Monday, September 8, 2008


Tracking through genealogical records is time consuming and can be very boring, odd facts though stand out from the page, and I find my mind concentrating on Oliver Cope's mother, Elizabeth.

"As has been seen, the evidence proves that Oliver Cope, the immigrant was son of john Cope of Chisledon, Wiltshire, yeoman, who made his Will in 1649 and of Elizabeth Cope, a widow living in Avebury, Wiltshire in 1681. "

A slight statement, but the fact is Oliver's father died in 1649, and his mother must have died in 1681 the year before Oliver emigrated, she seems to have died in Chisledon, a village three miles from Swindon. There is also a mention of a Maude Truslow, obviously taking her name from the village of Trusloe in 1636. There are earthwork remains of a medieval village here at Trusloe, perhaps it has always been a small hamlet.
Slowly a picture begins to unfold of this time period, a restless, unsettled century, in which England experienced a Civil War, and perhaps more important a radical change in religion.
The Quakers, maybe be seen as an offset of the Puritans, the early beginnings of Quakerism were difficult they were persecuted by law and ordinary people alike. Yet they persevered, setting up meeting houses, schools, apprenticeships and businesses. They prospered because they were a close network, a community with family and friends ties that helped in business deals, though of course this 'making money' went slightly against the grain of their religion.
So that when we see Oliver Cope as a tailor, it could well be that he was apprenticed through this system, that he was never seen as a Quaker by Gilbert Cope, could well be down to the fact of this persecution that surrounded the religious faction in its early phase in England and the need to be quiet about religious affliations.
Oliver had bought land of William Penn a prominent Quaker, and Penn travelled to America in 1682 on the ship Welcome, and it would seem very likely that Oliver and his family travelled shortly after his mother's death, maybe not on the same boat but in the small fleet that seem to have left at this time. This long boat trips were no easy undertaking, a third of the passengers died of typhoid fever on the voyage on the Welcome, cramped up in narrow cabins, disease would have been rife.
Oliver died in 1697 probably aged 50 years, which gives him 15 years in which to establish a home in Pennsylvania with his wife and four children.

Note; Oliver's father died round 1649, Oliver was born in 1647, meaning that his mother was widowed all through Oliver's childhood, there would have been poverty in the household, yet he managed to train for a trade, giving credence to the fact that it was probably a Quaker training...

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