Name: Rachel Pennington
The Parentage of Rachel Pennington Beeson
One of the most-often-repeated mistakes in Quaker genealogy concerns the parentage of Rachel Pennington/Penington, the wife of the immigrant Edward Beeson and the ancestor of the Quaker Beeson families of North Carolina and the Midwest. This tradition makes Rachel the daughter of the eminent Quaker minister and writer Isaar Penington and his wife Mary Proud, and a half-sister to Culielma Maria Springett, the wife of William Penn. The tradition has a certain plausibility: Rachel's maiden name was Pen(n)ington, the Beeson family for generations was Quaker, and Edward Beeson did, in Pennsylvania, purchase land from Daniel Wharley of Giles Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, the husband of Mary Penington, daughter of Isaac and Mary. Unfortunately, careful research indicates that Rachel Penington was almost certainly not the daughter of Isaac Penington. The Quaker Yeoman Vol. 24 Num 1 Page 3
In 1982 Louis Jones, then of Lombard, Illinois, and currently of Richmond, Indiana, an accomplished genealogist, found the first definite evidence of Edward and Rachel (Pennington) Beeson in England. The records of the parish of Thrussington in Leicestershire show that Edward Beeson, son of Thomas and Ann Beeson, was christened there February 24, 1660. The Thrussington records also show that Edward Beeson and Rachel Pennington were married there, November 7, 1682. These records prove beyond question that Edward came from Leicestershire, not Lancashire as some published Beeson genealogies assert, and suggest that future research on the family should focus on Leicestershire. Thrussington records show nothing about the birth or origins of Rachel Pennington, although other Penningtons appear in the registers.¹
Whoever Rachel?s parents were, the evidence is overwhelming that they were not Isaac and Mary (Proud) Penington. First, we have the will of Mary (Proud) Penington, which was written in June 1680 and proved October 11, 1682. It does not mention a daughter Rachel, although it does mention all of her other known children.² Some genealogists have suggested that Mary disapproved of her daughter Rachel's marriage and so disinherited her, but Mary made her will well before Rachel married and even a disinheritance usually involved a token bequest or some explicit declaration of disapproval. Moreover, we have the text of a long memorandum that Mary made at the time that she wrote her will, in which she said that she left "a handsome provision for J[ohn] P[enington] and M[ary] P[enington], and the younger ones, to fit them for a decent calling.... I call it a comely provision for my children, considering that they are provided for out of my lands of inheritance, having nothing of their father's."³ This is not the language of a woman cutting off a daughter of whom she disapproved. Secondly, the family of Isaac Penington is well documented in surviving family papers, many of which have been published. In none of them is there any mention of a daughter Rachel. Finally, the identification of Rachel (Pennington) Beeson with Isaac Penington assumes that Edward and Rachel Beeson were Quakers in England, but there is no evidence that they were or that Rachel ever was. Edward may have become a Friend in America, but that was after Rachel had died and he had remarried.
Thus, in brief, available evidence places Rachel Pennington as a member of a Pennington/Penington family in Thrussington in Leicestershire. There is no evidence that she was the daughter of Isaac and Mary (Proud) Penington.
Thomas D. Hamm
3rd Mo. 1997
¹ Louis Jones, Richmond, IN , generously provided copies of his research, done at the Company of Genealogists in London.
² The will is summarized in Henry Hart Beeson, A Genealogy of the Beeson-Beason Family (Houston, 1968), 2.
³ Maria Webb, The Penns and Peningtons of the Seventeenth Century, Illustrated by Original Family Letters (London, 1891), 252-53.
So, who was Rachel Beeson, wife of Edward Beeson, if not
daughter of Isaac the Quaker, who had no daughter Rachel? I think if
she actually was a Pennington, her most likely identity could be as a
sister to Abraham The Trader and John Pennington who lived nearby
Nottingham, along the Susquehanna and North East Rivers. You can
see the plat of lots and owners at Nottingham at Quaker Corner.
Love, Your Cousin, Carolyn
Carolyn McDaniel firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward Beeson b: 24 FEB 1660 in Thrussington, Leicestershire, England
07 NOV 1682
in Thrussington, Leicestershire, England
- Richard Beeson b: DEC 1684 in Lancaster, England
- Edward Beeson b: 1685
- Isaac Beeson b: 1692
- William Martin Beeson b: 1694
- Anne Beeson b: 1696