Tag Archives: John & Frances Grubb

John & Frances (MNU) Grubb, of PA and DE, 1600s

For a man of some social stature in his day, and who even has his own Wikipedia page today, John Grubb’s family history is another one of those hot messes to be found online.

Before I even begin to tell his story, I want to state upfront that I know that there are many sites that give Frances Grubb’s maiden name, but that name was disproved many years ago. Because it was in print in a book, this misinformation has remained freely available and has been spread across the internet through copied family trees. To this day, Frances’s maiden name is unknown.

For a long time, there was confusion over John Grubb’s own heritage, but a little town in Cornwall, England called Stoke Climsland, is his ancestral home.

John was born c1652, the son of Henry and Wilmot (MNU) Grubb. Henry was an early Quaker who was imprisoned more than once because of those beliefs. John, along with his brother Henry, arrived in West Jersey in 1677. John founded a large tannery – his trade- and also farmed. He was one of the original settlers of Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Hundred, which later became New Castle County, Delaware.

There is confusion to be found online when looking at several parts of John’s life. First, some say he was a Quaker and others say not. His parents were clearly Quakers and seven of his nine children were of the Friends’ faith as adults. The answer to this question might lie in a beef John had with a fellow Friend, Robert Wade. Wade was also a prominent Quaker and the only meeting house in the area was at Wade’s home. John Grubb is said to be buried at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, in Marcus Hook, Delaware, which did not permit the burial of Quakers on its grounds. If true, he renounced his faith. It is also possible that he was buried elsewhere, but was not a practicing Quaker later in life. There is no surviving marker for John’s burial place.

The second issue concerns John Grubb’s place of death in 1708. Some say he died in Delaware, others in Pennsylvania. However, John left a will, found in the index of New Castle County records, which is one of Ancestry’s databases.

His will is said to be filed in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but the fact that New Castle County has this note makes me think he died at home in New Castle County, but at the time, Chester County Court House was the recipient of legal matters from that county.

John wrote his will on 12 February 1707, but it wasn’t probated until a year later on 26 March 1708, so he likely died early in 1708.

FamilySearch has digitized probate records for Chester County, but the wills don’t begin until 1713 and estate records begin in 1720. The Ancestry index notes the will is in “Misc. 1:82,” but there is nothing corresponding to that in the Chester County list. It is possible that the will is in the loose papers and wasn’t filmed.

John’s will, however, does name his wife, Frances, and eight children – two daughters and six sons, according to the above index, but John and Joseph were two different people, meaning John had seven sons.

John and Frances married about 1681. She was born c1660 and died before 1721. It is likely that all of their children were born in what is today New Castle County, Delaware.

Hinshaw’s Index to Selected Quaker Records provides marriage dates for Charity, Samuel, Nathaniel and Peter.


*Emanuel and *Joseph were not Quakers. I have found no documents proving the marriages of Emanuel, John, Joseph or Phebe, nor have I yet searched for documents proving death dates, with the exception of Charity Grubb Beeson.

*Emanuel, born c1682; died 1767; ?married Anna Hedgecock, 1706.
John, born c1684; died 1758; ?married Rachel Buckley
*Joseph, born c1684; died 1747; ?married Sarah Elizabeth Perkins, c1715
Charity, born 29 November 1687; died 27 November 1761, Rowan County, North Carolina (Guilford wasn’t formed until 1771); married Richard Beeson, 24 October 1706, Centre Monthly Meeting, Guilford County, North Carolina family entry
Phebe, born c1690; died 1769; ?married Richard Buffington Jr.
born c1691; died 1760; married Mary Bellerby, 26 July 1745, Providence Meeting House, PA. They had no children.
Henry, born c1692; died 1770; unmarried.
Nathaniel, born c1693; died 1760; married Ann Moore, 28 October 1725, Concord Monthly Meeting
Peter, born c1702; died 1754; married (1) Martha Wale, 12 February 1732, Concord Monthly Meeting (2) Hannah Marshall,
10 December 1741, Concord Monthly Meeting

John Grubb had made a good life for himself by the time he passed away. He had served two terms in the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly. He had founded a tannery which continued in operation for over a century. His estate was worth over £500, which included 500 acres of land in New Castle County.

The Grubb family is on my “to do” list in Salt Lake because I’d like to confirm or disprove the dates of marriage and death dates for his children.

If you are a descendant and interested in family and financial records, the University of Delaware Special Collections houses the Grubb Family Papers, 1737-1940.