The Old Homestead – Caleb Pusey House

Finding old homes that belonged to my ancestors has been a little difficult. I know of several instances where homes burned, or they were torn down and replaced with a newer buildings. That is why to my extreme surprise, I discovered that the home of my 11th great grandmother, Anne (Stone) (Worley) Pusey and her second husband, Caleb, was not only standing but a museum! Several years ago, I had the great pleasure to visit the house with my mom, who is also a descendant of Anne. It was a special day for both of us, and we were both struck by the compelling story behind the house and the lives of Anne and Caleb.

The Caleb Pusey House

Anne Stone and Her Husbands

As I began to write this post, I realized how much research I still need to do on this family! That is what has been so great about this challenge; it has reminded me of sides of the family that definitely need a little more attention. For now, I will discuss what I know of their lives.

Anne was the daughter of Henry Stone, as recorded in her second marriage record in London. At this time, I know nothing else about Anne. I do not know if she was born in London or a surrounding county, when she was born, who her mother was, or if she had any siblings. The first record I have that names Anne is her marriage to Henry Worley on 12 January 1667/8 at St. James Duke’s Place, an oddly named Anglican Church in the Aldgate Ward of London. Henry was the son of Henry Worley and Anne Young of Parndon, Essex and was named in his father’s will in May 1662.

By 1673, Anne and Henry were living in an area of London called Bishopsgate, where at least their youngest child was born. Anne and Henry had three known children: Francis, Henry, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth died on 26 June 1673 and was buried in the Checker Alley burying ground. Anne and Henry were undoubtedly Quakers by this time, as Elizabeth was buried in the Quaker section of the burying ground. Sadly, Henry Worley soon followed his daughter to the grave. He died on 14 Feb 1674/5 of a fever and was buried in the Checker Alley burying ground, likely near his daughter. Tradition says that Henry contracted the fever while imprisoned for refusing to attend the Anglican Church, but I have not seen contemporary proof of this yet. But if that was the case, that was an experience that other Quakers shared in England.

On 27 May 1681, Anne entered into her second marriage to Caleb Pusey, a fellow Quaker who lived in the parish of St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate in London. Their marriage took place at the “meeting place at Devonshirehouse without Bishopsgate London.” Their marriage record is wonderful because it gives information about both Caleb and Anne’s family. (This is just one reason to love Quaker ancestors, thorough records!)

Caleb Pusey was a prolific writer and published quite a few works during his life. The first, “A Serious and Seasonable Warning unto all People,” was published in London in 1675. Sometime during his life in London, Caleb became acquainted with William Penn. In 1681, King Charles II granted to Penn an large amount of land to settle a debt between himself and Penn’s father. Penn took this opportunity to relocate with other Quakers and settle the land. Caleb and Anne Pusey were some of the earliest people to plan to leave with Penn. They shared similar religious beliefs with Penn, and soon Caleb and Penn became business associates. Caleb and Penn, with a group of other enterprising Quakers, drew up plans for a grist and a saw mill, which was to be the first venture of its kind in Pennsylvania. Caleb was a 1/32 shareholder and was named the manager of the mills. Caleb, Anne, and Anne’s sons Francis and Henry Worley boarded the Welcome, Penn’s flag ship, and sailed for Pennsylvania on 1 September 1682.

The Homestead

By 1683, Caleb had purchased 100 acres of land located on Chester Creek in Chester County named “Landingford” where he built the two mills and the house. The house has the distinction of being the second oldest house in Pennsylvania and the only house still standing that William Penn was known to have visited. The stone house was constructed like a 17th-century English yeoman house. It has two main rooms, which were likely built at different times, and an attic that served as a sleeping loft and storage space.

The Landingford house was the center of Anne and Caleb’s world for many years. Not only were the mills on the land Caleb’s responsibility, but they raised their small family there. Two of Anne’s children with Caleb, Ann and Lydia, were born in the house. Both Caleb and Anne were very involved in political and spiritual life in Pennsylvania. Caleb served as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Council, Justice of the Peace, County Treasurer, tax collector, sheriff, and a trustee for the meeting house. Quaker meetings were held in their home, and both Anne and Caleb led meetings. Caleb continued to publish works, including “A Modest Account from Pennsylvania,” “Satan’s Harbinger,” “Daniel Leeds Justly Rebuked,” “Porteus Ecclesiasticus,” and “Some Remarks upon the late Pamphlet signed part by John Talbot, and part by Daniel Leeds.”

Caleb and Anne lived in this house until 1717 when they moved to Marlborough Township. The New Garden Monthly Meeting records showed that Anne died on 5 February 1726. Caleb died the following year on 25 February and was buried in the London Grove Quaker cemetery in Chester County.

The house is being cared for and managed by the Friends of the Caleb Pusey House, organized in 1960. Through their efforts, the house has been beautifully preserved along with several other buildings on the property, and they are open for tours!

My Connection

I am a descendant of Anne’s son Francis and his wife Mary Brassey, the daughter of Thomas Brassey, another first purchaser and immigrant in Penn’s fleet. My family eventually left Pennsylvania and made their way to Tennessee, and our connection with the Pusey house has only been lately rediscovered. My mom and I were so proud of our adventurous ancestors, and we were thrilled that a building that was such an important part of their lives was still standing. It made us feel just a little bit closer to Anne, Caleb, and Francis to know that we were walking around the same places that they did 330 years earlier.

 

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