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Penley Pearls

The Journey to Now...

Welcome to PenleyPearls. This site is dedicated to the genealogy of my parents, Mitchell and Helen (Horne) Penley. I choose to publish my research on the internet rather than a printed hard copy so that other descendants of Mitch and Helen’s ancestors will have access to the research and conclusions.  Hopefully it will be augmented and corrected by further research.

Little at this site should be considered a finished product, rather as a work in progress. Interpreteting documents up to 400 years old will never be an exact science; untold documents are missing and may have been permanently destroyed by the relentless march of time, negligence, fires, or the "malice toward all" of the Union Army.  Some pages are just collected notes waiting for a narrative to connect the pieces.

Mitch Penley’s lineage has been traced back to the birth of William Saunders alias Pinley, baptized on April 7, 1618 at St. Mary and All Saints Church in Bradeley, Staffordshire, England.  William was the son of Thomas and Dorthy Saunders alias Pinley, whose burial records were marked as 'abode:  Shredicote'.  Shredicote is a small hamlet near the village of Bradeley.

William Pinley arrived in Maryland from England aboard The Charity on November 22, 1638.  Although William Pinley immigrated first to Maryland in 1638, his loyalty was soon won by the Virginians on Kent Island, who led him to his wife, Elizabeth Hill, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. According to available documents, Mitch Penley’s bloodline remained exclusively British, their English blood occasionally stirred by some Scot or Irish marriages.

The Penleys lived on in the Northern Neck of Virginia for over a hundred years until most relocated for a brief period in North Carolina by the 1770’s. By 1782, my ancestors were back in Virginia, on land that would become Scott County, from whence some eventually spilled over the state line into nearby Morrison City and Kingsport, Tennessee by 1920. Mitch and Helen joined the Space Race by moving to Florida in 1956, but in many ways "home" was always considered the area between Nickelsville, Virginia and Kingsport, Tennessee.

Other descendants of William Pinley, our immigrant, remained in each location in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, and eventually spread their wings to reside in every state in the union. The most common known spelling variations include Penley, Pendley, Pindley, Pindly, Pennley, and Panley.

Helen Penley’s Horne lineage is tracked back with some certainty to Jess Horn, born about 1749 in Nansemond County, Virginia, but the common occurrance of the Horne name snarls the lines prior to 1749, and more research is required. The Hornes are thought to be of German ancestry, but their allied families were primarily from the British Isles, with the notable exception of Jacob Remy, son of Pierre Remy, who immigrated from France to England just before his voyage to Virginia. The women who married into the Horne lineage came from well documented immigrant families to early Virginia, such as the Rameys who arrived in 1654, the Stallards in the 1640’s, and the Stapletons by 1682. Like the Penleys, the Hornes and some of their allied families also moved from Virginia to North Carolina for a brief residence after the 1750’s, but returned to the area that would become Scott County, Virginia by the 1780’s.

By the 1780’s, the collision course required to unite Mitchell Penley and Helen Horne was entrenched around Clinch Mountain and Copper Creek, with each of their ancestors firmly placed by Divine Providence on homesteads in Scott County. The genealogist who has chased the Penleys and Hornes across the Atlantic and throughout the colonies is now greatly relieved to trudge through the dusty records of just one county. The trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Penleys and Hornes before and after their arrival in Scott County are entwined here with the historic events of the United States, just as they were.