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Generation IV: Thomas & Sarah (Stone) Penley

Thomas & Sarah (Stone) Penley of Virginia

This research deals with the children of William and Mary Penley of Richmond County, Virginia. William was the only documented son of the Orphan Thomas and Elizabeth Penley, and the first verified landowner of the Immigrant Penley?s descendants. This first documented Penley purchase of land in America was facilitated after the marriage of William Pinley?s widowed mother to Robert Harrison of Northumberland County, the previous owner of the land. The land was located in Richmond County at the head of Marshy Swamp along the border of Westmoreland County, near the present day town of Rich Neck, Virginia.

William and his wife Mary moved their small family to their new farm Richmond County after the 1707 land purchase. It is believed that their firstborn child, Elizabeth was born in Northumberland County just before their move to North Farnham Parish in Richmond County.

Born Penly, Thomas son of William and Mary Penly, 8 June 1709
Born Penly, Mary daughter of William and Mary Penly, 3 January 1712
The Registers of North Farnham Parish , page 146

This fifth generation of Penleys in America was born (except Elizabeth) and raised in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County Virginia. The first Penley event recorded in The Registers of North Farnham Parish is the birth of our ancestor, Thomas Penley in 1709, the object of this research. This register is the first finding of records to consistently record the family name as Penly or Penley instead of Pinley, and the spelling PENLEY will be used consistently by this document from 1709 forward, except in verbatim quotes.

Thomas Penley was the only known son of William Penley who was the son of Orphan Thomas Penley who was the son of William Pinley, the Immigrant who married Elizabeth Hill, daughter of Edward and Hannah Hill.

Thomas Penley was the only son of William and Mary Penley, born June 8, 1709 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia. His father owned a small 100 acre farm at the head of the Marshy Swamp along the border of Westmoreland County, near the present day city of Rich Neck, Virginia. The Register of North Farnham Parish recorded his birth, marriage, the births of his children, and his death in 1736. His older sister Elizabeth married Richard Rice circa 1725. His younger sister Mary married Clark Short on March 2, 1730/1.

Thomas Penley married Sarah Stone on January 30, 1728/9. A rigorous search of all available records has not positively identified the parents of Sarah Stone, although the various Stone families in Richmond County at this time provide numerous possibilities. The names of Joshua and Alice are introduced into the Penley naming patterns after this Stone marriage.

There was a William (died 1704) and Sarah (died 1717) Stone family that settled in Richmond County along Totuskey Creek in 1672. Their known sons were Phillip, Joshua and William II. Their known daughters were (listed here by their assumed married names) Mary Fann, ? Schofield, Sarah Glasscock, and Elizabeth Dawson. There was controversy in the settlement of William Stone?s estate, the actual will was not found until 1707. The two youngest children, William and Elizabeth Stone (who eventually married a Dawson) filed suit against their mother in 1706 regarding the estate. Eldest son Phillip Stone was prematurely deeded land in 1706 as the heir of William Stone. But in 1707, the actual written will of William Stone was found and executed by the court. That will clearly stated that his sons Phillip and Joshua, and his son-in-law Robert Schofield had already received all that he intended from his estate.

Son Phillip Stone :
Impris(?) I gave to my son Phillip Stone Six years ago one cow and calfe one feather bed with all things thereto appertaining one gray gelding being all I ever Intend to give him.
Son Joshua Stone :
Item: I gave to my son Joshuah Stone Seven years ago one Dun(?) horse and now I give and bequeath to him my muscatt, it being all I ever Intend to give him.
Son-in-Law Robert Scolfield :
Item: I gave to my son in Law Robert Scolfield six years ago one gray mare one man servant It being all I ever intend to give him.

In addition to some minor bequests, he left all his land and other property to his wife, with instructions that she dispose of everything to the two youngest children, William and Elizabeth at her death. Sarah Stone?s will, abiding by those instructions was written in 1711 and executed after her death in 1717.

Many sources, including the reputable T. E. Pendley book, Pendley and Allied Families, reflect that the eldest son Phillip Stone was the father of the Sarah Stone who married Thomas Penley in 1729. This may be so, but neither documentation nor supporting facts have been located by this research. T.E. Pendley had access to a water stained will that he identified as Phillip Stone?s last will and testament, and he interpreted that will as referring to sons Joshua and Robert, and grandsons Gregory and John Glasscock. This research concludes that T.E. Pendly actually had in his hands the will of William Stone, Sr. which mentions all of the same names that T.E. Pendley interpreted as from the will of Phillip Stone. Neither of these men had a documented son Robert, but the William Stone will does mention a son-in-law Robert Schofield.

The most incriminating evidence that T.E. Pendley had William Stone, Sr.?s will in his hands instead of Phillip Stone?s is his rendition of Phillip Stone?s grandchildren as Gregory and John Glascock, who are also listed (and documented elsewhere) as William Stone?s grandsons in his will. Even the date which T.E. Pendley uses for the Phillip Stone will is identical to the date under which the William Stone, Sr. will was written, January 7, 1704. Although it is possible that a father and son could write out a will on the same day, the Glasscock children would have been nephews to Phillip Stone, not grandchildren. T.E. Pendley states that no Sarah was listed in the Phillip Stone will because it was written in 1704 before her birth, although it was not probated until 1717. Actually, William Stone, Sr.?s wife Sarah?s will was probated in 1717, and no evidence of a Phillip Stone will probated in 1717 has been yet found.

The only children born of this Phillip Stone recorded in Farnham Parish records were Astin (Austin) born September 8, 1700 and Judith, born August 26, 1702, and some evidence supports the idea that Phillip and Sarah Stone left Richmond County after his attempt to acquire land from his father?s estate caused estrangement in the family. The only found reference to Phillip Stone having a son named Joshua is found in T.E. Pendley?s rendering of Phillip Stone?s will, which this research now considers a flawed interpretation, or the will of a mistaken identity.

The second son of William and Sarah Stone was Joshua, who was bequeathed a musket by his father?s will, but who had seven years earlier (about 1697) been given a horse. A Joshua (I) and Mary Stone gave birth on October 26, 1716 to a son named Joshua (II) in North Farnham Parish. That Joshua (II) is thought to be the Joshua Stone who married Wilmoth Bryant 22 years later on November 22, 1738. Joshua (II) and Wilmoth (Bryant) Stone had six sons including William, Joshua (III), Benjamin, Thomas, John, and Moses whose births and parentage were recorded in North Farnham between 1738 and 1758. A Joshua Stone?s death is recorded in North Farnham Parish Registers on December 15, 1717, assumed to be Joshua I, the father of Sarah and Joshua (II) Stone, dying only a year after his son was born.

The youngest son of William and Sarah Stone was William Stone Jr. who may be the William Stone who married Elizabeth Dennett in St. Peter?s Parish (New Kent County) in 1710. William Stone Jr. and his wife Elizabeth proceeded to give birth to ten children including Anne, Margaret, Phillip, Elizabeth, Lucy, Joanna, Henry, Kathrine, Sarah (born 1731), and William whose births and parentage were all recorded in North Farnham Parish between 1713 and 1734.

?William Stone and Elizabeth Dennett were married Jany. ye 20th, 1709-10.?

p. 51, Register of St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co. VA, , pages 41-60, as transcribed at

Because of the snarled names of different Stone families in the Northern Neck during this era, it may be impossible to ever designate the specific family of Thomas Penley?s wife, Sarah Stone. This research concludes because of naming patterns, associated family names and dates provided in found records that the most likely father of Our Sarah Stone was Joshua Stone, who maybe the Joshua who died December 15, 1717 in North Farnham Parish. This Joshua was the middle son of William and Sarah Stone Sr. of Totuskey Creek, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County.

The only documented child of this Joshua I and Mary Stone was the Joshua II Stone who was born October 26, 1716, but since Joshua I and Mary?s marriage is not recorded in North Farnham records, it could be assumed that their marriage, and the birth of other children before Joshua Jr. was recorded in a different parish before they returned to reside in Richmond County.

Carefully following the social conventions of the day, Thomas and Sarah (Stone) Penley named their first son after his father, (William Penley), named their second son after Thomas himself, and if the expected pattern was continued, their third son would be named after the mother?s father. Thomas and Sarah Penley named their third son Joshua, quite probably in honor of Sarah?s father and her brother.

Thomas and Sarah (Stone) Penley, married in 1729, and had four children documented in North Farnham Parish Registers, p. 146:

William Penley, born November 15, 1729 in Richmond County
Thomas Penley, born June 6, 1732 in Richmond County
Alice Penley, born March 7, 1733 in Richmond County
Joshua Penley, born June 25, 1736 in Richmond County

The naming of Thomas and Sarah?s only daughter, Alice is a mystery with several possible explanations. When Robert Harrison sold 100 acres of land to William Penley in 1707, he reserved the other 107 acres of the tract he had bought from Samuel Churchell to grant to his daughter Alice Harrison. Fellow researcher Jerry Penley believes that William Penley married Mary Harrison. Thomas chose not to name his daughter after his mother, perhaps explained by the difficulties with Thomas? mother Mary Penley?s adultery charges in the same time period. Sarah Stone?s mother, the wife of Joshua Stone, was also also named Mary. If Mary Penley?s sister Alice still lived on the adjacent property, Alice may have nurtured the children in Mary?s absences. There were numerous persons named Alice in families allied to the William Stone descendants, particulary the Glasscocks. Since the maiden name of Sarah Stone, mother is unknown, the name Alice cannot be traced further at this time.

Sarah (Stone) Penley was destined to raise the children by herself, as her young husband Thomas Penley, died on March 22, 1736, either shortly before or shortly after the birth of his fourth child, Joshua Penley. The North Farnham Parish Registers was published showing many corrections of ?old style? dates, such as the marriage date of Thomas and Sarah Stone, January 30, 1728/9. No indication of correction is found on the March 22, 1736 date, it will be here corrected with trepidation to March 22, 1736/7.

Thomas Penley died at the young age of 28 years. His widow Sarah had lost her grandfather Stone before she was born, her father Joshua Stone died when she was a toddler, and now her husband died when she was about 25 years old, leaving her as a widow with four small children, the eldest was William, only seven years old. Her brother Joshua II was still in the vicinity, but he had responsibilities to his own family of six children, and Thomas Penley had two sisters who likewise had families of their own to tend. Thomas Penley?s parents were still living at the Marshy Swamp land, she may have taken the children to live there with William and Mary Penley. Sarah may have received assistance from her mother?s family which is unknown to us, but her life must have been difficult. There is no found record of a second marriage for Sarah.

Assistance did come from a source that is mysterious today. John Hartgroves, of unknown relationship, left his land and his entire estate to Sarah Penley, with instructions that it be left to one of her children at her death. Much research has been conducted to no avail by Penley descendants today concerning John Hartgroves.

Success has been found in research of Sarah Stone?s paternal family, but of her maternal side it is only known that her mother was named Mary, and that she was married to Joshua Stone I at the time of Joshua II?s birth in 1716. It is not known if Mary and Joshua I had other children before joining the North Farnham Parish. It is this Hartgrove bequest to our Sarah (Stone) Penley that may eventually lead to more information.

Because the Stone family connections are reasonably well accounted for in the North Farnham Parish records, it is thought that Sarah (Stone) Penley?s mother may have been related to the Hartgrove family. It is also possible that Mary Stone could have married again after the death of her husband in 1717, making a Hartgrove connection.

The Hartgroves will was witnessed by Epaphroditus Sydnor and John Hughlett, both were steady friends or neighbors to the Penley family as John Hughlett?s will was witnessed by William Penley, and William Penley?s inventory of estate was conducted by Anthony Sydnor, the father of Epaphroditus Sydnor.

Last Will and Testament of John Hartgroves of St. Stephens Parish. Dated September 7, 1740/41, probated April 13, 1741.

"To SARAH PENLY all my land lying and being in this Parish, and at her death to be left by her to one of her children.

Also, the best bed tick and best feathers for one bed and furniture, and one handest pot, choice of a chest, one smal brass kittell and one largest pott.

Rest of moveable estate to be sold at public sale to pay my debts.

Witness: John Hartgroves
Epaphroditus Sydnor
John Hughlett
William Howe

Northumberland County Wills & Administrations 1713-1749

John Hartgroves will was probated in St. Stephen?s Parish in Northumberland County. It is assumed that she moved with the four small children to Northumberland to live at the home she inherited from Hartgrove, if she was not already living there.

Sarah?s troubles did not end with the Hartgroves bequest. For some reason, the inventory of Thomas Penley?s estate was not conducted in a timely fashion. Names that are not familiar to the Penley neighbors, friends, or allied families became interested in Thomas Penley?s estate for some unknown reason.

Thomas may have owed debts that had not been paid. Research has not located any land deed for the deceased Thomas Penley, the administration, but after inheriting the estate of John Hartgroves, the widow Sarah Penley now owned land in Northumberland County. Thomas Penley clearly lived and died in Richmond County, the North Farnham Parish had recorded his birth, marriage, birth of his children, and his death. Yet, on February 14, 1742, just months after Sarah gained the Hartgrove property, John King petitioned the court for the administration of Thomas Penley?s estate in NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, where Sarah had just inherited land the previous year. He posted a bond to insure that he would carry out a just and faithful administration of Thomas Penley?s estate, but nowhere in the documents is there a reference to Thomas Penley?s four orphans.

There is no indication of why the estate was inventoried in Northumberland County instead of Richmond where Thomas and his family lived. There is no explanation why they waited five years to inventory his estate, but these strangers to this research took interest in the inventory of Thomas? estate soon after his widow Sarah inherited the estate of John Hartgroves.

Appraisal ORDERED of the Estate of Deceased Thomas Penly, 14 February 1742/43, Northumberland County VA. 1737-43 Order Book., Northumberland County, Page 324:

"THOMAS PENLEY., deceased At a Court held 14th day of February 1742/3
Upon the petition of John King for the administration of the Estate
of THOMAS PENLEY, deceased, he making oath that the said PENLEY
departed this life without making any Will as far as he knew or believed
and on his giving security for a just and faithful administration of the
estate of said deceased,
Certificate is granted him for Obtaining Letters of Administration on
the estate of the said deceased in due form.
Upon the motion of John King, administrator of the goods and chattels
of THOMAS PENLEY, deceased, Samuel Winifred, James Farmer,
William Thomas and John Allgood, or any three of them, are appointed
to meet sometime before the next Court (being first sworn by the
Justice) and appraise the Estate of THOMAS PENLEY in money.

Ordered that the Administrator exhibit an inventory thereof
upon oath to next Court."

The gentlemen returned the inventory to the court, and one should wonder what ever created their i nterest, for the inventory returned showed a meager household of goods. Unless there was valuable real estate not included on the list, there was nothing found that would have been worthy of John King?s petition and security bond.

March the 14th, 1742/3 this Inventory of the Estate of THOMAS PENLEY,
deceased, was exhibited into Northumberland County Court by John King,
Administrator of the said deceased. On his motion was admitted to record.
James Fontaine,, Court Clerk"
TO --
2 cows & 2 yearlings pounds 2.15
old ax and grubing hoes 2.6
1 cow and 3 heifers 3.--
old iron pot and pan 5.--
old chest & some lumber 6.--
1 bed and furniture 2.10
1 spinning wheel 5.--
pewter six spinds & tin pan 5.--
5 and sixpence cash 5.6.00

X John King, administrator His Mark
Samuel Winsted John Allgood William Thomas

Located at Jerry Penley?s website,

It is not known if Sarah lost the Hartgrove land to John King. Now that an outline of Penley migration is formed, further research focused on these locations may fill in some gaps as time goes by. Somehow, Sarah managed to survive, and her three sons survived to adulthood, though no record of daughter Alice Penley except her birth has yet been found.

Sarah?s son Thomas got into some trouble in 1753, but was eventually cleared of the charges and released in 1754. Shortly after that, the Penleys started to move out of the Northumberland and Richmond County area. Sarah Stone Penley was widowed at a young age, she might have married again. It is not known if Sarah stayed in Northumberland County or left with one of her three sons.

Thomas Penley?s Siblings
Elizabeth Penley Rice

After careful study of the known facts and consideration of the context of the era, this research concludes that Elizabeth Penley Rice was probably the daughter of William and Mary Penley, and that she was born in Northumberland County prior to the family move in 1706/7 to Richmond and the North Farnham Parish, giving her an estimated birthdate of 1705. Elizabeth married Richard Rice, the son of Richard and Hannah Rice of Northumberland County circa 1725, probably in Northumberland County.

Family research estimates that Richard Rice was born about 1690, the basis for that estimate is unclear. Since his parents were married about 1680, he may have been older. He died before November 8, 1742 when his estate was settled in Northumberland. His wife Elizabeth lived 43 years after his death, but never remarried. Because of their age difference, it is possible that Richard was previously married. Only the births of Richard and Elizabeth?s last two children, Sarah and Charles, are registered in found vestry books in 1739 and 1742, their other seven children have estimated birthdates taken from context of various other records.

Remarkably, the Rices broke naming conventions by naming their first daughter Lydia, and their first son William Penley Rice. Two given names for a child was a rarity in the colonies at the time, it was a practice normally reserved to noble families, but the Rices also named a child George M. Rice, although the middle name is not known at this time. There is no child named Hannah after Richard?s mother, and their second son is named Richard. Richard and Elizabeth may have just declared themselves independent from the social conventions, but it is also possible a child named Hannah did not survive to adulthood. Likewise, there is no child named after Elizabeth?s mother, Mary Penley.

The fact that Richard and Elizabeth Rice never named a child Mary after Elizabeth?s mother may have another explanation. Shortly after William Penley Rice?s birth circa 1729, Elizabeth?s mother Mary Penley was charged with adultery by a Richmond County Grand Jury. (Richmond County Order Book 9:537, 586). Elizabeth and Richard may have chosen to honor Elizabeth?s father in this time of woe by naming their son William Pinley Rice, and the lack of a child named Mary in their family of nine children may have been an intentional insult to a less than perfect mother. Following the naming patterns of the day, all of William and Mary?s three children named a child William, but the three children broke all the naming conventions regarding their mother, as none of the three children named a daughter Mary, a remarkable departure from the custom of the day.

The children of Richard and Elizabeth (Penley) Rice were:
Lydia Rice born circa 1725
William Penley Rice born circa 1729
Richard Rice
George M Rice
Susan Rice
Judith Rice
Sarah Rice born December 22, 1739
Charles Rice born January 4, 1741/42
Elishy Shurley Rice

Little is known about most of the descendants of Elizabeth (Penley) Rice. William Penley Rice moved to Halifax County at about the same time as his first cousins, Joshua and William Penley (the sons of Elizabeth?s brother, Thomas). Family research shows that he married Mary Gooch, born August 22, 1731, and they had four children during the estimated fifteen years of residence in the Halifax County area. Circa 1771, records indicate that several Penley family members left Halifax and moved to Burke County, North Carolina. When the Penleys left Halifax, it appears that William Penley Rice returned to Northumberland County. Apparently his wife Mary died early, as he had five more children in Northumberland while married to a second wife, Hannah.

Although he witnessed his mother Elizabeth?s will, William Penley Rice preceded her in death, he died at about the age of 56 on September 12, 1785 in Northumberland County, Virginia. Elizabeth (Penley) Rice died November 12, 1785, also in Northumberland County.

The 1783-1785 Record Book #12.
Will of Elizabeth Rice.
To son Charles Rice, my tract of land on I now live, to him and the lawful begotten heirs of his body,
and he giving his sister ELISHEY SHURLEY, a home on said land during her widowhood.
Wit: Wm.
Penly Rice,
Elishey Shurley, James [Jane?] Shurley Wm. Bearcroft,
Exors. Friend, William Thomas, Sr. and son Charles Rice

From Jerry Penley?s website at

Several of the Penley families left the Richmond County area by 1755, after residing there for about 50 years. The land between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers is known as Virginia?s Northern Neck, including the counties of Richmond, Westmoreland, Lancaster, and Northumberland. Hannah Mountney had patented land in nearby Lancaster County in 1657, and the Orphan Thomas Pinley may have returned from Maryland to settle in nearby Northumberland County as early as the 1680?s. Thus, except for the time when the orphans were taken to Maryland by their guardian Will Crumpe, the Penley family maintained a connection to the Northern Neck of Virginia for nearly a hundred years.

Mary Penley Short

Thomas Penley?s youngest sister was Mary Penley, obviously named after her mother. Her birth was recorded in the North Farnham Parish Registers on page 146 along with her brother Thomas.

Born Penly, Mary Daughter of William and Mary Penly January 3, 1712

Of all the Penleys living in Richmond County at this time, the least is known about this Mary Penley. There are no legal documents found thus far other than her birth, marriage, and the births of her three children.

Mary Penley married Clark Short on March 2, 1730/1. The record of marriage is found on page 145:

Pendle, Mary and Clark Short, 2 March 1730/1

Clark and Mary (Penley) Short had three children registered in North Farnham Parish on page 167:

Short, William son of Clark and Mary Short, 30 August 1732
Short, Ann daughter of Clark and Mary Short, 9 December 1734
Short, Vinson son of Clark and Mary Short, 8 January 1741

William Pinley's Deed
This indenture... Betweene ROBERT HARRISON of Parish of St. Stephens in County of NORTHUMBERLAND in Virginia Planter and ELIZABETH his Wife of one party and WILLIAM PINLEY in the County aforesaid, Planter of the other party. Wittnesseth that Robert Harrison and Elizabeth his Wife for the sum of Five thousand pounds of good sound merchantable tobbacco in caske to them in hand paid by WILLIAM PINLEY by these presents do bargaine sell and confirme unto WILLIAM PINLEY his heires all that part or tract of land containing by estimation 100 acres situate in Parish of FARNHAM in County of Richmond at the head of ye branches of Swamp called Marches Swamp. it being part of a Devidend of land which SAMLL CHURCHWELL of County Richmond conveyed to Robert Harrison of County NORTHUMBERLAND for 207 acres and beginning for the said 100 acres att a Chesnutt Post standing in ESQR. CORBINs line betweene three marked tree , a white oak, a red Oake and a Hickory tree near three inward marked saplins that is to say one white Oake and two Hickory saplins standing in the line wch was formerly EDWARD and THOMAS LEWISes, from thense along the said LEWISes line a line dividing from TELIFF ALTERSON JUNR 2 TOTASKEY FERRY ROAD and the line of ESQR. CORBIN 2 theire severall dividing corner trees as mentioned in the Survey of 207 acres which was Surveyed for ROBERT HARRISON ending in ESQR. CORBINs line att the begining Chesnutt Post.
From Jerry Penley?s website at

Court ActionRichmond Co., VA Deed Book 9 p186 Apr. 20, 1735 from Anthony Linton of Stafford Co. & Parish of Overwharton, to Alexander Clark of R &NF, for 40 pounds sterling money of England, about 100 acres in Richmond & Northfarnham on the south side of the Marshey Swamp near the head of the Swamp, bounded by the head of a small cove issuing out of said Swamp, said Anthony Linton's plantation near his dwelling house, the side of John Alverson's old field, the line called Singer's line, a pond of standing water which is called William Penley's Pond, the line of Henry Corbin Esq. The land was entered for and patented by Edward Lewis dec'd, & thence descended to his son John Lewis dec'd, thence the 100 acres fell by heirship to Johana Lewis, sister & co-heir at law to the said John Lewis. Johanna Lewis married my father William Linton, dec'd, and the 100 acres descended to me, Anthony Linton, being the next heir at law, "as by the said deed" may appear. Signed - Anthony Linton. Wit- Will'm (his mark) Penley, Thos (his mark) Warmouth.
Recorded July 7, 1735. Mary Linton, the wife of the said Anthony Linton, appeared in court & relinquished her right of dower in the land conveyed
(Order Book 9:537, 586).