Heath Family of Somerset County, New Jersey

Genealogy for the Heath family's of Saffordshire and surrounding areas.

Heath Family of Somerset County, New Jersey

Postby Donna Tunison » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:13 pm

While researching the descendants of Andrew and Elizabeth Venables Heath, there were people popping up that did not appear to be related to the Heath Family of Hunterdon County. It turns out that there was another Heath migrated to New Jersey in the mid 18th century from Staffordshire, England by the name of John.

According James Snell’s “History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey,” John’s father Thomas married Anne Neville in Stafford, England. After Thomas’s death, Ann married his cousin, Thomas Heath and what gives credence to this account is a record of a marriage between Thomas Heath and Anne Neville found in Family Search taking place on 04 Apr 1721 at St. Mary’s Parish in Stafford, Staffordshire, England between Thomas Heath and Ann Nevill. Another article referring to John’s history appears in the Somerset County Historical Quarterly saying he, his mother, and possibly a half sister came to America in 1741, settling near Basking Ridge, Somerset County, New Jersey.

John married Ann Lewis, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Their children are:
Thomas born 23 Jul 1747
John born 06 Feb 1748
Daniel Heath, born 30 Aug 1750; lived at Mine Brook, Somerset county. He married Eleanor Runyon, (b 01 Oct 1748)
Samuel born 16 Jan 1754
James born 11 Oct 1762
Isaac born 11 Oct 1780
Ann m. John Lake

Extract of John’s Last Will and Testament
1803, Oct. 6. Heath, John, of Montgomery Twsp., (now Bernards Twsp.), Somerset Co.; will of. Eldest son, Thomas. £200. Son, Daniel, £250. Son, Samuel, £180. Son, Isaac, £200. Grandson, Lewis Heath (son of son, John), £70. Grandsons, Francis and James Heath (son of son, James), each £50. Daughter, Ann (wife of John Lake), £50. Daughter, Hester (wife of Nathaniel Leonard), £80. Daughter, Elizabeth (wife of James Morris), £100. To Elener Runion [Runyon] (wife of my son, Daniel Heath), £15. Grandsons, John and Robert Heath (sons of son, Daniel), each £12. Granddaughter, Mary Heath (daughter of son, Daniel), £15. Residue to be divided between sons, Thomas and Daniel. Executors—son, Thomas Heath, of Middlesex Co., and son, Daniel Heath, of Somerset Co. Witnesses—Job Compton, Jr., Andrew Hagaman, William Steel. Proved May 28, 1806.
1806, April 25. Inventory, $3,187.88; made by Moses McCollum and Andrew Hagaman. File 1297 R.

John’s son, Daniel and his descendants are included in John Littell’s “Family Records, or Genealogies of the First Settlers of Passaic Valley” (1852).
Donna Tunison
 
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Re: Heath Family of Somerset County, New Jersey

Postby Peter Dzik » Wed Dec 16, 2020 5:08 pm

Donna's query on John Heath (bapt. 1724) of Somerset County brought up the need for details from middle - Staffordshire parishes that I had previously seen as of fringe interest. My search so far for family links between the Somerset and Hunterdon County Heaths has revealed many pieces of a puzzle with wide ranging connections. The trail follows on greatly the info' supplied in the query on 17th century Heaths posted Nov. 5th 2020, and partly the reply to the earlier Elizabeth Barrett Venables post. Helpful in linking the geography of the different hamlets/ parishes would be a modern Google map, although I also used a largescale UK road atlas. This whole region is virtually unchanged in the villages, with only Stafford town becoming much larger. The key modern help would be if any of John Heath of Perth Amboy's descendants have had a DNA test - he had six sons.

John's parents Thomas Heath and Anne Nevill married at St. Mary's church in the county town of Stafford in April 1722. Important is the birth of his sister Anne in 1727. The church records are in a pretty poor state. The 1666 tax records had shown no Heaths in the town or nearer areas. But there would be kudos marrying at the church which was already six hundred years old, with huge numbers of unusual carvings, seemingly of Middle East origin. First clue was that daughter Anne's son, Samuel Bradhurst III, a physician, wrote that his mother told him her father Thomas Heath had worked for the British Government in New York. Details unearthed point to John Heath being part of a much more interesting set of events.

John emigrated c.1741, although mother and sister apparently went c.1737 to Somerset county, New Jersey. He may have been apprenticed as a silversmith in England - normally at age 14 - and finished in New Jersey. He became well known and worked as a goldsmith in Van Gelder street, New York and was admitted as a Freeman of the city in 1761. There are several marks he used over time to indicate his work. He married Anne Lewis in 1746, and they had five children before her early death. He remarried Eletha Pell in Oct. 1760. This clearly indicated strange matters. Eletha was a relative of the Pells of Pellam Manor, who owned at least 60,000 acres of Long Island. John passed away in 1803 in Montgomery Township, not far from Trenton.

Now, one of John Heaths' fellow silversmiths was Samuel Bradhurst II (Broadhurst), baptised in 1727 at the Dutch church in New York. His mother was one of several children of The Honorable Thomas Pell, 3rd Lord of Pellam on Long Island. And Samuel's father, also Samuel, although a Freeman of New York, apparently disappeared to sea for most of his son's life. This Samuel 1 was baptised on Sept. 1st 1700 at Albany, New York state. His father Jonathan (1650 -1720) was High Sherriff of Albany County for two years from 1700, and Freeman of New York City. He married widow Catherine of Dutch descent in April 1696.

The KEY point is that all family records show him coming from Derington (now Derrington) in Staffordshire, being a minor hamlet 3 miles west of Stafford town, and under 10 miles from Slindon. But the 1666 Hearth tax records show no Broadhursts in the whole region. I deduce that like so many Englishmen on the losing side in the Civil War, some decided to leave for America, as they were deliberately taxed heavily. Also, most Brodhursts lived just over the county boundary in Shropshire. One of the area's major landholders was Sir Richard Leveson (1598 - 1661), owning a major estate at Trentham, just north of Eccleshall and Standon, besides a lot of south Staffordshire. Also 3 times Member of Parliament for Newcastle under Lyme. His lawyer for many years up to c.1660 was a William Brodhurst. Leveson's half brother was Sir Edward Barrett, who held some important positions in the King's Government.

The above Samuel Broadhurst II married John Heath's sister, Anne, in New York on 9th July 1748. She bore seven children, some dying young. She was to die of consumption in 1761, aged 34. Samuel survived her only eleven months. John Heath had been designated as sole executor to his "brother goldsmith's will", and special adoption arrangements were made for the children.

The NEVILLS - key to a range of events. John Heath's mother Anne was baptised on 10 August 1700, of John and Mary Nevill, in the church of St. Michael and all the Angels in Colwich (some seven miles SE from Stafford) - having at least three siblings. Curiously the church's name is the same as that of Horton in the Moorlands, where I began my Yardley searches. Research threw up Sarah Nevill marrying at St. Clement Danes in the City of Westminster, next to the Royal Courts of Justice, on 17th Oct. 1723. She was second wife to Dutchman Peter Sonmans, over 30 years older than her, and normally resident in the American colonies. I suggest she was staying with her brother Samuel, a lawyer of London, at the time. Both baptised at Colwich, Staffordshire.

Sonmans father, a Quaker merchant, had been visited in the Netherlands by 1680 by George Fox, William Penn and Robert Barclay. He was also a close acquaintance of Prince William of Orange, later King William of England. He became involved in the New Jersey purchase, fronted by Penn's lawyer, Thomas Rudyard (born Leek, Staffordshire). Rudyard was to become acting Governor of New Jersey on Barclays behalf, based at Perth Amboy. When riding to Scotland with Barclay in 1685 they were attacked by highwaymen and Sonman died of wounds. Sonman's son Peter inherited his portion of the purchase, becoming an East Jersey Proprietor and agent for other shareholders. It seemed he had very questionable standards concerning law, honesty, jury manipulation etc. and many times help was demanded from the Government in England to remove him from his claimed powers by outraged citizens. He may well have been using lawyer Samuel Nevill to deal with these claims. But he is also reported to have had important positions under the Dutch King of England (died 1702).

He died in March 1734, appointing wife Sarah (Nevill) as sole executrix. She passed away 20 months later aged 36. Apparently legal problems were so outstanding that local counsel had to call her brother Samuel Nevill from London to resolve matters. It took years. No doubt his arrival at Perth AMBOY in late 1736 then brought over sister Anne Nevill Heath and her daughter. Her son John's arrival was delayed several years. Samuel was to become key judge in New Jersey and contributed to many positive Jersey state developments. Samuel also was to be involved in many business activities in New Jersey with his own brother John.

As to the two Thomas Heaths that Anne Nevill married, I found only two possibles from the western parishes. But other records need to be searched. Earlier I considered the thin idea that because John Heath baptised his youngest son as Daniel, it might have connection to Roger Heath of Burslem's son Daniel; a rare Heath forename.

Note 1. Anne Heath Bradhurst's eldest son Samuel III had granddaughter Mary, married to a Francis Cornell Pearsall. This happens to be a very rare surname - originating from the manor of Pearsall or Pearshall. Which happens to be right alongside Eccleshall town in the middle of this Staffordshire parish.
Note 2. The Neville surname was one of the most prestigious in medieval England, culminating in Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick - the Kingmaker. The male line was actually Anglo Saxon from Northumbria, but Robert of Raby Castle took the name of wife and heiress Isabel de Neville in the 1180's. The name originates from the Calvados region of central Normandy. The famous King Richard III (died 1485 in battle), body recently found and buried, was married to anne Neville.
Peter Dzik
 
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Re: Heath Family of Somerset County, New Jersey

Postby Peter Dzik » Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:11 pm

My first reply 3 months ago concerning John Heath and connections had involved collecting a mass of data, analysing it, and compressing into a compact story. My subconscious then organised it into modest sections, leaving me mentally shattered. Modest followup research has revealed more details and confirming others.

John Heath and Anne Neville's marriage has opened up interesting links. The marriage on April 4 1722 was preceded a fortnight earlier by a "marriage settlement", not normal for most couples. It was between the groom, shown as a husbandman of Bishton; the bride's father John Neville, a yeoman of Stafford borough; and Ralph Sneyd of Bishton Hall. The Bishton Hall estate overlooks the river Trent, and is a half mile from Colwich hamlet.
The settlement was the transfer on marriage of three tenanted properties in Stafford's main street to the couple, specifying that income went through Anne and her children. The several existing tenants were named. The use of word burgage probably meant Sneyd was the owner. Re the groom, the only Colwich baptism entry found so far was on 18/4/1704 for a Thomas Heath to a Benjamin. This made the groom only eighteen at marriage, if its the right person.

In 1735 widow Anne Heath remarried at St. Mary's in Stafford to another Thomas Heath. He was a feltmaker, which mainly involved hats, sometimes involving heated mercury; and Newcastle under Lyme was a major centre. But he was dead by April 1741. In October 1738 the Heath couple had taken out a mortgage from lawyer John Hickin; William Sneyd of Bishton (Ralph's heir) was involved. It was to pay for the apprenticeship training of sons Thomas and John. So my earlier presumption of Anne Nevill Heath going to New Jersey in 1737 was incorrect.

John Heath's marriage. From the site - files.usgw.archives.net/ - on New Jersey marriages.
marriage licence was clearly dated 21 Feb. 1746/7 - guaranteed ? by Edward Nevill Esquire and John Heath of 500 pounds on latters marriage to Ann Lewis.
All the file marriages include the reference to 500 pounds. The date by modern reckoning is thus 1747, appearing in the official legal year of 1746 which ran until 24 March 1747. This was the eve of Lady Day (3 months after Xmas day), as prescribed from A.D. 1155 for government of England and thus church records.

NOTES. The Ralph Sneyd of Bishton Hall died c.1733, 2nd (?) cousin of Ralph Sneyd of Keele Hall, North Staffordshire. Grandson of the main Sneyd line of Keele, Ralph, who died in 1703. Very closely related to the Sneyds of The Birches in middle Burslem parish, next to Sneyd Green, and about two miles from the ruins of Hulton Abbey, upon which more or less, was the farm of the two John and Sarah HEATHS of Burslem.

Odd Coincdences?i. The Bishton Sneyds were shortly to acquire Ashcombe Hall and Basford Old Hall (the early Quaker meeting place and burial ground) in Cheddleton parish. Also acquired was Heath House farm in Horton parish.

Bye pete
Peter Dzik
 
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