The Family Puzzles - Demystified (Sort of)

John Grubb

Male 1652 - 1708

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  • Name  John Grubb 
    Born  20 Apr 1652  Stoke Climsland, Cornwall England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Male 
    Died  10 Mar 1708  Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried  St Martins Churchyard, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I1537  My Genealogy
    Last Modified  20 Dec 2012 

    Father  Henry Grubbe, Jr,   b. Jul 1617, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1654, Cornwall, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Helen Vivian Wilmont,   b. Abt 1625, Stoke Climsland, Cornwall England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Sep 1698, Stoke Climsland, Cornwall England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  Abt 1643 
    Family ID  F631  Group Sheet

    Family  Frances Vane,   b. 1652, Kent England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1719, Bradford Township, Chester, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  10 Mar 1675 
     1. Emanuel Grubb,   b. 19 Jul 1682, New Castle Hundred, New Castle, Delaware Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Aug 1767, New Castle Hundred, New Castle, Delaware Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. John Grubb, Jr.,   b. 1 Nov 1684, Brandywine Hundred, New Castle, Delaware Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Mar 1758, Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, United States Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Joseph Grubb,   b. 1686, Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Apr 1747, New Castle Hundred, New Castle, Delaware Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Charity Grubb,   b. 29 Nov 1687, New Castle, New Castle, Delaware, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Nov 1761, Guilford, North Carolina, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Henry Grubb,   b. 1692,   d. 3 Jul 1770
     6. Nathaniel Grubb,   b. 1693, Brandywine Hundred, New Castle, Delaware Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Sep 1760
     7. Phebe Grubb,   b. 4 Mar 1695, Upland, Chester, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Mar 1769, New Castle, New Castle, Delaware, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Peter Grubb,   b. 1702, Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1754, Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, United States Find all individuals with events at this location
     9. Hannah Grubb,   b. 1702,   d. Yes, date unknown
     10. Richard Grubb,   b. 1704,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified  31 Dec 1999 
    Family ID  F549  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 20 Apr 1652 - Stoke Climsland, Cornwall England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 10 Mar 1708 - Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, United States Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
      Over the years there has been considerable research into the ancestors of John Grubb - the Delaware settler. In 1893, Gilbert Cope of the
      Pennsylvania Genealogical Society produced a history of the Delaware Grubb family contending that the settler came from the Duchy of Cornwall on the southwest tip of England. Also in 1893, Judge Ignatius Cooper Grubb (1841 - 1927) of Delaware took on the role of family historian and
      made several trips to Europe. He wrote that the settler's family was actually from Wiltshire. In 1972, Rev. Geoffrey Watkins Grubb from the Irish Grubb family expanded upon Judge Ignatius Grubb's work. More recent research has disproved the Wiltshire theory and has re-focused attention back on Cornwall as the family's origins.
      The earliest reported Grubb family was that of Henricvs Von Grubbe, who about 1040 was Lord of the Principality of Brittore in the Hartz
      Mountains of Brunswick in North Germany. This area is known for its gold and silver mines. In German, the name Grube or Grubbe means a miner or a possessor of mines. Less than a century later in 1127, Gonde Grubbe owned an estate called Veringe in Denmark. While the connection between the German and Danish Grubbe families has not been established, the fact that immigrants with the Grubb last name came to America from a number of countries could indicate that the family (or families) spread in many directions from its roots.
      Around 1200, Valte (i.e. Walter) Grubbe migrated from Denmark to London and established a shipping fleet on the Thames. Grub Street ran through his former property and later became a writer's colony during the Elizabethan period. Today, the phrase Grub Street is used to describe a second-rate author. 1273 reported John Grubbe at Norfolk County on the eastern coast of England. Also in 1273, Alan Grubbe was reported in Cambridge County, just west of Norfolk. Another John Grubbe came from Denmark to England in 1285. By the seventeenth century, there were Grubb families throughout the United Kingdom, and just as in America, many of these families were probably not related.
      Gilbert Cope made the first effort to identify the English parents of John Grubb. Cope wrote in 1893 that John's mother was probably Wilmot Grubb, a Quaker from Stoke Climsland in Cornwall. He also wrote that the Record of Friend's Sufferings Under Persecution lists the 1663
      imprisonment in Tremation Castle of a Henry Grubb from Stoke Climsland, and that this Henry was possibly Wilmot's husband. Cope pointed out that Wilmot's son, Henry Grubb was on the Kent with John Grubb and that Charity Grubb, one of John's daughters, named her daughter Wellmet. Cope concluded from this circumstantial evidence that Henry and John were probably brothers. However, many family members questioned this conclusion because Henry and his parents were Quakers, while John was Episcopal, at least late in life. More recent research has eliminated
      this objection. In the 1670s, two thirds of the children on English Quakers left the society when they came of age. Therefore, it would not have been unusual for John to have been Episcopal even if his parents were Quaker.
      While returning from Scandinavia in the summer of 1893, Judge Ignatius Grubb was invited to visit Eastwell in Potterne by Admiral Sir Walter Hunt-Grubbe. There, Ignatius Grubb learned that in the early 1600s, the Rev. Thomas Grubbe (1594 - 1652), the grandson of Mayor Henry Grubbe of Devizes, Wiltshire had become Rector in Crandford, Bedfordshire, and that his second son, John (1610 - 1667) was a Royalist who had gone into hiding in Cornwall during the civil wars after Cromwell successfully attacked Devizes Castle in 1645. Admiral Sir Hunt-Grubbe showed Ignatius Grubb numerous old records including a begging letter from King Charles that had been received by the brother of the Rev. Thomas Grubbe. From these records, Ignatius also learned that while in Cornwall, John married Helen Vivian of an old Cornish family, and they had a son in 1652 who
      they named John Jr. John and his wife Helen returned to Potterne around the time of the restoration where he died in 1667. Judge Grubb knew that his ancestor was born in 1652 because in 1684 he had stated that he was 32 when he gave testimony in a Pennsylvania lawsuit. For Judge Ignatius
      Grubb, these facts had to be more than mere coincidence, and upon his return to Wilmington, he wrote that the Delaware Grubb family was descended from the prominent Grubbe family of Wiltshire and that the settler's parents were John Grubb and Helen Vivian.
      The obvious problem with Ignatius Grubb's conclusion is that John Grubb, the settler in Delaware, was a tanner who didn't have enough money to buy land when he arrived in America even though land was very inexpensive at the time. Judge Grubb tried to explain away this discrepancy by stating that the family was of greatly reduced circumstances due to the civil wars. However, this certainly wasn't the case after the restoration in 1660, seventeen years before John came to America. By that time, the Wiltshire family was of the upper gentry class. Further, if the settler was really related to the Wiltshire family, it is improbable that he would have left for America at a time when the family had few male heirs.
      While a number of family members were bothered by this discrepancy, Ignatius Grubb's work became the standard genealogy of the Delaware Grubb family. Over the next century, numerous genealogies, mostly vanity biographies, were published with Judge Grubb's basic conclusion, but often with embellished details. For example, sometime after 1893, Judge Grubb further claimed that Henry Grubbe, the Mayor of Devizes, was the younger son of the Sir Henry Grubbe who married Lady Joan Parr Radcliffe in Hertfordshire, just north of London. In fact, the Wiltshire Grubbe
      family settled in Devizes at least 50 years before Henry married Lady Joan. Other writers claimed that the Rev. Thomas Grubb the Rector of Cranford was the first to drop the e from the surname Grubbe. In fact, parish records indicate that the e was often dropped earlier in
      Wiltshire, but that the Rev. Thomas Grubbe retained the e. It also became popular to claim that the settler's father was the recipient of the begging letter when in fact Ignatius Grubb's manuscript clearly indicates that the begging letter was received by the brother of Rev. Thomas
      The first major refutation of Ignatius Grubb's 1893 work appears in a 1972 book written by the Rev. Geoffrey Watkins Grubb, who otherwise relied heavily on Judge Ignatius Grubb's research. Rev. Geoffrey Grubb concluded that the John Grubb from Wiltshire was not the son of the Rev. Thomas Grubbe, and that Judge Grubb confused two men with the same name - a Thomas born 1581 in Wiltshire and another Thomas born thirteen years later. A wall plaque in the Cranfield Church indicates that the Rev. Thomas Grubbe was born in 1594. According to Rev. Geoffrey Grubb, the Rev. Thomas Grubbe was probably a cousin of William Grubb, a tailor from the village of Barby, Northamptonshire who died in 1620. Subsequent research has shown that the Rev. Thomas Grubbe was probably from Wiltshire after all. The Rev. Geoffrey Grubb also wrote that William Grubb's son, John, was the Royalist who received the begging letter, married Helen Vivian and was the father of the Delaware settler. Geoffrey Grubb fails to explain how a tailor's son accumulated the wealth to contribute such a large sum to the King. However, the doubts raised by Rev. Geoffrey Grubb resulted in further research attempting to identify the parents of the John Grubb who died in 1667 at Potterne, Wiltshire.
      There is an unpublished genealogy that identifies this John's father as Edward Grubbe, who was born in Ridge, Hertfordshire and married Margaret Gage in London.
      The real problem with both the Ignatius Grubb and the Geoffrey Grubb genealogies is that they assume the settler's father was the John Grubb who was buried on July 20, 1667 in Potterne. In the summer of 1998, it was discovered in the Potterne parish records that this John Grubb and his wife Helen Vivian could NOT have been the parents of the John Grubb who settled in Delaware. Their son (the John Grubb Jr who was born in Cornwall during 1652) actually became a minister who was buried in Potterne on September 23, 1696 - obviously not the Delaware settler. We now know that neither Judge Ignatius Grubb nor the Rev. Geoffrey Grubb checked the Potterne parish records. As a result, many genealogies of the Delaware Grubb family are simply wrong.
      Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will ever find a parish record listing John's birth because official records during the period of the civil wars are largely missing. Therefore, to solve this mystery we must begin by listing what can be reasonably established through primary
      John Grubb came to America in 1677 on the Kent. While there is no passenger list per se, there is strong evidence that John Grubb was one of the Kent's passengers.
      In 1677, John was either a Quaker or closely associated with Quakers.
      After his death in 1708, John was buried at the St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. The original St. Martins was built in 1700, although the current structure dates to 1845. The deed stipulates that no Quaker be buried there. While this may have been
      relaxed later, it is unlikely that John Grubb would have been interred at St. Martin's in 1708 had he been a Quaker. However, there is no record of John's religious views earlier in life. The Kent was chartered by William Penn and all of its settlers were Quakers or closely associated with Quakers. John could only have learned about the Kent from a Quaker, and could only have been on the Kent if a Quaker vouched for him.
      Henry Grubb was also on the Kent. Henry was an indentured servant, whose indenture agreement (published in 1941 by the New Jersey Historical Society) was signed in London on March 28, 1677, just before the Kent sailed.
      Henry Grubb was the son of Wilmot of Stoke Climsland, Cornwall. The identity of Henry's mother was established by Gilbert Cope through Henry's 1695 will that named her as his mother and indicated that she was then living in Stoke Climsland. According to parish records, Wilmot Grubb, a Quaker, died in Stoke Climsland in 1696. However, Cope's guess concerning Wilmot's husband is probably wrong. As indicated before, Cope had access to a reference that recorded the imprisonment of Quaker's in England and he found the listing for a Henry Grubb of Stoke Climsland who was jailed in 1663. He wrote that this Henry was possibly Wilmot's husband. Note he used the word possibly, a fact that has been ignored ever since. The Stoke Climsland parish records fail to identify the name of Henry's wife. The only Wilmot Grubb listed was married to a Richard Grubb.
      Wilmot Grubb was in London when the Kent sailed. Before Wilmot's son left on the Kent, he received a certificate of good conduct from the Ratcliffe Quaker Meeting. The Quaker archive at Swathmore College confirmed that the Ratcliffe Quaker Meeting was in London, which was one of the two points of embarkation for the settlers on the Kent. Wilmot signed Henry's certificate as his mother indicating that she was in London at the time.
      John and Henry were probably related. It is highly plausible that John was on the Kent because he learned about the venture from Wilmot and she gave him a recommendation in London before the Kent sailed. This would appear to establish that Henry and John were somehow related, tying John to the Cornish Grubb family and probably to the Stoke Climsland area.
      Charity Grubb, John's daughter, named one of her daughters Willmet.
      This is the only direct evidence found to date that actually ties John to Wilmot.
      John's youngest son, Peter Grubb, named the town he founded Cornwall, supposedly after his father's birthplace. This is further collateral evidence that John was from Cornwall.
      Members of the Cornish Grubb family have been found in at least twenty parishes as early as the mid-sixteenth century when the church started maintaining records. In particular, there were a large number of Grubbs in Stoke Climsland, about twelve miles northwest of Plymouth; Truro, 40 miles west of Plymouth; and, St. Martin in Meneage near Helston, about twelve miles east of Land's End. In the seventeenth century, the people in this region still spoke Gaelic and were related to the population in Wales and Ireland. No connection has been established between the Cornish Grubbs and other Grubb families and the fact that Grubbs have been identified throughout Cornwall from an early date suggests that the Cornish branch could be of Celtic origin or descended from Danish mariners who settled on the coast. While relatively few people immigrated to the Delaware Valley from Cornwall, at least four members of the Cornish Grubb family were among the early settlers to West Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
      The rural town of Stoke Climsland had a population of about 1,150 that were mostly miners and tenant farmers in the Manor of Stoke Climsland, one of 53 Cornish manors owned by the King. Cornwall was strongly Royalist during the civil wars. However, after King Charles was executed in 1649, Parliament sold these manors to pay the expenses of Cromwell's army. The new owners were pro-Cromwell and included soldiers in Cromwell's army. These were not happy times in the Duchy of Cornwall.
      There were relatively few Quakers in Cornwall, but Stoke Climsland had an active meeting between 1656 and 1697.
      At the time of John's birth, there were at least five Grubb households of childbearing age in Stoke Climsland. The 1650 survey of the manor of Stoke Climsland lists Henry Grubb (probably the Quaker who was later imprisoned) in addition to Anthony Grubb and Richard Grubb as tenant farmers. In fact, there were at least two Richard Grubb households in Stoke Climsland, one Richard Grubb married to a Paternell and the other married to a Wilmot. Also, there were at least two Anthonys, one married to Jane and another married to Constance. From surviving wills, we can eliminate Anthony/Jane and Richard/Paternel as the settler's parents leaving Henry, Anthony/Constance and Richard/ Wilmot as possibilities.
      There could have been other Grubb households in the area as well. The parish registers list the 1639 marriage between William Grubb and Margarett Rendell and the 1641 marriage between Margarett Farit and an unnamed Grubb. The Protestation returns of 1641 show an Edward Grubb, Henry Grubb (again probably the Quaker who was imprisoned), and his father, also named Henry. Finally, the registers record the 1670 burial
      of a John Grubb. The settler could have born into any of these families.
      Unfortunately, the evidence now available is not sufficient to identify John Grubb's parents. Research is continuing and possibly additional evidence from wills and other sources will resolve the question. While we don't have the satisfaction of adding more boxes to a genealogical chart, we can now be reasonably certain of something far more important - an understanding of where John probably came from and some knowledge of the circumstances of his family.
      The reason for the confusion over the last century is that Judge Ignatius Grubb saw what he wanted to see - that the Delaware Grubb family descended from the Sir Henry Grubbe who represented Wiltshire in Parliament, the Rev. Thomas Grubbe of Bedfordshire, and the John Grubb who fled Wiltshire to Truro Cornwall and married Helen Vivian. This certainly made a grand story. Judge Grubb failed to see the obvious point that our ancestor was of considerably lower station than the Grubbe family of Wiltshire. Rev. Geoffrey Grubb also saw what he wanted to see -
      that the Irish Grubb family and the Delaware Grubb family had common roots. There is nothing in the record to support this contention. It is now apparent that Gilbert Cope came closest to the reality.
    • (Research):John was a tanner by trade, who with William Penn, Richard Buffington and others, on 03 March 1676, signed the Plan of Government for the Province of West Jersey. He and Buffington came to America in 1677 on "The Kent". He was born in Cornwall Co., ENG, but may have lived in Wiltshire before sailing to America where he became a prominent pioneer as a legislator, magistrate, farmer and leather manufacturer. He built the first leather works in PA. His parents were Quakers, but he seemed to be Episcopalian, although his daughter Charity and her husband Richard Beeson were both prominent Quaker Ministers. He is buried in St. Martin's Churchyard in Marcus Hook, PA. He settled first at Upland, now Chester, PA. The name of the Homestead at Brandywine Hundred, in New Castle Co., PA (now) DE was "Stockdeals".

      Notes for John Grubb:
      John Grubb with William Penn, Richard Buffington, and others, 3 Mar 1676, signed the Plan of Government for the Province of West Jersey and came to America in 1677 where he became a prominent pioneer as a legislator, magistrate, farmer, and leather manufacturer. He is buried in St. Martin Churchyard in Marcus Hook, PA. Frances Vane Grubb then married her husband's friend,
      Richard Buffington.

      The Grubb family was first represented in John Grubb. There is still in existence a letter written to his uncle by King Charles I, in Nov. 1642, with the Royal Seal appended, asking for a loan "To aid the King in defending the Realm and the Church against his enemies." This letter was addressed to "Our truly and well-beloved John Grubb, Esq." Lord John Grubb's family are interred in the old manor
      churchyard on his estate in England, and on it were many Memorial Tablets bearing epitaphs in Latin and having the family Arms and Crest. This family is descended from people who distinguished themselves as early as the tenth century.

      John Grubb, the first of the family on these shores, was a son of John and helen Grubb. At the age of 25 years, he came to America to mend his fortunes, which had been impaired by the support he gave to the Royal Cause. Sailing from London in the ship "KENT" in 1677, he arrived at Burlington, West Jersey, and received 340 acres of land on Chester Creek. As early as 1682, Grubb's Landing, Brandywine Hundred, DE was known to fame. John Grubb became possessor of a tract of land 600 acres in extent as made one of the Colonial Justices in 1693 and was twice elected to the
      colonial assembly.

      The historian's say of him, "He came from that stock of men second to none on the face of the earth--The English Country Gentleman." At Grubb's Landing, he erected a tannery, and was the first manufacturer of leather in Penn's Province. In 1703, he left Grubb's Landing and located in Marcus Hook, PA where he invested heavily in land. he was an extensive land owner in both PA and DE. Like his ancestors, he was a devout supporter of the Church of England. The John Grubb (1652 - 1708) who came to West Jersey on the Kent in 1677 and settled in Brandywine Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware

      From WFT:
      John Grubb, with his wife Frances, was a resident of Upland as early as 1679, but does not appear to have been settled there as early as 1677. In 1679, jointly with Richard Buffington, he purchased 300 acres of land on the southwest side of Chester Creek above Cheater, and may have resided there some time. His occupation was that of a tanner. His children were Emanuel, John, Joseph, Henry, Samuel, Nataniel, Peter, Charity, and Phebe, all of whom were living at the time of his death in 1708. His daughter Chariety was married to Richard Beeson prior to his death. He does not appear to have been a Quaker, probably was an Episcopalian. His age was about 60 years.

      Samuel Grubb settled in East Bradford on the farm now of William Gibbons. Nataniel married Ann Moore and settled in Willistown. He was a member of Assembly, trustte of the loan office, etc. Peter Grubb went to what is now Lebanon County, where he was a prominet ironmaster. Phebe married Richard Buffington Jr., and Simon Hadly