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Birth of William Pinley: Shredicote Bradley Staffordshire England

Other Colonial Penleys

Other Penleys in the Colonies

This website focuses on the descendants of William Pinley's orphan Thomas, who was born in Virginia about 1650.  His sister, orphan Dorthy, was lost in Maryland in the early 1670s, she may have married.  Researchers through the years have found numerous references with various spellings who could be descendants of William's eldest son, Will Jr., but no credible connection is yet made in extant records. Pendle, Pingley, Pendry, Pemble, Panley, and Pindall are just a few of the spellings encountered in search of Will Jr.’s descendants.

There is a body of prevailing information commonly referred to as the 'Mitchell Paper' which concerns a different Pendley family living in colonial Maryland and Virginia during this time. The specific dates given for births and marriages indicate extensive research, but no documents or sources are cited. PenleyPearls and several cohorts have searched, and found no documents to support any claims in the Mitchell Paper.  The Mitchell Paper erroneously lays claim to Hannah Boyle/Mountney and our William Pinley who immigrated to Maryland in 1638, and states (in error) that William the Immigrant married Elizabeth Reed in 1659 and had six children, nine years after the immigrant’s death!

It is entirely possible that another William Pinley immigrated during this era, but the William Pinley who immigrated to Maryland in 1638, who became involved with the Virginians on Kent Island, who married Hannah Boyle Mountney’s daughter, who died in Northampton County in 1650, and who left three orphans for Hannah to raise did not marry Elizabeth Reed nine years after his death. The orphans of William Pinley moved to Lancaster County with their guardian Grandmother, Hannah Mountney, as documented by court records.

Likewise, Orphan Will Pinley Jr. (possibly born as early as 1643) could not have married Elizabeth Reed in Maryland in 1659, as he was referred to as an orphan in Lancaster County court records in 1659 and again in 1662, when he was assaulted by Will Crump in the courtroom. The Pendleys who supposedly settled near Alexandria, Virginia, already had two children before Will Jr.’s last appearance in court as an orphan.

Pinley/Penley/Pendley in North Carolina

There is a legendary tale of 'three Williams', including a William Penley, who stowed away on a ship to immigrate just before the Revolution.  They settled in the Toe River Valley, North Carolina.  This legend of another immigrant named William Penley is entirely possible, but no documents yet available. Most of the early North Carolina Penleys (with various spellings) were believed to have descended from our Penley Brothers of Farnham Parish.  William, Thomas and Joshua Penley left Northumberland County, Virginia in the 1750s and all three eventually landed in North Carolina.  See the chapter on Thomas Penley of Farnham for details.  Each Penley brother recycled their favored family names, so it is impossible to identify which William, Thomas, Joshua belonged to which brother.  Several family historians are working on the monumental task to unsnarl the Penleys in North Carolina.  Happy Trails, or as the late Jerry Penley would say, Good Hunting.

Maine and Massachusetts

A Sampson Penley arrived at Falmouth, Maine, before 1658.  Sampson Penley, a fisherman, was born in Cornwall, England, and was survived by at least three daughters, and a supposed son Sampson, who captained the ship Marygold in 1699. There are other Penleys found later in Massachusetts who may descend from Sampson Penley of Falmouth. Abigail Turner and her sons Benjamin and Samuel Stockbridge of Scituate, Massachusetts on August 1, 1700, requested John Bryant,William Pendy, and Zachariah Damon to value the estate of Benjamin and Samuel. One Thomas Pinly has been located in the list of the Massachusetts Militia at Mendon, October 19, 1675, called out to defend Lancaster, Massachusetts against the Natives in King Phillip's war. This may have been our Orphan Thomas Pinley, as he would have been 25 years old in 1675, but no other found documents place him anywhere except Maryland and Virginia.

A Joseph Penley immigrated to Maine in 1780, the son of John Penley and Rebecca Pavey from Horsley, near Nailsworth Village in Gloucestershire.  A large and successful clan of American and Canadian Penleys arose from this single immigrant.  Joseph's descendant, Canadian Don Penley recently provided PenleyPearls with a great treasure, a digital copy of Reverend Robert Penley's publication.  Having this entire book in front of me would have saved hundreds of hours of research tracking down leads that Reverend Penley had already documented and distinguished. Until now, PenleyPearls has only had access to a few occasional snippets from this book which were posted at the old Penley List at Rootsweb.  The extensive work found here is comprehensive and overwhelming.  It is impossible to fathom how it was researched, organized and processed without a computer.    The book details the history of Penleys from Cornwall, London, and Gloucestershire, and follows many of them on their migrations in North America. 

It is interesting that no Pinley spellings are included in Reverend Penley's book, none of the ancestral locations near Coventry for our Pinley lines are mentioned, no records from Virginia or Maryland.  Many Pinley records should have been available in the same reference locations where he found his Penley documents.  Now that the entire book is available to PenleyPearls, the excruciating detail of his research causes me to believe the exclusion was not an accidental oversight.  At this point, it seems that he purposefully excluded the Pinley records, possibly because he considered Penleys and Pinleys as two separate lineages.  PenleyPearls has reached a similar conclusion, 60 years after Reverend Penley published his work.  Don Penley, Thank You for sharing!



Being principally an account of the Ancestry and Descendants

of Joseph Penly of Danville, Maine

(1755 - 1844)

By Reverend Robert Penley

Alexandria, Ontario, Canada

May 1958

On the very last page of Reverend Penley's book, he does mention the Penleys in North Carolina after 1790, and states "it would not be at all surprising if they were related to the Gloucestershire Penleys". Some, if not all of those North Carolina Penleys are documented descendants of immigrant William Pinley.  After 1800, Penley was the most commonly found spelling, springing from the Farnham parish records. 


Peggy Crane located a William Penly who died childless in Philadelphia in 1737. The Philadelphia Penleys were a most interesting bunch, well connected with people such as Benjamin Franklin. An Edward Penley and Anne Penley were also located in Philadelphia in this era. After much research and great sorrow, it was determined that these Quaker Penleys were not directly related to the 1638 immigrant to Maryland, having immigrated directly to Pennsylvania in the 1720's from Horsley, England, long after the death of the William Pinley in 1650.  PenleyPearls hated to let this family go from our family tree.  Alas, absolutely no connection could be found to our immigrant, William Pinley.