SQUIRE BOONE, SR. (1696-1765)
(Author’s Note: Part I published in October 2006 Compass, covered Squire Boone Sr.’s arrival and settlement in the Penn Colony.) NOTE: Part 1 is not available at this time.
Squire Boone Sr. had first joined the Pennsylvania Quaker’s Abington Meeting then transferred to the North Wales Gwynedd Meeting, settling in Chalfont, New Brittain Twp. of Philadelphia Co. to farm and ply his skills as blacksmith and weaver.
Chalfont was originally called Butler’s Mill. As tenant, he built a small house. He met, courted & married Sarah Morgan, also of the Gwynedd Meeting. Then he bought the 147-acre plot on which they were living. Four children were born there. The house was still standing with its additions when Richard Butler of the original Boone-Butler family contemporaries acquired and restored it. It is now known as Butlercroft.
Photographs of Squire’s original home were featured courtesy of Bucks Co. Town & Country Living Magazine & photographer Randi Bye.
Squire Boone Sr. Life in Pennsylvania Oley Valley
Squire Boone Sr.’s sister Sarah and her husband Jacob Stover started the Boone family migration to Oley Valley, about 35 miles WNW of Bucks Co., Pa., buying 500 acres in the Oley Valley. Squire’s father, George Boone III, and Squire’s brother, George Boone IV, each bought 400 acres nearby, moving their families (English-Welsh Quakers) to join the Oley community of German
Rev. Stoudt further states that “the first documentary allusion to the Boones of Oley occurs in a petition to the Provincial Court in Philadelphia, requesting the formation of Oley Township out of what was then Philadelphia Co. George Boone & Jacob Stover were among the signers” dated 5 Sept. 1720.
A historical event then intervened which profoundly changed the course of history for Squire Boone Sr. and his family. Heirs of William Penn made a purchase survey about 1727 through agents (Ref. Francis Jennings and the Pennsylvania Treaties) with the Indians and through the agents’ chicanery, tricked them by managing the survey in such a peculiar manner that it included in the state of Pennsylvania far more land than the Indians had intended.
When the Indians discovered this, they became very angry and planned revenge on the settlers to get their land back.
Rumors of this reached Squire Boone, speculating that the New Wales area might be attacked. Consequently, to protect his family, he made plans to move to Oley V alley to gain the protection for his family through the safety of numbers. He sold his Chalfont property, paid off the indenture, and moved to Oley Valley in the spring of 1730
Penn’s heirs, John, Thomas, and Richard, who inherited Penn’s holdings in Pennsylvania in 1727, believed their interpretation of the 1722 Pennsylvania-Indian treaty was fair but the Indians perceived it as unfair. Although the immediate threat of war did not materialize, it festered and finally broke out as part of the French & Indian Wars of 1755-1763, the consequences of which caused Squire’s family to scatter. Pennsylvania Quakers were spared by the Indians during the earlier skirmishes only because they did not understand that Penn’s heirs really controlled the transaction and William Penn had enjoyed an extraordinary relationship and reputation of fairness with these Indians (Author Francis Jennings on William Penn). The Quakers held the Indian with respect. Wm. Penn died in 1712, and his first wife administered the estate until she died in 1727, then her heirs took over.
However, the Indian tribes vowed they would get back their lands from the white settlers.
Thus began another chapter in the life of Squire Boone, Sr. In 1730, he purchased 250 acres of a 500 acre Wm. Penn grant from Ralph Ashton and settled on a sub-tract (1583⁄4 acres), 11⁄2 miles from the Oley Meetinghouse (ref. The Boone Family by Hazel Spraker, pp.34, 35).
Another important event occurred in 1730: Jacob Stover and wife Sarah Boone Stover secured a conditional grant of 10,000 acres of land in Massanutten, Virginia. George Boone IV bought 1500 acres of Stover’s tract, and titles were granted in 1735. Jacob and Sarah Stover eventually moved to Virginia. And in 1750, Squire Boone, Sr. and his family visited Sarah there (contrary to other claims).
Squire Boone, Sr., no doubt with the help of his brothers, found a spring on his Oley property and built a log Cabin over it, incorporating an oven and fireplace kitchen on the ground floor, and in the same style as before in Chalfont, a loft and ladder for sleeping above.
Close by, they built a barn to house the Smithy and what livestock they had. (It is not the same barn that is there now.) Being a smithy, Squire also did gunsmith work but that was not his main business. It is related that Squire and his brothers added to the original log house to provide for family growth and to bring the weaving business inside. What you see today in the Boone Homestead is a good restoration (near Birdsboro, Pa.). Ref. Spraker’s The Boone Family, pp.34, 35.
Squire and Sarah Morgan Boone’s next 7 children were born in Oley Valley. Elizabeth born 5 Feb. 1732 in Oley Twp., Berks Co., Pa. married Wm. Grant; Daniel born on 22 Oct, 1734 married Rebecca Bryan; Mary born 3 Nov. 1736 married (1) William Bryan and (2) Charles Smith; George W. born 2 Jan. 1739 married Anne Linville; Edward born 19 Nov. 1740 married Martha Bryan; Squire Jr. born Exeter Twp. 5 Oct, 1744 married Jane Van Cleve; Hannah born 22 Aug., 1746 married (1) John Stewart and (2) Richard Pennington. More details are found at www.boonesociety.com (See 2nd Generation of “First 5 Generations”).
In 1734, George Boone III, IV, and Squire Boone, Sr. are listed as freeholders in Oley Twp. Also, George IV received 277 acres in Oley by Patent from Thomas Penn. One acre was conveyed in trust for the Oley Meeting house and graveyard.
Until that time, Squire Boone, Sr. held no office or title of any kind in either North Wales or Oley Valley. In 1739, he was appointed one of the Oley Meeting Overseers, and was called a professor, but it seems to be a professor of truth and faith, rather than a title.
In 1740 Squire Boone took John Wilcoxson as a Welsh apprentice to learn the blacksmith and weaving trades. Squire’s trade amongst the Oley V alley population was growing; his quality of work and service were paying off with considerable respect. Meanwhile, Sarah kept the spinning operation going to support the weaving program.
In 1741 Squire Boone Sr. was a petitioner to form Exeter Township from the Oley Township.
Excerpts from the minutes of Exeter Friends meeting supplied by Mr. Kenneth Cook, Secretary of the Exeter Monthly Meeting of Quakers, explain that the Exeter MM of Friends, then called Oley, had its first monthly meeting June 25, 1737 and alternately at Oley (Exeter) and Maiden Creek. Prior to that date Oley had become a preparative meeting in 1725 and Maiden Creek in 1735. They both had belonged to Gwynedd Monthly Meeting (where Squire and Sarah married). All of these meetings belonged to Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Although meetings for worship were held together, men and women Friends held separate meetings for business (and discipline).
In the year 1742, the trouble started for which Squire Boone, Sr. eventually left Exeter Twp. His oldest daughter Sarah married out (of the faith) to John Wilcoxson.
Hazel Spraker, in her book, The Boone Family, records the Exeter Meeting comments describing admonishment of Squire Boone, Sr. for this breech. He apologized, but began to lose his community esteem, even though people still came to him for their woven goods and blacksmith work. The breech seemed to be in the conversational area, but hope remained that he would see the light and return to the flock. The leaders were shocked at his laxness in letting John and Sarah “keep company” right under his nose. Innocent or not, he should have seen it coming, was the way members of the Exeter Meeting felt. John Wilcoxson did not accept the Quaker Faith, so he and Sarah were shunned.
John and Sarah Wilcoxson were obviously living with her parents and siblings at that time. They started their own family, and in the next few years John learned the trades and helped the family meet obligations and services to the community. Five of their children were born in Exeter Twp, Berks Co., PA: David b. 1742; Elizabeth b. 1743; John Jr. b. 1744; Nancy b. 1746; and George b. 1748.
However, when Sarah’s brother Israel Boone “married out” in 1747 and his wife did not accept the Quaker faith, that was the straw that broke the membership, and in 1748 the Exeter Meeting read Squire Boone Sr. out of the Monthly Meeting as he refused to be penitent.
Also, in 1748, John and Sarah Wilcoxson corresponded with Samuel Boone in Frederick, Md., who was in the gunsmithing business there, and they moved to Frederick. John Wilcoxson applied for and was granted an Ordinary (Tavern) License and operated the tavern. (Carolina Cradle by Ramsey).
At this juncture, Squire’s smithy and weaving businesses really began to fall off. He journeyed to Philadelphia, and in council with his cousin William Maugridge, he decided to leave Exeter. April 11, 1750, he sold his home and 1583⁄4 acres to Maugridge, who borrowed the money from his friend, Benjamin Franklin (Compass, Jan 2004, p. 4).
In May 1750 arrangements for departure were concluded and the wagons were loaded for the long journey over the mountains to Virginia and North Carolina. They stopped off for a few months at his sister Sarah Boone Stover’s place in Virginia. She was known as the Widow Stover at that time. John and Sarah Wilcoxson could not go with them as she was with child.
On the 4th day of October 1750 (old style calendar) Squire took out a “land entry” for 640 acres in Anson County, NC. In 1753 that part of Anson County, known as the Yadkin River valley, became Rowan County.
2004 p. 13, correcting Hazel Spraker, The Boone Family, p.36).
To quote Spraker, p. 35, “very little is known about Squire Boone’s personal life in Pennsylvania. His standing in the Friends Society was good, as he was in 1736 a trustee of the Oley meeting and … in 1739 made an overseer. From the fact that so little mention of him is found in the history of the community, and that he immigrated to N.C. as a man of apparently little means, it is judged that he was the least prosperous of all the Boone brothers.”
Squire Boone Sr. was not a Justice of the Peace or Magistrate in Pennsylvania, but he evidently did serve as a J.P. in NC (see the following article). Also, he had no military claims (The Quakers didn’t approve of guns!).