The information on the earlier generations in England is taken from the web. I have not had an opportunity to check it, and we all know that caveat emptor is the rule for web-generated data. However, it is included here as a tentative beginning for this Hibbs twig on the larger Balderston branch of our own particular family tree. If any reader has corrections, additions, or most helpful, primary sources that prove or disprove any of the information please contact me via e mail to .
WilliamA Hibbs [Senior] was born 1629/30 in "Dean Forest", Gloucestershire, and died there on 6 March 1686. He married in 1654 Joanne ___, who had been born in 1632.
"Dean Forest" named above in the familysearch page, is obviously the Forest of Dean, an extra-parochial liberty in the hundred of St. Briavell's, western division of Gloucestershire. It is an area twenty miles north to south, ten miles east to west, between the Severn and Wye rivers. At the time of Henry II the area was so thickly overgrown that it was the haunt of robbers and highway men. After iron and coal were discovered, forges, and villages were established. All the inhabitants were exempted from rates and taxes, and had free pasturage and the right to cut timber and sink mines, as long as one sixth of the produce went to the crown.
Charles I, chronically short of cash and hoping not to have to call Parliament, sold "waste soil", mines and quarries to Sir John Wyntour for £10,000 and a fee-farm rent of £1,950.12.8. The Civil War put an end to this arrangement, opened the enclosures, and reforested the area. After the Stuart restoration Charles II regranted it, while reserving the timber for the British navy. How these swings in control of the area affected the people living there, especially the Hibbs family, has not yet been learned.
Possible children of William and Joanne (__) Hibbs (I have not researched them yet myself):
William1 Hibbs, supposed to be the son of William and Joanne (__) Hibbs of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, was said to have been born the 23 of December or January 1664/5. However, I have not yet seen any proof that the Gloustershire man was the same one who came to Pennsylvania and died sometime between 28 Seventh Month [September] 1708 and 5 March 1709/10 in Byberry, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. William married 12 February 1686/7 Hannah HOWELL, daughter of Thomas.
Our William, whoever were his parents, emigrated to America on the Greyhound, Joseph Wasey, master. The ship loaded in London from 11 April to 31 May 1677, just after the more famous Kent, and like her was also bound for New Jersey. The Greyhound arrived at Wickaco [sic] in the Delaware River in October 1677. William Hibbs or Hebes is identified among her passengers by Sheppard, which is definitive enough for me.
If our William was born in 1664/5, he would be twelve years old when he arrived in New Jersey. My assumption is that he would have been apprenticed or indentured to someone. Thus far I have found no trace of him until he shows up five to eight years later in Pennsylvania.
If William turned 21 in 1685, my guess is that this is when he would have been able to settle. He showed up in the general vicinity of Byberry by 1685. His land lay northwest of the tract belonging to Henry ENGLISH. On Holmes's map, Henry English shares a tract with Henry COMLY, Sarah WOOLMAN, and Abel NOBLE on the county line. William Hibbs's land is not marked.
Friends meetings for worship were settled in Byberry in 1683, meeting first at the home of John Hart. The first meeting house was constructed in about 1694. About the year 1701 it became a Preparative Meeting under Abington Monthly Meeting. The stone meeting house was built in 1714, with an addition in 1753. This was replaced in 1808 by a new stone meeting house, about 66 feet by 36 feet. So the building presently in use is not the one in which our Hibbs family worshipped.
William and Hannah HOWELL, sometimes spelled Houl, and perhaps Hywel in Welsh, daughter of Thomas, were married 12 February 1686/7 in Byberry Meeting. On Holmes's map, the tract for "Thomas Hould" was just over the county line in Bucks County, bordered by Lawrence and Joseph Growden to the southeast, John Gilbert to the northeast,
On 26/12m/1689 "Will Hibbs" and Nicholas HICKET witnessed a power of attorney granted by two Bucks County shipwrights to appoint Abel HINEKSTON [sic] to be their attorney to receive a deed for 40 acres.
When the Keithian controversy erupted in 1692, John HART was a leading supporter of George KEITH. Because Byberry Meeting was held so near Hart's house, and was considerably under his influence, a group of Friends seceeded and met at the home of Henry ENGLISH. William Hibbs was one of those who left. Since the Friends burying ground was on Hart's farm, in 1694 English gave an acre of his land for Friends to use as a "burying-place" for those in good standing with the meeting. In spite of the provision that the land only be used for burials, a meeting house was soon erected there, with the full consent of the donor. The building was of logs, chinked with mud, and covered with bark. It served as a place of worship for twenty years before being replaced with a more comfortable stone structure.
At some point Abington Monthly Meeting minuted dealing with a William Hibbs for refusing to take off his hat when William WALTON (d. 1736), the first recorded minister in Byberry, prayed. I do not know the date. It might well have been part of the Keithian controversy: a person who did not remove his hat when another Friend prayed was saying, in effect, that the praying Friend was not really communicating with God, that he was at best insincere, and more likely an imposter, not a true minister called by Christ. This, obviously, was a serious charge to make against someone the meeting had recognized as being given by God gifts of ministry. This needs more research in the minutes of Abington MM. It is possible it concerns a different man with the same name.
Local historian Joseph Martindale cryptically wrote that William Hibbs "seems to have had some difficulty with his neighbors." Meeting minutes and court records need to be checked to confirm this and uncover details. He is perhaps confusing William with his son and grandson?
William died between 28 September 1708 when he signed his will and 5 March 1709/10 when it was probated. He signed with his mark, indicating he was illiterate, and it was witnessed by Abraham GRIFFITH, and Henry ENGLISH (who also signed with a mark). William named his wife Hannah executrix, and mentioned his children Joseph, Jonathan, Jacob, William, Jeremiah, Sarah, Phebe, and Hannah. For overseers he named Daniel WALTON and William WALTON, possibly (but not necessarily) the one who was a recorded minister.
The confusion on the part of many familysearch entries as to where he died or was buried is probably a result of unfamiliarity with the structure of Friends meetings and records. Abington was the Monthly Meeting, under whose care all marriages occurred, and in whose records all births and deaths were recorded. Byberry was a Preparative Meeting under Abington, with its own burying ground. William would technically be a member of Abington Monthly Meeting but would be an active participant of Byberry, because that is where he lived and worshipped.
Hannah married secondly, in 1712, Henry ENGLISH, whose farm lay southeast of the Hibbs's. Before they were married, in March 1711/2, Henry had made a deed of his property to her, "in consideration of the love, good-will and affection which he had and did bear toward his loving friend, Hannah Hibbs." Henry died about 1724. They had no children.
Hannah's will was written 13 June 1737 and probated 30 August 1737. She listed her daughters Sarah Cooper and Phobey BLICOR [sic: Blaker], and youngest son Jeremiah. Executors were her sons Joseph and William Hibbs.
Children of William and Hannah (Howell) Hibbs:
a) Susanna Hibbs3, b. 22/11m/1728;The Middletown Monthly Meeting overseers reported that a complaint was brought against William Hibbs Sr. by Margaret THORNTON for refusing to settle long-standing accounts with her and her late husband Joseph, 6/2m/1755; they were reported settled 6/3m/1755. Later that year William Hibbs Jr. was accused by John WILLIAMS of robbing him on the road at night. William Jr. denied the robbery, and came to monthly meeting but was unable to clear himself. Friends decided 4/12m/1755 that a testimony needed to be made explicitly explaining that because of behavior so inconsistent with Friends' principles, William Jr. could no longer be owned as a Friend. The following month a testimony was read, approved, and ordered to be delivered to William Jr., along with acquainting him of his right to appeal to the quarterly meeting. At the next monthly meeting, 4/3m/1756, it was reported that the testimony had been delivered and William Jr. intended to appeal. But he didn't go to Quarterly Meeting to make his appeal, so "the meeting's judgment stands", Abington minuted in 2/9m/1756. The final step was reading the testimony after meeting for worship, and at the meeting 7/10m/1756 it was reported to have been accomplished. In the meantime, on 6/11m/1755 William Sr. was asked to come to the next monthly meeting on account of his son. But when William Sr. didn't show up, a committee was named to speak to him, 4/12m/1755. They reported back that William Sr. said he would come but he was ill. Friends thought a testimony ought to be drawn up and delivered to William Hibbs Sr., who said he didnít mean to countenance his son's disorder or to slight the meeting, 5/2m/1756. So apparently this acknowledgment was sufficient and the charges were dropped. A few years later the overseers reported that William [presumably Sr. since Jr was disowned] Hibbs "in public railed and villified holy men recorded in the scriptures of Truth". Friends agreed that a testimony be prepared, 4/1m/1759; the testimony was signed, and William said he would not appeal, 1/2m/1759; the testimony was reported read, 3m/1759.
b) Hannah Hibbs, b. 6/4[?]m/1730; may be the Hannah Hibbs who m. James COOPER and was the grandmother of the author James Fennimore Cooper.
c) Phebe Hibbs, b. 14/2m/1732; in the will of Thomas NELSON of Middletown, dated 4 June 1753, pr. 4 Aug. 1753, left bequests to "friend Phebe Hibbs daughter of William Hibbs and her son Valentine Nelson, alias Hibbs and any child or children of hers begat by me" also Naomi Nelson alias WILDMAN, daughter of Hannah Wildman; and sister Ann WILSON "as long as she remains Ann Wilson or goes to live with her husband again"; Thomas gave real estate to Valentine Nelson alias Hibbs. Friends minuted that Phebe's behavior was "so disagreeable to truth that friends can do nothing but testify against her", 2/2m/1752. Eight years later, still unmarried, Phebe brought a paper condemning her action, but after consideration, and consultation with the men, it was not accepted.
d) Sarah Hibbs, b. 4/1m/1734; it may have been this Sarah who paid a substitute fine for her brother, a breach of Friends' peace witness. Her paper acknowledging and condemning her action was accepted by Friends 4/5m/1780.
e) William Hibbs, Jr. b. 2/10m/1735; disowned 2/9m/1756 for highway robbery. See below.
f) James Hibbs, b. 7/10m/1737; d. d. 31 Jan. 1789 In his will, dated 12/9m/1785, he identified himself as William Jr. of Northampton township. He did not name his wife. Son Benjamin was made executor. William named his son Nehemiah's children; and his own sons James and William, and daughters Anna WORSTALL, Abigail PARSONS, and Ann SMITH.
g) Ann Hibbs, b. 12/9m/1739;
Sarah2 Hibbs, the daughter of William and Hannah (Howell) Hibbs, was born in 1692, and died 2 December 1769. Sarah and Jonathan Cooper were married ca. 1714, presumably in the Byberry meeting house.
Jonathan and Sarah lived in Upper Makefield township. They attended Wrightstown Preparative Meeting which in 1724 was shifted from Middletown Monthly Meeting to Buckingham. In 1734 it became a monthly meeting in its own right.
Children of Jonathan and Sarah (Hibbs) Cooper:
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