Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Early Quaker Lines of Biddle and Wardwell Family

A few years ago I published two articles with Genealogy Magazine: Pious Pilgrims and Mayflower Misbehavior and Seventeenth-Century Quaker Sought Redress by Undressing. 

After more research I found a link between Sydney Biddle Barrows "Mayflower Madam" and Quakeress Lydia Perkins Wardwell through her paternal line---Barrows 6th great grandfather, William Biddle married Lydia Wardwell, daughter of Lydia Perkins and Eliakim Wardwell. The Philadelphia Biddle line came out of  Mount Hope, the seat of the New Jersey Quaker Biddle family.

Ancestral line of Sydney Biddle Barrows (1952), daughter of Donald Byers Barrows (1926) and Jeanette Ballentine (1930-2011). Sydney Biddle (1901-1986) and Donald Byers Barrows (1898–1991) Alexander Mercer Biddle (1865-1946) and Harriet Fox (1867-1941) Charles John Biddle (1819-1873) and Mary Emma Mather (1830-1913) Nicholas Biddle (1786-1844) Jane Margaret Craig (1793-1856) Charles Manly Biddle (1745-1821) and Hannah Shepard (1755-1825) William Biddle III (1697-1756) and Mary Scull (1709-1790) William Biddle (1669-1743) and Lydia Wardwell (1670-1707) Photo credit Lance Evans Photography

The first Biddle to settle in America was William (1630-1712) married to Sarah Smith Kemp (1634-1709), widow of Roger Kemp and daughter of John Smith (1589-1642) and Hannah Wright (1590-1634). The couple married on December 7 1665 in England (Religious Society of Friends record).

William was raised by shoemaker Thomas Biddle (-1682) and Esther/Hester Biddle (1629-1697). According to "Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania Volume I," William was an officer in the Parliamentary army during the civil war of England, but soon after its close joined the Society of Friends.

William and his family suffered persecution for their beliefs, including a stint at London's Newgate Prison. William, Esther and Thomas Biddle appear on Mayor Brown's prison list from 1660-61 for attending "nonconformist" meetings.  
Esther Biddle was arrested fourteen times and dedicated her life for "Truths sake." Read more on her Quaker history

William Biddle was a close friend of William Penn and helped Penn get out of prison in England. The connection can be found in the letters and diary of William Penn. Also see The Papers of William Penn, Volume 4: 1701-1718

According to descendant Tony Biddle of Philadelphia, when William Penn was released from prison his repayment to Biddle was land in America. Penn, paraphrased by Tony Biddle in the article: “I want to repay you, and the good news is, I have a lot of land. The bad news is, it’s about 3,000 miles that way.” The Secret Lives of Wasps, by Amy Corman published November 1, 2005 Philadelphia Magazine

Another article, "The Source of William Biddle's English Fortune," provides substantial evidence that his wife Sarah Kempe bankrolled the property in New Jersey.

William's son, William Biddle II (1669-1743) was "prominent in the affairs of West Jersey; he was appointed by the Council of Proprietors on November 2, 1703, to treat with the Indians for lands above the Falls, and at his father's death inherited 12,905 acres of land in the Lotting Purchase." (J W Jordon)

He married  Lydia Wardwell (1670-1707) daughter of Eliakim Wardwell and Lydia Perkins, December 13 1691. a member of Friends meetings held at Shrewsbury.

Eliakim Wardwell (1634-1692) was son of Thomas Wardwell (1603-1743) and Elizabeth Woodruff (1610-1697) The couple married on the voyage over to America aboard the "Griffen."

Lydia Perkins (1640-1699) was the daughter of Isaac Perkins (1611-1685) of Ipswich, Massachusetts and Susannah (thought to be daughter of Humphrey Wise, but now disputed). Records show that after Isaac's death in 1685 a deed to his son Ebenezer “for support of self and wife Susanna” Susannah removed with son Ebenezer Perkins and family to Brandywine Hundred, New Castle, Delaware.   

Eliakim Wardwell and Lydia Perkins married on October 17, 1659 and lived in Hampton, New Hampshire read more at

The Wardwells moved moved to Shrewsbury, New Jersey and Eliakim became one of the first Quaker ministers in the town. He purchased lands at Nevesink Indians, in 1666, He was Sheriff of Monmouth county, 1683, member of House of Deputies, 1688, and member General Assembly, 1692.

William and Lydia's son, William Biddle III (1697-1756) married Mary Scull (1709-1789) daughter of Nicholas Scull (1687–1761) Surveyor General of Pennsylvania, by his wife, Abigail Heap see more Scull and Heap's East Prospect of Philadelphia Wainwright, Nicholas B. "Scull and Heap's East Prospect of Philadelphia." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 73, no. 1 (1949): 16-25.

William and Mary relocated to Philadelphia and descendants would comprise the first major branch of the Philadelphia Biddle line, and family papers are housed at Special Collections, University of Delaware Library Newark, Delaware 
The Biddle family held government offices and served in the American Revolution. Later Biddle family members were honored for their professional contributions in the field of arts and letters. Sydney Biddle Barrows published an article, "The Biddles: Four centuries, one of America's first families," in the Philadelphia Inquirer (September 1986) noting many of her prominent Biddle ancestors, which I will post in another blog.

Among the Quaker Biddle descendants, Charles Biddle (1745-1821) During the American Revolutionary War, Biddle was a captain in the merchant service and participated in the work around of the British fleet's blockade of American ports. He volunteered in the Quaker Light Infantry and, in 1778, he served under his brother, Commodore Nicholas Biddle, aboard the USS Randolph. He served Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as Vice President served as an ex officio trustee of the University of the State of Pennsylvania.
He married Hannah Shepard daughter of merchant Jacob Shepard and Sara Lewis in North Carolina.
Family tree published in the early genealogy by Henry Drinkwater Biddle. Wardwell is spelled Wardell.
Engraved "W over I S" for Joseph Wardewell (1660-1735) and his wife Sarah Bonnell (1671-1750). He was son of Eliakim Wardwell and Lydia Perkins. He is buried in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Bowl made by Bartholomew Le Roux. Reference American Silver; Garvan and Other Collections in the Yale University Art Gallery

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), America's "Quaker poet" published a poem about Lydia Perkins Wardwell.

According to W. Sloane Kennedy, in "John Greenleaf Whittier
His Life, Genius, and Writings," Mr. Whittier stated to a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society that it was his intention "at some time to prepare a full and exhaustive history of the relations of Puritan and Quaker in the seventeenth century." It may all be found in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society for 1880-81.

Family ties to Salem Witchcraft 1692

Two younger brothers of Eliakim Wardwell remained in Massachusetts after Eliakim and Lydia moved to New Jersey. His brother Samuel Wardwell (1643-1692) living in Andover, Massachusetts would hang for witchcraft. Read more at

Lydia's aunt, Mary Perkins (1615-1700) married to Thomas Bradbury (1611-1694) living in Salisbury, Massachusetts was another victim of the witch hysteria, but she escaped the rope--read more at The Witchcraft Trial of Mary Perkins Bradbury

Hesther/Esther Biddle of London was imprisoned at Banbury (England) for some zealous Representation uttered against the Mayor and Magistrates there. 1656. From Joseph Besse, "A collection of the sufferings of the people called Quakers, for the testimony of a good conscience from the time of their being first distinguished by that name in the year 1650 to the time of the act commonly called the Act of toleration granted to Protestant dissenters in the first year of the reign of King William the Third and Queen Mary in the year 1689." published in 1753

Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families from the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. Volume I: Arnold-Hertzel The English Origins of William and Sarah Biddle of Mount Hope, Burlington County, N.J

Below if from Genealogies of Pennsylvania families: from The Pennsylvania genealogical magazine, Volume 1

Death Record of Sarah Biddle, wife of William Biddle I
 More Biddle Coming Soon!  I will post each link below when published

  • Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. Philadelphia, PA: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 1895–. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.)
  • Clement, John A Sketch of William Biddle and Thomas Biddle The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 14, No. 4 (Jan., 1891), pp. 364-386
  • William & Sarah Biddle 1633-1711: Planting a Seed of Democracy in America. Publisher C. Miller Biddle M.D., P.O. Box 714 Moorestown, N.J. 08057. Hardcover, 408 pages, indexed, with illustrations. (2011)
  • Ogden, Evelyn Hunt, Founders of New Jersey, Third Edition
  • Jordon, John J, Colonial Families of Philadelphia Volume 1 Lewis Publishing Company, 1911.
  • Biddle, Henry Drinkwater, Notes on the genealogy of the Biddle family: Together with abstracts of some early deeds
  • New England Judged
  • Hallowell, R. P. The Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts
  • Steward, Scott. "Surrounded by family," Vita Brevis Blog November 23, 2016
  • Biddle, Charles Autobiography of Charles Biddle: Vice-president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. 1745-1821
  • Batzell, E. Digby, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia.
  • Biddle-Lee Family Line of Philadelphia
  • Routledge; 2 edition 1996. 
  • Quaker Women: The Rhetorical Methods of Hester Biddle and Margaret Askew Fell Fox
  • Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred, from Moses to Salman Rushdie Leonard Williams Levy
  • Livingston Biddle Jr., 83, Ex-Chairman of Arts Endowment
  • Famous Biddle's Home on the NYC Market for $48 Million Biddle Records at Andalusia? Bank on It
  • Lance Evans Photos 
  • Col. John Wise of England and Virginia (1617-1695): His Ancestors and Descendants
  • Owen Biddle

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