|The Pusey Family Home Page
|Devoted to publishing and researching genealogical information about the descendants of brothers or cousins, William and Caleb Pusey.
This site was created by and is maintained by John Morris (e-mail below).
English Quakers, William Pusey and Caleb Pusey, arrived in Pennsylvania in the first decade of the 18th century where they joined their "kinsman", Caleb Pusey, Sr. a prominent member of the Quaker community in the town of Chester, then in Chester county, Pennsylvania (now in Delaware county). Caleb Sr. was the manager of a successful mill and William and Caleb Jr. probably worked for him there for a few years before they turned to farming. William purchased land in Londongrove township in Chester County, and Caleb bought land in nearby (East) Marlborough township. Their milling experience carried a lasting legacy as many of their descendants built, owned, and operated mills across Pennsylvania and the mid-west for the next two centuries.
It had long been assumed that William and Caleb were brothers and were sons of John Bartholomew alias Pusey and Frances Tomson/Thompson. John was Caleb Pusey, Sr.'s brother. Together with their brother-in-law John Hicks, they each purchased land in Chester county in 1681. But, according to research published (1906) by Gilbert Cope, John was probably not the father of William and Caleb. John died in London in 1684/5, two years after he married Frances. During those two years, John and Frances had a daughter Sarah who is named in John's will, along with an un-named 'heir', presumably still in the womb. Unless William and Caleb were twins or one/both was adopted, they could not both have been John's sons. Cope found information on the family of Caleb (Sr.) and John Pusey including the names of their brothers, sisters, parents, aunts and uncles. These given names overlap considerably with the names given by William and Caleb (Jr.) to their children so it is a reasonable assumption that they were closely related to each other. They worked for Caleb, Sr. upon their arrival in Pennsylvania, Caleb Sr. went to live with Caleb, Jr. for the last few years of his life, and Caleb named both William and Caleb Jr. as 'kinsmen' and 'cousin' in his will. Based on all this, it seems a reasonable conclusion that they are closely related. How closely?
The will of Margaret Pusey (mother of John and Caleb Sr. and presumably grandmother to our William and Caleb Jr.), was proved in 1697 and it names her children (sons included Thomas, Caleb, John, William and Joshua) and many granddaughters (including 'Sarai'), but names only one grandson, Joshua. Margaret did leave some linens to the "grandchildren" of William and Joshua which leaves open the possibility that our William and Caleb were her grandchildren by either William or Joshua.
In an aside to the history of East Marlborough Friends Meeting House, Cope reviews the Pusey family and speculates that William and Caleb the younger were not siblings but cousins and that perhaps Caleb was the son of Thomas and William was the son of Joshua. Cope made these hypotheses based on Quaker child-naming patterns.
A common naming convention among Quaker parents of the Delaware Valley is to honor their parents by naming children after their grandparents before naming any for the parents. For instance, Joshua Pusey, the son of William and Elizabeth (Bowater) Pusey, married Mary Lewis, the daughter of Ellis and Mary (Newlin) Lewis. They named their first three sons Ellis, William, and Joshua and their first two daughters Elizabeth and Mary. This practice was definely not universal but sometimes can be a helpful clue to determining Quaker parentage and since Caleb (Jr.) named one son Thomas and none John, William, or Joshua, it's plausible that Thomas was his father's name but that's pretty weak evidence. Apologies to Gilber Cope but he was paid for his English research and might have been inclined to present an answer when uncertainty was warranted.
William Pusey married Elizabeth Bowater, daughter of John Bowater and Frances Corbet. They named their sons: John, William, and Joshua and daughters Lydia, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, and Hannah. If John was named for Elizabeth's father, then it would be a good possibility that second son William was named for his paternal grandfather. However, none of the daughters were named for her maternal grandmother so it's unconvincing to state that the Quaker naming tradition was followed here.
Caleb Sr. was any intelligent and very literate man, fully capable of naming the younger Puseys as 'sons of his brother xxx' or 'nephews' and yet he did not. He described them in his will as 'kinsmen' and 'cozzen' which could indicate they were more distantly related and too much trouble to describe in his will, or that they were not equally related to him (e.g. perhaps one was a nephew and the other was a 'n'th cousin, 'x'-th removed?) and this fact was not germaine to the document's purpose.
William and Caleb (Jr.) both had many children and I estimate they have up to fifty thousand descendants between them. As of July 15, 2021 (15th day, 7th month in Quaker vernacular), we have identified over 36,000 though that number includes many who are listed and counted twice (or more) as a consequence of inter-marriage between two branches of the Pusey family tree. These descendants are displayed in a series of family outlines on the pages listed below. Browsing through that many listings can be mind-numbing so I encourage you to start with the index of all folks with the Pusey surname. Find your Pusey ancestor and poke around from there, up and down the page as you wish - the number to the left of each name shows the generation with William, Caleb Jr., and their wives constituting the first generation.
If you do not find your Pusey ancestor in the Pusey family tree, then check out my page of 'Stray Puseys' - while tracking the Chester County Pusey family I have found many other Puseys who are not part of this family (or I just haven't found their place in the Pusey family). If your Puseys have roots on the Maryland (or Delaware) eastern shore, then see the note below.
|William Pusey and Elizabeth Bowater
(Children and Grandchildren)
|Caleb Pusey Jr. and Prudence Carter
(Children and Grandchildren)
DelMarVa Puseys - A non-Quaker Pusey family settled on the middle and lower portions of the DelMarVa peninsula in the late 1600's. If you can trace your Pusey roots to: Northumberland or Accomack counties in Virginia; Sussex or Kent counties in Delaware; or Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset, Dorchester, or Talbot counties in Maryland, then you are almost certainly related to this family. The descendants of William and Caleb Pusey rarely lived on the DelMarVa peninsula south of Cecil County, Maryland or New Castle County, Delaware and the DelMarVa Puseys rarely moved that far north (update: it seems that more than a few of the DelMarVa Puseys did move up to Philadelphia and its suburbs by the end of the 19th century, a muddying factor from my perspective... An excellent book on the DelMarVa Puseys was compiled by Lloyd Albert Pusey in 1997. It is called 'The Descendants of William Pusey: 300 Years of History on the Eastern Shore', CS71.P987'.
Sources: The information in the Pusey database has come from countless sources. While I have done some original research, and have sorted through many professional genealogical publications, much of the data is provided by generous cousins who have shared their information. If you can validate or correct this information, or add to it, please share with your cousins! I have assembled a list of some of the most noteworthy people, books, websites, and other sources to assist your research. I try to check and verify data but I know there are errors. Use this information as a starting point. You should check the sources yourself, especially where your direct ancestors are concerned.