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A Quaker Family of Western Pennsylvania

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The Fells derive their name from the district of Furness Fells, the general name for High Furness in England. They were one of the most ancient families in Furness. They belonged to the Religious Society of Friends.

Joseph Fell, born August 19, 1668, died April 9, 1747, was the son of John Fell and Margaret Fell of Longlands, Parish of Uldale, in the County of Cumberland in old England. He married a Miss Willson of Granary, Parish of Caldbeck, Cumberland, England, at the age of thirty and in 1705 they came to America, sailing on a ship called the Cumberland, "casting anchor in the mouth of Potomeck River". They are buried in Buckingham graveyard where the Buckingham Friends Meeting House was built in 1705--a log structure, which in 1768 was replaced at a cost of 736L-14S-1d. The building is forty by forty-seven feet, two stories high, of grit stone, narrow-pointed, with concave plaster cornices at the eaves and the ends. The interior is divided in both stories by a sliding panel partition. It is finished in white cedar, which still retains its lustre. During the Revolutionary War it was used as a hospital. Part of the burial ground just behind the Meeting House is full of ancient graves. The remains of many of your ancestors were laid here.

"The dead possessed it wholly

This many a year."

Joseph Fell's second wife was a New England woman, Elizabeth Doyle. He had four children by his first wife and seven by his second wife. When he was seventy-seven years old all of his eleven children were living. He has left an interesting account of his life in a Genealogy of the Fell Family, compiled by Sarah M. Fell of Wilmington, Delaware.

Nathan Fell, the great grandson of Joseph Fell and son of John Fell, lived for twenty years in Bucks and Westmoreland Counties. In the spring of 1800, they journeyed north to the wilderness of Mercer County with their eleven children. For this journey he had sixteen pack-horses, this being the only means of locomotion through the unbroken and trackless wilderness. When they came to Slippery Rock Creek, sixteen miles south of Mercer, they found the stream swollen to a raging torrent by rains, and the horses bearing their burdens of living as well as inanimate freight were forced to breast the stream in order to effect a passage. Cynthia Fell, a child of a few months, was carried in the arms of her brother, John, as the horse they rode swam across the stream. She lived to see this region thrive and become thickly populated.

It was people of this type, hard, sturdy, brave and determined spirits, whose desire for conquest and colonization has carried the American flag from the eastern to the western ocean.

Nathan Fell took up a tract of four hundred acres of land and built his log cabin near the residence (1891) of his grandson, Aaron Fell. He extended his farm until he owned more than two thousand acres. He was of a jovial and companionable disposition and when he rode from his farm to Mercer to attend court or to visit his daughter, Cynthia Fell Yeager, his society was much sought after by members of the legal profession and others.

In his will he bequeathed two hundred acres of land to each of his children, except his son, Jesse, to whom he left the Homestead with four hundred acres which included a dower to his daughter, Ann, who was blind from her childhood.

This Jesse Fell was your mother's grandfather. My daughter Elizabeth remembers seeing her great grandfather when she was a little girl. I remember he had a herd of buffalo on his farm and they had wonderful buffalo robes. Wrapped in these robes in a big old basket sleigh, skimming over the snow, sleigh bells ringing, one's breath a frosty vapor--that is a thing to be remembered!

The following was said of Jesse Fell:

"As a citizen, a man, a husband and a father, he attained the highest respect and confidence of his fellows. He died as he had always lived, quietly and peacefully. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, yet never pushed himself forward, but preferred to shine in the more quiet virtues of home life."

I have a happy recollection of spending an evening with him after your mother and I were engaged, in the home of his son, Aaron Fell. We sat late talking and smoking together. he was a fine old gentleman.

Eliza Fell of Philadelphia, traveling extensively in Europe, gave much time while in England to collecting information of the ancestry of Joseph Fell, our common ancestor in America. She examined the records of the 17th Century of the time of George Fox and those of the ancestral estate of Longlands, when so many of the Fells joined Friends. She found among them a record of our ancestors, John and Margaret Fell of Longlands, the parents of Joseph Fell (Born 1668). At Straithwaite House not far from Longlands, she met Mrs. Burgess, formerly Annie R. Fell, owner by descent of the Longlands Estate, and supposed to be the last of that family in England. From Mrs. Burgess she obtained a copy of the Longlands' Coat of Arms.

This ancestral home of Joseph Fell is about seventeen miles from Feswick and the post office is Carlisle. A two-story house, it is long, solidly built of old red sandstone. There are many rooms, none of them large and all have joist ceilings. The steps of the stairway are also red sandstone, a little worn away on the baluster side. The house has been rebuilt, of course, because the estate of Longlands is known to have been owned by the Fells for more than six hundred years.

There were an Edward and a William Fell who came from Cumberland, England to Baltimore, Fells Point, early in the 18th Century. Their descendants are numerous in Loudon County, Virginia, with hosts of relatives in the West.

The following is your mother's branch of the Fell family:

Page 33 - Joseph Fell Born 1668, Longlands, England. Died 1748, Bucks County, Pa. Married B. Willson, Elizabeth Doyle.

Page 34 - Benjamin Born 1703. Died 1758. Married Hannah Scarborough.

Page 39 - John Born 1730. Died --. Married Elizabeth Hartley.

Page 59 - Nathan Born 1760. Died 1835. Married Ann Smith.

Page 119 - Emiline Born 1828. Died 1906. Married Joseph B. Campbell.

Page 432 - Ammarrillus Katherine Campbell. Born Jan. 26, 1848.

Died May 3, 1920. Married D. Hunter Patterson in 1870.

Prologue by William Remington Patterson, Jr.

Introduction by David Hunter Patterson

Chapter 1 The Valley of the Big Cove

Chapter 2 The Tall Oaks & Towering Pines of Gallant Little Fulton

Chapter 3 The Pattersons and the Hunters

Chapter 4 Concerning Some of my Forbears

Chapter 5 Childhood Memories

Chapter 6 Some Church History

Chapter 7 Boyhood Days

Chapter 8 I Go Away to School

Chapter 9 Incidents of the Civil War

Chapter 10 Springfield - Graduation

Chapter 11 Your Mother

Chapter 12 A Quaker Family of Western Pennsylvania

Chapter 13 From 1870 to 1880

Chapter 14 Home Again at Webster Mills

Chapter 15 The Centennial - I Buy a Farm and get into Politics

Chapter 16 Last Years in the Old Home

Epilogue by Elizabeth Patterson Neeson

This website is part of the USGenWeb Project for Pennsylvania and is the county level site for Fulton County, Pennsylvania research.

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This page was last updated on Sunday, 18-Dec-2016 14:17:23 EST

Address all comments or questions about this webpage to Bill Patterson