John Cadwallader of Horsham

John Cadwallader (1) was born in Montgomeryshire, Wales, in 1676, and was minister among the Society of Friends (Quakers), and was very eminent in the early religious history of the Province of Pennsylvania. He made many trips to other provinces in the United States and abroad to other countries. As the Friends do not have ministers as most protestant denominations know them, his work corresponded with that of a missionary in a protestant denomination. Histories speak of Quaker ministers, but actually they were leaders who “ministered” to a Friends Monthly Meeting.

Nothing is definitely known of his parentage nor the name of the ship he came to Pennsylvania on, but several sources give the year of his immigration here as 1697.

On May 28, 1701, John Cadwallader married Mary Cassel at Abington MM. She was the mother of his ten children. Mary was the daughter of Johannes Cassel, a Friend, a weaver, and one of the founders of Germantown. He came from Kresheim in the Palatinate, High Germany, Dec. 20, 1686. His children were Arnold, Peter, Elizabeth, Mary, and Sarah. He died Feb. 17, 1691, and was buried at Germantown. Mary died November 8, 1728, and was buried at Horsham where she and John had lived. On April 29, 1730, John Cadwallader married Margaret Peters, a widow of Warminster, and later after John acquired land in Warminster, they lived there until his death in 1742. In 1746 Margaret married Rees Naney and died in 1748 childless. She willed her estate to nephews, nieces, and friends - none to Cadwalladers.

John and Mary lived at Horsham, Pa., on a tract of land acquired from Samuel Carpenter December 16, 1702, which was next to the present Horsham Meeting House land. They were members of the Society of Friends at Abington, PA. In 1714 John was instrumental in helping establish a small log meeting house at Horsham on 50 acres of land granted by the widow of Samuel Carpenter. The Horsham MM was a part of the Abington MM until it became large enough to establish itself as an independent Monthly Meeting. Later as the Horsham MM increased in size, it sponsored the Byberry MM.

A Centennial Plate showing the Horsham MH as it is now, says:
1714 - First Meeting House was built of logs on 50 acres of land given by the widow of Samuel Carpenter.
1724 - Second Meeting House was built of stone.
1737 - A school house, and soon afterward, a farm house for the caretaker was built.
1803 - The present Meeting House was erected. Since then renovations have been made with an added lobby, dining room and kitchen. The old carriage house still stands by the meeting house.

The minutes of the Abington MM lists that in:
1716 - John Cadwallader was appointed to visit families on a religious visit to New England.
1719 - Certificate to Barbados but did not go at this time.
1721 - Certificate to visit Great Britain.
1724 - Certificate to visit Long Island.
1732 - Certificate to visit Great Britain and Ireland.
1740 - Certificate to visit Virginia and North Carolina.
1742 - Certificate to visit the Island of Tortola in the West Indies where he died and was buried September 26, 1742.

A Friend settlement had started on Tortola in 1655, and John Pickering, the governor, wrote to Philadelphia for a minister in 1742. Thomas Chalkley answered the call but died shortly after he arrived there. There was another call and John Estaugh and John Cadwallader answered it. John Cadwallader and John Estaugh both died of fever in 1742. All three men were buried there. Many years later hurricanes wiped out practically all traces of the settlement and the graves of the three men. There is a painting at the Friends Memorial Library, Swarthmore College, made by a descendant of either Chalkley or Estaugh at the site showing the meeting house, tombs, etc., before hurricanes wiped them away.

The following Memorial to John Cadwallader was submitted by the Abington MM to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1758. “Our Friend John Cadwallader of Horsham, was convinced of the Principles of Truth when young; had a gift in the ministry bestowed on him in which he was serviceable; underwent many deep baptizing seasons, by which it is believed he was in good degree an overcomer. He traveled much in the exercise of his gift, having visited his Brethren in Truth's service in most, or all, the parts of this continent where Friends reside; and crossed the Seas twice to Europe on the same account; and once to the Island of Barbados; and good accounts and credentials were upon all occasions, communicated to this Monthly Meeting of his acceptable service; and was also serviceable amongst us in the Meetings of Discipline. His last visit was to the Island of Tortola in company with our worthy Friend, John Estaugh, deceased. He was taken indisposed on his passage thither before he landed, yet proceeded on the service he went up for to the satisfaction of Friends there, but his distemper increasing upon him. He departed this life in Peace, on said Island of Tortola, on the 26th of the 9th month, 1742, as by accounts sent hither by Friends of said Island; aged near 66 years.”

The following Memorial to Mary Cadwallader was submitted by the Abington MM to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1758. “On the 8th of the 11th month, 1758, died Mary Cadwallader, the wife of John Cadwallader, deceased. She was appointed an Elder for Horsham Particular Meeting, and died in that station. She was inoffensive in Life and Conversation, discreet and careful in the management of her husband's affairs when he was abroad in Truth's Service; aged near 50 years, was buried at Horsham.”

Ref. Vol. 9 (1924-26) Genealogical Society Magazine of Pennsylvania. “Tortola, A Quaker experiment of long ago in the Tropics.” Issued as a supplement (#13) to the Journal of the Friends Historical Society, London, 1923, by Charles F, Jenkins. It is a valuable contribution to 18th Century History of the Friends, both as history and literature.

“Tortola, the 'Land of the Turtle Dove' is the largest of the Virgin Islands, in the hurricane swept Caribbean. It was first owned by the Dutch, then by other countries, and finally by the English.

“In 1741, it claimed the attention of the Friends MM in Philadelphia, by an appeal of the Governor of the Island, John Pickering, a member of the Friends.

“Thomas Chalkley, of blessed memory, Whittier's 'Gentlest of Skippers, rare Sea Saint', answered the call at once. But he lived only two weeks to labor on the Island and was rewarded by a great outpouring of saved souls, before he died a victim of the climate. Nothing daunted, John Estaugh and John Cadwallader, who had traveled much in the Ministry, followed in 1742 to the newly established Meeting in Tortola. Here, they too shortly finished their mission on earth, and lay, one on each side of their former co-laborer (Chalkley), in the Governor of Tortola's graveyard far from their native home.

Ref. “The Friend” (Religious and Literary Journal) published in Philadelphia by Robb, Pile & McElroy, 1857, Vol. XXX, Haddonfield, the 15th of the seventh month 1742.

“Having obtained the concurrence of his friends at the yearly meeting of Ministers, held seventh month, 1742, John Estaugh and his companion, John Cadwallader, left Philadelphia about the 12th of the eighth month, and sailed for Tortola.

“Elizabeth Estaugh says, 'We parted in the abounding love and affection of the occasion'. Two extracts from letters received by Elizabeth, from Friends at Tortola, will give account of the close of his labors there.

“On the 8th day of the ninth month he arrived at the house of John Pickering (at Tortola) with his companion, John Cadwallader where they were received with much love and great joy. Being made to rejoice together in tender mercies and love of God, which was greatly manifested that day to the honor and praise of his great name, and also to the comforting of his poor people. The testimonies of the servants of the Lord were with life and power, and were as clouds filled with rain upon a thirsty land.”

“Later Visitors in Tortola”, published London 1923 - “Tortola” by Charles F. Jenkins.

“Joseph John Gurney visited the British Isle of Tortola in 1839. He reached Tortola from St. Thomas after an uncomfortable voyage. He felt intense interest in visiting a British Island peopled with emancipated slaves (negroes) for the freeing of which he and his people had worked.

“He spent several days on the Island visiting estates by boat and on horseback. The ancient prosperity of the planters had departed, and the firm of Reid Irving & Co. of London were owners by mortgage tenure of a large part of the Island. At the time of his visit, the condition, due to drought, was unfavorable. The chief industry was growing sugar. He visited Long Look, the ancient home of the Nottinghams, and Fat Hog Bay, coming in contact with the descendants of the slaves they had freed. He still retained the letters which the Nottinghams had sent him regarding the deed to their property. Their land was on the brow of a mountain, and a considerable part was in cultivation. He held a Meeting with them, and went away satisfied with their respectable appearance and behavior.

“The following year, 1840, other Pennsylvania Friends visited the Island. They too had an unhappy voyage from St. Thomas to Tortola amid swift currents and tides of the encompassing Islets, and were all day in making the few leagues. They landed in Road Town, Dec. 25, and spent a week in visiting prominent planters and holding Meetings. They spent one day in looking for the traces of the Friends who once were important to the Island.

“It was toward the end of their visit that they took a boat to visit Fat Hog Bay. Finding a little girl at the Bay site for a guide, they set off through dense thicket to Long Look, the ancient home of the Nottinghams. Many plantations of Tortola had been abandoned and overgrown, but the Nottingham estate was still producing a comfortable substance to a happy community, eighty persons or sixteen families. The Island in 1837 had been visited by a terrific hurricane, and homes and crops had been destroyed. The visitors held a religious Meeting after which they were conducted by some of the young men to the site of the Old Meeting House. Only the stone foundations remained. Near it were five graves built according to the ancient custom of the Island, of brick about three feet above the ground and covered with mortar. They were not marked and there was no way of telling which were the remains of Thomas Chalkley, John Estaugh, and John Cadwallader. The ravages of time and neglect were everywhere apparent. The prickly acacia spread its branches under the tombs making an almost impenetrable thicket, While nearby a century plant was blooming luxuriantly - symbolical of the hundred years since the Meeting House had been built, and the itinerant Ministers had so hopefully come to give the light, and laid down their lives in the Service of the Truth.

Seventy years later, Charles F. Jenkins and his son visited the Island. No one remembered the Quakers and the way was a jungle. Burned sugar mills, etc., and houses unroofed by hurricanes. They took a trip to Fat Hog Bay via boat and were carried ashore on the backs of the Captain's crew. No one knew of the Old Quaker Church, but through dense underbrush they followed a crooked cow path, and at last came to the hallowed spot. The outline of the church foundation could be followed and nearby were the ruins of two tombs. The others had disappeared. They had been built of brick with plaster coating, and as all natives need brick to built fireplaces, they helped themselves from time to time, so that the tombs were now level with the ground and the others were crumbling with decay. The brass letters of their names which had been on the brickwork had long ago been carried off by natives to make names on their sailing boats.”


John Cadwalader

“I John Cadwalader of Warminster in the County of Bucks, and Province of Pennsylvania, Being about to go on a Religious visit to the Island of Tortola, tho' in my Declining years yet of a sound mind, memory, and understanding, thought good to make and Ordain this my last will and Testament in manner hereafter Expressed, That is to say, first of all I will that all my Just Debts and Funeral Expenses be fully paid and Discharged.

Item - I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Margaret all the household goods which she brought with her at time of our marriage. The one Gray horse, and one cow, and also all the Bonds that is now lodged in her hand, in lieu and in full recompence for all Third, Dowers, and Demands, whatsoever, to my Estate Goods, and Chattels; and to live in the house we now live in during her widowhood.

Item - I give and bequeath unto my Daughter-in-law, Mary Cadwalader the sum of five pounds Lawful money of the said Province.

Item - I give and bequeath unto my grandson Isaac Cadwalader the sum of five pounds of the like money. But in case my Said grandson should die in his minority, my will is that the said five pounds be equally divided between his surviving Brothers and Sisters, the children of his Deceased father.

Item - I give and bequeath all the residue of my Estate, Goods, and Chattels nothing Excepted Save the Afore mentioned Legacies to be Equally Distributed between my children Viz. John, Jacob, Joseph, Benjamin, Sarah, Jane, Mary and Martha, and my Son Isaac's children whom I would to have an Equal Share with one of my aforesaid Children, to be Equally Divided among them, And my will further is that in case my said daughter Mary the wife of Benjamin Eaton should remove with her said husband to live anywhere out of this Province that her share or Division of My Estate as aforesaid be not paid unto her, but I do hereby Order the same to be Equally Divided between aforesaid Children and son Isaac's Children all to have between them and Equal share of one of my said Children anything herein contained not withstanding.

Item - I give unto my son Benjamin the remainder of John Bryan's Time or Apprenticeship willing my son to fulfill his Indenture and to teach or cause to be taught the Trade my said Son follows anything herein before Contained notwithstanding.

I do hereby Constitute and Appoint my son Jacob Cadwalader and son-in-law John Bond to be joint and Co-Executors of this my last will and Testament.

Also I Do Nominate and appoint my friend George Lewis and John Evans (both of the County of Philadelphia) to be Overseers of this my Last will and Testament to see the same Accomplished.

Finally I do hereby revoke and make void all former and other will and Testament by me heretofore made or declared to be made Either by word of mouth or writing validing and Confirming this only to be my Last in which whereof I have hereinto set my hand and Seal the Thirtieth day of the Seventh month Anno Dom 1742.

Signed Sealed Published and Declared by the Testator as his Last will in the Presence of us and hereunto Subscribed


Jno Evans a friend )
Rowland Evans a friend )

John Cadwalader

Proved June 20, 1743 Then personally appeared John Evans and Rowland Evans the witnesses to the foregoing will and on their solemn affirmation according to Law do declare they saw and heard John Cadwalader the Testator above named Sign and Institute and Declare same will to be his last will and testament and that at the time thereof He was of sound mind memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge.”

Ref. Will No. 28 of 1743, Estate of John Cadwalader, deceased (Certified Copy by Register of Wills, Room 180, City Hall, Philadelphia, Pa., 2-8-1956)

Ref. Abstract of will of John Cadwalader (PH 2 A p 808) at the Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The names and dates of the ten children of John and Mary Cadwallader have been gathered from many sources. They are not complete as the records of some of the early minutes of the Abington and Horsham Monthly Meetings were destroyed by fire. Also there are almost no records of the early burials in the Horsham MM graveyard, nor any identifying gravestones. Evidently no stones were used in the earliest days of the 1700's.