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Descendants of John Penn

Generation No. 1

1. JOHN1 PENN was born Abt. 1680, and died Abt. 1741 in Caroline Co., VA. He married ELIZABETH (TAYLOR/MADISON).

Notes for J
There is a reference in the Caroline Co., VA Court Order Book for of 9 May 1741 of the Last Will and Testament of John Penn, deceased, being presented in Court by Elizabeth Penn and Moses Penn, co-executors and of being proved by John Taylor, Gent., and Edmond Taylor, witness thereto. They endered into bond with George Penn their security. It is this John Penn who I suspect to be the father of Joseph Penn. It is estimated that this John Penn was born about 1680. This estimate is based upon the fact that Joseph Penn is estimated to have been born about 1712 and a John Penn is listed in the 1704 Quit Rent Rolls for King & Queen Co., VA as being taxed for owning 200 acres of land. This estimated date of birth leaves room for Joseph's older brothers (and sisters) to have been born without leaving too much room. It is believed that the that John Penn's executors named in the 1741 Caroline County Court Order Book reference were Elizabeth, his widow, and Moses Penn, a son.

There were four Penns in Caroline Co./Spotsylvania Co., VA who seem to be of the same generation. They are definitely closely associated with each other. It is possible that the relationship could be cousins or uncle/nephew, but until proven otherwise, the working assumption is that they were brothers.

There is a commonly repeated story that Joseph Penn who married Mary Taylor and his suspected brothers, John, George and Moses Penn, were the sons of John Penn , born circa 1650 and Lucy Granville, the daughter of Sir Beverly Granville and Lady Jane Wyche (daughter of Phillip Wyche). I have seen no documentation which establishes the existence of a John Penn who married Lucy Granville or anybody by the name of Lucy. It says that this John Penn lived in Rappahannock and Westmoreland Counties, VA and died about 1721 and was the father of George, Joseph, John and Moses Penn. There is a 1721 Westmoreland Co., VA reference of a lawsuit of Joseph Taylor against the estate of John Penn. Perhaps this is the John Penn who married Lucy Granville but I have seen no proof the the existence of a John Penn who married Lucy Granville. Perhaps this John Penn who died in 1721 or before is the father or uncle to the John Penn who died in 1741 but there is no proof I have seen of any relationship between the two John Penns.

The Penns of VA and William Penn, the founder of PA are all apparently descended from John Penne of Myntie, Gloucestershire, England who was born circa 1500, married circa 1522 and died circa 1560 through his son, William Penn of Myntie, Glouscestershire, Yeoman, who was born circa 1525, married circa 1547 and died 3/12/1592 with a will dated 1 May 1590, through his son William Penn, law clerk for Sir Christopher George, barrister, who was born circa 1548, married circa 1570 to Margaret Rastall, and died circa 1586 in Malmesbury, England. This last William Penn is said to have had three sons, George Penn (1571-1632), Giles Penn who married Joan Gilbert on 5 Nov. 1600, and William Penn whose only known children are daughters.

Giles Penn's youngest child was William Penn, born 1621. He was in the British military service. He achieved the rank of General by 1653. He was granted lands in County Cork, Ireland by Cromwell in 1654 "in consideration of the great losses sustained by General Penn and his wife by the rebellion in Ireland". He was Knighted by Charles II in 1660 and appointed Admiral of the British Navy and Governor of the town and fort of Kinsale, Ireland. He died testate on 16 Sept. 1670. In his Will, dated 4 April 1669, proved in London 6 Oct. 1670 he mentions "my Cosin William Penn son of George Penn late of fforest of Braydon in the County of Wilts gent Deceased." The children of Admiral Sir William Penn who died in 1670 were William Penn (1644-1718-founder of PA), Margaret Penn (1645-1718) who married Anthony Lowther and Richard Penn (ca.1648-1673-never married).

William Penn, son of George Penn (d. 1632) who was mentioned in the 1669 Will of Admiral Sir William Penn (above) was an Ensign by 1667 and he was Clerk of the Cheque at Kinsale, Ireland. He is the William Penn who died testate in Kinsale, Ireland in 1676. This author is not aware of any record concerning his children. His will was destroyed along with all Irish Will during the 1922 Irish Revoluton (although the index reference to the Will survives). This is the suspected ancestor of the Penns of VA. This suspicion is reached more by deductive reasoning (i.e., eliminating all other known William Penns) than by concrete proof of his paternity. Apparently this William Penn did not own real property outside of Cork Co., Ireland because his Will was not proved in the Prerogative Court which is unfortunate becacuse the Wills from the Irish Prerogative Court were abstracted prior to their destruction and the abstracts survive today.

There is another William Penn who researchers incorrectly attribute to be the father of the Penns of VA. He is the William Penn who wrote his will on 20 Sept. 1696 who is described "... of the City of London, mariner, now in Pituxon River, Maryland...." This Will was probated in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, England on 18 Nov. 1697 and in Maryland on 9 Oct. 1696. The Will gives his estate to his wife, Elizabeth and "my three sisters" (the names of the sisters are not mentioned). No children are mentioned. The witnesses are __?__ Markham, __?__ Wright, and __?__ Greenfield. Elizabeth was named in the will as "executrix". This is probably the William Penn who married Elizabeth Markham. Since this William does not appear to have any children and does not seem to have any connection with VA, I do not believe that he is the direct ancestors of the Penns of Caroline Co., VA (or any Penns).

There is a William Penn whose estate was being adminstered in Charles Co., MD in 1753 by Elizabeth Penn, "administrix". Some researcher(s) have concluded that this estate administration is a continuation of the adminstration of the estate of Wiliam Penn who died in 1696. This is an incorrect conclusion. First, the Elizabeth Penn in 1696 was named the executrix, meaning that she was named to administrate the estate in William's will. The Elizabeth Penn in 1753 was the administrix, indicating that this William Penn died without a Will (or perhaps with a Will which did not name Elizabeth as executix), so she carried the title "administix". By April, 1754, Elizabeth, the widow, had remarried to Col. Richard Harrison as the estate paperwork referres to the "account of Richard Harrison and Elizabeth his wife, lately called Elizabeth Penn, administrix of William Penn". This account does not cover anything close to 53 years of activity. It does account, apparently for the first time, for paying for the coffin, liquors for the funeral, the funeral sermon. These are events which recently occurred. They had two children: Israel Penn and William Penn (no John Penn). There is no connection between the Elizabeth Penn who was William Penn's widow and then remarried Col. Richard Harrison and the Markham family. Finally, if this was the same Elizabeth Markham who was reportedly born in Nottinghamshire, England in 1655 she would have been 99 years old when she married Col. Richard Harrison in 1754. This just seem impossible to believe.

Since it is unclear how the line of descent goes from George Penn (1571-1632), to the Penns of Caroline Co., VA, I have started the ancestry of the Penns of Virginia with this John Penn until some better evidence surfaces to document the correct earlier genealogy.

In 1685, following Mommouth's Rebellion in England, the convicted rebels were sentenced to be transported to America or Barbados. A George Penn, Esq., was connected with issuing orders for the transportation of the convicts. The people involved in the transportation included John Penn ("Marcht" =Merchant?), James May (Commander of "The Rebecca" although another account says that the ship was called the "Betty"), John May and Jno Maddison (Mate). The 1704 Quit Rent Rolls for King & Queen Co., VA (the parent County for Caroline Co., VA which was formed in 1727) included John Penn (200 acres), John Maddison (500 acres), and John May (300 acres). There definitely appears to be some connection to the group transporting convicts in 1685 and these landowners in King & Queen Co., VA in 1704. The 1704 Quit Rent Rolls for King & Queen Co., VA also include John Taylor (4,000 acres), William Bird (1,324 acres) and George Hoomes (725 acres). The Penn, Taylor, Madison, Bird and Hoomes families were closely connected in Caroline Co., VA after 1727. If someone can determine the ancestry and descendants of this George Penn, Esq., and the John Penn involved with the transportation of the convicts in 1685 I think that this will prove to be the link between the Penns of England and the Penns of VA. Whether that will prove to involve William Penn who died in Kinsale, Ireland in 1676 or John Penn who married Lucy Granville remains to be seen.

What family connection brought the first names of Joseph and Moses into the Caroline Co., VA Penn families?

Notes for E
My educated guess is that Elizabeth's maiden name was Taylor or Madison. There is an Elizabeth Penn who is old enought to be named a Godmother to two of Ambrose Madison's children, James Madison, born 27 March 1723 and Frances madison, born 6 March 1726. The only know Elizabeth Penn known to be living in King & Queen Co., VA in 1723 who was old enough to be name as Godmother to anybody's children was Elizabeth Penn, wife of John Penn who died in 1741. Since most, if not all, of the Godparents named for the children of Ambrose Madison were either Madisons or Taylors or married into the Madison or Taylor family, it is thought that Elizabeth Penn was originally a Taylor or Madison and married into the Penn family.

The James Taylor, Sr., family (1615-1698) shows a daughter Elizabeth, born 1684 ("untraced"), a daughter of his second wife, Mary Gregory. It is unknown whether James Madison, Sr., father of Ambrose Madison, had a daughter named Elizabeth. If he did, she would have been the right age to have been a candidate to be John Penn's wife.

Another researcher believes that she may be the daughter of George Hoomes.

      Children of J
2. i.   JOHN2 PENN , JR., b. Abt. 1704, King & Queen Co., VA; d. 1772, St. George's Parish, Spotsylvania Co., VA.
3. ii.   GEORGE PENN , SR., b. Abt. 1706, King & Queen Co., VA; d. 1749, Caroline Co., VA.
4. iii.   JOSEPH PENN, b. Abt. 1712, King & Queen Co., VA; d. Bef. 7/6/1767, Caroline Co., VA.
5. iv.   MOSES PENN, b. Abt. 1720, King & Queen Co., VA; d. 11/4/1759.

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