmonses and related families are virtually all Quakers who arrived from England. They settled in the greater Philadelphia area, especially Wilmington and New Castle County, Delaware and Chester County, Pennsylvania. As Quakers, these families mostly sat on the sidelines during the American Revolution, however Joshua Simmons' obituary states that he was descended from General Nathaniel Greene. Nathaniel Greene was a Quaker and Joshua's mother was born Edith Green, a Quaker but that's the end of the connection. Just puffery.

Ancestors of Henry Clay Broas
The Broas family goes back to old New Amsterdam, actually Long Island it appears, when the name was spelled 'Bross'. Some other surnames include Brevoort, DeGraff, Griswold, Freer, Haye, Sharp, Tedter, Tietsorte, Wood.

I don't know about their participation in the American Revolution, but Henry Clay Broas fought in the Civil War, serving under Gen. George Custer, among others. An outline of descendants of James Ira and Rebecca Broas (Henry's parents) exists at

Ancestors of Mary Augusta Morey
Surnames included in this family are: Morey (and Mowry), Allen, Anthony, Farley, Goodrich, Greene, Hazard, Heath, Johnson, Latting, Potter, Swift, and Tattershall.

These families were all English Protestants and arrived in America in the early to late 1600's. Roger Mowry was one of the founders of Rhode Island along with Roger Williams.

Ancestors of Arthur L. Willson
Surnames included in this family are: Willson, Ackronden, Alsop, Alton, Arms, Arnold, Barlow, Batte, Belden (Baildon or Bayldon), Beeston, Berchard, Bold, Bradley, Bradshaigh (Bradshagh), Browne, Budd, Bulkeley, Burton, Calveley, Carpenter, Cargrave, Castile, Charlton, Chasmore, Clopton, Comstock, Convin, Daniel, Davenport, Daylson, De Beauchamps, De Bohun, De Brereton, De Bunbury, De Bures, De Clare, De Erdington, De Ferrers, De Gaveston, De Lacy, De Muscegros, De Oriby, De Patshull, De St. Pierre, De Umfreville, Dean (Deane), Delgson, Donne, Erdington, Feake, Ferris, Fisher, Fitzaer, Folkingham, Fones, Foote, Fouaschin, Fowler, Francis, Gamage (Gammage), Goodrick, Goody, Gregory, Grosvenor, Gulley, Handford, Havilland (de Haveilland), Hellesby, Hicks, Hill, Holland, Hoyt (Haight), Husted, Hyelston, Irby, Jackson, Knightley, Le Strange, Lawell, Lott, Maindonail, Mainwaring (Maynwarynge), Malbranch, Mallory, Mann, Marvin (Mervyn), Mauduit, Milton, Mirfield, Moore, Morgan, Mosely, Moton, Mott, Moulton, Newell, Norton, Olmstead, Ormeston, Parre, Peake, Pellham, Pershale, Pigot, Plantagenet, Platt, Porter, Ruscoe, St. John (De St. John), Savage, Seaman, Searles, Seeley, Seymour, Sharp, Sherwood, Smythe, Sneathing, Stanley, Stowers, Thomas, Thornton, Thornycraft, Toeni (De Toeni), Tursell, Underhill (De Underhulle), Waller, Warmstead, Wetherall, Wilbraham, Winthrop, Wood, Wynter, Youngs, and Zouche. Actually, it turns out that several of these lines are not proven to be tied to my Willson (Carpenter) line; a wishful cousin tied our Connecticut sheep-herder Sension ancestor (americanized to St. John) to the noble St. John's and thus back to royalty. I'm too lazy to determine which of the surnames above should now be culled - just assume it's a third to half.

Almost all of these families are of Norman or English origin with a scattering of Welsh and families from Devon and Cornwall. They emigrated to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York beginning with the Plymouth colonies in the early 1600's.

During the American Revolution, several of these ancestors fought in the American armies.

Ancestors of Tillie E. Wilson
Not much is known about the ancestors of Tillie E. (Matilda) Wilson. She was from New York City so her ancestors probably emigrated to that general area. According to the 1880 census, Tillie's father was born in New York but her mother Jane, who was living as of 1880, was born in Scotland, as were Jane's parents.

This information is not 100% accurate but is the best approximation of reality I can provide. Please send me your corrections, questions, or comments - John McDowell Morris.